Woof, I know I should just move on, but the temptation to respond
is just too strong. I'm sure you're a good person and probably
an animal lover Betsy, but you're going on some personal
experiences and anecdotes that aren't necessarily the "norm" to
put it gently.
: That's just silly. First, how do you know what generation you
: with? These cats are wild and difficult to observe, let alone
Easy. Gestation period and length of time the feral community
has existed. Beyond two years and you have a well established
feral community. Beyond observation it's only a guess but it is
still easy to spot the first and second generation animals by
their mannerisms and responses to various things, including
: Second, this presumes that behavior is genetic. If this was
the case, then
: no wild animal could be successfully domesticated. Yet people
: rescue infant animals of all species and keep them as pets.
Of course it's genetic! No animal can be truly domesticated;
it's called nature's way. Any cat, domestic or not, if healthy
knows about chasing and eating prey, for instance. It doesn't
need to be taught; it's inherent. Being taught helps, but that's
not all it takes.
: The key is catching them young, very young, like at birth. I
: kitten of a feral cat sitting in front of me right as I speak.
We have three feral cats in our home. Two came as week-old
kittens, the third was a rescue from a restaurant grease trap a
few winters back. We bottle-fed and raised the kittens to
adulthood. They came at different times; one was found dying,
laying in a water puddle, the other one has 4 different length
legs; lost three them to freezing. Only one "full" leg complete
with foot toes and claws; other three are varying lengths.
: is, after 12 years, still afraid of me but she knows where
"home" is and
: comes in when she eats and sleeps.
These are house-cats now; they do not roam. And except for the
one with the legs problems, the youngest, do not want to. Has
nothing to do with anything though.
The kittens couldn't be more loving.
Same here, when they were kittens. But don't surprise or somehow
scare any one of them or you may not see them for days on end.
Many people confuse "love" with "dependence" and an appreciation
of comfort. Just because you are teaching kittens doesn't mean
their instincts are stunted, or gone. It means their bellies are
full enough and they have the comfort they want; they're not
wanting for very much. But if they're from a feral community,
they are still feral.
BTW, you DO undterstand what feral means, right? If not, I
would advise you to look it up. It doesn't just mean a stray or
abandoned cat. Feral cats can almost never be completely
redeemed as a housecat.
: They were handled from birth, and whereas they don't know their
: mother" is even related to them, they are very bonded to me!
They probably are, and that's great. But, that bond is nature's
doing, not yours. If they were feral, they are still feral.
That's not necessarily bad as long as they don't start spraying,
copulating, things like that. Our third one, Phoebe, was spayed
several years ago and still loves to "have a go" at Major Buzzer,
the oldest Tom in our house.
We do animal fostering for the local SPCA and anyone else that
needs it, so we have had lots of kittens around and we go thru a
fortune in the formula for the kittens, but it's all worth it.
We also "judge" kittens, to see if they're worth trying to
save. Some ferals, if you push them too hard, even as kittens,
will force themselves into live failure, stop eating and drinking
and wait to die. No matter how much you love or care for them,
they are not going to imprint on you, especially if they are well
into the generation counts. It's a complete return to nature.
Feral cats will have worms, fleas, upper respiratory problems,
live and kidney problems, and all kinds of things that are
heartbreaking to see. But that's called nature, instinct, things
like that. And that doesn't count feline hepatitus, HIV, FIP and
all the rest of it. The right feral cat could kill off every cat
in your home.
It's a very bad idea to mess with feral cats unless you know
what you're doing to some degree and have support resources at
hand. There is good reason ferals are not caged/kept with
"normal" companion animals in shelters and such.
: Trap neuter and release is the option, NOT euthanasia.
Then I hope you're donating to lots to lots of Shelters working
on the feral problems. If not, you're being hypocritical here.
: happened in the bubonic plague, when cats were eliminated?
Perhaps it is
: feral cats that will "save" us from the avian flu!
No, I don't; wasn't alive then, but I have read about it.
Remember it's YOU brought up the annihilation of every cat in the
world, not anyone else. You sound like one of those people who,
rather than save to euthanize that poor kitten we found frozen
into the puddle one morning on the street, would have instead
have let her lay there and suffer? It had a body temp of 94
degrees when it got to the Shelter, and lived 24 hours, so we
took it to assess it and see if it was salvageable. It was and
is still with us and hopefully will be for a long time. But no
one else would have taken it; it had gone into liver and kidney
shutdown and couldn't/wouldn't eat or drink; what would YOU have
done with it? Let it continue its slow death and misery right
to the end? It would have taken at least another three days.
That scenario and ones like it happen over and over every day at
Shelters all over the world.
There are a LOT more of them around than people who will make
life bearable for them. Which group do YOU belong to? How many
will you go out and help? How many have you helped? Or is the
two you have enough and you've "done your duty, let someone else
do it now"?