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Discussion Starter #1
I live in a small warehouse across the alley from a huge warehouse with an overgrown area. I see a lot of strays and I would like to feed them. But I can't simply feed them; I need to s/n and vaccinate too. I'm trying to assess whether I can individually take care of the cats or if that is beyond my skill, energy, and money.

I thought I could put a cat feeder mounted on a pole in a sheltered area by the garage doors where I live. Then I could trap them in this same spot. (I would feel more comfortable doing everything on my property.) I could install a video surveillance camera to record the cat activity and help me know if any new arrivals need to be s/n.

I have a lot of questions on the details, but I thought some people with experience could tell me if this is at all practical.

(Pictures in next post)
 

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Discussion Starter #2 (Edited)
Here is a picture of the sheltered area on my property by the garage doors where I would like to feed and trap the cats. I was planning to put it in the corner just to the right of the garage doors.

 

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Discussion Starter #3
Here is a picture taken from the roof of my building of the grassy area and the large warehouse where the cats probably live:

 

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Im so glad your considering doing this. Let me ask you question which will help you to decide.

Is there a rescue or TNR group in your city?
A rescue or TNR group will have havaheart traps you can use. They also have sources where the cheapest or free s/n are in your city where the vets are use to doing ferals. They will vaccinate them while they are under and check for fleas and mites. We do not test for FeLv or Fiv in ferals. You will have to decide that issue.

A male cat will have to stay in a trap or kennel for a day to recover. A female we keep 3 days since its more of an extensive surgery. We have tricks to getting food and water into the kennels while they are recovering. Litter box will be in kennel when they wake up and can have something to use.

Feeding outside cats: I would suggest putting the food up where they can jump to so they dont get picked off by coyotes. Take food up at night if you have raccoons in the area. Put out fresh water each day.

A lot of cities have Pet Pantries for those who are short on money. Our food bank takes in open bags of pet food which they give out to customers. Our TNR group supplies food for those taking care of colonies in our area. Check those resources in your area.

Im sure others will chime in to help with information.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
If you can only help one, it is still worth it.
That's a good point. Actually it would be better (for me) if there are only 2 or 3 stray cats that rely on me for support. As long as the cats I trap and s/n are territorial about the cat feeder so that I am only feeding cats that have been s/n then that would work.

I'm just worried about getting involved in something bigger than I can handle. I hate to start feeding the stray cats and be unable to trap them so that I have to stop feeding them.
 

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Im so glad your considering doing this. Let me ask you question which will help you to decide.

Im sure others will chime in to help with information.
Thanks, I talked to a coworker this morning who traps cats in his neighborhood in a different town. He said our county has a charity that loans the traps and s/n for free. (They normally charge a low fee.) If TNR is happening in my town it is probably low budget and small scale (nothing appears on the internet). I think I can ask the charity that performs the s/n if any groups are doing TNR in my town.

During the day there are a lot of people and vehicles in and out of the driveway, so I think the cats would only feed and be trapped at night. Someone in another thread recommended a cat feeder with a cone on the pole that allows cats but blocks raccoons.

What is the reason for not testing FeLv and Fiv? Are they expensive tests or does having those diseases mean the vet recommends killing the cat?

Also my house cat goes on the roof of my building. I want to be sure the stray cats can't jump from the cat feeder up onto the roof and fight with my cat. Of course I would need to keep my house cats shots up to date at all times.
 

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Google TNR then the name of your city and state and see what comes up. Also google cat rescue and call them to see. They might not be active in it but know people who are in your town.

A lot of times cat feed early morning and dusk. They will figure out your feeding schedule and begin to show up at that time.

If you are going to trap, set up an appt that you have set traps and apx how many you are going to bring in. Normally low cost s/n clinic realize cats dont always go in the traps so if you have to call in the morning to say you didnt get any it isnt a problem.

Bait your covered traps at dusk. Check them thru the night. If someone enters a trap, keep them covered in the trap and put them in your garage. They are probably going to have to recover from surgery in your garage too.

