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Thread: Feral Cat Colony at Lake Hefner

  1. #1

    Default Feral Cat Colony at Lake Hefner

    There is a large feral cat colony at Lake Hefner, north of Louie's, about halfway between it and the first parking lot. The cats are living in the rocks just next to the running/walking/bicycle trail. They are being fed and a few crude shelters have been constructed. A sign on the tree near the shelter informs people that only city-approved shelters are to be put up. The sign also directs people who have inquiries about the cats or those wanting to help to call an organization called Kitty Wranglers Cat Rescue. Clearly the city is aware of this colony.

    I first encountered the colony a few weeks ago when walking on the trail. From a distance I thought one of them was a wild animal, as it was pretty large. When I got close enough to see, it became clear that it was a bunch of cats. Almost all of them are solid gray, and a fairly big size for cats. That day, they were all hanging out on the rocks and appeared to be uninterested in people walking by.

    Today I took my husband over there to show him the colony. We stopped the car on the road just across from where the cats were. The moment we got out of the car, about 20 of the cats emerged from the rocks, crossed the trail, and started moving toward us. They must have thought we were there to deliver food. When we got back into the car, they just kind of sat around on the trail and thereabouts.

    We parked the car and walked back over to the colony to get a couple of pictures. One of the cats appears to be rabid (see last picture below, middle cat). The other cats mingle with it like it's normal. Even though we got within a couple of feet of them, the cats did not startle or run away.

    This whole thing kind of creeps me out, for a couple of reasons: First of all, with the colony being so close to a widely-used trail, if that rabid cat were to make contact with a person, it would obviously be a potential disaster. And how many of those cats might have rabies, since they're all hanging out together with the one that looks rabid? Also, I think it could be dangerous to pedestrians, and especially cyclists, to have the cats right in the middle of the trail. Cyclists speed by there so fast that it's possible a cat might get in the way and cause a rider to crash.

    Don't get me wrong, I think cats are great (we have 2). I think rescue organizations/people that help with feral cat colonies are very worthy. It's just the LOCATION of this colony that bothers me. Has anybody seen these cats, or does anybody know more about the circumstances surrounding why it's located where it is?

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  2. #2

    Default Re: Feral Cat Colony at Lake Hefner

    Interesting!

    I suspect all these cats have been trapped, fixed and released.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Feral Cat Colony at Lake Hefner

    There are some at Lake Overholser too. Do also think they get shots and are fixed.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Feral Cat Colony at Lake Hefner

    If you see a cat with a docked ear it has been fixed and had a round of shots.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Feral Cat Colony at Lake Hefner

    Not sure I understand the logic of setting up shelters and supplying food to a colony/community/pride/whatever of feral critters in a public park area. And no, that's not my typical anti-cat bias coming out. At least I do not think it is. I wouldn't understand these actions if it were feral pups either.

    And if the cat in the last photo isn't ill in some fashion, you need to thank your deity of choice you returned home safely. Cause either that dark overlord was ill, or you were were like a right fine choice for dinner.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Feral Cat Colony at Lake Hefner

    I don't know, if I got out of my car and 20 cats started moving towards me, I'd get creeped out too. Kind of like the squirrels on that DirectTV commercial that stalk the guy in the park then attack him from all sides.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Feral Cat Colony at Lake Hefner

    The managed feral cat colonies at the lakes have been going on for awhile. I first noticed them a couple of years ago. No horror stories in the news yet AFAIK. They seem to mind their own business.

    According to my vet, cat drooling or foaming is pretty common for cats when they get something that doesn't sit well with their palate, like strange bugs, chemicals or medicine. We had one start doing that with oral medicine after about a month of taking it normally. We switched to one that's applied inside the ear and is absorbed through the skin.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Feral Cat Colony at Lake Hefner

    I've got my fair share of feral cats around my place because somebody who shall remain nameless feels the need to aid and abet them. Reminds me of an exchange on Star Trek.

    MCCOY: Do you know what you get if you feed a tribble too much?
    KIRK: A fat tribble.
    MCCOY: No. You get a bunch of hungry little tribbles.

    At least tribbles could spot Klingons. I've yet to figure out a use for feral cats that won't land me in the dog house. Eh, what can you do?
    Don't blame me. I voted for Kanye!

  9. #9

    Default Re: Feral Cat Colony at Lake Hefner

    Well, they do eat mice and probably any dead fish that wash up.

  10. #10

    Default Re: Feral Cat Colony at Lake Hefner

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  11. #11

    Default Re: Feral Cat Colony at Lake Hefner

    rezman: :P

    Took me right back to the Peking Moon from a parody of the Harry Chapin cat's in the cradle tune.

    Cat in the Kettle - YouTube

  12. #12

    Default Re: Feral Cat Colony at Lake Hefner

    OK, you all have started out my Tuesday in a fine way. Multiple belly laughs!!!

    Mkjeeves, that drooling cat was also drooling the first time I saw it several weeks ago, so I'm pretty sure it isn't the excitement effect (which I've seen with my dogs in the past, so I know what you're talking about).

  13. #13

    Default Re: Feral Cat Colony at Lake Hefner

    This all sounds like a good concept for a new Stephen King tome . . .
    (maybe The Meowing . . ? The Katterwalling? . . . Tails From the Crypt . . ?)
    (***** La Gore . . ?) (the ***** is the P-word for cat.)

