Itchmo Forums for Cats & Dogs

Pet Behavior => Feral Cats and Dogs => Topic started by: catmom5 on May 16, 2013, 05:13:22 AM



Title: feeding Tommy
Post by: catmom5 on May 16, 2013, 05:13:22 AM
Another Tommy question for you, and hoping for some advice or confirmation that it will work out.
I went ahead and had fencing put in and a little pocket created where his feeding station will fit. The fence is 3 sided and very open. The feeder fits right in with maneuvering room, but not a lot of other room. It looks cozy to me and hopefully will keep the weather off of him while keeping him safe from the front yard and street. Anyway, I moved the feeder over there, but since he is no longer coming through the side yard (which he was doing all the time) I decided to try moving the feeder into the backyard, close to where it was, and gradually moving it to the side. The problem is is that he won't go into the feeder to eat right now. Last night I watched him walk around and look in all the usual places and then walk away, without eating.
Do you think he will decide that it's safe to eat in the feeder again? I'm bouncing between frustration and worry about him.
Any thoughts?
The biggest change (other than location) is that I no longer have a board propped to cover part of the feeder opening. But he ate a bit sitting right out in the middle of the yard without any shelter at all. He's such a nervous, scared cat. It doesn't take much to spook him!
Thanks for any thoughts . . .
catmom5


Title: Re: feeding Tommy
Post by: lesliek on May 16, 2013, 05:23:03 AM
Maybe put 1/2 in the new spot & 1/2 close to the old ? You could gradually move the 1 bowl closer each day to the new feeding station . If it won't spook him, try a slightly larger bowl under the food with a little water in it to prevent bugs getting into the food since he isn't eating right away .


Title: Re: feeding Tommy
Post by: catmom5 on May 16, 2013, 07:41:37 AM
I had the same idea when I found ants in the kibble very shortly after putting it out (he gets both wet and kibble). I bought a pyrex dish that both would fit in and he took one look at that "new dish" and walked away. He's a problem child, for sure! Maybe I will put the feeding station where I want him to eat and put just bowls out and move them closer to his spot. Thanks for your idea, lesliek. Anyone else have any thoughts?


Title: Re: feeding Tommy
Post by: GKit on May 16, 2013, 11:36:54 AM
Cm5, it took me about a month to shift Gypsy's eating spot from the front porch to the backyard, and this was after I was able to touch her and get her climb on my lap. I had to do it in stages like Lesliek said.  I'm so happy to hear Tommy news, though!  I've been wondering how he's been (it is a him?).


Title: Re: feeding Tommy
Post by: catmom5 on May 16, 2013, 05:10:44 PM
Well, he walked around the yard right to the side yard and feeding station, had a look and kept right on going. So that's two nights he's not stayed to eat. Tomorrow I am going to buy him some of his favorite fishy Wellness wet. Bless his heart, I wish he knew that I was just trying to help him. I'm guessing if he feels hungry enough he will give it a chance and eat.
cm5


Title: Re: feeding Tommy
Post by: catbird on May 16, 2013, 06:30:22 PM
It is so hard trying to help feral cats. They are so wary (they've had to be to survive) and mistrust any changes. I'm hoping Tommy will get used to the new setup and come to eat. I admire you for your persistence in trying to help.


Title: Re: feeding Tommy
Post by: catmom5 on May 17, 2013, 11:32:14 AM
Okay, this is the last attempt to take care of Tommy. I have moved the feeding station out of the corner (thinking perhaps he felt trapped) and have propped a leftover chunk of fence in front of it so he can pass through. Tonight he gets one of his favorites and then it's up to him if he still wants to hang out here for dinner! Hopefully, this set up will work for him, cause I'm tired from hauling patio blocks to build a good foundation for his feeding station! Wish me luck


Title: Re: feeding Tommy
Post by: GKit on May 17, 2013, 12:50:13 PM
Cm5,  Tommy is lucky to have you looking out for him!  That's a lot of effort moving that whole feeding station around--wow.  I was just shifting plates from spot to spot.  Best of luck!  (C'mon, Tommy!  I know it's scary, but Best Catmom Ever is waiting to love you (more)!)


