Feral in my garage

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Bitsy's Mom

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Whenallhellbreakslose - I too, live in the northeast. If you can recommend any sanctuaries let me know. I do think it may be possible to trap Oscar again with the box trap - but I have to know what I am going to do with him if I am successful. Him not eating or moving or eliminating for going on 4 days was dangerous for a 16 lb cat healthy who’s a chow hound. I am sure it was the stress of my dogs on the other side of the door.
Do you have any suggestions? Thanks.
 

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I agree! I just need to have a plan in place when I try to trap him again. Like where in my house and if he doesn’t eat - what sanctuary he can go to immediately. I can’t get into the same situation I was in before and have to let him go.
The best sanctuary is your house or basement or garage. Any other sanctuary is just like a shelter except you pay much more and the cat gets 'maybe' VIP treatment?

I thought about $800 which I could pay.
If you can afford this amount, IMHO, I'll use this cash to built him a nice large enough 'in-house sanctuary' for him which he'll feels much more safe and secure Because you are there with him. He really need your presence and assurance. Leaving him outdoors or in a sanctuary is a s good as dumping him.
Moreover, you can use back what you've built for your new house and he'll familiar with the setup as his scents are already there.

(He won’t eat unless I’m 15 ft away so not sure if he trusts me but I try to inch closer and look in the opposite direction).
I can see in his eyes that he's trying and putting his trust in you and that's why he'll only eat when you are around. He's going trust in you and this may take awhile, with him looking at you while eating, he looks like a love bug to me. I'm sure he'll be very attached to you.

To get closer to him and letting him gain more confidence when he's eating, you can move the cage bit by bit closer to you and you also move bit by bit closer to him and sit on the ground and watch him eat and at the same time, whisper sweet words to him and keep praising him. He must not only get use to your presence but also get use to your voice. A the same time, do slow blinks with him and look away slowly. By doing this, you are telling him that he is in control and you are submissive. Don't stare at him direct as eyes are signs of aggression. If you want too peek at him directly, squint your eyes so that your eyeball is not visible to him and it looks like you are blinking at him.
Move the cage nearer and nearer to the house.

Also get towels and place it in the cage or where he lays to soak up his scents which later you can use back the towel and place it in the basement or garage so that he has familiar scents. Same also if you place your clean unwashed non perfumed garments with him. This is for him to get use to your scent. Cats go by scents and so this is like scent swooping which is very important.
 

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tarasgirl06 tarasgirl06 I have come to conclusion that the other feeder is a hoarder. I told her many times that the neighbors are not crazy with so many cats on the block. (We have a large post tnr colony). I called an animal sanctuary and the director was going to waive his fee for 2 cats. I told him, I could supply cat food, but that was it. I wanted him to find a home for these cats while they were in his care. We have a handful of friendly cats on the block. When she found out what I was trying to do, she had a conniption. I got fed up with her bs and called her out on her lies and then she made a legal threat against me and told me that I was crazy to try to take ferals of the street. She would not even acknowledge the sweet friendly cats that I think are adoptable stuck outdoors. Typical hoarder! They collect cats like crazy and when they are overwhelmed or tired they dump on others. It is a very, very frustrating situation to be in. I am worried about getting these cats through winter. She is doing more harm to cats than good by not trying to get the friendly cats off streets, so the cat colony on our block could be better managed. If she truly cared about the cats she would understand this.

B Bitsy's Mom Oscar truly is gorgeous. I hope you find the right solution to trapping him again. Might I suggest, you getting a hold of a drop trap that you can camouflage. The only problem is the transfer to the other trap. I have done it and you have to keep your wit's about you. One time I got two cats trapped under a d.t. and I had to work at letting the untargeted cat out, while getting the target one transfered into the other trap. If you can find someone a little more experienced, then you can try this approach. That is the trap that is used for previously trapped cats, difficult to trap cats, and momma kitties with kittens.

I learned a long time ago that not everyone who says they help cats are actually helping cats. Hoarding is one such problem and sad to say it isn't just individuals, but there have been some rescue organizations that were found out to be hoarding animals. In no way am I knocking rescue organizations, there are plenty that are doing much good in the communities they serve and then their are the ones who are doing more harm than good.😕 That rescue/tnr group that trapped Oscar did him a great disservice holding him so long. It probably caused him much stress. I had a late spay, I was told to hold as long as I could. I transfer her into a nice size crate in my garage. She had a hideaway bed in the crate and I kept the garage as warm as possible for her. I went out of my way to make her feel less stressed out and it worked. After a week, I let her out and she was a much nicer cat after that. I also held a sick kitty for 3 weeks. Treating him with medicine, making him feel comfortable, and interacting with him. He opened up to me and I was able to hold him, pet him and play with him. It was a very rewarding experience. I was very worried he might develop the cat version of cage rage, but he trusted me and I am so grateful for that.