  14. #14

    Default Re: Feral Cat Colony at Lake Hefner

    My wife and I would go walking along Lake Hefner about three or four times a week if the weather would allow us. We would park in the overflow parking lot, south of the restaurants and walk north, past the restaurants all the way up to the other parking lot on the NE side of the lake and back, 2.5 miles. We would always see these cats and every once in a while, a skunk or two. That is the biggest issue with this area is that it doesn't only keep the cats there but also skunks come because there is food. On one walk a few years ago, I remember seeing a woman park her car on the street (like you did turnup) and get out with a small thing of cat food, walk through the ditch and distribute it among the cat colonies. That was on the walk north. On the walk back south, I saw a completely different woman setting out traps to capture them and either take them to the vet or get them fixed. So, just to recap, one woman is feeding them and another was trying to get them out of there. If the lady wouldn't have fed them in the first place, they would have gone away. Now, if she doesn't feed them, they will starve because that is all some of them know.

  15. Default Re: Feral Cat Colony at Lake Hefner

    Quote Originally Posted by warreng88 View Post
    So, just to recap, one woman is feeding them and another was trying to get them out of there. If the lady wouldn't have fed them in the first place, they would have gone away.
    Not necessarily a valid conclusion. A good friend volunteers one day each week at a low-income spay-and-neuter clinic; they average something like 50 animals a week, both cats and dogs plus a few rabbits. A fairly large percentage of this volume comes from rescue groups. These groups live-trap the ferals (mostly cats), have them fixed and get their shots, then return them to their original locations.

    The colonies at the lakes probably got their start because of a relative plentitude of fish on the shores. No human intervention was necessary. Once a litter had been born in the area, they turned into a colony. Cats are quite territorial critters, but occasionally welcome newcomers into their groups.

    Never underestimate the ability of any feral animal to fend for itself. We're feeding a small colony of them that apparently live beneath our deck; some mornings we have only two at breakfast time, and at other times six. Small rodents are conspicuous by their absence from the area!

  16. #16

    Default Re: Feral Cat Colony at Lake Hefner

    Quote Originally Posted by Jim Kyle View Post
    Not necessarily a valid conclusion. A good friend volunteers one day each week at a low-income spay-and-neuter clinic; they average something like 50 animals a week, both cats and dogs plus a few rabbits. A fairly large percentage of this volume comes from rescue groups. These groups live-trap the ferals (mostly cats), have them fixed and get their shots, then return them to their original locations.
    This is probably the case...there is a good chance one of those ladies was a former co-worker of mine. She is part of the trap/release program that exactly that. Rounds up ferals, spay/neuter, shots and then released back where they found them.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Feral Cat Colony at Lake Hefner

    Small point of clarification: I overheard the woman who was trying to round them up talking to some passerbys about the woman who was feeding them and how she needs to stop feeding them to help remedy the problem. So, these two particular individuals were not working together.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Feral Cat Colony at Lake Hefner

    The real reason to avoid Hefner...cat lady on cat lady violence.

  19. #19
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    Default Re: Feral Cat Colony at Lake Hefner

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  20. #20

    Default Re: Feral Cat Colony at Lake Hefner

    I've seen the kitties at Hefner before, years ago. I really like that there are those who volunteer to see that the cats are taken care of. Ferals beyond probably six months of age are just about hopeless for domesticating, but the species itself has evolved to be dependent upon human society. Yeah, they can and do hunt for their own food, but a bit of a boost from a person or two providing them some crude shelter and supplementary food is a great help to a group of cats that are kind of caught between worlds.

    Rabies is pretty unlikely in the above scenario. It's likely, as was already explained, a reaction to getting a mouth full of nasty, although an oral infection could also cause excessive salivation. Once an animal gets to the point of rabies infection that they're showing symptoms of rabies, they're not long for the world.

  21. #21

    Default Re: Feral Cat Colony at Lake Hefner

    Two more RM

    The Rocks have Eyes

    Hotel Catifornia

  22. #22

    Default Re: Feral Cat Colony at Lake Hefner

    Trap-Neuter-Release programs are actually proven to reduce the number of strays / ferals. The basic theory starts with the placement of a non-breeding animal in the place where a breeding animal would go. The territory isn't diminished, but the number of animals is controlled / diminished. If I were omnipotent for a day, the first thing I'd do is make every domesticated creature incapable of reproducing for at least four cycles.

  23. #23

    Default Re: Feral Cat Colony at Lake Hefner

    No matter what this song says, Nashville can't hold a can of Fancy Feast with a candle on top to OKC's own Lake Hefner . . .
    Put THAT in your litter box and smoke it, Mister Sebastian . . . =)

  24. #24

    Default Re: Feral Cat Colony at Lake Hefner

    Litter to Maria?

    (Cat Scratch Fever is just too obvious.)

  25. #25

    Default Re: Feral Cat Colony at Lake Hefner

    There is very much something wrong with "rabies cat". Maybe not rabies, but *something* is going on. His fur is really crispy-looking, all mottled up. The rest of the cats' coats look soft and fuzzy. Also, he's stiff. His tail is crooked at the end. He's like a zombie-cat, moves real slow. The other cats rub on him and lick his head and generally treat him like he's normal, but I think they're just being charitable. : )

    My 7 year-old daughter's sitting here while I'm typing this and she said we could call the rabies-cat "Santa Claws". She wants to see the colony in person. I think I'll take her over there, but perhaps will leave her in the car and let her observe from a distance!

    There must be something wrong with me. I'm spending way too much time thinking about this cat colony...

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