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lost or feral?

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
I have recently spotted a black cat around the feeding area (we leave a bowl of cat food and a bowl of water out for the strays that roam our compound). He is extremely friendly and affectionate. He will let you pick him up, and hug him, and if you sit down he will climb into your lap and start cleaning himself and then doze off! When he sees our cats through the fly screen he runs off instead of approaching the fly screen and meowing very loudly like one of the other stray males does.

Is he lost? He's thin, infact he has gotten thinner since i last saw him last week and since last week he has lost a bit of fur on his left haunch. The skin under neath is dark and scaly. I'm just wondering what to do....?

We have 3 indoor cats of our own and my husband is not going to say yes to a fourth cat... I'm really wondering what the right thing to do is... There are other stray cats in the area, but the difference is that they seem to be doing quite well fending for themselves. This guy doesn't seem to be faring quite so well...
post #2 of 3
This cat definitely was someone's pet at one point or another. Whether he was lost or abandoned is anyone's guess, but if he's looking scraggly it's likely that he's been out there for a while. Cats hardly ever "run away from home" so it's more than likely that a friendly stray cat was abandoned by his previous person.

Your observations are precisely what makes the difference between a stray and feral cat. A feral cat has never been a companion to a human and so they are very wary of people. It takes a very long time to earn their trust enough to even be able to touch them while they're eating. A stray cat, though, was once a pet and so they are likely to seek out human contact.

Also, feral cats have lived outdoors their whole lives and have adapted to a harsher environment than indoor cats live in. So feral cats (especially spayed/neutered ferals) are usually robust and healthy looking. Stray cats, on the other hand, were used to living in a climate controlled environment and having their basic needs provided for them. Fending for themselves outdoors takes its toll on them, and they focus their attention on figuring out how to survive in their new environment. So they tend to neglect grooming themselves, and often generally look scruffy and scraggly. However, if the cat remains outdoors for an extended period this is likely to gradually improve.

First thing is to get this guy neutered and vaccinated, even if you don't have a place for him yet. If he's neutered, he's much more likely to stick close to the food bowl and not roam off and face even more danger. Then choose whether to foster him yourself or find another foster home for him until a permanent indoor home can be found for him.
post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 
Ideally I would LOVE to keep him. I've always wanted a black cat.

Failing that i have gotten in contact with the local cat care association called feline friends and am waiting for a response. They have a foster care system where they pick up the vet bills if we foster a cat... I'm not sure if the same rules apply if I find a cat and decide to foster him. Hopefully they will come and pick him up and foster him. I COULD do it but i'll really need to twist my husbands arm. We recently took in a stray and got her spayed and then fostered her while we found her a home... I really enjoy doing what i can to help the cats that come in and out of my life.

It's funny that you mentioned the grooming, there's another cat who lives near by who is the picture of health but is much more feral. He'll come up to me for a pet and roll around in the cat nip but he's still very weary of any fast movements. I've named the grey cat Slim. Anyway, the large compound at the back sort of belongs to SLim. He's definetely the Top cat around these parts. I just hope the black cat and Slim don't get into any serious fights. I'm thinking of temporarily naming the black cat "Nee-Chee" after the philosopher Nietzsche ... or maybe Midnight.

My husband is away on a flight for 8 days soon. I hope to get the black cat seen to during that week.

I called my vet today and she said to bring him in to check if he has been micro chipped.
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