Sunday, November 11, 2012

Triumphs and Tragedies - Feral Cat Edition

Feral cats are funny animals.  They aren't completely wild but they aren't pets either.  There is a fine line you walk when a feral cat is in your life.  Like any cat they are the ones in charge and you are there simply at their whim.

Priscilla
It's a hard position - like any pet you want to do what's best for them and protect them but there is only so far you can go.  You may be able to provide food and even shelter.  It is their choice though if they will show up to eat or use the shelter provided.

Skittles
Despite our help they live difficult lives.  Living outdoors in the elements, facing the dangers of cars and other animals.  These lives are often short.

O'Tom
Over the years we've been fortunate to know a number of these cats.

Bug
It seems almost every place we've lived cats have come to our door.  They have a sense of where they will be welcomed I think.

Tom Jones
Sadly, their time with us never seems to last nearly long enough.  I don't often write about these cats because their lives are so precarious.  They come and go at their own leisure and sometimes they simply don't show up again.

This time though is different.  A week ago Priscilla disappeared.  Some of you may recognize her as she's been a permanent fixture here on the Corner for the past 3 years.

Priscilla this past August
She is such a sweet girl and we're missing her terribly.  Knowing the lives of feral cats you shouldn't get too attached but regardless we loved her.

Priscilla and her companion Funnyface
It's been a tough week, every day the chances of seeing her again dropping significantly.  Her constant companion, Funnyface, is still here so we know she was on her own when she went missing.

And yet despite the heartbreak we had good news today.  Back in April we took on a new feral cat named Pixie.  The house she was residing at was being sold and we decided to try and rehouse her with our own cats.  It did not work out.  Despite keeping her in our house for a month to try and acclimatize her, the minute she stepped outside Pixie ran away.

Pixie
Today I received a phone call.  Pixie is alive and well.  After spending the summer on the run she has decided to settle down with a nice family up the road from us.  I'm so very happy for her.

29 comments:

  1. I am so sorry, my heart breaks whenever I hear of a feral cat going missing...

    At least she got to spend some time with you, being fed, cared for, and loved.

    We can only wish that other careless people would stop deserting these poor animals. We've just heard of another kitten showing up starving on someones door. Over the years I've met many feral cats, and I too believe that they know where they are welcomed in.

    And great news about Pixie, that must ease your heart, knowing she's safe.

    Jen

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    1. Jen, it amazes me that feral cats are still an ongoing problem in so many communities. Getting your pet fixed is such a simple solution, as is bringing it to a shelter if you cannot care for it any longer. I think people's attitudes towards cats need to change before it gets better. We tend to think of them as self sufficient and don't give them the thought we do other animals.

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  2. I'm sorry about Priscilla--i do hope you're able to get some sort of confirmation about her.

    We captured a starving, feral kitten and kept her with us. She needed to have an eye removed (cornea scratched out probably by another cat, and the eye was covered in pus), and i promised her that after we got her spayed and she had her shots, i'd let her go outside. If she ran away, she'd break my heart, but at least she'd have a fighting chance.

    She chose to stay, loved being and indoor/outdoor cat, and picked me as her human. I have never been more loved by any being on this planet, and 13 years later, when did not come back home on that late July 2011 day, i knew she'd be gone for good if more than three days passed. On the fourth day, i saw three harriers circling. I knew she had followed her feral nature and had gone out to die. I asked for a sign that she was all right. I didn't care what it was, just one that i'd know as soon as i saw it, that she was all right.

    We'd had a summer of fleas, and i never vacuumed more in my life than with those fleas! I was winning the war and had just gotten done vacuuming the living room when i looked down and saw a white whisker on the ground directly in front of me. I knew that was my sign from Grace. She was all right.

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    1. Thanks for sharing that Megan. The hardest part is when they disappear without a trace, there's no way to really know what's happened even though I realize they are certainly gone.

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  3. We started seeing Pixie during the summer around our property, and as it has gotten colder, my kids kept seeing her huddled in the trees as they waited for their school bus. I've set up a warm shelter, and she has adopted it.

    Come visit her anytime, we are the green house up on the hill.

    Dave

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    1. Dave!! What an absolute delight to read your message. Brought a huge smile to my face. (and made me laugh, I'm always a bit shocked to find out who is reading my blog) I know the house and I am tickled that your kids are taking good care of Pixie.

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    2. Oh what fun! Pixie really has found a happy new home! I know that Henry gathered up little feral Chocolat, and said, come home with me - they'll have room for another cat soon. It's the not knowing what happened that is hardest.

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    3. Diana, it is so true. Never knowing where they went, if they are alive or dead, it makes the whole thing so difficult. It is a great relief to know the rest of Pixie's story.

