The Garden Cat Imposters

hssvCats11 Comments

This week we celebrated Administrative Professionals’ Day. We love all our administrative staff – they support our team, keep everything running, and make sure the bills are paid and the lights stay on. They hold a ton of important jobs – everything from human resources to finance to marketing to development and so much more. Everyone works incredibly hard to support our mission.
But there are a few of our administrative staff who go above and beyond for a very specific group of animals.
2 cats staring at camera
Who invited you here? We’re pretty sure it wasn’t us.
It all started with two cats. A few years ago, we began our Garden Cat Adoption program. We decided we needed something special for the unsocial kitties – the ones who subscribe to the “look, don’t touch” philosophy and want a pretty specific “will work for food” arrangement. We set up the Marilyn and Fred Anderson Community Cat Garden outside our President’s office. The garden is fenced in with tons of hidey spots and lots of kitties who are adopted by stable owners, business owners, and others looking for an awesome pest control solution.
Cat outside standing next to crate
Standing guard in the garden is very important and I do it very well.
Almost immediately upon creation of the garden, two garden cats snuck their way into Carol Novello’s (our president) office and started hanging out there. They became known as “Carol’s Ferals” and the name stuck.
Cat prowling towards cat food
These treats are mine. Hands off, people.
Not long after that, Carol’s Executive Assistant, Lorrie, took a special interest in the garden cats. She spent her breaks in the garden, throwing out tasty treats. Eventually, a few of the cats gave up their old way of life and started to approach her. Some even let her touch them, leading us to believe that some of these “garden cats” were just fakers, pretending to be shy and unsocial while hiding a mountain of friendly goodness that they only unleashed in return for food.
Lorrie and the garden cats
Lorrie and a garden-cat-faker.
 Lorrie eventually roped in other members of our admin staff to be part of Team Garden Cat – pretty soon, our entire Human Resources team began spending time in the garden with the cats, especially HR staff member Karen. Our Director of Human Resources, Yvonne, even began bringing some of the friendliest ones into her office for a few hours during the workday to give them extra love.
Bruce Lee the garden cat
This is my office now.
One such cat was Bruce Lee, a cat who quickly stole the hearts (and chair) of Yvonne and the rest of the admin staff. Every morning, HR staff member Michelle would let Bruce Lee in from the garden and into Yvonne’s office, where he would spend much of the day before wandering back to the garden in the evening.
Bruce Lee the garden cat
 I have decided to be king of the indoor land. Now let me inside.
Bruce Lee spent so much time being socialized by our staff that he ended up being adopted – as an indoor cat!
garden cats demanding treats
 Hooman, bring us the treats.
What started as a spark has grown into a full-fledged revolution. Some of the garden cats now demand attention and treats from Lorrie and Karen. These imposters wait at the door, not-so-patiently staring at anyone who walks by, willing them to bring treats.
Karen and the garden cat
Keep those treats comin’, Karen.
 Our admin staff is pretty awesome. In addition to all their regular duties, they now serve as official garden cat socializers. In honor of Administrative Professionals’ Day, we want to thank them for being rockstars and giving so much effort to the “undercats” (get it? undercats?).
If you’re interested in your own garden cat (imposter or not!) ask about our garden cat program!

11 Comments on “The Garden Cat Imposters”

  1. How do these cats react towards other animals such as small/large dogs, raccoons, other domestic cats?

  2. We adopted two garden cats from HSSV. They were indeed feral. For months we never saw them, only on our cameras. We dubbed them our little vampires as they only came out at night.

    Two and half years later, they enjoy investigating the inside of the house, watching me garden, AND let me pet them! I never in a million years thought that would happen. They were so feral.

    They really have the best life. They love each other, despite not coming from the same colony. (It was such a wonderful suggestion from the adoption manager to adopt two versus one). They have access to the house when they wish – that cat bed is well used on cold nights! Get to do their ‘catting’ outdoors as they wish. And now, enjoy getting back rubs and scratches behind the ears!

    I’m so glad for your garden cat program.

  3. Do you need a fenced area to adopt a feral cat? We have over 1/2 acre and neighbors; yards adjacent so lots of property for the cats to explore, as well as a very friendly dog that lost his cat sister and would welcome new feline friends. But the property isn’t fenced in. How do the cats identify with their new home without simply running away?

    Really like the challenge and potential joy of caring for some outdoor cats who one day might come inside our home.

  4. Do you have a calico?

    We have rats in our wine cellar and in the ceiling of our game room. Would love a working cat, and with over an acre, could probably use help outside, too. But I dearly love calicos…Would welcome him’her indoors. Either way.

    We have two new grand-dog puppies who come once a week for the day. Problem?

  5. This comes a no surprise to me! I have been working with feral cats for 30 years, back when the “conventional” wisdom was that the kindest thing for them was to trap them and bring them to a shelter for euthanasia and the grassroots TNR programs were in their infancy. I was threatened by the head of a local shelter that if I was caught re-releasing a neutered feral cat back into the wild I would be brought up on animal abandonment charges. Nevertheless, I proceeded and rented a trap.

    The very first feral I brought in became social in less than 6 weeks. He was a full-grown orange and white male, who smashed up his nose face in the trap while bucking against it to get out. I ended up keeping him and he became the household greeter for any guests! I also learned that while foster homes such as mine were rare, bringing these animals around is more than possible.

    While not every cat became social overnight like that, many do and I applaud you for creating a space like this so that TNR is not the only option with these cats. My mother has adopted 2 FIV+ feral cats from me over the years and both were extremely loving and grateful to have a safe and loving home.

  6. Hola quieres darme informacion d las mascotas que dan en adopcion,lo necesito d compania vivo dola lo cuidare vien

  7. My neighbor and I support a group of black cats from a colony. We trapped them and brought them in to be altered. Then brought them back as yard cats through your program. They are all about 6 years old now and doing well. A few have become ok with humans and still like to be out side. They will come inside sometime but prefer the choice to be their choice. It is a very wonderful program for these creatures.

  8. My female calico cat Michelle is five years old and while I was told when given her at two months that she was a house cat as were the remainder of her litter, she shows all the traits of a feral garden cat. I keep Michelle indoors most of the time and only allow her on our second floor balcony where she spends all her time catching bugs. Most of the time Michelle sleeps on the bed or other sleeping areas. She is very warm toward me, giving me head bumps and occasionally crawling onto my chest while I lay on the bed. Occasionally she will even sleep next to me so that our bodies touch. Other times she is aloof, disappears in the house or sleeps in another room. Whenever guests arrive at home Michelle hides and does not come out until the guests have departed. My wife and daughter who travel often occasionally return home for a few days and even then Michelle will not come out to greet them. If I try to pet her, half the time she will not allow me to do so while at other times she welcomes a pet and massage. I have come to the conclusion that Michele will never be the sociable cat I had hoped for and have learned to accept Michelle on her own terms. Is it possible that while her mother was a domesticated indoor cat, that her father was feral which would explain Michelle’s actions. Born of a union between a house cat and a feral cat would give her traits of both groups.

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