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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-03-2015, 08:09 PM Thread Starter
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Question Odd feral behavior

I have a small colony of 3 fixed feral cats who have lived on my back deck for three years. Simon is oldest, and is probably the father of Brighton and Esther, 3 year old siblings.

This spring, another itinerant male kitty came prowling around our ravine. It's a perfect place for cats - wooded, with a fresh spring, plenty of cover, and soft-hearted humans who will feed kitties. This new cat is a male and not neutered (yet), all grey with a white tuft on his chest. He's very pretty, but cocky.

All the times we've seen him before, he would walk around the area calling. It was trilling and yodeling and caroling - not aggressive, and certainly not a heat call. We could hear him everywhere. Our fixed males at first were curious about him, but when the grey boy attacked Simon, Brighton decided to be proactive and keep watch for grey boy and run him off if necessary. We've started our TNR project again (I've trapped 11 cats in a nearby neighborhood, and one yellow boy from my ravine), and we've decided to get grey boy fixed, except he disappeared.

He showed up today again, and he's displaying behavior we find bizarre. Our feral cats are at the top of the hill on the deck, and he sits at the bottom of the ravine in full sight and just stays there. He doesn't call or act aggressive, he just lays down and doesn't move around much. Brighton walked right past him and didn't even look at him, and Simon prowled around him closely enough that he clearly knew grey boy was there.

The boy did get up and move around, he got a drink of water from the spring and ate a little kibble we put out for him. Then, he went right back to the same place and laid down. He's not limping, shows no sign of injury anywhere, and reacts to my presence and the other cats in ways that show he knows what's going on, but he is silent. I heard him call twice, but he normally yowls constantly.

If he's sick, he could be in our shed in the ravine or in a number of good hiding places. Is this sick behavior? I can't tell. The other cats show him no aggression, though they did before. I just don't know what to make of all this.

He's gone again. I'm trying to trap him, but he's pretty savvy and wouldn't go for the tuna I put out. Any ideas?
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-04-2015, 08:54 AM
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Oo hm.. really he sounds like a drop off not a true feral. Ferals rarely call like that. And I have seen cats dumped call for days looking for their owners afterward. It is heartbreaking. He may be depressed and trying to be non confrontational at this point. Or he could be sick, since some people will dump instead of taking on the expense of vet care.

The problem is he may be hard to catch because he IS used to people and your not his people.. I have seen it reverse quickly though. depends on how social he was before ending up in your ravine.

I wish you luck and hopefully others will chime in with ideas on catching him!!


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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-04-2015, 11:57 AM Thread Starter
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My ferals don't call like that, which is why I find this behavior odd. He's been calling since we first saw him, back in January. I would guess he's around 2, and a lovely young boy at that.

I nearly caught him in a trap a few weeks ago. He was nearly in it, but the lid was on too much of a hair trigger, and it snapped before he was all the way inside. I hope he'll try a trap again soon. We're putting out high value food - tuna, sardines, mackerel, so maybe he will. I'm just worried about this sitting and not moving behavior.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 04-04-2015, 01:58 PM Thread Starter
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On a positive note, we trapped a 5 month old kitten in a nearby student slum. She has now been spayed and vaccinated, tested negative for Feline Leukemia, and is in a local shelter where they're going to try to tame her down. One for the good guys.

I have, though, had to release 10 other cats to that area after neutering. They were all too old to tame, but at least they won't make more babies. Two were young pregnant females.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-14-2015, 01:20 AM
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hroswitha, how is the gray kitty doing?
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-14-2015, 01:37 AM Thread Starter
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The grey boy remains elusive. We see him about once a week, but always on a Friday afternoon. The local spay and neuter clinic isn't open on weekends, and I would have to hold him until Monday, which is hard when our only holding area is the front porch where I'm socializing a little tabby girl.

We think he got into a fight tonight with one of our feral boys. We continue to try to trap him, and may have luck as the summer progresses.

Meanwhile, the grey tabby girl on the porch has a home! She's purring, playing with toys, sits on laps, and takes food from our hands. She's a happy girl, and she's going to a wonderful home.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 05-14-2015, 02:56 AM
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I'll keep my fingers crossed that you manage to trap the little guy.

Is the tabby girl the one that you mentioned in your post above? Great news that she has a home! TNR takes a huge commitment - you're doing wonderful work!
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