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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
The weather was so brutal in December that I decided to bring two of my eight ferals inside for the winter.

All my feral cats have access to straw/down comforter beds for the winter - inside my barn - but I was worried about Junior and Stripes. Little black kitty Junior was only five months old and Stripes has always been skinny.

They have been in my house for three weeks now and are doing really well. They spent two weeks in a room of their own with a window and a view of the bird feeder, toys and warm cat nests to sleep in.

My five cats knew they were here, of course, by the smells under the door and the noise they made playing with Turbo Scratcher and ping pong balls.

It was really nice to hear them play. You don't hink of ferals as having a lot of play time. Now when I am home they have the run of the house with all the cats.

They're all getting along great. My alpha male Scoop accepted Stripes and Junior right away, perhaps because they're young and acted timid. For their part, the two ferals are used to getting along well with others.

The only question is whether they'll stay or if I will return them to the barn (it's miles away) in the spring. I started out thinking the situation would be temporary, but the attachment deepens.

Please excuse the traces of Feline Pine on their blanket. I love that stuff otherwise.
 

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Awww, cute kitties!
I''m so fond of gray tabbies... I wish I could take Stripes!

I would love to bring ALL my ferals indoors! Though not sure they'd like it. I had 2 kittens in for almost 2 months, and they seemed all too willing to go right back to the colony when I was done nursing them back to health. Zinny went back to being totally wild, and I can barely get within a couple of feet from her (despite she used to snuggle with me in my bed before Thanksgiving!). Disco will still let me handle her (in fact, I gave her snuggles today when I went to feed), if she's in the mood.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I knew all along if I brought them home and everything went smoothly then they were here to stay.
With all the calming influence from the other five cats, Junior and Stripes are really taming down. Once a cat is a pet, how could I put him back in the feral barn? It wouldn't be fair, as you say.
 

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I really wish I could've kept Disco (and Zinny), but my dad was getting awfully upset about them being in. At least I still get to see them every day, and know they're doing alright.
 

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They're lovely...it's wonderful that they're both getting along so well with your current cats. It seems to me you now have seven permanent cats!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Some cats are far happier being permanent outside cats. Sounds like Zinny is one of them. Especially if they are older it is hard to change them. They just want their freedom. If they grew up feral, they are really not much different than wild animals in that respect.

With these two cats, Junior adapted right away to the indoors but Stripes did seem to miss his freedom. No worries though - all my cats go out, and these two will get their chance too when the weather is nicer.

Every night when I call my house cats in, I am glad Junior and Stripes are not out in the bitter cold. I wish I could do more for my barn cats too, but I see them all every day and they are doing OK. Fresh water, lots of food and warm beds help.
Also as a water source - the stream behind my barn is still flowing. I put planks along the shore so they don't have to step on the thin ice to get to the water. Their tracks in the snow tell me they are drinking there.

Susan - Seven it is. Seven is a good number.
 

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Actually, Zinny was only 5 months old when I brought her in. And she's the one I worry most about, as she's the smallest (4 pounds last I knew, in early November). But as long as I still see her every day, I guess I shouldn't worry too much. She is long-haired, so maybe that makes up for not having as much fat/bulk as she should?
 

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Greenport,

I couldn't resist saying how much your story moved me. I have brought in a feral these past few weeks and though the landlord doesn't allow for them to be in my apt., I've gotten them used to sleeping on the couch in the building lobby, away from the street, the dogs, the other cats, the cold, the rain, the cars, the constant fear. The white, young kitten turned from a muddy, scared, malnourished, hyperactive mess into a white princess - and neighbors smile when they pass by and say how beautiful she is. I just have to go downstairs every couple hours and watch her sleep. The other one is more afraid, so I'm slowly getting her used to at least spend time in the building, where it's safer than in the streets.

Again, thank you for sharing and for what you did for your 2 ferals!
 

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Discussion Starter #10 (Edited)
I just think...it's instinctive to want to protect any animal we see in danger or in need. So glad you got your strays to come inside. And look how they are adding to the quality of life in your building.

Not to neglect little black Junior, but I did get a nice shot of Stripes sunning himself on the bed this morning. Not in the shot but only two feet away was my sleeping alpha male Scoop, who is totally cool with the newcomers.
 

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Presto, that's very nice of you, but we are in the Middle East!
 

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Discussion Starter #14 (Edited)
Update

It's only been a month since Stripes and Junior have lived here, but they have really settled in.

Last week I was happy to see Stripes curled up with my orange tabby Tuffy, taking a nap. And black kitty Junior acts like he's never lived anywhere else. He loves his toys.
There is something really nice about seeing former ferals relax enough to enjoy play time.
 
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