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Not own cat, but feeding stray (feral).

466 Views 2 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  The Divine Miss M

Advices and suggestions needed, please read the story below.

First off, I do not have any pet of my own because I am still a student and have no place and time. But, I have taken of many pets in the house that I live in.

Due to the circumstances, all of the pets were gone with their owner when they move out of the house. Except one cat who spent most of its time outside and only come around for food. His (I guess, I don't know the gender) name is "Scrappy". The house owner told me that Scrappy's owner had left area. Even when Scrappy's owner was here, Scrappy was always wondering around the neighborhood most of the day and would come back to the house once in awhile for food. Sometimes, he would be gone for a couple of days.

Anyway, everybody left (including house's owner). But Scrappy is still around. I feel bad so I started buying food and feeding him. He is not that friendly. He may let me pet him for a few minutes and then he started hissing at and scratching me. He has really sharp nails. I learned how and when to pet him and when to stop petting him before he gets aggressive.

An amazing story about Scrappy was how he managed to find his way back home (neighborhood) twice after he was taken away. First time, someone wanted him in the farm to catch mice. The farm is about 5 miles from the house, but he managed to come back to the house about two weeks later. The second time is the same story, but this time was further away (about 10 miles). I thought he would probably be okay. Then, one day (two months later), as I was walking out and about to hope on my motorcycle, I felt something pressing against my leg. As I looked down, I saw a cat that looks like "Scrappy", but cleaner and looks better. First I didn't think that it was Scrappy, but when I pet him for awhile he started hissing and scratching me the same way "Scrappy" used to do. And Yep, that is Scrappy. I was so surprised that he found his way back from the place that is 10 miles away, even though it took him almost 2 months. I know that pets may have a sense of direction. But 10 miles and 2 months, that is amazing to me.

During the past year, I've been feeding him and giving him shelter (in my room) when he is around and the weather is bad outside. Now, I need to move to another state and will not be able to take him. I am also afraid that, because he has always been outside in this neighborhood, he would try to find a way back here again and he may not survive the trip back home because it would be too far or he would get lost.

My concern now is I don't know what I should do. I don't think that he can be a house pet because he is often behaving aggressively and would not let people pet him. I don't know what he is attached to, this neighborhood or this house, since he is always going around the neighborhood all the time. I'm not sure if he has another house that he goes to get food and shelter. I also don't know if it would be a good idea to take him to the shelter for an adoption (which I don't even know if anyone would adopt him). My dilemma here is that I don't know which is the best option for Scrappy, leaving him be in the neighborhood or taking him to the shelter. I'm sure he can survive outside, but I'm also concerned about the winter (Pennsylvania).

Sorry it's a long story, but I'm hoping to get some advices, if possible.

Now for a good part, here are some pictures of cats that I used to take care.

Start with the main character "Scrappy", the mean cat :), napping in my room.

Here is "Kip", 5am alarm clock. He always scratched on and screamed at my door at 5am exactly. I don't know why, but he is always on time, like an alarm clock. He is still with his owner somewhere.

This is my favorite one "Fluffy", attention seeker. Still with the owner.

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Scrappy doesn't look scrappy at all! What gorgeous cats. I think the best bet would be to bring him to a no-kill shelter. Hopefully, there's one in your area?

I faced a similar situation with my Fatboy 2 years ago, although slightly different because I had to take him out of his then current situation because my condo decided that pets would not be allowed anymore. That included the stray cats I had been feeding. In my case, not wanting him to go to a shelter, I bit the bullet and took him to my parents' home. Fortunately, my mom fell in love with him at first sight :)
I probably wouldn't take him to the shelter. He sounds more like a somewhat tame feral than a stray, and ferals don't have the world's best adoption rate. Your best bet is to either leave him alone, or try to socialize him and then consider the shelter. If you do try to socialize him, you need to be honest with yourself about whether or not it's working because like I said his chances are not good in a shelter if he's feral. He will either end up spending the rest of his life in the shelter, luck out and have someone see him for what he is and attempt barn relocation - in which case he could be seriously hurt trying to get back home if it fails, or be euthanized. Even no-kill shelters, for the most part euthanize. They just tend to avoid euthanizing for space reasons, but they will euthanize for disease or severe "aggression" which I put in quotations because in his case he technically isn't being aggressive, he's being a feral cat and using his instincts to protect himself. It's a liability for them. They can't afford to adopt out a cat with known issues with aggression.
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