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Feral Wants To Go Outside Again

Discussion in 'Caring for Strays and Ferals' started by Babypaws, Jun 6, 2018.

  1. Babypaws

    Babypaws Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    May 31, 2018
    Massachusetts
    i have a feral cat that was born in our yard last summer and I was lucky enough to tame her. She trusted me enough to come inside the house for a short time and then wanted to go out. Unfortunately she got pregnant but I was able to bring the kittens and mother cat on our enclosed porch about a week ago. I haven’t let the mother cat outside since because she’s still nursing kittens and I don’t want her to get pregnant again. I want to make her an inside cat. Is there anything I can do to make her less interested in going outside? I feel bad for her since she lived her first 8-9 months outdoors. I plan on getting her spayed and vaccinated as soon as possible. Even after she is spayed I don’t want her outdoors again. Any suggestions?
     

  2. rubysmama

    rubysmama Forum Helper Staff Member Forum Helper

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  3. KarenKat

    KarenKat Kitty on the half shell, tortie power! Top Cat

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    @Babypaws - I think it’s wonderful you want to adopt her! We have one 3-year-old stray that used to be outside last year. Now she is wholly indoor. What helped was constant enrichment with play, puzzle feeders and attention. Every time she asked to go out we would play with her and she was satisfied and stopped asking to go out.

    We also have a former feral, Gohan, that was adopted at 5 weeks. He took a while to warm up to my boyfriend but now he is the most affectionate and loving guy.
     
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  4. tinydestroyer

    tinydestroyer TCS Member Super Cat

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    Oct 27, 2017
    Firstly, thank you for taking in this momma cat, and welcome to TCS! As others have mentioned, "feral" is not a breed or type of cat, but simply a cat that has not been socialized. Because the level of socialization that any cat may undergo is not an immutable characteristic, there is no way to say that even a truly feral cat will always remain feral. Many TCS members, myself included, have taken their beloved pets from outside to inside successfully. My two cats lived their entire lives outdoors before, and now they are happy, sweet, adjusted, and most importantly, never feel the urge to go back out.

    The article linked above by @rubysmama makes some good points about how to socialize a cat, and how to redirect the urge for the cat to patrol outside, which all cats have whether or not they are feral. Considering that you have earned this momma cat's trust to a degree, I do not think that anyone can safely assume the degree to which this mom cat is even feral. She may transition easily to seeing your home as her new territory depending on your prior work with her, your level of commitment, and her temperament. Furthermore, the kittens she had will be socialized by you as long as you continue to interact with them, and would be easily adoptable by others if you choose to not keep them all.

    Please be assured that you are doing the right thing by choosing to care for and love this cat, and keeping her and her offspring safe. Your attachment to this specific cat and your willingness to take care of her is not what is keeping other animals in shelters. Furthermore, so long as you spay / neuter this lot, you will not personally be contributing to the overpopulation crisis.

    Although this cat might take some time to learn her new territory indoors, and may try to go out at first, this is only because she is doing what she is used to, not what is best for her or even what she would prefer.
    I know that many people have strong opinions about whether or not keeping cats indoors is 1) the safest, most humane way to take care of your pet, or 2) forcing them "to conform to our standards" against their will. I am firmly in the first camp, but it sounds to me like all of that is irrelevant, because you seem to have decided to take this cat into your family, keep her indoors, and love her. From what I can tell, you are only asking for advice on the best way to go about it.

    Aside from the article listed earlier, you can continue to earn her trust by going slowly, and having scheduled check-ins with her in the kittens for socialization, as well as to check their medical progress, and their weight. Ensure that momma cat is getting all the calories she needs to keep up with nursing, as well as cozy, clean bedding and water. Putting in a Feliway diffuser might help her adjust to your home, and feel more relaxed as well. The longer she links safety, food and security with you and your home, the more at ease she will feel. Once she knows to rely on you for the basics, you can work on cat enrichment and giving her all the entertainment and fun she needs to remain a happy, adjusted cat. TCS is really an amazing site with lots of helpful people, and I know anyone would be happy to listen if you have a question or experience a problem or setback in your journey with your kitty or her babies. Welcome again to the site!
     
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  5. dustydiamond1

    dustydiamond1 Minion to Gypsy since October 2016 Top Cat

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    Sound of shaken rteat bagv.jpg
    Our4yr old (vet guess) ex-neighborhood stray Gypsy has been a full time house cat since she came home limping in Feb 2017. She really wanted to go out when the weather got nice so I picked up a nice 'H' nylon harness from Petco. We had no idea if she had ever been on a leash before. She did really well in it but twice she was able to get her back paws under the waist strap and flip it off. We may not have cinched it tight enough but since the neck strap was still in place she was still secured while we picked her up. After considerable research I decided on the Kitty Holster Cat Harness, I also considered the Mynwood Cat Jackets which are manufactured in Yorkshire. It fastens with Velcro at the neck and the waist and we feel very safe with her in it. She did so well that we have been using an 'H' harness with a strap from collar to waist band between her front legs. Although we are a single cat household she seems quite happy inside, doesn't stand forlornly by the door anymore [​IMG]. She has lots of window perches to watch the squirrels and birds from.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2018
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  6. dustydiamond1

    dustydiamond1 Minion to Gypsy since October 2016 Top Cat

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    Sometimes when she really wants to go out and we are busy inside it is tempting to let her roam alone but then I think of her chasing a bird into the street, a car flying down the ally or her never coming back and harden my heart.
     
