For the last several days, I have noticed a small, black cat in the more deserted area of Liberty Station, near where I work. I first encountered him when I was driving on Truxton, to the uninitiated the main drag in Liberty Station. He darted in front of my car, then ran into one of the undeveloped building's courtyard. He then proceeded to go down a hole in the ground, a hole created by nature that just happened to be adjacent to a storm drain. This was his home.

I brought him food for the next two days, wondering what to do about him. At this point, I assumed he was a she. I would observe him from a distance, because every time I tried to get too close, he ran into his hole. It was after the first day that I noticed on him a strange marking, or what I thought to be a marking. Around his neck was a two and one-half inch diameter tan band. I realized immediately that it was a foreign object, but I could not confirm it.

I know what to do. I've trapped cats before, but this one was different. He was wild in a way that I have never experienced. They call them feral, but they are essentially the equivalent of catching a raccoon. I wasn't sure, while my fingers were dialing the number of animal control, if I was making the right decision, but it was that thing around his neck that drove me.

Of course, animal control is far to busy to be able to come and trap a cat. Even one that has been abused. I understand. There are just far too many, and they don't have the resources. They suggested I trap him, to which I readily responded I would. Yesterday, I called my husband and asked him to stop off at animal control in Linda Vista on his way home and pick up the trap. He brought it home, and I tested it a couple of times. They are actually quite simple, but if you have never used one before, you will be confounded. It is a trip plate, set by a rod against another rod that shuts the door, but the door must be opened by lifting what appear initially to be a useless set of rings.

I get it set up, lining it with newspaper and baiting it with a trail of Fancy Feast leading to a full can in the back. Then, I go back to my car and wait. He comes out almost right away, and my heart leaps. I am actually now watching with binoculars, and at this point I confirm that what is around his neck should not be there. He suddenly darts back into his hole. We wait 15 minutes. We go for a walk to kill time, but I can feel it. The cat is in the trap. We race back, and the trap, which is covered with a towel, is violently shaking. I remove the towel, and draw a deep breath. Around his neck is a hard, stiff cardboard ring, the type which is used as a spool for packing tape. It is not flimsy. It is thick and hard, like wood, and wide. It is smaller than his head, so it had to have been shoved on with considerable force. He is flinging himself against the cage, hissing and hurting himself. One of his claws is bleeding and he has a wound on his head. He urinates on himself. I have my husband run to the car, and get my phone and the card for animal control.

Oh, how I had hoped he would be just a stray!! I look at what I have done and I start to cry. The cat is looking at me, wild-eyed, hissing, lying in his own urine. I know a thing or two about cats. But I was not prepared for this. I wanted this to be one of my success stories, one that I could look back on with pride. Tonight, as I write this, this is not the case.

I called animal control, and was given a thorough dressing down about trapping an animal after business hours, because they cannot receive them. It was 6:00 p.m. I remain calm, and explain to the woman that this poor creature has the equivalent of a noose around its neck, getting tighter every day the cat grows, and this is why I trapped him. I ask the woman what are my options, as I know I cannot take a wild animal home. She finally acquiesces, and admits that I can take the cat to the emergency veterinary facility in Mission Valley. They work with this facility, but I suppose this is information they give grudgingly, because it costs money. I put the cat in my car, and sit in the back with him. It looks at me as I am trying to calm him down, hisses at me, and tries to swat me through the cage. As we are driving, he becomes remarkably calmer, almost as if he remembered being in a car once. My spirits brighten a bit. Leaving the car, he becomes again hysterical.

Once inside the emergency facility, I am trying to explain desperately the details surrounding the cat. They calmly take him away, have me fill out a form, explain that they will sedate him, examine him, and, as the attendant told me, "remove that thing from its neck". At this point, I am still thinking, maybe he's one of the ones that are just scared. Wouldn't he have to have trusted people enough at one point to allow someone to get close enough to abuse him? I am delusional. I want this to have a happy ending, but I know in my heart this time is different. The attendants know as well. They give me a number to call to check on his condition last night, and inform me that animal control will pick him up and take over as of today. I called them two hours later (the time they recommended) and they informed me he was a boy (thank God, as I was concerned about a litter of kittens), and that he was neutered. Again, my hopes went up. They instruct me to call animal control in the morning.

