Advice Requested Regarding Feral Cat
Hi. I'm new to the forum and I'm so glad to have found it. Hopefully I can get some suggestions for my predicament.
Way back in Sept 2006, I noticed a cat hanging out on my front porch. I started leaving some food/water out for her and she kept coming back, and would sleep on a chair out there sometimes. If I came out of the house onto the porch when she was there, she would run away or, if I walked very quietly and carefully, she would sometimes stay on the porch but never get closer than 6-7 feet from me. I could see she was very nervous around me.
Then I thought I noticed her growing and wondered if she was pregnant. When it became more obvious that she was, and it was getting colder outside, I decided to see if I could trap her and bring her in to have the kittens. My plan was to let her have the kittens and then after 8 weeks or however long it took, have them weaned and adopted and have her fixed and released back outside.
I trapped her (read about how to do it online and went out and bought a trap) and put her in an empty bedroom in my house. I think I let her out of the trap in that room too early, and she completely freaked out and jumped up on the windows (trying to get out, I guess) and peed, etc., I'm sure out of fear.
But she calmed down and took to the litter box immediately. Was still very, very nervous when I came in the room. She would just stay in a corner watching me and I didn't try to come close and scare her,
Then she had 3 beautiful kittens and took really good care of them. She let me hold them and play with them and I found homes for all 3 of them when the time came. By then it was Dec. 2006 - winter (I live in Philadelphia). I got the cat - who I call Penny - spayed and brought her home to her room. I said to myself, "I'll put her back out when it's warmer."
Eventually I did. I got a shelter and put her and it and food, etc. outside. And then a half hour later I felt bad (I guess scared about the dangers of the outdoors in the city) and brought her back in. And put her back in "her" bedroom. At this point it what March 2007. She was still very, very nervous around me. From Dec. 2006 through March or so 2007, I did try to get her more used to me. I would spend time in the room with her, talking to her, etc. She wasn't interested in cat toys, when I was there. When she was alone, she would play with them though. Every time I tried to pet her or gently put my hand near her, she would hiss, maybe swat at me, and run away. Or she'd hiss, swat at my hand, and I'd run away!
Anyway, long story short, I have 2 other cats - 7 yr old male and 1 yr old female, both adopted as kittens - and eventually I let Penny out of the room. She and the others adjusted to one another almost immediately. She really likes my male, Georgie (well, everybody likes him...). She and the female get along well too. They all run around and play together and sleep together sometimes. But when I play with Georgie and Pumpkin, Penny will not join us. She may watch from afar. She still hisses when I try to pet her. But she gets along fine with the other cats.
Problem is, I'm going to put my house on the market soon and when it sells, I plan to move across the country, where I will live in a small apartment. I don't want to take Penny with me, for a lot of reasons: smaller living quarters, many apts don't allow 3 cats, she has peed on herself/me/etc. every time I've put her in a carrier to take her to the vet. I can't imagine driving 2,400 miles with her.
I don't think I can put her back outside after she's been inside for 1 1/2 years. And she isn't really adoptable. I was thinking I'll try to find someone to adopt her who already has a cat and who knows Penny's issues and just wants to help out or something.
Anyone have any better ideas? I feel guilty not wanting to take her with me, but it would be quite difficult to move her and live in a tiny place with 3 cats, one of whom (Penny) is long-haired.
Thanks for any feedback you can give!