Monday, December 13, 2010

Bubba the Cat

Some cats live a wild life. Literally. They are just as wild as the squirrels or the sparrows or the skunks. Feral cats are the offspring of domestic cats that have, shall we say, run away from home. Feral cats also come from non neutered house cats that are allowed to roam and impregnate wild cats. Some feral cats live in colonies.

There was one such colony in my own neighborhood, one street over. A bunch of cats lived in an unused garage. Who knows how many. Dozens? Hundreds? It's tempting to say, so what? Cats have just as much right to live as raccoons or bumblebees. Sure they do. But here's the thing. These wild cats must eat. Among other things, this threatens the songbird population. In fact, one day I saw a wild cat with a baby rabbit in it's mouth right under my backyard bird feeder. You may say, this is good. Keep the varmint population in check. I say, that's what hawks are for.

Feral cats use my flower beds as their toilet. Nobody comes up behind them with a plastic bag to pick it up, the way I do with my dogs. And if I let my dogs run wild and mate willy nilly, there would be complaints from the neighbors. All I'm saying is, that all cat owners need to be responsible for their pets. If they were, there would be no feral cats.

But this is about Bubba. Let's talk about Bubba. About four years ago a wild litter of cats was born. One of these kittens was a black and white boy with green eyes. A nice lady took this kitten in and her young son named him Bubba. The boy loved Bubba and wanted to hold him and pet him and overall, treat him like a house cat. Though Bubba seemed to tolerate this good fortune, he escaped the first chance he got. He was found and coaxed close enough to be grabbed and returned to his luxurious prison. You guessed it, he escaped again. And again. Each time it was more difficult to recapture Bubba.

The boy's mother actually camped out in front of my house one night in hopes of spotting Bubba and returning him to caring captivity. Bubba was having none of it. He was born wild and chose to live wild.

Bubba is fairly long lived for a feral cat. After four, or is it five years now? I still see him now and then, under a car in a driveway or walking down the sidewalk. How does he live? Kindly folks put cat food on their back porches. Does Bubba supplement his diet with songbirds and garbage picking? How many children do you suppose he has sired by now?

For more information on feral cats:
feral cat allies-
for facebook users:


  1. I disagree with leaving food out for feral cats. You may actually be feeding coyotes ... and if the cats do get it, what good does it really do?

    It's akin to feeding deer up in my neck of the woods. There's already too many of them for the habitat to support. Feeding only encourages overpopulation, and overpopulation only leads to unhealthy animals and starvation.

  2. Lynn, You're right, many feral cats don't make good house cats, but need our help. TNR - Trap-neuter-release programs have been successful in turning those dozens? hundreds? into better manageable numbers. Many cat rescue centers partner with TNR programs. Adoptable cats and kittens are sheltered and adopted out and non-adoptable feral cats are neutered and released.
    Here is a link to a successful one near Cincinnati.
    We got both our cats from a cat rescue as kittens. Feral kittens adapt pretty well to home life. More