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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-29-2013, 06:39 AM Thread Starter
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Moving feral cats

My husb. and I moved to a house 10 yrs. ago where seller had been feeding 3 feral cats. I agreed to keep them. We put cat door in garage and shelter/beds for them. One more cat 'moved in' about 2 yrs. ago. We are in process of trying to sell our house and move out of state. I spoke with someone who runs a great cat shelter and he advised trying to place them in a sanctuary in MD if they would take them. I was hoping I could sell to someone who would take care of them but it seems unlikely. Any suggestions would be helpful. I know it's very difficult to relocate ferals unless they are confined. Thanks for any ideas!! Babs
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-29-2013, 03:36 PM
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I know that relocation really should be a last resort. Is there anyone nearby, like neighbors that might be willing to come and feed them and keep a shelter for them? You can also talk to rescue groups in the area, there may be other feral colonies nearby that your cats could "migrate" to.

Don't give up on the idea of selling the house to someone willing to feed them, thats what the previous owner did

Where would you move them to?

Are they truly feral or are they friendly?

Alley Cat Allies is a great resource if you do decide to relocate them

Safe Relocation of Feral Cats - Alley Cat Allies

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-29-2013, 04:02 PM
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Hi Babs,

I would be leery of selling to someone who says they'll care for your ferals unless you really, really trust them; not everyone is as kindhearted as you and your husband. A house is a big purchase, and my feeling is that some people would say whatever they thought you wanted to hear in the hope that it might influence your decision to accept their offer. If you were able to find someone who was willing to care for the cats, would they be open to the idea of letting them shelter in their garage? Would they be able to afford to feed them? Do they have or want to get a dog at some point? There are a lot of potential issues to consider if you do manage to find a buyer you trust to care for the cats, some of which might be easily overcome, others which may be deal-breakers as far as your ferals are concerned. Quite frankly, being concerned about finding a buyer who will care for the cats might also make it difficult to sell your house.

I would also not be comfortable leaving ferals that were so habituated to a particular place and to me if I didn't know that someone would care for them, and more specifically, that someone wouldn't take the opportunity to cause the cats harm if they were to show up looking for food or shelter. I suppose I'm rather cynical, but things like that do happen, and, sadly, it's not at all uncommon that feral cats are the target of such people.

I know it sounds like I'm encouraging you to take on a lot of extra responsibility and stress at a time when both are likely to already be weighing on you, and, given ideal circumstances, it is best that ferals not be relocated, but it's not often that circumstances are ideal where ferals are concerned.

The sanctuary suggestion is a good one, in the sense that if a good facility that is intended for otherwise unadoptable cats that would care for them indefinitely like in a home could be found, it would solve your dilemma. It's my understanding that these, however, are few and far between. My suggestion would be to do some research, or post a thread requesting info on cat sanctuaries on the forums, as I unfortunately don't know much about them.

Would you ever considering attempting to rehabilitate these ferals in your new home? It sounds as if you're committed to these cats and want to do the best that you can for them under the circumstances. If they are quite comfortable with you, or if you are willing to put in some time and patience, it might be an option worth considering. It wouldn't be a good idea to take them with you if you couldn't keep them indoors though, as it can be really difficult for ferals to survive "in the wild" when they're removed from familiar surroundings (hence the reason why moving ferals is typically a last resort.) Even letting semi-ferals who are used to being outside out before they're very comfortable with you and your home is a risky proposition when in unfamiliar territory, as they might bolt and not be able to find their way back to the new house. It would certainly be possible to trap the cats using a humane cat trap, or even a carrier if they're really trusting of you (I strongly recommend a trap for any cat that could be described as feral, semi-feral, or a fearful stray) and transport them directly to a new home if that was the route you wanted to go. Another suggestion would be to contact any rescues, vets, and shelters in your new area that are involved in or promote TNR (trap, neuter, release) as those of us who are actively involved in rescue and TNR are far more likely to be open to the idea of either (a) helping you to rehabilitate your ferals or, if you get really lucky, (b) be willing to rehabilitate and find homes for the cats for you. Regardless, people involved in feral cat rescue and TNR will have much more information on the resources available for ferals in a given area than pretty much anyone else, including most vets.

Whatever you decide to do, I hope it works out. Keep us posted!

Last edited by dt8thd; 01-29-2013 at 04:07 PM.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-29-2013, 05:41 PM
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To successfully relocate a feral cat involves relocating known scents as well. You need to relocate familiar sleeping accommodation relocated. Bathing old familiar smells off the cat helps. If you can't bath with water there are available sprays. Aromas are extremely important to a feline's comfort.
In the new home have old bedding and cat litter along with food and water plus any other item that smells familiar. Clean the cat before moving, then immediately transport to new home. Keep the cat indoors for three weeks or until calm and happy for two weeks. It will have acclimated and will not leave.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-29-2013, 05:49 PM
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I must add that certain breeds are less likely to follow this. , but for the average mixed breed this will work.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-29-2013, 06:55 PM
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No not all feral cats can be domesticated. Much depends upon breeding and lifestyle or hard habits. Cats are primarily carnivores, adaptable yet rigid.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 01-29-2013, 07:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Ct200 View Post
You're talking about a cat. I love animals, I go above and beyond, but they aren't people that have to be handled with kid gloves. They want food and shelter first.
They want food and shelter yes, but they also want home. The risk of a relocated cat leaving the new location not to be seen again I believe is fairly high if the procedure of acclimation is not done correctly.

Here's an excerpt from the ASPCA on feral cat relocation:
Many communities have rounded up colonies of feral cats either for euthanasia or to relocate them to another area. This never works. Feral cats are very connected with their territory. They are familiar with its food sources, places that offer—shelter, resident wildlife, other cats in the area and potential threats to their safety—all things that help them survive.


Relocation is an extremely difficult process. People should choose relocation only if the cats' territory is going to be demolished, there is no adjacent space to shift them to, and if the cats' lives would be at extreme risk should they remain where they are

Originally Posted by Ct200 View Post
Sometimes it seems cruel to be kind. A feral cat can learn to be domesticated.
Actually, many cannot. I know many that have been around people for years and aren't tame. I know a few that have taken years to start becoming sociable while others may take months of hard-won effort (along with some serious risks for injury to the people taming them), but these cats are likely semi-feral, not feral. Semi-feral meaning they have previous human interactions.

If they do become tame, it may only be after years of effort, and only towards the person that feeds them.

Originally Posted by Ct200 View Post
You shouldn't have to base the sale of your house on cats.
This is the only thing I agree with, mainly because there's no guarantee that the people that buy the house will follow through.

Originally Posted by Ct200 View Post
Trap them if need be,and bring them to a shelter.
If this is done, odds are they will be put to sleep; they aren't adoptable. Hopefully there's a better alternative than that.

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