Bullseye the Feral Cat

Since we moved into this house about 10 years ago there have been a succession of feral cats that have come around. Perhaps they are attracted to the indoor cats; most likely it’s because we feed them (stupid, I know, but we’ve tried to catch them and get them neutered – but it isn’t easy).

First there was Mr. Bones – an old, scraggly looking thing that came around briefly. Then there was “Ta-ta”, named by the kid who thought he looked like a tiger but couldn’t say the word properly. Then there was Bullseye, and Chalupa – who I wrote about here.
And amazingly enough, after about 7 years, there’s still Bullseye.

All this time this unneutered male crept around our house, nipping at the food we left out for him but never letting us approach him. Each winter we put out a small shelter for him, a covered litterbox that we’ve lined with old blankets and towels to keep him warm on covered patio. However he would dart out of his “house” if we paid him much attention.

Until this year.

Bullseye the stray cat

Over the past few months Bullseye has begun allowing us to pet him. We can sit with him outside and he interacts with us, rubbing against our legs and encouraging us to give his ruff a nice scratch.

Why the relatively sudden change after such a long time? Beats me. At first I thought it was because he was sick, but aside from an eye infection that is clearing up on its own, he’s quite heavy and solid when I try to pick him up. Perhaps he senses that the people who provide him daily food and shelter aren’t such a bad lot after all. I really don’t know for sure.

And maybe that’s part of why I keep animals. As predictable and simple as they are, they still manage to surprise me and teach me something. What that something is, as in the case of Chalupa, is not always readily apparent.

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6 Comments

  1. Margaret:

    (I came across this post because I have “feral cats” as a blog-search term on my Google homepage…) That’s wonderful! Bless you for caring for the outdoor cats that come around, and for getting them spayed/neutered when possible! Bullseye looks like such a handsome guy, and obviously he’s a sweetheart deep down. He’s not truly feral, if you can pet him. He must have been socialized as a kitten, but when he was “put outdoors”/abandoned, he became more fearful of humans… Although Bullseye might be happy living the outdoor life, he definitely has the potential to be re-socialized and adopted to a family that will keep him indoors. I hope you’ll consider finding a foster or permanent home for him!

    Thank you again for caring about the cats. :o )

  2. Scott Kirwin:

    Margaret
    Chalupa took years to socialize, but she eventually did.

    And that little stray became one of our most memorable pets ever. I still miss her.

  3. Anne:

    Hi! i just found this and i know it’s like three years ago it was posted but still.. :P
    It’s just that my stray cat that i’m taking care off looks almost the same as Bullseye! (Just almost since he’s eyes are closed and mine’s a bit darker. lol) Kisa, my stray cat, used to bite me all the time but now he’s started to use his claws (like he wants to play but don’t know how) and only bites, or tries to bite, if he feel uncomfortable. Though he’s just almost a year old now. So i’m sure that i can get him to become less wild with time. :)

    //Anne

    PS - It’s nice to see that there is more people caring for stray cats, even if it’s the other side of the planet..

  4. Scott Kirwin:

    Bullseye disappeared shortly after this post and photo. I think that he became friendly because he knew he was nearing the end of his days. 2 1/2 years later we now live in a new place and have even more cats. We’ve even added dogs – all foundlings on our property. All have been spayed/neutered and vaccinated.

  5. Hagi from Israel:

    Hi, i came across this story as i was just wandreing around the internet :)
    i can identify with many elements in it as i take care of sone feral cat
    myself and as an ca- activist in isarel. your writing is vey straight
    and emotionaly open, i can feel that,
    bless you for your kindness to those poor cat.
    yours
    hagi

  6. Scott Kirwin:

    Hagi
    I’m a big fan of your country, so check out my other writing.
    Bullseye was a good cat, but there have been many more since he passed and many more to come.

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