My morning feels strange. Used to checking on the cat for the last three mornings, I suddenly realize that the cat is in captivity because of me, and I have no valiant deed to attend to. I go to my office, and stare at the phone. I pick it up, and I call animal control. They have a phone bank that is difficult to maneuver. I speak to someone who makes me feel extremely incompetent because I have a reference number the emergency vet gave me that is useless to them. She finally finds the animal I am calling about. Her exact words - cat with cardboard around neck. Yes, that's the one, I tell her. She transfers me to the medical unit. I speak with a woman who is so mean to me, so jaded, so beyond dealing with the thousands of feral cats brought in that she thinks I am one of the ones that think a feral cat can be a pet. I ask her about the cat's condition. He is dehydrated, has a skin condition, but other than that, they run no further tests. She tells me he has been ear-clipped, which means he was a catch and release. This makes me sad, the realization that he is truly feral sinking in. Someone had caught him before, had him neutered, and released him back to where he was found. There is much controversy surrounding this. Most feral cats die within five years, if they are lucky. Their lives are ones of hardship, disease, crippling accidents, parasites, and abuse. Some feel euthanasia to be the more humane choice, others think they should be returned to their natural habitat. The woman then goes on to tell me that he actually is truly feral, that they will hold him for 72 hours by law, and then I could make the decision what to do with him. I had put on his paperwork to call me for what they call a "last chance". She also told me that should his condition decline, they would take the necessary route to humanely treat him. I ask her what she would do and she tells me that she cannot make that decision for me. I tell her that of course I want to do the responsible thing and not let an animal suffer by returning him to a life of hell and she yells at me that not all people feel that way, but I know that euthanasia is their condoned method of treating the feral cat problem. I start to cry. I asked her why, if she was supposed to be helping, was she being such an as*hole to me. I just want to know what to do. They can't tell you anything. They can't say one way or the other what direction to take because of potential liablity. She softened a bit, gave me a number to call so I don't have to go through the phone bank, and said she was sorry we got off to a bad start. I realized then that she knew I was suffering because I tried to help a creature that desperately needed it and it was hopeless.

Ingrid Newkirk's words have helped me today. An advocate of humane euthanasia, she said either way you play God. You kill the animal by condemning it to death at the hands of a humane end, or by bringing it back to its horrible life, suffering, starving, being abused. I could bring it food everyday. Make it more comfortable. It could live longer if it were not for me.

I never, ever want to play God again.

More like this:

Comments

antigeekess May 29, 2009 @ 11:15 p.m.

I've agonized over this one myself. You always wonder what's best.

So....you decided it was time to send kitty to his next life, then?

If not, there are other things you could think about.

  • Cat Lady
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MsGrant May 30, 2009 @ 8:27 a.m.

This poor animal is completely unadoptable. It was living alone, not in a colony, and was barely surviving. How do I put him back there? He is in bad shape. I could hear it in the voices of the people I spoke to. Don't try to be a hero. But I think about him now, in a cage, terrified, waiting to die. Because I tried to help. I have never been responsible for the death of any living creature. I'll save a bug if it's struggling. This is awful. I know in my heart that this kitty is better off dying a humane death, rather than a slow, painful one of exposure and disease. I just wish it wasn't me who put him there.

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HubCats May 31, 2009 @ 7:18 a.m.

If you WERE God, you would know what his life was like - but you're not, and you don't. The fact that he'd been trapped and eartipped meant that he was/is being fed and cared about by someone - probably nearby his hidey-hole. He probably stuck his own head through the cardboard ring. You live in the feral cat capital of the world! Talk to the feral cat coalition, or visit their website fcc.org, to get a different perspective. YOU might not want a feral cat's life, but they're as attached to their lives and outdoor home, as we are to ours! I can assure you - cats can live healthy happy lives outdoors - if they're neutered. It was a wonderful service that you accomplished for him - he's truly a lucky feral, to be helped twice by the kindness of strangers. Take a look at this, on Ingrid Newkirk: http://www.nathanwinograd.com/?p=1199
or Google "PETA kills pets"

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antigeekess May 31, 2009 @ 8:26 a.m.

Wow. HubCats, are you Nathan? The FCC.org site (Feral Cat Coalition) is defunct. Apparently, they're now at FeralCat.com.

Grant, take a look at this one:
http://www.nathanwinograd.com/?p=907

I don't know if the cat stuck his head through the cardboard ring or not. It seems unlikely, but they 'can' get themselves into some interesting predicaments like that. At any rate, it had to be removed, and you did him a great service by making that happen. You had no choice but to trap him to have that done. But HubCats has a point: SOMEbody trapped him before, since he was eartipped. This means he probably had his shots when neutered as well. He may even have been receiving food and water from some source.

Ken Kesey, author of "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" once wrote that "No one can judge the value of another's trip." So true.

Life is hard. For all creatures. The wild ones have to hunt for food. They are subject to injury if they make a mistake or have an accident. Would you recommend that all wild animals be euthanized because of that?

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MsGrant May 31, 2009 @ 9:54 a.m.

