Feral in my garage

rubysmama

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He's not a young cat and has been out on his own for a while.
It gets harder for feral cats as they age, so Oscar being an older cat, is all the more reason to hopefully be able to take him with you when you move. I realize that may not be possible, but I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it works out for Oscar and you. :catlove:
 
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Bitsy's Mom

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Yes; I agree 100 percent. One rough winter and he would suffer. We know that it never ends well for feral cats unless someone takes them in.

I too hope it can work out. I will try
 

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Perhaps he has gone through this captivity exercise long enough to justify.... more captivity.... aka loving home.

An idea...start working on trapping him again.....if you have a bed or bathroom you can then release him into it.

The trick is the trap, it should become the feeding station he has to go to over a few days.
 

Norachan

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He's probably going to be trap wary after being trapped once before. A drop trap might work better. Are you feeding him close to the side of your house or garage?

I think you should make a drop trap and attach it to the wall so he gets used to seeing it there as soon as you can. You'll need to wire it securely to the wall so it can't fall and doesn't move around at all. Then feed him under it. If he gets used to eating in the same spot, under the trap it should be easy enough to trap him when you need to take him with you.

It's an old video, but it will give you the idea.


If you attach it to the wall you can have it almost vertical so he doesn't have to crawl under to get the food. He'll just see it as part of the wall.
 
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Bitsy's Mom

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Hello all,

Thanks for your continued interest in my feral boy Oscar. I am sorry it's taken me a week to respond. I got the second vaccine and was sick but am fine now. So, here is the update.

Unfortunately since he was trapped and the weather has gotten better, people have been out and about. That means that it is hard to get him into a regular feeding routine with me. However, he is usually by the side of the yard around 6 pm, and if the neighbors are out, his go to spot is after dark and under my car. He seems to feel safest under the car.

I believe I am his only food source. The two times he has skipped a day, the following day he arrived looking cold and hungry and ate 4 small cans. He is always alone. So I do not think he has another feeder or anyone else caring for him.

When he is by the side of the yard, I can walk up to within 3 feet of where he sits in the bushes. He still will not move to eat, but now he doesn't stare at me the whole time, he will look away and appears more relaxed. He knows me for sure.

When he is under the car, I shine my flashlight, see his eyes (since he's jet black you can only see his eyes at night) and say hello to him. I run in the house and get some food and place it under the car. I now can sit on the steps 8 feet away and he will move and eat the food. Three months ago, he would not eat if I was outside so now he does as long as I am a good distance away. To me, that is progress in that he will put his head down and eat and does not need to monitor me.

As far as trapping, as soon as I find a house,I will move to close on it and leave here. That is going to take a couple of months. I contacted another rescue about drop trapping him and they said they would help if they aren't too busy. I do not own a functioning trap, although I do have a broken one that I could place in the yard near where I feed him and just leave it there.

I cannot sufficiently express how much I care about this boy. When I look at my two indoor cats lounging about and getting fat, I cannot help but think about how he has to fight for survival every day, and how many dangers threaten him. If he gets a UTI or an ear infection, his eye gets poked, or an animal attacks him, there is no care to help him heal.

Anyway, that is the latest. Thank you.

Liz
 

shadowsrescue

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Thank you for the update! It is such good news that a rescue might be willing to help you. They also might be able to loan you a functioning trap. I definitely would put the broken one near where he eats. Just make sure it is in the open position and cannot close on him. I usually zip tie the opening so it stays open. You can also try to camouflage the trap by covering it with a tarp or garbage bag. I once saw a picture of someone who had made a covering of it out of cardboard. I think this is it
He definitely deserves a chance at a safe happy indoor life. I have 7 cats and 6 are former feral cats. All have varying levels of socialization. All are fine with my husband and I, but when others come to my home, they only see my one cat who was not a former feral. That is ok by me. They are all loved and now can enjoy the comforts of inside living. Vet care is very difficult for them too. I do the best I can and ask for gabapentin if I need to get the cat to the vet. But I am so happy I brought them inside. The hours and hours of worrying when they didn't show up for a meal. The worry each night too.....

Keep us updated!
 
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Bitsy's Mom

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Hello everyone,
My boy Oscar is still coming every day for food. He comes once at the side yard about 6 pm, and then about 9 pm he is under the car. He feels safest under the car at night since he's jet black and it's dark out. I have made small progress. I can now walk up at a normal pace to where I feed him and he watches me but does not run. He still will not eat when I am sitting ten feet away when he's on the side of the yard. But when he's under the car laying on a warming mat I have under there, I can put the food under and my hand is only about 12 inches from him. I can then sit on the steps 6 ft away and he will eat if he's under the car.

