Feral, semi-feral or stray. And how to re trap a cat for the vets

AbbysMom

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I'm posting this on behalf of member Fion Fion as they are having difficulty posting.


I live in Spain and moved here last August. There are quite a few feral cats around here. One cat, A Siamese tomcat took a shine to me and was very friendly from the outset, wanting to be stroked and wrapping himself around my legs. This led me to believe maybe he was a stray or semi-feral cat as opposed to a complete feral. He was painfully thin even though I know Siamese cats are slim. There is no TNR program in this area of Spain, I enquired with a few vets.

Anyway, after giving him some spot-on flea and wormer from the vets, which he allowed me to do no trouble, I decided to trap this boy, luring him into a cat carrier with some sardine. He wasn’t happy but calmed once I quickly got a blanket over the carrier. I took him home and kept him in the woodshed (which had a reinforced window), until I could get him to the vets a few days later. I also wanted to make sure he was healthy before bringing him into the house as we have another domestic cat we brought with us from the UK.

He was quite happy in the shed and allowed me to continue petting him and feeding him. He didn’t know how to play though.

Getting him back in the cat carrier to get him to the vets was traumatic, to say the least. I tried with a blanket to scoop him up but he was so strong he slipped out. I was really surprised by his strength. My husband tried and this cat was scaling the wall vertically to getaway. On the third attempt, he was smothered with a thick sheet and gently scooped into the carrier.

He was checked over by the vet under anesthesia, who informed me he wasn’t microchipped. He was neutered, vaccinated, the works. The vet told me he was a healthy cat and his tests for leukemia and feline immunodeficiency were negative. We brought him home to a catified room of his own. It only took him about two weeks to trust me again (just about!) I read to him, talked to him, bought a Feliway plug-in, gave him some calming cat herbs, played him harp music and basically nurtured him to trust me again. He now allows me to stroke him again and is actually playing with toys!!

My questions… (sorry if I went on too long but I wanted to put you totally in the picture)… is he feral, semi-feral or stray and more importantly – HOW do I get him back in the cat carrier to take him back to the vets for his second and final vaccine and without losing his trust all over again.

Today, I put the cat carrier back in his room with a towel over it and his blanket from his bed in the cat carrier. I am hoping he will start to use this as his bed over the next few days (I removed the cardboard box he was using). He also has a cat tepee which he uses sometimes but prefers sleeping in the box. Usually, he slinks into his bed when startled or after he’s had enough stroking. I’m thinking if his bed is now the carrier I could trap him that way. It feels very unfair though and I am worried I will lose his trust for good this time (although he won't be as sore as he was after being neutered).

Any advice would be appreciated.
Thank you
 

Kat0121

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Hi and welcome! It sounds like you really know what you're doing and the cat knew what he was doing when he chose to adopt you! He's not a feral. He's far too socialized to be even semi-feral IMO. He's likely a discarded or lost pet. If he's not microchipped, my best guess would be the first option sadly.

When is his next vet appointment? If it's not right away you can just leave the carrier in his room with him so he can get used to it being around and not for scary reasons. If it's pretty soon, you may want to ask the vet about using a mild sedative if he really puts up a fight. It will be less stressful for everyone and will also make his vet appointment itself less stressful. After he's fully vaccinated you can focus on getting him settled in and used to his carrier.

You're doing great so far. He's very lucky to have you. Somehow cats always know what doorstep to choose.

It says kitten under your name because you are a new member. As you post more and more your ranking will increase. I hope you do stick around. Few things make us happier than seeing another cat in a good, loving home. Please feel free to create a post in our new cats on the block thread so the rest of our members can welcome you and pass along their advice as well. I'll post the link below. This is the best forum on the web IMO. Let us know how we can help.

New Cats on the Block
 

fionasmom

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I also think that you are well informed and that you have done a great job with this boy. Definitely he is not feral. The idea of using the carrier as a bed or refuge is the best way to start. If he does not immediately take to it, and if it has a removeable top piece, you might try making it an open bed temporarily and then return the top when he is comfortable using it.

