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Discussion Starter #1
So, I know it seems I only come around here when I'm in need of help. But I check this place more often than you guys might think! I am extremely busy, though. I've been feeding the cats at my university and working at a local volunteer rescue on weekends.

However, by luck and chance, I happened to be at the right place at the right time and ran into to this cutie, who I've dubbed Pumpkin. He lives in a local Wendy's parking lot. pumpkin.png

(Do not worry, I was NOT feeding him a hamburger. That was a local who was trying to help, and I suppose it's better than starving, but don't worry, he's on actual cat food now!)

So, I need some advice. I've purchased a professional cat trap online and it should be coming in the next 5 days (I know you can rent them, but I need one of my own, anyway.) Without a question, I think Pumpkin needs out of that Wendy's parking lot (where, according to staff, he has been for over 3 months; I cannot fathom no one coming to help this baby for that long, but that is the information I was given).

Pumpkin could barely even be considered semi-feral. I'm still somewhat new to all these terms, but I'm pretty sure he was dropped off at some point, probably at around 4 months of age (he's probably around 7 months now). He's not aggressive in any way, follows me around, and let's me sit right next to him. He just won't let me touch. I've gotten to touch his head before, but he backed away pretty quickly.

I have a few options. No matter what, I'm going to trap him and at least get him neutered (and I'm going to see what the shelters around here are willing to do with the money I would offer; I know he has ear mites). But here's where my dilemma comes in and I could use some advice.

1) I'm pretty sure this isn't right, but I suppose an option would be to release him back into the Wendy's parking lot (there is barely any shelter, and he only has readily available water and food because of me, there are cars everywhere, and he is literally about 40 feet from a MAJOR highway, not to mention I think eventually one of the employer's would get rid of him some way or another)

2) I could attempt to talk to my organization I work with and see if one of them could try to foster and adopt him out, but I'm not sure. He's not aggressive or feral in that sense, but he doesn't seem to like people. I just can't imagine him cooped up with someone, but it's definitely an option I would consider if this is what most people think is the right thing to do

3) This is what I'm considering doing now, unless everyone thinks it's a horrible idea. I'm super nervous and unsure of how he's going to react, but I thought after I TNR him, I could release him behind my house in my neighborhood. The neighborhood has lots of local cats (who are all healthy and fed by everyone, and I'm pretty sure are 99% peoples' pets that just mooch off of the neighbors' who like feeding them). It's safe--there are cars, but not a lot, and I've NEVER seen a cat hit, ever--it's quiet, he would be near me and I could continue leaving him some food like I already do for some of the neighborhood cats, and I just honestly can't think of a better option. I know it's not good to relocate, but there aren't worse places to be as a cat than where he is.

I basically want to do the right thing. I am very well-meaning, I love this cat a lot, but I still live at home and have only legally been an adult for a year. My mom wants to help, but we are scraping pennies. However, I'd spend every penny in my college fund to make sure this angel is safe. I know I can't do everything for him, but I've grown really, really attached and I want to help. Please tell me what you think is the right thing to do!

Thanks!
 

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Hi, I agree with you a car park is not ideal and the dangers of people and cars is very high. In my opinion,the problem with taking him and releasing him behind your house is that it is someone else's territory you are putting him into and if you have true ferals you will put him at risk, at the least he is likely to have to fight for his right to be there quite often. If you don't think he is feral then you are better to bring him in and have a plan with a rescue centre or organisation to get him fostered. He could well be tense with people due to behaviour of others towards him. He may well adapt quite quickly if he is young. Do you have a bathroom or spare room you could use till a shelter finds him somewhere else. I say this because the sooner you can get him in the better. My last feral was in a car park and he adapted almost immediately to being indoors, although a bit talkative.
 

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struckers, it's great that you care for - and care about! - this kitty when it seems no one else does.

I agree with Jenny that the best option would be to try to get him fostered. I don't think it will be difficult, since he's not feral. Experienced foster parents will know how, and how not, to approach him until he gets more comfortable. And he may not need to be in a cage.

The fact that he doesn't like petting doesn't necessarily make him a bad candidate for a rescue. You say he doesn't seem to like people, but he follows you around and lets you sit next to him. That might just mean that it'll take him time to warm up to strangers.

As for petting - well, some kitties just don't like it. One of mine is similar to the kitty you describe. She's very sweet, follows me everywhere, but she hates being touched anywhere except around her head and face.

If, for whatever reason, this solution isn't possible, then the third option - letting him go behind your house - is definitely preferable to returning him to the parking lot.

Thanks for wanting the best for the little guy! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you both for the reply; I am thinking you're right, and that I should talk to the organization. I'm mostly just nervous about how he is going to react when I attempt to trap him. He means a lot to me, and the idea of him freaking out when he gets in the cage is a bit disconcerting. But I know it's best for him, and if there's hope for him in a foster home (which, considering his demeanor, I think there definitely could be), I am willing to try.

I will keep everyone posted on how it goes (the cage came in today, so all I have to do is assemble it and talk to the necessary people!)
 

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I think any cat that is not truly feral deserves a chance to have a forever home. It doesn't always mean it will be successful, but they should have the right.

