by Elf alias Joy Lynn Rosser
(Benton Louisiana USA)
A moment of tenderness between the two half wildcats.
I have three cats. One was abandoned when I adopted him. He was neutered when I got him. His previous owner threw him out to fend for himself when she moved. She left vet records and asked the neighbors to feed him and and find him a home. I did get some information on him from vet records, and apparently all he ever got as treatment was the neutering and rabies shots.
He has had regular vet treatments since I got him, mostly an annual exam and regular flea treatments. He does not seem to be interested in play or hunting, though early on he did attack a few insects. Later, when he knew he would be fed regularly, he abandoned any pretense of hunting.
He's difficult to work with because he is so anxious and crazy that he still doesn't feel safe even after living with me for over 5 years. He runs when I try to take a picture of him. He sometimes comes to me for love and attention, but other times he will strike without warning or apparent provocation.
He also bullies the other cats. It's as if he feels he must set himself up as top cat in order to feel safe. He usually eats dry food by preference, but sometimes wants canned food when I feed it to the other cats. This seems to be just another way of expressing dominance over the other cats, because he will only eat a few bites and walk away. He also likes to climb to high places, another way to establish himself as top cat.
The second cat has been with me for 9 years. His mother was a feral cat in the neighborhood. She was collected when people came and trapped a colony of wild cats in an abandoned burned-out trailer. Apparently he couldn't be trapped. He wandered the neighborhood for many months, scavenging what he could. Finally he discovered that there was food behind my cat door and he came in to eat. Eventually he domesticated himself as he became comfortable in the house and around me. Now he is very friendly and often comes to sleep on me.
His father was some kind of wildcat that the vet cannot identify. There have been several kittens in this area fathered by the same or similar wild cat. They are all black and white, mostly tuxedo coloring. They also show the same characteristics in the first generation of breeding with house cats. These include unusual intelligence, back legs that are about 3 inches longer that the front legs, teeth that are very thick and fangs that are unusually long (the top ones dip way down into the lower jaw in a manner like a saber-tooth tiger), and a very large belly.
My cat has all these. His normal weight ranges around 23 pounds. He is very gentle and he avoids violence. The worst thing he has done to another cat is to sit on it! He has never attacked me deliberately, but like all cats he will strike out if something or someone moves in a way that his instincts identify as prey. He will attack a string if I dangle it for him.
He has been injured badly several times when he wandered into the woods. I don't know why he kept going in after he was attacked, but this persisted for several months. Many times I had to take him to the vet for his injuries. Fortunately, he had become accustomed to vet visits before this because I would take him in for annual exams, shots and flea treatments.
My vet says he doesn't know what he is because he is obviously not all house cat, but he shows no characteristics of the bobcat/lynx family and he doesn't know of any other North American wildcat species that would mate with a house cat instead of eating it. I would love to hear from anyone that might help me know more about this kind of cat.
He has lost a lot of weight since these attacks. This winter he reached a crucial stage because he started having difficulty walking and jumping. He also was throwing up a lot. I took him to the vet and they kept him there while they treated him for a systemic infection. They tested him for all the possible dangerous diseases and all the tests came back negative.
When I brought him home after treatment he responded well to canned food. He never gained back his full weight and lately is losing weight again. I am very concerned because he is so skinny despite being given good-quality canned food 3-5 times a day and having dry food available all the time.
The third cat came from a family of semi-feral cats. The woman that claimed them had fed the cats, but many of them were too wild to touch. She fed several feral cats that had similar coloring that she said were descended from one female cat who had mated with a bobcat. Apparently he is one of those. When she moved, he was one she could not catch or trap in order to take him with me.
The second cat brought him home when he was about six to seven weeks old. Since then the two cats have been very close and often share the same food. This cat often imitates the black and white cat and seems to look up to him. As a young kitten, he had bright orange and white stripes. As he got older, this turned into a sandy-red mottling with a tuxedo pattern. He is very intelligent, strongly muscled, has a large wide head and tufts between his toes.
He is very wary, but has become a little less so over the years. He comes into the house for food, shelter and company. He will approach me if he is hungry and some times stroke my legs while I am preparing the food. He will also come wanting to be petted, but he only does this when I am sitting on the toilet! Because of his wariness, I have not been able to have him neutered or treated an any other way. He is too smart to be trapped and will not let me pick him up.
He is openly aggressive to cats that are not part of my household and is usually the winner in such situations. When the abandoned cat attacks him he will back down. But if the other cat persists, he will eventually fight back. He has never attacked me. He will attack a string when I dangle it for him.