My cat family lives outside. The only times we touch are when Mama Kitty initiates contact. She now trusts me to feed her and her kittens, so she rubs against my legs when she’s hungry. Sometimes she gets underfoot, almost tripping me when I walk down a rocky path to place their bowls of wet and dry food on concrete blocks.
People trying to domesticate free-roaming cats tell a different story. My friend Rhonda had two kittens, both rescued, one completely sweet, docile and rarely upset, and the other, Pixie, sweet and purring then suddenly angry and scratching. “These were my children’s indoor/outdoor pets,” Rhonda says. “They said Pixie had ‘mood swings’.” Sometimes other children, who would come by to play and try to rest their head on Pixie’s pillow, ended up getting scratched or bitten.
Trying to domesticate a free-roaming cat or kitten is a long, hard, time-consuming task and it doesn’t always work. Rhonda had fits just trying to get half-feral Pixie into a carrier to get her to the vet for shots once a year. And when Pixie arrived there, it took the vet and an assistant to hold her down. The vet said she would never be completely domesticated.
I, however, am committed to helping these four female cats live healthy outdoor lives. The cats are starting to scratch again. So I’m figuring out how to keep fleas off them because I can’t apply Frontline or other chemical flea treatments to their backs because I don’t dare touch them. I would never spray chemicals on the ground that might hurt the cats. I ordered Wondercide Flea and Tick Spray from Amazon (I’ll spray a wide swath of ground where they eat and sleep with a hose.) From Natural Pet, I ordered Brewer’s Yeast and Garlic pills (to combat fleas and ticks) as well as HW Protect Herbal Formula (to fight heartworms). Reviewers of these products say they work better than the chemical stuff. I hope that’s true. As soon as I find out, I’ll let you know. Please keep your fingers crossed for me and the feral female felines family.