Caturday: Survivor Edition



Poor thing. I have a feral that I feed. She used to have that same expression. I’m sure she still does with strangers, but her face has softened with me, over time.


Aww… I just want to feed the little guy, and give him a bath and a warm place to sleep. A vet visit, too. Life is hard.


It look like he’s about to speak, in the voice of Tom Waits.



Our Bob-cat had the same look – he seemed to be the toughest creature on the block… It took over a year, but I was finally able to catch him – he is the most loving cat we have now (also the most brilliant - he drops ‘dead’ if I shoot him with my finger-gun and will roll on his back with his feet sticking straight up if I say “play 'possum”)
All is not perfect – he plays a bit rough with the other cats. No real violence, but if one runs from him he will chase them down and tackle 'em (which scares the crap out of them).


I like the old boy, he’s dealt with what he’s had to and is ready for what ever else happens. I’d like to be his friend and scratch behind his old ears if he’d put up with it. Making that guy Purr would be my good deed for the day

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These type of posts really bug me. Here is an allegedly feral cat - an unneutered tomcat judging from those cheeks, who is filthy and worn out looking with a thousand yard stare. The photographer knows where the cat hangs out/lives. So he took a photo to document this. We can all admire this cat’s “survivor spirit” from afar. What a touching photo.

BUT WAIT - you know what would actually help this cat ? If the photographer contacted the local TNR (Trap, Neuter, Return) group, who could get this guy neutered and vaccinated. The photographer pal could regularly leave food and fresh water for this cat, so it wouldn’t have to dig through the dumpster ! Many cats who are truly feral(that is cats who are not socialized with people at all - unlikely in a cat in an urban environment) look well groomed. Cats that have a history with humans (ie were once pets) are often filthy with poor grooming. This is because having to fend for themselves, without having been taught how to do this by their mother cat, is extremely stressful. Plus, being intact means that this cat is hormonally compelled to fight for territory, fight for mating rights, fight for his dominance in the social order, which then puts him at greater risk for contracting FiV (similar to HiV - spread through sex and blood), abscesses, other injuries and broken teeth. Intact males will roam great distances to mate, which increases their chance of being hit by a car. Plus - intact cats who are starving and sick will still mate.

Photos like this are another form of poverty porn. This cat CAN be helped. People who do TNR are volunteers who have made the choice to DO SOMETHING. Allergic to cats but want to help ? Donate some $$ to a registered group that is helping cats in your area. Not allergic, but can’t have cats at your rental home: volunteer to poster, or help drive cats to the clinic, or help to maintain traps. Like cats but can’t commit to one full time ? Offer space (all is needed is a small space like a bathroom with a door that securely closes) in your home for a feral or semi-feral to recover after spay/neuter surgery. Ask your local TNR group what is needed to help, then help them to help cats like these ! I volunteer and know many stories about cat tragedies like this photo who turned out to be the best, most loving cat ever, once a kind person reached out to the cat and did more than take his picture.



TNR: Trap, Neuter, Re-abandon.

When I look in this cat’s eyes, all I see is misery. Abandoned, stray, and feral cats are still domestic animals and deserve the same level of responsibility for their welfare as we give their canine counterparts. TNR may seem kinder than euthanasia, but you can’t vaccinate against most diseases and parasites, much less against cars, predators, poisons, weather, hunger, and human cruelty. Support your local animal shelter that offers low-cost spay/neuter services for pets and doesn’t re-abandon unadoptable cats to short, miserable lives on the street or in the wild.


Is your local shelter no-kill ? Or are they forced to euthanize healthy and social animals due to lack of space ? Don’t ask PETA about what they think is ethical - they euthanize over 97% of the animals surrendered to their “shelter”. Does your local shelter offer free or low cost spay/neuter and vaccination services to low income people ? If not, ask them why not and agitate for change.

Cats that live in feral colonies are often on a spectrum of socialization - from very feral, semi-feral to hard stray to tame. Cats in shelters are very stressed, and even very social and tame cats can revert to defensive and aggressive behaviour in this context. Airborne viruses are rapidly spread within a shelter context - like calicivirus, common upper respiratory infections, as well as extremely difficult to contain and treat in a multi-cat situation funguses like ringworm. Cats that are hard stray, semi-feral and feral are NOT adoptable cats, and are the first to be euthanized.

It costs more to house and care for that cat in a shelter for the minimum three days, then euthanize and dispose of the body than it does to have that cat neutered, vaccinated and returned to its original location. TNR groups that are responsible and ethical have colony caretakers that commit to feeding at specific locations, and care for the colony cats on a daily basis. These cats are eartipped to mark them as spayed/neutered. Some groups micro-chip as well, so if the cat is injured, deceased or mistakenly taken to a shelter it can be returned to its caregiver.

