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I joined to seek the opinions of fellow cat lovers for an issue I've been struggling with for quite a while. About 5 months ago a momma cat and her then months-old kitten moved into our enclosed back yard. Momma seems to be stray rather than feral. Have looked after them ever since-food, water, set up some shelter in our unattached garage with access anytime they want it. Were it not for having adopted a stray indoor-only cat over 7 years ago who would not accept newcomers and an inability to afford more vet bills, I'd love to adopt these 2. They've bonded to me and vice versa. They love crawling into my lap for cuddles. However, I believe that ideally most cats would lead at least healthier lives if not happier ones as indoor-only pets. Our local shelter is reputedly no kill, but I fear the downside to sending them there-would they languish in cages? Would they ever get adopted? Momma cat seems frightened to enter a home while our cat was always trying to get into our house before we adopted her. The 2 cats don't seem to want to be separated. Would the momma allow herself to bond to another human? So, I struggle over what is best for them-to continue as is or get them to a shelter. What do you all think? Thanks.
 

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Shelter or not? If there is more than one shelter or adoption centre in your area, I would go and visit them, ask them if the have a no-kill policy. Look at their cats, their personalities, their condition, cleanliness of surroundings, etc. Often cats get adopted or ignored because of their color and markings. Most all black cats are the last to be adopted because of people's silly superstitions about them with bad luck. I'd had quite a few black cats in my life and they were all darlings! People often are more attracted to flashy cats such as bicolors, calicos, tabbby and whites, pointed pattern cats, as their colors and patterns are more unique than a plain black cat. I think your momma cat would bond with someone else, as she has bonded with you. Cats tend to bond to the one that feeds them and grooms them, plays with them. Tho often cats seem to have a special sense of picking out its owner and is instantly attracted to someone. As a long time breeder of 18 yrs., I always discouraged a potential buyer from just considering a cat's color or pattern.....e.g. wants a red tabby and won't consider anything else. If a potential owner lets the cat choose its owner, they will have a closer bond. Been there, done it many times. Hope this has been of some help. All the best!
 

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These two cats may be able to live perfectly happy, healthy lives outside your home, providing they have shelter, food, and regular veterinary care . . . and as long as they don't wander into the street, or become victims of aggressive animals. Big ifs, I know.

Also, it's really important that both cats be spayed/neutered asap, if they haven't been yet.

This is probably not the best time to put an animal into a shelter, even if the shelter gives excellent care. It's almost kitten season and publicly funded shelters are probably going to be overflowing before long. (No-kill shelters will simply stop accepting animals when they run out of space.) If the pets of coronavirus victims have to be turned in, that's going to make the shelter situation even worse.

I'd recommend keeping them if you can swing it financially. Or try to find another individual willing to take them.

Hard decision, I know. Good luck, whatever you decide to do.
 
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