Cat Forum banner
1 - 3 of 3 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Hi!

Looking for a bit of advice on our specific situation.

My wife and I moved into our current house last September. We first noticed a few cats hiding in the garden out back and gradually started to feed them. Some of them have become regulars as we now feed them pretty regularly about twice a day, with the odd occasional treat. I’d say the colony is about 10-strong, with about 4-5 regulars and the rest being occasional cats we might see every few days.

They’re all adults, and all ear-clipped (apart from one we’re trying to trap with the local rescue) - seems like a relatively healthy colony and we suspect there might be someone else nearby also feeding some of them. For context we live in a road of terraced houses in the UK - so all the houses essentially form a ring around all the back gardens which are all connected by fences, with the cats being able to wander from garden to garden as they please (except for the ones some neighbours added spikes to to ward them off!)

Some days the cats are braver but they usually scram when we open the back door to bring out food, and half-hide until we put the food down and leave. If we leave the door open though, a few of them will come inside the house and look around/beg for food scraps while watching us eat dinner. We don’t have any other pets so will usually treat them with small pieces of meat! A few of them even come right up to us and take food from our hands. They may even flop down on their side, groom, stretch and sit inside close by while we watch tv. But at the slightest movement or sign of getting up - they fall over each other to run back out to the garden.

This begs my first question - do they sound like actual ferals, or semi ferals with a good chance of indoor adoption? They mostly don’t allow touch but are quite happy to sit right by us in the living room.

A couple of them mostly stay close by in our garden 95% of the time. It’s a small patio garden - we’re never more than 6-10ft away. One of these is a girl we both just fell in love with. She’s quite shy and nervous, and all the others swat her down if she tries to cut in line for feeding or is standing too close to where there’s food - we think she’s at the bottom of the pecking order… or at least gets treated that way.

She’s always ravenous, and if there aren’t any/many other cats around she’ll even let me rub her head and neck while she’s distracted by eating chicken bites off the floor. But again - any considerable movement and she runs away. If we ever pass by the kitchen there’s a good chance she’ll be at the window just staring in at us, licking her lips if we make eye contact and/or come close to the back door, at which she’ll be standing eager to be fed.

We just love her! And ultimately want what’s best for her. Which is why we keep debating what is best. We’re only renting this place and will likely only stay another year or two before moving away. While we can’t adopt them all, the thought of leaving this one behind is heartbreaking.

On one hand, the colony seems like it was self-sufficient before we got here and despite overhearing some of the neighbours complain about people feeding them - the colony might just continue to survive for the foreseeable future with or without us.

But on the other hand, we’d find it really sad not knowing this girl’s fate - if people stop feeding them or if there’s illness, accident or injury down the line… can’t even think about it. We have an inexplicable affection toward her and would love to make sure she has guaranteed shelter and food and veterinary access for years to come. For what it’s worth, one male cat we’re trying to trap has a paw injury, and it doesn’t seem like anyone else besides us has been trying to get him help.

Now - given that this is the only life she knows, is it cruel or unfair to force her to live indoors with us? We don’t want to be selfish just because we want her to be our cat. We’d happily keep feeding her/them as we are. Especially as a few are now probably relying on us… but we know we are only living here temporarily. I get the feeling that her priority is shelter and DEFINITELY food, both of which we can easily provide, but just don’t know if she’d always be stressed and scared being indoors against her will.

Appreciate any advice!

Thanks
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
229 Posts
Hello Msantana. You and your wife are such wonderfully kind people for caring so much about your outdoor family! My guess is that they're semi-feral since they do interact with you, but don't know it they'd be adoptable or not. It sounds like the other cats in the colony will be okay when you move, but you could notify the shelter you're working with so they could keep an eye on them . And I would definitely try to take the little girl with you.

You could start now by introducing her to the inside of your home. Start by offering her treats while she's near the outside of the doorway, and very slowly give her the treats closer to the inside of the doorway until she's eating them inside your house. Then use the treats to gradually bring her further and further inside until she's in the main part of your house. Talk to her softly and keep the door open so she can escape if she wants. When she's comfortable taking treats all the way inside, close the door and see how she does. If she wants out, let her out, if not, let her explore. It may take several days or several weeks, but be patient and let her decide what she wants to do.

After that, you could set up a litterbox, put a cat tree by a window, get some wand toys, and have regularly scheduled meals so she'll get used to being inside for fun activities with you and your wife. And she should be seen by a Vet asap for a complete physical, shots, and spaying. Good luck and let us know how things are going!

Note: There's a youtube channel I enjoy watching by Walter Santi who runs an indoor/outdoor cat sanctuary from his home. Check it out if you like.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
290 Posts
I have known more than one person who brought in a particularly appealing and rather tame semi-feral cat from a colony that lived nearby and in both cases it worked out fine. I think if you are inclined to do this, you should go ahead, especially as you know you will move and want to take her with you.

One of my friends who did this continued feeding the colony the same, but did not let them come into the house because, as in your situation, they would bully the indoor cat.
The other one still lets the feral cats come in if they want to. I guess it all depends on what is comfortable for you and your cat. Personally, I would keep the others out of the house if you decide to adopt this one cat, as I think it makes things simpler.

I wish you the very best of luck! (and what a lucky little cat that one is, to have you wanting to be her people)
 
1 - 3 of 3 Posts
Top