Dry Creek Hill

Feral Cat Fridays: We Spot Spotty

Like the Ice Cream Cats, Spotty was a sometimes visitor to the Dry Creek Hill feral cat colony. But unlike the Ice Cream Cats, Spotty came and went for several years. He never settled in and always left relatively quickly but he was around often enough that he became comfortable in the colony and the colony members accepted him as part of the club.

Feral cat Spotty and a gray fox at the feeding station
One of our first views of Spotty

We first saw Spotty coming for food. He kept his distance and fit in as much with the wildlife that came to clean up the food as with the cats in the colony. As he aged, he fit in with the other cats a little more. He was clearly prone to altercations with cats or wildlife outside the colony territory and showed up in pretty bad shape after at least one big fight. Much to our surprise, he never picked a fight with any of the colony cats and seemed content to occupy a low rung in the hierarchy whenever he stopped by for a few days or weeks.

Feral cat after a fight
Spotty comes back to the colony after a difficult experience in the world outside our clearing

Most of the time Spotty was healthy, hale, and hearty. In fact, you could say he was a tad fat in his old age. He always recovered from his outside altercations without complications and seemed to appreciate the peace, quiet, and food he found on Dry Creek Hill.

Feral cat Spotty standing on the deck
Spotty keeps a close eye on the photographer but is willing to pose

Spotty was one of the few cats we never trapped and neutered. He first appeared before we had started our TNR program and was seldom around when we were actively trapping cats. He was a wily old campaigner, and the few times he was around during trapping sessions he avoided traps and was quickly gone. By the time he was spending more time on our property all of the females in the colony had been spayed.

2 thoughts on “Feral Cat Fridays: We Spot Spotty

  1. shoreacres

    My first thought on seeing your first photo: “That’s the weirdest cat I’ve ever seen.”
    Second thought: “………”
    Third: “That’s a fox!”

    If it’s not a fox, you were doing more up there on the hill than neutering. I can imagine the sign: “Caution: geneticists at work!”

    The juxtaposition of the photos of scraggly Spotty and slicked-up Spotty is nice. They do have an amazing ability to recover from the slings and arrows of their wild lives.

    1. Charles Prokop Post author

      We have a steady flow of foxes across our property so genetic experiments are unnecessary. They were there before they had cat food to snack on and are still there now that there’s no more cat food in the yard. I see one young fox nearly every day this summer as he’s snuffling around in the birdseed hulls under our feeders. I’m guessing that he (or she) is attracted to the sunflower seeds the birds drop and the occasional suet crumb that falls.

      The regenerative powers of cats are amazing. Without his distinctive markings, we would have been hard pressed to know scraggly Spotty and spiffy Spotty were the same cat. When I was growing up we had a cat that was maimed by some animal. We took her to the vet and he said she was beyond treatment and would have to be put down. We took her home, gave her a comfortable bed and regular food in the corner of the living room. She gradually healed and lived many years after that. One of the ferals in the colony had her neck lacerated, we assume by a deer hoof, and recovered very nicely. MiniMo,, now in her 13th year, was nearly killed by a band of marauding raccoons. We nursed her along as best we could and she’s a spry and healthy old lady today. That experience may also explain why she’s happy staying in my office and watching the world through a pane of glass.

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