Dry Creek Hill

Feral Cat Fridays: Chiefly About Thomas

Thomas was another wandering cat who hung around our feral cat colony yet never took the step of joining. Although he was comfortable with the colony residents and got along with everyone he seemed uninterested in settling down. He was particularly shy if he saw us or thought he was being observed. The name Thomas seemed to suit his retiring, yet somehow distinguished, personality.

Thomas looks back at camera as he leaves the yard
Thomas looks back as he exits the yard, giving a rare opportunity for a more or less in-focus shot.

We have just a few photos of Thomas, and most of them are either blurry or have only a part of Thomas in the frame because Thomas was hustling away, albeit at a measured, calm pace. Thomas wasn’t going to let you know he might be scared; he just wasn’t interested in receiving you at this time, thank you very much. He was trap-shy enough that we never managed to trap and neuter him. He seemed like a nice guy and we were sorry we never got to know him very well.

Thomas hurries out of view and out of the frame of the photo
A typical view of Thomas as he hustles away, leaving the colony territory and the photo frame.

Chief was just as much a wanderer as Thomas, but Chief was self assured. He hung around the back yard colony territory and formed no lasting friendships with colony members. Like Thomas, we only saw Chief on and off for several months and never managed to trap and neuter him.

Chief prancing through the underbrush at the edge of the back yard
Chief stalks the edges of the colony territory.

Some wandering males joined the colony while others stayed on the periphery and only passed through. We imagine they were all initially attracted by the possibility of reliable food and female companionship. Food was always available but the wandering males soon learned that all colony females were spayed. Food was a strong enough draw to hold some of them, and if we managed to trap and neuter them they were contented life-long residents. Other males, like Chief and Thomas, wanted something more and moved on.

2 thoughts on “Feral Cat Fridays: Chiefly About Thomas

  1. shoreacres

    The only photos I have of road-runners are akin to your photos of Thomas. They generally show nothing but the tail, as the bird departs stage left.

    The first thing that came to mind when I read you had named one of your crew ‘Thomas’ was a question: was he a doubter? It seems he was, at least when it came to the advisability of joining the colony.

    1. Charles Prokop Post author

      As you noted, Thomas was certainly a doubter about hanging around. I always got the impression he was struggling with the “should I stay or should I go” decision but the call of the wild eventually won.

      As to roadrunners, we’ve managed to get a shot or two of them at rest but they are usually disappearing into the trees before we manage to get the camera. The only reliable photographic roadrunner we have has his rebar feet rooted to a cedar stump by metal bands. We move him around the yard occasionally just to give his view a little variety.

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