Post by Sheriff John Stone on Jan 17, 2020 1:22:01 GMT
Any cat lovers out there? Well, I have a question, but first the backstory. About two years ago, three little kittens appeared outside on our patio, cutely gazing into the kitchen. My natural reaction was to approach them and maybe pet them. Wrong! I took one step toward the patio and they immediately sped away. They never came back again, and I figured they didn't survive. Then a few months later, I got up one morning around 6:30 AM and gazed out the window, only to see these three kittens playing in the back yard, rolling around in the grass, chasing each other around, and obviously enjoy each others' company. They were still kittens, but they were now obviously getting bigger. Occasionally, I would get up early enough to catch them playing in the yard, and then in an hour or so, they would be gone. But where did they go for the rest of the day and night? Then, I didn't see them at all for several months, and I was sure this time they didn't make it.
But they did! This past spring, I started to do my annual landscaping, and there they were, in the next-door neighbor's yard - specifically under the neighbor's deck, in the weeds and anything else that was growing under there. They were now...cats. One was a rough looking black and white cat, actually resembling a skunk with a large bushy tail; kind of a rough-looking cat. Another one was the smallest of the three; a black, white, brown, and rust colored cat. This one was a "scaredy cat". All I had to do was look at it and he/she would run away. Then there was the third, a beautiful, sleek black cat with yellow/green eyes. During the day, the cats could either be found on the neighbor's deck or under the deck. I also noticed that they dug a little opening at the bottom of this same neighbor's shed, and they would retreat into the shed at night.
Now, in my lifetime I only had two cats. The first one I adopted from the local animal shelter as a kitten, and Kitty lived for 16 years. Then, I waited for a year before adopting my second cat, Scooter, from a farm. Scooter lived to be almost 17. So, for over 30 years, I only had two cats, and they were great cats. I'm still unsure if I want another cat. I kind of like not having to clean the cat fur off the furniture and clothes, not having large veterinarian bills, and not having to go through the grieving process when euthanizing the pet (I still haven't gotten over Scooter passing, and that was over two years' ago). But, the downside is that the house just isn't the same. It was nice having a cat, just to watch them play or stretch or just to have them greet you and sit on your lap. And then a funny thing happened.
I couldn't help myself and I started to feed those stray/feral cats. I don't think the neighbor was feeding them, but he obviously wasn't trying to get rid of them either. I started to put a bowl of milk out on the patio but the cats wouldn't go near it. But I was persistent. After a few weeks, one day the bowl was empty, and that continued on a daily basis. Somebody was drinking the milk, but I could never catch them in the act. So, after putting the bowl of milk outside, I decided to wait at the patio door. No luck. Finally, after a few weeks, the cats came to the milk more quickly, and one day I spotted them, and they spotted me. That didn't work out too well, as they became scared when they saw me and ran away. Except the black one.
The black cat saw me at the door, and slowly but surely, got used to me standing there and it wasn't a big deal anymore. Then, one day after drinking the milk, the black cat approached me at the door, took a quick sniff, and scurried away. But that was big step. From then on, as soon as I would put the bowl of milk on the patio, the black cat immediately came running over, and then, one day I put my hand out, and the black cat came over and "head-butted" my hand and proceeded to let me pet him/her. After a few weeks, I could not only pet the cat, but also play with it as it would lay on its back and even let me scratch its belly. That cat would stay and play all night if let it. The other two cats still keep their distance and only drink the water and eat the cat food (I switched from the milk) when I'm not watching. But, that was so neat the way the black cat became friendly toward me after the slow, months' long process.
I'm now seriously considering trying to catch and adopt the black feral cat. I think it's a female. It has a beautiful black coat. It seems like it would like to come inside the house. It has once or twice, only to "spin its wheels" on the kitchen floor and run back out the door. I just can't decide what I want to do. Obviously, I would have to immediately take it to the vet and have it checked out, get shots, get it spayed/neutered, and we declaw our cats (I know, I know). But, what if it turned out to be the "cat from hell", you know, spraying the carpet, maybe never becoming friendly around people, being aggressive, etc. If I do have the cat declawed and things don't work, I wouldn't be able to release it back outside again. Then what do I do? And I don't want to sound like I'm Joe Humane, but I also would feel bad separating the cat from his siblings. They've been together every day for two years. They are so cute when they play together, congregate around the bowl of water and food together, and probably snuggle up against each other to stay warm on cold winter nights. I feel like I have to make a decision soon. I've been reading about feral cats on the internet. Their life span is not very long due to illness, disease, and being killed, although some do live outside for several years. It is a bit of a myth that you can't adopt a feral cat and domesticate them. A large percentage make warm, friendly, loving pets.
So, there you go. That's my story. Does anybody have any cat stories that they would like to share? Tell me about your cat(s).