I live in the North East so things are more expensive here. Please still check out the Animal Sanctuaries because their fees may be much lower where you live. I hope for the best for Oscar. Thank you for caring for him. :rock: :purr:
Agree 100%, Whenallhellbreakslose Whenallhellbreakslose -- a truly caring feeder/colony caregiver would never "dump" cats and would be only too willing to work with you, or at very least, praise you, for trying to find safer, more comfortable places for cats to live.
Cats do live almost everywhere except Antarctica, and they adapt to different climates pretty well. Although cold, snow and rain are of course not ideal for them, they are generally pretty hardy if healthy otherwise. I watch videos about cats in Siberia! They have incredibly floofy coats because of their home climate. I am twitter friends with a couple in Finland and their two shorthaired cats, who of course live indoors but enjoy harness walks and even international travel.
When we lived in the Mojave at 4,100 ft., it snowed in the wintertime. The coldest temperature while I was there was 7F. Of course we had climate control in the house *and in the barn* but our cats, especially Rani angel, would grow the lushest coats ever while we lived there.
IMG_0107.JPG

Our beloved Rani angel in the Mojave.
 

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Just a few thoughts.... I agree that keeping Oscar with you is best for both of you. Perhaps you could buy or build a catio for your current home and then take it with you when you move. Your idea of using the basement might be good, too, since it would be temporary.

I had some experience with a cat sanctuary and I will give you the short version of the story! With very little notice, we had to move my mother to an assisted living place near my sister, several states away. I took off work and stayed at my mother's condo to take care of everything after she left. This included figuring out what to do with the three semi-feral cats she had been feeding for many years. No one in the area would take over, and my mom had actually gotten letters from the condo association (which she completely ignored!) to stop feeding the cats. It was a heart-breaking, horrible month for me. Luckily, my mom had a cat rescue friend and, with her help, we finally trapped the cats (along with possums, a big frog, a different cat, etc.!), got them to a local vet for shots (and dental work for one), and made arrangements to take the cats to a fairly large sanctuary about an hour's drive away. I believe we needed to pay $3000 per cat and my mom was willing to do that.

I visited the sanctuary in advance and was impressed with its appearance: lots of land, shrubs and trees and flowers, water fountains, shelters all over, and special areas for feral cats with netting so they wouldn't escape. The woman who owned the sanctuary seemed very nice and volunteers helped out with feeding and cleaning. Well, the first cat we brought to the sanctuary was let out of the trap, went right over to the netting, and climbed up and over (half upside-down at the top where the netting folded in), escaping within two minutes into the wooded area around the sanctuary. It was an awful moment. Thankfully my mom's cat rescue friend knew that there were several volunteers who fed cats in the neighborhood all around the sanctuary so the escapee would very likely be OK on the outside. The other two cats didn't escape as far as I know, but I was not able to stay in town any longer as I had to drive my mom's car up north and then go home and back to work. After I left, I heard rumors from my mom's friend that the sanctuary owner was taking in too many cats and was getting in over her head.

All to say: you can Google "feral cat sanctuary" and you will find some and I'm sure there are good ones, with well-meaning people who love cats and are doing their best to give them a forever home. But I strongly recommend that you not only visit a few times in advance, you need to talk to people and read reviews and volunteer if you live nearby and be really sure they are a good place for Oscar. After my experience, I would save the option of a cat sanctuary as a very, very last resort.
 

Whenallhellbreakslose

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Whenallhellbreakslose - I too, live in the northeast. If you can recommend any sanctuaries let me know. I do think it may be possible to trap Oscar again with the box trap - but I have to know what I am going to do with him if I am successful. Him not eating or moving or eliminating for going on 4 days was dangerous for a 16 lb cat healthy who’s a chow hound. I am sure it was the stress of my dogs on the other side of the door.
Do you have any suggestions? Thanks.
The animal sanctuary who was going to take a few kitties off my block-- got hit hard financially in the last year due to Covid. The director and his crew rescue cats from hoarder situations as well as ferals who are in danger. They fundraise to meet all the costs of taking these cats into the sanctuary. They are struggling now because they did not raise much money for the rescued cats care. They do charge the public $3000 per cat for lifetime care if surrendered to them. I was very lucky the director took interest in my situation, but these plans were ruined by the other feeder. SMH. 😟 Have you checked out Tabby's Place in NJ. My friend knows someone that got two young cats in there and they got adopted out not to long after that. If this organization is adopting out cats, then maybe the fees aren't so steep. I thought my friend mentioned that they have outdoor enclosures for the cats as well. If you haven't check this place out, then please do. I am keeping my 🤞crossed.

