Domestic Cat, a new neighbor - hungry, adorable, neglected... and... my feral

sweetlilac

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I am having a little crisis. A neighbor has been letting their cat out. It is a beautiful kitten age 2 years. It's big for 2 yrs, i think... six maybe 7 or 8 pounds and long hair, maybe, just looks like a lion. So beautiful inside and out, but acts like a kitten, jumping on all the counters, clawing rugs, furniture, licking and eating everything...

It was eating my feral cat's food. It has a flea collar and I took it in during some recent downpours and cold spells. I have texted the neighbor, (next door) and she me, on occasion. One she left it out when she and her fiance had gone on a five day trip to another state. So of course we fed it and it was cold and wet and probably lonely, maybe scared? It purred non stop. But we can't keep a cat, inside, especially this beauty, when he can't sit still for more than two seconds and is going around wreaking havoc. He bears close watching and even holding. That said he is insanely lovable.

I have communicated with the owners and a few times in downpours when we took him in they asked me to hold on to him but this is a major inconvenience for us, as much as we adore him. And now our little feral who is all of about 5 pounds and ten years old, is having to put up with this "mountain lion in a china shop". It is too young to understand cat decorum, i suspect. Or just bigger than my cat, so she is scared, not sure.

I invited them over to discuss the situation, no reply, maybe they are trying to work something out, but it would be nice if they answered. She had told me last time she picked up the cat that the cat didn't get along with her fiance's dog. She asked me to quit feeding him as it was confusing him, and I pointed out that he was eating my cat's food, we weren't exactly feeding him, it was the opposite. But I stressed that he was welcome and we loved him.

Truth is, we are up against open space, and our home and land is fenced and is protected against coyotes. If he didn't come here, he could seek other food (others leave out food for ferals in areas nearby, we live in coyote territory.) At least once a week we hear that awful howling of an animal going down. I'd rather he be safe over here where at least there is food and shelter, it's much safer and he doesn't have to cross any streets, either.

So at least he is somewhere he is better off, overall. But... I don't know what to do and my little Kitty is upset and even mad at me (of course) for being nice to Sammie the other cat who is a domestic cat. He is almost always over here now and seems very hungry. Either that, or he just likes our food better or ??? (I wonder if they are feeding it some kind of expensive food... our cat gets a mix of wet and dry Friskies, and wouldn't even touch expensive cat food.)

Anyway .... any ideas? My heart is breaking to see this beautiful creature being neglected. I wish i could give it more care but this cat is 24/7 proposition and the owners have already gotten upset that I "am feeding it", I think.... My hubby says he went outside this AM at 4:30 and the cat almost ran in our house... Poor kitty cat... so deserving of so much more love!

I am so at my wit's end about how to solve this. Ideas, anyone? The owners, who seem so very nice, just seem preoccupied. I don't question that the lady loves her precious kitty. I have no idea how to proceed. And no I don't want to adopt him, much as I adore him.

Thanks. I love her kitty too but I want my own kitty to feel ok and I don't want to have a daily struggle with seeing this domestic kitten out in the elements - hungry - cold - wet - begging to come in, and so on. My offer to collaborate - I'm still waiting to hear back from them.
 
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sweetlilac

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One more question. As I was petting little Kitty (my feral) today and Sammie the domestic ran over (of course)... I kept petting Kitty and she was more friendly than maybe ever. She was purring and maybe even grateful? I wound up petting both of them but telling Sammie to leave Kitty alone. It worked.

Is it possible that Kitty is learning for the first time how domesticated cats behave and trying to model/behave more this way? Or am I crazy? Ie could Sammie actually be a good influence on her, crazy-cute but slightly clueless kitten that he is?
 

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Hi. That is a very difficult situation to be sure. I probably have more questions than I do ideas. If this neighbor's cat were more 'subdued' would you be more inclined to take him in to your home if you could? Odds are he would be much calmer if he had a proper home and people to take care of him. I kind of think some of his behavior is due to the way he is cared for by your neighbor. Are both of them spayed/neutered? Is there a reason you have never tried to bring Kitty inside your home?

