Nuisance or Neglected?

Nuisance or Neglected?

by Bob

Zep waiting for me outside my door

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Zep waiting for me outside my door

This story is about a cat who made me see how some people don't realize that cats are sentient creatures and have thoughts and feelings. It happened about two years ago. He was most likely a stray, as a feral would probably not have been as friendly. He would wander into my yard, and I would put a little food out for him. As a result, he would follow me around while I was outside and sit outside my door for a while when I went back in. A friend brought a truck to me that needed repairs, and while I worked on it, this cat hung around and visited. On a few occasions, while I was lying under the truck working, he sat on my chest and watched me. I decided to give him a name, even though he wasn't mine. I called him Zep, after the brand of penetrating oil I was using to remove rusty bolts at the time.

I kept giving him a little food, and he kept coming around. Every time I went inside, it was the same thing... he'd sit outside my door and wait for me to come out. He even followed me to my truck and watched as I drove off. I thought it was strange, until I started to find out how he was treated at other houses he visited.

My neighbor on one side noticed him in my yard and asked if he was mine. I said he wasn't, and was told about how they had to keep chasing him off of their porch with a broom. Then I was told that I should stop feeding him or he would keep hanging around, to which I replied that if he hung around MY yard, he was staying out of theirs. I asked around, and not only could not find where he was from, but that most of the neighbors felt the same way about him... that he was a nuisance.

How much of an inconvenience it must have been for them to find him on their porches trying to stay dry and warm! Not to mention how he made their dogs bark when he came around! What trouble he was! This scared and lonely cat was just trying to survive, and that was a problem for some people. I have no doubt that their actions towards him were the reason for his scared and jittery nature. Sudden movements, even reaching to pet him, and loud noises scared him much more than they would a normal cat.

I built him a little shelter on my lower porch and put some old carpet in it, sprinkled it with catnip, and put a bowl of food inside. It wasn't hard to lure him to it, he followed me everywhere in my yard. He even followed me into my finished basement once. I didn't even notice him go through the door, but Dodge did, and chased him back outside. I didn't see Zep for about two weeks after that. I got a little worried, and missed him greeting me outside and following me around. I was relieved when he came back.

We were back to our routine of him following me around. But it wouldn't last long. How happy the neighbors must have been when their "nuisance" was no longer there to inconvenience them.

After two years, I still sometimes miss him hanging around when I'm working outside. I hear the bushes rustling and by force of habit look as if he were going to be there. But I know he won't be there, he's in a better place now. His fears are gone, and he's not cold, hungry, or lonely anymore. I know this because he's sleeping peacefully in a cat bed on my chest of drawers as I write this (you didn't really think I'd let Zep's story have a sad ending, did you?).

Not long after Dodge scared him away and he came back, I took him in. It was apparently what he had wanted anyway, as he kept sitting by the door wanting to come in. Now, instead of sitting on me or beside me while I work outside, he sits on my lap while I'm on my computer and lays beside me when I sleep. He shows no interest in the outside, doesn't look out of the windows, and won't go near the door. He gets along exceptionally well with my other cats, and they have helped him to become more social and less afraid. He may not be able to talk, but he tells me every day that he is happy when he sits on my lap, purrs, chirps, and head butts my chin. He likes his care free new life, and after the ordeal he had outside, he deserves it.

Update 16th March 2010

By popular demand....Here are two more photos of Zep:

Zep a feral or stray cat now domesticated and living with Bob - photo by Bob
Zep sleepy - photo by Bob

Zep a feral or stray cat now domesticated and living with Bob - photo by Bob
Zep looking confident and relaxed on Bob's lap
photo by Bob


Nuisance or Neglected? to Feral Cats

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Nuisance or Neglected?

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Mar 18, 2010 Wisdom, yes...
by: Bob

Yes, I believe he is a wise cat. I think his experiences have made him that way. Now I believe he has figured out that he can relax in his home.
I have noticed myself the phenomenon of males losing aggression when neutered. But I think a big part of it in my household is that the alpha cat is Princess. They all know where they stand, and behave like good subjects of hers.
I have not introduced the entire family yet, but I will continue to post about them.

Mar 16, 2010 Calm Wisdom is right...
by: Dorothy

He also looks completely pleased with himself. What a gorgeous coat.

Have we met all the feline family yet Bob?


Mar 16, 2010 Thank you, Bob
by: Finn Frode, Denmark

Thank you so much for the pictures, Bob. He gives an impression of calm wisdom, but that's probably just what I wish to see in an old stray like him. A great character he is no doubt and deserving the good home he has found.
It's amazing how tomcats lose all agression and become kind and social pack members once they have been neutered. Hopefully this does not give somebody the wrong ideas... 😉

Finn Frode avatar

Mar 16, 2010 Two more pics
by: Michael

I have added two more popular demand. He tells a good story doesn't he?

Michael Avatar

Mar 16, 2010 Pictures
by: Bob

I have no idea how to add more pictures, so I emailed them to Michael. Yes, Zep is a great cat. He is very loving and very well mannered. He and Dodge get along like their initial encounter never happened. They weren't neutered then, but when they were re-introduced after they had been, everything was different. In fact, I haven't seen Dodge show aggression to any of my cats since he came upstairs to stay. Zep has also lost his excessive fear. He used to hide from the others all the time, but now he plays with them and sleeps beside them. With the crazy bunch of lunatic cats running around this house, chasing each other and playing, it was only a matter of time before he gave up and became one of them.

