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Help me understand this guy...

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Ok, first things first: I'm not sure where this should be posted, so please, MODs, feel free to move it as you see fit...

Now, I'll try not to ramble, but this could be a long one.

Early last summer, we began to be visited by a white cat. This critter just appeared one afternoon in our back yard. We had never set eyes on it before. We could not then, nor have we been able to yet, get close enough to determine gender, but from the size and head shape, and also, I think, demeanor, we're pretty sure that he's a guy -- obviously, if we haven't gotten close enough to know that for sure, we also don't know whether he's neutered or entire.

For the sake of argument, I shall proceed, referring to him as male.

He's a good sized critter, seems to be in good condition, slender but by no means skinny, coat condition seems to be good, no visible marks, etc. In other words, despite his lack of ID, he seems to be cared for. I'd guess he's 5 or 6 years old.

Whitey (as he has come to be known in our house) comes around at all times of day and night, usually several days running, and then we don't see him for a while -- a few days to several weeks.

When he shows up, he is very bold. He comes up onto the back porch -- that is, up thirteen stairs to a mostly enclosed area; he comes onto the front balcony off the master bedroom -- that is, up six feet from the ground; he comes in any open door -- the kitchen, the balcony, the basement; he chases our cats and they waste no time getting home; if there's a cat squall in the neighbourhood, you can be pretty sure that one of the cats in the ensuing chase will be Whitey and he won't be in front. But he always stays out of reach of any human.

If he were not in such good shape, I'd wonder if he was lost, or abandoned, or something of the sort. If there were a feral colony anywhere near, I might wonder if he was part of it, except for the fact that he seems well taken care of, and I think he's more confident around humans than would fit that scenario, anyway.

Any clues about what's going on with this guy?
post #2 of 6
It sounds like he's a new neighbourhood cat. Someone has moved into your area and lets their cat outside. This is because of the good condition you see him in and his familiarity with humans. And indoor/outdoor cats do get street smarts and tend not to approach unfamiliar people unless they're a friendly little critter who has never been scared off or shooed away by a human.


At the same time I have seen ferals that are also in healthy condition with gleaming coats and bright eyes, and not to mention well fed. Do you leave food outside for your cats? If so, you could be inadvertedly feeding him as well. Other neighbours leaving food out for their pets are other sources of food.

I have one feral who visits my yard at the moment who is so close and yet so far. She will come and sit right under the window at the front and doesn't mind being watched from the inside but when you're outside, she stays well out of reach. It's a cast improvement from her just running off to a hiding spot waiting and watching my movements.


He could also be a kitty that has been dumped and is now a stray cat. This too would fit with the profile. He has enough street smarts to keep him out of reach of potential harm and know where to get rest.

I don't know if any of this has helped you. I hope it has and I haven't confused you even more.
post #3 of 6
He sounds like someone's pet cat that got out of doors, either by his own volition or got kicked out for some reason or another. The shyness is the feral state kicking in to some degree, though it is great that he will come into the house- so he is not a true feral.

The other scenario is he belongs to someone who mistreats him, which is why he stays away from humans, or he was hurt or scared in the past by someone or something. When he comes around, sit down on the ground and don't make eye contact, and see what happens when you get down to his level. My guess is after a few times of seeing you drop, he will come over to you and head-bump you.
post #4 of 6
I'd agree with Mags. I am a bit concerned about this cat's unknown status as to whether it is fixed or not. I would suggest you contact your neighbors to see if it is owned by any of them. If no one steps forward...then I would borrow a trap from a humane society or feral cat group and get this guy trapped and brought to a vet. Obviously we do not need any "intact" males roaming around causing more litters or getting in fights.

As far as how "good" he looks, it is amazing to me how many ferals look like your normal domesticated tabby in the sense that they come in well fed, no injuries etc. We see more of those at the clinic I volunteer with than cats who look like they are on their last leg. In fact, we have seen some incredibly "robust" toms who obviously know where the best meals are served.

I'm glad you found these boards as there are many cat caretakers and trappers who can answer your questions.

Good Luck.

post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thanks for responses, everybody.

To answer Mags, No, we do not leave food out for our cats. They are fed indoors only. They have a cat door and can come and go as they please, so they can always get at food and there's no need to leave any out. Their feeding station is also nowhere near the cat door, so it would not create an incentive for an outsider to use that entry in our absence.

The guy hasn't been around for a couple of days. We don't really know our neighbours, with the exception of the people in the other side of our duplex, who know nothing about Whitey. I think it's time for a flyer in mailboxes and on some poles -- see if that elicits any information about him. If he shows up again soon, I'll try to get a picture or two to put on it.

Thanks again.
post #6 of 6
Fran, I think posting fliers is a good decision at this point. Good luck - and let us know what happens!

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