Feral Cat

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by zimbo, Sep 22, 2020.

  1. zimbo

    zimbo Friend of Leo's

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    I've been feeding a small skinny feral cat for about 3 months. The cat is only about 6 mos old. It started out eating outside on my step but quickly started to come in and eat inside the doorway. It occasionally snoops around the house but it doesn't like to be petted and it seems very nervous. I'm kind of concerned on how it will manage in the winter snow. I'm in the suburbs and most of the city cats stay under abandoned buildings. Nothing like that here.

    Anyways I closed the door behind the cat last night and within 3 minutes it tore my house apart trying to get out. It was running around the celiing on the curtain rods and trying to get out the windows. It tore the curtains down, knocked over plants and tore thru the kitchen knocking everything off the counters. A small disaster. I'm thinking I may not be able to save this cat.
     
  2. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I'm thinking that cat doesn't want saving. It's a wild animal.
    Probably doesn't need saving, either.
    Animals have fur for a reason, and if you want you could probably devise some sort of shelter for it out of doors for the oncoming winter months, or, like you said, it'll find some building to live under
     
  3. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Doctor of Teleocity

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    Don't know what your town or city does.....but Ft Worth has a program to trap feral cats, take them in to be neutered, and then release them back to prey on the wild bird population. At least the cats aren't reproducing like crazy......since they have no natural enemies in the city to maintain a balance. Call your city services and see.
     
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  4. Preacher

    Preacher Friend of Leo's

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    Once it gets cold and the cat finds that the house is warm it will probably stay a bit.
    We adopted a cat that was born in a barn and lived that way for months before Mom left it to itself. The farmer caught it in a skunk trap and my dad agreed to raise it. He let it go in the house and we did not see that cat for a week. It hid away under the couches and in closets until it got a little less wild.

    You could make a makeshift hide out for the cat during the winter months to ease it into the indoors.
     
  5. spurgie79

    spurgie79 Tele-Afflicted

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    I have a couple at my farm. I leave the garage door open a few inches so they can get in/out but not enough for raccoons or opossums, though they sometimes do. I put some coveralls and old blankets in the bed of my truck and they sleep there. I put food out about every other day. To me they're not pets but they must like me a bit because they follow me around and bring me have eaten field mice.
     
  6. marshman

    marshman Poster Extraordinaire

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    We “rescued” a feral cat a few years ago, in a similar fashion, and the cat had similar issues aside from being in its mid-teens...we let it live in the garage for a month, and then let it transition itself into our mud room, with a little bed, in the closet. Eventually it got cold enough outside that she stopped trying to get out and spent the next year or so in the mud room. Eventually we left the mud room door into the house open, and she made that leap, but about a year later she suddenly decided that if the litter box wasn’t within 3 feet, she was just gonna do her thing where she was. So, she spent her remaining 3 years in the mud room, and once in a while the munchkin would bring her out for a snuggle, though she never much cared for being held by us adults. She passed away a few weeks ago overnight after 4 years with us. It’ll take some time, but they can adapt if the benefits begin to outweigh the hardships.
     
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  7. ieatlions

    ieatlions Tele-Holic

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    We had a feral cat visiting us and it took over a year for him to fully feel comfortable with us. He clawed my mrs badly the first time she tried to fuss him.

    2 years down the line and he comes in and cries to be fussed, and fed of course.

    We have our own cat now and she is fine with his little visits. They like each others company and though he’s twice her size, she’s the boss.

    Sometimes there’s weeks between visits, sometimes only days. As stated above, they're survivors. I wouldn’t worry too much.
     
  8. Dreadnut

    Dreadnut Friend of Leo's

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    I rescued a feral cat from our woods a couple years ago, she was so tiny I don't think she had time to get wild. No idea where she came from, she was prob only 5-6 weeks old. She had a broken leg and a big botfly larva in her head. Nursed her back to health and our 4 dogs are her best friends now. The grandkids named her "Clover," because she was so lucky that I rescued her before she died.

