Mooch the cat - another winter - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-08-2013, 12:18 PM Thread Starter
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Mooch the cat - another winter

I have posted before about Mooch, the trap wary feral who has been eating in the yard for the past 18 months. He survived Sandy, survived the last winter, looks to have endured a broken leg along with a few missing teeth and a corneal injury. Late August he was losing weight so I de-wormed him with a product from Amazon. 2 doses and now he is gaining weight. Every evening he stops by for a meal. I feed him at the patio door but he never comes in, until last night. Last night he gave my hand a head butt, tapped the hand with the food dish with his paw a few times (claws retracted by the way) and stepped inside for some temptation treats. Now the question is how to proceed. He still is frightened easily and looks at the trap with the look of a seasoned vet. I almost want to try to make a stab at grabbing him by the scruff but a miss will destroy the confidence and trust that has taken over a year to build. Is there a next step here or do I just keep feeding him and hope for the best.
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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-11-2013, 06:10 PM
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continue to feed him inside if he wants that. He is changing his mind about you. This is huge!!! If you let him in then let him out as soon as he wants. He will start 5 min here and there. But will go longer as he gains confidence and trust you. Im excited to hear how this progresses.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-11-2013, 07:16 PM
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This is awesome. I have a feral for almost two years that I feed too, and I can tell you, it takes some time before they really trust you. But when they do, what a feeling that is. I can't let my feral girl inside, because I have three indoor cats, and a dog, and my feral, Arwen, won't come inside anyway. But I live in FL, so it's Ok. But I agree, if you just let the kitty inside and let him out as soon as he wants, and just let him come to you when you are inside, don't put too much pressure to get him to be near you inside. I think if you are chill, and just relax, he will soon relax too want to get comfy next to you. I'm sure on a really cold day, he is going to become so grateful to have a warm place to lay his head, it will not take too long before he is sticking around longer and longer.

You are AMAZING that you can give this to this cat!!!!! I am so heartsick at times, that my Arwen is not inside my house. But she has lived outside in my neighborhood for 5 or more years, she is already fixed and ear tipped, and has a good thing living on my quiet street, everyone knows who she is and she is quite content. But I get so sad that I can't bring her inside, but I feel like it wouldn't be fair to me 3 inside cats and my dog...who Arwen does NOT like....which is why she does not go in my yard at all. I have much guilt over this, but I do the best I can for Arwen outside, and she is welcome to go in my garage, although she never does, but I'm hoping on the really cold nights this winter that she might, I'm prepared to try to encourage her to anyway.

Thanks for caring so much for this kitty
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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-13-2013, 10:41 AM
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I was excited to hear about this progress! I've been following his story for some time and this sounds like baby steps in the right direction. I think continuing to offer his favorite foods and treats inside will help him associate that good things happen when he comes in. Keep us posted.
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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-13-2013, 11:57 AM
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This is great progress. I would NOT try to trap or grab him until you have earned his trust. I would let him come inside to eat, sitting on the floor nearby - not hovering over his head. Be low - his level and move a few inches closer each time if you can. I'm guessing as he is aging he is looking for comfort in surroundings and companionship.

howsefrau32, can't you make Arwen an outdoor shelter using one of those Styrofoam or plastic bins they are using on Youtube? I posted a link at another thread yesterday about these, but you can just search for feral shelters on Youtube. She may not want to stay in a large space of a garage, maybe just a small warm shelter would work. I went to boot camp in Orlando and know it can get pretty chilly in the winter sometimes, but I don't think it would be life threatening at all if she were to find a crawlspace to get out of the wind. I may be wrong though.

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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-13-2013, 12:15 PM
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Wow, this is huge. I wish I had this kind of breakthrough with my ferals. I agree with Marcia. I would not try to trap him or grab him just yet, that might scare him off. And I've never had a feral go into a trap more than once (even if they are hungry), so you may not be able to get him to go into one. You may have to eventually get him into a carrier. If he shows interest in coming into the patio while you're in there, I would put food out for him and sit on the floor near him and just speak to him in a calm and soothing voice so he can get used to your voice/presence. And try to make eye contact as much as possible, but I wouldn't try to make a move towards petting/grabbing him. Let him come to you and initiate contact.
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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-13-2013, 12:16 PM
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howsefrau32 if you were to go the route of an outdoor shelter there are several designs, pictures and how to on the feral section stickys of CF. https://www.catforum.com/forum/56-fer...eral-cats.html

The nice thing about garages is there are electrical sources if you want to heat a bed or house in there. Plus if you are feeding them inside a garage you arent dealing with raccoons and other critters competing for the food and water. It can get dicey in those situations.
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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-13-2013, 01:23 PM
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Speaking of critters, last night was the coldest night we've had here (well below freezing), and I heard a banging at my door at around 10PM. I looked out the window and didn't see a person, so I opened the door (I have a glass storm door so I can see out), and there was a GIANT possum banging the door, which scared the BeJesus out of me. She looked really disoriented and was running into the door (she wasn't snarling or hissing or anything). I don't think she could see me at all (I know their vision isn't great), because I tried to shoo her off, and she didn't flinch, so I don't know if it was because of the light coming from inside/reflection or what. Scout pretty much threw himself at the door and growled and hissed, so she finally took off. I didn't see Mr. Kitty out there, but I'm sure he was close by. I hope he doesn't get in a fight with that big possum!
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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-13-2013, 02:05 PM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the support. I do spend a whole lot of time on the floor with him which looks pretty stupid coming from a 59 YO man. We are seeing other critters in the area (Possum and raccoon) so mooch is very wary. He seems to know the other critters will not approach if they can hear or see a human but he is on guard. Got another head butt yesterday quickly followed by a meaningless hiss. It was almost a reflex, certainly not threatening. My read on him is he is calmer because his pupils don't dilate like a cat ready to attack. Also, since he seems to love temptation treats, I am using that to my advantage. I rub a few in my hand, then offer food. My hand now appears to be something that brings good things and not a threat. We still don't know where he goes at night. He ignored the shelter I built last year but if it is night time and we turn on the light outside before he has eaten it only takes 5 minutes for him to show up. The other good thing is Mooch has been around so much, the indoor cats let us know if we don't know he is there. They sense him, make a fuss by the door and Mooch is fed. If he ever does get into the house and is cleared by a vet, there will be little need for introductions because they all tolerate each other very well.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 11-13-2013, 02:19 PM
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LOL, I can only imagine what someone would think if they saw me having conversations with my cats. The things we do for them! He sounds like a new stray I have. I have no idea where he goes at night. I followed him a bit one night until he got to an area I wasn't prepared to climb into when it's dark outside. It kind of looks like he's hiding out in the woods somewhere, but he must be finding shelter. It was so cold last night! He always shows up in the morning yawning and waiting for his breakfast. I hope you are able to get him socialized and checked out so he can have a new family!
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