It's tiny progress but better than none.

I contacted a different rescue and they hooked me up with someone who has a drop trap. First I have to set up a spare room with a couple of crates zip-tied together so he has enough room away from me when he's inside. Hopefully that will work. Then I plan to try to trap him and try him inside. I had spoken to my Vet and she said better to try while we are in "his territory" so if he really goes insane, I can release him again where he knows.

That's the update! I will say that I have never worried so much about an animal as I do about him!
 

rubysmama

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Thanks so much for the update. I was actually thinking about you and Oscar, just yesterday.

That's wonderful that you have a rescue who can loan you a drop trap. Also glad that your vet is onboard with bringing Oscar inside. Good for her for thinking that bringing him inside now, instead of after you move, would be best, in case he really doesn't adapt, and you need to release him. But I'm thinking super paws-itive thoughts, and believe once he's inside things will work out. Not that he won't be super stressed at first, but almost all ferals can adjust to living inside. And it might even help that he'll hear/smell your other cats in the home.

TCS has this article on The Five Golden Rules To Bringing An Outdoor Cat Inside – TheCatSite Articles that might be helpful.

But basically, have your room set up with no where that he can hide that you can't reach him. Make sure any blinds are off the windows. If there's a bed in the room, take the mattress/box spring off the frame, so he can't hide under there.

One good thing is that he already knows how to use a litter box. And he's neutered. So you shouldn't have to worry about litter box accidents or spraying.

Do some research on Feliway for cats as some people find it helpful.

I know you love him, and want what's best for him, and I truly believe that is to be part of your family.

It will be so much better this time for him, and you, than when he was in the garage, as you'll be able to stop in to see/talk to him more often. And it'll be a safe and clean space for him.

Good luck. Keep us posted. And ask any questions that you may think of.
 

Norachan

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That's great progress. I hope the drop trap works.

So your plan is to keep him in the crates until you move and then, if all goes well, move him with you? Do you know when you will be moving? Is your plan to make him an indoor only cat at your new home, or will he have an enclosure too?
 
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Bitsy's Mom

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Hello everyone,

I am continuing to feed “Oscar” twice a day, and now see him quite often at the way back of my yard resting on a fallen tree stump. He seems to hang out back there which is quiet now, but once those neighbors start with lawn work, it will change.

so I can now walk up to him while he’s six feet away and he doesn’t run. You can see he’s uncomfortable but still stays. I never push it and I think he knows I’m not a threat. I even (finally) got a slow eye blink out of him!

My plan is to trap him and try him inside before I move. My vet said that was best since if it didn’t work at all, it would be better to release him here than in a new place.
I can borrow a drop trap or a circular tomahawk trap and I wonder if anyone has any thoughts on that. It’s tricky since I will have to try at night when he’s under my car to feed, and put the trap right next to the car. And then transport him to the crate set up (2 large dog crates attached) that I have inside.
Any thoughts on trapping would be helpful. I don’t want to mess it up!
Thank you!
 

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rubysmama

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No thoughts on the trapping, as I have no experience with that. But lots of pawsitive vibes that everything works out for you and gorgeous Oscar. :vibes: :vibes: :vibes: :vibes: :vibes: :vibes:
 

shadowsrescue

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Just be sure you give him a fair chance at living inside. It can sometimes take ferals awhile to adjust. I have brought 6 inside. All of adjusted, but it did take time. The first week or so can be rough. The key is to not give up too soon. I have had some come inside and were so happy and adjusted quickly. Others have taken a few weeks to get comfortable in their room. Introducing too much too soon is always hard.

Using a drop trap can be tricky especially the transfer from the drop trap to another trap or carrier. Do you have anyone to help you? I would think this would be the most difficult part. If you do use the drop trap, watch youtube videos on the transfer. I know it can be a challenge.

Is there a way to have some extra light around to help you see better?
 

Norachan

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I don't mean to disagree with your vet, but I wanted to give you my opinion.

I think trapping him now, keeping him confined to a room then trapping him again and moving him to your new place will be difficult. If it's possible I'd set up a safe room for him at your new place and aim to build a catio he can access from that room. Keeping him confined to that one room is a must for the first month, but with very skittish cats it can take 2 or 3 months before they settle down.

