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Hi guys and gals,

My name is Mike, I live in NY.

I'm hoping you can help me. My wife and I moved into a new home recently, found two kittens and have been feeding them outside from time to time for about the past 3 to 4 months.

At first we provided milk, meats, scraps, etc and then moved onto wet cat food. The two kittens are about 4 months now, they're friendly, come up to us once in a while but are still somewhat skiddish. I've noticed their tail is up when around us most of the time as of late.

My wife and I would like to take one as a pet. We're just afraid of letting the cat loose in the house and don't know what to expect. In addition and more importantly, we don't know what the cat could have wrong with them and if they could pass something onto us as we're afraid of that. Not to mention the general cat stuff like jumping on top of table tops, scratching our leather seats and couch. Along with the cat using a litterbox.


What I'd really like to do is take one of the cats as a pet and find a good home for the other. I'm hoping you can advise me on how to accomplish this. I've already trapped them before one by one in a pet carrying cage designed to take to a dog to the vet. I let them go because my wife at the time felt different about taking them. I feel that I could be able to do it again by placing food in the cage. I've left the cage out there outside and place food in there some times just so they can get accustomed.

Physically the cats seem perfectly fine to us now. They on occassion could sneeze (maybe a cold?) and just lick/groom themselves which seems normal. Other than that, when they were little (1-2 months) we noticed eye swelling and mucus coming out from the eyes of both cats. They're fine now though from what we can tell since we see them every day. They practically live in my yard, even sleep on top of our table together, they're so cute.

The mother kitty does still come out to us once in and a while but she is aggressive towards the kittens, she hisses/attacks/scratches them over the food we put out there. I've also seen a raccoon as big as 4 cats in the yard two nights so I'm worried about that as well.

Thanks for your time and god bless you for what you and this forum does here. I feel horrible for these poor cats, especially its getting cold now. These two snuggle together just to keep warm each night. I want to give them good homes. Again, please advise, please help.

Thanks,

-Mike T.
 

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With colder weather coming you should take them inside or get them to someone who will. I assume the mother is a feral cat and can fend for herself. We took in an abandoned kitten (about eight months old when we fond her) and she is very good in the house. Of course your experience may vary, especially with two.
 

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Hey tgw, that's exactly how I feel. I spoke with my wife and we have decided to take them both as pets. I've never had cats before as a pet so I don't know what to expect. I'm afraid of the standard things that most people are afraid of such as scratching furniture, litterbox, etc. My main concerns are the health of the kittens.

I'm not going to declaw as I feel thats a horrible thing to do so I will be trimming and using the plastic clips for claws. I just feel overwhelmed taking two cats, especially since i don't know what to expect.

I would take them into the house now from the cold but since they haven't seen a vet, I'm afraid that isn't safe... is it? Both kitties are nice to my wife and I. They even play, sniff our hands. They have scratched us a little but nothing major. I assume they don't have rabies or anything serious since I appear to be fine.

It just sucks that the vet isn't 24 hours. I'm hoping someone can advise on what I should do. Thanks again.

-mtsymbal
 

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Welcome!

I'm very new to this forum also, but will try my best to answer some of your questions. :)

As far as I know (I am not a vet, nor have I studied diseases extensively), most cat diseases aren't transmittable to humans, and for the ones that are, you would be seeing symptoms or the cats would be looking ill. An occasional sneeze is okay. When I foster for the shelter, the guidelines are that if I hear the cats sneeze less than 3 times a day, I should not be concerned.

So far as them jumping on things they aren't supposed to, I use a squirt bottle to train mine. A quick spritz and a loud "No" when they're somewhere they shouldn't be usually does the trick. On the furniture/leather that is "claw sensitive," make sure you have a blanket or cover over them before you let the cats in, until you have them trained to stay off the furniture.

Box training can vary a lot. Cats instinctively want to bury their waste, but cats who are used to going outside would need to be shown how to use a cat box. With my fosters (I've had both kittens with no experience and adults who have never used a cat box before), I put them in a small and clean space with a laminated floor (laundry room or bathroom works great). They want to bury it, so you have to make sure that they don't have other "options" besides the litter box. To a cat, a pile of laundry or a bath towel on the floor can seem like a great place to "bury" their little presents. There are usually at least a few mistakes (I've had some who never had any, but most miss a few times, and some take several days or weeks to figure it out), which is why whatever space they are in should have a floor that is easy to clean.

Also, spaying or neutering can be helpful.

My concern is that you only want to keep one. If the kittens are several months old now, they are very bonded to each other. I am not sure if splitting them up would be good for their mental health. I've never split up siblings more than 10-12 weeks old, but I have heard others advise against it. I understand you only wanting one, I just worry about splitting up two close, older siblings.
 

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good advice has been given so far. Kittens have a lot of energy. Taking both might be EASIER on you and your wife. There will be times when you want to sleep and the kitten wants to play. This way they're already accustomed to one another, and they have a built-in playmate. This will likely work out better for you in the long run. Bored cats often get into things they shouldn't. Taking them in together means they can play with each other and not your leather furniture!

My kitten wasn't feral or stray, but he never had a litter box mishap. He's about 8 months old now (I've had him for almost 6 months) and he's never missed. Once they understand what it's for, it should be pretty smooth sailing. As they're learning, if you find some waste outside the box, scoop it up and put it in the box so they can smell where it is and clean the area really well.

I definitely recommend spaying/neutering as soon as humanly possible. Even if you decide not to keep both, if you have the funds, it would be great to do both of them. accidents happen especially outdoors. At 4 months, it's still on the early side, but they could mature very soon and you might find a pregnant kitty on your hands. 6 months was the general rule, but some have found it happening sooner!
 

