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Flaxbee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 10:05 PM
Original message
Feral cat advisors: this is just killing me ---
I live in the woods and there have always been stray cats around that I have been more than willing to feed (and spay/neuter if I can catch them!) but now I'm getting ready to move and have been trying to wean this one male cat ("Rudy") from the soup kitchen that is my home. One of my neighbors has 15 cats and feeds Rudy whenever he comes around, too, but he has to negotiate all her cats and at my house, I feed him separately.

Anyway, I can't bring Rudy with me (I've captured and tamed his sister, she's coming with me along with my three other babies); I have 4 cats and Rudy's just still too wild, he hisses and runs whenever I get close. I think he'll be fine, and he has another source of food - the neighbor (who is very watchful of the area stray cats and makes sure the cats get food, esp. in the winter) - in addition to his hunting skills, but I feel SO GUILTY. SO GUILTY, Rudy's sitting out there right now staring in my deck sliding glass windows with these sad, beautiful green eyes. Reproachfully. I fed him the last two nights but am trying to be firm and back away tonight; I'll feed him again this week and then will try to completely stop feeding him.

But it is so hard. He's beautiful, and sweet, and it's killing me to not feed him. Please tell me I'm doing the right thing.
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SoCalDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 10:12 PM
Response to Original message
1. You can only do what you can do..
We have two ferals who run every time they see us.. The gladly accept food, water & shelter, but efforts to "tame" them have not worked.. We have come to accept the fact that "something: will eventually happen to them, and it will not be our fault.. We did the best we could for them, and that's all we could do..

I bottlefed two litters before we could catch her and get her fixed, and her "nephew" is a bit bedraggled and unkempt, but they both appear healthy and well-fed..

Perhaps the person who moves in after you will feed them..

You might leave a note in a kitchen drawer that says something to the effect:


"There is a dear stray cat, that I have fed. If you can find it in your heart, please put some scraps out for him from time to time..he will keep the mice away, in exchange...".. and then sign your name :)

Most people have a soft spot in their hearts for animals :)
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Flaxbee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 10:21 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. Thanks, SoCalDem...
the soon-to-be-new-owners (knock on wood) already have three cats of their own and looove cats (one of the first things they noticed/liked about the house was that we have a cat door in the garage!) so I'm thinking they'll be softies, too. I hope so. I am so attached to our critters here - squirrels, raccoons, cats, birds, possums, etc. --that it's hard to leave (though I'm sure I'll be feeding a whole new crew in North Carolina) them all.
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Kadie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 10:15 PM
Response to Original message
2. He will be fine
With the neighbor being a food source. Try not to feel guilty. Easier said than done I know. I am sure that I would feel the same in your situation.

Since you are planning on moving, do you have a way of letting the people that will be moving in about Rudy? Maybe they will be more than happy to care for him as you have.

Good luck.
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Flaxbee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 10:53 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. thanks, Kadie...
yes, the buyers are going to come by in a few weeks, anyway, to see if they want to buy any of the equipment my husband has in the garage that we aren't going to take... so I'm going to mention Rudy to them and ask them to care for him when Rudy stops by...but I want Rudy to be as independent as possible before we leave. But, I'll even SEND THEM cat food if they'll agree ;-)
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3trievers Donating Member (177 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-04 07:13 AM
Response to Original message
5. how many
My wife and I began feeding two cats last winter but we now have about 30 coming for food including 2 litters of kittens.Unfortunately a family of skunks have opted for the happy meals and 1 of my dogs was sprayed last week.I have tried to trap the skunks but always end up with a kitten.
I love animals but believe I have created a neverending problem with my generosity.
I can't stop feeding but I don't want to fuel a bigger problem.What a quandry!!!
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LynneSin Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-04 07:27 AM
Response to Original message
6. Many states have feral cat neutering programs
I know in Delaware we work with several groups that will "Trap & Release" feral cats. They make sure all the cats are fixed and have rabies shots & all. Sometimes they find a feral cat that can be adoptable or they'll find the kittens of a feral cat and bring them in for adoption. They are great programs that will help keep the feral cat population down.
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jukes Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-04 09:08 AM
Response to Original message
7. Flaxbee
Edited on Tue Jul-20-04 09:28 AM by jukes
you can only do what you can; i do have some sugg's if your move isn't imminent:

start feeding him next to a "havaheart" humane trap. grad move food inside opening, but not on "paddle". eventually (3-4 days) place food on paddle. use "stinky" food like sardines/herring/ as bait.

you can lace trap w/ Felispray (cheek pheromones), catnip, or cover w/ an unwashed T-shirt w/your smell to make him more comfortable. w/in 2 weex, you shd have him. "HaH" costs about $60 for cat/'coon size. someXs local animal control will lend them, or your vet.


if you don't have time, p'haps your neighbor can continue op & contact you when he's busted.


if this is unworkable, you've done your best, & some insist on staying feral. i've developed a real talent for captures, but someXs takes enormous patience.

good luck, you've done much good, & someXs that's all you can hope for!

