There’s a feral cat living in my house—and she’s pretty pissed off.

Via Tom Rapsas
on Jul 28, 2011
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You find what you look for: good or evil, problems or solutions. ~John Marks Templeton

I start most days at 6am stretching out my achy runner’s body. I then pour myself a cup of coffee and for 15 or 20 minutes do some spiritual reading on the sun porch. I’m currently re-reading John M. Templeton’s Worldwide Laws of Life, a thick book of wisdom that helps get me grounded for the day ahead.

This reading session is usually a solitary endeavor, as I awake before my wife and daughter, but these days I have company. Her name is Lexie and she’s a feral cat. Up until a couple of weeks ago, she was living in the wild, caring for her four baby kittens in a small clearing under my neighbor’s backyard pool.

But fearing for their safety—there was a family of raccoons living in a tree no more than 50 feet away—and wanting to help get these cats off the street, my wife ingeniously trapped Lexie and her brood after many days of effort. Two of the new kitties have been placed in a new home, while we’ve taken on two others—bringing our current home cat population to nine.

Lexie may have at one time been a house pet, we can’t be sure. She is small, puny really, possibly as young as one. She’s scrappy, too. Back when she was responsible for feeding her young, we saw her catch birds and chipmunks, and even run down a squirrel that barely managed to escape up a tree.

Her last and possibly only human contact was when she was taken to be spayed right after being trapped. When she arrived back at her new home, she was understandably not too keen on letting us get close to her. For the first few days, she scurried under a chair whenever I entered the room and looked pretty pissed off.

More recently, as I read on the porch, she sits on a cat perch, keeping a close eye on me. She prefers that I watch her from afar, her comfort level extending to about five feet, though two of our cats have gotten close enough to nuzzle up against her—as if they know she’s had a rough past and wanted to welcome her with open paws.

According to an entry in Wikipedia, “Feral cats that are born and living outdoors, without any human contact or care, have been shown to be adoptable and can be tamed by humans.” Time will tell, but I think Lexie is starting to come around.

Last night I was reading in my regular spot and heard a soft rhythmic purring. I looked around for one of our cats but none were there. It was Lexie, lying on the perch with her eyes closed, relaxing for what was probably the first time in a long time.

Do you have feral cats in your neighborhood? To find out how you can help, click on this link for advice from the Humane Society.


About Tom Rapsas

Tom Rapsas is a blogger on inspirational and spirituality issues for Patheos, Elephant Journal and his own site The Inner Way. A long-time spiritual seeker and student of philosophy and religion, his influences include Thomas Moore, John Templeton, Napolean Hill, Ralph Trine and Ralph Waldo Emerson. A resident of the Jersey Shore, Tom lives with his wife, daughter and nine cats. He’s the author of Life Tweets Inspirational & Spiritual Insights That Can Change Your Life, which is now available for Kindle and as a trade paperback. His next book, the spiritual fable Thaddeus Squirrel, will be published in 2014. You can reach him at [email protected] or via Twitter @TomRapsasTweets


3 Responses to “There’s a feral cat living in my house—and she’s pretty pissed off.”

  1. Tom, thank you for helping Lexie and especially for getting her spayed! Cats have it rough. For example, here and Colorado we are euthanizing approximately 24,000 cats a year — that's almost double the number of dogs. Rocky Mountain Alley Cat Alliance practices the nationally accepted method of humane population control — trap-neuter-return (TNR) — to combat cat overpopulation in metro Denver. A truly feral cat cannot be touched and cannot be adopted. If a feral cat goes to a shelter, euthanasia is the only option. But, with TNR, feral cats can return to their territories and live a decent life with a responsible caretaker feeding them — after they are spayed or neutered. My guess is that Lexie was once a pet cat as she does seem to be warming up to you. Without your intervention, she could have reverted back to a feral state and her kittens would be the start of a feral cat colony. Thanks for being a great cat "dad!"

  2. trapsas1 says:

    Thanks for your comment Amy, Lexie is coming around. We have opened up the sun porch giving her access to the rest of the house and she is slowly exploring and getting acquainted with her feline brothers and sisters. We still can not get closer than a few feet to her but know that will take time. We adopted another stray a few years ago that always kept her distance and we now often find her cuddled up between us (my wife and I) at night!