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Discussion Starter #1
First of all I guess I should provide some background. My neighborhood is home to a feral cat colony who seem to do pretty well for themselves. There's several people in the neighborhood who feed them. And I should say, never had a cat, and only know the basics so I apologize in advance.

I think the cat we've been feeding, dubbed Scully by my sister, used to be a pet at some point. We first noticed her (or him, no one has gotten close enough to check) because she was eating the seeds and corn dropped from the bird feeder. We figured she was desperate if she was eating seeds and dry corn, and we started giving her a couple scraps of meat. Bought some real cat food and been feeding her. She's shy and would hide under a car or in the drain if she saw someone coming toward her. But she's quickly becoming more used to us, this morning she was waiting by the front door for her food. And she let me sit a few feet away. Her fur is kinda dirty plus no one is answering my found ads, so I'm guessing she doesn't have a home to go back to.

I don't think she's feral, she doesn't hang with the feral gang and seems to be doing worse for herself than the feral cats. But on to my questions:

1. His/her left ear is missing the tip. It looks like a clean cut and I'm wondering if it's simply an old injury or if she was captured as part as a TNR program. I'm not really sure how to check. I'm not sure if this a good thing or not? On one hand she/he would already be neutered but would this mean she/he was deemed unadoptable?

2. Winters here aren't horrible, but they aren't pleasant. It gets below freezing and we get at least a dusting of snow each winter, usually more. I wanted to think about some sort of shelter for her. My father's worried it will attract the feral cats. He doesn't like the feral cats because they kill the birds at the feeder. Not really sure if it's possible to deter the feral cats without scaring off Scully as well. But I may need to convince him on that. Any advice on a DIY shelter?

3. Long term I'm hoping to find a home for her or find a no kill shelter that'll take her. 2 years ago I took a kitten that was dumped to a no kill shelter that took him readily but he was 1. a kitten and 2. very friendly. I'm not sure if I'll have the same luck with her. Any advice on finding her a home?

4. Anything else I should know/do?

Thank you, this turned out longer than I expected. :oops: Oh and a description because why not; Scully is completely black, green eyes and slightly fluffy fur.
 

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My heart just broke reading this :( Is there any way you could consider keeping him and making him a pet? Him already being fixed is a big plus, and that means he/she also has been vaccinated also, so you won't have that expense. Probably just some flea treatment. He would be so grateful to have a home. He sounds like he is really desperate to be saved. Cats are really pretty easy. Black cats are my absolute favorites. I have a black cat that is the most special cat. He was a stray that we saved on a cold rainy December day.

No chance you could keep him? Even temporarily until you could find him a home?
 

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If Scully was someone's pet, it shouldn't take too long for him/her (I'll go with her) to start trusting you more. As long as you don't try to approach her, she should get more and more used to you and come closer on her own.

The ear tip, though, would indicate that she's been fixed through a TNR program - maybe mistaken for a feral. It's pretty unlikely that an injury would be a clean cut. Do you know if the feral colony is managed by a TNR group (do any of the cats have tipped ears)?

If there's no shed or garage, do you have a place that's somewhat enclosed or shielded from the rain, like a deck, where you could put a little shelter?

If you do a search for cat shelters on this forum, you'll turn up some really good DIY ideas, photos, and links to useful how-to videos. A plastic storage container turned on its side, with an opening cut out on the lid works. You could fill it with straw, which is best for outdoors. Not too big, because small spaces keep heat in. Putting mylar sheeting on the inside also reflects body heat. If you can elevate it a little so it doesn't get wet, that's a plus too.

If there's an outdoor outlet, and you're willing to spend about $35, you could get a heated pad designed for outdoor use to put inside the container. I've had one for years, and it uses very little energy, even when plugged in 24/7: Heated Cat Beds: Indoor/Outdoor Heated Pad for Cats

So when Scully comes for food, she's not followed by the other ferals, right? If that's the case, I'd slowly move her feeding spot to where you'd have the shelter for her. I don't think the other ferals would come that close to your house.

Snap a pic if you can - we'd love to see her! :)
In order to keep Scully coming to the shelter but keep the other kitties away,
If this kitty is coming up to your front door but the other ferals aren't,
 

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When I first met my cats, I had no intention of keeping them. The mother seemed abandoned since she was friendly to the people who fed them. I brought them to be TNR so we wouldn't have a big cat problem on our street. So both have the tipped ears. But they are now indoor/outdoor cats and live with me. Skully could have had a similar history. I can't even imagine being in freezing weather.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Unfortunately there's a myriad of reasons the cat can't come inside, the biggest problems being my sister's allergies and our birds. We have four parrots of varying sizes, two of which are disabled. This cat may not be able to catch wild birds, but I have no delusions she's be unable to kill a pet bird, especially a disabled bird. And we don't have the space to keep the cat separated 24/7.