As long as this neighbor's bf is around, Sammie isn't going to get proper care - so, perhaps you could offer to take him into your home, and then she could come visit him? If it seems that both cats actually like each other, maybe Sammie being in your home would make it so that Kitty would also like to be there with him - and you?
 
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sweetlilac

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HI and thanks so much for responding and confirming. I have been contemplating getting an extra cat shelter outside. We have persian rugs, carpets, etc... he would destroy a lot! The love is there, but we are just not equipped to survive his boundless energy which included eating everything in site, oils, medicines, etc. I'd consider it though I would have to redo my home and I don't think the owner would bite, anyway... but i think the owner does love her cat. I do think Sammie dominates KittyKat but to my knowledge this is common and not to be worried over?
 

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KittyKat is older and a lot of times an older cat will tend to 'acquiesce' to a younger cat, especially one that is so rambunctious. There is always a pecking order when multiple cats are involved, and it isn't necessarily a negative thing if the lesser dominant cat isn't bothered by not being 'the boss'. Do you think KittyKat really minds being around him - it sounds to me like she really doesn't. Just don't let him bully her.

KittyKat is really not feral, but would seem to be a stray that has been on her own for a while - how long have you been caring for her? True ferals will not let humans near them, much less let them touch them. So, if she ever was feral, she could no longer be considered that.

I would work on getting the two cats to be comfortable around each other, feeding them together and even playing with them together - and perhaps they both could learn to live in a cat shelter together? I would also continue to feed Sammie along with KittyKat, and don't worry about the neighbor. After all, you've already explained that you are feeding your 'own' cat.

I will ask again - are they both spayed/neutered?
 
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sweetlilac

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Yes they are both neutered. Actually I have no idea about Sammie. He does act pretty peppy but I have to assume that anyone with a brain would have done this by now. However I will check.

I found a picture of the three of my kits before the two of them passed on. I will share. She clearly is alone now. Thank you for your input, much appreciated.

So, should I get a second cat house for outdoors? Just ignore the neighbors? I really, really appreciate this help i have been so worried, I guess I am a "puss" when it comes to cats.

PS they have never been indoors. Is is too late? I should say she, her sibs have passed on, for whatever reasons, as of this year. I have been trying to help her transition to life as a single feral.
Kitties the three.jpg
 

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Sweet pic of those little kitties! It is never too late to bring an outdoor cat in! KittyKat is old enough now, she may actually prefer to be inside, especially when it is cold out - and, now that she is 'alone'. It may take some work/effort on your part but it can be done! You could test it out just to see what she would do, at least that way you would know how much/little work would be required to acclimate her.

If you want to try a second cat house, sure go for it! If the neighbor takes issue with it, you can explain it is for Sammie when they are not home to watch over him. If she loves him that much, she technically shouldn't mind. After all, I am guessing he pretty much lives outside anyway, yes?
 
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sweetlilac

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Thank you!!! KittyKat is feral, but i was told once when the Feral Cat Society came to feed them (i could not find a feeder and that's who gave us the expensive cat food, believe it or not, that she hated!), that one of them, this one, was a "tweenie", which meant that she was half a feral but had some tendencies towards domestic. My friend and other neighbor Sally, who used to help with feeding but was away then, said, that she had a number of feral gray cats that looked just like this one at her house down the block (coyote country, but her yard is enclosed too, only she has five ferals!) - um, said that these cats looked like the offspring of one of her cats. I had to agree. Spitting image!

Sally (or someone else) said that most likely, the mom abandoned them about 6 weeks after giving birth. Makes sense. None of them ever knew how to catch a mouse, etc.

So yes, still feral. But this one could be a tweenie. How a feral gets to be a "tweenie" I don't know but I bought the house and these kitties came with the house. I knew zero about ferals, I assure you, when I took them over, I had owned domestics that I loved dearly in my life many times over, and it took a long time to accept that they "hated me", This one used to meow at me, that is what made her a "tweenie", that she would/could talk. And now I accept her and realize she doesn't "hate me"... big leap forward. Now I just want to give her a good rest of her life, and let her be her.

