Stray Cat. Can't bring in. -- What are our options?
We've been in our neighborhood for a year and for at least that long, there's been a very friendly stray cat. My fiancee named her Annie. We both love the cat but my mother is severely allergic. Sometimes she has a reaction to people who have cats without knowing that they have them. She also lives in the area and we see her frequently.
More recently we've begun to feed Annie. She wasn't responding to wet food but when we tried dry, she ate. She's very affectionate. Now that we've begun leaving food out for her we see her more frequently, sometimes more than once a day. Because of my mother's allergies we can't take her in. We're also renters and we'll eventually have to move.
As much as it pains us, I feel that the best thing we can do for Annie is to bring her to a no-kill shelter. She's clearly very good with people, just waiting for someone to take her in. We both would like to be able to keep her outside, to provide a shelter for her, make sure she she's well-fed and sees a vet when needed. But we cannot take her inside and we live just outside of Boston, MA where winter is, well, wintery.
Caring for Annie has meant a lot to both my fiancee and myself. The situation is very hard for us.
When we first saw her, we noticed that she seemed to be shedding a lot and her belly seemed to be distended. I don't think she still has a distended belly, and she seems to be shedding less since we've begun feeding her, but from what I've read the two symptoms could be indicative of a parasite.
We have the option, as I understand it, to take her in for a checkup and have her registered to us, or take her to a shelter and surrender her. If it's at all important, more recently my fiancee saw her with another cat that's much more timid. Annie saw my fiancee go out onto the porch and ran to her. The other cat stayed back.
Any thoughts or opinions on our situation and our options would be greatly appreciated. We want what's best for Annie, and it will be hard if we have to let her go.