Advice on soon to be abandoned ferals

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In my "hobby" of TNRing ferals in my community, I have become acquainted with a couple who have been feeding a colony that live on and around their deck. I have TNR'd all of them and feed them when the couple are away a few days.

They have just sold the house and the new owners want the cats gone. I went to speak to a neighbor about letting cats move to their property but sadly the woman was in the hospital having a kidney biopsy.

These sellers don't seem to know any of their neighbors to ask for permission to  relocate the cats to  another property. I live in another part of the community but met the hospitalized neighbor when I started trapping there.

This is a Pocono mountain community with 1500 homes, more are vacation homes than full time residents. These new owners will not be here full time and have a large dog.

The couple will stop feeding the cats today, asked me not to feed them and are returning the shelters I made. The closing will be soon and the buyers have put a cause in the contract that the cats must be gone.

Any advice for me as to what to do for these ferals, about 10 of them, 2 or 3 are friendly enough to be pet. I have 15 cats already so cannot take any more or husband will divorce me, he is not particularly a cat person but I am fortunate that he tolerates my cat craziness.

Karen 
 

supermax1943

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Good Grief!!!

Well, first of all, the cats will find food if you can put it anywhere near where they were eating.

What is the situation around the deck? Is the deck area fenced in?

How many are in the colony?

If you can give me some information on the area surrounding the deck...and beyond and  whether you are feeding wet or dry food then I can give you some suggestions.

I will be gone this afternoon, but will get back to you this evening.
 
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2 dozen

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Supermax1943, thanks for responding.

It is an open porch where the food is put and some cats hang out. The people feed the cats dry Walmart Special Kitty. When I watch the cats for them I feed wet and 4H grain free dry.

Open rocky area behind the house, full time neighbor on one side, vacation homes other side and across the street.

Any food will be eaten by deer and turkeys during the day, raccoons, skunks ,opossums and bears at night so food must be up on raised deck or porch. 

Homes are distanced from each other and lightly wooded surrounding.

My guess is not more than one dozen cats. Recently trapped one who had huge wound on back, had to be euthanized, during trapping efforts got 2 new female arrivals so numbers vary.

Will try again contacting next door neighbor who is home from hospital. Don't know her condition or ability to keep eye on cats. I am willing to feed them a few times a week as I must cut down on the daily feedings of other colonies, getting too expensive and dependent on me. I have a previous thread on that problem. 

Karen
 

supermax1943

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Hi Karen,

It sounds as if I couldn't give you much more help. You sound like an experienced feral caretaker,

I thought perhaps you were just someone who was having a first time experience with a feral colony.

You, of course, are an angel for taking care of this little group.

I, for one, want to give you a whole bunch of gold stars.

Where are you located?

I will tell you that to save money I have just started feeding the Special Kitty food from Walmart.

I have a colony of 50 I have been caring for 18 years.

I have had some financial problems lately and had to find ways to cut back.

Normally I have always fed Friskies wet and dry (2 x a day). My colony has thrived on the Friskies food.

But, I decided to try the Special Kitty and the whole colony LOVES IT, even more than the Friskies.

So I am keeping with the Friskies wet but I am slowly changing over to Special Kitty.

I have read some good things about it from people who are obviously caring for ferals.

Walmart also carries Simple Kitty in a huge 44-pound bag for $23.97.

I haven't tried it yet, but I am going to. It doesn't have any color dye at all...just a nice rich brown color.

I have a lot of wildlife around my colony....but not bears (HOLY COW) . 

One nice thing is the cats can get into small areas that some of the big dangerous wildlife can't.

Maybe putting dry food in a rocky area, between rocks, even if it is just on the ground, not in containers, would help.

Just a thought.

I'm afraid I can't help you much, but you can always vent to me.

Sounds as if you are handling and managing many feral cats.

So bless you for that, I will keep you in my thoughts. I know it will be hard for you worrying about the ones you have cared for.
 
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Supermax1943, Thanks again for taking the time to reply and for your kind words. The reason I ask questions here is to get ideas I just don't come up with on my own. That is such a simple but great idea to arrange rocks that deers may not be able to poke through!The area behind the house is empty but full of rocks.we live in the mountains afterall) I believe I can go to parallel road above house to access area surreptitiously. Quite a few empty lots there and most homes seem to be vacation ones.Thankfully this has happened at the tail end of winter!The ferals I feed on my deck will not eat Special Kitty brand dry or wet!! I think they are spoiled.Kind regards,KarenPS,,,,we have fewer bears every year. Saw only one last year, crazy people in Pa love to hunt and kill beautiful animals.
 