I haven't gotten close enough to see if the ferals are missing the tip of their ears. I have seen them with kittens, but thinking back I don't think I saw kittens last spring.

What's a good way to kill fleas? Are fleas still a problem in the winter? I've heard flea collars are bad for the animal's health.

The ferals are pretty bold, they'll lounge in the yard as long as no one's outside, but I've never seen them on the porch. The porch despite not being that big would probably be the best place for a shelter, it at least has a roof. We have no outdoor outlets so I have to go with something that runs on batteries or go it old fashioned. We don't have a garage.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
She came back again today, waiting for her food. Like last time, she was fine as long as I stayed behind the door. But for pieces of cooked turkey, she was willing to let me sit on the porch with her. She got within 2-3 feet of me. The pictures aren't great because I took them behind the door as not to stress her too much.







Some pictures of the cut ear:



 

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Yes the left ear has been tipped so she has been tnr. The last cat #13 i trapped seems like a stray he would meow when i lift the cover to the trap to check on him the night before his tnr appointment. Stray or ferals they should be tnr so no kitties would be born. Being that yours is an adult sometimes the no kill shelter wont take because there are no more rooms. If you can feed her that would be great. As for shelter you can use a 35; 40 or 45 gallons tote line it with durafoam its a Styrofoam installation you can buy at Lowe's or Home depot (i prefer Lowe's) then tape it on the sides and cut a hole about 6-7" and fill with straws. This will keep her warm. Here is a link to show you how to make it. Click on the pic for the video

https://www.google.com/search?redir_esc=&client=ms-android-verizon&hl=en-US&safe=images&oe=utf-8&q=How%20to%20Build%20a%20Winter%20Shelter%20for%20Street%20Cats%3A%20http%3A%2F%2Fyoutu.be%2FkZ9-Jydbdjg&source=android-browser-type&qsubts=1416631045906&action=devloc
 

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Yeah, not all that obvious where you'd find straw, especially if you live in a metropolitan area...Do you have a tractor supply kind of place? Other members might be able to suggest some specific stores.

Maybe even PetSmart or Petco has straw, or if not, maybe they could tell you where you could find some. I'm sure people must have asked.

If I think of anywhere, I'll let you know!
 

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Landscaping places here carry straw. So, if you can find a place that sells mulch, they should carry straw also. In my area, Lowes also sells straw. If you can't find any in those places, I would think that going to petsmart and maybe buying a bag of pet bedding, the kind hamsters use in their cages, may work. Maybe others will chime in and let you know if that would be okay for the cat. Good Luck and she/he is beautiful!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Thank you everyone, gonna try to find supplies for the shelter tomorrow. He or she came by twice today looking for food. :wink:
 

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Michaels craft and Wal-Mart sells straws in October for Halloween next year be on the look out. An jan's pet supplies sells it if you have one near by or go to amazon. I bought it on Amazon at first a bit pricey but if you have no other choice then here is the link
The Kitty Tube Wheat Straw:Amazon:pet Supplies
You can also use fleece, buy some by the yards at Wal-Mart which is cheaper. I use straws due to rainy weather but the house my dad built for them have beds and fleece blankets. I wash the fleece blankets once a week. I dont know how to post pics or i would show you the house we built.
 

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Spark, it sounds like you've got yourself a new outdoor family member! :p

deanna, I use fleece inside the cat house too. The house is in my screened porch and raised off the ground, so there's very little chance it can get wet. But if I had a shelter outside, I'd use straw like you do; it doesn't get icky, and it apparently insulates better than fleece or other materials.

Oh, spark: I've seen a couple of members specify straw, not hay. I grew up in northern NJ, where no one has ever seen straw or hay. I have no idea what the difference is, but apparently it's important in terms of which one to use for insulation.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
The straw was actually easy to find, Lowe's had it. We have a rabbit actually, so I know hay's green while straw's yellowish. Plus hay is more expensive. :p
Couldn't find a styrofoam cooler so we just bought pieces of styrofoam from craft store. Gonna put it together today.
 

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Get the Styrofoam from Lowe's it comes in a big sheet ask them you need Styrofoam for installation. I bought 1" sheet about $11 much cheaper then craft store. The one from Lowe's have a silver side this will reflect the cat's body heat and keep them warm.
 
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