The trick is to have them in the trap the least amount of time as possible because it is extremely stressful to them. They will thrash around in the trap and try to get out. Have one end of the trap wired shut. Dont freak out at the cat thrashing in the trap. Remember you are doing them a good thing. They will no longer be driven to mark and protect territory. And the females will not have 3 litters a year which eventually destroys their health.

Be sure and put down plastic in your vehicle cuz they do pee. I buy the cheap $3 plastic padded picnic table cloths to put under the traps. Or use garbage bags.

There are apx 2% of feral cats with Felv or Fiv. You have to measure how many s/n you could do vs the extra cost testing for the felv and fiv. if a cat is very beat up looking we do test but that doesnt happen very often. Or if a feral comes in injured we test. If they do come up possitive you will be the one to make the decission to put them down. Plus snap tests are not always reliable so why do it unless it is necessary. These are just the conclusions we came to so do a bit of researcj and form your own opinion.
 

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Thanks :) That information helps me visualize what this would be like.

Imagine if a new unaltered cat joins the colony of s/n cats, and I stop feeding all the cats and put out a trap. Are the s/n cats wise to the trap so that only the newbie gets trapped?
 

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Yep. It's VERY unlikely that ferals who have been trapped once will ever be trapped again (they're scared enough of the traps to begin with and will avoid it completely if they've already been trapped). I have a lot of possums around my house and have always been worried that I'd trap one, but haven't managed to yet. :) If your cats are completely feral, there's a good chance that you will have to withhold food for a day or two to trap them. They have to be really hungry to go into to the traps. And it could take a few days to trap them. My TNR clinic does not require appointments for ferals, you can drop them off any day between 8 and 8:30 for that reason. It's impossible to do it on a schedule! And like M&T said, make sure you keep them covered once they are trapped with a sheet, towel, something that completely covers the trap. And I use a tarp I got at Home Depot in my car. They will spray/pee once trapped (especially males), so just be prepared for that.
 

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Thanks for the advice. :) I have a lot of concerns about my own ability to do TNR. I have one cat, and I worry about devoting time to strays and neglecting him. (That is probably silly.) Then I worry that I can't follow through and sustain the effort. Maybe I couldn't handle the trapping part. Also a few years ago there were two feral kittens orphaned after a hurricane that I was feeding and intended to keep as outdoor cats. (They wouldn't let me touch them yet, but they would play with a string.) People complained so much that I finally had to give them to the shelter.

So I need to get over these worries. Learning as much as possible should help with that.
 

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Are there restrictions on how many cats you can have where you are? Some cities do have those laws. The reason I ask is that if your neighbors complained before, they are likely to object again.

I like your idea of an elevated feeding station, it will certainly deter other critters.

Four years ago I decided to have a feral cat colony. I didn't have any feral cats, but I did have a barn that I set up for them. The local cat rescue organization gave me three feral cats to get me started and at one time I had as many as 10. (Some went to live with the neighbors and were welcomed, others moved in with me and became house cats. A few disappeared.)

It has been a great expericence. You say you are concerned about dividing your time with your own cat, but in fact, ferals need only the basics and it takes just a few minutes a day, if that is all you can manage. Good luck, you will never regret helping out these homeless cats.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Are there restrictions on how many cats you can have where you are? Some cities do have those laws. The reason I ask is that if your neighbors complained before, they are likely to object again.

I like your idea of an elevated feeding station, it will certainly deter other critters.

Four years ago I decided to have a feral cat colony. I didn't have any feral cats, but I did have a barn that I set up for them. The local cat rescue organization gave me three feral cats to get me started and at one time I had as many as 10. (Some went to live with the neighbors and were welcomed, others moved in with me and became house cats. A few disappeared.)

It has been a great expericence. You say you are concerned about dividing your time with your own cat, but in fact, ferals need only the basics and it takes just a few minutes a day, if that is all you can manage. Good luck, you will never regret helping out these homeless cats.
Thanks :) The problem I had adopting the kittens was not caused by regulations, but I wouldn't be surprised if there are some regulations about feeding stray cats. You can actually be arrested in my town for driving an unregistered bicycle. (It's never happened to me but it happened to one of my coworkers.)

