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Discussion Starter #1
I made all these wonderful little homes for the ferals but they won't sleep in them. They sleep behind or next to them. How I get them inside so they stay a little warmer at least?
 

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Darned if I know. I have one doghouse for my feral, it came with him when I got him - the lady who'd been feeding him died, and she'd bought that doghouse for him. He continued to use it at my house and I put fresh straw in every now and then. It's in a somewhat protected spot against my house on the sunny side.

But he also likes to sleep on the shelving where I keep my flower pots... So I made a warm house from an old styrofoam cooler and put it up there. Maybe it's not been cold enough yet? Maybe he's afraid he'll be trapped in it somehow? But he's not used it yet.

If he were a catnip cat I'd put that in to lure him, but he's shown *no* interest.
 

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Sometimes its the location. Sometimes if you put them up on something they like that too.

Im not sure of the details of your feral tote houses so couldnt offer any more than that.

Bless you for making these feral houses and looking out for the ferals.
 

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One other thing you could try is making a second exit/entrance. eldercat mentioned that maybe her feral was afraid of being trapped inside, and I have read that some cats, especially ferals, are wary of shelters with only one exit/entrance.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Hi everyone. I havent had internet for the past week so I couldnt respong. Sorry about that. I may try the catnip route. The totes are I sulated with a hole in front and a hole in back. They are full of straw and placed on straw where they sleep at night. So I dont know what the issue is oth he r than maybe its like eldercat says it might not be cold enough yet.
 

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I cared for a feral recently (who's no longer with us) that didn't use the shelter I provided until I rotated it 90 degrees!


I thought that placing it so that the entrance was in the most sheltered location would be the best option. In hindsight, the most sheltered location gave no view of the immediate environment. When I turned the shelter 90 degrees, giving full view of the garden, it was met with more approval.


Don't know if this will help in your situation.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I have a picture of the setup in my album named "Shelter" if you take a peek you can see.
Thanks everyone for your comments.
 

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Wow cleanheart, those are some very lucky ferals! It's unfortunate that there are so many of them though. :( Following what MrTash said, I would consider turning those totes, or repositioning them so that they're further away from the wall. And maybe leave a bit more space between. If you look at them from a feral's point of view, the hole in the back seems like it would just lead to being trapped rather than offering a quick escape.

Maybe you could experiment with moving some of them into different locations/angles to see if there are some totes that the kitties use.

I've been frustrated with my stray not using his house - tried a different combination of things every night. Something finally worked - I just wish I knew which thing!
 

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Discussion Starter #9 (Edited)
Good suggestions all! I will take your advice and move the totes a little further from the walls. I have noticed that downstairs in the main barn entrance there are a few "beds" made in the straw there so I may put a couple of totes down there near where they are sleeping and maybe add some fresh straw. I dont really know how many there are anymore. There were 14 but I have only been able to count 8 maybe 9. Out of that only 2 or 3 will let me near enough to love on them.
Gaining trust slowly with a couple more but it will take time. Ive only had them since April. Ive spent the whole summer redoing their feeding station over and over, even moving it to keep the racoons out. My problem now is that it is so high thatat least one of my babies cant jump up to eat. So I leave a bit on the floor in a bowl for her. I hope shes getting it.
Thank you so much for all the suggestions and advice. I will keep trying to help them.
 

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Some ferals really just luck out! You are doing a wonderful thing for them. That's a lot of kitties to be taking care of! I'd guess that the ones who let you close to them are probably strays/abandoned rather than feral. I hope the little one who can't jump is getting her food too! Maybe you can work on her first to gain her trust, so she gets to a point where she'll eat with you there.

It's frustrating, though, isn't it, when you spend all this time trying to help them, and then they don't take advantage? I wish someone would come up with a raccoon- and opossum-safe way to feed cats...I'm trying to figure out how to scare off the opossum that are always coming around to eat my stray's food. I hate those things.
 

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Cleanheart, just another thought after looking at your album picture.