However, I agree with Tabby Tom's catio idea. Oscar staying under your care would be best. He has some trust in you and when a feral has put some trust in you--that is a special bond right there. The fact he returned to you is a clear indicator of that.

Wow Avery Avery thanks for sharing your story about that Cat Sanctuary. I really hope they found the cat who escaped. It gives some insight about Cat Sanctuaries. 🙂

tabbytom tabbytom it is true, once you turn your cat over to a Sanctuary, you don't know if they are getting the best care. Animal sanctuaries can get crowded, cats can get stressed out, and the A.S. might end up struggling financially like the one I mentioned above. I really do love the catio idea. It is a win- win. The Cats are not free roaming and at risk to the many dangers outside and instead they can still go outside, but are now truly safe. ❤
 
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Bitsy's Mom

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The animal sanctuary who was going to take a few kitties off my block-- got hit hard financially in the last year due to Covid. The director and his crew rescue cats from hoarder situations as well as ferals who are in danger. They fundraise to meet all the costs of taking these cats into the sanctuary. They are struggling now because they did not raise much money for the rescued cats care. They do charge the public $3000 per cat for lifetime care if surrendered to them. I was very lucky the director took interest in my situation, but these plans were ruined by the other feeder. SMH. 😟 Have you checked out Tabby's Place in NJ. My friend knows someone that got two young cats in there and they got adopted out not to long after that. If this organization is adopting out cats, then maybe the fees aren't so steep. I thought my friend mentioned that they have outdoor enclosures for the cats as well. If you haven't check this place out, then please do. I am keeping my 🤞crossed.

However, I agree with Tabby Tom's catio idea. Oscar staying under your care would be best. He has some trust in you and when a feral has put some trust in you--that is a special bond right there. The fact he returned to you is a clear indicator of that.

Wow Avery Avery thanks for sharing your story about that Cat Sanctuary. I really hope they found the cat who escaped. It gives some insight about Cat Sanctuaries. 🙂

tabbytom tabbytom it is true, once you turn your cat over to a Sanctuary, you don't know if they are getting the best care. Animal sanctuaries can get crowded, cats can get stressed out, and the A.S. might end up struggling financially like the one I mentioned above. I really do love the catio idea. It is a win- win. The Cats are not free roaming and at risk to the many dangers outside and instead they can still go outside, but are now truly safe. ❤

I did call Tabby's Place and while they were very nice, they were not taking in any ferals at this time. They told me that are only taking cats that are going to euthanized and need a place to go until they can be adopted out.

I would love to have Oscar stay under my care. I had assumed he would eat but I think smelling and hearing two big dogs and two other cats through the door was too much.

Yes, I am. hoping I can trap him and set him up in a place that would work for him. The problem is what to do now. Winter is coming and so I worry. Will continue to feed him in the trap and inch up the food. I tried putting an outside shelter last year, and he didn't use it. He goes somewhere during the day . and I don't know where that is.
 

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I did call Tabby's Place and while they were very nice, they were not taking in any ferals at this time. They told me that are only taking cats that are going to euthanized and need a place to go until they can be adopted out.

I would love to have Oscar stay under my care. I had assumed he would eat but I think smelling and hearing two big dogs and two other cats through the door was too much.