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Well, you are certainly right calling it abandonment, because feeding a group of animals and making them sort of dependent on you and then cutting them off is cruel.  What people don't understand is that even committing to a feral group is still a lifetime commitment.  Not just until you move.  I'm glad you've stepped in to help the kitties.  That was kind of you.  

It's kind of tough to relocate the feral cats, but to me that seems to be the only answer.  If these new owners think they can write a clause in a contract to just get rid of them, I'm afraid they are wrong.  But good luck trying to convince cat haters, right?
 

supermax1943

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Hi Karen,

I love Ginny's response above about good luck if the owners think they can write that in a contract and make it stick!

It is like the threat of trapping the cats like the SPCA lady suggested. I wanted to laugh when she said "just stop feeding the cats completely and then we will trap them"...I never have to stop feeding because I use propped up drop traps everywhere to feed under. If the cats want to eat on a daily basis, they have to go under the trap, I set it up so it is easy to alter if I have to trap, and yet it is set up so that it can't accidentally drop on anyone. 

You probably have seen this too, but all of my feral cats have been trapped and now are super wise to the regular traps. If I so much as take one out of the garage, they disappear (almost all of them) for at least a day!! 

The cats always find the food if it isn't moved too far, and if it is going to be a distance a feral cat friend of mine told me to just make a trail of dry cat food to the place where the food is going to be and they will find it. She said just doing that for a couple of days usually worked for the whole colony.

I happen to think they communicate this kind of thing one to the other.

So, when you find a good place that might work.

Too bad about the Special Kitty. I have heard people say most cats don't like the wet food, but they do like the dry.

But, as you know, you just can never tell what they will or won't like!

I couldn't believe the prices for it on other websites!! At Walmart it is super cheap...Amazon was asking so much!!

The thought that the bear population is declining because people are killing them makes me sick!!

 I hope thinks are okay with you and that you are giving yourself some time to rest from taking care of the ferals.

Sally
 

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I'm concerned that when this couple sees a cat, which could very likely happen because the cats were used to eating at that place, that they would get aggressive and try to harm them somehow or try to sue the former owner.  Sounds like a dire situation for these kitties, whose only crime is they are hungry and want to live.  

Where I live, the HOA has banned bird feeding, except for hummingbirds for some strange reason, because of the occasional raccoon that would come around the feeders for a pawfull of seed.  I believe a raccoon might even try to get a hummingbird feeder too. This ban happened 3 years ago and the birds STILL come to my back porch and scan the deck for seed.  So, I'm afraid for these cats that if every single one isn't caught and relocated, this couple might abuse them somehow to get rid of them.  
 

juleska

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Goodness, what a mess. What kind of timetable are you looking at to get the cats (hopefully) relocated before they're in danger? I might've missed it up-thread, but where are you located? Maybe we can find a rescue group in your area with a large enough sanctuary to take them in. Not sure, just grasping at straws here.
 
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I don't think they would harm the cats, they must like some animals as they do have a dog. They bought the house as a weekend getaway so the cats may have to scatter when they come with the dog.

I have asked the sellers to give my contact info to the buyers so maybe we can work something out, they don't want to say anything to the buyers until after the closing.

I shall not relocate the cats. The neighbors have a shed that I've seen some cats go under so at least some of them have shelter. I drove around the parallel street yesterday and left food in a few places but too close to road as there is a steep incline to the vacant acres. There is a small stream running down the back area so they at least have water. It seems most of the homes on this road behind the house are vacation ones so I shouldn't often be seen putting food out and I'll scout around for a more level spot to get in closer to home to strategically place food under rocks.

Thanks to all of you who have responded. I'll post back periodically to update on developments.

Karen
 

supermax1943

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Bless you for working so hard to help them.

I am sending you good thoughts for energy (since you must be so tired trying to manage all  of this) and a great place to feed them!

I am just sure you will find a good place.
 
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Spoke to neighbor who was hospitalized but recovering nicely. She will allow feeding of cats and transfer of my shelters to her property.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   The house sellers are desperate to not negatively affect the sale so have informed me they will start relocating the ferals to a distant town where they have an antiques store, which of course is being sold as they are moving to another state!                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       I have a 20x20 chain link dog kennel with access to above ground finished basement via double doors. About half the length is covered by the main floor deck. The back wall is actually the house while half a side wall is the house extention. The fact that all the entire walls are not totally the chain link fence makes it difficult to attach a huge tarp. I shall temporarily keep the colony in the dog kennel until after the closing, then return them to the neighbor's property. In the meantime, I suggested to the homeowners to use plastic carpet runners with the spikes facing upward to deter the cats from coming onto the deck, also some repellant from coyote urine.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Any ideas to cover the kennel to prevent escapes are greatly appreciated.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Karen               
 
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