Posts Tagged ‘feral cat’


Here’s Splash, the latest addition to our feline population. We first spotted him last winter. He seemed to be living in the hay barn. I put food out for him when I saw him, but he was fiercely wild. If he noticed me looking out the window at him, he’d be gone in a flash of black and white. Stray cats are a common phenomenon in the country, and some remain feral.

But by spring, the concept of easy meals began to win Splash over. He approached closer and closer to the house, and then the porch, until one fine day he let us pet him as he accepted out handout. As the summer matured, I began to think it was time to see about a trip to the vet for neutering. Last weekend, when Splash showed up one morning with a limp, I knew it was time to get him checked out. RailGuy was able to round him up into a cat carrier, and off Splash went for his first vet visit.

We were worried about how he would handle this sudden assault by we humans. Would he attack the vet? But all was well. Splash was surprisingly well-behaved. It turned out something had bitten him on his shoulder and the wound had abscessed. While Splash was sedated so that the wound could be cleaned up, the vet also operated on his other end, and he also had his vaccinations.

Now he’s back home, with instructions that he be constrained in a quiet place for a few days. He’s doing fine, but doesn’t understand why he is under house arrest. Pookie is keeping him company. Pookie mostly ignores all the cats, but the food dish in Splash’s space is magnetically attractive to the ever-hungry corgi. So tantalizingly close, and yet so out of reach!


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Jungle Cat


Here’s Momcat hiding out in the hostas. Can you see her?

Momcat is our semi-feral cat. She was dumped off at the roadside, about 8 years ago, with a litter of kittens, and over a couple of months, she made her way to our barn with her family. She settled in, and over the next couple of years, she raised umpteen more litters of kittens before we were finally able to catch her and get her in to the vet’s, ending her kitten dynasty. Although she was an excellent mother, I’m sure no one was more relieved than she was over her retirement from kitten rearing.

She never became tame. We’re not allowed to touch her. But she graciously accepts our hospitality, living close to the house all summer, and when the snow flies, retiring to the basement till spring.

Now, no one can relax like a cat. But Momcat emanates something more, a deep contentment with life, the satisfaction, perhaps, of one who took on a tough task and did it well. Now she enjoys life every day.


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Momcat could be a poster girl for the Cats Indoors campaign. We’ll never know who her caregiver was when she was a kitten, but whoever they were, they should never have had a pet. Poor Momcat! Barely a kitten herself, she was allowed to roam the neighbourhood, and as her caregiver had failed to have her spade, it wasn’t long before she was pregnant. Although this event was a result of her caregiver’s negligence, it was Momcat who paid the price. After her kittens were born, her caregiver bundled her and her new family into a cardboard box and drove them out to a country road. The little family was dumped unceremoniously by the roadside. You can read Momcat’s story here.


Momcat has lived inside with us now for a year. All winter she was content to laze away the days, sleeping in the sun, happily gazing out the window, watching the world go by. I thought that when the spring came, a touch of wanderlust might overcome her and make her restless, but such was not the case. She has continued to contentedly while away her days inside. Although she never allows us to approach within a few yards of her, and has in no way grown to appreciate human attention, Momcat is no fool. She has led a hard life and she knows when she has a good thing going. No more outdoors for her! No way! Momcat has come inside to stay.


When Momcat’s son, Arthur, managed to slip out one evening through a hole he discovered in a screen, his curiosity quickly turned to terror. Poor Arthur! He was so frightened, he wouldn’t respond to our calls. He hid himself away and we couldn’t find him anywhere. However, that night, after the house was still and dark, he tried his best to return home. We jumped up repeatedly on the windows, trying to find his way back into the house. In the morning, we found the screens ripped to bits. But no Arthur. With the light of day, he returned to his hiding place. Finally, the next evening, he crept in a window we left open for him in a closed-off room. Although he enjoys sitting on the screened porch, he has never left the house again.



The Canadian Federation of Humane Societies has promoted keeping cats indoors for more than a decade now. Indoor cats live longer, healthier lives, free of injury and disease. They don’t get run over by cars, carried away by coyotes, or pick up fleas and worms. They don’t dig in the neighbour’s garden or haunt the bird feeder. If you don’t want a cat living indoors with you, 24/7, for the next 15 years, don’t get a kitten.



Contrary to signs you see that read FREE KITTENS!, kittens are definitely not free. They come with a responsibility to have the kitten spade or neutered and vaccinated. If you can’t afford the several hundred dollars it will cost, you can’t afford a free kitten.



All across North America, shelters are full of cats and kittens like Holden and the other cats featured here. Holden and friends were seeking homes at the Toronto Cat Rescue. Toronto Cat Rescue is a “no kill” shelter, but perfectly healthy cats and kittens, unwanted and unloved, are euthanized by the thousands across North America every year. Thousands and thousands more live short, hard lives as feral cats.



The cats and kittens that are euthanized, the cats and kittens that live hungry, tough outdoor lives, are the result of irresponsible pet owners. Don’t let your pet become a statistic. Keep your cat inside where it will be safe and can get on with its job: being a much-loved pet.


Arthur and Tonka, safe inside.

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