I'm no expert, but what first struck me was how you'd placed the totes in a 'v' formation.
As a wary feral, I would feel very intimidated by the cats on the opposite row looking my way and would try to find somewhere less confrontational to rest. Maybe that's why they sleep behind or next to them. Are they avoiding eye contact from other cats by doing so?
And I wouldn't want to use the corner shelters. All those other cats looking at me from both sides. I'd feel very trapped.

As I say, I'm no expert and your observations may disprove what I'm suggesting. I hope you succeed though.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
MrTash, I understand completely what you're saying. These cats are mostly all related. They've been together for 3 years or more so I wouldnt think there would be a problem. But saying that it is obvious to me some are sleeping on the lower level. I plan on fixing the positioning of the totes this week. No one lives at this farm. It belongs to my church where my brother is the Pastor so I pretty much have free run to do what I want.
 

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Sprite. I added a picture of the feeding station. I have since added more aluminum sheeting that wraps all the way around and added thr rounded aluminum pipe type ones to the legs so the coons cant shimmy up the legs. It is a bit high but it works. I put up a trail cam to see if the little girl Kali is getting any food. Will see.
All of these cats were at one time house cats but most have turned feral.
 

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That's an impressive set-up. And oh my goodness, the ferals get wet food even?! My stray injured his tail this past spring and although he jumps just fine, I'm afraid that he might reinjure himself, so his food is on the ground. I either have to sit with him while he eats or have to remember to check on him and remove his food once he's done. :|

It is really sad that your ferals all had homes at one point. :( Some people assume that all kitties will be able to just fend for themselves, even those who've always been indoor cats. It's depressing. Did they get dumped near the barn, or did you relocate them from a different place? They have a pretty good life there - they're fed and housed by someone who cares about them, probably more than their original humans.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Kind words Sprite. Thank you. I relocated 14 cats. I got them from a homeless guy who was living in a wooded area behind the Menards here. He loved them and took care of them the best he could. He had to move from the woods because the police found out he was there so he listed the cats on Craigslist. I inquired about one of them that was a special needs cat and he had found a home for her but had 14 others he needed to find a home for. Enter....me. ha!
They wont be getting much wet food for long now that cold weather is setting in. Its expensive and i really dont know how i manage but i do. I clean houses for a living and do ok but certainly not rich!
 

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Wow, what an awesome story. I hope the homeless guy was able to get some help as well, he certainly deserves it for going above and beyond to make sure his feral fur-babies were cared for. Shame on those cops, they should have helped him not forced him out. You are both saints for caring for these cats! Your set up is awesome.

I feed my ferals wet & dry too, and have the same winter food freezing problem if they don't eat it right away. I also have raccoons that eat the kitty food, but I don't mind.. they are hungry too. But yes, it is very expensive :D

Best of luck with your kitty crew, they are lucky to have you!
 

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Wow cleanheart! It's amazing that the man you got the cats from was homeless and yet cared so much for these ferals. Those ferals got lucky twice!

eldercat, I'm glad he's using his house! When Mr. Casper won't go in his, I always worry, but sometimes it's just not cold enough for him, I guess.

SnowCat, you also have some seriously spoiled ferals! No ferals here, but I've been caring for a stray for about 6 years. He stays in my screened-in porch, where there's an electrical outlet, but it wasn't until a couple of days ago that it finally occurred to me that I could keep his food from freezing by putting a small heated pad under the dish (the pad has a towel around it). The dish is heavy enough to "activate" the pad.

At first I had the heated pad under where he sits to eat, but he seems to like this arrangement better. :)
 

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You definitely have the right idea with your feeding station. The flashing is a good barricade for raccoons. I have something similar.
You might try a 'launching pad' for the cat who can't jump up that far. If you experiement with height and distance, you might find something that works just right. The launching pad can be as simple as a crate or box.
Remember: raccoons can't jump! They can hop and they can climb, but not jump.
 
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