Originally Posted by ChasingRainbows
I'm actually debating keeping all the cats in the turkey house indefinitely. That wasn't my initial plan but I'm worried about them running off, or getting hurt by hawks or my German shepherds that roam.
Where they are isn't a long term solution. Outdoors is never
that safe either, but some cats that have become used to it you cannot break them of it. Others learn to be smart outdoors or don't wander far and can live a long life. Blacky came to us as an outdoor cat and there's no way we're taking that from her, she is street smart.
However kittens likely aren't so much... for example, my uncle has a hobby farm and got about 5 kittens from a litter... today, which is about 3 years later, he only has two. One was eaten by a hawk, another a coyote, another I believe had some chemical poisoning. I feel a lot of cats will die at a young age outdoors, and those that make it past, say, 3 or 4 could go on to live a long life. But there's a lot to learn out there and many cats aren't cut out for it.
In fact if the kittens are young I would consider rehoming them if you can find someone that will give them an indoor life. Places like Craigslist you can list them. Kittens are easy to find homes for compared to adults so move on that ASAP.
The German Shepherds, if you don't trust them with cats, give me nightmares just thinking about. Not a good mix, they are prey driven.
The feral mother you're doing very well with. It sounds like she could become an indoor cat in a short period of time. A few months or maybe less. If you are set on letting her be an outdoor cat, give it at least
until she is happy and at ease around you all the time, you will know when that is by her body language. If you let her outside now she could easily revert to how she was before. Plus, it's coming up to winter! I think being in there is better than outside for now.
I would spend as much time in there as you can, hand feed her treats, let her come to you, read a book aloud, bring a laptop or something in there to pass the time... leave a radio on while you're gone. Talk softly and don't make eye contact, move slowly. If you're worried about her biting, wear some sort of protection on your hands (leather gloves, oven mitts... or both!), cat bites can be very serious.
Last year around this time I had Jasper in the garage as an aggressive semi-feral cat (there's threads in this section on Jasper), even after he was pretty tame he stayed in there and we slowly introduced him to the house... he was in there roughly 5 months total.