:pals:


EDIT: ck PM.
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Bertha Venation Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-04 09:19 AM
Response to Original message
8. Doing the right thing? I don't think it's necessary to stop feeding him.
Look at it this way:

If you stop feeding him while you're still living there, you will only keep feeling this horrible guilt, and Rudy won't understand why you're not feeding him.

If you feed him up until the day you leave, he has that many more days/weeks (surely not months?) to eat well, and he will better understand why there's no food there because he'll realize some big change has happened at your house. True, their brains are the size of walnuts, but in its way a cat can reason "big changes here = no food" and it will make sense to him.

If you have to anthropomorphize the cat (something I can never avoid doing myself), reason that it will hurt him more for you still to be there and NOT feeding him. He WON'T understand that. And you'll just feel guilty.

I don't think it makes any sense to "wean" the cat off of food. You're going to stop feeding him eventually anyway. Why not keep providing his meals until you're gone?
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jukes Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-04 09:21 AM
Response to Reply #8
9. BV
that's a point i mist in my reply, hurrying to post capture techniques.

TX++ for filling the gap. you always got my back, dontcha, g/f?

:pals:


:hi:
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Bertha Venation Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-04 09:27 AM
Response to Reply #9
10. We do what we can, Jukes.
:pals:

You made some excellent suggestions, BTW. I wonder if Feliway will do anything to keep other critters away? Because half the time when we're trapping a feral, we wind up with a raccoon or possum -- and one time it was a blue jay!
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jukes Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-04 09:33 AM
Response to Reply #10
11. i keep an outside feed station in my yard, .
Edited on Tue Jul-20-04 09:35 AM by jukes
protected from rain. lots of strays in my n'hood. open faced plywood box, plenty of room for shelter in bad weather, cedar chip bedding piled in corner. have to capture raiding 'coons, possums freq, take them to large state park w/ lake & release. feliway won't discourage them , but surely will birds and other "prey" animals, like mice/rats.

hope you're having a good day today, bud.
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jukes Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-04 10:11 AM
Response to Original message
12. kicking
since this subject is my life's passion.


:kick:
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Flaxbee Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-04 12:17 PM
Response to Original message
13. Thanks, everyone...
Just had a little time to hop on DU and check out the messages. I appreciate all the advice.

I'm taking one of my cats to the vet this afternoon and will see what kinds of stuff I can purchase to put into Rudy's food for improved health...

I'm torn about weaning him... I understand that continuing to feed him will provide that much more nutrition (and give me an opportunity to spike his food with deworming meds!), but my sister, who is a veterinarian, suggests weaning him so he doesn't become more dependent on me than on hunting. I know he won't forget how to hunt, but I'd rather he had to hunt that once or twice a week (in addition to my 2-3 times a week supplements).

Sigh.

Thanks again, all.
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nini Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-04 12:35 PM
Response to Original message
14. The same thing happened to me about 10 years ago.
I had to leave that cat and it broke my heart. But he was tough and found another place to eat.

They're survivors by nature.. He'll quickly learn to go to the other neighbors house to get his food or find something somewhere else.

He'll be ok.... and don't feel guilty - You did what you could to help him while you can.
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CatWoman Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Jul-20-04 12:51 PM
Response to Reply #14
15. I have four inside
and two strays outside. one of them is a little runt, who I call "little guy".

another cat found me recently -- looks like she just recently gave birth. she's black and white and very cute. she plays the skittish game with me, but inches closer and closer to me by the day.

and now, a big male has taken over my back yard. he looks like morris the cat. i was watering my flowers when i got home from work yesterday, and that's when i found out that's where he hides out.

when i come home from work, they all run to my truck.

*heart melting*
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Rhiannon12866 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-21-04 04:14 AM
Response to Original message
16. Have you tried Rescue Remedy? This can work with ferals
I used a Have-a-Heart trap to finally bring my feral kitty in. Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind, and you must know that he'd be better off with you than with anybody else, since you're the one who loves him. It's obvious from your post. My kitty improved more than I could ever have imagined when she had dental work and the bad teeth removed. She actually jumped up in my chair and would sit beside the computer while I typed. I just considered this a miracle. She must have just been so uncomfortable. If you love this kitty, you will always think of him, if you leave him behind. I'm very sorry to disagree with SoCalDem, since she's the best, but this is the way that I would feel. :shrug:
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JSJ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Jul-21-04 05:22 AM
Response to Original message
17. if it's guilt you're feeling, then...
...leave a big bag of crunchies- with a hole in the side near the bottom- in a dry area he frequents. By the time he finishes it all, you'll be but a distant memory. It should serve as a transition between your care and his return to total ferality.
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