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Should I Change the Name?

January 20th, 2010

I’m wondering if I should change the name of our gardens from “Chiot’s Run” to “Cats Overrun”. I think we’ve got a reputation for being feline friendly, kind of like the folks over at Our Little Acre, maybe it’s an Ohio thing?

We’ve lived here at Chiot’s Run for 8 years. We used to see a cat every now and then, generally one of the neighbor’s cats. We’d always hoped for a feral cat to move in since we have quite a chipmunk problem. Recently we’ve been seeing more and more cats around. If you remember, last year, Dexter showed up on our doorstep. He wasn’t a feral cat, we think he was a pet someone dropped off down the road. We ended up bringing him in and he’s become a member of the family.

As you can tell he’s quite domesticated. He’d definitely been brought up around people and wasn’t wild in the least bit. He really enjoys life inside the Chiot’s Run cottage! As you can tell he really loves the kind of cat food we buy.

Around the beginning of winter we started seeing a small feral cat in the gardens. We’d see him just about every night, hunting for food. One night we spotted him eating birdseed from under the bird feeder. We figured he must be hungry so we started putting some food out for him. He’s a beautiful little cat, with lovely stripes and bright green eyes. He’s very wild, so we don’t see him very often. I managed to snap this photo while standing on a table, kind of looking through the curtains, far enough away that he couldn’t see me.

We’ve also been seeing a few other feral cats around the gardens during the fall and winter months. We have a big orange one and a big gray one. I suppose if this little guy survives the winter and sticks around he’ll help with the chipmunk overpopulation we have here. Although keeping him around will mean trapping him and getting him fixed. Just maybe he’ll have a cozy little home built into the garage as well. It’ll be nice seeing him around the gardens this summer.

Do you notice feral cats in your gardens? Do you welcome them or run them off?

42 Comments to “Should I Change the Name?”
  1. Erika on January 20, 2010 at 7:18 am

    Dexter looks very happy:0) We have barn cats some have adopted us from neighbors who don’t really care about them. Some of them are ours. But they keep the mouse and rats at bay, Oh and the snakes.

    .-= Erika´s last blog ..Canning =-.

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  2. Christine on January 20, 2010 at 9:16 am

    The lady down the street enjoys feeding the feral cats. I’m not a big fan of them— we worry about our chickens and rabbits, not to mention that feral cats have contributed to some of the endangerment of wildlife around here, notably scrub jays. We also don’t really have any rodent problems, which may actually be a result of the cats. Maybe I’m thankful for them and just don’t know it.
    .-= Christine´s last blog ..Makin’ some juice =-.

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  3. kristin @ going country on January 20, 2010 at 9:38 am

    Your feral cat looks EXACTLY like our younger cat, Belle. Belle is technically a house cat, though her behavior is more feral than domestic. I call her the Devil Cat. We don’t get along very well.
    .-= kristin @ going country´s last blog ..More Woodchuckery–This Time with Hay =-.

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  4. Tree on January 20, 2010 at 10:08 am

    I applaud you for trapping your ferrels and fixing them, this will help with over population.
    .-= Tree´s last blog ..Stumbling Blocks to Self Sufficiency =-.

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  5. kitsapFG on January 20, 2010 at 10:19 am

    We have always had cats in our household and living in the country are often the recipients of cats dumped by uncaring people. Unfortunately, the feral cats that show up at our current homestead rarely survive for more than a few months because we have a very large population of raccoons, bobcats, and huge coyotes that snack on cats. Our cat stays in at night and only goes outside when we are around. As a result he has survived just fine.

    Dexter and your feral kitty are both quite beautiful.

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  6. warren on January 20, 2010 at 10:27 am

    We have had as many as 13 at a time around the place. Now we seem to be down to 4 ferals…we feed them all the time. I hate to encourage it but I also can’t bear to watch them starve and/or freeze to death either.
    .-= warren´s last blog ..Beekeepers buzz all winter =-.

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    • Susy on January 20, 2010 at 10:31 am

      I agree, that’s why we feed them. We also have a heated birdbath that they drink out to.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  7. tj on January 20, 2010 at 10:30 am

    …Oh definitely welcome them! We have a couple that take up winter in our barn and I put out food, like you do, for them. I can’t help it, I can’t turn away a hungry, homeless animal. And if they should decide they like our old homestead then we do the right thing too and get them spayed or neutered. Like I say, “Don’t litter – Get your pets spayed or neutered!” :o)

    …Cute cats! :o)


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  8. Seren Dippity on January 20, 2010 at 10:40 am

    Sure, change the name! I vote for cats over dogs any day.

