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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,
My wife and I are in process of rescuing a feral cat. She appears to be young and maybe has been around humans before.
She started hanging around a couple months ago and would sit on top of the cement block wall that seperates our house from the neighbors. She would sit there and just stare into our kitchen. We thought she was the neighbors, who are from Russia(?) and are nice people so we started calling her Sasha.
If we went out the back door she would run away. We started feeding her and slowly over 6 weeks befriended her, she now lets us hold her and pet her, she demands to be petted and scratched.
She spends all day in our back yard, mostly sleeping on our patio furniture.
She will NOT come in the house! If you pick her up and try to pack her in the house she starts squirming half way in the door so we turn back and don't force her. She is a friendly cat and never bites or scratches.
I bought a pet carrier and lined it with old towels and started feeding her in it, she goes right in and eats but comes right back out when she is done, she never goes in it except to eat.
Now she spends her nights on the neighbors side of the cement block wall and sleeps in a pile of tires. We would love for her to sleep in the pet carrier and or our house.
I see articles here about building shelters for ferals / strays. Great, nice idea, but how do you get the cat to sleep in it?
We plan on taking her to the vet soon and have her spayed, we know she isn't , and get her the shots, dewormed, etc, whatever the vet reccomends.
What is our next step? We can't figure out how to get her in the house or pet carrier.
We are hesitant to trap her in the carrier then take her to the vet, I guess we are afraid when we get her back and let her go she will run and not come back.
Thanks!
Bob
 

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Sasha is a cute name for such a pretty lady! I say give her a few weeks and see if she sticks around. You'll have to start feeding her closer to the house to get her accustomed.
Also, I don't think the trap will prevent her from coming back, if she knows there's food, she will be back.

Do you guys have a patio, lanai, or any enclosed area that she can wander to?
You will probably have better luck getting her to come inside during the day since they like to roam at night.
If you live in a colder state, make sure to leave out a lined box with blankets so she can retain heat.

My cat Maddie was a stray, I fed her since she was about 4 months and eventually she warmed up the idea of coming inside, but not for long periods of time.

Even now that she's 2, she rarely stays the night inside, she will sleep in our lanai we built a cat door and she comes and goes.
Good luck you both- Sasha is adorable.
 

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The fact you can touch her that much is a VERY positive sign. It took months and months to get our old darling Princess Tramp to venture inside - despite her already rescued brother encouraging her. Once she ventured in, she turned into a total darling and the utter matriarch of our current pride (long outliving her brother and her best friend).
 

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You could try using a humane trap. Just google TNR and you'll find links for where to buy/rent/borrow traps and how to use them.

You'll have to feed her in the trap for at least a week to get her used to going in and out of it. Once she's comfortable you can set it. After that you can get her into the house or garage or transfer her to a carrier.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
It's supposed to get cold tonight, 35f. My man concern was getting her to
sleep , hang out in something warm since she won't come in the house.
We have been using her pet carrier to feed her in, trying to get her to stay in it instead of the neighbors tires. She had no problem going in to eat but would leave when done. It was chillier today than normal, I took a heating pad and put it in her carrier with a towel over it, there was already a pad in the bottom with a towel over that. I fed her in it and she stayed in it!! She must really like that heat. She was in it most of the day and we are hoping she spends the night in there. I kept checking the heating pad at first making sure the temp was OK and that it didn't shut itself off after 2 hours or something.
It just got dark and she is still in her little heated house :) She would normally be off to her tire pile by now.
 

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Bless you for taking care of Sasha! You started out saying you thought she belonged to the neighbors. You have verified she doesn't?
Many cats, especially ones that have fended for themselves, will not stay in a place that only has one opening. If a predator were to come, they'd be trapped. You might try finding a box that is big enough, cut out the bottom, put cushy stuff inside a drape a blanket over it. If it is in a place it could get wet a tarp, or plastic on top. Just enough opening for her to see getting in and out of.
Since she goes in the carrier, is she comfortable with you there when she's inside(?) you don't need a trap. I know it's scary that she might be scared of the carrier after that, but a live trap is scary. Kinda loud when it snaps closed.
I would recommend, when you bring her back from being spayed, put her in a room, or secure space.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
My wife talked to the neighbors. They thought it was our cat :)
I told my wife before she went that is exactly what they would say.
She is not relaxed when she is in the heated carrier, it was 34 f this morning
and she goes in there but does not sleep deeply. I'm sure she doesn't like the one entrance but it gives her somewhere to go that is warm.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Sasha has come a long way this week.
She loves her carrier, we have it outside by the back door, it is under the covered patio. She sleeps there every night and is kind of possessive about her little house, if we reach in to check the heating pad temp or take the towels out and give them a shake she gets real close and watches every move..
The big news is that she comes in our house now and acts like she owns
the place :) She is inside from about 6:00 PM until midnight, then my wife , the early bird lets her in at 4:30 AM until about 8:30 AM .
Next Wednesday, 2 / 10 , she has an appointment to get spayed, wormed and shots, this will be a lot of firsts for her, she has never been in a car, never been carried around, moved in her carrier , she is afraid of other cats and well, she's
afraid of everything. My plan is to cover her carrier with a towel and hope for the best.
 

