So, I know it seems I only come around here when I'm in need of help. But I check this place more often than you guys might think! I am extremely busy, though. I've been feeding the cats at my university and working at a local volunteer rescue on weekends.
However, by luck and chance, I happened to be at the right place at the right time and ran into to this cutie, who I've dubbed Pumpkin. He lives in a local Wendy's parking lot.
(Do not worry, I was NOT feeding him a hamburger. That was a local who was trying to help, and I suppose it's better than starving, but don't worry, he's on actual cat food now!)
So, I need some advice. I've purchased a professional cat trap online and it should be coming in the next 5 days (I know you can rent them, but I need one of my own, anyway.) Without a question, I think Pumpkin needs out of that Wendy's parking lot (where, according to staff, he has been for over 3 months; I cannot fathom no one coming to help this baby for that long, but that is the information I was given).
Pumpkin could barely even be considered semi-feral. I'm still somewhat new to all these terms, but I'm pretty sure he was dropped off at some point, probably at around 4 months of age (he's probably around 7 months now). He's not aggressive in any way, follows me around, and let's me sit right next to him. He just won't let me touch. I've gotten to touch his head before, but he backed away pretty quickly.
I have a few options. No matter what, I'm going to trap him and at least get him neutered (and I'm going to see what the shelters around here are willing to do with the money I would offer; I know he has ear mites). But here's where my dilemma comes in and I could use some advice.
1) I'm pretty sure this isn't right, but I suppose an option would be to release him back into the Wendy's parking lot (there is barely any shelter, and he only has readily available water and food because of me, there are cars everywhere, and he is literally about 40 feet from a MAJOR highway, not to mention I think eventually one of the employer's would get rid of him some way or another)
2) I could attempt to talk to my organization I work with and see if one of them could try to foster and adopt him out, but I'm not sure. He's not aggressive or feral in that sense, but he doesn't seem to like people. I just can't imagine him cooped up with someone, but it's definitely an option I would consider if this is what most people think is the right thing to do
3) This is what I'm considering doing now, unless everyone thinks it's a horrible idea. I'm super nervous and unsure of how he's going to react, but I thought after I TNR him, I could release him behind my house in my neighborhood. The neighborhood has lots of local cats (who are all healthy and fed by everyone, and I'm pretty sure are 99% peoples' pets that just mooch off of the neighbors' who like feeding them). It's safe--there are cars, but not a lot, and I've NEVER seen a cat hit, ever--it's quiet, he would be near me and I could continue leaving him some food like I already do for some of the neighborhood cats, and I just honestly can't think of a better option. I know it's not good to relocate, but there aren't worse places to be as a cat than where he is.
I basically want to do the right thing. I am very well-meaning, I love this cat a lot, but I still live at home and have only legally been an adult for a year. My mom wants to help, but we are scraping pennies. However, I'd spend every penny in my college fund to make sure this angel is safe. I know I can't do everything for him, but I've grown really, really attached and I want to help. Please tell me what you think is the right thing to do!