Feral cats are unowned cats that live life outdoors and have never been socialized to people. Though they look just like household cats that live as pets in our homes, they’ve learned to live a life in the wild, outside away from people, and therefore aren’t able to adjust to a life amongst people and live as pets. Still, they’re able to live, full healthy lives outside with their feline families. The Trap-Neuter-Return (TNR) method is the only humane and permanently effective way to reduce the population of community cats while helping them live happy, healthy lives. During this process, some cats in colonies are actually found to be friendly stray cats that at one point did socialize and live with people, while others are confirmed to be feral and need to be returned back to their outdoor homes. To learn more about our TNR program and community cats, you can check out our website here for more information.

In 2017, Josie was part of a TNR project in New Britain. Though it was clear she was not socialized around people, it was also clear that she had more medical concerns than a typical spay and return. The vet discovered she had a circumferential wound around the base of her tail and it was completely paralyzed, therefore it needed to be amputated. Most of her teeth were missing, with only two remaining. She had deficits in both her hind legs and walked with dropped hocks. Then, on top of everything, she had significant hearing loss. In this condition, it was impossible to release Josie back outside knowing she was at a significant disadvantage from the adversaries of the outside world. Her only options were euthanasia or the Sanctuary, therefore we opened our doors to our first feral cat at the Sanctuary.

Over the years, Josie has found her little niche at the Sanctuary. Everyone knows Josie and she’s become a volunteer favorite given how special her story is. People can often catch a glimpse of Josie when taking a nap or when she’s gobbling down her meals. Or they hear her little snort sounds or meows from another cat room. She still remains shy and distant around people, making sure no one comes near her. However, she’s made small steps towards allowing people closer to her and doesn’t even seem to mind some company in her room as she naps, as long as they respect her space.

At 10 years old, she’s even made a few feline friends during her time at the Sanctuary. She’ll never be comfortable with close contact, but would thrive in a quiet home or barn where she can live independently and safely indoors. She’s very low-maintenance not needing constant human companionship and could easily transition to a home where someone has a busy life, but wants to provide a warm home to a cat in need. Some would even consider Josie a “socially awkward” cat, which many could relate to! Josie isn’t your typical cat looking for a home, but she’s still a cat needing a safe, sheltered place with people that love her for who she is. While waiting for her own people, Our Companions is solely dedicated to Josie and providing for her until that time comes. She will always have a place to sleep, food to eat, and people to love her… from a respectable distance, of course! To learn more about this very special girl, please contact Our Companions at 860-242-9999 or email Helpline@OurCompanions.org.

1 Comment

  1. June E Day on November 7, 2020 at 4:41 am

    I know that my 2 feral cats, Puccini and Verdi (tiger brothers who LOVE each other} who lived outside, most of the time on my deck for 5-1/2 yrs,, would have taken many years to warm up to me. Their ears were clipped so I knew someone had trapped them before and that they had their initial shots and were neutered. They would come to eat and they slept in the house I had built for them with covered insulation and hay /straw in a box turned on its side, a roof overhang with a hole under it so they could get in. In the winter I would put a tarp over it and anchor it down. They spent many snowy and sub-zero nights in there plus two blizzards. Three years ago I trapped each of them when I could so I could get them to the vet. They got their shots, dental work, a checkup, bloodwork and were there for a few days. When I got them home, I had put Puccini in my bedroom and then Verdi in the downstairs powder room. I saw Puccini only four times over the next three months. I saw Verdi a few times a day. He was in a smaller space (which is a good thing to do when you bring feral cats in). I still can’t pet them but I can walk right past Verdi and he no longer moves. I can hold my hand to his mouth with a treat and he doesn’t bolt. Puccini now doesn’t run when I go toward him unless I’m looking directly at him. He now comes into the little kitchen to find some of my other cats’ leftovers. When I’m sitting down and talk to him, he looks at me but doesn’t bolt away. It takes time for them to win your trust and when you walk past them and nothing happens, they gain a little trust. After you repeat that 25 times, they get a little more comfortable. I am so pleased with their progress. They have come so far since I got them in and I just admire them so much. They sleep together cuddled up in their puffy bed except in warm weather when they sleep on the top two levels of their condo next to the bedroom window. Now when I go to close or open the window after they are there, they no longer bolt off there and haven’t for quite a while. They are confined to my room with me for the night. In the morning I open the door and they run down to the kitchen. Sometime between 4 and 7 PM I always give them a treat (dry food). I used to have to shake the container and make noise. Now I just holler “Who wants crunchies?” My two females are usually already downstairs and I hear one of the feral cats jump off a bed and they run downstairs. They all go and sit by their little bowls: Sheenah leaps to the top of the downstairs cat condo at the bottom of the stairs and meows incessantly and paws at my head; Mollina (adopted from Our Companions in 2016) runs into the carrier and turns around and waits; Puccini stops on the 5th step and sits by his bowl; and Verdi comes down and waits by his bowl near the base of the condo. I put my hand through with a little scoop of dry food and Puccini now stays there while I put it in. He used to back off or go up a step. He feels safer with something between us. My hand is one inch away from his face. With Verdi, my hand gets very close to his face; he doesn’t need something between us. They have both come a long way. Those two never try to get out. They are happy to look out the screen/storm door and the deck door and the windows. Those two are wonderful together. Twice a day they eat canned food together, they sleep cuddled together, wrestle, play, rub into each other and wash each other.
    I trapped another cat, Bandit, after 11 years outside and brought her in. That’s another wonderful story for later.
    Cats rock!!!!
    Warmest wishes….
    June