Semi-feral

Semi-feral

by Ruth (Monty’s Mom)
(West Allis, Wisconsin)

'Semi-feral' reads the tag on the cage holding these two beauties. (Actually, there were three cats in the cage, but as soon as I decided to take a photo one cat decided not to be included in it!) "Semi-feral?" I inquired, to which the shelter volunteer responded, "Gives them more character!" These cats currently reside at The Cat Network in West Allis, WI, a truly top-notch no-kill cat shelter and adoption organization.

Location: "Our Adoption Center is located at 8121 West National Avenue in West Allis":


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They came there from a larger cat rescue sometime in the summer.

There were five of these black beauties in a very large cage when I first visited the shelter. They were younger then, and I noticed immediately the notched ears, used to identify altered animals in Trap-Neuter-Return programs.

These cats hadn't had much human contact, but I thought that at their young age, taming and adopting them out would still probably be possible. Their antics were amazing and beautiful. The cats would leap from ledge to ledge in the large cage, but they also would grab onto the bars on the top of the cage with their paws and swing like monkeys, sometimes actually traveling the length of the top of the cage in this manner. There was something wild and beautiful about them, that couldn't be dimmed by their current situation.

Watching these cats left me with the impression that I'd been to the zoo. At any exhibit of wild animals I feel really bad for the animals being in cages (and even the best zoo habitat is still really just a cage) but I also feel gratitude for having been able to see up close something so beautiful, rare and wonderful.

Currently two of the five cats are being fostered, living with a volunteer in her home. If my husband would not object, I would have offered to foster the other three!

I am working on a separate article about The Cat Adoption Network, but I wanted to feature these wonderful cats, because they got me thinking about what it means to love cats. Some people seem to want a cat to be like a throw pillow-- something soft and pretty and cuddly that goes with their furniture and accents their home. The idea that every house cat is in reality a fearsome predator with the heart of a tiger isn't attractive to these people, who are often quick to declaw the cat or to give it up if it doesn't behave exactly according to human expectations.

If you brought these semi-feral cats into your home you would expect the cats to want to scratch and climb, probably being more destructive than your average cat, at least initially. You know, I wouldn't care. What do drapes and furniture matter when you have the chance to watch these little athletes in action, and to perceive the wild little heart that beats in each breast?

Yet they are not totally wild, and will tolerate some human contact. To many who love cats for what they truly are, the semi-feral cat is the perfect cat. They really do have more "character".

I have wondered if my own little ex-feral Monty would be better classified as semi-feral. He doesn't cuddle like other cats I've owned, though he will tolerate brief hugs and even give a loud purr. He seems to always want to be moving, like those shelter cats. He'll jump up on the bed, up the into the window sill above the bed, back down to the bed to run across the house and return to jump up and down off the bed again in a little while. (This is why he sleeps in his own room!)

He's allowed to climb my curtains, which are ugly, and he loves to do this. He longs to be outside and it's always a good day when he gets the chance to kill something, even a bug or, most recently, an earthworm. "Gross!" I said to him as he was attempting to eat it. But I looked into his eyes and I knew he would say to me, "But it's my nature." If we truly would love and care well for our domestic cats we cannot forget their true nature. Long live the semi-feral cat!

If you live near West Allis and would like to find out about fostering these amazing creatures you can contact The Cat Network by:

email: catassociation@yahoo.com

phone: 414-297-9674.

Here are some more photos:

Ruth

From Semi-feral to Feral Cats

Comments for
Semi-feral

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Apr 09, 2011 Great cats and Monty's Mom
by: Ruth (Monty's Mom)

I was just over at the Cat Adoption Network donating some cat litter. The semi-feral guys are doing great. I don't know how many are still there. I petted one of them.

I also think I held Monty's younger sister. They have a very small black momma cat, brought in six or seven months ago. At the time they said where she was found and I thought it was too far away to be Monty's mom-- but maybe not. Now that the kittens are older their resemblance to Monty is much more striking. This time she had her litter in someone's garage.

So I no longer believe Monty's mom lives across the street. I now think she's in a cage at the Cat Network. I asked if she was feral, and they said no, so I was right in assuming she is (or was) somebody's pet.

My sister and I took a walk by there last night and she commented that she saw a cat that looked exactly like Monty, even having "his expression", as she put it. I know one black cat looks rather like another, but today I could easily tell which came from the semi-feral bunch and which are probably from the same mother as Monty.

