Feeding a little feral on my street - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
 
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-06-2007, 12:03 PM Thread Starter
 
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Feeding a little feral on my street

Just about two weeks ago, I heard Isis snarl and growl on the window-sill, typical "someone's here looking at me" sound. I went to take a look and there was this cute little alley cat sitting there looking at us! Isis hissed at him when she saw me come closer, so he ran away, but turned around just to give us one last look... and he was SO cute, I melted on the spot...

Now the other day I saw a shadow under a car coming home late at night, and recognized the little alley cat. So I have been putting out wet and dry food for him every night, by our building (but far enough that our cats won't see me do so), and every morning the dishes are licked clean. Last night he was sitting nearby, waiting for his food to be put out

He ran accross the street before I could get any closer to him though, so I just put down his food and went home. Sure enough this morning everything was gone.

I want to give him space, and time, and keep putting out food for him until he feels he may be able to trust this human girl a little bit... just wondering if you guys may have some advice for me? Things to do and not to do? It would be much appreciated!

I haven't had a chance to see what sex that cat is, but I would think he is a tomcat, he has a very round face with cheeks that stick out. He seems young enough. As soon as he grows a little bit friendlier, a friend of mine will bring her trap so we can try to trap and neuter him (unless he is neutered already, you never know). At the very back of my mind, I have the hope that maybe, maybe one day he can befriend the girls and move in with us - but let's not make this a priority just yet
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-06-2007, 01:04 PM
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It's important to encourage him, but not rush matters. Sit outside and feed him at a comfortable distance. Over a period of time, keep moving the food closer to you. Treats and interactive toys that do not require him to come too close will help when he's ready.

The problem is that he could impregnate many females before he's neutered, so it would be wise to neuter him as soon as you can, and provide a cozy, safe place for him to recover. Then you can start trying to make friends. I do hope this works out for you! Here's a link that might be helpful:

http://muttcats.com/articles/taming_ferals.htm

And to trap him:

http://www.peninsulacatworks.org/tnr/trapping.php

Good luck!




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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-07-2007, 10:34 PM Thread Starter
 
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Turned out that I am now feeding two kitties! The cute tomcat looking tabby with a white nose, and another scaredy cat who looks not fully-grown and rather slim - could be a female or a young male, it's hard to say. I feed one on the left side of my building, and the other one on the right. Wet and dry food every night at about the same time, and they have started waiting around for the food to show up!

I guess you have experience with trapping, so I will ask you about a few things I have been wondering about: do you usually notice a loss of trust in humans after a cat gets trapped, neutered and released (especially when they don't accept human contact yet)? I can't get close enough to him or the other cat to figure out if they are male or female, let alone if they still have family jewels or if their ear is tipped - so it will take a little longer before I can even think of trapping any of them.

Fortunately my friend has an outdoor cathouse that she has used in the past for recovering trapped and neutered cats, or for fosters, so the problem of how to keep a recovering scared feral cat in my one room apt with my two other kitties is out of the way *phew*

I find this little tabby extremely cute though, and ultimately I would love to make friends with him, and who knows, maybe adopt him. I have no idea whether he will eventually warm up or not of course, but I would not want to break his trust.

Thanks a lot for the links, I am going to go check them out right now
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-07-2007, 10:56 PM
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Nini, don't let the cats see you. Skip a meal so that they're hungry, camouflage the traps with whatever you have (the bushes, whatever) , put something such as a towel around the side where you'll be and hide. Have a cover of some sort with you. When the trap springs, cover the trap and take the cat directly to the vet. When you pick up the cat, you might be considered "the rescuer." You might trap another animal, so be prepared to check that!

Remember, it can take weeks or months to build trust, depending on whether the cat is feral or a stray. Good luck. Keep us updated!




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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-07-2007, 11:21 PM Thread Starter
 
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You know, I am thinking maybe I will have my friend pick up the trap so the cats can't smell my scent - I wanted to spread a piece of fabric with my scent on it under the food bowls from tonight on, for them to get used to it.

This way she would be the Meanie, and I could avoid being associated with the whole trapping-and-vet traumatizing experience... not fair I know

Anyhow... tonight I will see if they are waiting by their spots like last night. The scaredy new cat ate all its food while my husband and I were leaning against a tree about fifteen feet away from him/her last night - but he would run to the back of the building if we moved. I avoided making eye contact, and sent him lots of blinkies.
The presumed tom cat crossed the street to come eat as soon as he saw me put the food down at the usual spot. He looks pretty sleek though, and I read that could mean the cat is feral and well-adapted to living outside.

Thanks for the advice and support, I will definitely keep you posted on my progress (or lack thereof)
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 06-08-2007, 11:26 AM Thread Starter
 
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So the little tabby was right on time a 9.30 pm sharp last night! He passed us by, about five feet away, very dignified and trying very hard to pretend we weren't there...
He went straight to his food, sniffed it and continued his round around the block. I guess he did not want to eat with us so close watching him, but wanted to make sure his food was there as usual.

He is a very pretty cat, and an unaltered tomcat for sure - I saw very distinctly an intact pair of family jewels back there Unless he is neutered and all I saw were the sacks, but this is very unlikely, especially in my working-class neighborhood where no one cares about cats. I hope there are no unspayed females for him to impregante around here!! I have never seen any kittens around. I understand now why he came to my windowsill to try to woo Isis... no luck with this one though, haha.

No sign of the scaredy cat, but the food was gone this morning. Maybe the tomcat had both portions, it's hard to tell.
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