The little tuxedo tom cat that showed up last November is now a regular at the feeding bowl. Every morning he arrives around 7:30 for his wet food and kibble and bologna (trying to fatten him up and he loves the stuff). After breakfast he is off again, to wherever he considers home. Today he was a little late. I kept checking the yard for over an hour after I first looked for him, and he finally he jumped over the fence around 9 a.m. with a plaintive "I'm HUNGRY" meow.
After several months of working with him, he comes in the garage now to eat. I make up a bowl of canned and dry cat food, and sit near him while he has breakfast. After he's finished his food we pet and visit, and then I give him a piece of bologna. The last several days it had looked like he was in a fight; there was a long scratch above his right shoulder and a couple of small puncture wounds near his neck, as if he gotten in a mix up with another tom. This morning there were more wounds, a scrape on his left shoulder, more punctures and scratches near his neck and what looked like a bite on the top of his head. I can pet him a little but he won't tolerate a lot of fussing, so trying to doctor him is out. He's a stray, after all. So, I'll watch him and make sure everything is healing up all right. After just one day, the scrape on his right shoulder had scabbed over nicely and is healing, so I expect that he'll be OK.
The problem is that he evidently can't pass up a territory fight, and at probably 6 1/2 lb, he's just too small a tom cat to win any of them. He keeps getting beat up something terrible and I don't know what to do about it. He only tolerates being closed in the garage for about 30 minutes, then he gets pretty vocal and rowdy. I can't imagine trying to get him in a carrier for a trip to the vet. And what do I do after that? I can't bring another cat in the house. I don't know how to find him a home and don't think he is really tame enough to be an indoor cat. Taking him to the shelter is a death sentence. We've wrestled with these problems before when faced with feral cats. Tuxedo cat is tamer than the others were, but he's not a pet. The only thing I can do for him is make sure he doesn't starve. It's a terrible choice, and an awful life for him.