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  4. This post is so timely for us because we were at the Humane Society on Saturday looking at the cats. We have had cats in the past and sometimes the odd feral cat does stop by but they really don't stay so we may be thinking of adopting a cat. Funny I saw a cat on Sat that looked a lot like Pixie but she was already spoken for as a lot of the cats are already adopted. Which is nice too see. I guess I'm concerned about whether are new cat will be happy inside or outside or a combination of both. I guess we will have to wait and see.
    I do hope you find Priscilla or she finds you again.
    All your cats are so special in their own way and it is hard when one goes missing.

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    1. That is great to hear many of the cats are getting adopted. I'm always shocked when I see the numbers posted on the Humane Society's website. Seems like there's always more cats incoming than outgoing. I'm sure you'll be able to find a cat that is the right fit. I find they usually tell me if they prefer to be indoors or out.

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  5. I have a friend who lives near a rest area on a busy interstate. For some odd reason, people tend to dump their unwanted cats off at this spot. So, she and a couple of neighbors have created a winter cat condo thing outdoors so they can stay warm. They also feed them twice a day. I'm so impressed with the amount of time and effort she spends in keeping them healthy. I don't ever see feral cats in my area but I'd probably do the same thing. Cats are so special. I really enjoyed reading this post.

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    1. Thanks Kate. It always boggles my mind when I hear of people dumping cats. It's a living being for pete's sake! Thank goodness for people like your friend who dedicate so much time and energy to helping these animals.

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  6. Nice to know that they are cared for. It is a precarious life and somehow I feel it is our responsibility to do the decent thing. I always think that if I see cats around or in the windows of a house it must be a friendly place. :)

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    1. Thank you. I just can't help taking these animals on when they show up. Such tough lives they lead.

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  7. Marguerite so sorry to read about Priscilla I hope you do get some news about her, in contrast how lovely to read about Pixie both in your post and Dave's comment,
    I just adore cats, you and Jody do a good caring job watching out for them, Frances

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    1. Thank you Frances, the best we can hope is to find out what happened to her. One reason it was so nice to hear about Pixie, at least the question was answered.

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  8. I really hope Priscilla shows up! I grew up with cats that would come and go and we always worried when they were gone too long. Animals can sense kindness and are attracted to you because you make them feel safe. When I was a kid we once had a cat walk into our kitchen and never leave. Wonderful news about Pixie. :o)

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    1. Cats can make you crazy with worry, that's for sure. But they certainly know a sucker when they see one - we seem to end up with an unusual amount of cats at our door.

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  9. Cats are so much more independent than dogs. Hopefully Priscilla is just enjoying an extended vacation somewhere and will return to Canoe Corner. Pixie's story makes her safe return seem hopeful.

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    1. Jennifer, Jody always likes to tell me Priscilla has gone to visit her sister when she disappears :) Unfortunately she's not normally gone this long. I would worry less if I didn't know there were coyotes in our area.

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  10. We have a lot of feral cats around here. All the ones that come to our home, we try to get fixed (some of them are very smart around traps, though!), and feed them. Some of them get so tame, it makes me so sad that they would have never had love from a human if we hadn't taken them in. I hope Priscilla comes back. We had one cat that showed back up after three years! And yes, it was the same cat! We have no idea where she was in the interim.

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    1. 3 years! that is really amazing. I've had a cat go missing for a month and I thought that was a long time. Trapping can be really difficult, we've been fortunate to have the support of a local cat charity to help us with traps and spaying. Getting them fixed is really the only right thing to do.

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    The Make Cupcakes Not War shirt is from a company called Johnny Cupcakes. :o)

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  12. I'm so sorry to hear about Priscilla; I only hope she's moved on to find a new home, just like Pixie did. I grew up on a farm, so we always had barn cats. Although they were well fed and received lots of attention from a little girl (me), some of them would decide to move on,and I always worried whether they survived all the dangers out there.

    Two of our cats are solely indoor cats, and the other three are no longer barn cats, but "garage/house" cats:)

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    1. Thank you Rose, I worry constantly about all the dangers ' out there'. Just so much trouble for a cat to run into. My 'pet' cat is no longer allowed outdoors at night and generally only comes outside while we're in the yard. I simply worry too much.

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  13. Thank you for taking care of these cats - heartbreaking as it is when one disappears, they do bring joy to our lives.

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    1. Bonnie, that is so true. Their lives might be short but they are very happy lives and they make me very happy too.

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  14. You have a good heart to let these cats come and be a part of your lives for a while. I would want them inside ...safe. You have had some cute ones along the way.

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