The biggest utopia would be that every single person spays and neuters their pet, so unwanted litters wouldn’t happen. Next would be changing the dominant attitude that cats are somehow disposable and able to fend for itself in any situation.

The usual vaccinations that are done in a TNR context are for rabies, distemper (aka panleukopenia) and the calicivirus. These are the major communicable diseases that can kill a cat. Some groups also treat with topical anti-parasite medications like Revolution, which can treat some intestinal parasites and things like ear mites.

If you feel you know so much about this topic, then I guess I will see you volunteering at the next feral and stray spay and neuter clinic which happens tomorrow, smartypants ? Because I know lots of volunteers who will be there who could tell you about their experiences with regards to this matter…


hiya satin satan,

this cat could have a bath and a home with me. i do not want a pet. i live in houston though. think the photog would have the time and or money to deliver?


there are squirrels where i live though. that could be a problem.

Yes, I paid for spay, rabies, revolution, and return. I didn’t create the problem, but she ended up near where I live with kittens. Kittens are easier to socialize and adopt out. Even though the shelter here is called no kill, that doesn’t mean they are no kill in all situations. If a feral cat comes in and they are past capacity, if the animal isn’t released, it is euthanized. It’s expensive to feed her and my own animals, but what choice did I have? No reason to put down a perfectly healthy animal. Hopefully over time she’ll be less afraid and maybe someone can take her in.

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That is not a no -kill shelter, that is a low-kill shelter.

The no-kill shelter in my area is selective about what animals are accepted. Ones with major behavioural issues probably won’t make it through the assessment period. There is a waiting period for an intake appointment, although they will on a case by case basis take in animals that are in urgent need of medical care without the waiting period.Animals that are considered unadoptable will either be returned to the person who surrendered it or transferred to the local animal control, which has a 60% euthanasia rate. Local rescue groups will take on some as well. It is a complicated issue which is interconnected. No low cost spay/neuter options = more unwanted pets. More unwanted pets = shelters filled to capacity = more euthanasia. More euthanasia = greater costs of operating the shelter.

The point of current TNR protocol is to keep cats that are not adoptable outside of the shelter system, which benefits the cat, the shelter and taxpayers. Animal control officers who work for a city/municipality are paid. Most TNR participants are volunteers, even though their efforts do ultimately benefit the municipality. Some municipalities pay the costs of spaying/neutering feral and stray cats, as this will ultimately save them money.

So IMB - did you or didn’t you get the cat in question spayed, or what’s the deal with the kittens ?


I answered that above. Kittens adopted.

Were the kittens spayed and neutered before you adopted them out ?

Look I’m going to answer you, but I’m also going to give some constructive criticism. Dial it back, A LOT. You’re attitude or style of commenting is very aggressive*, nearly accusatory. If you would like to reach people with your point of view and your concerns and passion, don’t talk to them like they are idiots or as if you are cross-examining them. It’s off-putting. I hope you take that advice in the spirit in which it was given.

The kittens were all all spayed and neutered, given shots, and adopted out by the shelter.

  • On this topic, I don’t now you otherwise.

Life is hard and usually short for city kitties, with a diet of trash (or smaller animals which have been living on trash), and drinking from puddles poisoned by anti-freeze and other contaminants. Judging from the look of that cat’s chin, I wouldn’t be surprised if he/she had some sort of jaw or facial infection. Looks like it has been in a fight recently, judging from the right eye.

Good luck, little one.


No just your criticism of my “attitude or style of commenting”. Which I suppose would be better categorized as tone policing ?

From others comments it seems like many people don’t understand TNR, and seem to believe that street cats are better off in a shelter or dead. People often harbour a belief in a magical rescue where they don’t have to do anything except point out an animal in distress and some rescue volunteers will pull up like Starksy and Hutch and solve the problem. Or that a particular shelter is extra special towards them personally and won’t euthanize their former pet, litter of kittens,etc, because they are so nice, pretty, purebred, whatever.

Either a person can stand by while wringing their hands crying “Somebody needs to do something about this !” or step in yourself and try to understand/help/fix. And not perpetuate the problem.

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And apparently the only way they’re allowed to try and help fix the problem is by following the process that you have deemed appropriate, and not by doing something else.

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Twas never said nor implied…

SatinSatan, your tone’s welcome in my house! Refreshing, thanks. I’ve learned more than I thought I knew.

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