Mar 14, 2010 Zep accepted
by: Finn Frode, Denmark

You're a good person, Bob, and you sure know how to tell a story.
Well, Zep may have seemed like a nuisance to some (although as a cat lover I disagree), but he had not asked for ending up as an abandoned cat. Any cat deserves a good life, but I especially pity those who have lost what they once had.
Zep sounds like a great cat, but I have a hunch all cats are when they're with you. Thank you for taking care of him - and thanks to Dodge too for eventually accepting him around. And can we have another picture, please? 😉

Finn Frode avatar

Mar 11, 2010 Zep got lucky!
by: Gail (Boston, MA USA)

Thank you, Bob, for taking the time to care for Zep. I, too, got teary-eyed and laughed like a loon at the ending, I was so happy. The world should have more people like you in it.

I used to feed a few cats that wandered onto the back porch - kittens who were either abandoned or were feral-born. Thankfully, over time, a couple neighbors saw me feeding them and 2 different neighbors adopted 2 of the kittens. With one female, one very large tuxedo tomcat and one kitten left, we still fed them. Another neighbor adopted the last kitten and shortly moved away, but I know the kitten was OK since it still came to visit but returned home in a flash when its new "parent" called its name for supper!

The only ones I've seen lately are the fluffy adult female and the big tuxedo tomcat. I think the female may be feral since I cannot get near her, but she's very vocal when she comes to the door looking for a handout. As for the tuxedo, I think he was abandoned since he lets me pet him and he's the one who bangs on the backdoor if I'm late with breakfast, LOL!

Mar 09, 2010 Oh was a lovely story!
by: Tracey

Such a lovely story.

I'm so pleased he found you and found love. I bet he thinks he's died and gone to heaven!

If there were more people like you the world would be a much nicer place.

Mar 09, 2010 Lovely
by: Taylor

I had a very similar situation...I am a volunteer for Pacific Animal Foundation in North Vancouver, BC. We received a call from a desparate woman(Jill) saying she had a very scared and skittish cat hanging around her back porch. Jill is allergic to cats but gave her an outdoor shelter, food and water. My partner and I took one of our traps we use for ferals and were able to get her quickly. Off the resulted in "number out of service". Female about 3.5 years old, weighing only 4 lbs. Very weak and just melted in my arms. I brought her home and kept a close eye on her, she could hardly move so ate out of the palm of my hand. That was Oct 09, today she is lounging in front of our fireplace (yes I adopted her), cuddling my other 2 cats. Happy, healthy (now 8.2 lbs)and surrounded by love.

Mar 09, 2010 Thank goodness for folks like Bob
by: Dorothy

Loved this story. I choked up too. There are all kinds of folks in the world. I favor the ones who will take in a needy critter. You have a life full of love. You are the lucky one.


Mar 09, 2010 I got tears too
by: kathy

Great story. I too almost though I was reading to a sad ending. Im so glad it wasnt. Bless you for taking Zep in. No telling what would have happened to him otherwise. Im waiting for our old stray to see if he comes back this spring. I didnt see him all winter. I put food out and sometimes it disappeared. Sometimes it didnt. Now he will have to fight with the critters for food. Well well have to see if he comes back. NO one could really get close to him but I live in a cat friendly neighborhood so hopefull he survived.

Mar 09, 2010 Thankfully a happy ending
by: Ruth

Bob you are such a kind gentleman ! I was almost crying as it seemed like it was going to be a story with a sad ending.I'm so glad it was a happy one !
We have fed many visiting cats over the years,some obviously with no home we have taken in and eventually rehomed as we live in a rented house and it was agreed we could have just 2 cats.
Until recently,a little dog used to call daily too,he obviously had a home but not a good one as he was always hungry.It was a funny sight as he used to sit on the wall by our gate,where the visiting cats sit. Sometimes there was a cat one side of the gate and he was the other.Sadly one day he didn't come and he hasn't been since,we can only hope his family moved away but we will never know.
I don't know how some people can chase animals away,they must have no conscience !

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Mar 09, 2010 Heartwarming Story
by: Merrily

Such a sweet story Bob, it brought a smile to my face.
This story brings to mind a recent conversation with a man who lives a few blocks away.
I feed two Red Boys, who had no home and were obviously in need of care when I moved here. I was told they came as kittens from a neighbors house, and decided to make a home in a back yard near my home. That was ten years ago, and in that time they have had to fend for themselves.
They are happy now, and come for their meal morning and night. They also visit while I am in the garden.
Recently I met the man who had the mother of these cats, he told me that he neutered the boys as kittens and then they "moved" away. He hadn't seen them for ten years until someone told them of this woman who is a nusance in the neighborhood who is feeding the two red cats. That would be me! During our conversation he said he had a litter of young kittens, and that he was going to drop them off in a neighborhood to give them a chance at life. I was told he does this all of the time. How many of these kittens could possibly survive?
We all are outraged about Declawing, and we should be, but what about all of these kittens brought into the world to be dropped off in "neighborhoods" only to be run over by cars, killed by dogs or to starve to death?
Thank You Bob for saving this boy, and Dodge before him we need so many more people like you.

Mar 09, 2010 Best
by: Michael

I'll say one thing. This story made me laugh and it made me cry. It can't get better than that on PoC.

Michael Avatar

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