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  7. Babypaws

    Babypaws Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    May 31, 2018
    Massachusetts
    Thank you and everyone who responded to my post regarding keeping a feral cat inside..after reading all the posts, I have hope.
    It took me all winter to get her to slowly trust me. I went out everyday and fed her etc and eventually she let me start petting her. Then I was able to get her to come to the house when I called her to be fed, slowly got her to come on the porch to eat. It took patience but I fell in love with her and wanted to keep her safe. As far as the kittens, I don’t have any intentions of letting them go. They too will get shots and spayed. I have two older indoor cats that I’ve had since they were kittens so I will be very cautious when introducing them to the new family members. (all vaccinated). I am socializing with the kittens and already see a difference in their trust in me. I am so glad I found this site..... thank you again.
     

  8. maggiedemi

    maggiedemi TCS Member Top Cat

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    I brought 2 feral cats inside from the woods. My boy cat Demi cried for 2 weeks straight, but he is fine now. They have lots of window perches and toys, and they have each other to play with...It's great that you have other cats, it will be nice for her to have friends.
     

  9. rubysmama

    rubysmama Forum Helper Staff Member Forum Helper

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  10. tarasgirl06

    tarasgirl06 TCS Member Top Cat

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    @Babypaws Welcome to TCS! Congratulations on your adoption and huge props to you for making the decisions to keep your little family safe indoors, always! Other posters have just about covered the topic, I think -- enrichment, lots of windows to look out of, cat furniture to climb, toys to play with including interactive toys ("wand and lure" type toys are favorites here and with most cats), and most importantly, LOVE and attention will give your little family plenty of reasons to want to stay in the great indoors, and your wonderful decision to keep the whole family together is stellar. Cats often bond very deeply, especially when they are family; and they are very social in almost all cases, given the opportunity.
    If any questions or problems arise, you can be sure that TCS members will be here to help! :goodluck::goldstar:
     

  11. msaimee

    msaimee TCS Member Top Cat

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    Until your kitty is spayed, she will want desperately to go outside to roam and find a mate. Once she is spayed and her hormones settle, most of that desire will leave. If she still wants to go outside, another option is to take her out on a lead and harness. This is what I do with one of my 5 cats who loves the outdoors. If and when that time arrives, I can tell you how I trained my cat to do this. 20150720_175707.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2018

  12. Babypaws

    Babypaws Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    May 31, 2018
    Massachusetts
     

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  13. KarenKat

    KarenKat Kitty on the half shell, tortie power! Top Cat

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    awww, they look like three little Musketeers!
     

  14. dustydiamond1

    dustydiamond1 Minion to Gypsy since October 2016 Top Cat

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    They are adorable. Have you named them? What is mama cats name?
     

  15. tinydestroyer

    tinydestroyer TCS Member Super Cat

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    @Babypaws that's amazing that you'll be keeping the family together. The babies are so cute!
     

  16. Babypaws

    Babypaws Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    May 31, 2018
    Massachusetts
    The mother is called “baby”. The kittens names will probably be, Daisy. Smokey. Big Boy
     

  17. Babypaws

    Babypaws Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    May 31, 2018
    Massachusetts
    What can I say....I’m the cat lady. Lol. I already have two indoor cats. I recently lost an indoor one I had since she was a kitten, she was 14 years old. Miss her dearly....I think the mommy cat and kittens have helped fill the gap....love animals
     

  18. Furballsmom

    Furballsmom Cat Fan especially Black Cats Staff Member Forum Helper

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    Colorado USA
    I'm a bit late, there have been some fantastic thoughts and advice given regarding how to help your cat to become acclimated to and content with inside life.
    You're wonderful to be helping mama and the Musketeers, ferals have such a tough row to hoe - :heartshape: :rock:
     

  19. dustydiamond1

    dustydiamond1 Minion to Gypsy since October 2016 Top Cat

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    Jan 24, 2017
    Central Illinois, USA
    :bouquet: :hearthrob::redheartpump:
     
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  20. rubysmama

    rubysmama Forum Helper Staff Member Forum Helper

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    Awww... the kittens are paws-itively adorable. :hearthrob:
    So glad you are taking care of them. :petcat:

    Condolences on the recent loss of your 14 year old cat. If you are up to it, we have a Crossing the Bridge forum where you could post a tribute to her. :angel:
     

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