Cisco first appeared in early June 2014. He was the new cat that scared Hampton and came to eat for a few weeks before disappearing for about 6 weeks. Cisco came back just a few days after Hampton was released from his neuter. This was in mid August 2014. He was quite bold and wanted to eat as much as he could. He was fairly skinny too. I didn’t want him to eat where Hampton used to eat as I really wanted to save that spot for Hampton’s hopeful return. I moved Cisco back down to his previous feeding spot. He really did not like eating there and kept coming back to the deck. I decided to just feed him on the deck as it was much easier. Yet Shadow and Stellar were not happy about this. They would hiss at him and chase him off the deck. I was stunned. They usually got along with most cats. Shadow had been very fond of Hampton. They always greeted each other and had a friendly relationship. I think Shadow could relate to Hampton’s fears. So Cisco was displaced to under the deck. Each time I tried to move him up on the step, either he freaked out or Shadow chased him off. I decided under the deck was the least stressful for all.
I had a feeling Cisco was not leaving so he got his name sooner than the others. Since I still had the camera under the deck I was able to get some good images of him. He was skittish, but would come up onto the deck step when he arrived for food and wait for me. He also would hang out there after finishing. He ran and hid when I came out, but quickly came out to eat his food. In September 2014 I got a good look at his backside. Sure enough, another unaltered male. This is cat number 7. I knew that he too would soon need to be trapped. He only came at night and I really did not want to have to keep him overnight in the trap. I decided to wait a bit and see what happened as the weather turned cooler.
During late September and early October, Cisco would sometimes come up onto the deck to watch me interact with Shadow and Stellar. He would just watch with wide eyes. He would also come up for some chicken. Yet if I tried to reach out to him or give him my closed fist to sniff, he bolted. I believe he was another stray turned feral. Shadow and Stellar were finally starting to get used to Cisco. He was not at all aggressive and instead quite docile. He began meowing to me when he saw me come out with food. This was a good sign.
In mid October he started coming in the morning. I got the trap ready and had my husband place it again. I used tuna in his regular bowl and kept Shadow and Stellar busy with tuna of their own. It took him a bit, but eventually he went inside. He was very quiet. This new trap is just the absolute best! My husband ended up taking Cisco for his neuter and picking him up since I had other plans that day. Cisco did well. It was estimated he was 2.5 years old. This time I placed him in my garage in the covered trap for the night. I released him the next morning and he returned a day later.
As fall led way to winter, Cisco continued coming 1-2 times each day. He would meow a hello greeting to me and finally in November he started coming all the way up onto the deck to eat. Shadow and Stellar were not happy about him using their feeding stations. I decided to use a large rubbermaid container as a feeding station for Cisco. We had a lot of wind that month and even with bricks inside and on top, it kept blowing away. During Thanksgiving weekend my son and husband built a 3rd feeding station. It was so nice to have three separate eating spaces. I also separated it some from the other two so Cisco could have his own space. I also placed a few shelters with heat pads around for Cisco to use. I knew Shadow and Stellar would not be happy for him to join them in their shelter just yet. I placed one under the deck and another under a table by my sliding door. He preferred the one under the deck, but did use the other one a few times.
I was away for Christmas yet had pet sitters to feed all of the cats. Something happened to Cisco. I believe an orange cat that lives a few blocks away was out causing trouble. From what I could see on the camera, this cat ambushed Cisco when he was sleeping in a shelter under the deck. He stayed away for almost 2 weeks. Since this incidence he has not been the same. He is very skittish and has no interest in sticking around. When he returned he did not look skinny at all and he did not seem hungry either. He has only come a handful of times and most of the times are in the middle of the night. We have had some snow and cold temperatures and during those times he has not come. This leads me to believe that he has found someone else to care for him. If only I could get inside his mind! Additional pictures of Cisco are available on my Flickr site.
Update September 2016: Cisco left for good in March of 2015. He would appear on my cameras about once every 3-4 months. I figured he was letting me know that he was still alive. He never came in search of food and appeared well fed. In April of 2016, I began to see him on the cameras 2-3 times each week. It was always in the middle of the night. He looked thin. In May he appeared a few times during the early evening and desperately wanted some food. Shadow, Stellar and Hampton were not happy and chased him away. I ended up feeding him further from the deck. He only came twice, but then appeared again in June for a few nights. Summer evolved and I would still see him on the cameras, but he did not come for food. In late August, he appeared again. This time he was thin and just crying under the deck. He would eat 3 cans of wet food in no time. He started coming 2 times a week and then by the beginning of September 2016, he was coming nightly. At first all meals were under the deck. Hampton would run under the deck and watch Cisco’s every move. There was some growling and hissing. I had to keep a watchful eye. After a few weeks, he started coming up onto the deck. He would eat and just watch. The other cats would cluster around me and demand pets. Cisco still loved plain cooked chicken and he would come right up to me for the chicken. When he was with me in 2014/15 he would eat the chicken, but only if I placed it in front of him or in his food bowl. This time around he would eat it right next to me and soon he was taking it out of my hand. I took this opportunity to try and touch the top of his head. He was wary, but after a few attempts he allowed me to pet him. He could not get enough. He left me a frightened semi feral cat and returned much less feral and more just timid. Where oh where had he been and who had been taking care of him? This I may never know.
For now he continues to come nightly and has even slept all night on the deck two different times. Shadow, Stellar and Hampton are still not happy, but things are improving. There continues to be a bit of hissing and Hampton swats from time to time. Cisco reacts by rolling over onto his back. He is still very docile. Hampton is the least happy of the three. I have been using flower essences as well as liquid Composure. It does help. I still need to be present for most of their interactions. I am hopeful things settle down before the cold weather arrives. I also hope that Cisco will decide to stay this time.
Update August 2017: So much has happened to Cisco in the last year. It is now August 2017 and he is a fully acclimated indoor kitty. At the end of 2016, Cisco was still living outside. He would come for dinner and often chose a shelter to sleep in during the night. He usually also appeared for breakfast and then left for the day. In mid December, he appeared with a limp. It did not get better as he would not stay put. We had a bitter cold snap with temperatures near 0. One night he appeared late and I went out to feed him. It was very dark, but I could tell that something was wrong with his tail. My first thought was frost bite. He slept all night in a warm shelter and the next night I could tell the tail was not any better. I begged for him to come in the day light so I could see. He appeared the afternoon of December 24. I was able to examine the tail. The tail had been bitten and the tip was gone. It was very red and infected. He also was still limping. Of course it was Christmas so a vet visit had to wait. I was able to get him into a large dog carrier on the morning of December 26. He did well at the vet and received wonderful care. I realized then he would need to be inside to recover and that could take weeks. It was decided he would be an indoor kitty. The extra room was prepared once again. Cisco lived in the spare room from the end of December 2016 until mid March 2017. He adjusted so well. Introductions between the other 2 inside cats went smoothly. He did have a set back when he had a urinary blockage in May 2017. He had to have perineal urethrostomy (pu sugergy). It was a very rough time, but he survived and is now completely healthy. He is a fabulous addition to our animal family.