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Bringing A Feral In With Existing Cats

Discussion in 'Caring for Strays and Ferals' started by Mjones99x, Jan 11, 2019.

  1. Mjones99x

    Mjones99x Thread Starter Bella, Sirus, Jekyll Kitten

    19
    41
    Jan 10, 2019
    No. Mississippi
    Hello, I'm new here and posted this yesterday on another thread because the original's poster's situation was so similar to mine, with one major difference. I then realized this thread was from 2014, so I've copied my post here with a little of the original post. I'm really just looking for feedback on this.

    Parts of the original post:
    "Hello all. I'm so glad I found this place because I'm freaking out about the step I'm about to take.

    First the backstory. There is a yellow and white female (mama kitty) who has been living outside my workplace (in a wooded corporate park) since at least last October. She may have been there since last June. I rescued a litter of .... I then trapped her and had her spayed and released her back. The vet said she did not tolerate people at all....
    I’ve been feeding her every day since then. Her home base is the broken down truck. She usually was roaming during the day and would be there in the evening when I came to feed her. About a month ago she let me pet her. And she loved it! For the last two weeks she has been hanging around most days. She knows the sound of my car and comes out when I arrive in the morning. She also knows my voice and will come out during the day if I’m outside. She follows me around like a puppy. She wants petting more than she wants food. Last weekend she chased my car as I was leaving. Wednesday she followed me to the back door and sat looking in trying to find me. In other words, we have become bonded. She is not really afraid of other people but will not let them get too close.

    ...But I’d like to get her to a vet and then take her home.

    My problem is that I have two indoor cats – a male who is 10 and a female who is 13. I'm really worried about upsetting them.

    ...Do you think she will do well because she likes me so much already? ...That's my hope but I I love my cats so much. I don't want to do anything that will hurt them. But I love mama kitty, too, and I just can't let her live in a parking lot anymore."

    My post:

    I am so glad I found this thread as my situation is almost exactly the same. Soon after I started a new job almost 3 years ago, we had a small colony of cats move in behind our office. We had a lot of lumber/boards out back and we have a shed there & they were using this as shelter. We initially had a mom and her 2 male kittens. Then another female showed up and the dad would occasionally drop by. Long story short, we had all of them except the dad (we never caught him) trapped and neutered/spayed and began feeding the mom and her kittens and the other female. The vet said the mother was feline HIV positive and the kittens probably were too. We suspected the other female was another kitten of the mom from a previous litter since they were all almost identical. Fast forward two years and the only cat still here is one of the male kittens, named Jekyll. We don't know what has happened to the other cats, one by one they've disappeared. The last to go was the other female that we had named Mystery. It broke my heart when Mystery disappeared, as I am the office designated cat person & have been feeding her & Jekyll and the others (until they disappeared) regularly now twice a day for over 2 years..
    So the only one still here is Jekyll, who was the most feral. It has taken him over two years but he has become a little love bug and we are attached to each other. Last night was I was leaving work, he was sitting in the parking lot crying. It broke my heart. I think he is very lonely. I've bought beds for him and put them in the shed as it is now cold. I leave dry food for him over the weekend and come up on holidays to make sure he is fed. He will now sit outside my office window and call for me to come out. He's very tame compared to what he was but occasionally still skittish. He will not let me hold him, but loves to get petted and rubs all over my legs and kneads and runs over to me when I come out. I've decided that I would like to bring him home where I can take proper care of him but I already have two cats who are almost 5 years old, one male and one female. They were neutered/spayed when they were less than a year old.
    I am worried about introducing Jekyll since he may be Feline HIV positive. At the same time, I absolutely cannot leave him here because the office management as been grumbling about the cat hanging around & worries about more showing up. Jekyll would have to go directly to a vet assuming I could catch him again. The other thing I worry about is the expense. I do not make a lot of money at all & I'm in college, too so money is tight. I have posted on Facebook about Jekyll hoping someone would see his story and take him in so he could live in a single-cat home. No luck.
    I realize no one can make this decision for me but myself. It just very sad to me seeing him so alone. I try my best to see that he is ok, but let's face it, living in a shed in 20 deg. weather cannot be comfortable, even with fluffy beds. On the other hand, people have said to me at least he is being fed. That doesn't help, honestly. To complicate matters, I think either raccoons, or possibly mice have been raiding his food on the weekends although I can't be sure about this. But sometimes when I come in on Mondays, it looks like a tussle has taken place. The food dishes and one time even on of his bed is out of place.
    Should I take him in? I would plan on having a very long acclimation time to try to avoid fighting, since a drawing blood could spread his HIV. Or should I just give up on this idea and stop feeding him (as my office would like me to do). To be fair, I should add that my office has been helping with his food expenses and I pitch in too. My avatar is a pic of Jekyll from the other day when I'd fed him in his shed.
     