    I used to argue with our condo management board about the feral cats we had. They were always trying to get rid of them. This was in the inner city of Houston. It can’t be done. Get rid of ten and another ten arrive to take over the territory. There have been studies that prove it is healthier to have a stable feral cat population than a constantly fluctuating one. The best thing to do is as you do – capture them, get them fixed and get their basic shots. That means you will have a stable, reasonably healthy population. And they did keep down the rodent population.

    Since I moved to Dallas, we have had no feral cats, I live on the outer edge of suburbia and did expect to see them. Then I realized how many hawks we have. I think that is why I rarely see stray cats around here more than once or twice. (And one reason why I hesitate over getting chickens!)

    I do believe strongly in keeping pet cats indoors only. Their life expectancy is 20 years or more compared to 3-5 for outdoor cats.

    Your Dexter is beautiful…. give him a tummy rub for me!

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  9. Melissa on January 20, 2010 at 11:00 am

    Our two labs keep any and all cats off our property. It’s a good thing we do not have a chipmunk or squirel problem. The squirels were awful at our last home. I never did get to taste our strawberries!
    .-= Melissa´s last blog ..Confessions of a frugal, eco-minded, health-conscious, working mama… =-.

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    • Susy on January 20, 2010 at 11:28 am

      Yes, the chipmunks gave us a run for our money on the strawberries.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  10. Lona on January 20, 2010 at 11:19 am

    There are so many feral cats around here. Being in the country it becomes a dumping ground for unwanted pets or litters.And of course they go wild and multiply. Most of them sleep in the neighbors old barn.There are about five that check out my house or hunt around it. I try to keep them fed so they don’t eat the birds I also feed.;-) I too have become close to one in particular and I have never been a cat person.

    Your Dexter looks like he is eating very well.LOL!
    .-= Lona´s last blog ..Some Flowers That The Butterflies Love =-.

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  11. Kelly on January 20, 2010 at 11:22 am

    We don’t have feral so much as neighbours that let their cats run outdoors. We have 3 cats, one of which looks exactly like your wild striped cat – save the eyes (mine’s yellow). His brother is almost the same (stripes, but more white blotches on his underside) and has the same enjoyment of food that your Dexter has. He’s sweet as pie, though, so whatcha gonna do?
    .-= Kelly´s last blog ..Chest Cold =-.

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  12. Chicago Mike on January 20, 2010 at 11:25 am

    We have enough coyotes around here that there are really no feral cats. Every now and then we will have a cat wander into the yard and we just ignore them.

    Now, if they ate rabbits, we would encourage them. :)
    .-= Chicago Mike´s last blog ..Garden Plans =-.

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    • Susy on January 20, 2010 at 11:29 am

      The neighbors cats keep my mom’s property free of rabbits. She only has a few rabbits and no chipmunks since the cats came.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  13. melissa on January 20, 2010 at 11:40 am

    oh gosh, he’s a chunky monkey!

    we don’t have any feral cats in our neighborhood, at least not that I’ve seen. I don’t know what I’d do, I already have four and can’t keep any more than that!
    .-= melissa´s last blog ..pasta of ill-repute =-.

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  14. Leigh on January 20, 2010 at 11:58 am

    We tend to leave them alone (though this doesn’t make our own cat very happy.) We see them mostly in the field south of the house where we know there are loads of voles. Any cat around is welcome to them.

    Reply to Leigh's comment

  15. Bertie on January 20, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    My parents live in a more rural area not to far from you (Deerfield) and they get quite a few feral cats that come to their house. I live outside of Akron and I don’t see any stray animals around. Ever. But it’s pretty urban here and they probably wouldn’t make it for long before getting run over by a car. :(

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  16. Kylee from Our Little Acre on January 20, 2010 at 1:14 pm

    Oh, goodness! Did you see my Facebook post from about an hour ago? A short-haired black cat was eating the cat food in our garage. We don’t own a short-haired black cat! It’s super friendly, so I’m hoping he belongs to the neighbor across the road.

    It’s hard to turn a hungry cat away, because they’re usually so grateful and people mistakenly believe cats can fend for themselves, when the truth is, it’s a very tough life for them. Cats and dogs are domesticated animals and feral or not, they really do much better when they’ve got humans to care for them.

    Your cats are so beautiful!

    Reply to Kylee from Our Little Acre's comment

    • Susy on January 20, 2010 at 1:24 pm

      The skunk wasn’t back was it???

      Reply to Susy's comment

  17. lee on January 20, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    Dexter sure got fat. He looks so happy to be living with you. We get lots of cats in our back yard. Apparently they like the food we provide them. I just pray they don’t come in the house. Once they start to linger in the house they usually decide to stay and we already have too many cats.

