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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-03-2015, 03:32 PM Thread Starter
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questions about keeping a colony at home

lately i have been considering building a chicken coupe and repurposing it into a feral cat shelter in my back yard how ever these cats will not come and go they will be kept in a large enclosure with shelter readily available to them and i will be feeding them every day i set traps on my yard all the time and catch strays and ferals my girlfriend is not so happy about this idea i think she just underestimates me i tell her where do they have a better chance at living the wild or in a secured area with food all the time? anyway my question is i have a indoor cat who will never go outside or near any of the other cats but my girl is worried about fleas is there a way to keep outdoor cats flea free? i figure if there are no fleas and i wash my hands every time i go near them i shoudlnt have anything to worry about how ever thats why im asking for help what are your thoughts? only looking to have 2-4 cats in the enclosure 10x10x5 with lots of vertical space and a nice size shelter with heat for the winter
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-03-2015, 08:14 PM
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I have a small feral colony in my yard, but they're not in an enclosure. They shelter under the house which seems to work well. You might want to consider building the shelter, but allowing them to come and go freely from it. They'll be much happier and less likely to fight. Cats are very territorial, so once you start feeding regularly, they'll make your yard home base and won't roam far...especially once they're 'fixed'. Spaying and neutering is key to maintaining a healthy, stable colony. As far as fleas, I've never had much of a problem. My outside kitties take lots of dust baths, which seems to help. In almost 10 years, I've only had flea issues on my inside cat family a handful of times. Then I use a good back of the neck spot type flea killer (usually Advantage Multi from the vet--expensive but very worth it!), and dust the house liberally with diatomaceous earth. Works great, and I usually only have to do the treatment once. There are also really good organic flea repelling lawn granules available now. I've had good luck with cedar-based products. Lastly, washing your hands after handling stray/feral cats is always a good idea.Good Luck!
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-03-2015, 08:20 PM
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Addendum: Once you've established a stable colony in your yard, they'll keep other cats from moving in. You'll actually see fewer cats overall. If you keep them locked up, they won't be able to prevent other cats from entering the yard. Not only will this not solve your problem of too many cats, but the caged cats will become very frustrated and most likely develop behavior problems--like aggression. So please do consider putting a door in the coop.
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-03-2015, 10:04 PM Thread Starter
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i dont have a problem with to many cats on my yard i have only ever caught two and they belong to my neighbors im pretty sure the traps are set every night had a 40 lbs raccoon the other day i had to relocate im considering putting a door on the enclosure for them to come and go but i wouldn't do that for at least a month or two of having them so they know this is home the enclosure would be in a secluded part of the yard behind my shed and along a fence are you saying the cats could be aggressive towards me? or towards other cats? im honestly hoping to trap a pregnant female in the spring and let her have her babies in the inclosure and then putting the door on when they are old enough to come and go
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-03-2015, 10:11 PM
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Once you provide a safe shelter and regular feedings, the cats will call your enclosure home...no need to lock them in. Cats aren't like dogs in that respect. They'll stake out your yard as home base, and their life will center around it. Unneutered males will roam, and may be gone for long periods of time...another reason to neuter. Frustrated cats will become aggressive towards each other, and may become aggressive towards their caretaker too.
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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-04-2015, 01:17 AM
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I care for 9 ferals and have a shelter built. They are free to come and go as they please. I dont think an enclosure would be best for them. Mine likes to climb trees go around the neighborhood to play then come to my house to eat and only 4 sleep in the house at night the others would sleep there during the day. Unless you earn their trust and can come close to them to put on the monthly flea treatment because they do have fleas and the fleas can jump on your clothes and then you bring it inside. They would be stressed living in an enclosure since these cats are ferals.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-04-2015, 01:23 AM
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Like mekg4435 and deanna79 (great feral caretaker, look at her threads for pictures of her shelter she built for her ferals) said... don't lock the cats up in the enclosure. They will naturally choose your home as their home base, especially if you build an enclosure they can come and go from and provide food. Locking them in would cause fighting and other issues. These are feral cats... locking them up would be incredibly stressful for them, and if you eventually released them... they would probably stay away because they will fear the enclosure and associate it with being trapped. Providing an enclosure they can come and go from would be the best solution. There's pretty much no positive to locking them up. A positive for them would be trapping them, getting them fixed, and then releasing them back onto your land.

Last edited by Mandy and Ellie; 01-04-2015 at 01:25 AM.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-04-2015, 01:24 AM
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Also once you add the door after keeping the cats enclosed they will leave and wont come back because now they have a bigger world to explore.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-04-2015, 07:41 AM
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I don't think any animal should be kept in a permanent cage. Regarding fleas, there is no way to totally eliminate them outdoors. You can keep them under control on the cats but washing your hands won't help. They will get on your clothing and you will transport them inside that way.

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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 01-04-2015, 08:55 AM
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If your neighborhood is relatively safe from cars and predators, I would let the cats come and go as they want from the cage. Once they spend a month in the cage, they will be yours forever, since they already know the territory outside and now have a steady food source.

BUT - If there is even a moderate risk to these cats, yes, I would consider making the cage their permanent home. It's a good size, and as you say you can do a lot with vertical space.

So - how safe do you consider your neighborhood?

Welcome to the world of feral rescue. it is a rewarding pursuit.
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