HomeAnimal lawsferal catsMany feral caregivers are doing their best to rehabilitate and rehome their calmer colony cats


Many feral caregivers are doing their best to rehabilitate and rehome their calmer colony cats — 20 Comments

  1. In my feral world, I would guess that less than 1% of ferals can be socialized to the point of being adopted out.

    There are so many factors such as the age of the cat, how long the cat has been in the wild, or whether the cat was born in the wild, etc. that come into play.

    Please keep in mind, when I speak about ferals, I mean TRUE ferals, the ones who would love to rip your throat out if approached and standard ferals as well. Any others fall short of being ferals to me.


    My socialized and adopted ones have been limited to the semi-ferals and the kittens born to feral mothers. They stand the best chance.
    Some of the standard ferals are capable of descending to semi-ferals if worked with. I have a couple of these with me now, and the rule is always “no touchy”; but, they can live in harmony with others.

    And, ofcourse, I remove and adopt out as many friendly, domesticated strays that enter any one of my colonies. They aren’t equipped to survive there.

    • Peter was born in the wild and I’d been part of the team who cared for him since June 2014. The cats in my colony were slow to trust. One of my TNR’s still doesn’t understand I don’t need to trap him again. He won’t get close to me. Yet one allows me to pet him on top of the picnic table. The three left for TNR are trap shy. Old Mama even escaped a drop trap. They won’t come within 100 feet of a trap even if they go without food for several days. I still have 3 left to TNR in the group.

      What’s really sweet is three of the ferals at work have learned to meow at me. I didn’t know ferals meowed!

      Peter has been a total surprise. He spends a LOT of time in my lap. The ones who remain in the colony are best left there. I don’t think they’d adapt easily to indoor life. They have a sad story. The lady who cared for the original cats died about 9 years ago and all of the cats lived outside around her home about a half block away. Half of them eventually came over to where they live now and the other half went down a side road. I hate to think how many cats would be here if I hadn’t had 6 females and 3 males fixed.

      • So right, Elisa. What a handful you would have been if you weren’t doing TNR.
        I know all about those trap savvy ones. It takes so long and requires so many different tactics. So many times I’ve had to just back off for maybe even 2 months just to have a cooling off period before starting again. One member of our group actually buried her trap with only the snap end sticking out to get a very smart female.
        I’ve just been hired to trap 8 cats deemed “untrappable” and have only gotten 2 in the past 4 weeks. I’m hungry, sleep deprived, and cranky.
        But, like you and so many others, it’s a mission.
        Thank you for all that you’ve done and all that you do.
        Renny is looking good. How is Sealy?

        • Sealy is doing great. He basically ignores me unless food in involved. I went to my favorite store today and stocked up on their grain-free food for the month. Here’s a recent one of him on Laura’s bed with Peter and Henry. He’s like a little old man. When not on the bed napping he’s in his rocking chair.

  2. As I read this, I am sitting next to a dog crate where I have my latest TNK – trap, neuter, keep. I was so glad to read your story as I always believed there were no strict lines of demarcation between ferals, strays, and indoor cats. I beg to differ with the contention of Alley Cat Allies that ferals live as healthy a life as indoor cats and one should not attempt to socialize them.From empirical evidence (I feed 4 colonies — about 60 cats) and my own reading, they do not fare as well and should be given a chance to have an indoor life. Alley Cat Allies’ philosophy discourages people from giving friendly community cats a home. I am retiring this year and I want to commit time and effort to changing hearts and minds about community cats. I would love to know how people rehome them. I live in a transient party of the country and people move and abandon their pets on a reguler basis.The supply is so much greater than the demand.

  3. I have been a caretaker of ferals for 25 plus years. They can be successfully placed in homes with patience and dedication. I also have indoor ferals and a couple have been with me indoors now for 15 years. I have to say their “bathroom” habits and behavior as an indoor is better than my spoiled brats. Leave cages set up always for catching to medicate and do any treatment you need to do.

    • We have one we have to trap once a month in the cage for her flea treatment. It takes 2 weeks for her to forgive us and use the cage as a bed again. About a year after we adopted Renny from the Greenville shelter (had to get permission from the shelter director because he was very feral), I stepped on his tail and he wouldn’t come near me for a week.

      • The pet industry advertises that having a pet = getting unconditional love. The truth is it’s up to us to offer that unconditional love.

        • Renny was discovered too wild for adoption and he had already had his first vaccines when he was brought to the shelter. He was given a second round on intake. THAT’s what kept him from dying of the panleuk outbreak we had when the shelter didn’t tell us all of the kittens had been exposed. He hid the first few months and only came out at night to eat and go to the litter box. Laura had to tame him by wrapping him in a towel and holding him. Now he’s my bed buddy but you can look at him and see that wild side is still inside.

          • In response to the “troll” whose comment was deleted, Renny doesn’t have a tipped ear because he was adopted from the shelter as a kitten and has never, ever stepped foot outside. He was turned in as a feral. You should be happy about that, my dear troll. Only TNR cats are ear-tipped.

            It reads
            “Wow, she keeps breeder-cats for her perpetual exploit-suffering-cats make-a-buck hobby. No tipped ear! I figured as much. Thanks for the 100% absolute proof! We’ll be sure to let all your supporters KNOW that you are not sterilizing your cats! This should go-over REAL well. ROFLMAO!!”

            • And for the record, Renny was neutered in 2012. The vet tech said he was very well blessed before the snip-snip.

                • I’ve got spay/neuter records on all of my cats. I’m not stupid. The last thing I want to listen to is a female cat in heat. It’s almost as bad as troll psychobabble. Hey, I made a new word 🙂

  4. I realized that the feral cats near my horses came to me fairly quickly even when the sight of another human hundreds of feet away would send them running.
    I realized at one point I communicated with them the way I did my rescue horses many who had no trust of humans left This is a short read but there are so man parallels between a feral cat and a wild horse This is a very short read. http://bestfriends.org/stories-blog-videos/latest-news/how-tame-wild-horse-right-doses-love-and-expertise

  5. I can give one tip. Take about a cup full of dirt, grass or whatever where you know the kitty goes to the bathroom and mix it in with their cat litter. They’ll know that’s where they’re supposed to “go.” We’ve had no trouble with inappropriate elimination using this trick.

    • I started out with Organic potting soil and leaves from outside. Then when I changed out that box I did half of the potting soil and half cat attract litter by Dr.Elsey. This time it’s all cat attract litter and next time we should be able to go straight to regular litter.

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