  2. Furballsmom

    Furballsmom Cat Fan especially Black Cats Staff Member Forum Helper

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    Colorado USA
    Hi! Oh my word, he is GORGEOUS!!! :redheartpump::redheartpump::redheartpump:

    I personally think that if there's any way you can swing it, if you can, take this boy home.

    In any case, try to continue to feed him :vibes::crossfingers:

    There are several members who also worked with ferals, including bringing them inside, and hopefully one or more of them will have a chance to reply for you. One of those people is @Jcatbird :)

    Also maybe this might help;

    No Money For Vet Care? How To Find Help And Save Your Cat's Life

    Financial Aid for Pets
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019
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  3. shadowsrescue

    shadowsrescue Advisor Staff Member Advisor

    5,912
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    Apr 27, 2011
    Ohio
    Last year I moved an brought my 3 feral cats with me. I decided to make them inside only cats and join the clan with my other 3 resident cats ( 2 who are former ferals as well). It has been an adjustment, but we are still making progress. For me introductions are the hardest since I now have 6 cats.

    You would want to start with a vet visit. He will need a check up, vaccines, blood test for FIV and FELV and a neuter if needed. Don't freak out about FIV. I have two that are positive. Most neutered cats don't fight to the level that would cause FIV to be transmitted. It requires a very deep bite or puncture. I am just certain to give my 2 some extra immune boosters.

    After a vet visit, you will want to give him a space of his own. He will need a cat proofed space. If you use a bedroom, either remove the bed or place it flat on the floor. Also block off behind and under all large furniture. Under a bed or under other large furniture is the first place the cat will go to hide. You want the cat out in the open as much as possible. A proper hiding place such as a hiding box in a cat tree or even a plain box on the floor with a cozy blanket are spots that are better. You can't work on socializing if the cat is always hiding.

    You might start with 2 litter boxes since outside cats often pee and poop in different places. I have always had good look with Dr. Elsey's litter attract. It has special herbs that attract cats to the box. Other people take some soil/leaves/mulch from the existing outside area and add that to the litter box. If he does have an accident, just sop it up with a paper towel and bury it into the box. He will be attracted to his own scent.

    Keep the food and water dishes away from the litter box area.

    Keep your other cats away for awhile. You want him to acclimate to inside living first. This will either move swiftly or it can take awhile. Plan on it taking awhile! You can start with some scent swapping, but take things very slowly. When you are ready for intros, I can post some great articles as well as a helpful video.

    You might use a radio with some soft music or use an ipod and play some cat harp music. It can be very calming. I also used Feliway plug ins. They were a must. I also used a night light in the room.

    Be prepared that when you bring the cat inside, he may try to escape. I have had my fair share of feral cats throw themselves against the window. I now try to keep the blinds mostly down to begin and securing the cord. Yet, some cats will be more afraid and just lay low. It's very hard to predict.

    Visit as often as you can and bring a yummy snack with you. He will then really look forward to your visits.

    Remember that slow and steady win the race! You are wonderful for wanting to help this little one!
     