I would be open to bringing her in if I didn't think she would try to climb the walls. Interesting idea. But then... poor Sammie. Omgosh... But yes, leaning towards two outdoor cat homes. They said they would install a cat door but I am not sure it will solve much if they really don't want the cat inside in the first place and aren't responding to my very gracious text. While I am not rich I don't want to wait till Sammy is traumatized by the neglect. He's too young, sweet, and tender. He deserves a beautiful life.

PS It's only with the encouragement of folks on this board that I started petting her (that she would even let me touch her) about 6 months ago, I was shocked that we have made even this much progress. I wanted to step in after her second sibling passed away. She's really opened up, though... still a feral! Friskies Temptations treats helped a lot!
 
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I think that you have answered a lot of your own questions in the dialogue here. Whatever will work, and however long it will take, you have to think of some solution that gives this cat some protection and security. The situation with the dog and the BF is not going away and they have shown that they are going as far as they want with the cat's care.

When I did cat rescue I was sometimes in a position of having to bring an adult to my house with only a stop at the vet to make sure that it was FeLv negative and clear of any other transmittable conditions. Once in a while I kept one as a pet and things eventually worked out. It can be a long eventually and more successful if both cats have sufficient space so that they are not forced to be in each other's company right away.
 
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sweetlilac

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Thanks, FionasMom. You have been and advocate for Kitty since early days. She has made a lot of progress but is also mad at me these days, sometimes, for petting Sammie.... I can understand. Conflicted. Then grateful I remember her. I have gotten so much help today, I feel so relieved. I was feeling really bad, the neighbors didn't even respond, but i get it, they don't have an answer so I bear them no ill will and no longer will take it personally. Things sometimes just are what they are.

My last (I hope) ? is that KittyKat seemed to have a cough yesterday and I was scared that she was coming down with whatever happened to her sibs though Friendly (one of her sibs, the last to go, disappeared about 6 mos. ago). I don't want anything to pass to Sammie. Maybe it's just a winter cold. I can't bear the idea of putting her in a car and taking her to a vet, she will hate me forever, she barely trusts me as it is.

Do they have traveling vets? I have no idea how to get her checked out.Is there any risk of ... you know? Can you vaccinate against these things now that there's another cat around?

PS KittyKat is friendlier than ever today. Do you think a) she is jealous or b) she is learning from Sammie how to be a nicer (more people-oriented) cat? Thank you as always!!!
 

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Some cats get more affectionate when they aren't feeling 'up to par', others get more stand-offish. KittyKat also wants you to take care of her, so there may be a degree of jealousy in her about Sammie.

There are vets who will make house calls, you can do a search on the internet for one in your area. Vaccinations can happen even with the other cat, but she would likely need to be checked out first. I sure hope you can make a plan to try to bring her inside!!
 
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sweetlilac

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Thank you. I am hopelessly ignorant, so this is not a cry for attention, just me being clueless. Should one get a feral vaccinated? I never thought about it but now that it is dawning on me that Sammie is not going away, I would just drown in sadness to lose Kitty AND be the unwilling cause of harm to Sammie if I can prevent anything at all.

I would absolutely get a "traveling vet" if it's possible, and perhaps Kitty is either under the weather or a bit off about the whole Sammie thing, but I've never seen her be so sweet.
 

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You can ask your neighbor if Sammie has been vaccinated. That would be one thing off of your mind. If he has not, there is not much you can do about that. But, having KittyKat checked out and vaccinated as applicable is not going to do anything to harm Sammie at all.
And, yes KittyKat could be off with the whole Sammie thing, but that unto itself will likely not cause coughing, unless the stress has brought on some sort of illness. Do you have any friends you can talk to face-to-face that have cats and put them through testing/vaccinations/etc. - that would help immensely.
 

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First, I do not think a regular fence will deter a coyote. Particularly if she is hungry and sees a snack available. It would probably require a five or six foot fence to stop a coyote.

Please make Kitty an indoor only cat. From what TCS members say, and my ow
n experience, many feral cats adopt to indoor life very quickly. And as for Sammy, I would seriously consider a "catnapping". I know TCS members do mot approve. And in some jurisdictions consider that theft. But his "owner" is neglecting, if not abusing him. Maybe offer to buy him? He is a handsome cat!
 
