Colonies and going on vacation, plus semi-feral who sleeps in home!

tutubean

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ADVICE NEEDED!!

I'm planning for later this year.

We have 2 semi-ferals we feed every day. They have 2 shelters to sleep in right against our house. They also sometimes get food from a neighbor who we're friendly with, and we figured we could ask them to put out food for a few days while we're away.

PROBLEM! One of our kiddos is now semi-domesticated and has been accustomed to seeing us every day, taking his morning naps inside, and has been sleeping indoors every single night for the last 4 months, slowly getting more and more domesticated. But he's extremely xenophobic and always does his business outside, so popping him over to a friend's house or leaving him inside our house may be unwise.

Do you think he'd be okay on his own for a few days to a week, should we be absent? He'll have shelter and we'll try to arrange food. (Auto-feeders won't work--tons of animals around).

Is there anything special we can do to make him less sad by our absence? Should we perhaps put his blanket on the outdoor bench, under our awning?

I've never been in this situation before. If it was just one day or two I wouldn't care. But being a week away I'm so worried he'll be like "where are my humans????" and be sad, perhaps even leave. He grew up here, on/around our property, and because of COVID we've all been here since before his TNR 8 months ago.

Thanks all ♥
 
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shadowsrescue

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I would wonder if when the weather warms he will not want to spend so much time inside. I do think it will be hard for him if he is sleeping inside all night and then wham, you are gone. Since he is so domesticated, could you bring him inside full time? Outside life is so very hard. If you start now you may be surprised that he will be adjusted to inside life by the time you go on vacation. Cats will adjust to using a litter box.

If you do decide to just bring him inside for the duration of your vacation, I would put him in a room of his own that is cat proofed. Have an extra barrier so that the care giver can enter the room without him trying to escape.

I feel your pain. I had 4 outside feral cats for many years. Getting someone to feed them and be sure they each had enough was such a worry. I moved 3 years ago and brought the feral cats inside. When I am gone, I have them in my large sunroom. They love this room and this way, the caregiver can place their food in this room and clean the litter boxes easily. Yet, some are so frightened by the caregiver, they do not come out to eat at first. I have wireless ip cams in the room to keep tabs on them. It is such a worry that one of them will not eat.

You are wise to plan so far in advance. I am sure others will come along with more ideas.
 

fionasmom

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If you can do what shadowsrescue shadowsrescue is suggesting it is the best plan.

A very good friend for whom I cat sit when they are gone had an indoor only and a semi feral indoor/outdoor cat....actually she still has both of them. When she would travel, the indoor cat stayed inside BUT the two cats hated each other and could not be left alone in the house, or more than likely my friend was not willing to do that. She boarded the semi feral at a nice kennel but he refused to eat and basically went crazy in the very nice area he was given so they called me to come and get him. With my friend's direction, I released him outside and put his food where it usually was. What he did for those days I do not know but he survived.

I did not entirely agree with how my friend handled this, but she is a little more of a throwback to cats can take care of themselves outside if they have to. It sounds as if you do not have other cats or animals? If you are not sure that the neighbor will feed or will feed responsibly, go onto Nextdoor or some social media site and see if someone local can help? Ask another friend? The cat who is permanently outside cannot be made to think that he has been abandoned either.

I would try to bring the cat in question inside and see if he can stay all night and what his reaction is before you make any decisions. It is very important with ferals though that their feeding pattern not be broken or they will revert to their more wild side and begin to look for food on their own.I have two around my property right now who were cared for by people who did not feed regularly so they did what any hungry cat would do which is to start to look for food.
 

FeebysOwner

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Hi. If you are going to ask your neighbor to provide food for these cats, would you/they be willing to let the one cat inside for his morning nap, let him back out again later, and then let him be inside to sleep at night? I am sure you could offer to compensate them for the extra effort. If you do try to acclimate him inside ahead of time, your neighbor (or someone) is going to have to have access to your house in order to take care of his needs indoors.

And, to help with your absence, 1.) ask the neighbor to come by often (as is possible) between now and your trip, to make sure both cats will be comfortable around them while you are gone, and. 2.) leave worn, unwashed clothing of yours inside the house to help your overnight sleeping buddy be able to smell your scent while you are away.
 

tarasgirl06

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ADVICE NEEDED!!

I'm planning for later this year.

We have 2 semi-ferals we feed every day. They have 2 shelters to sleep in right against our house. They also sometimes get food from a neighbor who we're friendly with, and we figured we could ask them to put out food for a few days while we're away.

PROBLEM! One of our kiddos is now semi-domesticated and has been accustomed to seeing us every day, taking his morning naps inside, and has been sleeping indoors every single night for the last 4 months, slowly getting more and more domesticated. But he's extremely xenophobic and always does his business outside, so popping him over to a friend's house or leaving him inside our house may be unwise.

Do you think he'd be okay on his own for a few days to a week, should we be absent? He'll have shelter and we'll try to arrange food. (Auto-feeders won't work--tons of animals around).

Is there anything special we can do to make him less sad by our absence? Should we perhaps put his blanket on the outdoor bench, under our awning?

I've never been in this situation before. If it was just one day or two I wouldn't care. But being a week away I'm so worried he'll be like "where are my humans????" and be sad, perhaps even leave. He grew up here, on/around our property, and because of COVID we've all been here since before his TNR 8 months ago.

Thanks all ♥
Thanks for caring about them, tutubean tutubean -- have you discussed their care with your neighbor? Do these cats know him or her? If not, could the neighbor come over and meet them, and feed them, sometimes (before you go on your trip)? And would they be willing to donate some old towels/t-shirts with their scent on them, so that your cats could become familiar with their scent? Scent is very important to cats, whose sense of smell is far more sensitive than ours. Also, leaving your own items like this would help your cats not to miss you so much. As for Mr. Semi-Domestic, you could start offering him to come indoors as much as possible, and having a room fixed for him with a litterbox...
Other suggestions here are excellent. Just adding mine plus my best thoughts for them!
 

Carolina SA

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If your feed times are fairly regular can your neighbour come over and start feeding them for a couple of days before you leave?
I've done this. I learn to mimic the owner's calls as I arrive, then prepare the food and then put it down where they do. Its less intimidating than an abrupt change in hooman one day to the next ;)
Enjoy your trip, the cats will miss you but that isn't all bad!!
 
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tutubean

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Thanks all for your thoughts.

My semi-feral is extremely xenophobic and I fear it would take a long time to fully trust the neighbor, who just puts out a can (just an open can) for whatever cat wants it and doesn't interact with the cats. But we will probably give them a bag of kibble to put out in our absence (our cats love kibble) and that will just have to be enough for a few days. We have 2 water bowls and can always put out more before we leave.

I really like the idea of putting out some of my unwashed clothing outside. I think that will really help. Plus the semi-feral's blanket. This was my biggest concern, really. That he'd wonder where we'd gone. He even gets confused when we leave the house to take a walk or when one of the cars is gone for more than a few hours.

I wish we had a cat room, or a room to make into a cat room. That would be great. It's just not possible.
 
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