Feral Kitties Can Be Loving Companions!

by | Aug 27, 2020

Precious Tucker. His happy place was always in my lap. May he rest in peace!
Prior to moving to our hale in Paauilo, I had never met or tried to befriend a true feral cat. Ferals basically live on their own, and want absolutely no human contact, except for a bowl of kibble left under a bush. They are very territorial and reproduce at an alarming rate. Many of the resorts and hotels along the coast, convenience stores with gas stations, parks, and even our Paauilo Post Office have, or have had, their own feral families. I have been told by numerous agencies that we have in excess of 500,000 feral cats on our island. But, I am happy to report that the Big Island has an impressive list of non-profits that focus on spay and neuter, as well as release back to their environment programs. With the tip of the ear clipped, it’s easy to identify which kitties have received this special care.

When we moved to our hale, I was very satisfied with one horse, two goats, two dogs, one peacock, and two cats, all of which eventually worked out their differences and got along just fine. But, a few years later, I noticed a large grey tabby walking the hog wire fence line up near our horse/goat area. He looked pretty rough, with ears chewed up, thin, obviously not neutered, and very frightened. I wasn’t exactly sure what to do with him except that he needed food, and eventually neutering. That was the responsible thing to do, right?

Tender and patient care tames the toughest feral!

I named this rogue tabby Tucker. (This was the name I had intended for Makai, my orange tabby kitten, until I discovered that he was, in fact, a she!) It took me a full seven months to tame this little tiger. But I accomplished it with tenderness and patience.

All our kitties eat a raw hamburger meatball both morning and night. So I put Tucker’s on his side of the fence. Then, a month or so later I started asking him to eat on our side of the fence. He obliged, although very cautiously. When he was comfortable with that feeding plan I started sitting closer and closer to him as he ate. After a few months he would let me pet him. And boy, was he looking healthy! His minor scratches cleared up, and his coat took on a shine as he filled out from top to bottom.

Time to be snipped…

I figured it was my responsibility to capture Tucker, utilizing one of the spay and neuter certificates available through the local Humane Society. After a week or so of feeding Tucker in the open travel cage, I finally dropped the door and off we went to the vet. He howled the whole way, and was so frightened that he kept pushing his head against the door, trying to escape. By the time we made it home his nose was a swollen mess. (Covering the cage with a towel helped.) I kept telling myself that this had to be done, not only for Tucker, but for the female population of kitties in our area! Poor guy!

I figured when I got him home and released, we wouldn’t see him again. Wrong!!! Soon, he was a truly tamed tiger, crawling onto my lap, purring, and kneading my legs with his sharp claws. I fell in love with my first feral!

A few months after Tucker showed up, we started seeing a solid black feral trying to move in. I really really didn’t want four cats! My limit was always two. So much for that. So, I repeated the same program with Jett, and it worked like a charm!

We lost Tucker about four years later, after a freak hurricane. I found him, minutes before he died, lying on the floor of one of our feed sheds. He died as I prepared to race him to the vet. And I cried like a baby! In mid-August, Jett disappeared. He has now been gone ten days, and I fear he will never return. What happened? I have no idea. We live in a very safe area. The only thing I can think of is that a wild hog got him. I guess they can do that. What an awful thought! The other three kitties are happy and healthy, thank God.

Please consider adoption!

If, when you move to Hawaii, or to a new neighborhood on the island, and you would like to add one or more cute kitties to your family, please consider adoption through one of the following sources:

Aloha Animal Advocats
Sylvia Dolena
[email protected]

AdvoCATS, Inc.
808-895-9293 Spay & Neuter
[email protected]

Rainbow Friends Animal Sanctuary
[email protected]

KARES – Kohala Animal Relocation & Education Services
[email protected]

Hawaii Island Humane Society
Administration: 808-329-8002
Kamuela/Waimea: 808-885-4458
Kona: 808-329-1175
Keaau: 808-966-5458

If you are lucky enough to meet up with a feral kitty, take it slow. And eventually take it to the vet for spay/neuter. Then, take it home and enjoy a very, very special relationship. Will I do it again, even after losing my two precious feral kitties? Yes. If God brings them to me, I will love them with all I have! Meow!!! 

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