Tag Archives: Feral

Gombah & Feral Get Together – Chapter 9

Living in a tourist, beach area that provides fun and entertainment for visitors, I have been told by more than one vet, that families come to our area and 'adopt' a kitten for a short duration. There's always 'free kittens' signs that may lure the kids in their families to beg, borrow and steal that it's 'only for a short while'. The parents may say OK, knowing it's for a 'short while'.

After everyone is tanned, relaxed and fun-filled, it’s time to load the suitcases and the car and head home. Uh, oh, what do we do with the kitten that we have petted, loved, fed and made a family member for 2 weeks? It was only for a short while, and we can’t take it home. So they, and many like them, go for a drive and drop it off in a ‘nice’ development because ‘people there will probably feed it and take care of it’.

Wrong. People in most developments have one or two dogs and even one, two or three cats themselves. So the disoriented kitten, who was pleasantly socialized and fed and cared for now lives in an unknown area where its hunger and survival mode pushes it into the ‘feral cat’ category. A feral cat is defined as an unowned and untamed cat separated from domestication. Feral cats are born in the wild and may take a long time to socialize or may be abandoned or lost pets that have become wild. They should not be confused with the wildcats which are not descended from domestic cats.

The ‘chosen for dropping-off development’ frowns on these cat-trusions. Their dogs want to chase them; the cats are viewed as disease carriers – many never received rabies shots. The once-loved animal soon learns that he or she is not welcome here. They get a ragged look and are usually very hungry and thirsty.

When our dropped off kitty, Feral, appeared on our patio, there was a risk of fleas. Gombah was liberally protected frequently.  Eventually, we did the same by petting Feral with flea ointment.  We watched her grow from a small kitten to an adult cat and she remained an outdoor cat.  Although she did allow us to pet her when we fed her, she never got beyond the few strokes stage – she was independent and feisty. She slept on the patio and communicated in some way with our cat and they were friends.

Only once did Gombah and Feral occupy the same space. She was on the patio as usual and someone inadvertently let Gombah out. We feared they would sojourn into the woods never to be seen from again. Instead, they quietly walked side by side to the shade of a peach tree, and lay down side by side. His big body next to her smaller body. They just lay there for about a half hour (talking?) and then he came back into the porch and she took her post next to him on the other side of the screen.

They spent a lot of time just sitting or laying together between the screens on the porch. When she would appear, Gombah would ‘yowl’ his “She’s here”, and Feral would helium balloon meow back. Once she ventured into the porch when the door was open, but preferred to hang around outside. It worked for both of them.

She was his friend for one and a half years – the space of time the vet told is the average life of an outdoor cat. One day a large raccoon was on our patio. After he left, we never saw Feral again.

Gombah continued to look for her – he would survey the patio and especially the barbecue – but to no avail. Occasionally, he would yowl very loudly and mournfully, but she never returned.   TBContinued:   Gombah Today…Chapter 10

Marie Coppola © September 2012 div id=”counter24″>

Gombah & Feral; She Becomes Our Outdoor Cat – Chapter 8

Once he spotted Feral on our patio rubbing against Gombah through the screen, Nello  suggested I not feed her because "once you feed a cat, they will become a permanent fixture."  She was so small, and always hanging around. Despite the fact that I watched her catch insects and eat green salamanders whole, I felt obliged to give her water.  Her helium meow then coaxed me to give her some cat food. She was ravenous. And she did become a permanent fixture.    Well, at least ~ for one and a half years.

Located on our patio directly in line with our breakfast nook windows is our barbecue. Feral took to jumping on top of the barbecue and peering relentlessly and meowing her helium meow while we breakfasted.  PS – The ‘fuzzy’ pics were because they were taken through the window screen – at first she was too shy for us to approach her.

 

Sometimes Gombah would join in unison to let us know that she was out there. When we got up to get her food, Feral would jump off the barbecue and meet us at the screened porch door ready for breakfast.  Cats like routine and she definitely did.    At times, she would nap on the barbecue waiting for the adoptive parents to awake and give her breakfast.