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  4. Mjones99x

    Mjones99x Thread Starter Bella, Sirus, Jekyll Kitten

    19
    41
    Jan 10, 2019
    No. Mississippi
    Great suggestions! He has been neutered already so that won't be an issue and we have a room that can be his bedroom during the acclimation. I was planning on at least a 2 month into-period, honestly, unless I definitely see it is going smoothly. I already have plans to use socks and towels to introduce their scents to each other. Thanks for the Litter Attract suggestion! I will have to find some. I do need to get an extra crate/pet carrier and will when the time comes. The main thing I was worried about is his probable feline HIV. How do you boost his immune system? What do you use?

    Thanks again.
     

  5. Mjones99x

    Mjones99x Thread Starter Bella, Sirus, Jekyll Kitten

    19
    41
    Jan 10, 2019
    No. Mississippi
    And what do Feliway plugs do, please?
     
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  6. Furballsmom

    Furballsmom Cat Fan especially Black Cats Staff Member Forum Helper

    16,845
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    Jan 9, 2018
    Colorado USA
    feliway is one of many products that are intended to help calm cats and the diffuser heats a liquid and diffuses it into the air.

    My boy had no reaction other than slightly negative with feliway but he does seem to react a little better with Comfort Zone.
    There are sprays, collars, treats and a LOT of different brands on the market :)
     
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  7. shadowsrescue

    shadowsrescue Advisor Staff Member Advisor

    5,912
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    Apr 27, 2011
    Ohio
    I use a product by VetriScience called Vetri DMGhttps://smile.amazon.com/gp/product/B0002TR67O/ref=oh_aui_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    As I said don't be too worried about FIV, it's FELV you want to worry about.
     
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  8. marmoset

    marmoset TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    Apr 1, 2015
    NJ
    I started with two cats from shelters and since have brought in six others that were feral/ semi-feral or trapped kittens. I've had no problems with 5/6 introductions at all just by taking it slow. The sixth one was an unexpected stray who just walked into the house and went right up to my alpha female and tried to lick her forehead right after their initial nose sniff. Probably because (we guess) that the previous home owners allowed him inside so he felt like he totally owned the home.

    I've never had any deep wounds resulting from fights. I've never had a cat bite another one hard. I'm not saying it couldn't happen but the odds of it are low if you take introductions slowly. As humans we are so focused on weeks. We have a work week, we measure life by how many times we exercise or go grocery shopping or hours spent watching tv weekly. Cats do not work in weeks. They do everything when they are ready and only when they are ready. So, with ferals it can take months and months.

    If you take this cat in do not set a timeframe ahead of time. Two months seems long to some but I've taken 5 or 6 or 7 months to introduce but some of them only need two weeks. It depends on the cat you bring in. Cats that were used to colony living or living with other cats and have been brought up by a mother with siblings understand cat communication and tend to fair better.

    With an Fiv+ cat I'd just take it extra slow. More than two months most likely just to play it safe.

    Once you get the cat indoors and spend some months with it accessing you will be able to determine if the cat can be in your general population. At that time you can reassess and possibly rehome to another house with cats who are FiV+ there are adopters out there who look for positive cats to adopt because they have other positive cats. They aren't out there is as great a quantity as those looking for "perfectly healthy" pets but they exist. We see it frequently at our shelter.

    You should also contact some no-kill shelters. Tell them your situation (be brief) and your intent to attempt to bring the cat in but find out if you can be listed through their adoption listing if things don't work out with your resident cats. That way the shelter can do a write up disclosing the cat is FiV+ and find those homes with a lonely positive kitty looking for a buddy.
     
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  9. Mjones99x

    Mjones99x Thread Starter Bella, Sirus, Jekyll Kitten

    19
    41
    Jan 10, 2019
    No. Mississippi
    Thanks everyone for all of your suggestions & encouragement. This is a great help. I'm glad others have experience with ferals & with feline hiv. We are sitting at dinner taking it all over & it seems a doable thing!
     
