Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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.