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sweetlilac

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We will buy a kitty house for Sammy and let chips fall where they may. I cannot catnap my neighbor's cat, but it's Christmas time, and my guess is they haven't responded to my very friendly text to talk about what's going on because they really don't have any answers. I'd like to let them figure something out when they can. We will invite them over in the near future with no mention of the cat, we want to stay on good terms and in the meantime we will just take care of him as best we can. I've gotten great suggestions in the meantime... thanks everyone! I'd love to catnap him if i could!

Re coyotes... We do have 6 foot fencing around most of the property (1.3 acres) and 8 ft fencing in the back, so far, no coyotes.We do hear them and it's heart-wrenching. Fingers crossed...

Hubby is not keen on having an indoor cat. But if things go from bad to worse, we may have to consider this... not sure we are there yet.
 
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sweetlilac

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We will buy a kitty house for Sammy and let chips fall where they may. I cannot catnap my neighbor's cat, but it's Christmas time, and my guess is they haven't responded to my very friendly text to talk about what's going on because they really don't have any answers. I'd like to let them figure something out when they can. We will invite them over in the near future with no mention of the cat, we want to stay on good terms and in the meantime we will just take care of him as best we can. I've gotten great suggestions in the meantime... thanks everyone! I'd love to catnap him if i could!

Re coyotes... We do have 6 foot fencing around most of the property (1.3 acres) and 8 ft fencing in the back, so far, no coyotes.We do hear them and it's heart-wrenching. Fingers crossed...

Hubby is not keen on having an indoor cat. But if things go from bad to worse, we may have to consider this... not sure we are there yet.
 

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I have spent the last few years helping kitties that were either feral, lost, abandoned or neglected to the point of needing help or not surviving. The facts are that inside kitties are more closely observed, don’t have the stress of predators, high risk of disease, struggles through bad weather, etc. etc. and tend to live longer. I know the idea of a feral or semi feral may be intimidating but they can be the sweetest and most loving. They are often grateful to live a more comfortable and less fearful life. A catio might be a solution for both the kitties. It provides safety, shelter, comfort and you could access them if they need assistance. I have had a great number pass through my hands in the recent past and it was the most rewarding experience I could have asked for to see theses kitties fluourish with a little bit of help. I think it’s wonderful that you are helping both kitties and if you decide to take it a step further to allow one or both inside, many of us here would be glad to help you through the adjustment process. I have brought in very old ferals as well as kittens with great success. There are ways to work through the process and I wouldn’t change one moment of the time I put into caring for the kitties. The rewards far outweigh everything else. Please do follow up on getting a traveling vet there. Your kitty is a beautiful baby and so is the neighbor kitty. Sending lots of good vibes and purrs to you all. If you celebrate Christmas, maybe hubby will let you have a kitty for Christmas? ;)
 
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sweetlilac

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Thank you, very moving post. Kitty is also making adjustments to the quite dominant but very sweet Sammie. I think things will have to evolve. I did dig up my old "cat house" for outdoors that i had built for the three ferals but was never used, and had it cleaned out, and ordered a onesie today.

Kitty goes from mad at me to friendlier than ever then mad etc. very strange. Usually she is just scared.

Quick question: the neighbor said that Sammie was being treated for fleas (first thing I asked) but he is always scratching. My hubby asked me why is this if he is being treated and I couldn't answer, I don't know. I am allergic to bugs so this is a big deal. Is scratching just a normal thing? I have had many cats but mostly indoors since when I was a kid and I don't recall that far back! Thanks...

And I will try to locate a traveling vet. Not sure what I can do if the scratching is from fleas not sure I want it indoors, much to my sadness... it's not my cat though I let it in each day for a while, it loves it over here and seems lonely. And is a purr factory! And soooo sweeeeet.

And.. I have never heard back from my (next door) neighbors so I am assuming they just do not know how to respond. Very strange.... time will tell all but I don't want to push them when they don't seem to want to communicate at all anymore about the cat. ??? Such a treasure this one.

And I am doing doing doing double cat duty it's not easy! Hope something works out.... thanks for your ideas. You must certainly be a kitty-saint to look after so many precious little kitties!
 
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