My colony has disappeared

moxiewild

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Hey everyone. Just need to vent.

A very small colony of mine has recently disappeared one-by-one over the last month.

Initially there were 6 adults with an undetermined amount of kittens.

3 kittens were able to be socialized and adopted, but the others disappeared.

One of the adults unfortunately never caught on to the new feeding schedule some months ago, so I’m not sure if he is even still around anymore. Another adult needed to be retrapped for a medical issue and has been recovering with us for weeks, and is now nearly adoptable if I can get her to reign in some aggression issues.

So as of about early November, the colony was down to just four adults.

Only one of them had been TNR’d so far. I’m working on three different colonies right now, so it’s taking a while to get through everyone. I had just gotten the other female to eat at the back of a carrier at the time of her disappearance. I was just waiting for my clinic to reopen the following week to get her in. :(

The last kitty to go missing did so about a week ago.

So now, every morning, I drive to the colony, no cats to greet me, and set out the food and water, then come back later to pick up the completely untouched bowls.

Every morning starts with heartache and worry. Every morning I hope a cat will be there again, or our camera will catch someone eating. Every morning, I am let down.

I want to keep feeding for a while in case any of them come back, but I’m not sure how long it’s reasonable to do that for. A few weeks? A few months? This past week in particular has been extremely draining emotionally.

I don’t think it’s likely someone did anything to them.

Most people here are positive or neutral toward community cats. All of these cats also have a history of having disappeared once or twice before, though one has never disappeared for this long previously.

Also, about a week after their respective initial disappearances, two of them randomly showed up for a day or two before disappearing again, and both looked good at the time.

I have also been able to confirm that one of them has not actually technically disappeared.

I’ve posted about his situation most recently here. A neighbor has started feeding him and wants to adopt and declaw him. I was able to confirm with the neighbor that this cat is still around - he comes to eat at his house, but never stays long.

So considering all of these factors, I don’t think it’s likely someone has harmed them.

I am really hoping that instead, someone else in the area has started to feed them in their yard. It makes sense that the cats would prefer more access to food than the once a day, 30 minute window they have with me, like the one I know my neighbor is, in fact, feeding.

But I just don’t know, and I don’t know where they’ve gone in the past when they’ve disappeared either. I don’t know how long to continue going to the former colony site just to feed no one.

This is all so hard, and I feel so sick over it.
 

Furballsmom

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two of them randomly showed up for a day or two before disappearing again, and both looked good at the time.
I would stop. Why feel sick about it if these two looked good? Anyway, that's too much money going out for no gain to continue. If you happen to see a cat that needs help, then by all means do :)
 
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moxiewild

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I would stop. Why feel sick about it if these two looked good? Anyway, that's too much money going out for no gain to continue. If you happen to see a cat that needs help, then by all means do :)
The food doesn’t go to waste. It goes to another colony after I pick up the bowls.

It’s hard to stop when they have a history of disappearing and coming back.

I also care about these guys very much, and most of them still need to be fixed. They’re all only semi-feral too, and the two girls were already relatively close to being socialized and adoptable by the time they disappeared. I was hoping to eventually find homes for all of them.

Even if I stopped setting out food, I’d still be sick over it. I miss them very much, and it’s impossible not to be worried about them (especially in winter).
 

fionasmom

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I don't know what distance you are talking about here but if it is doable, I think that leaving and food and then feeding it to another colony is acceptable and not a waste. If you had some suspicions of what happened it might make a difference as well....around here a missing cat is more than likely the victim of a coyote as one I lost about a month ago (feral) was. So...in that case I would not leave food for very much more time as it would probably attract wildlife. Can you do anything to determine if anyone else is feeding? Formerly crazy declawing guy does not know more than he is saying?

I would be very upset, but as Furballsmom Furballsmom said, if the two you saw looked good that counts for something and means that they may just be unpredictable cats.
 

Jcatbird

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I do remember the whole story. I am thinking they are getting food somewhere. I do wonder if the appeatance of “that guy” helped them to decide to feed elsewhere for now. The ones you saw looked good so that’s a very positive sign. It seems that you’re not sure they won’t be poking around again and I think that when you feel they are really okay somewhere then you will feel it’s okay to stop the feedings. Cats do have a way of moving around as needed and since some have not had TNR yet, I just wonder if one of them came into heat or they sensed a cat elsewhere did. That would cause a shift among them. Weather can do that too. Don’t give up if your instincts tell you to wait. As with all ferals and semi ferals, patience is key. I have had ferals vanish for long periods and when kitten season came back, so did they. I never did know where they had been in between times but they were healthy and fed. Cats are so smart. Try not to be discouraged. They are very likely nearby and okay. Perhaps even joined another colony since cats know that a colony provides advantages. I have seen that too. :alright:
 

Whenallhellbreakslose

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Oh [email protected], you are going through a lot lately. I don't know if you posted an update in your other thread (I haven't visited yet), but hope all the kitties who were sick in the other colony have made a full recovery. I also hope that the cat who that neighbor wants to adopt and declaw starts showing up when you are around and you can make your move and get him off the street.

A few months ago, around the time of that crappy situation with my neighbor/the other feeder, two of my cats got sick and wandered off. One was dying and was untrappable, despite my best efforts. The other sick kitty got better and started to only visit me on weekends, then the time came she wouldn't step foot in my yard, no matter what I did to lure her in. I have seen her around the neighborhood a handful of time since. She looked fine. Someone was definitely taking care of her. I knew this cat since she was a tiny kitten and fed her for four years regularly. While it saddened me thay she up and left me and her colony, she made this decision, so had to let her go.

What set this kitty off to leave the group was that her BFF was sick and dying. It was too much for her to handle. I have other cats leave my group for no known reason. I had one cat tnred released and he never returned. He was the Alpha male in his colony and all the cats got along with him. He was well fed by me and had a nice back yard with shelters to sleep in.... and yet he left the group and didn't look back.

It may be possible these cats found a new feeder. Maybe they like the food they get from this person or the like the new place better. I had new cats come to me and stick around after a few meals. These cats were by no means "street skinny " and they weren't afraid of me. Cats are opportunistic and if they like something a bit more than what they are currently getting-- they go with it. My regulars have crashed the other feeder's feeding sessions in the past despite me feeding them very well. It left me scratching my head. I told the other feeder to shoo them back to me and that I didn't want them to be pests to her. It's funny because she didn't extend that courtesy to me. Oh well.🙄

I have had cats go missing for weeks at a time and when they come back they act like they never been away in the first place. I know they were exploring, but I thought they would try to get back to me sooner.

Well, I will leave it here. My cats have put me through the wringer on a number of occasions. I have worried alot over them. You can continue to visit the place you normally feed them and see if they show. I know you are worried sick over them, but feral cats wandering off is not unusual. Just don't torment yourself. Hang in there. I hope everything gets back to normal very soon.🙂
 

Norachan

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I'm sorry to hear this moxiewild moxiewild It is heartbreaking when colony members take off.

:grouphug2:

It sounds likely that they've either joined another colony or found another person to feed them. If they're not fixed it is possible that they have wandered off to look for a mate. I guess your area is a lot warmer than mine, so kittens will start to be born in just a few months. If it's not too far off your route I'd keep feeding for a few more weeks, just in case one of them shows up again.

Is there anywhere you could safely leave a trail camera without it going missing?
 
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