Trying to figure out if this cat is feral or not

  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #21

QueenofWinter

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
Jan 25, 2020
Messages
39
Reaction score
69
Location
Virginia
I live in northern Virginia. It’s 29 degrees right now. This cat usually stays on our step for hours, curled up in a ball. She leaves in the morning. She doesn’t seem to know how to find a warm spot to sleep. She won’t get in the cat house. Cats usually know how to survive even in the winter, but she seems different. That’s why I worry about her so much.
 

sabian

TCS Member
Super Cat
Joined
Mar 11, 2017
Messages
828
Reaction score
1,713
Location
North Carolina
Well I guess at this point you'll just have to wait and see if she does come back. I think she will. Maybe try putting the food in the cat house when you feed her and maybe she'll put 2 and 2 together. I think bigbadbass fed buggy for 2 months before he even started that thread.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #23

QueenofWinter

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
Jan 25, 2020
Messages
39
Reaction score
69
Location
Virginia
But someone sayed that the reason she is staying right in front of our door is because she is asking for help. Would it be wrong to not give her to a family that can help her? I don’t want to be selfish. It’s so dangerous for her outside. She deserves a chance at true happiness. If something were to happen to her while crossing the street to get to my house, I’d never forgive myself.
 

tabbytom

Happiness is being owned by a cat
Staff Member
Mentor
Joined
May 12, 2016
Messages
12,332
Reaction score
14,493
Location
Lion City, Singa-purr
Q QueenofWinter , I've read your thread over a few times so that I try not to miss out anything. First and foremost, please calm down and get yourself settled. This mission has to be done with a calm mind and if not, rash decisions making will make matters worst.

You've got very good response and suggestions from our members which is what most of it is already mentioned.

I just want to add one or two more things to it. Firstly, I hope that this kitty will return after being in your house for a brief moment. Now, if she does return again, before that, can you like move the cat house out front to the porch were she always stays at and place it near the steps away from the trash can. Also if you can, spare some enzyme cleaner on the trash can where the other tom cat had sprayed on so as to clear the scent and maybe deter him and other male cats from returning.

Second, since she has already marked you by rubbing her scent on you, get some of your clean unwashed non perfumed clothings and place it in the cat house. She'll recognize your scent and that may make her go into the cat house without much fear.

Thirdly, a feral will not meow at humans so I guess she is not a feral but probably an abandoned stray who has hooman contacts before but have bad experience with the former hoomans and therefore she is on the cautious side.

Fourthly, try the open door feeding again and this time, give her lots of assurance by talking softly to her letting her get use to your loving voice and always do the slow eye blinks with her and look away so that this to show that she is in command.
Once she's in and safely, close the door and keep her in no matter what noise she make. She'll calm down after awhile as she compose herself because being behind close doors may bring back her past memories and if you shower her with tender loving care, she'll feel the difference and will eventually be more at ease. Then slowly lead her tho her safe room which is the bathroom and work more on her without scaring her. Give her time and she'll be ok. Most importantly that she must be indoors.

Do continue the updates please.
 
Last edited:

Blank.starr

TCS Member
Young Cat
Joined
Jan 21, 2020
Messages
26
Reaction score
49
Update: So we’ve continued to feed her and she has become much more comfortable with us. She comes close and has started rubbing her body against my legs. She still does not want to come into the house. We’ve tried leaving the bowl of food inside our house next to the open door so she can leave if she wants, but she won’t stay. We put the cat house near her, filled with straw. We’ve also put a box with straw and a heat retaining pad inside to see if she’d rather lay in that. She isn’t interested in either spot. She just stays on the step outside. Unfortunately our feeding her seems to have attracted another cat. We’ve never seen him before, but he is definitely a boy because he sprayed our trashcan. He was laying in the box with the pad in it. He looks very young and not at all aggressive. He wants food. They look at each other but have not fought. Their behavior confuses me. When I looked outside a few minutes ago, they were both under one of our parked cars together. They’re not fighting. Does he possibly want to mate with her? I hope they get along. I don’t want anything bad happening to either of them. It breaks my heart knowing their are so many cats out in the cold. I’d help them all if I could. View attachment 319668
From my experience, a male cat will be much less aggressive toward a female than it would another male, as with any type of cat, domestic or wild. They won't fight unless one gets too curious and wanders a little too close, regardless of the others warnings. I wouldn't worry too much about that.
 

tabbytom

Happiness is being owned by a cat
Staff Member
Mentor
Joined
May 12, 2016
Messages
12,332
Reaction score
14,493
Location
Lion City, Singa-purr
She hasn’t come back. 😢
Just :hangin: on in there for awhile. She could have found food elsewhere but I guess she'll be back.

Can you take a walk around the area and bring some treats with you and see if you can get a glimpse of her and softly calling out for her. She'll recognize your voice and maybe leave some food on your porch but just make sure no other cats or animals come eat it.
 

