Feral/Stray terrorizing my indoor/outdoor cat in yard

yemiya

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For close to 3 months, a stray cat has been coming into my yard terrorizing and attacking or attempting to attack my cat (male) on almost a daily basis (I'm unable to keep my semi-feral inside 24/7). This bully came out of nowhere (probably dumped), and I've been unable to find anyone who knows anything about him. He's totally turned our lives (me and cat) upside down. The only suggestions I've gotten, other than deterrents like motion detection sprinklers, etc., is TNR. The deterrents are a difficult proposition given the fact that my cat is in yard part-time and the yard is shared. TNR has been suggested in the hopes that neutering (we're assuming he's not neutered) might lessen aggression and minimize roaming. The problem I have with TNR is returning him to the place he was trapped---my yard! From what I've read, neutering may or may not help, and the age of the cat could factor in in that the older the cat, the less effect it may have. Additionally, my cat will never be okay with him after this, regardless of possible mellowing.

I met my cat at approximately age six and he had not been neutered. After neutering, he mellowed a little over time, which I attribute to developing trust in me, not the neutering (he appeared to have lived on the streets for years before meeting me in my backyard). Yes, he stopped roaming, but he has a home now which he didn't in the past. My gut tells me TNR will not help. I am at a loss----I don't think he should return here----and will create additional issues with my cat who's really suffering. I've had to take my cat to vet 3 times due to fight wounds and prevented numerous other fights from occurring. Any suggestions are really, really appreciated!!!! I appreciate TNR, but I think the strict rules about having to return to place trapped, may not be the best choice in some situations.
 

Furballsmom

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Hi
You need to keep your cat indoors no matter what until this is resolved.

Have you tried any of the other cat deterrents on the market or homemade, including citrus peels or squares of cloth sprayed with lemon scented furniture polish and scattered around the yard? These need to be "refreshed" after rain etc. Talk to the other people who share the yard.
 
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yemiya

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I haven't, but what makes this all the more complicated, is that my cat spends a lot of time in the yard and it's a very large yard. I don't want to take that away from him because I want him to stay in yard as much as possible. My neighbor doesn't really use the yard---only walks through it to go to trash cans. I will consider your suggestions, though. Thanks!
 

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You might consider TNR as it will decrease the aggression. I understand your point that it will not remove the cat from your yard and that your cat is afraid of him, but it might be a stopgap measure.
 

ArtNJ

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Theres not a lot to be done aside from whats been mentioned. For a while, we had a different stray coming by every year, and one known neighbor's cat. Conflicts with other cats are one of the main dangers of allowing cats outside. The wounds aren't generally that serious, but there are exceptions and they can require a vet visit for sure. My indoor/outdoors were kind of cowardly, retreating and howling, which I think helped avoid injuries, but the neighbors cat did get a nasty wound from a stray.
 
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yemiya

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We plan to do TNR but I fear that if it makes no difference, the cat may have to be relocated somewhere close--maybe at some feeding spot--yet, will probably not ever go in a trap again so there will be no way to relocate him. I also can't remove my cat from yard when trapping is happening---and he just doesn't understand what's happening. Like I've said, even if bully is neutered and mellows, my can't won't ever mellow to him and will run him out of yard.

Btw, forgot to respond above that I cannot keep my cat in 24/7! I have tried when he's had a wound---once for 48 hours--he goes crazy and have to finally let him out and then have to reestablish trust so he'll come back in. I'm thrilled I was finally able to get him to sleep inside most of the time given the fact that he is semi-feral. I had to keep the door ajar for months in order to make him feel safe inside. Now, he knows I will let him out, so I can close the door. Since bully's appeared, however, my cat's staying out longer, waiting for bully. He's upset and preoccupied with him. Bully even came upstairs and tried to terrorize my cat when he was indoors and looking out window. Bully also sprayed various things. It's really affecting my cat's mental health (and mine). It's a nightmare.
 
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yemiya

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Theres not a lot to be done aside from whats been mentioned. For a while, we had a different stray coming by every year, and one known neighbor's cat. Conflicts with other cats are one of the main dangers of allowing cats outside. The wounds aren't generally that serious, but there are exceptions and they can require a vet visit for sure. My indoor/outdoors were kind of cowardly, retreating and howling, which I think helped avoid injuries, but the neighbors cat did get a nasty wound from a stray.
 

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yet, will probably not ever go in a trap again so there will be no way to relocate him.
I realize you're in a challenging situation, however with patience and very stinky foods such as Kentucky Fried Chicken, even trap-smart kitties can be enticed.
 
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yemiya

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This is all happening in my yard--my cat's world, for the past 3 years (except when sleeping inside). This bully cat is not from this area---probably dumped. There are some people that think that all cats can be kept inside, but I disagree as do most behaviorists. Yes, there are dangers outside, but I have to say---I'd rather he be exposed to danger, risking a shorter life, than imprisoning him in my small house where he'd be relegated to looking out the window 24/7.
 
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yemiya

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I would definitely try trapping and neutering him. I think it would help. When I made my former feral cat stay inside for good, he cried for 2 weeks straight non-stop, but then he stopped crying.
 
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yemiya

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But the bully who will be TNR'd, is apparently homeless. My cat was neutered at approximately 6 years old when he came into my life, yet as I explained in my initial post, I don't think it mellowed him; instead, he's developed trust in me which has mellowed him with me.
 
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yemiya

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I realize you're in a challenging situation, however with patience and very stinky foods such as Kentucky Fried Chicken, even trap-smart kitties can be enticed.
 
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yemiya

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I have no doubt he can be enticed. My concern is the wisdom in doing it to begin with and returning him here--where he could be here forever, at the expense of my cat--and without having the ability to relocate him close by if needed, since he probably won't be able to be enticed into the trap a second time. I envision a continuation of the same behavior and will not allow it to continue. my cat.
 

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and without having the ability to relocate him close by if needed, since he probably won't be able to be enticed into the trap a second time
I meant that trap-smart kitties can be enticed again.

I'm sorry, apparently my suggestions aren't helpful for you. I wish you the best.
 

ArtNJ

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You could always try and find him a home. Have you called the local shelters?

The behaviors you are observing towards your cat don't really correlate with whether he could eventually make someone a good pet, particularly as an only pet.
 
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yemiya

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I can't even get a photo of him since he darts out whenever he sees or hears me. The local shelters aren't an option because they're full---and wouldn't take in all the TNR feral's/strays anyway--so no possibility of determining whether it could be adopted out or not. Best chance for feral's to find homes is if someone in neighborhood is feeding and develops a relationship--I've known a few. We have no idea where this cats goes or who, if anyone, feeds him. Looks relatively healthy. I thought just maybe if I could find a feral feeder not too far, and relocate him there instead of here, it might solve the problem---at least he'd be fed. Would just hope that he wouldn't terrorize the other cats.
 
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yemiya

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Thanks for clarifying about cat being enticed once again after TNR--it's helpful to know and thank you for taking the time to respond!!
 

ArtNJ

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Forgot to mention this, but the problem with relocation of a cat that looks healthy is that you dont actually know its not someones cat. If you take him for TNR and the cat isnt spayed/neutered, it becomes a safer assumption. And sometimes even with a spayed or neutered cat, a vet visit will reveal that the cat isn't being cared for, also making it a safe assumption.
 
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