Dexter the cat
I have two feeding stations for "feral" cats. It is meant for my commmunity cats who are all TNR'ed (trap neuter returned). But of course, once in a while, other cats will find their way to my feeding stations. When that happens I will try and figure out who they are and help them.
In May 2020 yet another new cat appeared on my wildlife camera. He came by almost every day at my smaller feeding station (long time followers know this as Little Poul's feeding station). I couldn't see any ear tattoos on the recordings, but I could definitly see it was a male! So it wasn't fixed, that was for sure. Which decreased the likelyness that this cat had an owner and was marked in any way (in Denmark we use chip and ear tattoo to register our cats). So of course I had to get him off the streets, before he made any (more) feral kittens.
He only came around at night and without the camera, I would never have known about his existence. Unfortunatly the weather was unstable around the time I was ready to catch him, but I managed at the end. In the trap Dexter, as I had named our red friend, was obviously scared, but he didn't hiss at me, like a lot of them do. I left him inside over night and took him to the vet the next day.
My vet majored in cats and cares very much about the cat's situation here in Denmark, where too many live on the streets. She does a lot to help people who works with unwanted cats and she has helped me with so many cats in needs. So I trust her fully to handle even the most wild cats I bring her. Cause she is not scared of any cat and understand that they act out because they are afraid. She has a cat heart of gold.
Dexter at the doctor
My vet learned that Dexter was very scared, but didn't seem as feral as some of the cats have brought in previously. He was not comfertable around humans though and when she tried to touch him, he jumped to the ceiling. As expected Dexter was not marked in any way, so it was up to us to decide Dexters future.
Dexter was estimataed to be around 1,5 years old and probably had human contact at one point. But it was a long time ago and Dexter had almost forgotten that people can be nice. There was a small chance that Dexter could be happy as a pet one day, but this would take an incredible amount of work. The sort of environment it would take to re-tame Dexter was unfortunately not available and kitten season was upon us. Meaning all foster families was booked with cats that had a better chance of becoming a pet than Dexter. In cat rescue all life matters, but you have to make some hard choices along the way and put effort where it can do most good. Also, we weren't sure if fostering would be the right thing for Dexter even if we did find the perfect place. Luckily I had room at my colony and would gladly take him in as a community cat. So Dexter would become a free cat once again, but with better conditions.
Dexter was checked for any cat diseases and was healthy. His only issue was tics, lots of tics! So he was treated for that. Then he was neutered, marked and vaccinated before I picked him up again.
I was so nervous that Dexter would just take off after I released him. It has happened to me before, that the TNR's won't come back after the vet visit. And Dexter had only been with us for a few weeks, so there was a risk I was never going to see him again. You can't control these things, you can only hope they will stick around. And if they don't, at least they have a better outlook than before, because they are fixed.
Fortunately Dexter was back at the feeding station that same night! I was so relieved to see him on camera the next morning. And he is still coming by every night to eat. Dexter is cat number 24 that I have TNR'ed.