Should I just give up on feeding ferals?

leeann77

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
Nov 21, 2014
Messages
62
Purraise
16
I’ve been feeding ferals in my yard for about 8 years without too many problems. This year I have groundhogs, raccoons and a new feral driving me crazy and I’m wondering if I should just stop for awhile. The raccoon is getting really bold and comes after me when I have food and it’s around sometimes during the day. Another raccoon is bringing babies so I’m feeding the whole family.
Now I have a new feral that’s moved into my yard and never leaves! The other ones come and go every few days or weeks but this one was already TNR’d by someone else and it just hangs out in my yard all day and waits for food. It never seems to go in the woods to hunt or anything. My pet cat is annoyed and chases it. The poor thing seems really friendly, not as wild as the others. It just wants to be friends with the other cats and even the raccoon.
I feel like I should stop feeding it so it can learn to hunt for itself, I think I’m doing it a real disservice by making it so dependent on me. I’d like to move eventually.
I thought maybe I should stop feeding everything for awhile, summer is a good time to hunt for food. Maybe it will move on? But I know I will feel horrible when it’s sitting down there waiting for food. Plus I’d still like to feed the older deaf feral that I have that only shows up once in awhile. This is really starting to cause stress in my life! Thanks for the help!!! Lee Ann
 

fionasmom

TCS Member
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Jun 21, 2014
Messages
5,324
Purraise
7,680
Location
Los Angeles
The ferals you already feed are dependent on your for food. Not feeding them will certainly cause them to go hungry. I don't know about your area, but around here there would certainly not be enough to hunt to keep cats going.

Can you do some kind of timed feeding? Even clicker train the cats to come when you have the food. The local TNR group does that and all cats eat within a time frame to cut down on wildlife coming for the food. Leaving food out may be the problem.

Can you relocate where you feed the ferals or feed them in a place where the raccoon won't have access? Wait until the raccoons leave and get the idea that there is no food today? The cats will be hungry while you do this, especially if they were used to round the clock food, but at least they will have food.

If you are planning on moving, start to figure out now what you can do to help the cats you will leave behind. Someone is doing TNR so does someone else feed? Rescue for anyone who might have the chance at adoption?
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #3

leeann77

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
Nov 21, 2014
Messages
62
Purraise
16
I know there’s enough for them to hunt because sometimes I won’t see the other two for months! I am SO curious who TNR’d this new one that showed up. The other ones that I have are way more wild, I can’t get anywhere near them. But this new one is young and I can tell it’s very friendly but I won’t try to pet it. That’s how I ended up with the one that lives with me! I just wish it was more wild and go hunt in the woods I have around me but it’s down there every time I check. I even asked my aunt if she needed a barn cat but they have too many already.
I guess for now I will try feeding him way later in the morning, hopefully the raccoon will give up early and go sleep somewhere.
Sometimes I just feel like I should’ve never started this because now I’m kind of held hostage by it. I know that makes me sound horrible but everyone thinks I’m nuts for putting myself in this predicament.
Thanks for listening!
 

FeebysOwner

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Jun 13, 2018
Messages
13,976
Purraise
18,658
Location
Central FL (Born in OH)
It's not the same thing, but I totally get the 'feeling trapped/held hostage' thing. I started out feeding squirrels - frankly for my own (and my cat's) entertainment, and they are now dependent on me. So, I do it everyday because of it. But, all of that aside, this cat needs to be trapped and given a chance to have a home. What are your options for heading in that direction? This cat is not like the other ferals you have, and I can't address why you are having a raccoon issue if you didn't have one before. But, the bottom line, this one cat needs to be given a chance for true domestication and out of the feral world. He is truly not a feral, nor apparently was he ever intended to be.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #5

leeann77

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
Nov 21, 2014
Messages
62
Purraise
16
I have the same feeling, that maybe this one could have a home. But what if I domesticate it more and can’t find a home? I can’t keep it, my 20 yr old cat just passed away and I still have another former feral that I did take in. Someone at work said their parents might need a barn cat (they sound very caring) but I’d be afraid of taking it somewhere and it would run away and then be lost. At least it’s pretty safe in my yard/woods.
I’m really afraid it’s going to start coming up to the house- the one that lives with me now climbed on my roof looking for me at 4 am and now lives with me! Lol
 

Jcatbird

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Dec 5, 2017
Messages
8,816
Purraise
48,052
Location
Southern U.S.
There is a process for relocating cats so they are not likely to run away but this one seems to just need a home. Perhaps he had a human who got sick or passed away and he has no where else to turn. If he has been a pet then it is not likely he will be able to hunt like a feral. Especially if there is already competition with real ferals for food. He needs your help. Have you checked around for rescue groups or fosters that might help? You can do a google search on your city, county, state to look on even try Nextdoor.com website to try and find a home nearby.
As for the raccoons, I don’t know if this will work for you as it did for me but I bought a strobe light for cheap in the flashlight section of Home Depot. Obviously it won’t be much of a deterrent during the day but at night I left mine on where the raccoon had been coming up and it scared him off along with an owl. Non toxic and it worked. Lol Life got easier and the ferals were undisturbed by the raccoon. For other intruders I set up a possum feeding station. I just put a little food father away from where the cats were eating. The cats got fed just at dusk and late morning but possum got fed after dark.
Just so you know, it is possible to socialize some ferals for adoption too. Every cat is different but if you plan to move, it would be possible to do this if you plan ahead. I got over 80 ferals socialized, spayed and neutered and adopted out over time. A relief to me and a much better life for them. Thank you for all you are doing to help those kitties. Undoubtably, you have saved lives.:clap2::goldstar:
 

