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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-07-2015, 05:00 PM Thread Starter
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Unhomeable?

Why are ferals labeled unhomeable by some shelters? Some shelters won't even take them in.

We take in ferals where I volunteer. They're not necessarily the most sociable cats, but they don't attack on sight, either. They're ledge dwellers, being the toughest kids on the block they take the highest elevation, and they don't like to come down. A few allow themselves to be petted, although you have to be careful.

They can acclimate, although it does take a very patient human...
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-07-2015, 05:02 PM
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They take ferals and semi-ferals in the Rescue I support. Somme are gradually brught around to be pets - others go as barn cats.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-07-2015, 08:08 PM
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I guess it depends on the cat temperament. The rescue I volunteer at takes mama cats with babies out of the shelter regardless of background. Once we got a mama with days old babies. She really had no care for her kittens and was the wildest cat I have ever seen. It was pretty scary. It bit one of our volunteers pretty badly. She was on quarantine for a while and then returned to the shelter where she was put to sleep. It was a heartbreak for a lot of people. It was hard to know what to do with her and a lot of people were angry about her fate. It was not up to me but I still felt bad for her. That being said, we have had some feral and semi feral cats that we have adopted out as shop or barn cats. They never became "tame" but learned to be around humans enough to stick around.

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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-07-2015, 08:56 PM
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It could also be due to having or not having volunteers with the experience or want to try to tame ferals. If the resources are not available they might be hesitant to take in ferals. It could also be down to liability. Not sure what could happen if a feral were to bite or attack the adoptive home's owner(s), I wonder if they could be held liable for adopting out an unpredictable cat?
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-08-2015, 06:39 AM
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The reason is simple - the goal of most shelters is adoption into loving, stable homes and they have to be family friendly with rare exception. Ferals take SO much time to adjust and frankly, most adult cats cannot be acclimated to a family setting except after years of patience. Most shelters do not have the resources to do this. If the cats are wild - I mean screaming, biting, pinging off the walls wild, they are not considered adoptable and usually euthanized.

Last night I took home an 8 week feral old boy. I just happened to come upon him while a caretaker was showing me another cat. The caretaker told me they were to be euthanized that day. A litter of 4 were brought in and the other 3 were deemed not able to be fostered. O baby boy had been coming to the front of the cage (out of his feral box) and watching the caretaker clean so he was deemed fosterable but he is very hissy and wary of me. Unfortunately they euthanized the littermates. I tried to convince them I could take all but they refused based on their temperament and I know not to push my limits with them. One was saved.

We have a program at our shelter for the semi feral cats - those that may have issues but at least can be kinda handled. We offer them free of charge to people with barns. They are neutered and used as rodent control. Some feral cats can be tamed in time, some are not truly feral but strays that have gotten used to being on their own again but have had SOME contact with people. Usually those can be resocialized and saved but it's rare for those to materialize. There is a fine line between feral and scared. Our shelter only keeps ferals 3 days before euthanizing which I find terribly sad but that is the way it is. Sometimes 3 days is just not enough for a cat to find it's way to the front of the cage for loving.

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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-08-2015, 11:15 PM
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I agree with Marcia the shelters and humane society do not have staffs to socialize them to be adoptable. And if they are too young they will be put down since they dont have staffs to feed them every few hours. Last year i brought one feral kitten in a pet carrier since i only have two traps and the humane society refused to neuter him because he was hissing and he was not in a trap. They told they can take him and euthanize him. I was shocked, lucky my vet said they could do this and if you see him now he is so friendly the very first feral that i could pick up.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-10-2015, 09:01 PM
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I think another factor is that while for any cat being in a shelter can be stressful, for a true feral it can be unbearably so. From a human perspective it seems better - plenty of food, warmth, attention, etc. From their perspective, though, they're just scooped up and dumped into a completely alien setting with these huge terrifying creatures (humans) and lots of other animals in close proximity (other cats, even dogs) that they can't escape from even if they feel threatened. They go from being able to roam freely to being confined to a cage or room, and they have no concept of why this is happening to them.

It's one thing to put them through that temporarily while they're socialized to a good home, but if odds are they'll spend the rest of their life in a shelter or be euthanized, I think it's worth at least having a conversation about whether it's truly worth putting them through that.

The shelter where I volunteer does take semi-ferals, as well as ferals who show some rehabilitative potential. Our shelter is willing to place cats as barn cats if they do not have the temperament to be house pets. However if it appears that a cat is too wild to even live successfully in a barn, often TNR will be considered the kinder option for them because in a shelter they would just languish or even die from stress.


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