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The feral feline is a wise and beautiful con job.

Yeah. I know. You all are tsk-tsking, "All cats are con jobs."

Guess what? I agree.

We be straight in our thinking now? So, let's continue with my, and hubby's, personal journey towards feral cat training.


>The feral cat chooses you. You do not choose the feral cat.

>You must have a front door. Back doors are a desirable extra.

>Sweeping decks, especially raised ones, are irresistible.

>You must have multiple outside amenities.

>Steps are very attractive. If you lack steps, please build some.

>Lawns are nice. Crushed rock is tolerated if it leads to finer things.

>Pot plants, Malibu Lights and patio furniture attract them like catnip.

>They like to climb. So cars are good, but a high SUV or truck is preferred. Please comply.

>Lurking is a primary activity. Available hiding/birthing places make your location prime A-1 residential.

Yes, indeedy, it all seems very innocent when it begins. You spot a kitty walking on your lawn. It's just a neighbor's pet, you think. Cute little thing. And when kitty eyeballs you and speeds off, you figure that's the last of it.

Before long, though, you notice signs of decline withering your lovely landscaping and toppling ornamentals. You also find smelly stuff in your pots along with feathery body parts. Ultimately, the honorarium is carefully placed at your doorway. Yes, it is a fresh kill that is designed to encourage your awe and loving gratitude.

You shriek. You whip your head round and round like a Dervish. And from the corner of one eye you spot that cat. It's sitting, out of reach, smugly under your most expensive foliage. He/she is making contact, and you are now expected to display your appreciation.

Well, you don't, do you? Instead, you shoo-shoo and kitty complies, for now. Good riddance. You clean up and vow that you'll get some moth balls to sprinkle around as deterrent. And you do. And you choke and retch on the smell.

You're damned near poisoned in your sleep, but you have to give it time to work.

It doesn't. And kitty now boldly returns and finds comfort on your shaded glider chair. Before you can open your door, kitty is joined by another kitty and they begin to snuggle. Aw, so sweet. You don't have the heart to shoo them.

Before long, kitty1 and kitty2 become parents. Kittens appear and more cats begin arriving to visit the new generation.

In awe, the new visitors discover your dense bamboo forest and decide to relocate the whole famdamnly to your residence.

What do you do? A cold front is coming in and the babies need help. The relatives give you their best "Go to Hell stare," and you feel like you somehow need to apologize for your lack of hospitality.


You rush out to buy your first bags of cat and kitten food and you secure boxes and newspapers so shelters can be constructed.

Thank God you saved all those plastic margarine tubs. They are perfect for the food and water

Upon your return from the supermarket, your neighbor grabs a twenty pound bag of food and queries: "Having trouble with the cats, are you? Those moth balls never work. Looks like you need a stiff drink."

"How can I let them starve and freeze? They are innocents... And the babies...," you sniffle, with desperation in your voice.

"Aw, that's okay," your neighbor says with a hearty chuckle. There's a bunch of us helping out. It's called the feral factor, and you've just completed your training."

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