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Sounds like things are going well - fingers crossed they continue to do so!

She is a very pretty tabby!
 

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So awesome! Not surprised she takes over ownership of the house.:lol:
It's sad that the whole vet experience will be rough on her, but you are only doing it to keep her as healthy as possible. I still recommend a room for her to convalesce in. She'll need to be quiet after surgery and stitches. Have to make sure she doesn't hurt herself. It will be so much better since she has been in the house and is comfortable!
You must be so happy that she has decided to accept you as her family. You have been chosen! She will forgive you.:wink:
 

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Bob, I'm SO happy to hear she's coming around! Sasha is so lucky to have you and your wife who care so much for her. It warms my heart to come onto the forum and read about great people helping cats. :D I hope everything goes smoothly with her spay! <3
 

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I am *so* envious. I cannot catch my feral. I'd love to make him a house cat, but I like my hands and arms and body too, so holding him long enough to confine him is just a dream. He's not interested in the traps, he was trapped before and is very suspicious.

Best of luck with the spay, they can be tricky enough for tame house cats - I think the incision must itch for they don't want to leave it alone, always doing their best to remove those stitches. :(
 

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Discussion Starter #16
It's just my wife and I in the house so it is easy to keep it quiet.
When we first started feeding her, actually just leaving food out , we learned to not make any quick moves and generally keep things quiet and calm and we continue with that.
She is getting more and more relaxed in the house . I have never seen such an affectionate cat, she just demands to be petted and scratched, in the evening she moves back and forth to me and Karen, a little petting and scratching from one then back to the other couch for more , back and forth for 20 minutes or so. If Karen gets up she "steals" her couch, she can stretch out and take up as much room as a human :)
Thanks for all the nice words!
 

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That is so awesome that she is coming around so quickly. Just one thing that I was thinking, just so you don't get your heart broken, I would try to not let her out at night, even if she protests. She will get used to being in. I have a feral that lives in my garage during the winter, and as she gets older she stays in there more and more, or on our screened porch. Before she started staying inside, she had many times that another cat would mess with her, and she would come back beat up. Also, as she gets older, she sleeps really, really soundly, and I worry that something is going to get this poor old girl. Hopefully you can get Sasha to stay in at least all night, where she will be safer.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
Yes our plan is to keep her in at night. She will have no problem staying inside, she is usually stretched out on a couch sleeping hard when I put her out. We are getting a littler box today . A week ago when she slept in the house it wasn't a deep sleep and she would wake up at any noise or movement, she is way more relaxed already.
She is at the vet right now, we will get her back early afternoon today.
We were surprised how calm she was getting locked in her carrier, packed to the car, 15 minute car trip then all the new noises and smells at the vets . She was quiet and relaxed until we got into the vets but even then she was just on alert, her eyes were big and looking around, but she wasn't panicking, I had a big towel over the carrier most of the time. I put one of my old t-shirts on my wife's pillow like a pillow case for 2 nights then put that in the carrier this morning.
 

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Well you are doing all the right things! Lucky you! I hope your girl won't pull out her stitches, that's one thing they may try.

I tried today to bring in my feral as the temps were to be hovering around zero F which is just too cold. And I now have bloody scratches and bandages to show for my effort. Needless to say, he got away. I failed. :(
 

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Discussion Starter #20
eldercat have you tried a heating pad outside?
I couldn't get Sasha to sleep in the pet carrier until I put a heating pad in it,
then she loved it. Good luck!

Saha's spay went well today, when I got her home she was high as a kite
from the drugs and staggered around and avoided contact,but she did eat, this lasted for about 2 hours. She is almost back to normal and has been sleeping
for about 4 hours now, she rolls over and changes position and opens her eyes and looks around then goes back to sleep. Tired, lots of stress for her today.
Even though she acted good I know it was a stressful experience for her.
 
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