It seemed that Nello had the inside track with pets since Feral did allow him to pet her. She was more reluctant with me, although I did get in a few pats on her head (while patting her, I also applied flea repellent on the back of her head).   Each morning after she ate, Nello would go out the porch door and walk around the house to get the morning paper, and she always bounded after him and waited for him and then followed him back.

Feral gave lots of attention to Gombah, who took a mature, reserved big brother stance with her shenanigans ~ rubbing against him through the screen and rolling over on her back playfully. He never showed much attention back; he just sat and stared at her. But when she wasn’t around he would jump on the window sill in the breakfast nook and look for her, meowing loudly when she appeared.

After she was around for a few months, I noticed that she was getting a full-rounded look. I also started to be concerned if the toddler next door tried to pet her, he would get scratched. The odds were that she had no rabies shots or other important shots. Since we kind of took ownership of her, it was our responsibility to make her safe for our neighborhood. And she probably wasn’t spayed. I had visions of litters of kittens perched outside our screened porch and hearing my Sicilian husband chanting, “They can’t come in the house.” .

The reasonable thing to do would be to bring her to a vet. But how? She was a feral cat and not likely to be picked up and carted off to a vet.  Bless him, Nello agreed that we needed to bring her in. He started to put her food in our cat carrier and placed it on the patio and within a week, Feral was going in there to eat. Then he concocted a string to close the door while she was in there. And it worked the first time! Feral was not happy but we had prearranged to bring her in to the pet clinic.  She was spayed and given her immunity shots including rabies. They kept her overnight and we brought her back the next day.

The vet said to keep her ‘indoors’ for a week to prevent infection and we said we had no indoors – we only had an outside shed. So we put food and water in there with the carrier and its door open and skedaddled out of there before she came out.  However, she never lasted the week.  After just one night in the shed, she clawed her way through the narrow screened window opening and was perched on the barbecue the next morning while we had breakfast. We were more than a little surprised. She bounded around like she had never been away or had ‘surgery’.  TBContinued:  Chapter 9 ~ Feral and Gombah Get Together

Marie Coppola © September 2012

 

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Gombah Meets Feral, His New Friend…Chapter 7

Although Gombah is happiest when he is settled at bedtime between his ‘parents’, he sometimes gets excited when another cat is outside. The porch that Gombah inhabits most of the time is completely enclosed with window panels that can be opened upward so that you can have the effect of a screened-in porch. This is the scenario that the cat enjoys the most. When the windows are all up, Gombah goes out there and breathes in the fresh air and monitors the whole side and backyards almost like he is outside. He especially likes to sleep out there at night so he can hear the crickets at night and the birds early in the morning. We suspect it gives him memories of his early life.   We have plants out there and sometimes he can’t be seen for napping among them.

Can you find Gombah straight ahead on his chair in the porch?

Occasionally a cat will wander by and Gombah will be sociable and meow to them. His meow is different when he hails hello to his feline friends. And one day, Feral came into his life.

We don’t know how she came to be a homeless kitty, but Feral was just that. She may have been a kitten of a feral mother, or maybe someone dropped her off in our neighborhood. She wasn’t socialized.

She was striking looking – a tuxedo cat – with yellow eyes. She was all black with a white ring around her chest and white-tipped paws. She was small; I’m guessing about 5 months old when she first peered into the porch where Gombah was sitting. She was small in body as compared to Buddha-shaped Gombah. She took to him instantly and rubbed against the screening while he was just looking her over.   I started calling her “Feral” so I wouldn’t get attached to her.

She had a tiny helium- balloon meow. Gombah acted nonchalantly, but in truth, he went out there looking around all the time which he never did before.  He would always nap on  the chair before but he then started sitting by each of the windows and she always showed up.  Before long, she was an every-day visitor to the patio beside the porch.   She would rub against the screens and then flop over on the patio and sun bathe on her back,   Occasionally, we would see her chase a salamander, catch it, and eat it live.   I don’t know what Gombah made of all this, but she definitely had his attention.

Feral brought back music to Gombah’s life.

Marie Coppola © September 2012 

TBContinued Chapter 8 ~ Feral Becomes Our Outdoor Cat

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