Hi Frog. I have now been ‘owned’ by 3 ferals. I’ve been actively working with ferals since 2005. In an industrial area not too far from where I live are colonies of ferals. When I was still able (and working) I would Trap/Neuter-Spay/Release. We worked in teams staking out for hours, either drop traps or drop square cages. The ferals were fed once a day. We could clean bowls, change water and put fresh food into the custom shelters I personally built for them. One could not touch these kitties. After their spa day at the vet they would be returned with one ear tip clipped off, so we could differentiate between those who still required their spa day. These kitties lived a precarious life, a constant fight for survival.
Both Fluffy and Birdie are/were true ferals. I’ve taken in strays and there is a vast difference between them. It takes a long time to socialise a feral. Some may never be fully socialised. However that being said when a medical problem prohibits the feral from being returned then socialisation is the only alternative to being euthanized. And since I don’t support the latter I do the former.
Please visit http://www.tinykittens.com/ to see what is possible with ferals. The myths surrounding ferals are completely debunked. Tiny kittens has both a VIP live stream on their website as well as 2 YTube live streams. Currently there are 5 ex or work in progress ferals from the ‘Happy Forest’ in care due to medical issues. Shelly and her team of volunteers including vet techs and a vet on the Non-Profit board are doing amazing work! There is a lot of info there for all those wishing to change the misconception that abound around ferals. Thor and Nyla’s transformation is just a miracle as was Grandpa Mason and so many others I could not possibly list here.
Thor is totally blind and Nyla is his ‘seeing eye’ cat, having one eye. You can find the two on the facebook page of their now forever home: https://www.facebook.com/Thorla.Pet/
Thor and his seeing eye cat Nyla.
Barn cats/ferals are generally more sheltered than other ferals and they keep the rodent population under control. And barn cats like high perches. Unless you find a medical problem after trap/neuter-spay/release I would suggest leaving them where they are.
Ferals require a safe room for a long time. And they generally can never ever again be allowed outside, unless it is on a leash. The instinct to roam i.e. the ‘Force’ is strong within them. I would sit with them for hours, quietly chatting away while they would hide in their yurts/tents/under the bed, behind the curtains – whichever secure spot was appropriate for them at that moment. Then slowly drag stick-feather toys etc. across the floor. Also the cat-nipped stuffed kickers are generally a hit. A feral allowing touch is a moment of wonder! Hours of patient play-start and then full play mode pays dividends. Learn to read the kitty. He/she will tell you when to back off etc.
My one feral took 3 months before I could let him out of the safe room into the ‘safe’ house area. Another 3 months before I would let him outside on a leash and then another few months before I would let him outside without the leash. The first time without the leash he disappeared for a day, but came home – he had most definitely shredded his feral card. I had trapped him because of his shredded cancerous ears. The ears were removed, but there was no guarantee re the cancer. I could not let him go back. So Cam (Chaos and Mayhem) became a part of my family. He took a tiny piece out of my son’s ear one night… But that is a story for another day. Cam was with us for just over six years when he crossed the Rainbow Bridge after the cancer returned and further surgery was not possible as his quality of life would have been too low. He was snow white with eyes like the sea and he hated other cats! So him and my domestic ex-strays walked circles around each other, with intermittent whappies.
Hope this helps. Big hug for caring – love makes the world go round.Recommend0 recommendationsPublished in