It wasn't flimsy cardboard. It was at least one quarter inch thick and two and one half inches wide. It was choking him, and if he did not get it stuck on his neck as a kitten, it would've had to been shoved over his head. There was no indication that he was being fed, and when I first encountered him, he was running across the street, a fair distance away from his home. No responsible person would leave food across a busy street. I know PETA euthanizes. Have you seen the condition of the animals they encounter? Cancers that have eaten half a dog's face, cats abused beyond recognition. Anyway, the purpose of my writing about this is not to debate PETA's practices. I wanted to help this poor animal, and I have now sentenced him to death. I don't want him to be destroyed, but I do not think animal control will give him back to me. Their attitude when I tried to speak with them on Friday was one of inevitable euthanasia. When I first called them after I had trapped the cat, the woman I spoke with was extremely hostile. She was angry with me for catching him after business hours. When I called the next day, I was given no options other than to call on Monday to see if someone had claimed him. And I do not agree that feral cats should be treated like a raccoon or a skunk. The mere fact that they are cats leaves them much more vulnerable to human interference. I am a prime example of that. I do not know what to do. I wish I had never seen him. If anything, I hope this story serves as a terrible reminder to not interfere with God's plan. No good deed goes unpunished.

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magicsfive May 31, 2009 @ 12:15 p.m.

you did the best u could MsG. i love your heart. <3

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antigeekess May 31, 2009 @ 12:44 p.m.

"Their attitude when I tried to speak with them on Friday was one of inevitable euthanasia. When I first called them after I had trapped the cat, the woman I spoke with was extremely hostile. She was angry with me for catching him after business hours."

Yeah, your experience kinda underscores the notion that maybe it's more of a "business" than anything else, doesn't it? I'm starting to think that's the case with most large charitable orgs. (The American Cancer Society being first among those, but that's another subject.)

I dunno, MsG -- maybe you could get him back and release him. You could try. I help to look after a cat who's certainly not what you'd call "feral," just offically homeless.

Sylvester makes his residence in a business park with lots of little lawns, bushes and trees. There's a creek nearby for when he runs out of water, and I wouldn't be surprised if he catches mice and bugs to supplement his diet. He's been taken to the vet, neutered, received vaccinations and released by a woman who runs one of the businesses there. I even drive up and check on him sometimes on Sundays, or especially if there's a long holiday weekend because I know no one else will be there to feed & water him. He's not at all underweight, though. In fact, he could stand to lose a pound or two.

If you could possibly get this one back, and find an area with some kind of fresh water supply nearby and a nice field full of bugs and mice for him, you'd probably feel better.

As for his being "unadoptable," well, I agree that he doesn't sound much like he'd ever make what most people now consider a "pet." He's not going to cuddle with you on the couch.

But depending on your living situation, you might be able to figure 'something' out. Are you in a house, or an apartment? Admittedly, I've kinda got the mind of an overly-optimistic 5-year-old when it comes to this kind of thing.

I'm also a bit of a cat charmer. :)

(People, not so much. But cats....)

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MsGrant May 31, 2009 @ 4:20 p.m.

Thank you all for your kind comments. If you had seen this cat in the trap hissing and hurling itself against its sides and bloodying itself in the process - it scared me. And I don't scare easily. I am also a cat-charmer, anti. This was completely different from most of my encounters with felines. When we go for walks, cats come out of nowhere and rub against my leg. I was arrogant in thinking that I could somehow get this wild kitty to love me. It looked at me with pure, unadultrated terror. I live in a house with three cats and a husband. All three cats are rescues. The four of them are the loves of my life. I will call tomorrow and see if they will allow me to take the cat. But, then what?

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FeralFacts May 31, 2009 @ 7:14 p.m.

First, God's plan did not include the domestic cat. WE did that. We tamed a wild animal (Felis s. lybica) and let them roam free and now we have a serious overpopulation problem.

You 'played God' as much as people do who practice TNR. Everything is a choice. Those that release (in my opinion, re-abandon) domestic cats to the wild in TNR make a choice that life and death on the streets for domestic felines is ok. They also make a choice that results in the needless deaths of millions of wild critters that are hunted by cats.

No matter what, that cat needed assistance. You did the right thing, and as far as I am concerned, even if the cat is euthanized, you provided him a humane death. If you are not comforted by that and feel that you need to sustain the life of this cat, then consider taming. You sound like you are no novice to the world of cats, and this can be done, but takes time and effort. You could try to contact sanctuaries or provide him sanctuary in your own home.

