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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-23-2010, 02:16 PM Thread Starter
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Feral or stray?

During the summer my fiancee, the furkids and I moved into our current apartment. There was a cat hanging out (Sailor Jerry) in the back yard and it took a while for him to warm up to us and he has. Just out of curiosity I often wonder if he is a stray or feral.
  • He will run away from most people (especially men) except me, but like I said, that took a while.
  • He isn't fixed
  • He is like 100% muscle and a big ol' tom cat at that.. now that its winter he put on his layer of fat- immediately- like if he was used to doing it
  • He has no front teeth, just fangs and molars
  • He has a gorgeous coat, and though it gets dirty a lot, he is pretty attentive as far as cleaning himself (unlike most unneutered cats)
  • No one else can touch him but me, again this took a while but now he seeks me out for lovins
  • He hunts decently
  • He used to only come out at night and then the more he warmed up to us the more that he would come around all the time, even sleeping on our patio. Now that its cold out, he is reverting back to only coming around at night
  • He has learned his name and comes when called (My neighbors got a kitten that they had on a leash tied to a pole outside their patio and now it roams the back area, Sailor Jerrys territory. Im not sure if its male or female though the features look masculine, and Im pretty sure its fixed but not positive. It ran into Sailor Jerry while he was relaxing on the patio and of course Jercat (Sailor Jerry's nick name) got mad and chased him. I went out side and Jercat was fighting with it last night and when I called him he stopped and looked at me. I said "C'mon Sailor Jerry lets go eat" and he came trotting over like the other cat had never run into him in the first place)
  • He usually eats like if he was raised with raccoons, dipping his paw into his food and eating it off his pad/toe area. He ate like a regular cat when he first started coming around and it seemed like the more comfy he got with us the more he started eating with his paws.
  • He is really picky as far as cat food goes. It has to be Friskie's and it has to be sea food flavor. He wont touch any other cat food but he will eat hot dogs, the little weenies in the can, fish, tuna, sardines etc. but he wont eat dog food. He'll eat ferret food sometimes..
  • Now that we've spent a significant amount of time together, he will jump into my lap looking for love.
  • When he first came around he and my dog, Tequila, didn't get along at all, and Sailor Jerry seemed to relish in Tequila's anger when I spent time with Sailor Jerry. Now, the only time he and Tequila don't get along is when Sailor Jerry jumps on my lap when I'm sittng on the couch (Tequila's bed- hes a very spoiled chihuahua)
  • He is afraid of my ferrets (Kahlua and Mojito)
  • He doesnt like being in small spaces or being in the house for too long
  • He cries by the door when hes been inside a while and has to go to the bathroom
  • Every morning in the summer I found him asleep on our patio in our lawn furniture but inside the house the only furniture he will go on is the couch (only if i am in it) and the coffee table (only if his food is up there)
  • When he first came around he would only eat after I went inside and left him alone, now I have to sit outside with him or he stops eating.
  • He responds well to communication like if he hears something he will stop eatting and I will tell him its ok and to keep eating and he will start again.
  • He seems more comfortable/at peace outside than inside
  • He is very vocal inside, yet silent outside
  • I have tried to play with him using string, cat toys, toy mice, paper- everything and he always gets scared and runs off. He is more the strong silent type. I think this is why he is afraid of the ferrets, they want to play with him so bad.
I worked in a refuge for feral and stray cats and I met "feral" cats (usually younger ones) who warmed up to me after a while when they didnt with the other employees. The other employees lacked compassion for the animals and the entire place was in such a disgusting shape that I reported them to the ASPCA and PETA when I left, w/o two weeks notice. I cried almost every day I worked there while i sat in my car on lunch due to the state the facility was in. It was just aweful. I think those animals were better off when they were in the street. But that is beside the point. Also, I am pegging his age between 2-4 y/o though I am not sure.. So, I was just curious what you all think.. stray or feral? Age range?


When he first started eating while I was outside, the wet spot by his head is the first can he ate, hes working on can #2


Looking at these pics from when he first came, i'd say hes almost doubled in size since then.




Pretty much as soon as he was done eating he sat kinda off to the side like "look at me, i am gracing you with my presence. Don't touch or I'll run"


The first time he ventured into the house.. he was really nervous.


I tried to closethe door and he got super scared and ran for the door, I kept it open and he sat infront of it looking out like he sometimes sits and looks in


I lost my camera so I dont have any newer pics on it, they are on my phone I am sending them to my email now and will post them asap
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-23-2010, 02:40 PM
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He sounds like a feral to me. I guess if he was a stray for long enough he could have gone a little feral (esp. if his previous owners never let him indoors), but most strays that I've rescued tend to be like "OMG, People, HELP ME I'M STARVING!." Where ferals tend to think that all people and confined areas = scarygetaway until someone tames them down.

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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-23-2010, 02:41 PM
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And he is very handsome.

