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Flaxbee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-17-04 11:03 PM
Original message
Help with a semi-feral cat, please
I have taken care of a cat for about 15 months now, in addition to my three "regulars". She came to us via our kitty-door in the garage in the winter of 2002/2003 and I was able to finally, after much effort, catch her Feb. 2003 and get her to the vet, spayed, etc. She's pretty much stuck around since then, last summer she let me pet her and I can now even hold her (for about 2 seconds). She's got her own little house inside our garage, heating pad, etc., and comes and goes freely thru the kitty door. She and the other cats have a very uneasy truce, except one of our "regulars" is exceedingly territorial and she makes life difficult for my feral (now semi-feral) baby, KittyGrrl. Anyway, my husband and I are going to move soon, probably will rent for a bit and then might move into a loft.. and I'm terribly worried about my KittyGrrl.

She's such a "free spirit", roams and answers to no one (though comes home every night for regular dinners), and was born in these woods we currently live in. I have NO IDEA how to move her successfully, or if I should even try. I WILL NOT abandon her, but I don't know how to transition her from her birth-area, these woods, to a new home in Georgia; I also don't know how I could ever transition her to be an inside kitty if we move into a loft.

Anyone have any wisdom? How do I do this with the least amount of stress to KittyGrrl, my other kitties, me and my husband? I'd have our neighbor adopt her, she's a "cat person", but she already cares for 16 others and frankly, they're not terribly healthy so I don't want to leave my baby in her care.

Anyone?
Thanks!
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BlackVelvetElvis Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-17-04 11:05 PM
Response to Original message
1. Is there a cat resue place in your area?
She may need to be trapped and transferred (stressful) unless the renters are cat lovers.
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SoCalDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-17-04 11:11 PM
Response to Original message
2. That's a tough one..
You could move her with you, and just keep claws trimmed.. The others would eventually declare a truce with her.. Be sure to have her tested for any "cat diseases" before you get them together.. It sounds like she's pretty tame already.. Maybe you just need to take that leap of faith..

If you take her though, she might not stick around if you let her out at the new place..

Unless you could find a cat sanctuary, that might be your only choice..unless your neighbor will take one more..
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Flaxbee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-17-04 11:16 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. she's squeaky-clean, health-wise...
took her in for her follow-up a few months ago and she's fully loaded, shots-wise; before I had her spayed over a year ago I had the vets test her for kitty leukemia and other horrible cat diseases and they gave her the all-clear. Sigh. I'm prepared to bring her with us and see what she does in a new environment... one of our other kitties is older and might not be with us more than a few years, so the pecking order might shift pretty quickly. I'd planned on having KittyGrrl fixed, then she'd "go free" and do her thing but she seems to love us... and I love the little creature, I just don't know how to transfer her easily. She's a doll.

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SoCalDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-17-04 11:20 PM
Response to Reply #3
4. Do it.. She might surprise you..
She'll fuss and yowl...but she's attached to you..not the place..If you "hand her off", you'll always wonder what happened to her..
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Flaxbee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-17-04 11:30 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. I know, I'd rather take my chances with her
than wonder where she was, if the person who took her loved her as much as I do, was kind, etc. If I can find someplace with a good separate space for her, I'll close her in (making sure she's got a window) and alternate letting her wander the house and the other three kids have free rein... I"m actually most worried about my territorial one, who, last time we lived in an apt. with another cat, went nutso, attacked the other cat all the time, peed on and destroyed about $10K worth of computer equipment, attacked me, just freaked out. She's actually the wild-card. Why can't my kitties all just get along??
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DenverDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-17-04 11:33 PM
Response to Reply #3
6. She will follow your affection for her.
She knows that you care for her and will make the transitions with you. It's much better than having to fend for herself in the wild.
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Teddy_Salad Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-17-04 11:39 PM
Response to Original message
7. I went through the whole feral cat thing...
Edited on Mon May-17-04 11:45 PM by Teddy_Salad
two years ago.

We have two others and all of them are strictly indoor cats.

The feral female I caught outside was only around 12 weeks old when I caught her and it was a tough job to 'tame' her.
It took about two to three months and started with us not even being able to look at her without her hissing at us to now where she loves affection and is happily one of the cat clan here.
The older a feral cat is though, the tougher it is to 'tame' them.

But yours sounds not to be feral at all.
If you can pet the cat and even pick it up, no matter for how long, the cat really isn't feral. It's just a cat that lives outside and happens to like you and your garage.
If I was you and I wanted to take this cat with me and I thought I'd have trouble catching her to get her into a kitty carrier, I'd do the following.
I wouldn't feed her the day before I was moving and that night I'd get a havahart trap, load it up with her favorite cat food and trap her.
That's how I captured our little feral feline.

