I’m not sure what to do about this. It’s become a personal vendetta with Mini Scaredy to run off Fatty and Moo Cat if they get anywhere near me (she’s so possessive!). I haven’t seen either of those cats in over a week. So I was starting to worry.
Then Fatty shows up this morning. Nervously hangs out about 30 yards down the trail from my campsite. So I bring her a dish of food.
Then I lie down in front of her to shield her from Mini Scaredy. She at least got to eat about half of the food when Mini Scaredy came charging at us like a bat out of hell. Chased Fatty down the hill, across the creek, and up the next hill.
So now I’m thinking: Maybe I should feed Mini Scaredy in the morning. And then pack up my campsite. Mini Scaredy usually leaves the area after I pack up. And then go set up down by the creek. Where I can feed Fatty and Moo Cat in peace. It’s worth a try. I find it almost impossible to “train” feral cats in the wild. So that’s not really an option.
(The next day)
Ha ha. Victory is mine!! You gotta be pretty crafty to out-smart a feral cat.
I fed Mini Scaredy her breakfast and then packed up my campsite. Mini Scaredy assumed I was leaving so she wandered off to another part of the woods. HAH! The dumb beast. Instead I snuck down to the creek and fed Fatty (her rival) her breakfast. Where she can eat in peace without worrying about getting run off by Mini Scaredy.
But of course it won’t be long before Mini Scaredy gets wise to this ruse. And I’ll have to come up with something else. Feral cats can be plenty crafty too.
One of my friends suggested that my feral cats were trainable because I’ve “trained” them to show up for food when I arrive. But that’s a little different. Feral cats are very intelligent at studying my behavior and adapting to it and living along side me.
But with house cats, most owners “train” them when they’re little kittens to do stuff like pooping in the litter box. Where the owner imposes their will over the cat. That kind of thinking, that kind of behavior modification, is completely foreign to a feral cat and very difficult to impose on a mature feral cat. I suppose a person with highly refined animal training skills could do it. You can’t really bop a feral cat in the nose and “scold” it. Wild animals react to any form of aggression directed at them as a potential death threat. And scoldings just bewilder and frighten them, mostly.
Sometimes people question whether my cats are truly “feral.” Since they’ve been socialized to me as their human. . . Ask the people at the animal shelter who had to deal with them when I had them fixed. They are wild animals, extremely difficult to control. Even for professional animal handlers.
The fights my cats have are over territorial issues. A primal and extremely ingrained instinct. It’s not something where I can just scold them and that’ll modify their behavior.
Ace Backwords is a former cartoonist, writer and semi-normal human being. He's been sleeping in the bushes in the Berkeley hills for the last ten years with his four feral cats, Moo Cat, Fatty, Mini Scaredy and Micro Scaredy. Future plans include growing old and dying. Preferably in that order.
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2 thoughts on “Fatty vs. Mini Scaredy: The territorial turf war”
I am disappointed. The subtitle. Please take the apostrophe out of it’s.
Best of all possible regards,
your most meticulous editor
Your turf war reminds me of a story I read in middle school “Leiningen versus the ants.”