As for his trust, just steel yourself against that kind of thinking. You have saved this boy who truly does seem to have chosen you; unfortunately, vet visits are part of life as are doctors visits for us. Jamie always acts as if the greatest betrayal in the world is that I took him to the vet so that he could feel better and continue in good health. They get over it and in time start to realize that they do always come home and things are back to normal.
 

shadowsrescue

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I have needed to take semi feral cats to the vet too. It is so hard to get them into the carrier when you cannot fully handle them.

I have asked the vet for gabapentin in 100 mg. It will make the cat woozy ( not sedated) and much easier to handle. The key is that the cat needs to be inside only when the medication is given. They need to be in a safe space as you don't want them climbing and hurting themselves. The medication takes about 90 minutes to start working, but can take a bit longer. It is fully worn off after 8 hours or so. I have had the best luck giving a dose the night before. I usually give it around 10-11 pm. If my appointment is the next morning ( I aim for a 9-10 am appointment) I give another dose that morning ( about 3 hours before the appointment). Each time I have been able to pick up the cat and place them into the carrier. The vet was able to do an exam without any sedation. You do need to have a prescription from the vet for this medication. I would suggest calling your vet and seeing if this is an option for you.
 

Jcatbird

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I think you have the info you need for now but I wanted to add that I only have ferals and I keep their carriers and some crates available for them to use as their safe havens at all times. For life. I give treats there. Especially yummy things that a cat can not resist make their carriers places that, although sometimes the go scary places, are a place to retest to in any cat emergency is stressful time. These days, if a vet appointment comes up, the cats go to the carrier to hide. That’s a plus for us all. It takes time but it will be a great help if you can establish the carrier as his Turtle shell house that goes everywhere with him as his protection. You are doing an amazing job with this kitty. I love Siamese! He sounds like a real lover. Thank you for saving him!
 

Fion

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I also think that you are well informed and that you have done a great job with this boy. Definitely he is not feral. The idea of using the carrier as a bed or refuge is the best way to start. If he does not immediately take to it, and if it has a removeable top piece, you might try making it an open bed temporarily and then return the top when he is comfortable using it.

As for his trust, just steel yourself against that kind of thinking. You have saved this boy who truly does seem to have chosen you; unfortunately, vet visits are part of life as are doctors visits for us. Jamie always acts as if the greatest betrayal in the world is that I took him to the vet so that he could feel better and continue in good health. They get over it and in time start to realize that they do always come home and things are back to normal.


Awe, thank you for your reassuring message x
 

Fion

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I have needed to take semi feral cats to the vet too. It is so hard to get them into the carrier when you cannot fully handle them.

I have asked the vet for gabapentin in 100 mg. It will make the cat woozy ( not sedated) and much easier to handle. The key is that the cat needs to be inside only when the medication is given. They need to be in a safe space as you don't want them climbing and hurting themselves. The medication takes about 90 minutes to start working, but can take a bit longer. It is fully worn off after 8 hours or so. I have had the best luck giving a dose the night before. I usually give it around 10-11 pm. If my appointment is the next morning ( I aim for a 9-10 am appointment) I give another dose that morning ( about 3 hours before the appointment). Each time I have been able to pick up the cat and place them into the carrier. The vet was able to do an exam without any sedation. You do need to have a prescription from the vet for this medication. I would suggest calling your vet and seeing if this is an option for you.
Many thanks for this!
 

Fion

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I think you have the info you need for now but I wanted to add that I only have ferals and I keep their carriers and some crates available for them to use as their safe havens at all times. For life. I give treats there. Especially yummy things that a cat can not resist make their carriers places that, although sometimes the go scary places, are a place to retest to in any cat emergency is stressful time. These days, if a vet appointment comes up, the cats go to the carrier to hide. That’s a plus for us all. It takes time but it will be a great help if you can establish the carrier as his Turtle shell house that goes everywhere with him as his protection. You are doing an amazing job with this kitty. I love Siamese! He sounds like a real lover. Thank you for saving him!
Thats great! And makes sense. Thank you for the advice.
 
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