Sunday, November 29, 2009

Feeding the Ferals


So, to answer the question about why I wanted a remote-controlled cat-feeder...

We have a couple of feral kitties, who are part-time residents of our back yard. They're incredibly shy, and seem not very happy about the fact that Robb and I spend a lot of time outside. "Sleeves" in particular seems unhappy with our presence. This cat treats us like an unpleasant hallucination. It ignores us as much as possible, and seems to be doing the feline equivalent of sticking its fingers in its ears and humming, "la-la-la...I can't see you."

"Sleeves" was, initially, a lot braver than "Cardigan." "Cardigan" would run for its life as soon as it saw us. I've been trying to convince the cats that we have no intention of murdering them, but they remain unconvinced.

To earn their trust, I've been bribing them with food.

The problem is that "Sleeves" is way more of a food-hound than timid little "Cardigan." Because I was setting out food for multiple cats, and "Sleeves" was eating all of it, I wanted to be able to lift the food out of reach if "Cardigan" wasn't around. Robb built a very amusing levitating food bowl, but we realized that this was probably not a very good solution.

I figured that eventually the cats love of food would win out over their fear of humans. But this is going to take some time.

Robb took this last photograph. Do you see that we actually have three neighbor cats? So far, the cat in the middle of this group hasn't eaten any of the food that I've set out. He's really uncomfortable around us.


Anonymous said...

Lisa, you and Robb are so compassionate. I love the blue eyes on the one kitty.

I too have been feeding feral cats for years. Right now we have only one, a big fluffy white and silver guy. -Rose

Anonymous said...

The only thing I have ever learned about feral kitties is to ignore them- the more I ignore them, the more they come around. Talking to them till they get used to your voice also seems to work, so the successful oxymoron seems to be telling them ... "I cant see you, I cant see you".

I love the picture of the backyard. I want to put in a small herb garden by ours, even if it is a raised bed. I did some reading, and all sorts of mint as well as strawberries seem to grow really well under fruit trees. Different fruit trees seem to better support different "understory" plants, so do some research for your specific trees and region.

The cats look very beautiful and healthy!


2007 said...

Our Bobo (formally Hobo--before he decided to come into the house) was skittish, skinny and runny-eyed and I couldn't figure out why he wouldn't eat the food he'd asked for. The people at the rescue center said that some cats just don't 'get' dry food. I set out canned food and, voila! Turns out Bobo had missing lower teeth, mouth sores and throat ulcers so it hurt when he ate dry food.
Took 6 months of talking to him and sitting closer and closer to convince him we were his Mommy and Daddy and, two years later, he'll be damned if he'll sleep anywhere but our bed and we have to encourage him to venture outdoors at all.
Your kitties are beautiful--good luck!!

Anonymous said...

We went through this 3 years ago with Bobo--formally Hobo. He was skittish, skinny and runny-eyed but wouldn’t eat the food he seemed to be begging fo. The person at the rescue center said some cats don’t ‘get’ dry food. I put canned out and, voila! Turns out Bobo had mouth sores, throat ulcers and no bottom teeth so it probably hurt to eat dry.

It took 6 months of talking to him and sitting closer and closer before he decided we were Mommy and Daddy. Now, he’ll be damned if he’ll sleep anywhere but our bed and we have to encourage him to go outdoors at all.

Your kitties are beautiful and will be your ‘kids’ soon I think.

Anonymous said...

Our current barn cat Sneakers came to us from a farm, and also had a horrible dental infection as well- turned out it had been kicked in the head by a cow and had its major fangs kicked out- and it was horribly infected, but concealed it- When we took it to the vet and put her on antibiotics, it finally got to eat dry food, but it lived on tuna for a good bit and so didnt loose too much weight. Try the tuna, and you will soon be GODS.


Anonymous said...

Try adding birth control pills....


Anonymous said...

I hope you are planning to catch them and remove their reproductive hardware. Its a real shame when people let feral cats just keep breeding


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