There are countless examples of what happens to outdoor cats, managed or not. This is a perfect example of the failure of TNR.

http://tnrrealitycheck.com/

http://tnrrealitycheck.com/responsible.asp

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antigeekess May 31, 2009 @ 8:23 p.m.

Aaah, I think a "bird person" has weighed in. Take a look at those links, MsG, along with FeralCat.com and see what you think. It looks like the San Diego Feral Cat Coalition is one of the more established ones in the country.

IF you decide it's going to be a case of "in for a penny, in for a pound" instead, take a look at some of these:

http://sandiego.craigslist.org/search/sss?query=%22dog+kennel%22&minAsk=min&maxAsk=max&hasPic=1

You might try variations of dog kennel/crate/cage to catch all of the big ones.

This is what I would do, if its feasible: Crate this cat for the time being in the garage or laundry room until it settles down quite a bit. Of course, you're putting a small bed and litter box in there for him. You can probably also rig the feeder and water on the outside. Visit him frequently, talk softly to him a lot. Sing to him. Be very calm and relaxed. Sit with him while you have a snack of something he would like (chicken or tuna, maybe?) giving him the last bite between the bars before you leave. Make your presence a good visit for him. If you can put him somewhere he's out of the way but can eyeball the workings of your household's comings & goings, so much the better.

(My little Olivia was adopted at PetSmart via FOCAS in San Diego. She spent TWO MONTHS in a little cage much smaller than these largest crates.)

Of course, if there's any opportunity for your other cats to get close to him at all, you want to be 'especially' sure that he's absolutely healthy.

And I don't know what your other cats are doing -- if they're indoor, outdoor or both. If they're indoor, perhaps he could eventually be your one outdoor guy if that's doable. You might be able to eventually just leave the cage door open to let him come and go, with a kitty door into the garage or laundry room.

And yes, I know, there are worries about traffic and sadistic a-holes out there. They especially like to target BLACK cats, too. In fact, I know that shelters sometimes won't adopt out black cats around Halloween for this very reason. That's a time to guard a black cat & keep them indoors. I would definitely try to put a nice collar on him to show that he is a pet, if that ever becomes possible.

Again, if you decide that's too much, you can always investigate www.FeralCat.com. They're the feral cat experts.

Whatever you do, Grant, you've really stepped in it this time. I know I hate it when 'I' do that. There's always this Cartman "Goddammit!!!" moment, followed by that sense of resignation where you look down the road ahead of you and realize that you've just created a big ole PROJECT for yourself, and you've got to see through to one end or another. Otherwise, it'll just haunt your conscience and make you wish you had.

Like you said (I say it all the time, too): "No good deed ever goes unpunished."

:)

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MsGrant June 1, 2009 @ 7:10 a.m.

Unfortunately, this cat would not sit quietly while I fed him. He would just as soon bite my finger off. It would be unfair to my other animals as well to try and domesticate him. He is truly wild and has no use for humans. Also, the area where he lives is going to be developed soon, so bringing him back would mean risking him getting trapped in his hole or him running off somewhere else where I cannot feed him. I'll call the feral cat people and see what they have to say.

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FeralFacts June 1, 2009 @ 9:25 a.m.

Actually, "bird" and "cat" person :)

I have socialized many of these cats, even the beastier ones. The use of a taming cage, kind of like what antigeekees said, is great.

http://www.petcratesdirect.com/cat-playpens.html

This works very well, allows for easy cleaning and the feral usually stays on one of the higher shelves. He is not going to eat in front of you for a while - that is to be expected. I would advise against the use of drugs.

Best Friends, don't have the link handy, has a manual online about taming.

But again, sending him back outside, just does not seem the right answer. Have you gotten an update on him?

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MsGrant June 1, 2009 @ 5:49 p.m.

Animal control called me today and the woman I spoke with was really nice. She acknowledged that it is an awful dilemma, and there is no clear choice. He is doing well, eating voraciously, using the "facilities" but will not come out of his feral cubby if people are around. They will not test him for feline luekemia, etc., unless I decide to take him. I cannot keep him. I don't have the ability to spend the time with him that he needs to be socialized, if that is even possible. And like I said before, it would be unfair to my cats that I have now and to him. My cats do not like other cats. Sometimes they barely stand each other. I'm thinking of bringing him back to his home. If I do that, they will make sure he is not sick first. I can check on him, feed him, and if I notice that construction is beginning on the area he lives, I will decide at that time what to do next. Funny thing. I've explained to my husband how much grief I am experiencing over this, and he said "you should bring him back. You've given him a better life already by getting that thing off his neck. If you decide to have him euthanized, you would be playing God". He hasn't read this story. I told him "that's what I named my story!". Mind you, we are not religious people. I've given him a name. Clyde.

