Cats Behavior patterns have always been very interesting to me. I have, been feeding, neutering, rescuing and placing strays for nearly 21 years now and every individual cat has their own unique behavior. I have found, in most instances, that even though feral cats are resistant to change and touch, they do appreciate attention. Many times they will react to a familiar voice by rolling over or giving a head nuggy to an inanimate object, like a tree branch or grass.
There has been a colony that I have been feeding and taking care of for nearly 10 years now that has some major "bad boys" and "bad girls" in it. These guys frequently have battle scars on their face or ears. The colony is located in a corner of a small parking lot against a fence and adjacent to an auto body shop. Yet every time I return to feed them, they are wandering around with their tails fluttering. Some of them even roll around on their backs until I go over to feed them. I have also been told by some people that they are the most social group of strays that they have ever witnessed. This behavior says to me that even ferals exhibit a certain amount of social behavior when in contact with humans.
I believe there is also a major misconception that ferals are not good housepets. In the 21 years that I've observed the social activities of felines, I have brought home 11 of them as my own pets and placed 10 others in good homes. Out of this total of 21, at least 7 were feral, and they are some of the most docile individuals I have ever had the pleasure of observing. Here I will talk a bit about my all time favorite feral tomcat Gordon.
Approximately 5 years ago I lived in a community called "Village in the Woods" that was located in eastern Long Island, NY. My House was in the corner of the community surrounded on three sides by trees We had many frequent visitors in the form of squirrels, skunks, red foxes and deer. During the winter time the "woods" would have made a great Christmas Card. Snow and Ice would hang from trees, and snowfalls would usually create mountains of snow and drifts leading to the front door. One day in the fall, I spotted a chubby gray green-eyed (part Russian Blue) tomcat that was rolling around in the street. I inquired about whether he was someone's pet. Many people told me about this guy being the community traveler who circled the "Village in the Woods", fought with their outdoor cats and then went on his merry way to seek other fights. He had two bitten ears, but I decided to place dishes of food out for him, because I was worried that he would go hungry as winter approached.
As Winter approached and the weather got more frigid "Gordon" (as I named him), frequently returned to my doorstep to gobble up the food and drink the water. It was during these visits that I noticed that he was really a very laid back and friendly individual, and not an angry feral, as so many people described him. He would come to eat, roll around on the front stoop and commence with a behavior which I called "happy feet". You will sometimes see cats knead on the ground in front of them. This kneading is a pushing action which many of them have done since they were babies fighting for mom's milk. Gordon was the King of kneaders.
Four months passed by and it was February. Gordon was still visiting me, and he was no longer afraid. He would now eat, roll around on the ground, knead and actually come to me, purring like a motorboat. I thought to myself "This guy is agressive and starts fights with neighborhood cats?". No Way !!!!! The winter of 2003 on Long Island was cold and covered with snow. The temperatures would go down to 0 at night and hover in the teens in the day time. I thought to myself that it was time to bring Gordon inside and get him out of the nasty winter weather. One frigid day in February I grabbed him and brought him in. At first it didn't go well. Even though it was nasty outside, Gordon wanted no part of my other 4 feline residents. He hung out scratching by the front door and growling. I decided to let him back out, figuring that he was always going to be an unplaceable feral. I left food out, but Gordon disappeared for 2 weeks in the bitter cold weather. I thought that he might have died in the frigid weather.
One day, as March approached, I saw him rolling around in the street, not any worse for wear and as chubby as ever. He came up to me, and I decided to grab him and take him in for a 2nd time. This time I kept him in my bedroom, until I felt it was safe for him to socialize again. Cats are funny! They are resistant to change, but they will eventually socialize after they become more comfortable in their surroundings. Gordon was no different. Today he is the biggest mush tomcat I have ever seen. He still purrs like a motorboat, kneads and rolls around and sometimes even has a social grooming session with Gracie or BeaBea. He also has learned to go to the bathroom on the toilet bowl. However, he has not yet learned how to flush. (LOL)
Cats Behavior patterns can sometimes trick you. Feral cats can be tamed. Just ask Gordon.
Gordon in his Favorite Box
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