My feral Shadow - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-08-2011, 02:04 PM Thread Starter
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My feral Shadow

Hi everyone!
I am new to the forum and just love this site. I have been reading for weeks and getting some great information.

My feral, Shadow appeared in my suburban backyard in mid July. He was quite small and very skinny. I tried going out numerous times to call to him, but he was always gone in a flash. I continued to see him off and on through August. By mid August, I was beginning to see him daily and sometimes a few times a day. He was so skinny. I decided it was time to take action since he was definitely a stray or feral. I did my research and made a feeding station for him near some pine trees in my backyard. He found the food the first day. I gave him both wet and dry food. After a few weeks, he began showing up regularly and wanting and waiting for food. He would make a run for it, when he saw me, but always come out as soon as I was in the house. After feeding him for a month, I moved the feeding station onto my deck. He found it immediately. It was now easier for me to get food out to him and I could get really good looks at him. I found out, he was a male since he was still intact. I knew I needed to get him neutered. I once again did my research and was able to borrow a trap. So in mid October, I trapped him, had him neutered, rabies vaccine and ear tipped. He stayed in the trap that night in my basement and then I released him the next morning. He did well and returned later that day for food.

Since, the trapping we have begun to bond. He began meowing to me in late November. Each morning, he would great me with lots and lots of meows. I could make it to the feeding station without him running, but no touch at all. Since it was getting cold out, I had made a few of the rubbermaid shelters for him to put under out deck. My wonderful DH then constructed him a house that I put on the side of my deck. Unfortunately he did not like any of them. I was so sad and so worried about him each and every night. It was a really cold and snowy winter here. I found out by following his tracks that he was living under my neighbors screened porch. I was comforted by this, but still so worried about him.

In early December, I began using Spirit Essences, Feral Cat Rehab. Within 3 weeks, he was wanting to come into the house. Of course I had to leave the door open a bit, but he would come in for very short sessions. This was often quite difficult as I have an indoor cat as well as a dog. Both had to be securely put away and neither was happy about this. Shadow began showing up each evening and wanting to come in for up to 2-3 hours. Unfortunately he didn't want to stay the night. I still had to leave the door ajar as when I closed it once, he had a major freak out session. He would come in to get a bite to eat and then have a nap. We also began to play with the wand/feather. He loved it. He also loved the laser light.

So now it is March. Some days, he is now in for 8 hours. Jake, our indoor cat is able to be in a small dog cage ( he actually loves the cage) and we also have an indoor/outdoor cat enclosure tent. He and Shadow can sniff and get to know each other gradually. Jake is a bit unsure and sometimes swats at Shadow, but Shadow just loves all over the cage. He gets scared when Jake swats. Misty, the dog can be on a leash, but she is quite large and isn't very quiet or graceful. She is fine on the leash and they can be near each other, just not close enough to sniff. I am using Composure on all of them as well as the Harp music Cd. All seem to be helping.

I am now in the process of thinking of putting a litter box out for Shadow. I would really like for him to choose to spend more time in the house. I am fine for now with him wanting to be outside too.

I know this is all very long. Any help with types of litter or how to introduce a litter box would be appreciated. I do know to get 2 boxes. Jake uses Feline Pine clumping.
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-08-2011, 03:04 PM
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I'll leave it for others to comment about the litterbox, but WOW, I have to say my hat's off to you for all you've done for Shadow. It really does sound like you're making progress and he's so lucky you hung in there for him!


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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-08-2011, 03:29 PM
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Nice job. You were very thorough in all you did. Looks like you have two cats now. You say he's been in for 8 hours - he hasn't used Jake's litter box yet?
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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-08-2011, 04:32 PM
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Litter box

Not sure if this will help but: when a feral/stray cat is confined to a large room/crate and there is a litter box in the room/crate, the cat WILL use it, even if the cat has been outdoors 100% of the time and never seen a litter box before. Cats have a drive, instinct to bury their waste.
I speak from experience.
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-08-2011, 06:03 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greenport ferals View Post
Nice job. You were very thorough in all you did. Looks like you have two cats now. You say he's been in for 8 hours - he hasn't used Jake's litter box yet?

Nope! Jake's liter box is upstairs in my sons bathroom. We have not allowed Shadow upstairs yet since there are just too many places for him to hide. My husband also works from home and his home office is upstairs. So to keep things as calm as possible ( ha ha) we have kept Shadow downstairs.