Title: Re: feeding Tommy
Post by: catmom5 on May 17, 2013, 05:58:49 PM
Miss Kitty was out very late and I didn't even see Tommy tonight . . . argh! I feel bad for her, took some kibble over to her patio, and she ate some of it. But Tommy is not a fighter and will stay away if other cats are around, I think. Maybe tomorrow . . .


Title: Re: feeding Tommy
Post by: GKit on May 22, 2013, 06:00:45 PM
Any luck with Tommy? I was going to suggest maybe people tuna in the feeding station only might be enough to get him to check it out, but I'm not sure if that would practical since it is quite likely then all the other cats would also want to check it out and that might end up being counter-productive.  The feral kitties can be so very stubborn about routines.


Title: Re: feeding Tommy
Post by: catmom5 on May 23, 2013, 05:34:44 AM
Thanks for asking about Tommy. He is back to coming every night again (Wellness wet food with fish seem to be his favorites!) and I've been putting the food on a rock slab that is movable. We're about 2/3 of the way across the backyard so far. The short moves seem to be working (and the rain has held off at his dinner times, thank goodness). However, he's coming between 9 and 9:30 now and a black cat doesn't show up too well against dark mulch in the night, so I sometimes have to watch closely to see if I can see him at all. I just hope he will go into the feeding station once we get to that spot. His kitty tube arrived yesterday and is set up with straw. He can use it or not, that's out of my control, but it's dry and safe and available. Maybe next winter he will decide it's better than wherever he hangs out now, although he looks good to me. I hate to think about trying to trap him again. Every time I've put out a trap, he refuses to even come and eat. My problem child!!!


Title: Re: feeding Tommy
Post by: GKit on May 24, 2013, 10:50:24 AM
Yay! Between his feeding station, kitty tube and favorite foods, Tommy has got it pretty awesome for a feral!   ;D


Title: Re: feeding Tommy
Post by: Mandycat on May 24, 2013, 09:27:40 PM
I'm glad Tommy is coming to eat.  You have the patience of a saint, catmom, as well as a heart of gold for caring so much about Tommy's welfare.   :-*  {{hugs}}


Title: Re: feeding Tommy
Post by: catwoods on May 30, 2013, 03:24:49 PM
I can so sympathize! I worry every time we don't see the little feral we're feeding.


Title: Re: feeding Tommy
Post by: Sandi K on June 01, 2013, 07:02:38 AM
catmom, you are so wonderful for trying to help this lil guy.  Wishing you much success. Has he still been coming to eat?


Title: Re: feeding Tommy
Post by: catmom5 on June 29, 2013, 06:19:50 PM
More Tommy questions . . .

I have been gone almost 2 weeks and my wonderful pet sitter arranged to be here later in the evening to put his food out. However, when he didn't show up, she left it out all night. She also remarked on the one night she saw him how small he looks ( he is average size, but Lucy is petite ) Someone is eating during the night and I want to get back to later evening. I did put food out about 9:00 pm tonight, but no one has come yet. It's nearly 10:30 here.

Any thoughts? I am guessing that if Tommy is still around ( and until I see him I won't know for sure ) he is very fearful of the fireworks that are starting to go off already, especially after being hit around the 4th last year.

I really would appreciate your thoughts.

Thanks,
catmom5


Title: Re: feeding Tommy
Post by: Mandycat on June 29, 2013, 06:53:57 PM
catmom,
How strange.  I hope that Tommy is still around and you will see him soon.  Maybe Lucy is also around, though!  It would be great if you could have them both back!  Was Tommy coming regularly just before the left?  If so, it is strange that he would stay away when you were away.


Title: Re: feeding Tommy
Post by: GKit on June 30, 2013, 09:50:56 AM
If Tommy had some unpleasant experiences last year around this time, he may just be extra, extra cautious if he sees someone different with his food.  I hope he comes around again soon and that Lucy is around too!


Title: Re: feeding Tommy
Post by: catmom5 on June 30, 2013, 11:09:27 AM
Just trying to figure out whether I should start putting the food out and taking it in at the same times I was doing it before.
I'm sure that he is super-cautious, especially around cars. (He was hit in front of my house last July when someone set off a firework and spooked him)
Sigh ~ these ferals are not easy to take care of, but easy to love.
catmom5


Title: Re: feeding Tommy
Post by: GKit on June 30, 2013, 11:48:01 AM
I would go back to doing what you were doing before for a week or two before trying something different. Maybe use the fishy food that he likes too?  Gypsy was/is extremely routine/location oriented.  She likes everything to happen exactly the same, because if it is the same as yesterday, to her mind it is probably safe. From what you said before it sounds like Tommy may have other food sources he defaults to if he is suspicious or wary of a situation, even if it is a minor change.  Working with the wary guys is not easy,  :) but on the bright side, that caution probably serves to keep him out of trouble to some degree.


Title: Re: feeding Tommy
Post by: catmom5 on June 30, 2013, 06:17:09 PM
No Tommy or Lucy tonight ~ I picked up the food.
We'll see what happens. It's hard not to imagine the worst for them.
catmom5


Title: Re: feeding Tommy
Post by: Mandycat on June 30, 2013, 11:36:06 PM
I'm sure you are very anxious.  I will be keep you, Tommy and Lucy in my prayers.  {{hugs}}


Title: Re: feeding Tommy
Post by: GKit on July 01, 2013, 09:47:16 AM
Fingers and paws crossed that he comes by tonight!  It is awfully hard not to be anxious when they don't show.  The fireworks here yesterday spooked Gypsy enough that she stayed inside voluntarily (unusual) despite having been kept in all day on account of the heat; so hopefully Tommy is just being extra careful.  If it is warmer there, remember he will be less hungry too. 


Title: Re: feeding Tommy
Post by: lesliek on July 01, 2013, 03:51:11 PM
If they aren't used to the pet sitter, the different smell could be why they aren't back . Hopefully a few days of you doing it at the regular time & place will reassure them. Sending positive thoughts for you to see them both soon !


Title: Re: feeding Tommy
Post by: catmom5 on July 02, 2013, 05:24:54 AM
No luck again  :'(
I'm beginning to think that it's because of the neighbor's cat who is here all the time. They put her out because she was peeing in the house and she now lives here and in their garage. No vet visits, big and small dogs who harass her, etc. She's a sweet older cat who just needs some love, so she hangs out in my yard. I'm guessing that the ferals may be avoiding her . . .
Wonder if I move the feeder (again  :P ) to the side yard, maybe that would be just far enough away that they might come.
Hoping that both Tommy and Lucy are alive and well and are finding food, water, and shelter somewhere else.
catmom5


Title: Re: feeding Tommy
Post by: mikken on July 02, 2013, 09:45:19 AM
Poor girl! 

I hope they show up soon.


Title: Re: feeding Tommy
Post by: catbird on July 02, 2013, 10:01:22 AM
I hope so too!

Any chance that you need, ah, an extra indoor cat who is older?


Title: Re: feeding Tommy
Post by: catmom5 on July 02, 2013, 10:18:55 AM
Nope, my girls are upset when they see her in "their" backyard.

I did move the feeder around to the side yard, as far away as I could from Cody's house (or should I say "garage"). We'll see what happens. In the meantime, I suspect the "night critters" (thanks, Spartycats, that says it perfectly) are eating well.  :-\ :-\ :-\

Thanks for your well wishes. Just hope my ferals are okay. That's the hardest part for me.
cm5


Title: Re: feeding Tommy
Post by: catmom5 on July 04, 2013, 05:37:59 AM
A cat has come the past two nights, but after midnight and before 7:00 am. I suspect it might be Tommy because the wet food is gone and the kibble is partially eaten. If it was another animal I would think everything would be eaten and the dishes would be moved or messy. I just wish now I knew who was coming and when.

QUICK RANT: My neighbors with Miss Kitty left for the holiday weekend yesterday and left her outside with only 2 dishes of water, no food, no shelter.  >:( >:( >:( >:( Apparently someone is supposed to take care of the cats (she has a pal inside) but she's very unfriendly with people she doesn't know and won't be easily caught. And her nemesis, Cody from across the street, is here a lot for some TLC.


Title: Re: feeding Tommy
Post by: catbird on July 04, 2013, 05:44:13 AM
I'd think Miss Kitty qualifies as an abandoned cat, then, and could be turned in to your local no-kill if you can get her...poor baby.

It's good to hear that there is some sign that Tommy is back! I really hope it's him--raccoons would likely have finished off all the food and made a lot more mess.


Title: Re: feeding Tommy
Post by: catmom5 on July 04, 2013, 06:04:19 AM
There is no room at the single local no-kill cat rescue. And since MK is incredibly unfriendly, don't think she'd be a good candidate at the humane society. I could legally snatch both MK and Cody when they are in my yard, but I fear that would be their death sentence. I don't think I could live with myself if that happened to them.

I agree that it's likely Tommy or Lucy coming to eat. Wish I could see who it was, though, just to know.


Title: Re: feeding Tommy
Post by: Fizzy1 on July 04, 2013, 07:07:47 AM
That's just sad.  I wish I had some answers for you, catmom5. 


Title: Re: feeding Tommy
Post by: caylee on July 04, 2013, 07:34:21 AM
How about moving them to Spartycats feral colony? Since they are both simi-feral anyway, they should adept quickly. That way they would both get fed and cared for, but they would not be bothering your inside kitties nor Tommy and Lucy.

Hugs


Title: Re: feeding Tommy
Post by: mikken on July 04, 2013, 03:08:52 PM
I hope so too!

Any chance that you need, ah, an extra indoor cat who is older?

Ha!  I wish!


Title: Re: feeding Tommy
Post by: catmom5 on July 04, 2013, 03:16:51 PM
Thanks for the support and suggestion. Neither of these cats is in any way feral. They are simply pets who are indoor/outdoor and I seriously doubt they would survive in an established feral colony. I appreciate you thinking outside the box, though.

I just trapped Miss Kitty who was left out by her owner yesterday when they left for the holiday weekend. So she is now safe inside her apartment for the duration of the weekend, at least. She was so scared and so confused, I felt bad for her. I don't know whether she's managed to eat much, but she went right into the trap with the fishy food in it. (I left the food with the guy who's taking care of the cats so she could at least finish that up after all her trauma  ;) )

Right now, I'm just hoping that I can figure out how to get whoever is eating late at night or early morning to come at a time when I can see him/her. Fingers crossed that it's Tommy and Lucy, but that would be a stretch.



Title: Re: feeding Tommy
Post by: lesliek on July 04, 2013, 04:00:00 PM
I wish there was an easy answer for you with all 4 of them  ! Are there any vets who take cats & socialize them to find them homes ? We have 1 who does . If you have Miss Kitty trapped & can find 1 ,they might take her in . That's how my neighbor Marsha got Mindy . If that works , maybe you can also catch Cody  ?


Title: Re: feeding Tommy
Post by: caylee on July 04, 2013, 04:05:26 PM
I'm so glad that MK is safe inside now. The fourth of July is no time to leave pets outside with all the noise etc.

Hugs


Title: Re: feeding Tommy
Post by: catbird on July 04, 2013, 05:56:18 PM
I'm so relieved that the poor girl is inside! It breaks my heart to think how hungry she must have been.  Once again, ya did good, catmom5!


Title: Re: feeding Tommy
Post by: petslave on July 05, 2013, 08:44:58 PM
Great that you captured MK, catmom!  I'm sure she's much more comfortable back in her own little space.

You need a night cam to spy on the traffic at your feeding station:

http://www.belkin.com/us/p/P-F7D7601



Title: Re: feeding Tommy
Post by: Fizzy1 on July 06, 2013, 08:54:57 AM
I'm relieved that you were able to get MK inside for the weekend.  How could people be so thoughtless as to leave an animal out during the 4th  >:(  (or anytime, for that matter). 


Title: Re: feeding Tommy
Post by: catwoods on July 08, 2013, 01:47:03 PM
I'm happy you were able to get MK inside! How awful that they left her out. I hope you can find out about Tommy...I agree the trail camera is a good idea.


Title: Re: feeding Tommy
Post by: merrihart on July 11, 2013, 03:39:26 AM
Aw, I'm glad you got Miss Kitty inside safe, catmom5.  And I will keep Tommy & Lucy in my prayers that they are the ones coming to eat.


Title: Re: feeding Tommy
Post by: catmom5 on July 22, 2013, 05:04:09 AM
And the saga continues . . .

Friday night Tommy showed up about 9:30 pm, sprawled out very comfortably on my patio. He has never shown himself so out in the open, but it was almost dark, so I guess he was either hungry, very brave or ? I quickly put food out by the garage where I could watch him. He came back and ate well. Same thing Saturday and Sunday nights. Last night I put out wet (I had used it all up feeding someone) and he was a happy camper, for sure. However, the strange thing was that Cody (who is here all the time now) wandered up the driveway from her house across the street and just sat and watched him eat. He was aware that she was there, but continued to eat. I watched from inside to see what might happen (Cody is very aggressive with Miss Kitty) and after a few minutes. Cody walked back down the driveway and to her house. I'm not sure what the deal was, but I was very happy to see Tommy hold his ground and continue eating.

Any ideas?

He looks good, a bit thin, but this is the first time I've seen him in a month. So glad he's home!!!
cm5


Title: Re: feeding Tommy
Post by: mikken on July 22, 2013, 05:05:41 AM
Hooray!  So glad he's back and apparently well!


Title: Re: feeding Tommy
Post by: caylee on July 22, 2013, 05:13:38 AM
Yay, for Tommy!


Title: Re: feeding Tommy
Post by: catbird on July 22, 2013, 05:15:23 AM
Happy news! Cat social dynamics are so hard to figure out. Maybe Cody perceived the area as Tommy's territory when he was there?


Title: Re: feeding Tommy
Post by: lesliek on July 22, 2013, 05:51:52 AM
I'm so glad he is home !


Title: Re: feeding Tommy
Post by: Meowli on July 22, 2013, 06:14:32 AM
Yay Tommy, welcome home!


Title: Re: feeding Tommy
Post by: merrihart on July 22, 2013, 07:26:57 AM
Glad to hear Tommy is doing well! 

Perhaps it's a male/female thing with Cody?  Tommy is the "resident male" and she acknowledges that, where as Cody doesn't want to share territory with Miss Kitty?


Title: Re: feeding Tommy
Post by: GKit on July 22, 2013, 08:37:36 AM
Yay!


Title: Re: feeding Tommy
Post by: Mandycat on July 22, 2013, 06:58:57 PM
Great news that Tommy is home!   :)


Title: Re: feeding Tommy
Post by: catmom5 on July 23, 2013, 03:26:11 AM
Things are never easy . . .
Last night, Cody was here rubbing on all of the patio furniture and then sitting watch about the time Tommy has been coming. I put out food, hoping that he was hiding in the garden, waiting for her to leave. Once she left, it took him a long time to come. Unfortunately, it was dark by then and, since I couldn't see him, I went out while he was eating to pick up his dishes and he took off. (black cats at night  :-[ ) Then a few minutes later, Cody was here enjoying some wet food and looking quite proud of herself. Not sure how this is going to work out.

Today I'm taking my granddaughter away for a couple of nights so will suggest to my pet sitter that she put the food in the garden on some flat rocks, out of sight of Cody and closer to where Tommy usually hides. Maybe he can sneak in and get some dinner, at least. Then I'll have to figure out a plan B, C . . .

Can't leave food out overnight because I have raccoons and don't want to encourage them.

I wish Tommy knew how many people are concerned about him. If only we could help them understand . . .

Thanks for your positive thoughts and kind words.
catmom5


Title: Re: feeding Tommy
Post by: mikken on July 23, 2013, 07:06:21 AM
Well, fortunately it's the time of year when hunting is good.  My ferals are killing mice and leaving them by the door for me in the morning (oh, thank you!), so there's food out there "on the hoof" as it were.

I wonder if Cody actually likes Tommy and is trying to "share" his space? 


Title: Re: feeding Tommy
Post by: catmom5 on July 28, 2013, 05:13:24 PM
Strange things are happening here . . .
Tommy has been showing up regularly, sitting in the yard or on the patio. Tonight he was here at 8 pm, sitting on top of the feeding station. This is very atypical behavior, so I am wondering if this is even Tommy. He looks similar, but may be a bit smaller. Can a feral cat change so dramatically? He still hides when I take the food out, but is showing himself much more than ever before.

Thanks for your thoughts.
cm5


Title: Re: feeding Tommy
Post by: catbird on July 28, 2013, 05:58:13 PM
I don't know about ferals, but I can tell you that my house cats change up their patterns in similar ways at times, particularly Isis. They'll have a set routine, certain favorite spots, etc. for a long time, and then suddenly change the routine to a new one.


Title: Re: feeding Tommy
Post by: mikken on July 29, 2013, 05:23:00 AM
Oh yes, of course!  Who knows what happens in his "other" life, right?  There are dynamics of weather, other cats, dogs, birds, everything happening all around that we can't know about...

I once had a cat who was a very hard case (not feral, though).  He came from a rescue group completely shut down, wouldn't eat, wouldn't come near me, hid all the time, not grooming, just not good in all directions.  After two vet visits and nearly a week of this, I was so concerned that he was going to starve himself to death, I was going to rehome him in an animal-free household to see if that's what he needed.  But because he was in such a state, I resolved to catch him and bathe him, first.  Well, he got his bath (and he was completely shut down for that, too, but at least not filthy any more).  Sitting there, drying him off, something suddenly switched over in his brain.  I've never seen the like of it before...but this cat all of a sudden got cuddly, relaxed, and HAPPY.  It was like I had washed away whatever was doing his head in and now he was FINE.  And lovely and sweet and just so darn outgoing!  He was also completely comfortable with other cats AND dogs (and vacuum cleaners!), now.  Maybe he just needed to know that someone cared.  I don't know.  But he was a completely different cat after that bath.

The mind of a cat is a mysterious place.


Title: Re: feeding Tommy
Post by: lesliek on July 29, 2013, 05:56:09 AM
If he is showing himself more , maybe you can try sitting on the patio far enough away to not scare him while he eats ? They do sometimes suddenly change behaviors & you may never know why . When my friend Nancy is away & I go to feed hers , they run to the feeding area when they hear my car pull in . They actually lay on the patio furniture now & the front porch , & a few will come slightly inside if you leave the door open . My BIL"s will come up on the deck with them outside now as well . Maybe they just get used to us , & have less fear as they get more used to their surroundings .


Title: Re: feeding Tommy
Post by: catwoods on July 30, 2013, 01:49:11 PM
I've experienced similar things with my indoor cats as others have reported. They will have a very set routine that suddenly changes. There is often no explanation, so I tend to think that once in awhile, they like a little novelty. But you never can really know for sure!