I rescued my two cats from under a bridge in 2021. Presently, there are eight cats left, all fixed. I hope this year to rescue another one. I wish I could rescue them all.
— Bryn, Tulsa, Oklahoma
Kudos to you for your work so far in helping these feral cats. I think rubbing a play wand on their backs is a wonderful way to provide feral/community cats with some long-distance affection, even if they never adjust to people – and, sadly, some never will.
Feral/community cats are impacted by their experiences and duration of living on the street. So, some cats will be more or less feral and afraid of people than others. People trying to tame/transition feral cats into a home environment need to know these efforts won't work for every cat – and may not work for most cats.
Sometimes feral cats, used to the outdoors, can become enormously stressed by confinement and freak out. If that happens, don't make them stay. Sometimes, we have to be content feeding them, looking after them, and accepting them for who they are. But I am glad your process worked for these two cats and am sharing your letter in case these suggestions might help others.
(Cathy M. Rosenthal is a longtime animal advocate, author, columnist and pet expert who has more than 25 years in the animal welfare field. Send your pet questions, stories and tips to email@example.com. Please include your name, city, and state. You can follow her @cathymrosenthal.)