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Discussion in 'Caring for Strays and Ferals' started by Anne, Nov 26, 2012.
Thanks so much! I love thecatsite and will wear my badge proudly.
Not sure if I qualify, but...I used to be a feral colony caretaker, until the majority of my colony was wiped out by a who put out poisoned meat. The only survivors were the ones who were skittish enough after TNR that they would never again touch any food that smelled of humans, and Molly, who we quarantined the moment we noticed her bonded pairmate acting strange, which kept her from eating the poison the rest of the colony found while we rushed the other cat to the vet.
But before that tragedy, I TNR'd a country colony that stabilized at 15-20 cats, which was much better than the wildly fluctuating 50 or so that had inhabited the area before. Molly was actually one of my best success stories. She was the queen of eating the food out of a trap without getting caught, so we fed her in a glassed-in screened porch, slooooowly increasing the human presence until one day we could just close the outside door and neatly trap her in the room.
She was, of course, pregnant again, so I scouted out no-kill shelters, socialized and handled the kittens to the point they would run up to people, go limp and purr when handled, barely even noticed having their claws trimmed, and would open their mouths to a light touch to the seam of their mouth and even allow mock-toothbrushing with cotton swabs. When Molly weaned them and was ready to be fixed, we took the kittens to the no-kill, and I'm happy to say Molly's last litter not only all survived, but Snap, Crackle, and Pop all ended up pampered, fixed, indoor-only pets.
Somewhere during all this, Molly decided being skittish and wild was for idiots when food and pets could be had from people, and between trapping her and fixing her she became the friendliest cat I've ever known. Seriously, how many cats do you know that have to be treated for an ingrown claw and don't fight it, and immediately after actively solicit pets from the strange vet they've never met before the painful trimming, cleaning, and medication...because once they're done, there are still HANDS nearby that could be PETTING HER?
Another survivor of my colony was rehomed as a pet before the tragedy. A black and white kitten had been wobbling around, both eyes crusted shut and infected looking. She'd clearly been abandoned by her mother as too sick to survive, but I had to try anyway. A friend who I'd recruited to managing her own feral colony had more time/resources at the moment when I found the kitten, and between the two of us, we managed to get the kitten the vet treatment she needed, along with the month of multiple-times-a-day bottle feedings and eye cleanings to try to save both her life and vision. We were about 1/2 to 3/4 successful in the vision saving attempt, the vet wasn't sure if she could see light/dark but was incapable of focusing, or was totally blind in her right eye once she was as recovered as she was going to get, but Kitten (this is what happens when you take too long to decide on a name, and the baby starts to actually respond to "Kitten" XD) is a happy, healthy cat these days, and is actually one of the most trainable cats I've ever met.
It's actually really cute watching Kitten learn. She understands a praise sound and a scold sound, and she is ADORABLE when you use them. She will stop when you make either sound for a new action, and slooooooowly repeat whatever action she just took, waiting to see exactly what triggered the praise/scold. Then she'll repeat a couple times, just to be sure. You can SEE her thinking "Okay, the no sound happened. Why? Let's see....Oh! I think it was for touching this surface? Let's test this....yup, that particular thing is 'No!' Okay!" Or "Why did I get praised just then? ....OH, it was for 'butt touched floor, paws away from food'!" She's an indoor-only fixed pet, as we felt that between her vision and her hand raising, she was unlikely to be able to survive reintroduction to a colony, and she seems to love her life.
I've moved, leaving the few wild survivors behind as they were honestly utterly impossible to catch again and refused to have anything to do with any aid left out for them. I did leave the new homeowner contact info for the TNR services if they needed anything, and Molly is currently a catio baby who will be an indoor-and-catio cat once I finish setting up my new house for her. I don't have a current colony, as my current suburban neighbors are responsible pet owners who have fixed their cats, but I still help my feral colony caretaker friend and keep track of resources in case I need to help others.
So, long story short, I'm not currently a feral caretaker, as Molly has loooong since left behind any feralness, but I have been in the past, and will likely continue to be in the future.
