Kat: Furdre, my feral problem child


this is Furdre. We inherited responsibily for her when we bought the house next door, and I have been very slowly attempting to domesticate her ever since.

Since we started demolition on Mahazda, i’ve taken to feeding her outside my yurt door at night. At first i only knew she was there because the food would vanish, but lately she has let me see her a few times, and we reached a new landmark last night: she ate while i crouched 3′ away, in my doorway, with a camera. i talked softly to her the whole time, so that she will begin to associate my voice with being fed.


she was a little nervous about the whole thing at first, but ultimately, she was more interested in eating than she was scared of me. she is coming to realize that we are probably not going to harm her. she’s also about five years old, and has lived beside us her whole life; she has ample evidence on which to calm down. Five is darn good for a feral cat, and if i can lure her into being even a partial housecat, that will also extend her life expectancy. we had her spayed at the Humane Society’s Trap-Neuter-Release program a couple years ago, and she got all her shots at that time, too. It’s probably about time to see about more shots. capturing her last time was easy; we left an open can of wet cat food in a cage. At that time, we were setting out to trap and neuter every feral that crosses our property, and we had three other cats to catch. We caught Furdre twice; apparently the first experience wasn’t so bad that it wasn’t worth another can of decent cat food.

last night she even let me take a few flash photos without spooking:

the main downside to having her mostly living under my yurt, is that she scraps with the other cats. Tybalt in particular seems to inspire scrappiness in the cats around him; he has come home with a couple of nicks. Anactoria, being as jumpy as a frog at sunset, is probably not fighting simply because she is running instead. i haven’t actually observed many interactions among them, but i hear them all at it regularly, and when i go outside, guilty-looking cats scatter in different directions. they have got to get used to sharing space with each other. whether or not she ever moves in, they do all share this land. and it’s pretty reasonable for her to feel that she was here first — but it’s also reasonable for Tybalt and Anactoria (and Masala) to defend their home space.

she has been illicitly entering my yurt (from my perspective, not hers) pretty much since the day i installed the cat door. she comes in to eat. she hasn’t broken anything yet, but i know when she has been there because the bowls are polished clean and pushed all the way up to the dresser. my cats are much more casual about finishing every last bite. and one day a bit over a year ago, i came in to find a dead hummingbird on my rug. there was no way Tattersall had caught a hummingbird. He was retired; he couldn’t even be bothered to chase mice (just look at them with perked ears, unmoving). but Furdre? Furdre is smart, strong, and fast. she has had to be, to live so long as a wild cat. i felt that the hummingbird was a gift of proptiation: yurt dwelling food god, i eat your food, but i give you this.

since i feed my cats grain-free cat food, which is not cheap (but which is very good for their health), i have taken to keeping the cat door blocked when i am away to limit Furdre’s access. but in compensation for this, i have also taken to feeding her her own food (and restricting Tybalt’s access to it! he’ll eat anything). when she domesticates herself, she can eat gourmet cat food. as long as she maintains her distance, we’ll stick with the standard kibble. she is certainly not picky.

she’s doing all right by it, anyway.