Monty's siblings let themselves out of their cage last night, and the shelter workers were still trying to round them up today. I caught one and held her and she felt, sounded and even smelled just like Monty. Then I came home and my husband and I both enjoyed some outside time with Monty. I watched him scratching on a tree, thoroughly enjoying himself, and thought about those other cats in their cage. Cats just like Monty, except younger and thinner(a good thing-- Monty is too fat), but otherwise like carbon copies of my lucky little guy. All of them deserve the life he has. I wish I could take even one of them home. Would Monty get along better with one of them because they are related? But in the end, it's convincing my husband to take another one that is the real problem.

Shame on whoever owned Monty's mother and let her roam and didn't spay her! Poor girl. At least her kitten bearing days are over. She is a good momma cat and always did her best for her babies in one impossible situation after another. I hope she finds a home now where her people will love her, watch over her and never give her up. I wish that could be my home.


Oct 15, 2010 great place
by: kathy

Again this looks like a great place. All the cats look happy. But then cats just somehow seem to know what they have to be grateful for.


Oct 14, 2010 These cats need homes
by: Ruth (Monty's Mom)

Hi Darlene,
Those beatiful cats don't really belong to me-- they live at The Cat Network. Sometimes I take a walk over there to visit them. The shelter puts out a jar for donations and you can drop some money in it and stay and pet some kitties. I am getting to know a lot of the cats by name, and there is one young male cat who seems to consider me one of his people. The cats there are lucky because the workers love each cat as if it were their own. When I come home my cat Monty sniffs me with great interest. (He is interested in all things cat, but has no use for dogs.)
I seem to remember from your articles that you live in Wisconsin too. The shelter is in a suburb of Milwaukee. If you came down for Summerfest or to visit the museum or the zoo you could also stop by and visit the cats. The shelter's hours are listed on their website, which is included in the article above this one, or if you put The Cat Network and West Allis in your browser you'll find it. The shelter is actually just a little bit south of State Fair Park, so if you go to the fair next summer, you should drop by and see the kitties!


Oct 14, 2010 your cats
by: darlene burrow

YOUR CATS ARE SO VERY BEAUTIFUL INDEED WITH THE DIFFERENT COLORS I ALSO WANT TO SAY THAT THERE SHOULD BE ALL ANIMAL SHELTERS WHICH ARE NO KILL I THINK ITS WRONG FOR ANIMAL SHELTERS WHO KILL ANIMALS BECAUSE NO ONE WANTS THEM PEOPLE WHO DON'T WANT TO ADOPT THESE PETS THE PETS SHOULD BE PUT IN CAT FOSTER HOMES UNTIL SOMEONE COMES ALONG AND WANTS THEM THAT'S THE WAY IT SHOULD BE I THINK ITS A BAD EXCUSE TO KILL ANIMALS JUST BECAUSE NO ONE WANTS THEM THERE ARE OTHER WAYS TO DEAL WITH THAT PROBLEM BESIDES KILLING THEM GOOD LUCK TO YOU AND YOUR BELOVED CATS


Oct 14, 2010 Thank you Ruth for a lovely article
by: Ruth

That is a lovely article and photos Ruth and my heart breaks for feral or semi feral cats who end up with people who think being declawed is a fair price to pay for being given a home.
They have no understanding of cats at all and should not be allowed to have them in their homes.
Not only taken from the life they know and if they are older it's much harder for them to adjust, but forced to live a doubly un-natural life trapped toeless indoors.
Monty is a lucky boy that you understand his needs so well.
Our Jozef is semi feral,his dad was true feral.He has the loving nature of his domesticated mother when indoors but the feral nature of his dad when out hunting. He's very clever and a planner ! You can see the difference between him and our Walter, he was born to 2 domesticated parents and although he's very clever too he wouldn't be the survivor Jozef would if they'd been homeless.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth


Oct 13, 2010 Thank You
by: Michael

Thanks, Ruth, for a beautiful article about a fine organization. It doesn't get better.

In recognition, PoC has donated $50 to The Cat Network by Paypal - PayPal Confirmation number: 7DV182136J0923739. The donation is in my name: Michael Broad.

P.S. I am linking all your Monty articles so you can link through from the first one to see the others.

Best

Michael Avatar



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