Managing A Feral Colony Can be Stressful

Managing a colony of feral cats can be the most rewarding experience. It can also be super stressful. As regular readers know, my feral colony is a colony only in the loosest of terms. There are a number of cats roaming my neighborhood, and I cannot locate where they live or who is feeding them despite numerous neighborhood flyering efforts. I know one yard in which they like to live, but there are more cats in the neighborhood than I can find in that yard. So my “colony” sorta takes over the neighborhood. Since they are so loosely distributed around the neighborhood it is very, very challenging to trap them all. I have gotten those I can, over a dozen. There are more out there though, and I don’t know where they come from, I will see them once a year or something like that. It also doesn’t help that the two who have taken up residence on my deck have decided to chase away anyone else who shows up to take the bait in a trap. Little Black considers it her food, which is why I have trapped her half a dozen times.

Caring for ferals also provides another challenge. The neighbors. I have convinced a few of them to accept the cats, but most of them are just not down with it.  There are comepltely understandable reasons for not enjoying feral cats in your yard, I get that people don’t want cats using their yard as a bathroom, etc.  It gets stressful trying to keep cats out of yards, trying to locate the rest of the neighborhood cats and trying to keep track of the two who live on my deck. Today added a new stresser. I went outside to feed my two regular girls, and heard the most pitiful meowing emanating from a neighbors yard. It took me a while to locate the source of the meowing, I could tell it was coming from a yard but I couldn’t find the cat. Here I am on a cold Sunday morning walking down the alley in my PJs and boots, peering through neighbors fences to find the cat. I eventually went back inside to put on warmer clothes and cover up my mess of hair. On my second round outside it dawned on me that the meowing was coming from the neighbor’s garage. Sure enough, I managed to spot my handsome Marius, a cat I trapped last year, sitting by the window meowing his little head off in the most pitiful way.

I hate talking to neighbors about feral cats. I hate it. It took all my energy to go next door, ring their bell (at 10am on a Sunday morning!) and tell them they have a cat in their garage.  Fortunately she was very nice, and I am really hoping I didn’t wake them up. She told me she knows, the cat has been in and out for the past two weeks. They think they have a hole in the garage where he manages to sneak in, he will go out and then somehow end up back in the garage. She asked if he was mine, I said no, and decided against explaining feral cats right then and there. It was cold, her and her son were in their PJs and I had interrupted their quiet Sunday morning, not to mention all the things I had waiting to do. It just didn’t feel like the right time. Now however, I am worried about Marius and my two girls hanging out in that garage. I don’t like the thought of them over there, especially now that the house (which had been empty for almost a year) is being used again.  I don’t want anyone getting locked in where they can’t get out, I don’t want them to piss the neighbors off and have CACC called on them, or worse have TWO neighbors who are annoyed with me. I realize I can’t control what they do, they are wild cats after all. I just wish they would be like other feral colonies and pick one spot to stay! I realize I will eventually have to talk to the neighbors about ferals in the neighborhood. Just gotta brace myself for that and come prepared.

This is Marius last year when I trapped him.

On the positive side, it is nice to know Marius is still around. When I trapped him I wasn’t sure he was feral and I tried to socialize him. He sat in the dog crate in almost the exact same position for 24 hours. Didn’t appear to use the litter box, didn’t really eat. Wouldn’t do much of anything. I finally decided it was too much for him and let him back outside. The fact that he hasn’t gone very far and was vocalizing like he was, raises doubts again. He made it a year though, so that’s gotta be a good sign.

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