Night Visitor -- On Feral cats

There are about a half-dozen feral cats on the property where I work.  Because one of the VP's there is a cat-lover, a feeding station has been set up where they can get water and food.  The company also tries to do a neuter-and-release program with as many of the ferals as they can catch.  The population shifts over time, as the older cats disappear or die, new cats come in, and the occasional litter of kittens still shows up in a drainpipe or other sheltered spot in spite of the neutering program.

Most of the ferals are highly skittish about human contact, but a couple are more trusting.  This one, a gorgeous orange tabby will sometimes come up to within a few inches if you stand still.  (The photo is B&W because the night-time lighting on the site causes color photos to shift into a ghastly palette)

Besides disease, cars and other dangers feral cats face, our property is within walking distance of a large urban mountain-preserve/park that provides home to a fair number of wild coyotes.  Occasionally a coyote or several wander out of the preserve and find their way under the property's fence.  Mostly they're looking for the rabbits that make a home on the undeveloped acreage or by the driving range, but I've seen them stalking an occasional cat a few times.  Without success that I've witnessed, but that may be because while a cat may resemble a funny-looking rabbit, it's a funny-looking rabbit with a bad attitude and its own fangs and claws.  (It may also be that, in the case of some of the ferals who disappeared, the body wasn't left behind to be found.)

It's hard to socialize adult feral cats (why the neutered ones are put back where they came from), but if you can get one of the kittens young enough they can adapt easily to being a household cat.  (One of our Very Best Cats from about thirty years ago, a big old guy we named Sir Kay, came from a feral mother's litter.)

Update, 9/15/13:  Here's a post-sunrise color shot of the orange tabby:

No comments: