Oh no! Just when the whole animal situation here at Dreadful Acres was starting to function like a well-oiled machine, boom! A cat incident.
I should point out that, although I am a crone, my familiarity with cats is but fragmentary. This is counter-intuitive, I realize, but rest assured I am working assiduously to bring my skill set in line with the customary cronal catspertise. Hence this post.
So here's the predicament. Feral Cat #1 and I have been harmoniously coexisting since November. I give him turkey pâté twice a day. In return, he tags along when I feed the horses, and rolls around on my boots and purrs. Aww, so cute, right?
But 3 days ago an interloper -- let's call him Feral Cat #2 -- staged an incursion. That fateful morning I staggered out to the carport as usual to chuck the turkey pâté in the cat bowl, and was jarred by the spectacle of a totally different cat in the cat bowl area. No doubt you will have surmised that this was none other than Feral Cat #2. Feral Cat #1, my sentimental favorite, was a no-show. I naturally gave FC2 the turkey pâté, as he was looking pretty skinny and tragic and I am a pretty soft touch. I then set off to find FC1.
A day later I discovered him cowering in the woods. He was terrified of FC2 and wouldn't come near the house for all the cat food in Thailand. Since then I have been obliged to deliver FC1's meals to his remote bower while FC2 dines in the more convenient carport spot.
Until this morning. Compelled by who knows what mysterious and perverse feline conviction, FC1 boldly strolled back into his old carport stomping ground, where FC2 has been lo these past three days -- and was even now -- holding court. Thinking (somewhat naïvely, it would turn out) that the situation was now resolved and we would all resume our happy carefree lives, I set some turkey pâté down in front of each of them -- one cat over here, the other over there. Then all hell broke loose.
Did I mention that these are both intact males? Yes, I know. Lecture me if you must, but don't judge me. I've tried trapping FC1 so I can get him fixed, but that's easier said than done. So far all I've managed to catch is a gnarly-ass raccoon that eats all the cat food and then busts out of the Havahart so it can knock over my trash can at 3AM.
Anyway, the cat fight was epic. I believe it caused a disturbance in the Force: the dogs went ballistic, the morning deer herd snorted and scattered, the furry woodland creatures went to ground, the birds all flapped off to distant trees. Growling and yowling, fur flying in slow motion, even the crickets stopped chirping. In the end, FC2 was ousted from the carport. He continues to lurk, however, at a distant radius. Looking pathetic.
My question is this: what the hell do I do now?
Dreadful Acres: the chronicle of my extraordinary unsuitability to country life
1. How much cat food is, in fact, in Thailand? You'll need to learn these things if you hope to plumb the depths of a cat's mind-- it being the size of an underdeveloped walnut notwithstanding.
2. Besides your really horrible ulterior motive (trapping them so that you can cut their balls off), what else do you want? I mean, how do you feel about where FC1 and FC2 live?
I ask because right now, their housing situation is unstable. FC1 finally girded his loins (have no idea how any species does this, especially a cat) and came to take back his carport. But that rarely takes just one fight, regardless of what you see on TV. So FC1 might have to offer another a$$-kicking to FC2 before he can consider FC2 evicted. My guess is that future fights won't be as severe since these are just sequels-- FC1 already showed FC2 the primary plot.
My point is that you can help by feeding FC2 somewhere else. Just finish the job that the cats started.
I admit ignorance to trapping cats and using havaheart traps, but I do have experience trapping the smart mice in my garage.
Is it possible to bait--but NOT SET--a havaheart trap? If it is, then feed the cat in the trap for several days, until the trap is a cool place to be, and THEN set it only after the kitty has walked in willingly and accepted it as a feeding station.
What about going without turkey for a day or so and then baiting the traps so FC1 and 2 have more incentive to be brave/foolhardy?
This crossed my mind, and I could conceivably try it with the original cat, but I can't in good conscience not feed the new one, because he's ultra-starved. I need to fatten him up before he goes in for any kind of surgery. And the problem now is, I can't feed the second one without feeding the first one, because they're fighting at feeding time no matter how far apart I separate'em. The first cat wolfs down his ration and then lights out on a recon mission to find and kick the ass of the second cat. It's a nightmare. This is why I consciously decided to just have dogs, y'all!
Dreadful Acres: the chronicle of my extraordinary unsuitability to country life
Gawd. Total nightmare. Nice of you to feed them and to care about them falling 50 stories out of a durn tree. I've trapped a bunch of kitties in my day. I'd just keep trying. Maybe get bigger traps? Funniest thing was when I trapped cats on our farm, they all ended up being sweeties. Not feral at all, even the toms. But we did not reside on hell's half acre and a half, although we were indeed quite rural. If you catch Roger, and have a suitable room, you could perhaps do the fattening there prior to snips and jabs?
Been there, done that - twice. Cat fights can be LETHAL - I never knew (my cronal catspertise was also lacking!), how viscious intact male cats are, and they WILL fight to the death. I have a thread on one of my ferals who is neutered, and had 2 experiences with new toms moving into the territory. They were fine at first, then started fighting a bit, and then it got really viscious and my neutered guy got hurt. I almost lost him this time - thought he broke his leg. I chased the two of them when they were fighting and that tom was literally trying to kill my neutered guy - he pinned him down and was trying to rip his throat out.
My advice, trap them both ASAP. I know how hard that is to do, but even with the one being skinny it is worth it. Better to have the chance to save one than lose them both. And they are tougher than they look - even skinny ones usually do okay.
We are very lucky here to have a feral cat charity that pays for the neutering, vaccinations and microchipping and they tag their ear so they are easily recognizable as part of the program. I have learned to trap the males IMMEDIATELY before they chase away my 2 neutered males and my 2 females.
Here is poor Capt'n Jack Sparrow recuperating from his injuries - thank goodness the leg was not broken or I would have had to put him down:
I suggest adding a few extra handfuls of some form of Kitteh culinary delight perhaps dry food to FC1's rations simply extend the amount of time he spends enjoying his meals to allow FC2 enough time to dine without having to dash.
Once everyone is looking less haggard , it sounds like they both are in desperate need for a date with the Vet. Don't worry they'll have a ball ...or two.
"I would not beleive her if her tongue came notorized"
Good luck on trapping! Some of them can be quite smart about the trap, so don't give up or get discouraged.
When I trapped the two ferals, well one stray, one feral, that showed up at my house I skipped breakfast and set the traps out at their accustomed dinner time. I hated to not feed them that morning, but...... It's best in the long run.
I also put some tuna along with wet food in the trap and it didn't take long for me to have them. I took the first one in the trap and put him in spare bathroom and the second caved soon after.
If it's any consolation, these two fought like crazy before they were neutered and now they pal around all over the place together. They even sleep together.
The gray one (stray) now hops on my lap every chance he gets and the black & white feral now loves his cheeks rubbed and being petted, but no picking up.
An Actual Cat-Trapper told me how to trap the difficult to trap cat:
Bait trap but don't set and just feed the cat in the trap for a few days.
Then set it and feed the cat in the trap and BOOM you have a trapped cat.
Zip ties are good for this.
Farmers caught the feral I'd been trying to trap for months using this method. On Halloween. After a snowstorm. When I had no power (it being a snowstorm in October and all). And then the feral cat got loose in my basement and spent a week living in the drop ceiling of my basement using my potted plants (which have to live in the basement because I have a cat that will eat a cactus) as her litter box. So then I had to befriend her to catch her again. And now she's sitting next to me on the couch.