Is this stray kitty adopting us?

Since late April, I’ve been attempting to win the heart of this scraggly, one eyed stray cat.

If you follow me on Facebook or Instagram, you may have seen the nightly updates in my Stories. If not, don’t worry - here’s the full scoop!

On a sunny day in spring, KG the cat was first spotted deep in the tall grass at the back of our property. Living in the country, we aren’t surprised to sometimes see neighboring cats hanging out, especially because our tall grass makes great mouse-hunting grounds. But this cat was new.

That evening, he came sneaking up our driveway after dark. It was cold and rainy, and I got a closer look and knew instantly that he was not someone’s pet. He was in trouble. I set out a bowl of food and he scampered off, terrified by the sight of me.

But half an hour later, that food bowl was licked clean.

The next evening I set out a bowl of food at 6:30, when I saw him on our road. He was very wary, and wouldn't come to the bowl until I was out of sight - but he devoured two cans of wet food and a handful of dry.

Since that evening, he’s returned like clockwork for his “first dinner” at 6:30 pm. 
A few nights in, when he came for second dinner in the dark and rain, my heart just about melted when he meowed at me as I was getting his can of food ready.

The following day, my 5 year old meowed to him as he waited across the road for dinner to be served. He meowed back, and since then we’ve all been meowing whenever we are outside. :)

About 15 days in now, I’m able to pet his head after dark, when his belly is full. I’ve made progress much faster than expected, and I’m hoping to be able to help him soon.

 

To sum things up, here’s answers to the most frequently asked questions:

Janery KG Stray Cat FAQ Is he a feral cat?

At first we thought KG was feral. His left ear has the tip cut off, which could mean he was trapped, neutered, and returned to the wild as part of a feral cat colony management program.

When a feral is spayed or neutered, the tip of one ear is clipped off to indicate that it's been "fixed. " It's used as an identifier so that people caring for ferals can tell - from afar - who's fixed and who isn't.

Sometimes people take advantage of the low cost feral neutering programs and use them for their house cats - so an ear tip doesn't always mean a cat is truly feral.

Sometimes people take advantage of the low cost feral neutering programs and use them for their house cats - so an ear tip doesn't always mean a cat is truly feral.

Truly feral cats are nearly impossible to win over as pets. They are silent, walk low to the ground, and you can't pet them. They never meow around humans.

I don't know his story, but as he's warmed up to me, I've become convinced that he was once loved. The day he first mewed back at me I realized that. And now that I've been able to pet him, I'm even more sure.

 

Janery Stray Cat KG What's Sticking Out of His Side?

 

The "thing" sticking out from his side is actually a very hard mat of fur. It feels like a solid rock.

Long haired cats should be brushed regularly to prevent mats of fur.
I Googled to see if long haired cats can survive as ferals, and it appears that it's rare. Most feral cats have short hair, and most long haired cats are used to being cared for.

His fur is in bad shape either because he was used to being cared for, or because he's in poor health. Possibly both.

When fur becomes severely matted, it starts to "pelt" - it separates from the skin because (I think) it's basically pulling itself out. He needs to be fully sedated and shaved down for a fresh start.

Janery Stray Cat KG Eye Missing
Yes, one eye is missing.

I'm not sure of the cause. It could be:

  • Surgically removed due to injury
  • Injured in cat fight or other scuffle and lost when wild
  • If he was a kitten with Feline Herpes Virus, the eye could have ruptured

It could also be a sign of something more serious. Severe dental disease can lead to gum infections that spread, or it could be cancer of some sort in that side of the face. The vet will take a closer look.

He's drooling a lot, so I'm sure he has dental issues as well.

His vision is significantly impaired by this. It's easy to sneak up on him from his blind side, and it seems to make him even more skittish than he would be otherwise.

I'm amazed he's survived in the wild, because we have bears, coyotes, foxes, etc.

Janery Stray Cat KG Vet Care FAQ
Absolutely YES!

The original plan was to trap him and take him to the vet, but I wanted to build trust and wait for the weather to warm up more. It's been so cold at night. Since he's starting to trust me, the modified plan is to gently catch him and take him in - hopefully next week.

I talked to the vet and we have a loose plan of care:

  1. Fully sedate for an exam and blood work (because he will likely be out of control with fear).
  2. If exam doesn't show signs of terminal illness, shave down completely, to give the fur a fresh start.

After that. . .

  1. If there's no sign of neutering or a spay scar, he/she will need to be fixed.
  2. Treat any skin infections.
  3. Vaccinate
  4. Test for Feline Leukemia + FIV
  5. Deworm
  6. Possible dental work - tooth extractions and cleaning

Then we will bring him home, on anxiety meds, and keep him safe in our garage for a few days as he recovers.

Are you keeping him? Will you let him in? It looks like you have a new cat.

How could I NOT keep him? We said goodbye to our cat Aretha a week before he showed up. Our 5 year old wanted to go to the shelter and get a new kitten, but with a curious toddler and Poodle in the house, we decided to wait a bit.

Clearly life had other plans!

Most of my animals have found me, not the other way around. If KG is healthy enough to save, we will try our hardest to ease him into our family.

The cat who came with our house, Hidey, is not cat-friendly! She screamed at our old cat, Aretha, every time she saw her - for the first 6 months or so. She screams and flies at the window when she sees KG outside.  

The vet said we can put Hidey on anti-anxiety meds to help ease the transition this time.  KG seems terrified of the 14 month old baby, Amber the Poodle (who wants to be his friend) and Hidey.

I think he may take a while to feel comfortable coming inside. Fortunately we have a garage with windows and natural light, and a nice screened porch for him to use first.

How did you get the name KG?

My 5 year old daughter named him.  She suggested the name Kitty Garbage Truck - I have no idea why - but we shortened it to KG.

KG sounds like Cagey, which is very fitting for his personality. And it matches our other cat, Hidey, whose previous owner named her that for her tendency to hide.

Cozy for a Cause

Janery is proud to donate 5% of all sales to the Richmond Animal League, in honor of our first two pups who hailed from the streets of Richmond.With your help, rescued animals will have more than just a soft place to land at the end of the day. They’ll also have a home.