I have a wonderful feral cat named Ash. Well, he’s actually quite tame now that he has lived at our house on and off for the past few years. He’s a beautiful dark gray tabby who is very talkative and loving toward us and anyone or anything that shows him attention. He’s a total love muffin when he sees you.
The only problem is that he comes and goes as he pleases, and this leads to behavior problems. When he arrives to what I refer to as his home, he feels all eyes and hands should immediately be upon him. The other feral cats who stay here at our house full-time don’t care for his attention grabbing at all. This sometimes can make for some challenges and confrontations when Ash returns and makes his grand entrance.
Ash is a very independent cat and loves attention on his own terms. He will leave to explore and visit other homes for days or weeks on end. At one point, he was gone for about three weeks. I missed seeing him around but knew that he was fine and being taken care of.
When he does return to our home, he will stay for a few days before heading back out for his grand tour of the neighborhood. When he arrives, everyone knows it and can hear him talking from a mile away. His entrance is usually a chorus of meows as he quickly approaches through the back garden area, through the neighbor’s yard, under the Leyland cypress trees and finally into our driveway. He will greet the other cats with a series of rubs against them.
If they decline his affection, he will relentlessly follow them around until they give in or a few kitty swipes are exchanged. Then it’s off to the garage where the food bowls are kept. He will partake in any food that is remaining until I show myself outside. Then he will come running like a dog to greet me and ask me for the good stuff -ÔÇô his treats and wet food. The other cats look at him like, the nerve of that cat! They have funny expressions, as if to wonder where he gets off demanding treats and food on his own terms instead of patiently waiting like they do every day and night.
After he has consumed his preferred treats and food, he will settle down for a while. Of course, it’s never beside the other cats that he grew up with. Instead, it’s by the fence and gate that overlooks our fenced backyard.
Ash knows that we enter and exit the backyard area multiple times a day to let the dogs outside to play and potty. Once he sees us heading out, he doesn’t turn away to provide further separation from the now-frantically barking dogs. Instead, he will hop on top of the gate post and start meowing and rubbing the post until he gets attention from me. He could give two hoots about the disruption he is causing the dogs and the stress my wife and I feel while playing referee. Ash is smart enough to know that he can’t come in the yard while the dogs are so close to the fence. But he also knows they can’t get to him from his vantage point high on top of the fence post.
After what seems to be a lifetime, we manage to get the dogs to the back part of the yard and southern garden area. They calm down for the moment and focus on the business at hand. You would think that Ash would stay put sitting on top of the gate knowing that we eventually have to return to that area. But Ash tends to wait for no one. If we take too long, he will either walk the fence line towards us and the dogs. Or he will boldly jump into the backyard and casually run toward us. Unfortunately, he doesn’t approach silently. In all of his excitement to reach us, he meows repeatedly as he approaches us. Once again, the dogs see him and the craziness begins again.
The only way we can curtail the insanity when he arrives is to anticipate that he will be there. Before taking the dogs outside, we will listen for him to meow while we stand on the back screened-in porch. We will then visually inspect the backyard to see if he’s anywhere around. If the coast is clear, we proceed with the dogs to the backyard. If not, I will head back into the house, grab his treats and wet food and meet him inside the garage. From there, I distract him with treats and pet him until my wife can get the dogs quietly outside before they know he is in the area.
I do miss Ash when he leaves for weeks at a time. I miss the love and affection that he is always willing to give out freely. And I do hate the fact that he only stays for a few days before moving on again. However, I have to admit that my other cats, my dogs, and my wife and I are much calmer when he is not around. Now, all we have to worry about are all of the landscapers, repairmen and various pool maintenance people who act as distractions to our dogs in our active neighborhood. Oh well, no rest for the weary!
Do you have a troublemaker cat? Share your story in the comments!
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About Tim Link: All-American guy who loves to rock out to Queen while consuming pizza and Pinot Noir and prefers to associate with open-minded people who love all critters. Considers himself to be the literal voice for all animals. Author, writer, radio host, Reiki Master, Animal Communicator and consultant at Wagging Tales.