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Newly Adopted by a Feral

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hi--I'm totally new to cats and need some advice. We live in a rural area of So. FL and unfortunately people tend to drop off their unwanted dogs and cats here. A little background on my cats-- after about a year of seeing a big feral tom we've named Sandy, I finally got smart, learned about TNR and got him taken care of with the help of our local feral cat organization. When I began feeding him, I also attracted a feral tabby kitten, whom we've named Dixie. She's taming quite nicely and spends much of her time in the house or on our screen porch.

Now the problems. When we go away and leave a feeder, we are feeding who knows how many opossums. I saw one at the feeder so am sure that's why we're going through so much food. My idea is to attach a shelf to the side of our metal shed so the cats would need to jump up and hopefully our possums won't find a way to reach it. I'll have to put some type of shelter over the food to keep the rain out of it. Any comments on this? Is there a better way?

On to the next problem. Besides Sandy and Dixie, we now have a huge bully cat coming around. It seems to be feral, but I just don't know for sure. There are several cats roaming our neighborhood who have owners. This cat is so mean to the other animals that I admit that I chase it away. The neighbor watched it go after my kitten. I can trap it and have it neutered, but then what?

Thanks all. I've really enjoyed reading on this site already. I have been a dog person all my life (no dogs now) and I know I have lots to learn.
post #2 of 6

I also have a problem with possums. I've learned to feed the cats before dark since possums aren't usually walking around then. Since I usually sit outside with the ferals while they are eating, it also keeps the possums away.

Putting the food up on a shelf is a good idea. Make sure it is wide enough and strong enough to support all 3 cats, the food and a few bowls of water at the same time. Do you put the food out while the cats are there? I'm just worried about them finding the food once you have put it up high.

As for the bully, neutering him will make him behave a little. He may just be trying to establish alpha.
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
I do feed the cats before dark. We sometimes go away and then rely on a neighbor to feed (who doesn't get home from work until late), so that's when we need to leave out a self-feeder. The male seems to be hiding close-by when I put the food down, so I'm sure he'll find it. The female is always right behind me when I'm wallking across the yard with food.

I'm still hoping the bully has a residence somewhere else. It's definitely not here everyday like the other 2.
post #4 of 6
Unfortunately, a lot of "bullys" do have owners - that don't neuter them. The way we handle the situation is to assume that any cat on our property isn't owned ( ), and trap them and have them spayed or neutered if they haven't been, and then just release them. Being neutered really helps calm them down, and peace in the colony was always more imporant to us than worrying about trying to convince irresponsible owners to do the right thing.

...and having a feeding station up on a table is a good thing! We did that, though it didn't stop the raccoons. And covered is a lovely luxury in rainy weather!
post #5 of 6
Possums leap, so do raccoons. We used to have a feeding platform to feed our ferals (thinking the skunks, raccoons possums, won't go there- wrong! Then we installed a motion detector thinking the light would scare the wildlife- WRONG again! What I do is take a 33 gallon trash can with a tight fitting lid. I cut a hole in the side of the can about the size of a golf ball, put a temp patch over the hole with duct tape, and elevate the feeder about 8 inches from the ground on bricks. I put a large feeding tray under the hole, and fill the garbage can up with kibble- take off the patch and the kibble comes down. When the cats want more, they can reach in and grab the food with their paws to make more come down- but again so can the raccoons, the possums and the skunks!

I would trap the male feral and get him neutered. His aggression is simply a survival mode and he has no choice. The netuering will calm him down some, but not completly and not all at once. He has just had a hard life and the only way he can survive it is by being a bully.
post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
Yesterday I went for a walk in the neighborhood. Lo and behold, the bully was lounging right up next to someone's open garage door. Looks like the beast has an owner. Next time I see them, I'll ask if it's been neutered. Luckily it hasn't been around for about a week.

We're planning to put in a small cat door onto our screened covered porch for our kitten. Right now we have the door propped open and have had other cats coming onto the porch. Do you think that these other cats will also use the cat door? I realize we could get one of those doors that only opens with a signal from the collar, but I hesitate to use this method with a half-tamed outside cat.

Recently adopted by Sandy & Dixie
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