Domestic Cats That Turn Feral
What makes a domestic cat turn feral? I am talking about domestic cats that are well cared for.
I have two examples. They are very different. The first concerns my little old lady cat. She is at the end of her life at 19 years of age with kidney failure and possible cancer etc. She has lost weight but eats fairly well. She is loved desperately.
She has been a normal domestic cat all her life. She was and is allowed outside into a safe area. She used to go out a bit. For the past three months and more she has spent all her time – and I mean 24/7 – outside in the garden. She only comes in for food. I have been forced to put the water outside. Occasionally I walk food out to her. I have to, to get her to eat more. She has turned semi-feral. Her coat over her thin bony frame is now dense and it feels like a functional coat. It has to be. She grooms much better because she is thin and cat get to all parts of her coat. That has been the beneficial side effect of her weight loss.
Why has she turned sem-feral? She will have to come in soon as the weather, which has been quite warm, will turn and become cold. If she does not come in, I will have to lock her in and she won’t like that. She has dementia. I have lost her to a certain extent both mentally and physically. It is of great concern. I think she is reverting to instinctive behavior which is more natural behavior.
The second story concerns a person I knew well. She liked cats and always kept cats. A long time ago she kept a ginger cat. He was a tom. I forget if he was neutered. I think he was. After being with her for a while he disappeared. He went outside to live on the golf course opposite the house. He decided to live in the wild. It was that simple.
She tried to find him. She called out all over the golf course. No luck.
About 15 years later a ginger cat turned up at her house. He had a wild look and was clearly badly arthritic. The weather was turning cold. She tried to pick him up and he would have none of it. He was wild. She let him come in and she fed him. He would come in and curl up in a corner. She gave him space. It worked OK.
Then she decided to get a new cat. She was frightened that the wild ginger, who was the cat she once lived with, would upset things. Perhaps he would attack the new cat? She was unsure. She had the ginger boy euthanized.
End of story. A sad story. A story about human and domestic cat behavior that tells us a bit about both species.