Relocating a feral cat? - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-28-2010, 02:16 PM Thread Starter
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Relocating a feral cat?

I recently moved to an apartment complex that has a feral cat colony. The managers have told me there are people caring for the cats and their ears are tagged so they've been fixed. There's just this one little calico who introduced herself to me a few weeks ago at the beginning of the cold wave we've had here in MD. She's the sweetest thing, purrs and wants to be petted, rolls on her back to get her tummy rubbed and follows me around. She's been fixed (ear tagged) and she's pretty small (not skinny, just small) so I guess she's probably a year or less old. She's holding up well in the cold, has no interest in coming in and isn't hungry at all. Basically she's a healthy happy feral cat holding her own against a few much larger toms.

I was telling a girl I know about her and she would love to take her home to her barn as they need more mousers and she's so friendly. She also likes that the cat is already fixed because they can't afford getting another cat fixed.The barn would be a nice warm place for her to stay and since she's so social and seems pretty young, it might be easy for her to adjust.

Here's my question: Would it be bad to scoop her up and give her a new home? I know feral cats are returned to their colonies as opposed to euthanized to prevent new cats from making a colony with the Trap Neuter Release program in a lot of cases. So I'm not sure if removing her is a good idea. On the other hand there are plenty of large toms in this colony to keep new cats out and if this girl wants to offer the cat a nice home with shelter and food then why stop it? Also, is it rude to take a feral cat that someone obviously took the time to have fixed and give it away? It's not like stealing a house pet...

Does anyone have any experiance with this?
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-29-2010, 02:13 AM
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Several people do, though I've never re-homed an outdoor feral, I do have a lot of experience taming ferals into happy and relaxed housecats.

Generally, cats are territorial and many re-located ferals are lost when they try to find their way back to their territory.
Relocating a feral can *sometimes* be successful IF you follow a plan to help the cat adjust to its' new home.

There needs to be a SECURE place to keep the cat for up to several weeks. This is so the cat learns to trust the people caring for it, learns to relax in the new place and learns this new place is where good food and shelter are. Basically, all these requirements are to help the cat readjust and accept THIS area as its' new territory.
If your friend does not have a way to completely, 100% guarantee the kitty has a roomy, safe place to be w/ NO chance of escape until she has relaxed and accepted her new living arrangements .... I wouldn't chance doing it and having the poor cat escape and lost in an area she is unfamiliar with during winter conditions when survival is at its' most difficult.

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-29-2010, 09:03 AM
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I agree with Heidi in Q.
Several weeks confinement to acclimate is key, and even then the cat might disappear. Although if it is already so friendly, it will be more likely to stick around.

In October a neighborhood TNR program from Albany brought me a 5 month old black kitty they had just fixed. They thought he was too little to go back on the street. I noticed something different about him right away - he was shy but friendly. I asked if they were sure he was feral? and they said yes, they'd seen him with his litter-mates since he was a kitten.

Though he made a great, friendly addition to my barn colony, he's living happily at my house now.
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-29-2010, 12:00 PM
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As you say, it wouldn't be stealing, as she doesn't belong to anyone. I would be more concerned with the resident barn cats driving this "intruder" away and/or fighting with her. Unless your friend could confine the calico girl in some kind of caging in the barn in view of the other cats, and gradually introduce her into the group at feeding times, until she is comfortable and accepted by the other cats. Might work.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-29-2010, 12:10 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks you guys! I'll check with my friend to see if she has a way to ensure she stays in and if they already have other cat that might pose a threat. iIf she has cats, I might be able to borrow a large crate for the cat from the local cat shelter. If not and she can't ensure the cat has a secure place to stay for serveal weeks this winter, we can always wait till spring so if the cat decides to run it would be much easier to survive.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 12-30-2010, 12:00 AM
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50% of cats that are relocated wander off to try to find their former territory. If your freind wants another barn cat then move a cat which is living in a dangerous area and not being cared for.

Rule of thumb for TNR groups is to not relocated unless the cats lives are in danger and can no longer safely live in their territory.
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