Doodle is one of my dearest little ferals. He arrived in the colony the end of March 2004 and I think he was about 8 to 10 months old. It didn't take to long before this dear little cat became a very friendly guy allowing me to pet him and rub his ears and even pick him up.
In early December 2004 Doodle showed up with an injury. He was unable to put weight on his right front paw and when I tried to pick him up he let out a pained cry. I was unable to see any obvious signs of a cat fight or other injury. Repeated attempts were made to capture Doodle to take into the vet's office but he was not going to allow me to put him in a carrier. Injured or not he was still very strong. In the end it took Doodle about 4 or 5 weeks to be able to walk on all four paws. In the mean time it was recommended that we put him on antibiotics just in case there was a wound or infection. Today he walks normally.
A few years later a new gas station was being built nearby. I arrived one morning to feed all the kitties and there was Doodle with dried cement all over his legs and his belly. Little cement balls were hanging all over him. I assume he jumped down into some freshly poured cement thinking it was a solid surface. I had no idea what to do and as it turned out I didn't have to do anything. Within two days Doodle had managed to remove all the cement.
This little cat is an extremely friendly little guy. If I could find a home for him I would be willing to let him go. He loves to be groomed, have his ears rubbed and headbutts me at every opportunity. He is a real people cat.
Recently Doodle began showing signs of being very nervous. Something has happened to him that puts him on edge. He is no longer living with the rest of the colony but comes for food when he hears my clicker. He is eating but not well. He takes a few bites and at the least sound he stops eating, looks up and watchws. I never see anything. Some days he just takes off back to his "safe" place. I have followed him but can only go so far before I run into a fence.
Doodle scoots under the fence and is living in the back corner behind a lumberyard. I went in to talk with the manager who informed me that a number of cats, raccoons and skunk lived in their warehouse. He allowed me to go out behind the building and I found Doodle sitting in the sun. On New Years Eve day I went back to see the manager and ask permission to put a sleeping shelter out back for Doodle. I had all kinds of arguments planned for why I should be allowed to do this and didn't need to use any of them. I got permission immediately.
Yesterday when I arrived to feed in the morning Doodle ate a decent sized meal. He used to have a fantastic appetite so it bothers me he has been eating so little. At the end of the afternoon I returned for the second feeding and was really impressed with the amount of food Doodle consumed. He didn't seem to be as upset as he has been. He ate a whole bowl of food and some dry food. He rubbed against my legs to let me know he needed some loving. I picked him up to give him a hug and rub his ears while he purred and purred.
Today he ate almost nothing at the morning feeding but did eat well when I returned at 4:00 pm. I have no idea what has caused this change. He eats with the other cats so I don't think it's an issue within the colony. And he appears to be in good health. I think some person frightened him because the sound of another humans voice sends him running. I am hoping that with time he will get his confidence back.