I moved a colony of semi-feral cats a few years ago. They were kept indoors for the first month, then allowed access to an enclosure. Some settled in right away, some spent weeks walking around yowling and trying to find a way out. One cat got out after 2 months and never came back. A few of the others have managed to get out over the years, but climbed back into the enclosure when they were hungry.

If you're thinking that releasing Oscar might be an option if he's really miserable getting him used to your new house would work better. Letting him see outside from a catio and then releasing him, after at least 4 or 5 weeks, would mean he's more likely to stay in that area and come back for food.

How far away is your new home? Is setting up a cat room and building a catio an option?
 
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Bitsy's Mom

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Hi Everyone,

Thanks for your feedback. Just to clear up a few things:

I don't mean to disagree with your vet, but I wanted to give you my opinion.
I think trapping him now, keeping him confined to a room then trapping him again and moving him to your new place will be difficult.

I wasn't planning on trapping him and then releasing him and trapping him again. When I told my Vet about the situation, she said it was best to trap him a couple of months before I move to see if he can adjust. Rather than to trap him right before I move and bring him with me in case it didn't work. I am moving north to Maine and I could not release him there if he was miserable, he would freeze to death. I would never do that.

I also have no expectations of him behaving like a house cat after a short time. I just want him safe inside as I worry all the time about him. He's not young, and even if I can never pet him or pick him up ...that is fine. I just don't want him miserable inside and a danger to me when he's caged. I did set up two big dog crates attached and so there will be some room for him to move. It's a bit challenging since I have two noisy dogs and two other cats.

I have not found my house yet, and where I am moving to, but rest assured I am looking at houses to make sure they have an option for Oscar inside.

Using a drop trap can be tricky especially the transfer from the drop trap to another trap or carrier. Do you have anyone to help you? I would think this would be the most difficult part. If you do use the drop trap, watch youtube videos on the transfer. I know it can be a challenge.

Is there a way to have some extra light around to help you see better?

I did not know a drop trap was tricky. Do you think I should borrow the regular trap and try that? He is pretty smart and so I assumed he would not go in the regular trap? I don't have anyone to help me and so am a bit worried about it. My options are a drop trap, a circular trap, and a regular trap. It will have to be at night when he is under my car and I will place the trap alongside the car.

Any trapping recommendations are appreciated. It was hard to trap him the first time for shots, he almost didn't go in . . took over an hour of him walking around the trap; that was 4 months ago. Back then I had a open feeding place and iron-clad time that i fed him which made it much easier. Now I only have next to the car and while he comes every night, the time ranges from 8 pm to 10 pm. He feels safest at night.

Thanks.
 

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So your plan is to trap him, bring him inside, keep him crated and then move him to your new place in the crates?

Or trap him, keep him confined to one room and then move him to your new house? I think if you keep him confined to one room you will have to trap him again within that room in order to get him into a carrier. That's what I meant by trap, release and then trap again.

Sorry, I wasn't very clear in my previous post.
 
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Bitsy's Mom

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So your plan is to trap him, bring him inside, keep him crated and then move him to your new place in the crates?

Or trap him, keep him confined to one room and then move him to your new house? I think if you keep him confined to one room you will have to trap him again within that room in order to get him into a carrier. That's what I meant by trap, release and then trap again.

Sorry, I wasn't very clear in my previous post.
I plan to keep him crated until I move to the new place. It would be safest for him and for my other animals. I have two 48" long crates attached with litter at one end (he used the litter religiously when he was in the garage,) and igloo bed in the middle, and food at the other end.

I am not worried about him being inside in the crates, I am more worried about trapping him since he's smart and I don't want to screw it up. Not sure what trap to use or best way to do it. And, I have no one to help.
 
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Bitsy's Mom

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Do you think a drop trap is best? What about trying the circular or regular trap again?
 

shadowsrescue

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I would definitely try a regular trap again. Did you think about trying to disguise the trap such as making a cover for it? I am unfamiliar with a circular trap, but I would suspect you still need to get him out and into another carrier unless it's small enough to carry.

What is your time frame for trapping him? If possible, I would try to disguise the regular trap and start placing it unset in his feeding area. Then start putting some food near the trap and moving the food closer and closer to the trap each day. Then move the food just inside the trap and each day a bit further back. Once he is eating inside the trap and near the back, you know you can proceed. Just be sure the trap is zip tied to stay open during the process of getting him used to it. If it would accidently go off, he would be very frightened and not go inside it.
 
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