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antigeekess June 1, 2009 @ 7:04 p.m.

Well, Grant, if you've given him a name, he's definitely your cat now -- regardless of where you decide to keep him. :)

Wasn't suggesting that he'd take food from your hand for quite a while. Just that you put it down for him through the bars. Eventually, he'd most likely come to expect it, and step forward to claim his morsel. It's a shame you can't segregate him from your other cats.

Call the feral cat folks. They might have a suggestion about a colony he can join, or someone else who's willing to cage tame him.

Clyde, huh? Somehow I thought it just had to be "Lucky."

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MsGrant June 1, 2009 @ 7:36 p.m.

I'm thinkin', anti, I'm thinkin'.....

My husband is considering us keeping him as a foster feral. If anyone can show him love and affection, it's me. Husband read the story and the blog comments, and I swear he choked up. I was worried he would be upset if I took on another cat. He loves cats. He came into my life with one. One of our cats was a semi-feral. She is the one who bit me so badly I had to go to the emergency room. This is the weird part. She was de-clawed. I'd love a general consensus on what you all think is best. And no PC crap. What would you all do in my situation? Please be honest.

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antigeekess June 1, 2009 @ 9:22 p.m.

Well, I'd do the cage taming, like I detailed in #11. FeralFacts sounds like an expert at "beasty" cats, and there are more experts to help at FCC and online.

http://amby.com/cat_site/feral.html http://www.for-the-love-of-cats.com/TameFeralCat.html http://muttcats.com/articles/taming_ferals.htm http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/Pointe/9322/taming.html

You get the idea. I just used the words feral cat taming (no quotes) in the Dogpile search engine, and got 3 pages of links. These are just a few of them.

If you want a cheapy cage, there are those big wire dog kennels on Craigslist. There's even a big one for cats right now (if it's still available):

http://sandiego.craigslist.org/csd/for/1194863461.html

With a tree, to boot! :)

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FeralFacts June 1, 2009 @ 10:17 p.m.

Tame, tame and tame. This cat has become your responsibility. Yes, he is in the hands of the shelter, but once you reclaim him, you still play God if you let him loose - you are deciding his fate, so I vote for foster feral. The only obstacle seems to be the other cats. If you tame him down enough, he could even be adoptable. Just think how you would feel if you let him loose and something else even worse happened? By not seeing the outcome, it can be ignored. I know someone who has done TNR for many years and recently witnessed a raccoon attack one of her ferals. The feral disappeared for a week, came back dragging her legs, and when she went to the vet, there was nothing more that could be done but to euthanize. These kinds of things happen all the time. It took seeing such a thing for this woman to realize that letting these cats loose is not in their best interest.

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MsGrant June 2, 2009 @ noon

"Taming adult ferals is traumatic for both parties, time-consuming and often unsuccessful. It is not usually possible to verify whether late-tamed cats were feral from birth or strays gone wild which were subsequently re-tamed, in most cases I suspect the latter. I do not promote the confinement and taming of adult ferals - these are not temperamental pets, these are wild animals which find close captivity and forced human contact stressful." This is from an expert on the subject. I honestly think I will do more harm than good by trying to tame this cat. He cannot be handled without sedation. He is not a stray, he is a true feral. I'm paying for him to be tested, and if he is negative, I'm going to have him vaccinated, pay his adoption fee, and release him back to his home. Every person I have spoken with thinks that this is the best option. I intend on checking on him daily, and making sure he has food and water. His habitat is safe, he is not near a wooded area, and I know he would be much happier back there than where he is now.

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antigeekess June 2, 2009 @ 3:15 p.m.

Then of course, there are all those pesky websites, along with the personal experiences of FeralFacts, that say it can and has been done, many times.

Hope he really is "Lucky." He'll need it out there.

By the way, MY affectionate, perfect little lap cat "could not be handled without sedation" when she was brought in. It was on her paperwork.

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MsGrant June 2, 2009 @ 7:02 p.m.

Did you bring her in? Have you ever seen a trapped feral animal? It's not what you think, and I am getting the impression that you may not have much experience with true ferals. Anti, if you think that this animal can be tamed, by all means, I'll give you the opportunity, and when he is a lap cap, I will take him into my home.

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MsGrant June 2, 2009 @ 7:08 p.m.

Oops, I mean cat, not cap. Freudian slip?

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antigeekess June 2, 2009 @ 7:59 p.m.

MsG queried:

"Did you bring her in?"

Nope. Got her after 2 months in a cage. She was still slightly skittish, but pretty mellow by then.

"Have you ever seen a trapped feral animal?"

