You are never bored when you are feeding at cat colony. Feeding stations attract cats, so now and then a stranger will find its way to my colony. This is the story of Smokey the stray.
As with most new cats, I saw Smokey for the first time on some recordings from my wildflife camera. Without a camera, I would have no idea who came by my feedings stations at night. I had set up to film TOmmy in his shelter and suddenly a mystery kitty stopped by. It ate some food and quickly checked out the shelter before leaving again.
It was very easy to see that Smokey was not a cat I had dealt with before, due to his unique color. From the black and white footage, I first thought I was watching a tortie. But a week later, I caught him on camera during daytime and saw him in color. It was definitly not a tortie. I asked my vet about his coat and they told me he is of the color smoke. From this new footage I could also see that he had a big wound on his neck. This worried me quite a bit.
I did run into Smokey at the feedings station one day. But he would have one of me and ran away.
Since I couldn't get near Smokey I had to use a humane trap, to get him to the vet. I started feeding in the trap and soon enough he started becoming a regular. One night I activated the trap and got lucky.
Any cat would be scared being trapped like that. It's certainly no fun. But although Smokey seemed nervous, he didn't act like a typical feral would. He wasn't angry and didn't hiss at me. He seemed quite calm in fact. But sometimes even ferals keep their cool. I couldn't risk it and let him out of the trap during the night. Even if he was tame, you know how hard it can be to get your own pet cat into a cat carrier if it doesn't want to. So Smokey had to spend the night in the trap, untill the vet would open.
The vet found that Smokey was timid, but not "wild". This suggests that Smokey has as some point in his life, been around humans. But judging by his condition, it had been a while. He was filled with ticks and flees and his many wounds was from scratching himself. There was no signs of an owner as he wasn't ear marked, chipped or neutered. The vet estimated him to be around 1,5 years old and thankfully he tested negative on FIV and FELV.
Smokey's unique color made is easy to search for him in the lost cats sections of the Internet. Though several people have given it a try, there doesn't seem to be anyone missing Smokey. So our local cat rescue organisation agreed to take him in. They started to look for a foster family while Smokey got neutered, chipped, vaccinated, dewormed and treated for tics and flees. He also got antibiotics for his wounds.
Smokey stayed at the vets for a few days while recovering. This offered them an oppertunity to see how tame he was, while a foster mom was found. A very experienced foster mom agreed to take him. In the begining he was living in her catio. Here he could see directly into her living room and adapt to her slowly. Also his pee was still smelling pretty bad, as he was just recently neutered. He responded very postive to the cats living in the foster home and would call on them.
Even before putting Smokey up for adoption, there was peoplem requesting to adopt. So he went from being unwanted and on his own, to having a line of people waiting to give him a home. Not all cats are this lucky. So I'm sure his foster mom will choose the right home for him, once he is ready and back in shape.
I wish Smokey the best of luck and hope he will never be let down by humans again.