    Reply to lee's comment

    • Susy on January 20, 2010 at 1:24 pm

      I remember that you had lots of cat. It’s hard to say “no” to furry friends.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  18. 1916home on January 20, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    I did not grow up a cat lover, but now that I have two of my own, I like them a lot! Our second cat Heidi was a stray that we decided to bring inside she was so skinny and sick looking. A few days later she gave birth!

    We had a neighbor who had a cat “Mickey” and when they moved… they didnt take the cat with them. Its now roaming the block and frequently in our backyard looking for food. It really sucks the people just left their cat. We are in the Southern California foothills so we have plenty of coyotes wandering around looking for their next meal.

    So what is the name of your “new” striped cat? :) I love its eyes… looks sort of like a sea green color.

    So we have two cats now (the babies went to neighbors) and I am wondering what type of fabrics are best for sofas and other furniture? It turns out… leather is not a good match for cats :) One lady at a store recently told us there are some kinds of fabrics that allow for a cats claws to sink in and slip out easily, but she wouldnt tell us which kind! Unless we bought a sofa of course. So if you guys at Chiots or anyone else reading this can offer any fabric advice, I’d love to hear it!

    Reply to 1916home's comment

    • Susy on January 20, 2010 at 1:22 pm

      We haven’t named him yet, perhaps I should have a contest on my blog. We’re actually not sure if it’s a “he” or a “she” yet, it’s a little too wild so we haven’t been able to tell.

      We don’t have any special kind of fabric on our furniture. The cats don’t claw at it, we have a jute rug they love to claw at, which is fine. And we made them a jute scratching post that they love, so they pretty much stick to those. Dexter loves to scratch on a wood 2×4 in the basement.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  19. stefaneener on January 20, 2010 at 1:20 pm

    I love cats and your feral is a beauty. On the other hand, we generally have loose pet cats here, as we’re in a tight city. I don’t appreciate their poop and digging in my beds, but I do appreciate any rat control they might provide. On the other hand, I do occasionally see rat evidence so they’re not doing that much.

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  20. Miranda on January 20, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    I must admit, i am not a cat lover. I had a cat whom i loved, but she’s been gone many years. I now live in a suburb of Austin, TX that is completely overrun with feral cats. There is a house down the street that is very irresponsible: you can often see literally 20+ cats hanging around their yard. Inevitably some end up in my beds that i just tilled, or worse: that just germinated.
    I definitely run them off. I deter with upside down forks, with hoses, and sometimes with my b.b. gun (i promise it’s just to scare and sting, no broken skin). It has finally seemed to have paid off somewhat – i see fewer cats in my yard, though i can see one across the street right now….. i’m watching you, cat. Don’t judge me.

    Reply to Miranda's comment

    • Miranda on January 20, 2010 at 1:41 pm

      PS: i do plan on keeping cats around when i’ve moved back to the country and they have room to roam and live – but i feel cat owners should be responsible and keep their cats confined, and if that’s not possible, to not have cats or at least get them fixed.

      Reply to Miranda's comment

      • Susy on January 20, 2010 at 1:55 pm

        I agree, spaying and neutering is a very important things to do! Our current pet cats (2 of them) were rescued from a feral cat rescue. They kept mother cats confined till they had kittens, then fixed the moms and adopted out the kittens.

        It is very irresponsible to have pets that aren’t fixed. Every time I see a “Free Kittens” sign I fell like driving up the house and offering to pay for the mother to be fixed, here in our county it’s even very cheap to have pets fixed, you can get a discount from the humane society and the local vet hospital offers discounts as well, so it’s very inexpensive.

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  21. Gardendivva on January 20, 2010 at 2:13 pm


    I think it’s wonderful that you feed and care for feral cats. I live in a small town with a small city lot and I am a gardener big time. But I have at least 5 or 6 cats that live or hang out in my alley that are feral cats, I myself am a big time cat lover, I have 4 cats, 3 purebred Persians and 1,tiger striped mix, and I rescued from being sent to the gas chamber. I called the Humane Society and asked about feeding the feral cats in my alley, and they said ” DON’T feed them and try to catch them with a cage or trap them in the garage and we will come and get them”, they then went on to explain how they carry airborne diseases and God knows what else. Well that conversation didn’t set to well with me, because I just don’t have the heart or the guts to catch those poor homeless cats, the cats can’t help they’ve either been abandoned or whatever their sad story is. Anyway up to the present, 1 of the somewhat feral cats now lives in my backyard, very close to my backdoor I fixed a warm and cozy spot for her to sleep and soak up the sunshine. She’s sweet as can be I can tell she must have belonged to someone at one point she’s super friendly. I feed her everyday, and give her lots of attention, I plan on taking her to the Vet and getting her shots etc: before I bring her indoors around my rather pricey Persian cats. The other cats in the alley I feed as well so they don’t eat all my wild birds, but they won’t let me near them. Maybe I’m not doing the right thing by feeding the feral cats, but I feel better just knowing they are being fed. As for Hobo (her new name) the alley cat I adopted she’ll soon be coming inside with her new sisters, and getting spoiled like all my cats are. Have a great day!