Yup, and not just cats. Put up a hell of a stink, don't they? This one sounds like he's got pretty much the same attitude you can see described on some of those feral taming links. Has he calmed down any yet? If he's eating like a velociraptor, he must've, to some degree. He might be happier than you think, except when people start screwing with him too much, too soon.

"It's not what you think, and I am getting the impression that you may not have much experience with true ferals."

Not a whole lot. But I think if you've seen one trapped, pissed off wildcat, you've pretty much seen them all. They're not nearly as scary as coyotes, to me. Possums' teeth are scarier, but they don't make as much racket.

"Anti, if you think that this animal can be tamed, by all means, I'll give you the opportunity, and when he is a lap cap, I will take him into my home."

Oh, I definitely think he can. And I'd do it, too, if I were in a house, and in San Diego. But neither of those is the case.

I was just discussing the whole Joseph Campbell "Hero Journey" thing a few weeks ago with SDaniels, over on Board's blog. Do you know what one of the KEY elements in that motif is? It's the "old guard," saying "It can't be done." (This is usually said by people who bought that line of BS from someone else, or just aren't smart enough to do whatever it is themselves.)

And the correct response is ALWAYS: "Watch me."

C'mon, Grant. Do the research. Check out the links, and read the stories. Personally, I think it's all about this: "He would just as soon bite my finger off." That emergency-room finger still hurts, does it?

Back up on the horse, Grant.

Talked to the Feral Cat Coalition yet?

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MsGrant June 2, 2009 @ 8:31 p.m.

B*tch. Okay, I've got two days. I've read the stories, I have done my research, I have three cats at home that don't want another cat. Plus a husband who is on the fence. Regarding the bite - it was not a finger bite. She attacked my leg as I was walking by her on my way to the bathroom. Out of nowhere, she sunk all four fangs into my calf. One day later, my foot swelled up to the size of a football. I could put no weight on it. I went to the emergency room, and was diagnosed with cellulitis. First thing they asked - have you been bitten by an animal. It is life-threatening if not treated. I had to walk on crutches for a week. I am a very healthy and fit person. For me to contract this was ONLY the result of being bit. There are many other reasons to be diagnosed with cellulitis. Anyway, as I said, if it is all that easy, I offer you the option. Don't make this a character defect on my part.

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FeralFacts June 2, 2009 @ 9 p.m.

An expert on the subject should know that feral cats are NOT wild animals. They may behave like wild critters, but they can tame down more often than not - these are not bobcats or panthers (true wild cats), they are the same species of domestic cat that sits on your lap at home. Wild animals thrive in their natural habitats, cats do not have habitats and need human assistance.

Yes, this can be time consuming, but so well worth the effort.

I looked all over the BF website and can't find that taming manual, but try here:

http://tapworks.org/taming.aspx

Try Feliway for the cats to get along better.

BTW, velociraptor - HA! Good one.

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SDaniels June 3, 2009 @ 12:28 a.m.

aww..purrr..you were thinking of me, anti- :) Well, MsGrant, my polydactal associate and I say good for you, whatever you find you are able to do for the critter.

We once borrowed some cages (from the organization you mentioned, anti-) to try to trap ferals and abandoned kitties in the local community garden; most of the time the mackerel "prize" drew in 'possums rather than pussies. Talk about catch and release...whew. It was worth it to at least be able to put one poor guy out of his cancer-ridden misery. It is so sad to continue to see those delicate-eared white cats, especially so vulnerable, out there roaming...but we just couldn't keep up with this...

We have not found Feliway to be helpful in dissuading certain associates from scratching certain objects, but FeralFacts may have more facts on this. I agree that you have to have patience, and carefully weigh what you feel able to do at the time. We took in a semi-feral Abyssian-Ocicat mix for around five years, until she made it more than plain that while she loved us, she needed to be outdoors--FeralFacts will probably object, but Clarice is much happier with her new North County family as an indoor/outdoor cat. We don't regret the time with her, but annual updates have proven that she no longer has the nervous meow or other neurotic habits she had indoors, and spends her time proudly catching and displaying wildlife...

Here's good luck, and less heartache to you.

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FeralFacts June 3, 2009 @ 9:30 a.m.

I understand what Mindy means, but I am not one of those rescue people that has a mentality to 'save every animal at any cost'. I say socialize to adopt or provide sanctuary or fence in a colony, but if you give me two choices only - release or euthanize, I always would pick euthanize. Cannot in good conscience release a cat knowing the destruction that will come to wildlife and what awful things can happen to the cat.

Have not had personal experience using Feliway, but heard good things from several people.

