Bit of a dilemma. Not sure how to proceed. - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
 
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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 10-11-2012, 02:50 PM Thread Starter
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Question Bit of a dilemma. Not sure how to proceed.

I found a super nice woman who has a group that TNRs in a pretty rough city, and sometimes they have cats that need to be relocated. I decided to "take in" two feral kitties for my yard, as I have a chicken coop with a rodent problem, and it seemed like a win-win solution for everyone. She chose a pair of year and half-ish old semi-feral males, probably brothers, who were in a pickle at the complex where they'd been fed for the past year. They needed relocation badly, and she thought they fit in with my situation well. She had them vetted and we made arrangements for her to bring them over.

I set up my mud room for them with a cat flap in the exterior door so that, eventually when they're ready to be released, they can come into the mud room for shelter and food, etc. There's an outlet out there where I can plug in a heated house and water bowl. My plan was to eventually get them comfortable enough to be able to lock the flap at night so they're shut in the mud room til morning. In the meantime, I set up a dog crate to keep them in for at least a month, and started to get pretty excited about taking these boys in!

When the woman came over, she only had one cat with her...a tuxedo. She said that the other guy, a tabby, escaped in her garage, and she'd try to re-trap him and bring him over ASAP. No big deal, I got the tux set up and figured he'd see his partner in a few days or so. A couple days later, I got a heartbreaking email that the tabby had escaped the garage I don't think he's been spotted since, but she's got food and traps out. I'm sooo upset. Not only am I worried that he'll never be seen again, I'm also worried for my poor tux boy. I really don't want to release a lone cat. I feel sorry for him.

Also, he's not very feral. He hides and doesn't want to be touched, but I can go into his crate to clean and feed, and he doesn't hiss or growl. Just kinda backs away. I guess they were pretty comfortable with the girl who fed them when they were at the complex and would come out to rub against her legs, etc. I like this tux boy a lot and I almost feel like there's a possibility this cat could be turned around, and might be better off in an indoor home. I feel like I'm cheating him out of that. The problem is that I really can't take another cat inside. I have five and one more would *really* be pushing it. I was almost considering talking to the woman and seeing if we could find him a more suitable situation while I fostered him in the meantime, and taking in a different pair from her instead. I think I'd feel MUCH better about him staying with me if he had his brother...I think I have a good setup and a couple of cats would be happy and well cared for here, but what are the chances that the tabby actually sticks around her yard to be trapped again?

I'm not really sure what the best choice is. Any advice, suggestions, input would be appreciated!
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 10-11-2012, 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by RachelsaurusRexU View Post
Also, he's not very feral. He hides and doesn't want to be touched, but I can go into his crate to clean and feed, and he doesn't hiss or growl. Just kinda backs away. I guess they were pretty comfortable with the girl who fed them when they were at the complex and would come out to rub against her legs, etc.
Did they actually rub against the persons legs are are you just assuming?

I volunteer at a cat sanctuary, the area I'm in has quite a few "ferals", the type where when they're in a cage for medical conditions (as they all happen to FeLV as well), they are not hissing and spitting and lunging, but sitting huddled in a ball at the back of the cage and watching my every move. In that sense, they may not be true ferals, they are used to humans around them daily. Given the chance outside of the cage and every single one of them you'd need a net to catch despite that they have humans around them daily. Some of them observe people and may even appear somewhat interested in people, they see enough cats getting cuddles, but they aren't at that stage and likely will never be (most cats come around in about a year if they ever will). There's also such a thing as a cat being passive even when it's terrified, which could also be the case here. Meanwhile, I know a cat that's all bluster; she's got a mean look and hisses and lunges when in a cage, yet several people are able to give her scratches and pets even outside of the cage... sometimes while she hisses but otherwise appears content.

Long story short, what I'm trying to say is these cats, in the right situation, maybe could become tame... or more tame, at least. But there are far too many cats in the world for that possibility to ever come about. What you're doing for this cat is fantastic, and I hope you don't beat yourself about the situation.


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Last edited by Carmel; 10-11-2012 at 03:37 PM.
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 10-11-2012, 04:12 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you, I really appreciate that!

I was told by the woman I dealt with that they would rub against bushes when the gal who cared for them outside (who is her fellow volunteer) would go to feed them, and that one of them had recently started to approach her and rub against her legs. I guess the other one (I believe the tabby) was much more timid.

I'm still hanging onto hope that he'll appear, can be trapped and we can reunite them. If not, do you think the tux boy will be alright by himself at a strange new place?
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 10-19-2012, 05:40 PM
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The cat is better off with you than at a shelter! I have been working on taming faux-feral two cats (what I call cats that are in between wild and tame) and I think if it shows any interest in you or anyone else, there is a good possibility of taming it.

At a shelter the cat will act far more scared, which people take as feral and aggressive. It will most likely be put down. So unless the person who gave it to you has a better home setup, keep him while you can I have been taming my cats outside, they aren't even fenced in (well they are, but they could climb it if they wanted too) but they stick around for the food source, and are becoming more and more tame every day, even outside away from people.

I have read online that it is actually easier to tame one cat than two. Because the cat won't get affection from the other cat and crave it more from another source. This problem might actually help you tame the kitty you still have.

My biggest tips for taming outdoor cats: feed him small amounts of food every day, multiple times a day, and be consistent with the times. Make the same noise when you go out to feed (I shake the bowl). You want the cat to know humans are his food source. Avoid sneaking up on your cat, knock on the door before entering, call his name before getting to close if his back is turned (so he can trust you.) Never go near where he likes to hang out the most, leave this to be his place he can "safely retreat" if you startle him. Don't try and go to the cat, try and get the cat to come to you.
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