Cecil the hybrid wild cat? who wants to live with us

Cecil the hybrid wild cat? who wants to live with us

by Susie Bearder
( Murcia Spain)

Cecil comes for his evening drink

Cecil comes for his evening drink

Cecil comes for his evening drink Ready for the off On guard Look at those feet

Very tongue in cheek I decided to refer to 'that cat' who was coming around in the early mornings and howling on our patio as Cecil.

I just came to the conclusion the relationship had moved from a 'that cat' to something more personal. Geography - we live at 750 meters on the Andalucian/Murcian border in Spain and our nearest neighbour is at least a kilometer away.

In nearly five years we have spotted two wild cats usually at night if we have been out late. There are no main roads or even secondary roads near us.

Our menagerie - there is a main house and an annex for mother in law, outbuildings and a swimming pool. Lots of natural cover which our two dogs and four cats love. They are all neutered.

Cecil howls like an old fashioned tom but worse. Despite being under pressure from our pets he insists on not being very far away. Over time he became cheekier and would sit on the kitchen window and eventually negotiated the cat flap to come for food at night. In the end we kept food outside for him.

Initially he was looking like a thin young cat - now he looks very good and getting heavier. He certainly weighs a lot more than our oldest male cat Freddie who growls at him whenever he gets a chance. For a while the twilight hours became hell for us humans. It is generally 30-40ºC by day and not much less by night. There was this continuous tirade of dogs grumbling and cats fighting.

He got chased up large agaves on to roofs but he insists on living with us. He has really annoyed the family animals by going in for a stroke by my mother in law in whom he has put his trust.

However he will then give her a bit of a bite and go off. He has been a bit of a stalker on the two female cats who quite like him but he gets pushy if you know what I mean.

As he has grown more brazen it has meant I can now photograph him if the dogs aren't around. I am not sure how this will all check out. He is a beautiful animal. These photos are recent and I have concentrated on showing his markings and paws.

Update 29th August 2010:

Cecil turns up at our mountain home and wishes for some degree of acceptance. These pictures were taken on our return from our nightly walk with our animals. Cecil takes the subordinate position.

Collage above - from top and clockwise:

A grrrrrrrowl but everyone holds the line. Freddie approaches - Cecil's eyes are near closed. Nearer...

Cecil hides in the old donkey house

Update: 4th Sept 2010:

Cecil - what an expression - very human


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Cecil the hybrid wild cat? who wants to live with us

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Feb 02, 2011 Cecil Dies
by: Susie Bearder

Last weekend we found Cecil dead just outside the house - no obvious injuries. He had been on Fay's lap the day before and seemed to be in good order. It had been a cold period but he was within feet of the house. Dont understand. I am very sad.

Jan 15, 2011 Cecil is neutered
by: Susie Bearder

Whew! It's done.

The time arrived when Cecil turned up with deep scratches and scabs and bloody wounds under his front forearm and paw. Tried aloe vera which he told me 'hurt' lol. The next day he was in Fays sitting room and that was that. Got the cat box, stuffed him in and went to our vet in Lorca, a 20 km ride to a city, who did him there and then checking his wounds while he was under. We also paid for a 15 day antibiotic and anti inflammatory injection. We decided you can push a thing too far.

He had some water and some cooked chicken on his return and disappeared for two days (worryingly but I rationalised it would take two days for the antibiotics to kick in. Sure enough he turned up in the middle of the night very hungry had a stroke from Fay.Can only say it again - whew!

Dec 13, 2010 Cecil is half as big again!
by: Susie Bearder

The dynamics of our family of cats and dogs and humans have changed again. Ginnie one our young cats who generally lived with Fay has had to be put to sleep when she, Ginnie, failed to respond to treatment- antibiotics, vitamin injections, two drainings from her lung. The vet was insistent he wanted to do an autopsy to check his diagnosis which he did promptly. Ginnie had a huge cancerous tumour in her lung. Despite this she had tried to come on her daily walk with us all until 3 or 4 days before she died.
Her death upset all the animals and Cecil seemed to realise the difference and moved in, spending more hours in the house given a chance and mewing regularly at Fay if he wanted her to sit in her comfortable chair so he could sit on her lap. If she didn't this is what happened.

Oct 06, 2010 Major progress with Cecil
by: Susie Bearder

If I pick my moment Cecil comes for a cuddle and is happy to sit on my lap for some considerable time as long as the dogs arent around.

An even bigger event is that the dogs know I would be angry with them if they 'went' for Cecil so if I sit near him the dogs are prepared to sit down and see what happens and Cecil has at last held his ground. I reward the dogs for being good. So slowly he is moving in on us.

Sep 17, 2010 Training
by: Michael

Cecil could be trained to use a certain area, say a sandy spot in the corner of the garden, in same the way a domestic cat can be trained to use the litter box.

Sep 07, 2010 Wild cats dont bury their faeces!
by: Susan Bearder

I have trawled through the site and finally found that wild cats dont bury their faeces. Now this is giving me food for thought. Can they be taught not to do their biz just anywhere - like on the patio? or even in the house.... Should I be encouraging Cecil; am I doing him a disfavour? The next question is given our environment do we TNR? Anybody got an opinion?

Sep 03, 2010 We progress..
by: Susie Bearder

Definite progress being made with Cecil - the issue is still with the dogs chasing him but he is beginning to follow Steve around and came near the front door. He sat out last night's rainstorm under the car.

Still has this rather amazing (I am blaming him rather than the foxes) to pooh and not make any attempt to cover as if he is marking. Still would grateful to know if anyone has come across this behaviour with their feral friends.

Sep 02, 2010 Cat pooh and wild/feral cats
by: Susie Bearder


I assumed that cats had an innate sense to be careful where they toilet. Ours go to great lengths to hide themselves and cover the results when toiletting.

However after two night time brawls on the patio outside our bedroom window we have found cat dumps on the tiles. Clearly Cecil.

How much is known about wild cats and this behaviour, if anything, please anybody?

We have to live with several foxes as well who mark their territory in this way.

Aug 30, 2010 great story
by: kathy

Nice story. Im in the process of becoming friends with a feral cat. My story about him and I is on the cat killer page in one of my comments.

Aug 29, 2010 Photos
by: Michael

Hi Susie, Yes, just email me the photos and I'll add them to the page. If you have video and a YouTube account provide me with the web address and I'll embed the video.

The tabby cat has banded hair strands. Both wildcats and domestic cats can be tabby cats. The domestic cat comes from the wildcat.

Most if not all wildcats have tabby coats one way or another. Tabby domestic cats are the most common cats, I suspect.

Michael Avatar

Aug 28, 2010 Cecil's fur
by: Susie Bearder

Thanks for that Michael. Would it clear the matter more if I can get hold of some of his fur? As I understand it wildcats' fur is multibanded but a tabby's wouldnt be?
Last night I was permitted to see the most interesting interaction between Freddie the boss here and Cecil. Shame it isnt video but I just kept shooting so it works as continuous film.
(We, humans, dogs and cats, take an evening walk and Cecil has learnt to turn up while we are away) Can I put the photos up somewhere?

Aug 28, 2010 Hi
by: Michael

Hi Susie, I don't think he is a wildcat hybrid, more like a very good looking feral cat with the usual independence and suspicion that they have of humans!

My bet is that over time things will settle down from both sides. Cecil will become domestic gradually if you persevere. I hope so. He looks superb. He is looks like a mackerel tabby and white feral cat.

The bite is a 'love bite' not intended to harm.

Thanks a lot for sharing. We don't get many from Spain, so this is a nice insight into Spanish life in the country.

Michael Avatar

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