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Mooch, my impossible to trap feral started showing up less frequently and has vanished entirely for the last 2 weeks. The last time I saw him, he tapped at the door, had a meal, chattered at my 2 cats, took a step inside for a bit and then bolted out the door. Since then we have had 2 snow storms, several nights of single digit temps. He never seemed in the best of shape but has never vanished for this long. Do they return or is this just the life cycle for a feral?
 

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Oh wow,I am so sorry. I know how awful you must feel and how worried you probably are. This is my biggest nightmare with my feral girl that I have cared for for years. In two years, I had two days that she did not show up and I was inconsolable. I am very attached to this girl, obviously.

I don't know if yours will ever come back. It is always possible that he made friends with someone and they took him inside. I know that my girl has been sleeping in my garage at nights, and several people on my street were worried about her, and had not seen her for a while and were relieved to hear that she was ok. So that does happen, they could have made a home somewhere. I would keep thinking that is what happened to him, because otherwise you will drive yourself crazy with worry about other things that could have happened.

Hopefully Mooch will show up (great name for a feral, lol) and decide that he likes hanging around your place for a while, if he has not settled on another place. There are a lot of people that love cats out there, lots of crazies like me :) And I can tell you that those crazies that see a cat out in the cold have ways of making those cats come inside, or into a garage and he could be hanging somehwere right now.

Is it possible to make him an inside cat if he does come back? In my situation, it is not possible right now.
 

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Thanks. We have been feeding Mooch for almost 2 years. He never stays, refused the supplied shelter, never approached the trap. I am going to miss hearing, Moochie is here, do you want to feed him? We were making small steps the past few months but he was never going to be a lap cat even if caught. We can only hope he found a place at someone elses house for the winter.
 

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It's a dangerous world out there for cats. Two weeks seems a long time to not show up. Cats can be preyed upon by dogs, foxes, eagles, hawks, and coyotes. I saw an episode of the PBS show "Nature" that was on coywolves and coyotes. One researcher estimates there are at least 200 coyotes in the greater Chicago area. They do well in urban environments. They've been known to wipe out whole colonies of feral cats.
 

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I've heard of feral cats getting "lost" in snow storms. The smells and sights they're used to get covered, and they sometimes wander into different neighborhoods or parts of town to find shelter. This could be a possibility. I wouldn't give up hope, it's a possibility he just wandered a bit too far or found a "temporary" home. Hopefully your buddy comes back soon!

Years ago when our family cat Cuddles was just a stray we fed, she went missing for 2-3 weeks in the winter and then magically reappeared as spring approached. We still aren't sure what happened to her, our only guess is someone gave her temporary shelter in a garage (some people lock strays up in their garage to provide shelter from the cold) or she just wandered off a bit too far. Luckily for us she wasn't feral and we quickly took her in permanently after the scare of losing her!

It's a dangerous world out there for cats. Two weeks seems a long time to not show up. Cats can be preyed upon by dogs, foxes, eagles, hawks, and coyotes. I saw an episode of the PBS show "Nature" that was on coywolves and coyotes. One researcher estimates there are at least 200 coyotes in the greater Chicago area. They do well in urban environments. They've been known to wipe out whole colonies of feral cats.
Yikes, not exactly an encouraging story for fanwoodguy to hear. Judging by the fact he's been a stray for 2 years, I'm guessing he has pretty good street smarts, so hopefully none of that is the case!
 

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Who knows? My Kermit is 12 and has been indoor since he was born of a stray (abandoned?) mother who jumped on my shoulder on a dark night when I stepped outside my back door. Yes, I trembled till I knew what it was. Phone on her collar tag was disconnected...no response to ads etc.

And she gave us a litter of four about a week later. We found homes for all but Kermit who we kept. Indoor only. But he got out one day and was gone for three days. I of course, went looking in the early morning and late at night.

And that is when I found out how many ferals there are in the 'hood'. ah, inner city. Some areas they were grouped, in others they were milling about. Little Kermit wouldn't survive in their colony but I kept looking.

the 3rd day, I met Clyde, a feral stray whom I had been leaving food out occassionally. We had actually gotten to the point where he would sit in my lap but I had to be careful...no touchy, petting yet..He was strong.

