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Does anyone else consider the feral/strays they regularly feed as their "pets," in a way? Whenever anyone asks me how many cats I have, I'm tempted to run down the list of seven ferals I feed consistently. I mean, I even have them listened in my signature lol. Six of the seven I have been feeding for well over a year (along with the help of a very sweet older woman, who has become a very close friend!), and I am very attached. I know all their personalities and quirks and, while they're definitely *not* my pets, I cannot help thinking of them as *mine*, in a way.

Anyone else feel this way about the cats they feed?
 

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I know exactly what you mean. I have four cats that live in my house and I have one feral girl, my Arwen, who lives outside. But I feed her regularly and she even started sleeping in my garage at night during the very cold winter months. But I don't say I have five cats. I feel guilty about it sometimes. She is a TNR, she has lived in my neighborhood for possibly 8 years or longer, but I have fed her for a little over three years now. My street is very quiet, and everyone knows who she is. I don't really consider her mine because she loves my neighbor and her dog as much as me. She waits for them every night when they get home from work and they walk their lab, and she waits for them, and they pet her and love on her, and she LOVES their dog. She rubs against the dog and throws herself in front of the dogs path as they are walking, it is hilarious. There is no other dog on our street that she acts like this towards. She spends almost as much time in their yard as she does mine, so I don't really consider her mine, but I adore her as if she were mine. I am the one who tamed her. For a few years before I managed to get her to take food from me, I tried and tried, but she would run. We would only see her at night on trash days, when you put the trash out, she'd be there. But you could leave cat food next to the trash, and she wouldn't touch it. When she finally did start taking food from me, she would belly crawl up to the food, hiss at me, inhale the food in 4 bites, and run away. We have come a long, LONG way since then. But she still has no desire to be inside, she continues to live in the 3-4 yards on my street and everyone knows her.

That is so sweet that you and your friend care for these ferals. I'm sure many of them would not be around any longer if it were not for you. This is a wonderful thing you all are doing for these cats.
 

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I had a feral cat, Spook, who was MY pet. He grew to trust me and would come to me...but absolutely insisted on staying outdoors. We had him for about 12 years...he even moved houses with us! Once he ran away for a couple years but, one day, suddenly reappeared at the back door.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Awww, all the stories are so cute! :) It's nice to read how some of the semi-ferals have grown more trusting of us.

It's sad, though, because now that I read through my original post I realize I was still counting one of them that has recently disappeared (Carson). So really, there are only six now. Although I'm keeping my fingers crossed for him to return -- him and five others are the ones I feed with the friend I mentioned at my university. I'm happy to hear others love their wildcats as much as I do! :D
 

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I feed 3 ferals, one is sleeping in my garage right now and another in my basement because he got hurt. I'm trying to find a home for those 2 since they let me pet them but it's difficult.
 

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If I was feeding a feral cat (which I'm not at the moment) it wouldn't take long to start feeling responsible for them. I would - at least at first - have little to no interaction or control over their life so doubt I'd consider them "mine", a really feral cat wouldn't let you get anywhere near it. That's if you happen to see one at all since they'll be running away/hiding long before you get anywhere near them.

However I'd certainly come to care for them and be invested in them... as noted by both Jasper and Blacky; I didn't stop until they were tamed. :p
 

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True, the most "feral" cat I feed could barely even actually be considered semi-feral as far as nature goes. But the ones I feed at my university were all born in the wild, even if they are relatively used to humans. They all come running to my friend when she makes a whistling noise, but they barely tolerate my presence and immediately take off running if they see any other human.

Pumpkin (whom I have a thread going on about), was actually an abandoned stray, and I am in the process of "taming" him and getting him a forever home. (Which, if I have my way, will be with me... I doubt it, but he's my baby.)
 

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yes! I know how you feel. I feed around 40 every day downtown in three different spots within 3 blocks, as well as single females I feed at two other locations in my city... Plus we have 9 at home, 4 inside, 5 outside, all fixed except for 1 at home. I have fixed 3 so far of the ferals downtown.:blackcat My life, besides work and sleep is all my furbabies. I plan my day around them when not at work. Luckily I am single with no kids.


(so a total of about 50 cats.) I "think" I have the most on this board:)

My dream is to go to Africa and live with the lions, hyena's and cheetahs for a couple months asap- to meet the hosts of the former BBC Big Cat Diary as well as stay and work at Kevin Richardson's farm in Africa. (aka the lion whisperer).


Kevin.
 

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OMG it's just amazing how many people there are here who care so much about cats that very few other people care about. catlover, I most definitely think you take the cake - although there are some who come close!

struckers, I don't feed any ferals, but I have been taking care of a stray for 4 years. I think it's a little different with strays who are friendly, because you can spend time and develop a relationship with them. For so long, I resisted getting attached to him, but resistance has been futile. Like Mochas Mommy, I took him with me when I moved last summer (just a couple of blocks away). So really, he's now my outdoor-only kitty, and when people ask how many cats I have, I say 2.5. :D
 

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I do!
A little over five years ago my husband was outback working and says, there's a black and white cat out there just watching me, he's been at the edge of the woods about two days. So I took a look, sure enough, skinny, hurt foot, watching. So, I started feeding him, closer and closer to the house I fed him, until he would come up onto the deck. His little foot began to heal, he started gaining weight. I named him Oki, (short for outside kitty). At the time my daughter was living here with her kitty, Kitty. So, then we made a house for Oki on the deck, but he wouldn't go in it. I said to my husband, can you cut a hole in the back as an escape hole? He did. Oki went in. We got him a huge chest, that we could open from the top, we lined it with insulation, we cut door in back and front, we gave him a. Heater pad and blankets. My beautiful boy stayed, fed twice a day, happy boy, but wouldn't let me touch him. One day, about six months later, a woman from a couple towns over stopped by our farmstand with a flyer of a missing cat. It was my Oki! She came up to the deck and said for sure that was her feral cat, Mike. She told me a guy trapped three of her ferals, and dumped them. I told her we could try to trap him and she could bring him home, she kind of gave me a look, I said I would be happy to keep him, I love him, and she jumped at that....she was afraid something bad would happen again if she brought him back...so, that's my little boy. He's about 13 years old now. He's been with me a little over five years. So that was a really long story to answer your question, do yes, I have two cats, one in, one out. I love the stuffin out of my Oki.
 

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My sweet Franky was my feral. He lived around my neighborhood for maybe two years. When I first saw him I thought he was dying, skinny, sickly, fur missing, and on top of that deaf. He never let me catch him but I always fed him and tried to medicate him as much as I could. Eventually he trusted me to let me pet him and give him ear scratches. He got to be a very big, beautiful boy. Always feral, that never changed. He got along with my other cats and became Cabbit's buddy. Some months ago he disappeared and I thought he was dead. He showed up one day really hurt from what looked like a very bad fight. He was barely alive. I fed him, gave him water, clean him up as best as I could and took him to the vet. I had no illusions he was going to recover from this. The vet agreed that the best thing was to put him to sleep. He died while I petted him. He was not my cat but I was HIS human. I loved him as much as I love any of my other kitties. I don't think I will ever forget my dear Franky.
 

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I believe that once you name them, they are your pets. I have dogs inside but now and then when I go to the petstore, I find myself drifting to the cat aisle to buy cat toys so they do have 2 cat toys outside and a cat tower 52" and I bought those solar lights so I put it around for them to see and play at night. I have 5 jumbo catit litter box and 5 large litter pans outside so I'd say they are pets if you are feeding them, plus you worry when one of them didn't come to eat.
 
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