Relocating my roof ferals in the country - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-15-2012, 04:29 PM Thread Starter
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Relocating my roof ferals in the country

Hey all

Maybe some of you remember my roof ferals (it is all in this post, from trap construction to the "kitten surprise" It has been almost a year. I still feed them and all...and some other ferals have joined.

It seems to me they can't spend another winter there. There is no shelter (they refuse to use the dog house I put on the roof for them) and some people around the office are starting to get upset about "the cats". I fear for them. I have been trying to find a place to relocate them. I finally met a woman who lives outside Santiago in a country house. She says she is willing to take them 'cause she needs good mousers. We have just started talking about it, so I don't have much info about the place.

My question is the obvious: I bet it will be a terrible tragedy for these cats to be relocated. I can imagine how scary this will be for them. And then, will they adapt in a new place? Even if it is a nice place with plants and trees and fresh air (anything is better than that nasty roof), will they be ok there? Will they run in fear when they are released, and never come back?

Any ideas or recommendations, I will be so grateful. I have never done anything like this before.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-15-2012, 08:33 PM
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i am glad to here that they are doing well. i remember the difficulty you had with catching them so it is especially nice that they have done well.

being that your situation is quite foreign (pun intended) to me i really can not comment on whether relocating them is better than leaving them be.

here is some useful info in regards to relocating them Safe Relocation of Feral Cats - Alley Cat Allies

good luck!

"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 #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-15-2012, 10:40 PM Thread Starter
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THank you Whaler!

I read your link...I am afraid the biggest problem is this

Upon arrival at the new location, the cats must be confined in pre-installed large cages for three to four weeks. Confinement allows the cats to adjust to the environment in safety and to accept it as their new home. If set free upon arrival, all cats will attempt to return to their former home and will likely become lost.
...this is clearly not a possibility with the woman who wants to take them. I told her it was best for the cats to be confined for a day or two, and she said she has no place to confine them, and that she would have to release them right away.

In fact, I don't think anyone would be happy to have 2 feral cats confined for 4 weeks...unless it was someone who would do whatever it takes for these feral kitties to be happy...
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-18-2012, 07:06 PM
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I may be facing a similar problem. I have been "advised" not to feed cats outside traps being set by the Animal Control personnel. I am working with Alley Cat Allies (their headquarters is 30 minute from where I live, in Washington, DC) to try to difuse the situation.
Why are the people afraid of the cats? How social are the cats? Any chance they could meet /see the cats to know that the cats are more afriad of people than vice versa? Can you get a specific reason why they don't like the cats? In my case, one person really hated having paw prints on his car. Sometimes out of sight = out of mind; so I feed the cats behind the dumpster so as few people as possible see me feeding the cats. Ten cats are in my colony; I've TNRd around 30 since November 2010. Good luck, I know it's stressful.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-18-2012, 07:22 PM
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I can't speak really for your particular part of the world or this woman's home. I can share that when I was in high school we gave one of our barn cats to a friend who needed a mouser. The intent was to keep her inside at first so she could acclimate, but as we got out of the car she escaped and ran into the woods. Poor thing must have been so frightened by the car ride and finding herself in unfamiliar terrirtory. But my friend started leaving food out and she came around. I wouldn't call her feral though, as she was fully socialized and was actually born in our barn. Not sure this helps you, but thought I'd share it.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-18-2012, 09:55 PM
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Lenkolas, I know you want to do the right thing for your ferals, but I honestly think that if they can possibly stay where they are, in a place where they have developed a skill set to survive, it would be best for them.

If they aren't social, they will run from their relocation and try to return to where they came from, even if they don't know how to get there. I have kept ferals in an 8x8x8 cage for a month, and they still disappeared as soon as I released them. Older cats are particularly hard to retain in a colony. I've had better luck with cats aged 6 months to a year and a half. Overall, my success rate is only about 35-40 percent.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-19-2012, 07:16 AM
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Addendum: short version of long story: a cat a friend and I had been socializing for almost nine months and was ready to go to his new home freaked out when being put into a cat carrier; he escaped behind the eaves, then from the house. Two weeks later he showed up at the colony from where he was originally trapped, two miles away. Cats have long memories when it suits them.
(This had a happy ending; he was re-trapped, much more mellow this time around, and is now settled into his Forever Home.)
If you truly believe that death is the other possibility, then, yeah, the cats should probably have to be moved. Tough decision, I know.
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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-20-2012, 05:44 PM
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Speaking from several experiences of relocating you will loose half or more of them if you relocate them. Weve been forced to do that and did the 4 weeks in a pen, feeding them, and still lost some of them each time.

If you just relocate them by not using a cage for 3-4 weeks then you more than likely will loose all of them. So if this woman isnt will to do it with the pen then that isnt the place for the cats to be.

How threadening is the demand of removing them at your office? Have you tried to point out they keep rodents from the building? Relocating should always be the absolute last resort. I hope you find a solution.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-20-2012, 10:57 PM
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I wouldn't relocate unless absolutely necessary. It will cause more problems than it will solve for the kitties. What are the problems that people are having with the cats in their current location? Do people have specific complaints? Knowing what your fighting will help figure out alternative solutions.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-22-2012, 12:38 PM Thread Starter
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Hi all!
Thank you so much to each one of you for your advice. I'm sorry I didn't answer before.

I see your point about relocating only if it is absolutely necessary. Right now the problem with my ferals -mom cat and brother cat- is that many other cats have arrived probably because there's food available. So the people from offices nearby have started complaining about the cats because they are too many (I've counted 5 besides my ferals, 7 in total. And they fight a lot). But I've seen food and water in other offices, so there are people willing to feed them. I'm not alone. Or maybe it is guilt, if they were the ones who brought the cats there...

Anyway, I was almost convinced not to relocate mom and bro, when the woman sent me an email asking if the cats would be ok with the dogs she has in the country. That, besides the "I have no confined space to keep them" convinced me that there was no way this relocation would work. They will stay where they are. I'll start thinking about a new shelter for next winter.

Now I'm considering TNR the other cats. But I don't know for how long I can continue doing that. More cats keep coming (I believe people from other offices bring them and release them there -this place is some sort of an office complex) and at one point someone is going to get upset and start poisoning or something terrible like that. The problem, as usual, is people. They want to get rid of their cats and just throw them there, as long as the crazy cat lady keeps on feeding them they'll be ok. But then they are the first ones to complain about "all these homeless cats".
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