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Discussion Starter #1
These cats are driving me nuts!!!!

Last Wen Squiggy took off as usual on his evening neighborhood patrol. Just came back this afternoon (Mon). Apparently being fixed doesn't stop him from checking out all the neighborhood females. I wish he'd leave a "sticky note" or something. "Gone catin' around, be back in a week". I always go for the worse case scenario like being abducted by aliens who are going to drop him from orbit and see if he lands on his feet. I'm goin' nuts I tell 'ya.
 

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Hes a ladys man! What do you expect! That is the frustrating part of ferals. When they disappear you assume the worst. Then they show up with the attitude "what, whats the problem". Glad he came home safely!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
The saga continues . .

as well as my education on cat behavior.

Squiggy ran off again. I didn't see him for a week and was worried sick. I got up one morning (02:30) and went for a drive around the neighborhood in the slim hope that he was still around. Luck of luck, I found him about 5 blocks away sitting under a pickup. The next day my wife took a walk over to the house (something I would never do) and talked with the homeowner.

It turns out that "Squiggy" has been living at 4 different houses over the past 5 years or so and moves among them as he sees fit. "Squiggy", AKA "Oreo", AKA "Boots". Apparently he's everybodys darling. It's true. You don't own a cat.
 

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I think that there must be a bitter competition in my neighborhood. I have less and less strays coming to eat at my feeding station. I worry about the ones that disappear, and I miss them terribly. Each and every one is special to me. Where do stray cats go when they don't come for days to eat at my station, or when they suddenly one day never come back? I find some of them around the neighborhood when I go looking, they're not particularly hungry. I feel like a loser.
 

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In April I had 9 cats in my feral barn colony. Now I have 6. Three decided to move to the nearest neighbor's house, where they have more human contact and just as much food (plentiful) as I was giving them.

Every cat has to find its own space. As long as that includes food, water, shelter and safety, I'm happy for the cat.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Feeding Strays

Depends on the location and such I suppose, but I believe that there are a great many people "out there" who will provide some level of food, shelter, etc to neighborhood cats. Particularly strays who are more comfortable around people. I have 3 feral cats who come twice a day, 1 feral cat that comes around a couple of times a week and 2 stray cats that regularly pass through but rarely stop. They all look good so someone is feeding them at lest.

It's easy to think the worst when they don't come around I know I do, but it's much more likely that they have "moved on" temporarily or permanently for reasons known only to them for the most part.
 

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I guess someone else missed them during the time they patroned my feeding station... I just miss them so very much...
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Kinda like . .. .

watching one of your kids leave I'm guessing. When I found Squiggy at his old home after he'd been gone a week I was so relieved. Then I wondered "why"? Why'd he leave, what did I do/not do?

Answer: Who really knows.

A mental exercise if you like. I've found that I get some insights into interpersonal relations from my experiences with the cats. And some spiritual guidance as well. All well and good, but to paraphrase "Checkov" from a StarTrek episode "I'll live, but I won't like it". My only consolation in Squiggy's case is that he "seems" happy where he is.

Life's a bitch and then your cat leaves.
 

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I think the key may be in the relations between the cats. I think they expel each other in subtle ways we don't know. I know I lost many cats, my feeding station became unpopular when I had a problematic cat that attacked all peripheral cats that didn't belong in the territory of the station. I got immediate help but it was too late. She was spayed and I worked on her a lot and now she's a lot less aggressive, but the cats have vetoed my station already.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I thought that I'd become a cat expert

just from watching the cats interact, but no go. Like people, they don't generalize well and, like you said, have their own way of communicating.

And I look at Squiggy's picture (my avatar) and ask myself: "Does this look like a cat who gives a rat's butt about my tender feelings"?
 

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Discussion Starter #12
About a year

although he'd take off for various lengths of time from a day to a week. In hindsight he was probably at one of his numerous other homes.

I (think) that the stress of the 3 ferals that come around twice a day got to be too much. No fighting or anything, but It (appeared) that he was very uncomfortable around them. Perhaps when he figured that they weren't going to leave, he would.
 

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What I meant was, how long did you keep him confined in his new territory before you turned him lose? If you just brought him home and started letting him run lose then yeah, he was going to go searching for his old territory.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Oh, he was in

"convalescent confinement" for a month from an infected head wound that he had when he was first trapped. When I finally opened the cage he just stepped out, walked over and rubbed against my ankles. Made himself at home in a rocker and slept on the roof of my hot-rod in the garage. That went on for about 8 months 'till the 3 ferals started coming around regularly.
 

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I (think) that the stress of the 3 ferals that come around twice a day got to be too much. No fighting or anything, but It (appeared) that he was very uncomfortable around them.
This is indeed what I noticed in my station. I think cats go from one station to another till they find one where they feel least threatened. Some find a neighbor that feeds them where they hang without needing to go to a station. This worries me because other feeders don't TNR and don't pay attention to the health and wellbeing of the stray. I'd rather they came to eat at my station.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I agree, but . .

what does the cat know. Squiggy's (old) family likes him and is providing a level of care, but it's far short of what he had while he was here. They like him, but he's just a stray cat after all to them (bless them for what they've done though). It was/is hard to not take it personally, but there ya go. I've got to keep telling myself: "Be happy for the cat".
 

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Today I had 13 patrons. At my highest I had double that number. I'm optimistic that "the restaurant" will return to its previous splendor. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Wow

that's pretty close to what I'd call up to your butt in cats! Anything more than 4 for me and I feel like leaving and joining Squiggy :)

Are flies a big problem at a station that must be pretty good sized?

So close to my house I just put a little fan down to kind of keep the flies blown away from the bowls. I haven't decided if the presence of flies is a potential health issue or just aesthetics (mine, not the cats). After the fan of course I'll have to consider lawn chairs, beach umbrellas, etc. I will, absolutely, draw the line at AC.
 

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LOL

What about background cat music and cat cocktails? To beat the competition. :)

Flies are not a problem, thankfully. But I only leave the food down for an hour or two, then pick up the bowls and take them back home. I only leave a couple portions on the ground for late-comers who are too shy to eat with the crowd.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
I don't have any competition locally,

but that's no excuse for poor service, no ambiance and flies in your soup.
 
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