Norachan

Moderator
Staff Member
Moderator
Joined
May 27, 2013
Messages
23,800
Reaction score
20,670
Location
Mount Fuji, Japan
It's quite common for cats to start yowling when they find themselves in a strange space. Even very tame cats do it if their owner moves house or if they are re-homed. It can be very upsetting to listen to, but it doesn't usually continue for that long. The last couple of cats I took in yelled their heads off for about three days before they realised they weren't in any danger.

If you do re-home her with the family that are interested in her she's going to do exactly the same thing at their house. You need to make sure they understand that she is going to be very vocal at first, but that they should keep her contained in one room no matter what until she gets used to her new territory.

If you decide that you'd rather keep her at your place and slowly coax her back indoors that's fine too. We can give you advice on making her feel at home and introducing her to your resident pets.

:hangin: I'm sure she'll be back soon.
 

sabian

TCS Member
Super Cat
Joined
Mar 11, 2017
Messages
828
Reaction score
1,713
Location
North Carolina
I think she'll come back too. At least I hope so. I was trying figure out what kind of noise she could be making when you said it was the worst noise you've ever heard. It probably was yowling. I would describe it as a mix of a howl and a meow. I've had a couple of Maine Coons in the past that would do it. They would run through the house yowling and you would think they were in excruciating pain. Apparently some MC's just do this. I've had other people that had MC's say that theirs would do it.

I would try what tabbytom tabbytom has suggested with cleaning the trash can and moving it away as well as moving the cat house closer to her sitting spot and also as Jcatbird Jcatbird said put some food at the very back in case she comes back after you go to bed. I feed Manny his nightly treat at the back of his carrier so he doesn't freak out as much when I take him to the vet.

Norachan Norachan makes a good point in that if you take her to the other family she's going to do the exact same thing and then there's also the danger that she will try and make it back to her " familiar territory " and get hurt in the process so she'll have to be locked down tight so she can't escape if you do that. Tama, again one of my late MC's done some yowling to when I made a move to a new house. I don't remember it lasting long. Like maybe a couple of hours but, he adjusted pretty quick and stopped.

Keep us updated and hopefully she'll show up soon!
 

Blank.starr

TCS Member
Young Cat
Joined
Jan 21, 2020
Messages
26
Reaction score
49
One of my cats is a mix breed and he just yowls, just because. Sometimes he does it when his food dish is empty, did it lots when we moved into a new apartment, and he does it every single night as soon as everyone goes to bed. Sometimes we can even here him yowling around the apartment as we walk down the hall when we leave for work. Some cats just do.
 

Jcatbird

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Dec 5, 2017
Messages
6,952
Reaction score
35,568
Location
Southern U.S.
Try not to panic. It’s not uncommon for a kitty to go hide for a little while if something different happens. She is very likely to return. It occurs to me that maybe she belongs to someone near you and perhaps she accidently got shut out. They could have been away for a few days and unaware she was out but have returned now. Perhaps she is safely tucked away at home. Have you asked around the area? You might find her that way. If you can get your scent on a piece of clothing as tabbytom suggested, that’s a great way to let her know you have been outside looking for her. Place a piece of clothing on the doorstep where she was staying. Her sense of smell is very keen and she’ll pick up your scent. You can put other pieces of clothing, towels or whatever might have your scent on it in any place you would want her to settle in for the night. Hang in there. Cats are masters at staying hidden so she could also be watching you each time you go outside. Call her , don’t stop looking and continue the exact same routine you have been doing. She may need a little reassurance. Don’t give up. If she still needs your help, she’ll return.
 

sabian

TCS Member
Super Cat
Joined
Mar 11, 2017
Messages
828
Reaction score
1,713
Location
North Carolina
Jcatbird Jcatbird I was kind of thinking like you. If in fact the ear is clipped and not an injury like you said. That cat looks pretty healthy. I think everyone pretty much agree it's not a feral. Which means it probably came from some kind of rescue situation and either belongs to someone or it has been dumped after being rescued. Which would suck but, would also mean that cats been through a lot!
 

Jcatbird

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Dec 5, 2017
Messages
6,952
Reaction score
35,568
Location
Southern U.S.
It’s always a bit of a puzzle when a cat like that just appears. I have found the family of lost kitties before. One neighbor had his cat run off when they got a puppy and didn’t know she was hiding under a trailer for weeks. I found her and wondered about her story. I was worried. She vanished from here when her family located her but then reappeared here a month later. This time I caught her and brought her in and was able to connect with my neighbor and everything turned out fine when she adjusted to the puppy. I’ve also located dumped kitties and ferals. It takes a little time to understand the needs of the individual cat. I think that either this cat is with other humans or she is still very near this home and will reappear. If she reappears then I think it would be best to bring her in until the ideal solution for her is determined. It’s my experience that although a cat may appear frantic or scared, reassurance that you are not going to harm them will calm them. Then you have time to figure out your next step.
 