    [​IMG]
     
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  9. WingedWords

    WingedWords Tele-Afflicted

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    Don't give up zimbo.

    Several winters ago we bought a little cat kennel like this for our semi-feral feline chum.

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0067GGXYS/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_OkIAFbAJ59DXM

    We didn't expect him to use it, but before it arrived we rubbed him with an old towel whenever we could.(Maybe this might be hard for you?) When it arrived we put the towel inside it as bedding with his scent on already, and put his food inside as well to encourage him in. He took to it straight away and still uses it all the time.

    Inside

    20180310_111722.jpg

    and on top.

    20180504_084756.jpg

    He comes into the house occasionally, but gets very uncomfortable if the door's closed.
     
  10. teletimetx

    teletimetx Doctor of Teleocity

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    depending on how long it's been feral - if it's reached maturity being feral, it most likely won't ever become a house cat.

    Whatever happens, it won't be overnight. I have friends who have done pretty much what you have, but it takes 6 months to a year for the cat to learn to trust you. Sometimes, even longer to just make contact. Can't recommend ever picking them up, but that's a generalization. Some of them allow, some don't.

    Closing it up in a house is not usually perceived as trustworthy. Take your time, if you are so inclined.

    Some folks leave out something like a little dog house - Ok, since I started this, you can see an example above ^^^^^ (thanks, @WingedWords !) so there is some shelter from the storm.

    EDIT: oh, yeah, don't try petting. Hold out your knuckles and the cat may rub it's whiskers against or chin against that. Easy does it, the cat may also decide to bite you, so caution is indicated. My wife and I raised from a small kitten a guy who will now just nibble first, then lick my fingers. Go figure.
     
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  11. JJLC

    JJLC Tele-Holic

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    @zimbo

    sounds like you are interfering with a nature & a natural process.
    Your heart may be in the right spot & I'm sure you have good intentions but nature is nature.
    Seems like you at least found out that trying to keep the thing indoors aint gonna work.
    That's a start.

    On a somewhat different slant, my sister resides in a rural area of Louisiana, in cane country.
    A feral cat was hanging around their property for a while, and eventually shredded one of their domestic cats into spaghetti. The feral cat ended up being trapped & met it's fate at the business end of a rifle barrel.
     
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  12. schmee

    schmee Doctor of Teleocity Silver Supporter

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    A little box/house to stay in at night would help it.
     
  13. Informal

    Informal Tele-Afflicted

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    My brother feeds two feral cats, One looked to be injured, so he trapped it and took it to the Vet.. The Vet patched it up,neutered it and he took it back home... My brother was perplexed at the notch the Vet took from the cats ear.. I guess that's how they mark feral cats (in Arizona anyway) Maybe they do it everywhere?

    The Vet didn't charge much, and my brother said his mouse problem is over. :p
     
  14. fenderchamp

    fenderchamp Friend of Leo's Silver Supporter

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    they mark feral cats like that in Omaha too.
     
  15. Ronzo

    Ronzo Tele-Holic

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    Life for feral cats in suburban settings is not easy. In order to survive, they must hunt and eat the equivalent of three mice per day or starve, so I understand. That’s why they are the most efficient hunter-killers on our planet.

    In our suburban environment, we remove the pests that invade our homes with traps, poison and other means. The hard life of a feral kitty is complicated by the pecking order that is part of their breeding process. In addition, some humans fear cats, sometimes due to experiences, but sometimes irrationally.

    I fully support trap-and-neuter programs. But too few localities will pay for them. They turn to trap-and-euthanize instead. Call me soft and sentimental, but I don’t favor that approach. Feral cats in our area of South Florida balance the lizard population, including the invasive species like iguanas. They, along with our native snakes and hawks, keep the mouse and rat population down, especially where we humans have extended our civilization to previously unpopulated areas. Especially near water, which is used by developers to increase a property’s value rather than be functional.