@LittleShadow you sound very much like a Friend of Ferals. I'm so sorry for the loss of your colony - that must have been devastating - but you did the very best you could for those cats.
Welcome to TCS, and badge awarded.
I have always been a cat lover and always fed feral cats but within the last two years it has grown. I moved into a new townhome December of 2017. I was letting my kitties out on an enclosed patio sometimes when I was home. AFter about 6 months, a feral kitten appeared, dark gray and beautiful. The kitten looked to be about 8/10 months old. I thought it was a male. I started feeding the kitten. The kittens belly started growing a couple months later and I realized it was a female. Even after several months of feeding her, she will would not even come to me and often hissed when I was close. She had 2 kittens a few months ago but kept them hidden and away from me. Then, about 2 months later, she finally brought them to around my patio and I began feeding them. They lived as outside kittens for about a month or so until I was able to find them homes. I have also built a cat shelter into my outside storage unit using a cat carrier and a plastic tub (modified) with fuzzy blankets to keep them warm. I switch the bedding out every 2 weeks. I then discovered her mate, which I now call Daddy. He belonged to someone in my complex but they moved and left him here. I had him neutered. I want to get her spayed but she still does not trust me at all, although I am able to pet her under her watchful eye, she is still aggressive to me and can turn in an instant. Before I was able to get Daddy fixed, she got pregnant again. This time she had 5 kittens. I was able to find homes for 4 of them and the fifth one I am going to keep and integrate into my inside kitties. I had him neutered last month. As much as I love taking care of outside kitties, I hope no more show up. lol I worry about them so much and am constantly fighting with the raccoons to keep them away from their food and water. lol
Hi @cathmarie , welcome to TCS!
It's wonderful that you are looking after your feral family. It's essential, though, to find a way to have the mother spayed. Any intact male will do the job, and trust me, they'll find her if she's on heat.
There are people here who will have advice for you, and we also have some articles:
9 Practical Ways For You To Help Feral Cats
Saving Feral Cats
Everything You Need To Know About Tnr (trap-neuter-release)
Tnr And The Law: What Feral Caretakers Need To Know
I hope you can catch her soon.. her life will be so much better.
I will check out the links you sent. However since the kitten is around constantly she doesn't stick around as much so I don't see her as often as I did.
Years ago, Michele and I rented a one-bedroom apartment where pets were not allowed, but our landlord made an exception for a feral mother and her 3 nursing kittens, at least until they were old enough to be adopted, which all were, including the mother. Since then, we have provided food, water, and shelter for several ferals, and adopted 6, the latest being Miss Eleanor, a 4-ish TNR that just came inside on Saturday. There are still 2 males left, but so far they have avoided traps, so we still provide for them, including heated water bowls in cold weather.
Sounds wonderful @NY cat man !
I hope those two boys wander into a trap soon
Thank you. We try to do what we can in our corner of the world.
May I have this badge? I have worked in TNR for years and have tamed hundreds of kittens and fostered hundreds of 'feral' cats who turned out to be friendly. I wrote a post about it. Tnr And Feral Kitten Taming Stories (large Post)
Yes, of course you do @RustHeart ! That is wonderful work you and your family do.
Welcome to TCS, and badge awarded!
Welcome to TCS, @RustHeart, and congratulations on your job and committment!
I've been taking care of ferals now for about 2 years. I have 2 regulars right now. At times I've had up to 6. I do get attached to them. Some disappear and never came back... it breaks my heart to think what might of happened to them. I live in the city and danger is everywhere. It can be tough on my budget, but I will not let these animals suffer, especially during the winter. I have 2 shelters set up with heating elements and blankets inside.
@KittyCatCove you don't mention TNR but I'm sure as a feral cat carer you're looking after that aspect of their care.
Yes, I TNR'd 2 of them. One female was prenant and we kept her inside until she had them... those kittens were adopted into loving homes. One male I usually feed (I haven't seen lately, I hope he's okay!) is a smart little bugger and will not go near a trap no matter what type of food I put in it. I guess that's why he's been able to survive so long on the outside. Every year I put some worm meds in their food. In my experience, the majority of cats living outside have tape worms.