I just cleaned out my laundry room today that is located on the first floor and I am thinking of putting the liter box there. Yet, I know Jake will probably want to use it too. Is that ok? Not sure how I would keep Jake out.
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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-08-2011, 07:34 PM
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good job! as Greenport ferals already said you were quite thorough with your efforts and those efforts have paid off. as far as the litter; what i use with pretty girl (feral that i am socializing) is the pine pellets. ferals do seem to be more so drawn to them as they do smell more familiar. i also love the pellets since they are very eco-friendly as well as very cheap - in my area $6.99 for a 35 lb bag. keep up the good work and remember patience, patience, patience.

"In studying the traits and dispositions of the so-called lower animals, and contrasting them with man's, I find the result humiliating to me."
--Mark Twain
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-09-2011, 01:37 AM
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You've done a WONDERFUL job!
As I was reading your story it reminded me of Malibu, and especially Pretty. Mallie took me 5mo to first-touch from time of TNR. Pretty took 14mo to first-touch.

Mallie did very well when I would let her in the house with our other cats. My cats are curious and I like to do cracked-door-nose-sniffs and when the hissing was almost non-existent, I'd open the door wider for some footsie and eye-to-eye contact. From there it was a short step to letting Mallie come inside.

Pretty, on the other hand, took a *very* long time. She was *very* freaked out coming in the house. She'd come in at first for only a few minutes and then want out immediately. That progressed slowly, but for the first few months, the TV *freaked* her out. She just couldn't understand that the motion on the wall wouldn't be able to touch her. As she began to spend more and more time inside, investigating, playing and even napping ... when I saw her use the LitterChest, I let her stay in overnight. She eventually spent more time inside than out, and when two aggressive tomcats moved into the area, she finally became a permanant indoor resident.

Overall, I'd say she took about 2.5yrs of socialization outside before she came inside and then another 1.5yrs outside/inside, slowly transitioning to more time inside than out and finally becoming completely comfortable and confident as she became a full-time indoor kitty.

I think you've done a great job with your Shadow!

Here is Pretty, she has a tipped ear, too.
Still new to being indoors, notice her upright posture and wide pupils even though I made sure to stay low to the floor to take the pic:


Now notice how she is reclining with feet curled under her or to the side, and relaxed eyes even though I am 'looming' over her while she is on the floor:




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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-09-2011, 08:36 AM Thread Starter
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He certainly has come a long way. Last night I was able to lightly touch one of his paws. We were playing with the feather wand and he was right there in front of me. I reached out slowly and stroked his paw a few times. He didn't run once he realized it was me. I was able to do this a few times. Then I would take the wand and rub it on top of his head and under his chin. He really liked that.

Does anyone know if it's ok for Jake to use the same liter box as Shadow. I guess my main concern is worms. I used a homeopathic dewormer this winter. My vet wouldn't give me a dewormer without seeing him first.


Here is a picture of Shadow in early Nov 2010. He wasn't coming in the house yet.




Here he is just inside the door in early January 2011


Here he is in late February on his favorite blanket taking a nap.
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-09-2011, 08:42 PM
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he is a very handsome boy, definitely a keeper! isn't that first touch just awesome, i know with one of my feral cats when i was i first able to pet him i was so excited, it made all the effort of maintaining a colony even more worth it.

you should provide another litter box for shadow as well as make extra sure to clean the boxes frequently.

"In studying the traits and dispositions of the so-called lower animals, and contrasting them with man's, I find the result humiliating to me."
--Mark Twain
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 03-10-2011, 01:44 AM
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I love the pics of Shadow! I can see the progression of him relaxing more-and-more in each pic.
As to litterbox and worms ... generally, as long as the cats aren't eating the poo, the chance of catching worms from each other is pretty small. They may shed some eggs and ingest them after grooming their feet from steppin in the litterbox, but if you de-worm regularly (if you have indoor/outdoor cats) they should be easy to keep under control.

Pyrantel Pamoate (I don't know the dose) is best for hook and round worms.
Praziquantel (34mg) is the only product known to effectively treat tape worms.

Praziquantel is the active ingredient in Droncit, which vets give to treat tapeworms.
I'm pretty sure most livestock feed stores will have both products in their cat and dog sections and since the Prazi is the same thing the vets Rx, there is no need for the office visit.
HOWEVER ... as a caution, if you suspect you have a cat with a very large parasite load, it is usually a good idea to have the kitty seen by a vet. If the cat appears hale and hearty (not sickly, skinny or run-down) you should be able to treat-at-home with few worries.

Still, my practice w/ de-worming my horses is to do so on a Monday morning when I will be home all day to monitor any adverse effects and therefore have time to call my vet during office hours and not after-hours-emergency costs if there is a problem.
h =^..^=



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