We fixed one female in our backyard in WI and released her...within a week, they (2 males and the female) disappeared. I never figured out what happened..did the males move on because she was no longer viable or ?? The feral's daugher, which actually let us care for her and came into our house, disappeared as well.
I know fixing strays is crucial, but releasing a non-feral back...I just wonder what all the domino effects occur, unknown to the casual observer.
He is adorable and how lucky that you are caring for and about it.
 

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Bless you for planning to rescue this little soul! Working with the rescue you volunteer with should also save you some $$, get more done with less! Ask them what to expect from him being trapped. It is scary and stressful, but far better than where he is now. Rescues are usually pretty busy, would you be able to foster him? Indoor only.
Relocating a cat is somewhat tricky. They need to be contained for a period of time, no matter what. They will try to return to the place familiar to them. I'm sure your rescue can fill you in on all the particulars.:)
I look forward to hearing how everything goes and seeing lots of pictures!8)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
KsKatt-- they are busy, it's true, but luckily I have known them for quite a while and they are very hands-on. All of the cats they get are pretty much rescued the same way I'm rescuing Pumpkin. When I was caring for two or three cats at a local Wal-Mart, they seemed very ready to help trap/spay/neuter and then foster, so I'm hoping for the same thing here (for the record, I'm confident someone took those cats; they stopped appearing one day despite there being no where for them to relocate, but that's a whole other story).

I'm pretty sure if I go through the trouble of trapping and neutering they would be willing to try fostering (they always seem to have people willing to take on more fosters, a dream of mine one day when I have my own place...) HOWEVER, if that fails, before I just release him in my neighborhood, I'm going to do everything in my power to try to either foster him myself or beg someone I'm close to until he's able to find a forever home. I just can't give up on this little guy, and luckily, my mom has been coming to feed him with me and she seems pretty attached to him too.

I want to get more pics to post. He is so gorgeous, he's very spotted, even for a spotted tabby, and has a very distinct face. Of course, maybe I'm a bit biased, lol! Today when I went to feed him it had been raining and it took a few extra minutes calling him, and some weirded out stares from people eating at the Wendy's. But he eventually came, stretching and yawning as though he had been napping all through the storm. He never seems that hungry and is actually a little chunky (and not in that pump, worm way). I guess that's good, although only god knows what people throw to him at the Wendy's.

I promise I'll keep everyone posted, though, and I just want to say thank you to anyone who's given some advice. I feel like I always have a problem with stray/ferals I meet, like my University kitties that I still feed, and the Wal-Mart kitties that I posted about on here a long time ago. I want to help, but I'm a broke college student who still lives with her parents lol! But getting involved with the volunteer organization has really helped in the way of getting to resources and others who are just as eager to help. Also very glad I have my own trap now.

One step closer to saving every cat in the world! ;-)
 

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Struckers the fact you help an organisation is more than many people do, so honestly don't beat yourself up for not being in a financial position to help. You are are wonderful for caring. Your little cat is going to be scared when trapped because it would scare you or I to suddenly be caught. Your organisation will understand and make allowances. As for food, well yes this kitty is dieting on a junk food diet of left overs for sure, because food is food when your out on the street. At my company's warehouse we have a mamma and 2 of her kids living there who until I started giving the guys the proper food to feed lived off chicken Biriyani, and all sorts of spicy stuff. The guys who are mainly Asian nationalities knew no different and they were looking after her the best they thought. Funny she used to smell the canned food at the start and turn her nose up probably because the smell was not spicy. All 3 were in surprisingly good shape despite that diet. Now all 3 are a bit lazy and occasionally picky on what they eat :)
 

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struckers, you're doing amazing work. You're finding really crucial ways to help using the resources that you have. It's just sad that there is such a huge need to help these cats. But what would they do without people like you and many others on this forum?

So Mom is concerned about the kitty too...Hmm. Any chance you might end up fostering and then having a foster failure? ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #10
spirite, God I wish, lol. I just stepped away to post this after having a conversation trying to convince her to foster him, but no such luck. Sigh. I can't push too much, it's true we live in cramped quarters. Of course, I would bring him home without a second thought, but I digress. :p

pumpkin1.png
Here's one I snapped when I went to feed him earlier tonight. Pretty good, considering he's quick, and you can sorta see just how spotted he is! It's weird, because I actually feel like he's a bit more skittish than when I first found him. Although I did make progress when I brought a toy the other day and he was leaping and jumping everywhere! Was very cute to see him playing.

Thanks everyone for the tips (and support)! Tomorrow, I will (hopefully) be able to talk to my volunteer organization. This week I'm going to work on trapping after I talk to my SPCA and get everything figured out.

I've read that it's good to get a cat used to eating inside of an unset trap before actually attempting to trap them, as it would be less stressful since they'd be used to it. Can anyone vouch for this, or is it best just to get him out this situation as quickly as possible and not worry about that?