As for Clarice, she may be happier, but cannot say the same for all those wild animals she is killing :(

See, this is what I mean by still playing God - a decision has been made that the life of that one particular cat is more important than the lives of dozens if not hundreds of wild animals that she may kill over the course of her life time. I not only object, I'd go as far as to say that knowingly allowing a cat to do that is a violation of the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

We and Clarice can have our cake and eat it too, if she truly needed to be outdoors, some type of enclosure or cat fencing would have been the way to go. I know a woman who has rescued sooo many feral cats - not one of them has showed any interest in ever going back out again. I have had the same experience. If they are experiencing so much grief indoors, some need may not have been met, but the solution should not be letting the cat outside, compromising her safety and that of wildlife and possibly annoying the neighbors.

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SDaniels June 3, 2009 @ 3:39 p.m.

FeralFacts, you don't seem to consider the specifics of each area. Clarice is in a backyard in Poway, and I don't think her gopher, lizard, and rat habit is exactly unbalancing the food chain. Sure, as someone who attempts to conserve and consume less, in a way mindful of the fate of factory farmed animals, I can understand your wish to prevent unnecessary wildlife deaths, too, but it seems unrealistic to expect everyone to keep their cats in outdoor enclosures. Don't you think the damage we do to avian habitats through overdevelopment and use of pesticides is something we'd do better to concentrate on? And what about the crow problem? Do you think housecats might help out here? (I don't know anything about this issue, or whether cats can help control this population).

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SDaniels June 3, 2009 @ 3:51 p.m.

By the way, FF, we did everything humanly possible to keep Clarice entertained in a small apartment, including clicker training, so it is not useful to assume that we did not do everything we could to meet her needs. When we picked her up at the shelter, the name on her cage read "Trouble." I have never before met a feline with such a voracious appetite for physical activity. It seems that certain breeds, mixes, and individual personalities need to be outdoors--at least part-time. I am also really not sure what you mean by annoying the neighbors...?

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SDaniels June 3, 2009 @ 3:57 p.m.

MsGrant, we are thinking of you, and maybe can provide us with an update on your situation--time has certainly run out by now on the decision, and I'd like to state for the record that in me you have certain support, with no judgement, as to whatever decision you felt you had to make. Here's hoping that you are at peace with whatever has happened, and know that you tried your best to save this animal.

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MsGrant June 3, 2009 @ 4:30 p.m.

He is not being tested until tomorrow. I called today several times and finally got an update. Tomorrow he becomes the property of animal control, so they would not sedate him until then in case something happened. They will call me with his results.

Anti, I meant "b*tch" in the nicest way possible. My sister and I always say that to each other when one of us calls the other out on something. Your comments are always intelligent, thoughtful and appreciated.

Whatever I do, I intend to keep my decision private.

And Feral:

"See, this is what I mean by still playing God - a decision has been made that the life of that one particular cat is more important than the lives of dozens if not hundreds of wild animals that she may kill over the course of her life time. I not only object, I'd go as far as to say that knowingly allowing a cat to do that is a violation of the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act."

That's the most dumb thing I have ever heard. The cat was already living there, and I hate to tell you this, but those animals are on a cat's food chain. My own well-fed beasts bring in a specimen on a regular basis, plucked from the back yard.

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antigeekess June 3, 2009 @ 10:15 p.m.

"Whatever I do, I intend to keep my decision private."

After all this sh*t?

Pfffffffffftttttt. Figures.

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FeralFacts June 3, 2009 @ 11:58 p.m.

Grant, you are certainly entitled to your opinion about my comment, but you are sorely mistaken. Cats are not a natural part of any North American ecosystem - not only do they not factor into 'the chain' - they deplete biological diversity. The out of control population of the domestic cat is vastly larger than ALL native predators put together. A single cat can extirpate native fauna from a given site. The problem is much more serious than you think. You became involved as soon as you trapped that cat. Your actions to re-abandon him, (my words, my opinion) result in the potential deaths of native wildlife and who knows what for the cat.

Visualize this - I am guessing you would never take a shotgun and blast a cardinal or blue jay out of a tree, right? Unleashing your cat outside, KNOWING they regularly bring back 'specimens' as you put it, accomplishes the same darn thing. It is reckless endangerment of wildlife.

Daniels, you may think that one cat is not unbalancing things, but it can - an individual cat can, and if not, multiply that by all the folks who feel as you do or do as you do. A conservative estimate these days is that feral and free-roaming cats kill a billion birds a year - that is right up there with window strikes and more than pesticides. The problem is that habitat loss is the biggest problem for native wildlife, but when you add in every other human-related cause of mortality, the effect is cumulative - pretty sad state of affairs, as the first US State of the Birds recently released by the Secretary of the Interior has shown.