Yes, I am. hoping I can trap him and set him up in a place that would work for him. The problem is what to do now. Winter is coming and so I worry. Will continue to feed him in the trap and inch up the food. I tried putting an outside shelter last year, and he didn't use it. He goes somewhere during the day . and I don't know where that is.
Again, I wouldn't worry that much about winter. Cats have been adapting to temperature and climate changes for thousands of years. The most important thing is that Oscar find safe haven. I agree with others who have told cat sanctuary stories and shared thoughts about them. I have my own, but won't add it here. The bottom line is that with the pandemic and the current ill-advised policies about spay/neuter and TNR, there are a lot of homeless cats, and most ACCs, humane societies, shelters, sanctuaries and rescues are full and have been for quite some time. I work in cat advocacy and know this too well. All of these entities always encourage people who care to keep cats, not look for other places for them. I add my voice to theirs, for Oscar. We seldom have perfect lives and accomodations, but we do the best we can, with caring being the motivator. Oscar deserves loving care on a level he will tolerate. I also believe he wants to stay with you and that adapting to a different lifestyle will take time, patience, and love. But it can be done if you commit to him. I thought our beloved angel Sammi would never adapt to living in a multi-cat family after 14 years as an only cat. There was a year of fighting between him and our beloved angel Calo, and there were a few times I thought it just wouldn't work. But the couple I adoped him from were elderly and ill, and there was no way he could go back there. And even though he was a magnificent Maine Coon, 14 is not a very adoptable age. So he stayed. My policy is always that adoption is for life. It worked out. He adapted. And we had 7 wonderful years together. He wasn't feral, but he was very territorial and used to being the only cat.
 

Whenallhellbreakslose

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I did call Tabby's Place and while they were very nice, they were not taking in any ferals at this time. They told me that are only taking cats that are going to euthanized and need a place to go until they can be adopted out.

I would love to have Oscar stay under my care. I had assumed he would eat but I think smelling and hearing two big dogs and two other cats through the door was too much.

Yes, I am. hoping I can trap him and set him up in a place that would work for him. The problem is what to do now. Winter is coming and so I worry. Will continue to feed him in the trap and inch up the food. I tried putting an outside shelter last year, and he didn't use it. He goes somewhere during the day . and I don't know where that is.
Is there any possibility that Oscar has another feeder? Cats are great at surviving and having multiple feeders is not that uncommon. I have had cats disappear for days on end and I was expecting them to be starving, but they weren't.

I have a funny story to share. Years ago, I had a male tabby cat coming for food at least once a day. He had a modest appetite and never ate everything I put out for him. One day he was on my front stoop chilling, when a woman and her young daughter saw him and said "There's Buddy". I asked if that was their cat, they said no just a friendly stray they feed everyday. I told them that "Buddy" comes to me too. They were nice people and I was so glad that the kitty was "eating good in the neighborhood". Fast forward to a few months later when I found out in a similar fashion that Buddy had 2 other feeders. :noway: Buddy was eating really good in the neighborhood!!! :lol: For some reason (probably because he got along with our cats), he chose me as his owner. I had him for 20 years. He was a very special cat.

If Oscar has another feeder and that's where he wanders off in the day, maybe this is a kind person who could take him under their wing when you move away. I have a cat who left my little group years ago. Someone has been taking care of her because I see her from time to time. She is well feed and healthy. I was sad that she left the group, but happy she found someone who obviously cared about her. You never know.

Well, I just though I share that. Have a good night. 🙂
 
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Bitsy's Mom

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Yes, Whenallhellbreakslose, I have considered that!

It is so hard to tell. Every so often he doesn't eat much, but he could have gotten a bird or mouse. And, the times his appetite was off was primarily during the summer months when outside hunting is the best.

I do think it would be best for him to stay in his territory and if he had another feeder - that would be great. But I am not sure how I can find out. I will ask around the neighborhood but people keep to themselves and there is a fine line between getting info and alerting them to a black feral cat. I constantly worry about people poisoning mice or other wildlife and Oscar getting sick as a result.

I am going to do my best to inquire and walk that fine line.
 
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Hi! Thanks for inquiring and caring about my boy.

I have asked around and may have found one neighbor who will feed him, but that family is across the street and he never goes over there. He tends to hang out in the back of my yard and not go across the street which I have been glad about since cars travel fast on often times. So, it doesn't seem like it would work.

Other than that - I am still feeding him in the trap. He's smarter now, as he will only go in about 3 inches. He comes just like he used to in the morning and evening. I haven't found a house yet and so haven't moved. So he's doing OK - except the weather is going to get bad and I'm not sure of how to help him weatherwise. If I put a shelter out in my yard he won't use it, since he knows the dogs are around. I had a shelter with hay out there last year before I trapped him and put him in the garage, and he never used it.

My only other option is to try to trap him again, but I need a plan. I am not sure if putting him in my basement will change the fact that he wouldn't eat while in a bedroom inside. He'll still hear the dogs walking around and barking upstairs. I really do think the key is moving to a house with a separate heated garage or area where he will have quiet and be safe, and not within ear-shot of my crazy dogs.

Any and all suggestions are welcome!

Thanks!
 

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Hi! Thanks for inquiring and caring about my boy.
Thanks for the update.