I don't actually own the building (my mother does), and my brother and I operate a family business from this building. I live in the apartment of this building and in a year my mother plans to live with me too. It really surprised me, but everybody including the employees complained and griped about the orphan kittens. They were not litter box trained yet, and there was concern that the kittens might get run over by a truck or cause an employee to trip. So I finally took them to a shelter.

I assume that adult feral cats would simply stop by for their food in the evening and then leave, so the only issue might be the messiness of the feeding station. But I don't know.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
My mother brought up the issue of booster shots for the vaccines. How long do the vaccines last? I assume booster shots are impossible with feral cats normally.
 

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When you bring in your feral cats they will s/n, vaccinate with a rabies shot. Then tip the ear so you will be able to identify the cats that have already been s/n. You will not need to vaccinate once you've done the initial s/n.

As far as the feeding station. Place food and water there every day. Doing it at the same times help. Don't leave too much food around. It attracts raccoons or possums etc to the area. You really don't want raccoons around as they can be vicious towards feral cat and kill the babies.

We've managed to get raccoons in our traps. Its kinda scary cuz they are pissed when they are in there. I open the front and run! We found a Chihuahua dog once, in our trap.

You can move wild animals. I check with the wild life rehaber here and they said make sure you move raccoon atleast 10 miles from your home to a place with a lake and woods or places to live. Ive never relocated them though.

You should be aware that kill shelter which get in feral or unsocialized kittens will immediately kill them. Most shelters which support TNR no longer accept feral cats. Once your colony is s/n you wont have the issue of kittens.

If kittens do show up I would removed them from the feral moms between 4-6 weeks old so the mom doesnt teach them feral ways. Either you or work with a rescue or foster group which will take the kittens to socialize them to get them adopted out as indoor only.

If you dont remove the kittens then when they are about 4-5 months old trap them and get them s/n, vaccinations and tipped ear because they can start reproducing at 7 months old. You want to arrest that cycle of kittens being produced.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
When you bring in your feral cats they will s/n, vaccinate with a rabies shot. Then tip the ear so you will be able to identify the cats that have already been s/n. You will not need to vaccinate once you've done the initial s/n.

As far as the feeding station. Place food and water there every day. Doing it at the same times help. Don't leave too much food around. It attracts raccoons or possums etc to the area. You really don't want raccoons around as they can be vicious towards feral cat and kill the babies.

We've managed to get raccoons in our traps. Its kinda scary cuz they are pissed when they are in there. I open the front and run! We found a Chihuahua dog once, in our trap.

You can move wild animals. I check with the wild life rehaber here and they said make sure you move raccoon atleast 10 miles from your home to a place with a lake and woods or places to live. Ive never relocated them though.

You should be aware that kill shelter which get in feral or unsocialized kittens will immediately kill them. Most shelters which support TNR no longer accept feral cats. Once your colony is s/n you wont have the issue of kittens.

If kittens do show up I would removed them from the feral moms between 4-6 weeks old so the mom doesnt teach them feral ways. Either you or work with a rescue or foster group which will take the kittens to socialize them to get them adopted out as indoor only.

If you dont remove the kittens then when they are about 4-5 months old trap them and get them s/n, vaccinations and tipped ear because they can start reproducing at 7 months old. You want to arrest that cycle of kittens being produced.
Thanks for that info. I want to learn as much as possible so if I try to do this it will work.
:kittyball
 

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Regarding raccoons (or skunks) in traps. Our TNR folks take a long handled tool like a shovel so that they can release the door without standing right next to it.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Regarding raccoons (or skunks) in traps. Our TNR folks take a long handled tool like a shovel so that they can release the door without standing right next to it.
Thanks :) I suppose if I could put the trap on the post in place of the feeder if it is removable. Then only the cats can jump on to the platform to be trapped? I am also concerned about rats and ants getting into the food.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Two weeks ago and then again yesterday a neighbor found a dead cat behind his building. I won't go into the details, but apparently somebody is killing cats in my neighborhood.

This makes me wonder if I would make the feral cats more vulnerable by setting up a feeding station. Any opinions?
 

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Do a police report.

I would still feed them and keep an eye on it. Have a camera on it too if you can.

Sick people that kill cats. Makes me so sad hearing that.
 
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