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  10. Jcatbird

    Jcatbird TCS Member Top Cat

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    Dec 5, 2017
    Southern U.S.
    Welcome! You have been doing great things for a lot of kitties! :rock:

    I have a cat that is positive and all others are immunized. The positive cat has not spread the disease. I do immunize all cats as well as spay and neuter. Your vet can best advise you on this but I was told by my vet that good nutrition is very important and that I can give some L-lysine to help him. He won’t take the pills but I found some treats that contain it. Does it help? I really don’t know if it does anything but is 11 years old now and he is the happiest cat I have. He was a young feral when I found him. The main problem he has had is tolerating certain foods. ( common issue with lots of cats) I started giving him the Rachel Ray dry food with antioxidants and Fancy feast with fish and Shrimp. He does great on these! I have many other cats. Introductions are done over time. Patience and love are really the answer. There are lots of adjustment techniques that people here can help you with if needed. I hope you bring him in because the life expectancy for him where he is now probably won’t be very long in the cold and with a battle going on with Raccoons for his food. Please save him. He already trusts you and asks you for love. FIV cats are just as sweet and loving as any cat. I have not had any extra vet bills due to my cat having a positive test. Some test can be wrong too. Get Jekyll checked out and then , please , take him home. Once he has adjusted to being a house kitty you can always try to re home him later. I have a feeling that you already love him. Thank you for all you have already done for all the cats that were there. Just one survivor. He must be desperately lonely. Please keep us updated! Coming to thecatsite was a great choice! There are many of us here who will offer you help and support as you figure all this out. As someone who rescues a great many cats, I hope Jekyll finds a loving home very soon.:sunshine::thanks:
     
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  11. rubysmama

    rubysmama Forum Helper Staff Member Forum Helper

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    Canada
    @Mjones99x: welcome to TCS. And thank you for all you've done for the cats at your workplace. I'm so sorry they've all disappeared except for Jekyll. And I can understand why you want to bring him home with you where he'll be safe.

    I've never socialized a feral cat, or introduced cats, so I won't be much help with giving advise, however, I love following these threads and offering my support when I can.

    Jekyll is gorgeous. I hope he'll soon be lounging in his very own comfy room at your house. :catlove:

    In addition to the suggestions/advice you've already gotten, I'll post a couple TCS articles that might be helpful. Good luck. Let us know what you decide to do.

    Handling Feral Cats
    The Five Golden Rules To Bringing An Outdoor Cat Inside
     
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  12. Mjones99x

    Mjones99x Thread Starter Bella, Sirus, Jekyll Kitten

    19
    41
    Jan 10, 2019
    No. Mississippi
    Thank you everyone for all the information and links!! It's very helpful. If I don't post as much it's because I started back to college & I'm swamped.

    I have made an appointment to get my cats at home caught up to date on their inoculations and we are cleaning out the extra room this weekend too. I have some supplements on the way, too and I have Operation Jekyll underway at work. I'm hoping to get him acclimated to my car at first so hopefully he will not terrified to be in one. I've already told the vet about him and they are ready to see him.

    I will keep this updated as things progress.
     
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  13. rubysmama

    rubysmama Forum Helper Staff Member Forum Helper

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    Canada
    Sounds like you have a plan. And I love the name "Operation Jekyll". :thumbsup: Good luck. And do keep us updated, when you have time.
     
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  14. Mjones99x

    Mjones99x Thread Starter Bella, Sirus, Jekyll Kitten

    19
    41
    Jan 10, 2019
    No. Mississippi
    Ok, I'm at a loss for words here. I called the vet to change the appointment for my two at-home kitties, since this Saturday is threatening Noah-worthy floods followed by a change over to winter weather and my cats never, ever venture outside. I figured it might be traumatic for them.

    So then I talked to her again about Jekyll, going into some detail about my plans for him, my other 2 cats at home, the fact he is probably FIV pos from his mom (I think we may have had him tested and he was pos), the tests he would need (I've gotten advice on that from a friend who is a vet-tech), etc... and she said that they do NOT recommend me bringing Jekyll home and putting me other 2 cats at risk. She said that FIV and F. leukemia are both very contagious and can be spread through 'bodily fluids', not just through deep bites, etc... I literally couldn't speak at first. So then I asked her would I be risking my 2 cat's health and she said (and I quote): "We do not recommend you bring the cat home at all; he will be contagious and unless you can separate him from the others, we cannot tell you to bring him home." I'm taking that to mean they are saying to keep him separated on a permanent basis, which I cannot do unless I lock him in a room for the rest of his life.

