Friday, April 1, 2011

Befriending a feral cat

The perception most people have of feral cats is not good. They are seen by many as lurking creatures who howl all night, prowl among the garbage and use the most available flower bed as a litter box. have attended several seminars on ferals and wrote a newspaper article several years ago about the feral cat population in the tri-county area. One of the most interesting facts I discovered is most ferals are simply house cats, once a pet, who had been either dumped or abandoned by their families and had resorted to surviving the only way they knew how. Many people mistakenly believe cats can survive on their own in the wild and do not worry about dumping a cat like they would a dog or other pet. The safe shelter where I work didn't have any pets until a few days ago. I had watched the cats patrol our parking area on the security cameras at night since I began the midnight shift, but most were unapproachable and I was not sure if there was a colony here, since I normally saw only one or two. Then a week or so ago, a very tall, skinny cat came slinking up to our front door. He was thin, but had a clipped ear to show he had been a TNR (trap-neuter-release) cat from one of the many programs developed just for this purpose. He had been neutered and was very friendly. It was decided he would become our shelter cat. Now, we can't really have a pet in the shelter due to the allergy factor, but we could keep him outside, feed him, make sure he had a bed, etc. I don't have a cat but I LOVE big, orange cats so I named him Pekoe, like the tea. It is a funny thing about Pekoe. He loves to snuggle and be petted. He has never attempted to scratch or get away from any of the residents here and simply curls around your legs, purring and asking for attention. Obviously, at one point he belonged and was dumped out. Pekoe belongs again. He belongs to a safe shelter, where many different residents may pass through, but they all will have someone friendly to greet them when they arrive. He is not a pushy cat and it you are allergic or don't like cats, he seems to sense that and only crawls in laps of people who like him. I wish all people could understand the importance of keep your pet and not dumping them along a road somewhere. Pekoe will receive lots of love and care here. It is too bad he had to live on the street with no love and care for a while. If you are interested in any of these programs to combat the problem of feral cats, please contact your local humane society. They are always in need of volunteers and please spay/neuter your pet. It is the only way we will continue to try and get the ferals of this area under control.

1 comment:

Laura said...

I work out of state each summer and there used to be 3 feral cats around the place that I lived. It was obvious that one was a housecat at one point as he loved to be with people and would come inside my place and had no interest in the guinea pig. He would wait for me late each night when I got off work and he would sit on my lap outside and I would pat him until he gave me the signal that he was done and he would get off and I would go inside. The other two not so into being that close, but one would eventually take treats and the other young female wouldn't come close unless with her friend. The amazing thing was that summer after summer they would remember me. I think the young female too remembered that it was the neighbor who found homes for her kittens and I caught her and took her in to be neutered out of my own pocket. I couldn't let her back out unfixed. Showed up last summer... not sure where they were. Neighbors had guesses, hope they are OK.