Sophie The Stray - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-18-2009, 04:52 PM Thread Starter
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Sophie The Stray

Hello, I am new to the forum. I am definitely looking for advise and information regarding a kitty named Sophie. I apologize, because this will probably be very long and rambling. About a month ago I started feeding some of the stray cats around my new house. Nothing special, just some friskies (crap cat food, I know) just so they have some consistent food. One of the strays, who was extremely flighty and I rarely saw more than a glimpse of, has blossomed into a wonderful, sweet cat. Last week she decided I was OK, and each morning comes to me for petting and brushing (she had some terrible mats on her belly). She has a scar all around her neck, perhaps from where a collar was once imbedded. It is clear that she was once someones pet, but not for a while.

Anyway, I have definitely fallen in love with this cat. But I've never owned a cat. I just qualified (had to take a class) for the local TNR program. She, and the other kitties I feed, will be trapped, and spayed or neutered. The TNR program also vaccinates and microchips them. It is such a great program, I am glad there is one around.

The one problem is Sophie is very pregnant. Her belly is huge, and her nipples are quite engorged. I am no expert on cat pregnancies, though. I am going to visit my parents for a few days (housemates are continuing to feed and water the cats, no worries). I can't get her into the TNR until Monday the 24th. I'd honestly rather have her spayed late term than have her deliver the litter. She is a tiny cat, young, and complications could arise. Plus, there are already too many kittens in this world. While I was wanting to slowly bring her into the house, should I bring her in now (I leave tomorrow) in the event she does have the litter while I am away? My housemates are 100% trustworthy with care. I'd rather not freak her out, but I'd rather her have them in the house then somewhere outside with all the dangers of the city.

How easy is it to litterbox train a cat? Most people recommend shutting her in the bathroom with food, water, and a litterbox. But the one problem is we have only one bathroom in the house. And the other place that could be used, the basement, isn't exactly cat friendly at the moment (is being finished right now). My housemates are OK with the bathroom, but I don't want to freak her out with people constantly going in and out. The other option is my room. It is small, and I could clean up any accidents. What are your thoughts? I hope that if she was a pet in her past, she is comfortable with using a litterbox.

This is definitely not the last of questions I'll be asking. I know others will come to mind. But, I appreciate any and all information.

And since you had to read all this, I should at least provide pictures of Sophie! She is a dilute, longhair tortie!

She's a sweetheart. I just need to know where I should start with kitty care.
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post #2 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-18-2009, 06:10 PM
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Re: Sophie The Stray

Hi, I only have a few minutes...
First, I think it is *supremely simple* to teach a cat to use the litterbox. They naturally want to bury their waste so all you have to do is show them where it is appropriate to 'go'. IF they have an accident outside the box, pick up the poo and place it ON TOP of the litter in the litterbox. If it is a pee accident, sop it up with a small-ish wad of tissue and place that on top of the litter.

Your bedroom should be fine. Bathroom would work, long as she is perfectly fine with all people, your bedroom if she isn't. Cats can be spayed late term. Of course the risks for her are larger, but you are right about the pet overpopulation problem. I prefer to do it asap because I really don't think it is fair for the cat, myself and the vet and techs performing the surgery, mostly because I think it would be very difficult to do/see that during the surgery. The TNR group I foster for spays all pregnant ferals, no matter their pregnancy condition. With TNR, you have to spay them while you've got them, or you may not have that chance again.
I have done both.
Our former feral cat Pretty was spayed in that condition, however I allowed Shadow to birth indoors because she was people-friendly. This is a controversial subject and each person must decide what is best for themselves and the pets they are in charge of caring for.
Best of luck!
heidi =^..^=

PS ~ I wanted to add that while our members here vary in what they believe is right for themselves, no one here (certainly not me) will judge you for any of the decisions you must make.

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post #3 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-18-2009, 06:31 PM
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Re: Sophie The Stray

Hi There and welcome to the Cat Forum!

I've had only one experience with a pregnant stray: One morning I had the kitchen window above the sink open, to either let in or let out one of my own cats. I was in the bathroom putting on my makeup when I noticed movement at the open door. I looked down and there she was and I said to her "well now......and who are YOU?". Yep, she came thru that open window and just decided to stay! Several days later I noticed her 'bulging' around the middle. About a week later there was no mistaking her obvious pregnancy.