I'm not sure if I qualify but below is the backstory of these cats I'm caring for. And just this past week two of them come and sniff my hand while I put food in their bowl and one of them lets me pet her for a few seconds each day. She'll also lick food off the spoon I have for their pet food. I've been feeding them for 10 months.
Learning the backstory on these cats helped. They were housecats that a very elderly man hoarded. He died leaving the cats alone, of course. Relatives came in, opened the door and shooed them all out. There were 80 total, the 3 or 4 I"m feeding were part of that. Shaman Treasure and another tabby that I call Noobs (new cat on the block) were littermates. Shadow was kind of the alpha cat at the house. Anyway after being booted from the house they broke up into colonies going separate ways. They raided trash cans, and dodged rocks and kickings from people who were annoyed. One kind woman had these particular 8 cats taken to be TNRd. 2 of the cats were non releasable and taken to a no kill shelter. The woman adopted the other one and 5 cats were returned to my area. Shaman, Treasure and Shadow all showed up at the same time. There's a darker orange tabby I call Noobs that is the other littermate of Shaman and Treasure and I see the 3 of them playing together. Shadow is the alpha cat and all the other cats move out of her way when she comes. And nothing comes between Shadow and her food. lol The 5th cat I only saw once but heard a kind neighbor adopted that one and lets him out every so often to be with Shaman, Treasure and Noobs. I don't know the name of that cat as he's only out for 2 hours every night. So these babies have sure been through a lot in the past year and a half when their human died
I'm not sure if it's cheating as far as getting the badge if they turn up in your own back yard, but I figured I'd post and see.
We had watched a feral cat hunt in our back yard for a few years but could never get her to come anywhere near the house. On 8/22/18, she turned up at our back door, a fact we were alerted to when one of our cats got all excited and started jumping on the door like a dog. I couldn't do anything that night other than throw a big handful of food out on the patio, but the next day began Operation "Leave the can, take the stray" and the "Stray Dinette" was set up on the patio. We soon discovered our one cat was a family of a male, a female (the hunter), and two kittens about 4 or 5 months old. By the middle of October, I trapped all four...the male twice. I kept the two kittens (spayed and fully vetted), TNR'ed the male, but the female was much smarter. However, one day we also realized she was limping, and stepped up our efforts to trap her, and did so. A feral expert friend took her in and that is now her forever home. Our friend vetted her and the limp was from being shot in the shoulder. Because of that, our friend said she would take the male and give him a home if I could trap him again. I did so, and he is now with her (and his baby mama).
I thought that was all of them, but about a month ago I started seeing at least one, maybe two more on our security cameras, but just occasionally. In preparation for trying to trap, I set the trap out and rigged it (I thought) not to close. And I caught another one, a very handsome, very unfriendly brown tabby boy. I didn't feel comfortable imposing on my friend again, so he has been TNR'ed, but I did post warnings around our neighborhood websites (Nextdoor, Facebook, etc.) that if I caught anyone harming our feral cats, I would bring the full force of the law down on them. He is a tough guy, and had clearly been around the block, and I think he will be fine.
I continue to put food out, and have a feral cat shelter. If I find out that we have more, I will TNR them all, whatever it takes. I also donate to feral causes, and help out several friends who take care of ferals. In my household, I have the two kittens I trapped, plus three (now adults) who I adopted as feral barn cat kittens (all related, but from litters a few years apart...mom has finally been trapped and spayed), along with three other "regular" rescues from the Humane Society.
@beckbjj Badge awarded! Thank you for helping the cats and for helping raise awareness of ferals on TCS!
Belated thank you for my badge!
It seems that I have lost a semi-feral cat - Rocky. I haven't seen him in 8 weeks. I have to assume the worst. He was a pretty ginger boy who I was feeding for 2 years. He would always yowl/meow loudly when he saw me coming with his food... he was so cute and funny. RIP my sweet boy.