    I am now thinking this adoption will not happen. I will continue to care for him here at the office and will continue to look for him a 4 ever home that has no other cats. This is so upsetting I can't even think. It's a very sad day here.
     

  15. Mjones99x

    Mjones99x Thread Starter Bella, Sirus, Jekyll Kitten

    19
    41
    Jan 10, 2019
    No. Mississippi
    What makes me sick too about this is that I've been working with him to get him used to my car & he was doing great, even eating his breakfast there this morning. I went out to sit with him in the car and at first he ran away but then came back and let me sit with him. I'm crushed. Poor little fella just needs a loving home.
     

  16. shadowsrescue

    shadowsrescue Advisor Staff Member Advisor

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    Apr 27, 2011
    Ohio
    I am sorry, but that information is NOT correct. FELV is transmitted through body fluids and is very very contagious. FIV is only transmitted through deep bite or puncture wounds. Most cats that have been spayed/neutered will never fight to the point where they would make a wound like that.

    I currently have 6 cats. Two are FIV+ and they all live together. FIV is like human AIDS. It causes problems with the immune system. I have my 2 on immune supplements and they are all fine. Both of them are former feral cats that lived outside for 3-5 years on my deck. They are now inside my home.

    I completely freaked out when my vet told me the first one was FIV+. Yet, she gave me her blessing to bring him inside and give him a better life.

    Please please please do your research on this. I am sorry, but your friend is mistaken about FIV. If the cat tests positive for FELV that is a different story.

    FIV demystified
     

  17. Mjones99x

    Mjones99x Thread Starter Bella, Sirus, Jekyll Kitten

    19
    41
    Jan 10, 2019
    No. Mississippi
    It wasn't my friend who told me this but the vet's office. I was floored because I've been doing a lot of research and most of the sites I've been to or articles I've read said pretty much what you are saying. One here or there was more cautious but this vet's office was so adamant about not bringing him home it makes me pause.
     

  18. Mjones99x

    Mjones99x Thread Starter Bella, Sirus, Jekyll Kitten

    19
    41
    Jan 10, 2019
    No. Mississippi
    And I specifically asked her if the FIV was very contagious and would put my cats at risk and she said yes, they do not recommend it. I was like *???*
     

  19. Mjones99x

    Mjones99x Thread Starter Bella, Sirus, Jekyll Kitten

    19
    41
    Jan 10, 2019
    No. Mississippi
    I'm still looking into this and have asked me friend vet tech for input. Jekyll is pretty healthy as I've wormed him over the last couple of years and have fed him a high quality diet. This really surprised me how strongly the vet's office was warning me about bringing him home.
     

  20. shadowsrescue

    shadowsrescue Advisor Staff Member Advisor

    5,912
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    Apr 27, 2011
    Ohio
    I would find another vet. You need to ask where they found their information and how many FIV+ cats they have worked with that have transmitted the disease to another through bodily fluids.

    I would never have brought my 2 FIV+ kitties into my home if I thought for a minute they would harm my other cats. One has been inside for over 2 years and the other a year. All of my cats are healthy.

    One of the FIV+ kitties, bit another one of my cats. It was bad enough that the cat needed vet care. I then had the cat who was bitten retested to see if the FIV was transferred. He was negative after 4 months.

    I am not asking you to do something that you are uncomfortable about. I just want you to have all of the facts. I would call another vet. Also did you speak directely to the vet or the person who answers the phone or a vet tech? I would ask to speak directly to the vet and ask some very pointed questions.

    Here is a very long thread you might find helpful too
    Need input - FIV+ and FIV- cats living together. Risks/Concerns
     

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