Need guidance on feral/outdoor cat issue (kinda long!) - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-24-2012, 06:53 PM Thread Starter
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Need guidance on feral/outdoor cat issue (kinda long!)

Hi! About a year ago, a cute little kitty started coming around and sleeping in the bushes/driveway and she looked well taken care of. I did not feed her right away knowing that once I did, she would likely not leave! After a month, she was still hanging around so I broke down and fed her. I was hoping to find out if she was chipped so I could find her owners if she had any. My neighbor had also been feeding her, which is why she had stuck around in the first place and turns out the kitty (Honey) was feral and not a stray. Being "new" to the cat thing I did not catch her before she got pregnant and all of the sudden she was HUGE. I kept feeding her after my neighbor lost interest and 8 weeks after she had the kittens she brought them all to my doorstep over the course of three days. At this point, I could still not really get near her at all (no closer than a few feet). After a few days of Honey and her 5 kittens living on my porch and in the driveway, I was able to catch all the kittens, socialize them, rehome 3 of them and get mom spayed after a few stressful weeks of trying to catch her. What a project!! So, now I have two of the babies inside and Honey has been living on the porch ever since watching her babies through the sliding glass door and has not lost a bit of interest in them.

Honey is really coming along and getting more social everyday. She wants badly to come inside, but once she comes in, she will not let you get in between her and the front door. So she will only come in if the front door stays open, which can't happen, because then the kittens can get out. I can now pet her when she's eating, which was a HUGE step. I plan on trying to catch her again and take her in for more shots and FeLV test so if she ever does tame down enough to come in and have contact with her babies, she won't be putting them at risk. She only had a rabies shot when she was spayed.

Anyway, she seems pretty happy on the porch. She has a bed and small igloo for when it's cold or raining. The only issue is there is one other feral cat that is around a lot. I think he's actually the father of one of the kittens and he sometimes chases her off the porch and trys to "own it". I think they've even gotten into a few fights. It's almost like he's trying to get to the kittens sometimes. I definitely don't like that she feels threatened by him because at this point we (Honey and I) both agree that this is her home. I actually caught him once when I was trying to catch her to get spayed, but let him go because I was unable to get him neutered at the time. I want to catch him again and take him into get neutered now, but I'm not sure about where to release him. It doesn't seem like there's a colony around - I never see other cats and there aren't really any other homes close to mine. I live in a resort area and am sort of a random house among hotels and restaurants.

I am hesitant to release him here because I really don't want Honey to continue to feel threatened by him and keep getting kicked off the porch. I also do not want to turn him into animal control and be euthanized. He's only doing what's natural for him. Once he is neutered is there a chance they might get along better or be less territorial? Is there a better option? Does anyone have any suggestions?

Thanks! Also, here are pics of Honey and her kittens from last summer when this all started. Major cuteness warning!

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Last edited by ladycat; 01-24-2012 at 06:55 PM.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-24-2012, 08:46 PM
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first, thank you for helping these cats. i wish there more people like yourself out there.

first thing to do is to get him altered as soon as possible. doing this will have an impact on his behavior as well as allow him a better chance at a good, healthy life.

also, contact alley cat allies Get Help - Alley Cat Allies. they offer assistance via e-mail and phone (their phone system is temporarily down). their website offers tons of info regarding feral cats and how you can best help them.

if you need tips on trying to socialize please start a thread in the feral cat forum. there are a few of us that have gone through it and you may be able to pick up a tip or two that will help.

good luck to all of you.

"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

Last edited by Whaler; 01-24-2012 at 08:49 PM.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-24-2012, 09:16 PM
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So cute! Great job!
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-24-2012, 10:19 PM
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Awwwww! The one calico-patch looks so much like Disco! I miss her *sniffle*

What I do is call the vet the day before I plan to trap and have them reserve a spot for my cat. If I don't catch the cat by 8am, I call the vet and say "nevermind, maybe later". They don't take cats in any later than 8am for neutering, and you technically need an appointment...I can -usually- get a "last minute" spot if I call the morning before and tell them I plan to trap.

Also, maybe you could trap Honey and get her checked out for FelV and whatnot now. When you bring her home, take her to another room and release her in there, and try to keep her alone for a day or so to calm down. Then let her out into the rest of the house. I did this with Disco and Zinny...they became tame simply by getting used to being inside and with me around. Yes they hid a lot at first, but realized I wasn't going to hurt them. Maybe watching her kittens interact safely with you will also help speed up her taming.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-26-2012, 07:53 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the tips!

I will call Alley Cats and also try to get him neutered asap. Thankfully, we have a no-kill SPCA that will take ferals 4 days a week with no appt for only $30 and that includes rabies!! It's a long story as to why I couldn't bring him in when I first caught him, so I'll leave it out.

My Calico kitty is one of the ones I kept, her name is Toona. I knew from the second I saw her that she was never going anywhere. Strangely, she never had any feral instincts and was never afraid while all of the other kittens required A LOT of socialization since I did not get them until they were a full 8 weeks. I let Toona keep a kitty too - LOL! So, I've also got the orange tabby, Rocco.

I did not think I wanted a cat at all, which is why I didn't feed Honey for a month of her hanging around. She looked very healthy after all that time, so I wasn't "concerned" about her well-being or I would have fed her sooner. I knew she either had a home or was very adept at taking care of herself. I promised myself though that as soon as I put that first bowl down that I would follow through and do the right thing no matter what that meant. Oh boy!! I had NO idea what I was in for, but at this point I'm in love with my kitties and wouldn't have it any other way!
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-26-2012, 08:29 PM
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great to hear.

$30 is an amazing bargain. for me, the cheapest clinic near me is $50 and since they book up in advance i need to get a hold of my local animal control officer to have her "sneak" one in for me the next day. the last one i trapped went to my regular vet since it was a holiday weekend and i didn't want to stress him out by keeping him in the trap for three days until the clinic opened. it cost me $360 since i had them do everything (de-worm, de-flea, test for fiv and felv, etc.) but it was worth it since it caused him so much less stress. plus, since i had been trying to catch the little bugger for so long it made me really happy knowing that it was done and he was back home.

"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 7 (permalink) Old 02-05-2012, 08:31 PM
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Amazing photos, beautiful cats. You've done a huge amount of work, congratulations on your heart of gold.

I had a stray that basically destroyed my feeding station by terrorizing the rest of the cats with her behavior. I called someone for help, they said maybe she should be put down. We TNR'ed her so she calmed down enough for me to start working on her. Nowadays, a few months later, she's always on my lap purring contentedly under a pink fleece blanket with pink hearts, while the rest of the strays eat happily (they all came back, though it took months). So I'm very optimistic that the male cat will take a turn for the better after the TNR and relating to you daily. Relationships between cats can change a lot, though it takes time.

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