Maria Bayote

Mama of 5 Cats, 4 Dogs , 2 Budgies & 2 Humans
Top Cat
Joined
Jan 15, 2018
Messages
3,179
Purraise
8,626
and it just hangs out in my yard all day and waits for food. It never seems to go in the woods to hunt or anything.
I agree with the others. This little guy needs someone who will regularly feed him. From the looks of it, it does seem he can't hunt for his own food. Other than the advices above, I do hope you can ask any of your friends or relatives, or also post it on your socmed to help this guy find a permanent home if you can't be able to take him in.

Thank you very much for your help for these helpless cats. You have indeed given them the care, kindness and compassion they deserve.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #8

leeann77

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
Nov 21, 2014
Messages
62
Purraise
16
Thanks everyone! Well Day 1 didn’t go well, I was going to wait until later to put the food out but one of the old ferals started heading up to the house. Then the new feral and the raccoon were thinking about it too! So I thought well, I’ll just put food out and they’ll eat and all go away. The raccoon had her two babies with her and was running everywhere looking for food, coming after me! The neighbors chickens were in an uproar, it was chaos!
Plus my poor pet cat just wants to go in her yard.
I am amazed you found homes for 80 cats, that’s wonderful!!!! Maybe I will try to find a home for this little guy, it’s a pretty cat. I don’t think it was a pet before because his ear is tipped. He might just be extra friendly because he’s young? I know it’s easier to domesticate them when they’re young.
Thanks again!!!
 

Dtm1966-2

TCS Member
Kitten
Joined
Jun 13, 2021
Messages
11
Purraise
15
Sounds like the friendly new cat needs to be trapped and given a home. It probably a pet that was abandoned and has no idea how to hunt. If you stop feeding it it is likely to die. The reason it stays is it’s a pet that doesn’t know what to do. The racoon females get aggressive about food this time of year is because they are nursing and crave crave crave protein. They need it to make milk. This particular female has discovered a great source of protein sees it (instinctively) as a means to provide enough food for he babies. Hopefully once see raises her litter she will stop being so aggressive and become more fearful of you. Don’t leave free food out there at night. If she doesn’t back off and once relocating her will not be a death sentence for her babies You can have her moved
 

Dtm1966-2

TCS Member
Kitten
Joined
Jun 13, 2021
Messages
11
Purraise
15
Another option for the raccoon is to buy cheap dog food for the raccoon mom. Put a bowl for her away from the cat feeding area. Chase her away from the cat bowls but let her eat at the dog food bowl. Just don’t let the cats eat the dog food. I know it’s a hassle but at the barn the females back off this bahavior when they stop nursing.
 

fionasmom

TCS Member
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Jun 21, 2014
Messages
5,324
Purraise
7,680
Location
Los Angeles
I have done the decoy bowl of food for skunks and raccoons that D Dtm1966-2 is suggesting. It can work in some cases and has for me. It got rid of what where about 5 skunks who had decided that they smelled cat food that I put out for my very regular and long term TNRed ferals.

People who TNR, like myself, normally trap any cat who shows up in the trap (baring a clearly known and owned neighborhood cat). As such, a cat who is not exactly feral, or even a badly cared for or abandoned pet cat can end up getting fixed and ear tipped. I feed a cat right now with an ear tip who is just not that feral and I suspect an abandoned pet. Your new cat may well be an abandoned pet who does not know how to find food. He does deserve a chance at a good life. If he were to be relocated, as Jcatbird Jcatbird said, there is a process, but I also agree that this guy needs a home.

I feed squirrels and have fed crows for years. Crows are at least as smart as four year olds and if I don't get the meal out on time, their leader Edgar Allan Crow comes to the back fence and sits and yells at me. Yes, it starts something.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #12

leeann77

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
Nov 21, 2014
Messages
62
Purraise
16
Thank you for the good advice!! I’m slowly moving my feeding station further down into the woods, it seems to have calmed the chaos in the morning with the raccoon running all over the yard. You’re right, she has babies with her! I’m slowly trying to get closer to the more tame kitty, he is always down there. Now I wish I’d gone ahead and trapped him just to check for a microchip but I’m assuming someone already did.
Do you think I should just slowly try to tame him a little more, maybe be able to pet him? I don’t think I can find him a home until he’s not so skittish. I have the rest of summer, I will feel horrible if he’s still down there this winter even though I put a little heating pad in a Rubbermaid feral house. Winter is still rough in Pittsburgh!
 

fionasmom

TCS Member
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Jun 21, 2014
Messages
5,324
Purraise
7,680
Location
Los Angeles
The decoy ploy has its drawbacks, but I have never had it fail when I had to get wildlife to move away from the cats.

You are right that a skittish kitten is not going to get a home and I think that you should proceed with trying to tame him. If you really work at it, he should respond. I still think he sounds like a cat who at one time had human contact or was just caught up in a TNR sweep (not a bad thing) but is not truly feral.
 
Top