By annoying the neighbors I meant allowing one's pet to roam off the owner's property and onto someone else's who may not wish to have the cat there (defecating, spraying, killing birds at feeders, cat hair, scratch damage, etc.).

"...but it seems unrealistic to expect everyone to keep their cats in outdoor enclosures."

If it were a dog, it would not be permitted to roam freely. I don't think cats should be treated any differently. They are the owner's responsibility.

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David Dodd June 4, 2009 @ 12:40 a.m.

Ms. Grant: You absolutely did the right thing, the most humane thing, and I am proud to know you. It's a son-of-a-bitch decision, and you had the courage to make it.

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MsGrant June 4, 2009 @ 7:07 a.m.

The cat was caught because it had a tight spool around its neck that needed to be removed. Any humane person would have done what I did. Thanks, refried. You're right, it sucks to be me. Anti, you are right as well.

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SDaniels June 4, 2009 @ 3:29 p.m.

FF, I appreciate your apparently well-researched facts, and will try to further educate myself on the substance of your report, including the claim that there is such a mass slaughter of indigenous birds. I can only offer my personal observation at this moment--my family has three properties in Fallbrook, where unfortunately people dump unwanted pets, and semi-feral cats breed and roam unchecked. An elderly neighbor has an enclosure in which cats sleep and eat at night, but are released during the day. Presumably, she lives on social security, and surely cannot afford to neuter and spay, or provide medical care, so other neighbors, including my family, try to adopt and treat as many cats as they can, to keep as pets, and to try to help control the breeding population (my current fur associate comes from this population, and lives completely indoors).

These cats do catch birds now and then, but after many years, I've concluded that they predate mostly on lizards and young rabbits--birds appear to be much harder to catch. The cats in turn are easily and voluminously preyed upon by coyotes. It is a relentless, short-lived cycle, and these felines don't have much of a chance, and don't live beyond a few years. It is crazy-difficult to keep them in at night, and everyone has trouble locating and getting the cats in before dusk, and keeping them in. Short of a massive spay and neuter attempt on the part of the county, which is already overloaded with abandoned domestic pets--and this area is unincorporated--short of the enclosures, which seem unlikely, I don't know how you would realistically propose to control the feline population.

At any rate, I think you need to let up the pressure on MsGrant. She was at the least able to get the cardboard vise off this poor creature's neck, and put it in capable hands. She should be commended for her responsible actions. Many people just don't care at all, so let's 'grant' kudos where due.

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antigeekess June 4, 2009 @ 4:53 p.m.

Hear, hear!

Nicely argued, Daniels.

;)

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SDaniels June 4, 2009 @ 5:10 p.m.

Merci, AG. Not to take FF's posts lightly and I will emphasize again that clearly, I am just recording my own observations, but as for the bird feeders--it is curious that though one of my Fallbrook cousins cats has a bird feeder on her deck, right outside the living room, her cat has not once yet caught a bird at it--and he is a fierce guy. It is for him just like Bird TV, starring a fat lot of sassy jays, mocks, and finches of all sizes, more than happy to dine several times a day ;)

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FeralFacts June 4, 2009 @ 9:44 p.m.

Thank you Daniels. And nice of you to help out the lady on SSI.

Fur associate - very funny!

Realistically, controlling the population must begin by educating and behaviorial changes - both hard to come by at times. My strong feeling is that we have difficulty expecting people to be more responsible for their animals if we let them run loose (and not spay-neuter which so many still do not do).

But, yes, of course, Grant, very good deed for you to help the cat. For me, I have much trouble not thinking beyond that spool. I have seen too many animals killed by cats (wildlife rehab work) and I have seen too many cats in very bad shape in managed colonies (cat rescue work).

If you folks are willing enough to take a look at the links I have posted that is good enough for me. Just here to plant a seed. :)

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SDaniels June 5, 2009 @ 12:39 p.m.

Will do, FF. Thank you for lobbying on behalf of all critters.

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Silvergate1 June 6, 2009 @ 7:30 a.m.

Whatever the outcome, this has been an excellent story and comments to match. It sure got some emotions going.

Keep up the great work, I enjoy your "rants". Looks like we might have something in common (working for the same airline)? Those were happier days, now long gone. :-)

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MsGrant June 6, 2009 @ 8:51 a.m.

Thanks, Silvergate! Never worked for PSA, but flew them all the time. I started a story about "The Good Old Days". Maybe I'll post it here when I finish it.

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Silvergate1 June 6, 2009 @ 12:08 p.m.

OK, I understand. I saw the PSA Flight Attendants picture and just thought..........Yes, there are a lot of things to remember about growing up in San Diego in the 60's, but that's another story!

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