Nom de bloom.
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-23-2010, 02:48 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Pineapple View Post
He sounds like a feral to me. I guess if he was a stray for long enough he could have gone a little feral (esp. if his previous owners never let him indoors), but most strays that I've rescued tend to be like "OMG, People, HELP ME I'M STARVING!." Where ferals tend to think that all people and confined areas = scarygetaway until someone tames them down.

Thank you, thats what I think too. I cant get over how handsome he is, when you see him in real life you really cant help but think how unique he is, he gives off a really different vibe.
He is so well behaved too, even when he was still cautious around me he was always very respectful.
I just wish I knew what I could do about his disinterest in play and about his teeth.
I want to get him to a vet but I know that as much trust as I have gained with him, we are still in fragile stages. So even though I worry for his health I am scared to overwhelm him and make him not trust me. This is also why I don't want to give him a bath, even though the fur around the pads of his feet is like black and nasty. and they reek. Im afraid Ill scare him and he wont come back
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-23-2010, 03:25 PM
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I would just keep working on getting him more and more friendly. Older ferals can take a long time and some of them will never be completely tame. It sounds like you've done a great job so far. I would also suggest if you get him to the point of being comfortable inside to keep him in, esp. since he isn't neutered (unneutered males tend to wander), and if something does upset him, he won't be able to take off for good. You may also end up with kittens if an unspayed female shows up, so the sooner you can snip, the better, otherwise you'll have a bigger problem in your neighborhood.

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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-23-2010, 03:27 PM
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Also, we had a few ferals/strays that literally took years to learn how to play. Sometimes it just takes time and for them to feel safe, which sometimes meant spending more time indoors where they learn it is safer than outside. Maybe it has something to do with hunting to survive vs. expending energy playing.

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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-23-2010, 03:53 PM Thread Starter
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I would just keep working on getting him more and more friendly. Older ferals can take a long time and some of them will never be completely tame. It sounds like you've done a great job so far. I would also suggest if you get him to the point of being comfortable inside to keep him in, esp. since he isn't neutered (unneutered males tend to wander), and if something does upset him, he won't be able to take off for good. You may also end up with kittens if an unspayed female shows up, so the sooner you can snip, the better, otherwise you'll have a bigger problem in your neighborhood.

I'm not sure if neutering him is a good idea, at least not right now. I heard that if their fixed they wont defend their territory and like I said hes not really fond of the indoors. I dont want him to not have the necessary feisty to defend his land if he decides one day that the house life is not for him. I really think the only reason he is staying inside as long as he has been recently is because of the cold and I'm sure he will revert back to being miserable in the house again once it gets cold. There are a lot of strays in my area and I was really surprised how few there are around my apartment (i lived in apartments less than a mile away that are riddled with strays) so i think he has been holding down his area successfully for a while. Getting him fixed isnt an issue of money, there are places that do it free near me as long as you are a student in the collage near me. I have friends who are that could easily claim him as their own. I just worry that once he goes back to being outside he wont be able or have the desire to protect his property. It would be/ will be different when we get a house but until then I dont know.
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-23-2010, 04:07 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pineapple View Post
Also, we had a few ferals/strays that literally took years to learn how to play. Sometimes it just takes time and for them to feel safe, which sometimes meant spending more time indoors where they learn it is safer than outside. Maybe it has something to do with hunting to survive vs. expending energy playing.

That makes a lot of sence, I feel bad because he watches the others play together and looks so interested but as soon as I or, they, attempt to engage him he runs off. He lashed out a Kahlua once, she has a thing for cats. She finds them facinating but shes so tiny --- when i adopted her she came from an abusive home, not in that they hit her obv because shes a ferret and that would kill her, but they didnt take even mediocre care of her. She is blinder than your average ferret from a life of malnutrition and shes smaller than she should be at her age, when she came home she was near dead- her fur was in bad shape, you could feel every bone in her body and she weezed. It took a lot of time and TLC to get her back to good health) and even though she is fat and happy now she is still tiny and sailor jerry is big so I worry. He used to lash out at Tequila a lot too when Tequila wanted to play. Its been rough getting them all to understand how to act around eachother but we're getting there. He cleans himself infront of us and the furkids my best friend said thats a good sign that hes getting more comfotable. I am hopeful
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-23-2010, 04:33 PM
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Please get him neutered. If you don't, he will wander off, get female cats pregnant which adds to the whole overpopulation of cats and he will get himself hurt in fights trying to defend his property.

He will also start marking and you really don't want that smell anywhere near you or your house.
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 12-23-2010, 05:01 PM Thread Starter
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Please get him neutered. If you don't, he will wander off, get female cats pregnant which adds to the whole overpopulation of cats and he will get himself hurt in fights trying to defend his property.

He will also start marking and you really don't want that smell anywhere near you or your house.
I dont want to argue or anything, but he always stays around here and there arent any females in the immediate area. I've smelt him spray and its god aweful- of course I want to get him fixed, I just worry it isnt the best idea since he likes being outside. He will get a lot more hurt if he doesn't defend himself at all or if he wont mark what is his territory and some other tom does and sees him as a threat.
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