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  22. Pampered Mom on January 20, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    I don’t think we have any feral cats around these parts. I’ve only ever seen a couple of cats outside in the few years that we’ve lived here and I always assumed they were someone’s pet. Of course, the lack of cats outside could have something to do with the dogs that folks have.

    We have a couple of cats – I was talked into it by my son and husband who desperately missed our other cats (whom we had to re-home when we moved a few years ago). I always chuckle because they seem to prefer me over them – if they need something (food, water, litterbox cleaning) they come to me. I suppose because they know I’ll get Hubby to do something about it (he who wanted the pet is the one who has to care for them). We got ours at the Humane Society when they had a buy one get one free sale…which sounds a bit odd written out that way.

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  23. the inadvertent farmer on January 20, 2010 at 3:08 pm

    Living in the country people drop of unwanted animals ALL the time. So yes we have taken in more than our fair share of cats. They help keep the rodents down in the garden but also leave little ‘surprises’ just under the surface of the soil which aggravates me to no end. Its a trade off I suppose…you big fat cat is just too cute! Kim

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  24. CatHerder on January 20, 2010 at 3:17 pm

    we trap, neuter, and find homes for all of them….hence my “cat herder” name

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  25. MAYBELLINE on January 20, 2010 at 6:04 pm

    Those moochers are after my cats’ food. And the boys. Pee Yeooo! I will look forward to the return of a dog in my garden.

    Reply to MAYBELLINE's comment

  26. Lynn on January 20, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    We have a cat that lives in our backyard that we named Pity (Kitty). He was named so for his pitiful cry to “feed me, feed me”. I don’t mind the stray or feral cats, but I do mind the cat poop they bring. I fence in my raised beds, but I find it a hassle to have to take down to weed and water. Any other suggestions to keep the cuties out?

    Reply to Lynn's comment

    • Susy on January 20, 2010 at 6:42 pm

      I don’t have trouble with the cats using my beds, they seem to like the leaf litter in the woods better. I’ve heard you can sprinkle garlic or hot pepper on the soil to keep them away, haven’t tried it for cats. It does work wonders for protecting bulbs from squirrels & chipmunks.

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  27. Allie on January 20, 2010 at 8:34 pm

    We have this pretty little grey cat who comes to our front door sometimes. I put food out sometimes. He’s a little wary, but will let me sit on the stoop with him while he eats. I suspect though that he’s not feral, but just a neighbor’s outdoor cat who knows how to score a good meal.

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  28. Sarah Jane on January 21, 2010 at 5:35 pm

    We have lots of feral cats around here. There is a woman in the apartments next door who feeds them. I have mixed feelings about feeding them, especially when we live so close to a very busy road.

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  29. Rebecca E Wilkins on January 22, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    Im in absolute love with the picture of that fat cat!

    Reply to Rebecca E Wilkins's comment

    • Susy on January 22, 2010 at 3:16 pm

      He is a cutie isn’t he. He’s as talkative as he is chubby. He follows me around all day chirping and meowing at me while I work, a great companion!

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  30. Hanna Fushihara on January 22, 2010 at 11:16 pm

    As much as I like cats, I like the name Chiot’s Run… my vote is to keep it!! Too bad I do not live nearby or I would lend you our humane trap. A nice older gardening friend who is a big cat lover bought it for me when I was still living in NYC and we had ferals in our community garden. I volunteered to take the TNR (trap neuter return) classes and this friend bought me my very own trap so I wouldn’t have to keep borrowing one from the ASPCA. It has come in very handy in the past few years….and maybe a dozen or more ferals spayed/neutered later…….

    Anyway keep the name!
    .-= Hanna Fushihara´s last blog ..A new favorite artist? =-.

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  31. The Word is Out | Chiot's Run on June 10, 2010 at 8:28 am

    […] is that Chiot’s Run is a feline friendly establishment. Remember when I mentioned that we had a feral cat show up last winter? The cat lived somewhere across the road because I would see it heading over there all the time. […]

    Reply to The Word is Out | Chiot’s Run's comment

  32. A Sad Day at Chiot’s Run | Chiot's Run on April 28, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    […] posts about Miss Mama Should I Change the Name? The Word is Out Soft Kitty, Warm Kitty, Little Ball of Fur A Series of Unfortunate Events In Case […]

    Reply to A Sad Day at Chiot’s Run | Chiot’s Run's comment


This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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