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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-11-2011, 12:05 PM Thread Starter
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The two strays

Well there are two stray cats who originally belonged to my neighbor but he abuses animals and of course never feed these cats. He got them souly to kill mice around his 'farm' but since they never feed the cats they came over to us. We of course took up the habit of feeding them and we have done this for about a year now. They sleep in our barn from time to time especially in the winter or under my grandma's apartment built next to our house. I assume because the heat leeks under the house and they can stay warm. I love these two cats and they are both very beautiful. Both have long fur one black named Phantom and the other is white we call him Ghost. They are horribly afraid of people since their original owners use to throw them around, hit them, and kick them as kittens. As much as I love them we can't keep them around since both cats attack our old cat Bugga Bugga in the summer when he goes outside. Now Bugga is very old and fragile, he has no claws and he lost his fangs in a fight with these cats and once they had almost caused permanent damage to his eye. Had we not taken him to the vet when we did he could have lost sight forever out of his eye.

I would love to live trap both cats and certainly take Phantom to an animal shelter but I really want to keep Ghost because despite his fear of people he seems to tolerate me being around him and seems like he would make a loving pet. The only thing is I know our shelters put cats down because of the overpopulation of wild cats and if a cat goes into the shelter being feral and deemed unable to be rehomed they are automatically put to sleep. When I take Phantom in I want him to be friendly so he has the best chance possible to get a new home. He is such a beautiful kitty and I feel both these cats deserve a better life than they had. Any tips on how to tame these two wild boys and not only just taming a feral cat but helping them with their trauma from their original owners? Ghost is about two years old and Phantom I believe is his brother/son who is I think around one year to 8 months old. He is the smaller of the two and is very shy and very very fearful of people where as Ghost will stand there and watch you until you move in too close to him.

What are their chances of becoming friendly enough to make good house cats? Should I be worried about Phantom never becoming social enough to be adopted in a shelter? What is the likelihood that after Ghost has been fixed and is well feed that he will still fight with Bugga Bugga since he lived in our house? I think the main reason he fights with him now is over the food in the cat dishes outside and for the cat bed in the garage that we made for them. I will try to get pictures of the two boys if I can at some point or once we catch them. They are just stunning gentalmen.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-11-2011, 04:32 PM
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I really hope you can find a way to keep both of them. Maybe you have a way for Phantom to have his own area where he doesn't have to share. That's how I've been keeping my new addition. I read somewhere in these forums lately that another poster also has an upstairs cat and a downstairs one. When they feel they're not sharing the territory and all that comes with it, they calm down and stop attacking. Even if he doesn't ever become a lap / indoor cat, he can have a much better life with you than in the best of shelters. I had a feral that for months wouldn't let me come anywhere near, wouldn't even eat his treats so as not to have to come down from the roof. One day I lost hope and just let him be. I stopped trying to give him treats, stopped talking to him to calm him down, etc. Now a couple hours ago, for the first time, he let me come up to him all the way and bring him cold cuts and he stayed there all the time while I served him and then ate.

I've seen that patience is indeed rewarded, even when it often looks like nothing will ever change...

One more thing that really influences the less sociable ones is to see me petting and relating with the more sociable ones. They want the same, very much, and (very) slowly, they become more sociable. I've found that cats are excellent OBSERVERS and they draw conclusions. That's how they learn. This is different from dogs, who learn through training.
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-11-2011, 08:00 PM Thread Starter
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So, could I catch both boys without a trap? Even with food in the traps they will not go in because they have watched me set it and know safer food is in both barns and on both decks. They are smart guys indeed.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-11-2011, 09:45 PM
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First you must understand all shelter are at their capicity. Most people beleive Humane Society and other shelter dont kill cats and dogs. Im sorry to say they do. They are not no kill. Most rescues are at capacity and have waiting list. A shelter is not a good place for any cat. 75% of cats that enter shelters never make it out. They are euthanized.

First off you should trap the two cats and get them spayed/neutered and vaccinated. If they are shy of the covered trap wire it open and feed them in there for a couple weeks. Then set the trap to catch them. Be sure and have the appointment ready the day before you trap so they can be brought in to be S/N.

the best chance you will have is to work with these cats yourself and make them tame on your property. If they attack your old cat then only let your old cat out when he is supervised by you. Cats left to live outside have a hard life. the love and patience you show to them will bring them around. Having them fixed will bring down the level of fighting for their territory.

Look at the top of the feral forum and read the kind of winter shelters you can make for cats. This will help in their survival. They sound like lovely cats and they just want a chance. You are doing a very kind thing feeding them daily and providing shelter.
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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 01-12-2011, 03:20 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah...I know the issues with the shelters I am a volunteer at one. Our dogs are not put down but cats often times are because we have so many feral cats in this state. It was the reason we lowered the price for adopting adult cats in hopes more people would start going for them.

I hope I can catch these two boys soon, already have money set aside to get them fixed and I am thinking that a friend of mine actually would take the long haired black after I can tame him up enough to bring him indoors and then get him use to the home life. As for Ghost I have not seen him today and I hope he is okay, Phantom was hiding in the hay when I went to go feed the horses and normally Ghost is with him but I didnít see him around. Iím thinking I will put the trap in the hay room where they sleep and start feeding them chicken out of it since they seem to love it so much.

Thanks for everyoneís help ^-^ I want these two boys to have a good life after their hard start with their original owners. I can honestly say I have fallen in love with them since they started hanging around here and I canít wait for the chance to see them up close. So far they have been much like their names say they are, Ghosts and Phantoms, here one second gone the next.
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