I had a spare bedroom not in use so I put a rather large cardboard [approx. 10 inches tall] box in the closet, lined it with 3 old towels and left the door half closed. I left her a personal litter box in the room and fed her there also. The rest was up to her and she handled it magnificently .

Note: I wouldn't suggest putting her in the bathroom. She wants and needs her privacy when she is ready to birth. Too much human activity will make her move her kits to a safer and quieter place in the house.

I kept her and her 4 kittens for the next 3 months. I took the family to a no-kill shelter 3 days before X-Mas. All four kittens were adopted that same day. It took another month for momma to be adopted also.

A VERY happy ending, no?
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post #4 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-20-2009, 07:56 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Sophie The Stray

Thanks for the replies.

I hope to get her spayed before she drops her kittens. With so many shelters overflowing, it seems to be the best choice. She'll be getting spayed Monday. At least she will be easy to trap (as in I can put her in the trap, heh) for TNR. She is just such a sweety, but she really needs to be spayed as soon as I can get her spayed. She is priority, there are other kitties that need spayed and neutered, but they aren't ready to pop with kittens.

I am glad to hear that kitties are easy to litterbox train. I know to be patient if she has any accidents. I plan to buy her a bag of Blue Buffalo Wildnerness or Wellness CORE, to slowly start giving her good food since she'll be a pet. The friskies will be for the other stray kitties.
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post #5 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-20-2009, 08:08 PM
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Re: Sophie The Stray

Look at how friendly and affectionte she is. She WAS someone's pet and you've gotten to her before she's feral. That's a lucky find and it sounds like your roommates are cat lovers.

The last time people tried to elimate free roaming cats it resulted in The Black Plague.
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post #6 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-21-2009, 12:53 AM
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Re: Sophie The Stray

Oh man, your kitty lookes soooo much like my cat Pink/Pinky. It's soooo obvious you've already done some major research, no? Oh, Bless Your Heart! Can't wait to hear your tale!
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post #7 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-21-2009, 02:13 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Sophie The Stray

I am definitely doing major research as we speak, and consulting everyone I know with a cat. Usually I research and prepare for months before I get a pet (a year before I finally got some crested geckos). So this is actually a very fast pace for me when it comes to an animal. I like to do everything right and be prepared for the worst.

I got her some wellness core. I liked the ingredients better than the blue buffalo, since 5 of the 6 first ingredients were named meats. Pricey, but it should last her. I plan on getting her some canned food when I can find the large cans sold locally. She'll get a mix of wet and dry.

As for veterinary care. She'll be spayed, rabies vaccinated, and microchipped by the humane society. But how much should getting her checked over and other vaccinations cost? I know she'll need her FVRCP. Probably a fecal exam and blood test so I can get her some heartworm meds. I called a few places, and they were very vague. I'd prefer to have a price range in mind, so I know how much to expect. I can afford it, I just like to know ahead of time.
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post #8 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-21-2009, 03:35 PM
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Re: Sophie The Stray

She is so pretty (dilute tortie is probably my favorite color pattern). It's quite obvious that you've done plenty of research. She is a lucky girl!

I think vet care is fairly expensive where I live. Around here bloodwork runs about $50, basic exams are somewhere around $30, and the vaccines themselves are pretty cheap ($13 at my vet). I've actually never gotten a fecal exam, so that one I couldn't tell you. You might also want to get her tested for FIV/FeLV, which would cost about $70 at my vet. That one is a personal choice, though... if you don't have any other cats then it isn't crucial. Since it varies so much from vet to vet you might want to look up some reviews, typically people will report if the prices are fair or not.

FYI we live on the west coast, in the city. I think location makes a big difference. Hopefully you'll get more feedback from people in other areas.
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post #9 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-21-2009, 03:44 PM
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Re: Sophie The Stray

You're really knocking yourself out for this kitty. You have my undying respect. If she could thank you, she would!

Holly and Murphy
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post #10 of 22 (permalink) Old 08-21-2009, 04:13 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Sophie The Stray

Thanks! I know she is thankful, she is so loving. Even though I am in Michigan until Sunday, my housemates are sure to spoil her. She gets some wet friskies (yay kitty junk food) every day and a rub down. She loves the brush I bought for her, which is good because it'll make brushing her long hair easy.

I think I've settled on a vet. 32$ for a health exam and the first FVRCP. Testing for FIV/FeLV and heartworm is 40$.I am glad this vet gave me definite prices, so I'll be scheduling an appointment for her!
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