Think for the time being, let him stay put and feed his as usual. Maybe you can re-use the shelter you had for him. Get some towels and place it where he eats to soak up his scents and move the towels to the shelter. Also you can try to put his food in the shelter. Each day just move the food bowl nearer and nearer to the shelter.

He could be roosting somewhere safe and near your house and comes around for meals.
 
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"He could be roosting somewhere safe and near your house and comes around for meals".

I like to think that he has a safe place to go. We had horrible rainfall here a month ago; really torrential. He showed up the next day looking fine.

It will be interesting to see how hungry he is this winter since I don't know if he eats somewhere else also, or just eats birds or mice on the days where he doesn't finish his dinner. He usually does, but every how and then he doesn't.

I will try moving the shelter closer to where he eats. Thanks!

PS. I still wish I could find a sanctuary for him somewhere.
 

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PS. I still wish I could find a sanctuary for him somewhere.
Seems like he's chosen you and I think over time, you will win his heart. He needs lots of trust from you and from his behavior, I guess he's being cautious.
Cats can sense human's emotions and he can feel your love for him and that's why he keeps coming back. Don't give up the hope he has in you. You can make this work.
 
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I have a self-heating mat I place under my car on days when it’s not raining or too windy. I sprinkle cat nip on it. When I come out at night and see him laying on it - my heart jumps for joy. A small bit of comfort in his hard life.

I love that cat. But who knows if I’ll be able to trap him again and get him to safety. I really believe that hearing two big noisy dogs right in the next room was too much for him when I had him inside, which is why he didn't move from the back of the crate to eat or drink.

It crushed me too release him. But I’m going to try again once I know where I am moving and his new spot will be.
 
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Hello Everyone,

I just thought I'd update you as to Oscar for those of you who have cared so much about my boy.

I have been feeding him a couple of times.a day ongoing. Still about halfway into the trap. The weather has been OK with only a few cold nights and so I am hopeful he hasn't been too cold.

Yesterday I put an offer on a house. It's one hour away, and has a separate garage with an studio apartment over it. In my dreams, I get the house, can put Oscar up there, and then build a catio from the sliders that open out onto the backyard from the apartment living room. I overbid on the house and hope I will get it. Say a prayer.

If I can trap him again, I can bring him up there and set him up. I am not sure if he'll be happy inside in an apartment alone, but at least he'll be safe. That said - if I get the house, I wouldn't move until February and so I am not sure if I can deal with him being out in the snow and freezing temps until then. I don't know where he goes when he's not under my car on the little mat that I put under there for him. Again, he doesn't stick around the house given that I have two big noisy dogs.

I have tried putting shelters near where I feed him but they remain untouched. Any other ideas please let me know.

Let's hope I get this house.

Thanks all,

Liz
 

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I've been thinking of you and Oscar, and wondering how things were going. Wonderful news on the house. Fingers crossed they accept your bid, and that everything works out. The apartment over the garage sounds like a good starting spot for Oscar. I say "starting", because I'm hopeful that eventually he'll clue in that being a loved house cat is a million times better than being a solo feral. But first things first.
 

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Hello Everyone,

I just thought I'd update you as to Oscar for those of you who have cared so much about my boy.

I have been feeding him a couple of times.a day ongoing. Still about halfway into the trap. The weather has been OK with only a few cold nights and so I am hopeful he hasn't been too cold.

Yesterday I put an offer on a house. It's one hour away, and has a separate garage with an studio apartment over it. In my dreams, I get the house, can put Oscar up there, and then build a catio from the sliders that open out onto the backyard from the apartment living room. I overbid on the house and hope I will get it. Say a prayer.

If I can trap him again, I can bring him up there and set him up. I am not sure if he'll be happy inside in an apartment alone, but at least he'll be safe. That said - if I get the house, I wouldn't move until February and so I am not sure if I can deal with him being out in the snow and freezing temps until then. I don't know where he goes when he's not under my car on the little mat that I put under there for him. Again, he doesn't stick around the house given that I have two big noisy dogs.

I have tried putting shelters near where I feed him but they remain untouched. Any other ideas please let me know.

Let's hope I get this house.

Thanks all,

Liz
Although you may think the shelters aren't being used, he may be sheltering in them when you aren't aware of it, so if you can leave one or more out while he is there, it would give him a place to shelter and you peace of mind in knowing he has the option.
*PRAYERS* from the heart for your offer to be accepted! It sounds like a wonderful place for you and your family -- including Oscar!
 
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