I know either way he's not gonna be happy, though! I'll post tomorrow about what the organization tells me. It's through people like me that they get their cats, and I don't think they're particularly low on fosters at the moment, so I have high hopes! :)
 

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I would just get him and thats that. However much you feed him there he will not be happy. He actually might be easier to get than you think. I caught my last 2 ferals using carriers not traps and one cat was so fed up with his life he just kind of walked in. However the saying "plan for the worst and hope for the best" was made for trapping strays and ferals.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
That's what I figured. After I get everything straightened out with WHAT to do with him when I get him, I will immediately begin trying to trap him. Wish me luck!

Some good and bad news to update with though. To start, I got in touch with the lady I work with cleaning the cages, and she made it sound like IF he tests out okay (I guess with things like feline leukemia?), then she would be able to foster him. So she gave me the number to the head lady in charge (who I've also known for quite some time and have adopted from before), and I am asking her specifically what I need to test him for (and obviously neuter him).

So that's the good news. It sounds like, if everything tests out okay, someone would definitely be willing to foster him. But I will keep everyone updated.

In some bad news (although not necessarily surprising..), I met another lady there who was also feeding him, and she told me she actually saw him get thrown from a car on a rainy day. She said she immediately went over to see if he was all right, but he was obviously terrified. She's been feeding him since. I explained to her what I planned to do and she seemed very relieved someone would be able to help him.

Here's a pic I snapped today. He was being particularly whiny lol. He's very talkative and outside of being skittish seems to really love people!
pumpkin1.png
 

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Oh my goodness, what a cutie he is!! In the previous pic, he almost looks like an exotic mix with those super long back legs.

I'll keep my fingers crossed that everything works out ok. SO sad if it's true that someone threw him out of a car. :( People who do things like that should have someone throw them out of a car.
 

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Oh that's heart breaking about the car. But let's hope that he tests Ok and that Pumpkin finds a wonderful forever home to make up for his horrible start in life
 

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Keep us posted. My Blanco was about 4 months when I caught him and had him neutered and then adopted him a couple of months later. He had his mom around though and she was more friendly. I think he can learn to fit into a home altho I will say my Blanco loves the outdoors and stays out all day until dark when 99.9% of the time I am able to get him in for the night.
 

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Discussion Starter #17 (Edited)
I got in touch with the head lady for my volunteer organization, both by phone and Email. She said her fosters don't have room right now (she did mention that if he were a kitten, everyone would probably be lining up, but I digress), and that she is in a similar position as I am. She is looking for a home for a sweet stray who actually DID test positive for FIV, so it sounds like they can't do much.

On the bright side, I am going to work tomorrow and she did say that we could ask around with the other volunteers (LOTS come in on Saturdays, which is the main adoption day), so there's a chance I might find someone willing to take him on there.

I'm a little disappointed, but I'm not giving up hope. I have more people to call; I just can't let this little guy live his whole life in a parking lot. If worse came to absolute worse, I would try to acclimate him slowly to living in my neighborhood. I know I can't help every cat (there are so many strays I see that I want to help), but this guy is really special. I will continue to update if I find someone willing to foster.
 

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Discussion Starter #19 (Edited)
Blah. Feeling kinda sad/frustrated right now, because while I loved cat-sitting and cleaning cages and playing with the babies where I work, I still didn't get any bites for fostering Pumpkin. ):

Honestly, I have no idea what to do with him. I set up an appointment with my local SPCA for August 11 to have him neutered (and a bunch of other things, like get his ear mites taken care of, since I know he has a bad case of them). August 11 was the earliest date I could get, but that's three weeks from now. I *think* he will be okay, he's been in that parking lot for more than a month and a half, but when I went to feed him today he was a bit nearer to the highway than he usually is. I'm just so scared he's going to get hit (to make matters worse, on the way to the Wendy's, I saw a hit cat...) He was still a good thirty feet from the highway, and I called him back waaaaay over to the woods area where I usually feed him.

Even if I got him to the vet, got him neutered and everything else, I have literally no clue what to do with him. I'll have a cat in a trap just sitting there. My *last hope* is this woman who came up to me once when I feeding him at Wendy's and claimed to have a farm some place near by where she rescued animals on her own. She seemed a little strange, but was very sweet and seemed horrified that someone left Pumpkn there. She gave me her number and said she'd call me about trapping him, but she never did. I'm a little wary, but I'd certainly give her a call before just trying to get him in my neighborhood.

The only good news is that my mom is warming up to him a lot, and that she said if worse came to absolute worse we could keep him in a back room for a day or two, but only if he tests negative for everything and has no fleas. Which is kinda impossible, because the fleas are gonna take a few treatments. But, it's something.

I'm basically just running with whatever happens right now. I'm glad I found him, and I know I'm doing everything I can to help him. Preparing for the worse, but hoping for the best, basically. Again, I'll update later. Thanks to anyone who's kept up with this thread. :)
 

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Struckers, I don't know where in Louisiana you are but there are a number of shelters and rescues that specialise in cats and some sound excellent, although they could be a way from you. However maybe its worth trying some of these and see if any can help you. Louisiana Cat Rescue Groups. This way then if you get him treated and his it at youra first then maybe these can help with adoption or to take him in while finding a home. Pumpkin has become close to my heart and if I were on the right continent I would be very tempted to take him on.
 
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