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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-05-2008, 11:14 AM Thread Starter
 
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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!

~ rebecca
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-05-2008, 12:46 PM
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I would get in touch with a no-kill shelter and explain the story. She is not a mean cat. It's possible that someone will have the patience and time to socialize her. You have made a good start, so it's quite possible that she could get used to a human touch.

I would also get in touch with alleycatallies.com, if you have no luck placing her in a home. I sincerely hope that you do not give up. If you have to, please take her with you. I wish you the best.




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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-05-2008, 03:17 PM Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the reply. I'll try no-kill shelters. In the past when I have taken in strays, I contacted no-kill shelters to see if they could take them and they always seem to be full! But I'll give that a try.

If worse comes to worse, yeah, I'll take her with me. I'll have to figure out how. If I couldn't let her out for more than a half hour, I know I won't just leave her behind when I move! Thanks again for your comments
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-10-2008, 01:00 AM
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It will take a special person to take your kitty but it doesnt mean they arent out there. I would try to find out if you have a TNR group in your area. They deal with semi ferals and might have someone theyd know who take her or some suggestions for placement of this kitty. Some times people have semi feral in their work places for mouse control. But you have to know that they will feed them also! They cant be left to fend for themselves on the mouse here and there they catch.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 04-10-2008, 02:20 AM
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I don't know a whole lot about placing a feral, aside from maybe finding someone in a rural area that may want her as a barn cat or mouser, or maybe just someone with a kind heart that would be willing to have her on their property and take responsibility for feeding her and keeping her healthy.

If you don't want to place her as an outdoor cat, especially since she's been inside for so long now, your chances of finding her a home are pretty slim.

Taking her with you may not be as big of an issue as you anticipate. She could be sedated for the long trip, making it easier on everyone. I've known a few people who have taken cats on long trips. Its usually just getting them in the carrier and enduring the first hour in the car thats the worst, after that, many cats will get used to it and settle down.

Having multiple cats in a small apartment is not always a problem either. It would depend on the environment and on the cats themselves. I think problems arise when the cats don't get along very well, and when they get bored. The place I live in right now is tiny... 550 sq ft at the most, and there are 4 cats here. I anticipated problems, but there hasn't been any, so that just goes to show that it is possible. If you end up having to take her with you, (or even if you don't) I'd suggest looking for a place with plenty of windows and perhaps a balcony or porch. It may seem trivial to some, but I've found that it really is important. I didn't realize just how much until I had to live in a couple of places that didn't have this and witnessed how unhappy my cats had become.
Having just been through the apartment hunting process (and many times within the past several years) I know it can be more trouble finding a landlord that will allow cats, much less 3 of them, but there are still quite a few that will. It will drastically reduce your options, but its still possible to find a nice place with 3 cats.
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