sabian

TCS Member
Super Cat
Joined
Mar 11, 2017
Messages
828
Reaction score
1,713
Location
North Carolina
Curious as to if she is chipped? I know a lot of rescues do that. Manny was chipped. A long time ago a friend of my had a cat. He had it for a few years I think. Him and his wife had a couple babies and the cat disappeared. Indoor/outdoor cat. A few weeks later he was going to the store or something and seen his cat sitting in the driveway about 7 houses down from his. Apparently the babies freaked the cat out and the cat just bailed. :lol: He talked to the people that lived there and they had been feeding it. He asked them if they liked him. They said yes. He said " Fine he's yours, but if he comes back home you can't have him back! Let him make up his own mind! :lol:
 

tabbytom

Happiness is being owned by a cat
Staff Member
Mentor
Joined
May 12, 2016
Messages
12,332
Reaction score
14,493
Location
Lion City, Singa-purr
Curious as to if she is chipped? I know a lot of rescues do that.
Sometimes it's a requirement by the state laws (depending on which part of the world you are from) that all rescue have to be clipped as the cats are always released back to where they came from.

My boy is a rescue and when I brought him to the vet to get him neutered when it was time, they asked if I wanted to have his ears clipped and I said no because he's an indoor cat. So they wrote on the neuter form 'No Ear Clipping'

So, the answer to your question could be a lot of speculation as to why she is straying around but we hope she returns and go into the house.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #36

QueenofWinter

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
Jan 25, 2020
Messages
39
Reaction score
69
Location
Virginia
She returned tonight. She seems ok and not too changed by what happened. We put a new mat on our step. A special cat mat that retains heat. But she doesn’t want to lay on it. She has been sitting near our parked car instead. I fed her once, then she disappeared for a little while. When she came back, she was chewing on something that I later figured out was a mouse. I don’t know where she found it. I hope she doesn’t get sick from it. She ate the whole thing! Now she disappeared again. I’m not sure if it’s because of the mat on her usual spot or she just doesn’t want to be near the door anymore. She seems to stay close by. I don’t know if I should move the mat from her usual spot or not.

By the way, the people that want her have experience with feral cats. They have a few of their own. They also take care of any stray or feral cats in the neighborhood.

We ended up putting the cat house in the backyard again because the male white and orange cat has been using it, and I think it would be best to keep them separate.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #37

QueenofWinter

TCS Member
Thread starter
Young Cat
Joined
Jan 25, 2020
Messages
39
Reaction score
69
Location
Virginia
It occurs to me that maybe she belongs to someone near you and perhaps she accidently got shut out. They could have been away for a few days and unaware she was out but have returned now. Perhaps she is safely tucked away at home. Have you asked around the area?
We’ve posted her image to our online neighborhood community message board. No one has claimed her, so far. We seem to have quite a few stray and feral cats wandering our neighborhood.
 

tabbytom

Happiness is being owned by a cat
Staff Member
Mentor
Joined
May 12, 2016
Messages
12,332
Reaction score
14,493
Location
Lion City, Singa-purr
She returned tonight. She seems ok and not too changed by what happened.
0F54D0BB-7345-49C0-8F5D-E19D646202BA$L0$001~photo.GIF
Glad she came back!

It's good that she's hunting for her own food while she was away.

I think it's ok to leave the mat there but place e some of your clean unwashed garments there so that your scent will give her the confidence to stay on the mat. Since the people you mentioned wants her, you can work with them to trap this kitty. She does need a warm and fur-ever loving home.
 

bigbadbass

TCS Member
Alpha Cat
Joined
Dec 14, 2016
Messages
487
Reaction score
1,060
Location
Long Island, New York
Q QueenofWinter you're getting good solid advise from TCS here. tabbytom tabbytom advised me throughout my 6 month ordeal with Bug and continues to advise me still!

Anyways...I'm far from expert but can tell you great PATIENCE required on your part. There will be disappointments and setbacks along the way. Be prepared in knowing that setbacks are inevitable.
Bug appeared in summer....near 6 months between his appearance and his eating indoors, sleeping in a heated house outdoors and eventual January 9 "capture". Prior to capture, he routinely ate and left to wander in snowstorms. Don't want to bore y'all...plenty of detail in the Bug thread.

Next I'll submit FOOD as the great equalizer. As much as they want freedom, a food source is mandatory. I'd guess she'll be back as you've become a food source....a primary magnet of sorts.

Keep doing what you are doing, allowing time for her to change her routine.
 

Jcatbird

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Dec 5, 2017
Messages
6,952
Reaction score
35,568
Location
Southern U.S.
Give her time to check out the mat. Anything new must be investigated. Lol I think you’ll find her on it in time. A fresh meal is a good sign that her instincts are working. I’m so glad she returned and that she showed you that she can hunt. Every cat does things at their own pace. I still think you’ll see her on your doorstep again. As tabbytom said, put an item of clothing there to encourage her. She knows you and not only allowed a pet but marked you as acceptable by rubbing against you. All very good indicators that you have her kitty seal of approval. Continue the same routine. Cats like routines.
 
Top