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Discussion Starter #1
Hello all!

We've been in our neighborhood for a year and for at least that long, there's been a very friendly stray cat. My fiancee named her Annie. We both love the cat but my mother is severely allergic. Sometimes she has a reaction to people who have cats without knowing that they have them. She also lives in the area and we see her frequently.

More recently we've begun to feed Annie. She wasn't responding to wet food but when we tried dry, she ate. She's very affectionate. Now that we've begun leaving food out for her we see her more frequently, sometimes more than once a day. Because of my mother's allergies we can't take her in. We're also renters and we'll eventually have to move.

As much as it pains us, I feel that the best thing we can do for Annie is to bring her to a no-kill shelter. She's clearly very good with people, just waiting for someone to take her in. We both would like to be able to keep her outside, to provide a shelter for her, make sure she she's well-fed and sees a vet when needed. But we cannot take her inside and we live just outside of Boston, MA where winter is, well, wintery.

Caring for Annie has meant a lot to both my fiancee and myself. The situation is very hard for us.

When we first saw her, we noticed that she seemed to be shedding a lot and her belly seemed to be distended. I don't think she still has a distended belly, and she seems to be shedding less since we've begun feeding her, but from what I've read the two symptoms could be indicative of a parasite.

We have the option, as I understand it, to take her in for a checkup and have her registered to us, or take her to a shelter and surrender her. If it's at all important, more recently my fiancee saw her with another cat that's much more timid. Annie saw my fiancee go out onto the porch and ran to her. The other cat stayed back.

Any thoughts or opinions on our situation and our options would be greatly appreciated. We want what's best for Annie, and it will be hard if we have to let her go.

--Catless
 

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First off, what a great thing you're doing. I'm sure Annie appreciates having you in her life. :)

I think you have a few more options available to you. Definately trap her, if you can, and take her to the vet to get the treated (and spayed!)

It sounds like you current situation is working so far. Do you have the option to provide her a heated place to hide in the winters, or even just an enclosed shelter to get her out of the wind?

If you can find a no-kill shelter that will take her, that's definitely a good option. But if you can't find a good place that will rehome her, you could also just continue on as you have. When the time comes for you to move, you could take her with you, maybe?

I'm not overly familiar with the rules regarding registration for treating strays, and other people here will have better advice on that front, but I think getting her to a vet is a first step. Her belly may mean pregnancy. :(
 

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if you can find a no-kill shelter that would take her that of course would be the best thing. in the meantime you should definitely get her to a vet and if there is no room at any local shelters just keep doing what you are doing. if she is still there when winter is approaching there are numerous housing options available for her. try to get a house set up well before she might need it so that she can familiarize herself with it.

there is no mention of feral cats in MA law so you do not need to worry about having to register her with your local municipality.
 

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Do you mind if I ask where outside of Boston you are? Not specifically, but north of the city, metro west, south shore, etc.? I'm also outside of Boston (north) and I know there are a few feral cat rescue groups that may be able to help, or at least give you some guidance.
 

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When you move will your mom move with you?

It would be great if you had the encouragement of a TNR group in your area while dealing with getting Annie vet care and spayed. Groups that work with ferals are in the know of which vets work often with ferals. Most cost effective route to get any medical issues under control. Plus they might have a foster home she could go to esp if you had her vetted. Most TNR groups function on a shoe string. They depend on donations to keep those spay/neuters happening. Does Annie have a tipped ear?

Most of all I want to thank you for befriending and feeding this abandoned cat. You guys have big hearts. Sounds like she has your heart all ready. Ferals and abandoned cats live diffacult lives. Youve made Annies easier
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Hey M&T,

My mom doesn't live with us. She's just close and we see her quite a bit. We'll be staying in the area for at least another 5 years. We may relocate but it would be in the same general area, just closer to the city. I looked up ear tipping and I think Annie's ear is intact.
 

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Thought Id come back and clarify. It might have sounded like I was saying get info help from your local TNR group and not us. We are glad you are here to get info. All of us will be glad to coach you and brain storm with you. If you have people local that is a bonus. Most of us here had to learn on our own. Its always easier when you have people and places to get help. Wether on the internet or local people. Please continue to pick our brains. Plus keep us posted on sweet Annie!
 

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If you have trouble with no-kill shelters, I know of a rescue group that does TNR and also lap fosters kitties in need of homes (abandoned, semi-ferals that can be "tamed", etc. Let me know if you are interested - they are in the 495 area ...
 

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If your mom doesn't live with you I'm not sure I understand why this is an issue. There are still ways around her allergies; I'm not saying you should just tell her to deal with it, severe allergies aren't something you can ignore. However, if you were to keep a change of clothes in the car in plastic bags and change after you left you wouldn greatly reduce the allergens. You could offer to meet somewhere other than her home, so any allergens you brought with you wouldn't stay on her furniture, ect.

I find it very difficult to believe that none of her friends and aquaintances own cats, if they do then they have obviously found ways to get around her allergy. Why couldn't you use the same tricks?

If her allergies are truly very severe then she probably wouldn't be able to come to your home, but like I said there is always options.

There are also quite a few things you could do to reduce the number of allergens your cat produces. If you feed a high quality food and groom her regularly then it will help her to have less allergens on her, and so you'll have less on you. That could help solve half the issue.
 

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If you have trouble with no-kill shelters, I know of a rescue group that does TNR and also lap fosters kitties in need of homes (abandoned, semi-ferals that can be "tamed", etc. Let me know if you are interested - they are in the 495 area ...
You are such a great resource. Im so glad you saw Catlessinmass posting. Im hoping Annie finds an indoor home! Wouldnt that be great!!!
 

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Princessbear,

Thanks. I found a group that serves Waltham, The Cat Connection. Is that the one you were thinking of? We'll probably try contacting them. It sounds like in addition to TNR they try to find permanent homes. I once volunteered in a no-kill shelter and felt awful about the way the cats were kept in crates most of the time. That's one thing that bothered me about the idea of sending Annie to a shelter. But if I'm right about this org, we'd be able to foster her as we have been until they found folks that could take her in.


Librarychick,

I hear where you're coming from. My sister once had a cat. It was her ex-boyfriend's. Before my mom visited them she had the whole home professionally cleaned and the cat stayed elsewhere. My mom still couldn't stay in the space for very long because it triggered her allergies.

Maybe she does have friends with cats but not sons with cats. I'm from a very close-knit family and couldn't stand being unable to have my folks over at my home. Taking in the cat isn't an option. Gotta put family first.
 

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Maybe try reaching out to the Merrimack River Feline Rescue Society (MRFRS) or Charles River Alleycats (CRA) to see if they know of any TNR operations in your area. At the very least they should be able to give you tips on how to keep the cat cared for while it's outside. Good luck!
 

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Sorry, I just saw your post. The Cat Connection in Waltham seems like a really good group. I actually almost adopted from them a few years ago when I was still living in Waltham. I ended up adopting from another group, but they were really great when I went to meet a couple of their cats in foster care.
 

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No, one cannot ALWAYS get around allergies. My Dad was so allergic he would have an attack just huging me if I had any cat hair on my clothing when I visited him in his own home. I always had to stop in the downstairs bathroom to change clothing before I could go into the house to hug my Dad or he would have a severe allergy attack.
 
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