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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-19-2011, 10:41 PM Thread Starter
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Live and Let Die

My oldest daughter works at a cat shelter that rescues stray cats mostly. They do not take in people's pets. This is not a drop-off type of place for unwanted animals. At this small shelter, there are about 4 ferals and some semi-ferals among others. At any one time, they can hold up to 40 felines. There is one in particular that has attacked, bit, or lunged at at least 4 different people (in the recent past), including 2 of the volunteers at the place. This is a big angry boy, weighing in at about 20 lbs. So, about 6 months ago, the shelter adopted him out to an older woman, who knew about his problems, but was willing to accept him the way he was.

Long story short, she had her nephew visit recently and because the cat's world was upset by the visitor, he attacked his owner. The woman's very concerned nephew called Animal Control since this was not the first time the cat has attacked her. The cat was taken away, and most likely will be put down.

Now, I understand that every animal deserves a chance to live, but ferals and semi-ferals take a lot of work and resources, which a small shelter like this is not equipped for...wouldn't the humane thing have been to put him down when a reasonable amount of time passed, and he did not improve? They kept him for over 2 years, and he did not improve, so wasn't it irresponsible to adopt him out knowing he was basically a ticking time bomb? I have mixed feelings about this, and would like for others to chime in to compare notes.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-19-2011, 10:51 PM
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If he was kept in a cage and not a room for 2 years, then yes, i do think it was a bit cruel to let him sit around.
However, there are people and places that take cats that would either be a ton of work or never fully socialize and idk, I can't agree with putting him down, no.

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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-19-2011, 11:13 PM
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I would think maybe it would be better for this place to start a feral colony rather than feral shelter. Then they wouldn't mate and would be taken care of but they wouldn't be unhappy or attacking people.

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-19-2011, 11:20 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Sinatra-Butters View Post
I would think maybe it would be better for this place to start a feral colony rather than feral shelter. Then they wouldn't mate and would be taken care of but they wouldn't be unhappy or attacking people.
I agree in principle, but I can see how this would be very difficult given the geographical location. We are talking about NYC, Manhattan to be specific. I am sure there are zoning laws and that would never fly. I know there are a few already existing in community gardens and such, but I can imagine these are special cases.
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-19-2011, 11:23 PM
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The lady chose to adopt him knowing his problems. She accepted the risk so no, the shelter wasn't irresponsible there. If the shelter took a feral cat and caged him for two y ears, then yes, that's inhumane. I guess I'm more a proponent of TNR programs for ferals than "rescuing" them into small, indoor cages or rooms.
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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-20-2011, 03:07 AM
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I don't think I understand the problem. The shelter 1) mostly takes strays, so this right off the bat tells you the cats will have a shady history and 2) the women knew what to expect from this cat. I see no reason to put the cat down. In fact, I feel I must be missing something here for why it should be put down instead of cared for...? The whole point of many shelters/rescues is to take in and care for all sorts of cats, not just the readily adoptable ones.

If I walked into the cat sanctuary and told them "hey, I know this cat bites/pees/is semi-feral/whatever, but I don't care. I have a long history with cats, I am capable of handling it, and would like this cat." ... then, well, I think the right thing to do is allow this person a chance to rehabilitate or simply own the cat if they feel that they want to do so and know what they're getting into, just like they've asked. If it doesn't work out, at least they tried.

People do this at the sanctuary. Just a few weeks ago a lady adopted a cat that pees, it's been there for several years, but now it will have a loving owner and kitty friends in its indoor/outdoor enclosure. There's so many stories of cats at the cat sanctuary that were semi-feral and then slowly over the course of years sometimes realized people aren't so bad, especially since all their friends are getting pats from humans. Then there are other cats that will, once they're in a more relaxing environment, become completely different cats, perhaps this was the hope of the shelter, that the cat would learn to trust its owner, and that it would become friendly one day.

Anyway, as the owner of a once feral kitten and another cat that took a year until it would allow me to even touch her, I can say I'm used to the occasional bite, and I also know that in taming a cat it isn't all easy but it can be extremely rewarding. The bond created in these circumstances is a really wonderful thing and the thought that either of my cats should have been put down without the chance to become tamed, or at the very least given a chance to live out their days cared for, is very upsetting.


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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-20-2011, 10:47 AM
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There truly are some cats that will not tame....but you know what I do with them....I still give them a home....they are live trapped...sent to the vet...given all their shots...fixed and brought back to me.

If I can not tame a cat and know it will be dangerous to people but will hang around one of our barns....they have a home.

Since they can no longer breed they are not a part of the population problem....it simply means they have limited contact with humans other than my guy and myself.

One of our propertied has a feral colony of 12 cats...they have shelter...warmth'n'food in the winter and once a year we live trap them for the vet to do shots.

I get about 1-3 a year that will not tame...sometimes they are too aggresive with the other cats and must be euth....but the rest are allowed to live their life with as little human interferance as possible.

Some ferals...are just going to be ferals...and I accpet that as it is part of the cats' nature...I just want to give nature a little helping hand is all and do what I can.

That said....the shelter that specializes in ferals....should have an alternative if possible....I and two other farms work with the shelters in our areas for just such kitties...it may be something they want to look into.
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-20-2011, 12:12 PM Thread Starter
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I guess I feel that this particular shelter is not always taking the cat's interests into consideration. I mean, they are kept in cages and taken out about an hour in a 7'x7' room or so to socialize. Most of the time, that particular cat could not be taken out with others since he would attack them, too. All the workers were afraid to approach him...so how does this achieve the goal of socializing him? Yes, I agree a feral colony would have been the best solution, but placement in them is limited obviously due to the overwhelming demand. TNR would have been the best alternative for him in this case, but adopting him out when clearly he was not ready for this, was irresponsible on their part...sorry to say.

Now the cat is in Animal Control's custody, and most likely will be put down because he has attacked people. I don't think it was fair to keep him for 2 years as a pet project, and now he's in harm's way because of it. I also think that the woman, who adopted him was well meaning, but obviously could not handle him, and just taking her word at face value and handing him over is irresponsible. There should have been some follow-up services from the shelter in order to make the transition a successful one particularly since they knew this cat's history and what he was capable of.
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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-20-2011, 12:57 PM
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It is hard for even shelters to place the cat...I do understand that...and I am right there with you about the other things as well.

A feral should have special placment...not just someone "sho knows what the cat is like" but someone who has experience with ferals...especially one with aggresive tendancies....even if the shelter themselves did a few training courses for new feral owners....I think this would have helped the lady to understand and "read" the cats' language....cats have certain body postures that speak loud'n'clear to those who have worked with ferals...or own pet cats.

My first clue that this cat should have special consideration is when the group at the shelter who work with ferals daily...were afraid of him....what were they thinking giving him out without training the person or educating them on rehabilitating ferals....the follow up you suggested would have been the perfect thing to avoid this too.

Poor kitty....I do feel for him and wish it had been handled differently....makes my heart sad.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 06-20-2011, 01:03 PM Thread Starter
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