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I wouldn't worry about the disease issue too much. Just make sure you wash your hands well after dealing with the litter, as some parasites (like roundworms) are cross-species transmissible. My kitten, Bear, came from an outdoor feral colony and so had never used a litter box... he took to it right away, though. He will occasionally go near it instead of in it, but I've figured out that it's only when he thinks the box is too dirty, so when I keep it clear he has no problems. I was warned to watch out if I had any house plants, as former outdoor cats will sometimes use those as a litter box, but fortunately my own ones are so small that it couldn't be done. As far as the scratching, make sure you get at least one scratching post and trim the claws regularly... my two kittens have been fine with just trimming (I put caps on Bear once but haven't bothered to reapply them since they fell off as he's not really causing problems). As for keeping the kittens off the furniture, if I'm there when they're on it I just yell "No" and remove them... it's not a perfect system but they will at least generally stay off things now if I'm around to yell about it.
 

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Thanks everyone for your advice and suggestions. As this is all new to me, it is hard. I just really care about these cats and fell inlove with them so your time and help is greatly appreciated. I also have to say this is a very welcoming forum and seems like a very nice community. Thank you for accepting me and providing your assistance. :wolfie

My wife and I decided to take both cats. I called North Shore Animal Leauge of America which has a weekend vet. Below are the fee's and what we discussed briefly. Unfortunately I'm at work and don't have much time but this is what I was able to gather. Any advice or suggestions is greatly appreciated, thanks again.

This is for one cat.

Spay/Neuter:
$68.00 for inital visit, anesthesia test and some general blood work.
$50.00 for anesthesia
$75.00 for the actual spay/neuter procedure
$10.00 for a cone to place on the head for 10 days to prevent from licking/scratching the area

Shots:
$14.00 - Rabies
$20.00 - Booster shot (tetnus) - On first visit
$20.00 - Booster shot - (forgot name) On second visit
$20.00 - Booster shot - (forgot name) On third visit

FIV/FLIV testing:
$40.00

Trim claws:
$10.00


So this will technically be double the costs you see above since we will take in both cats. Even though it's painful, I realize I'm saving two lives and that makes it more worth it. You can't put a price value on a life.

My concern is still bringing these cats from outside into the house as my wife and I don't want to contract something from them. The lady I spoke with at North Shore suggested I lock them in my bathroom to keep them isolated until they get used to things. In addition, it'll prevent fleas and any diseases from spreading if any.

I really want to let them in the house and just let them start living with us. I just don't want them walking around everywhere when they're in a "contaminated" state. I realize that they won't be rid of fleas, worms, etc right away so that's something I'll have to accept and deal with. I just worry about it. Yes, I admit I am a bit of a worry freak.

So I guess my big question is, is it safe to bring them and let them roam around my apartment duplex or should I lock them in a bathroom? Then my even bigger concern is what are the risks?

Thanks again for your time and help.

-Mike T.
 

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my mother inlaw has at last count 8 or so she took in as strays. She took them and had them fixed (whichever applies). So far has no problems with them they are just shy to strangers. One she has she believes belonged to somebody who passed away and the cat was let out into the wild to fend for himself is a black persian who is one of the best cats ever. They are let out into a fenced yard and they are doing great.
 

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Well, I'm not sure how this going to work out. I think I won't take the cats afterall...

I came home tonight, my wife and I decided to place the food inside our home. We closed the door behind them where only the screen door was closed. They ate inside and all was fine. I went upstairs and left them eating while my wife was on the couch about 20 feet far from distance.

While eating, one of the cats stops, looks back, runs for the door and just freaked out because the cat realized the screen door was closed. The cat started meowing extremely loud, scratching the screen door and even climbed it to about 7 feet high... till the tip of the door. I told my wife not to touch him and or do anything. I stayed up stairs and told her that he will eventually stop. We waited about 2 minutes and it continued until he then just fell, he was fine and then was just scratching the door and was meowing extremely loudly. He was meowing so loud that we didn't want to continue to disturb the neighboors so my wife let him out. He ran out of the house but stayed by the rug.

We closed the door and the cat returned to our window. The other cat was slightly freaking out during this time by scratching the door as well but was much calmer. When my wife opened the door and was holding it for them, the calm cat approached and sniffed my wife and then left outside.

We closed the door and then found the freaked out cat sitting at our window. We normally see them sitting at our window. We approached him and he didn't freak out. We opened the window, played with him and fed him... he was fine. That's the strange part, it was the one who freaked out that was sitting there playing with us. It's like he wants to be with us but is scared to leave his comfort zone.

A little background about this cat. He is the push-over cat. The other cat always beats on him and pushes him out of the way. He is very passive. He is just a scared cat in general from what we can tell. However he strangely does approach us. He and the other cat will scratch our hands, sniff them and seems as if may even eat from our hands.

I realize this is going to take tons of work. I just don't know how to do this and plead for help. I honestly think this is not for me. I want to save their lives. However, I worry for my own well being such as them freaking out in the house and disturbing neighboors. In addition to my other concerns that I mentioned before. I don't want to be thrown out of my place where I rent because of these cats. Especially because my next door neighbor hates cats and would possibly report me. Yes, there are no pets allowed. Though seeing that cats are quiet than dogs, I thought I could get away with it.

Now my wife and I feel as if we should not take them because it's clearly too much of a responsibility. I'm sorry to say that but now I'm feeling like maybe this isn't for me.

SIGH

I wish things were different and easier. I want to be a cat pet owner but not like this. I've had a dog before and all was fine. Never had a cat before and I'm not liking what I'm seeing from these incidents.

Maybe this isn't for me afterall... I don't know.
 
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