(Not the stray kitty. This is one of my cats, Fujiko. Fuji was rescued en route to a kill shelter in 2003.)
Life is never dull at the Little Stone House. It's been a crazy year for my family, and we've got some kitty health drama (not serious and on its way out), and life just goes on!
A few weeks ago, we had a friend over, and he pointed out that we had a black and white cat that seems to like to cut through our yard. This was over a month ago. A couple of weeks before that, I had noticed that what appeared to be someone's cats were wandering the sidewalk near my home. They were crying and were clearly confused and scared. I'm not sure what happened, but I think they came from the house next door, because that was where they were hanging around. I don't know if they got out by accident, or if the owner moved out and abandoned them (the cat owner--the house is a boarding house, apparently--a whole other topic! LOL!) or what happened. That evening, they weren't around, so I assumed they'd been taken inside.
Cut to that night with my friend, and I realized that I was apparently wrong. I don't know what happened to the other cat. I'm hoping someone took it in. The black and white one is still wandering. Finally, I saw it again Monday night. It came into my yard, hissed at my own cats through the window, hung around for a minute, and then ran back out under my gate. I didn't try to approach it, but I did watch it for a few minutes. It appeared to be pretty skinny, so I have started to leave food out for it at night. I put the food right near the gate where I saw it leave before, and for two days in a row, the food has been gone the next morning. I think the cat is reverting to feral, but I also suspect it is hungry.
Of course, people have come at me with all of the usual cautions--like they think I don't know any of the things they are mentioning already! I appreciate people's concern, but I know what I am doing. I do not have any plans to try to re tame it or bring it into my house. My boyfriend has put the kibosh on bringing in any more pets. I have always felt, though, that if you know of a stray animal that seems hungry, putting a little food out is just the right thing to do. Obviously, if I see it hurt or in distress, I will intervene if I can, but our household limit for pets is fixed. If I do find that it becomes tame and is not actually a feral, I will try to trap it and take it to a No Kill shelter for rehoming.
I just hate that people abandon pets, and I like for the animals in my vicinity to know that my property is a safe place for them--as safe as I can make it, anyway. The good news is I don't generally see this cat during the day, so clearly it has a place to hide away until it is safer to be out. I do worry what will happen come winter, but I have to just trust in the Universe that everything will be OK. I can't put a shelter in my yard, because we don't have space for it, and I can't put one out front, because of our HOA.
A tip: If you are feeding a stray or feral cat (or dog--though they are rarer), use recyclable/throw away dishes. I'm using a plastic plate and a tofu container (for water). These dishes should never come inside. Take the food and water outside and fill the dishes up. If/when they get too gunked up/destroyed, recycle them and get new containers. This way, nothing that that animal has touched has to ever come into contact with your own pets or family. Always wash your hands when you are finished. You just never know.
The cat is actually kind of gray and black and white. As I said, it's pretty skinny, and I get the impression that it is an older cat. I have no way of knowing what sex it is, but I suspect it may be a female. I will continue to put food out for the cat and to pray that it stays safe and maybe even finds a home. I will pray that it will make it through the Winter and maybe even learn to trust humans again, so it doesn't have to make it through and instead will find a warm lap on which to curl up.