|Purred: Sat Dec 11, '10 1:36pm PST |
|Tambi and Jan, here are some more ideas since I last talked to you. Heat the food in the microwave or a pan before you put it out; it will take longer to freeze. If he is there when you put the food out, don't heat it too hot, as he will try to eat it right away. Try making a trail of food from the old spot to the new spot near your door--maybe he will follow it? If you see him eating from the bowl near your door, stop feeding him at the old place.
We made outdoor cat beds from plastic tubs for our outdoor cats. You cut a hole in one of the short sides--the smallest hole that you think Jimmy can get through--and then put the top on and turn it over so it is resting on the top. You can put things in it for him to snuggle in. They say that straw is the best, as it will dry out after being wet, whereas a blanket or towel will stay wet. We also cut part of a sheet of heavy insulation--the styrofoam kind that comes in big sheets--and put it on the bottom of the cat bed to keep the floor warmer. You can also buy outdoor cat bed heaters that have heavy insulation in them, if you have a spot to plug them in. After you get it all set up, put a little cat food in it or some other treat that he likes, and see if you can get him to go in.
Of course, you know that even after all this, some other animal might try to take advantage of all of these things. Here it's raccoons and possums and stray dogs.
As long as he stays healthy and gets enough to eat, he will probably make it through the winter. The ones who die are the very young, the very old, the very thin and injured ones.
It is very hard to tame a feral cat, but it is possible. Ours were all very semi-feral, in that they were used to people but didn't want to be held or picked up. [They still don't!!] If you do catch him somehow, put him inside in a separate room, away from the other cats, until you can get him checked out for horrible diseases by the vet. You will have to keep him inside all the time for at least two weeks for him to get used to living there, before you can let him go outside again. He may never be a reliable indoor cat, and might keep going out and staying for days when the weather is nice.
We know you want a cat with personality, but it will be hard to have a very affectionate mutual relationship with a feral cat until a lot of time and effort has passed. Warm purrs to all of you and to Jimmy from all of us, as we lay snuggled on our heated cat beds! This time of year is not a good one to be a feral, and we are glad for our house now! Wish we could tell Jimmy that!
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