Then you can take her to your new home and if you want to try to keep her indoors, see how she goes.
If she's determined to go outside though, I'd let her as it sounds like she's attached herself to you anyway.

Some things I learnt from my feral cat experience was that cats are very resilient and will adapt to change, especially when they see that it's in their best interests. They are very intelligent creatures and will suss it all out.

So try not to worry too much. If you can take the cat, take her with you, give her lots of love and food and water and she'll be fine.

Good luck! I know it's tough. :)

P.S. Oh and our former feral does not get along with our other female.
They hiss at each other all the time, I think it's a pecking order thing.
But they just stay away from each other and things are fine 99% of the time.
They work things out eventually, given time.
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iconoclastic cat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon May-17-04 11:54 PM
Response to Original message
8. My parents had the same situation!
Flax:
My p's had a very similar story: A cat showed up at the back door one day never left--but inspired massive chaos. Several vets told my mother to put Charlie (the cat) down, but she wouldn't do it. Others recommended amputating the cat's tail (which he attacked for no reason, much like he attacked the other 3 cats).

Finally, they found a "holistic" vet who tried a whole battery of solutions, only to find a syndrome that has only recently come into the vet-world's consciousness. The cure: barbiturates for both Charlie and one of the other cats that seemed to freak out any time Charlie was around. Guess what: it worked! Now, Charlie and the other cat just ignore each other, nobody is pulling out chunks of hair, and there is peace in the house.

Keep in mind that this is a very new diagnosis; some vets call it "crazy cat syndrome," and others call it "rolling sickness" for one of the symptoms--often, the afflicted feline will send spasmodic ripples through his/her skin. Random growling, sudden mood swings, a sensitivity to certain types of food, and a tendency to be aversive to human touch are all primary symptoms. For some reason--and this is the part that has the vets totally confused--it seems to be communicable to some other cats. My parents said that Charlie's nemesis never acted out before, but when Charlie had been around for a week, they were both displaying the symptoms.

I hope this helps! Look around for holistic or naturapathic vets; they seem to be on top of things.

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DoNotRefill Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-18-04 12:10 AM
Response to Original message
9. Take her with you and keep her indoors.
we have a completely feral cat living in our house. She still will not let us touch her generally, but since she has plenty of places to hide, she's OK with it. When we need to touch her (for medical reasons, or to groom her when she gets matts) she tends to urinate on us. She gets along well with our other two cats, and I know for a fact that if we'd left her outside, she'd have been dead 5+ years ago. All in all, she leads a great life.
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Flaxbee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-18-04 11:56 AM
Response to Original message
10. Thanks for all the suggestions...
any day-timers have anything to add?
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LynneSin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-18-04 12:05 PM
Response to Reply #10
11. I think if you don't take the cat you'll regret it
It seems you've put alot of time, money and effort into this cat that isn't quite your cat. I'm sure he(she) will adjust to your new home with no problems.

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Flaxbee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-18-04 12:12 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. she's definitely coming with us, I just don't know how to make
it any easier... And I don't know who's gonna rent to us with four cats!
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Robbien Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-18-04 12:31 PM
Response to Reply #12
13. I have a feral cat that has finally turned half-feral
After working consistantly with the cat for about a year and a half, the cat has finally discovered he loves to be hugged. Not petted so much, but he often asks for hugs.

My other two cats were very weary of him for about a year or two, but now just accept him being around. The biggest problem I have is kitty litter, he will not use it. The winter just passed, I let the semi-feral into the house to get out of Chicago winter cold. But he refused to learn what litter boxes are for. I suppose after three years of using the great outdoors as a toilet, the idea of a litter box must be too foreign for him.

This litter box thing may be a problem for you also.



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Flaxbee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-18-04 12:35 PM
Response to Reply #13
14. actually, she uses the box in the winter...
when it's too snowy outside and she doesn't want to be far from her heating pad and space-heater, she'll use the box I have out there for her...

She's just very skittish; I think she'll come around but it ain't gonna be easy.
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Robbien Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-18-04 12:49 PM
Response to Reply #14
15. That is good then
I really wish mine would have taken to the box. I put one out there in the garage but would find poop all over the place except in the litter.

When I brought the feral in last winter, I kept him in a separate room for about two or three weeks. The other two cats would only see him when I let the cat out to go outdoors to do his business. Then gradually the other cats started to ignore him, so he got the roam of the house.
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FreeSpeechCrusader Donating Member (123 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-18-04 12:58 PM
Response to Reply #12
16. I've got five cats and two dogs
and I've still been able to find many renters that only ask for a pet deposit along with the general deposit so that I would be able to rent.
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