    Will I give some help to a feral cat? Yes. I will feed it occasionally with dry food. There is plenty of water here for them. Do I expect affection in return? No. Their survival depends on skittishness, mistrust of threats, and stealth. Are they pets? Certainly not. And any kitty I have allowed to share my living space with is an indoor cat only. Pets haven’t learned to survive in the wild. It’s not humane to expect that.

    Please support trap-and-neuter programs for feral cats in your area. I understand that rural areas have vastly different needs, but nature brings that into balance more readily in a rural environment.
     
  16. Ronzo

    Ronzo Tele-Holic

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    Also have neutered cats marked by that ear notch in Florida.
     
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  17. dkmw

    dkmw Poster Extraordinaire

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    About three years ago, I was trying to domesticate two little kittens that were born in my yard. The mom was a tiny black thing, I could never even get near her.

    I’d put food out and try to get closer and closer while they ate. Eventually I got where the kittens would let me touch while the mom looked on disapprovingly. Then the mom disappeared. The two kittens were males.

    A third young cat started showing up because there was food out. She had the clipped ear of a feral who’d been fixed and returned. I chased her off a hundred times but she kept coming back.

    Then the two males developed wanderlust - one just vanished, the other began to show up every week or so until he didn’t anymore. By now we’d accepted feeding the third female and she was adopting us.

    She has gone from 99% feral to “pet me kitty” over time. But she has no desire to live anywhere but outside. She is a certified squirrel assassin, mostly leaves the birds alone. She owns our property and keeps out other cats. But she loves to be petted now; and she’ll steal your chair for place to sleep just like a normal cat.

    When she gets older, I might have to think about getting her in the house - because we have coyotes around. Right now she’s obviously able to survive on her smarts and hidyholes.

    So yeah, don’t give up. If you give the cat food and a little shelter outside, the cat will decide on whether you are a suitable human.
     
  18. teleman1

    teleman1 Tele-Afflicted

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    Do not feed faeral cats. THey are a detriment to the enviroment. RUin other animal habitats. ANd are by no means natural to the local enviroments. Traps it, bring it to a pound before it gets worse. How worse?

     
  19. Nightclub Dwight

    Nightclub Dwight Tele-Afflicted

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    If you are worried about the cat over the winter, as others have suggested, a box or other shelter with a few old blankets or towels can be a nice winter home for a feral cat.

    Our cat is strictly an indoors cat, and that will never change.

    We do have a feral cat that visits the house almost every day. He is extremely friendly, and I think half the neighborhood feeds him. He hates rodents. Neighbors have told me that they have seen him killing mice and moles, and I once saw him chase a rat down the street--the only time I have ever seen a rat in our neighborhood.

    Unfortunately, we have a jerk neighbor with an equally jerky cat. I hate to think that way about an animal, but this neighbor cat is terribly destructive. He has ripped up our garden several times, killed our pond fish, and climbs into trees to kill the birds we feed. And, worst of all, he fights with the feral cat that we love. He is a huge bully, and has his way with the feral.

    I get so mad that this neighbor cat comes into our yard to do all of this stuff. I try to balance that with the knowledge that his owners are terrible pet owners. My partner marched over there last winter when the temperature was around 0 degrees Fahrenheit to tell them their cat has been meowing at our back door all night and they rudely told her to mind her own business. She said next time it happens we're calling the police, which is a step I am personally against when it comes to neighbors, but if an animal, woman or child is suffering I will take that step.

    Ideally, the neighbors should take responsibility for their cat, and let the friendly neighborhood feral go about his business in peace.

    Edit to note: We don't feed the feral, but we will give pets and scratches if he approaches us.
     
  20. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Doctor of Teleocity

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    Ft Worth apparently pays for their feral cat program by diverting funds from street maintenance and code enforcement......those two departments sorely lack funding.
     
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