I had been leaving our back porch door open but no Kermit came in and Clyde never used it either for those two days..Normally it is closed. Anyhow, I had Clyde on my lap after my morning seach ended fruitless and I said to him, "Clyde, find Kermit for me." and got up and went to work. when I came home about lunch time, there was Clyde and Kermit nestled together inside the porch near a window. Upon seeing me, Clyde went down and out and Kermit stayed.

Clyde was around a little more and then was gone. After that I have tried to have a place for one or more ferals in my crowded city lot. Shelter from the cold if they need it. I now have a grey/white adult known as the gray ghost who scurries away from a 'nest' when I approach....very feral.

But that is ok. We can't save them all.
 

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I've had ferals not show up for a week before. I would just try to stay positive and hope that someone else took him in. You never know. I know it's really hard with ferals because we can grow just attached to them as we are our indoor kitties (even more so). I hope he shows up again!
 

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Fingers crossed that Mooch is safe and that he returns to let you know all is well.

Is it worth posting a "lost" ad on Craigslist or putting up posters in case someone does have him inside? You could even say you just wanted to make sure he was safe somewhere.
 

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Fanwoodguy, its possible that he's looking for females in early heat...which, inspite of cold temperatures, can start very early...
Keep your eyes open and keep food ready! Do you have one of those water bowls you can plug in so the water doesn't freeze?
 

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I feel your pain!!! I have invested months and months in my feral kitties, working with my local humane society program on trapping every single one humanely so they can get spayed and neutered and given their shots. I have counted at the very least 12 of them and we've caught them all except for two, Mr Moostache and Blackie are my two wiley ones. This month has been terrible with cold weather, one week we dropped down into the -30s...I seriously feared for all of their lives and prayed that they found shelter under a warm house somewhere or in someones garage. You cant assume the worse, or that will make you sick. These cats are street cats and are smart! They use every resource they can get their little paws on.

We also got to remember that we probably aren't the only ones feeding them and caring for them. A couple of the cats I've caught while working with this program looked like cats that go indoors and outdoors because of how healthy their coats and weight were. Most of my cats come, eat and are gone until the evening. Some do not even come back a 2nd time that day. Just stay positive!! And keep an eye out! When he finally comes back from whatever hes doing, which could very well be finding a lady friend to cozy up to, he's going to be so hungry. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I do think he was looking for female companionship based on his "advances" towards my neutered female. I think that is why he came into the house 2 weeks ago. The plan all along was to trap and neuter but he never was an easy catch and I didn't make that much of an effort. I got tired of trapping possums, raccoons, other cats and not him. I am holding out hope that he was receiving food somewhere else and my house was the outer limit of his territory. For now it has been 2 weeks and 2 storms since we have seen him. One good thing about fresh snow is if anything passes through there will be tracks.
 

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Has Mooch shown up at all yet??
 

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Discussion Starter #13
It has been over 3 weeks without a sign. Being the idiot I am I still leave the patio light on in the hope he followed his old pattern of showing up right after the light went on. Probably gone for good at this point which is really a shame as we were just this close to getting him comfortable in the house. With all the snow, nothing is moving back there now.
 

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Fanwood, Keep the faith!
Where I work there were two cats
(Midnight, the shack cat, thread)
One is completely feral, I didn't see her for a month...and was thinking, one of two things...
She had found a ranch out in the area and had been 'invited' to be a barn cat or...something far worse...
I don't know if she picked up on the silent 'heart radar' that I was concerned, but she suddenly showed up! She looked very well fed, I still offered her some of her favorite canned food, she ate a couple of bites to be polite, I guess!
Sat and watched me a little bit, as if to say "See, I'm doing ok!"
Then headed back down the dark gravel road...towards where the closet ranch is!
I sent her a silent Thank you for letting me know she's alright!

Don't give up on Mooch! He may yet surprise you!
 

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There's a new thread, no need for updates to this old one.
 
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