Help with advice on transporting two outdoor feral cats pets who won't go into cat traps

fionasmom

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If you really feel that not taking them is the best solution, can you "work" with the relative who likes the cats to see to it that the unreliable one will at least put out food and water for them?
 
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Pudner1

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I moved 3 years ago and brought 3 feral cats with me and made them inside cats. I had cared for them for many years on my deck and property. I knew when I moved they had to come too. They had all been trapped and neutered before so they were all trap leery. I decided to open my sliding door and lure them inside with food. I kept my door open and slowly they all came inside. I had cat carriers situated in the room with yummy food inside as well as catnip. I did this routine every day for 6 weeks. The cats started to look forward to it and all would enter the cat carriers. I decided to place them in a spare room in my current house before moving. I wanted them inside for a bit and I also wanted a mobile vet to come and check them out. I was able to secure 2 of the 3 cats quite easily. They went into the carrier I closed the door and took them to the spare room. Once I got the other one, I allowed them to come out. The room was completely empty except for litter boxes and 2 cat trees.

The cats did remarkedly well. One cat threw himself against the window a few times, but then settled quickly. They all hid for a few days, but would come out to eat. I put a wireless camera in the room to watch them at night and they all came out to explore.

When the mobile vet came, they all were deemed healthy and she gave me a sedative to give them on moving day. It worked well and the cats made the one hour trip to my new home. The new home had an indoor sun room that became their home. I placed bird feeders outside the windows. They all adjusted very well. I think it really helped being away from their old territory.

So 3 years later, they are still scared to death of visitors. They do allow my DH and I to pet them. Yet I cannot pick them up. They love the sun room and sometimes venture out to check out the rest of the house at night. They love to watch the birds. They play with each other and will play with my DH and I too.

I do not miss them being outside at all. It was such a worry each and every day. They are safe, warm and loved. I had been warned that it would be a difficult task. Many told me it should not be done. I could never leave them behind. I knew if inside did not work for them, I could have a catio built. That never happened. When I open the screen door, they sniff, but never try to get outside. They run when the doors are open. I really think they are much happier living inside.

I just wanted to share my story with you!
Thanks Shadowsrescue,

This is quite an amazing story and not dissimilar to the episode of 'My Cat from Hell' (in that both involved the use of putting food in the cat carriers). Congrats on your achievement. I think I will go with that idea - I have tried since first posting putting food out in the cage and leaving the cage out for several days at the time with food in it - no dice.

A few questions if you don't mind - I have been looking at cat carriers online and in pet shops and the problem is that a lot of them look similar to the cat traps - did you use proper cat crates or a material cat bag? Did you put cat blankets in the cat carriers as well as food or did you just leave the food lose in the carrier? Sorry for all the questions but I am thinking about this a lot of the time and need a bit of advice before more financial outlay. The two cat traps which are now proving unusuable were pretty expensive and as I live on disability I have to think before spending money.
 

shadowsrescue

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A few questions if you don't mind - I have been looking at cat carriers online and in pet shops and the problem is that a lot of them look similar to the cat traps - did you use proper cat crates or a material cat bag? Did you put cat blankets in the cat carriers as well as food or did you just leave the food lose in the carrier? Sorry for all the questions but I am thinking about this a lot of the time and need a bit of advice before more financial outlay. The two cat traps which are now proving unusuable were pretty expensive and as I live on disability I have to think before spending money.

I used medium sized dog crates. Cat carriers are so darn small. I used something this size https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008AGV63G/?tag=thecatsite
Maybe you could find someone who has one and borrow it. I also had this one on hand https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/product/go-pet-club-32-brown-soft-dog-crate

I put something soft inside and then sprinkled catnip on top of the blanket. I always had a bowl of something stinky (canned tuna or really stinky wet cat food) and also a small bowl of dry.

I would put out on Nextdoor or CraigsLIst for medium sized pet carrier. A small dog crate would work too as long as it would fit inside a car or whatever you would use to transport them.

Also be sure to think about the space they will be going to. They will need a small sized room of their own for awhile. This room would need to be completely cat proofed. You don't want a bed in the room as they will run under it. You want to minimize large furniture too as they hide under it. As I mentioned the room I first used had nothing but litter boxes and 2 cat trees. Also be sure that blinds are securely down or removed. Cats may try to scale them. Keep windows closed too.

My boys needed a few months in the room before I allowed them time to explore the house. The hardest part is not being able to pick them up and get them easily back into their room. It does take A LOT of planning and time and patience. Also flexibility as things can change along the way.

I would suggest crafting a plan and seeing if it is doable. Would you have anyone to help you?

Ask questions, we are all here to help.
 
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Pudner1

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If you really feel that not taking them is the best solution, can you "work" with the relative who likes the cats to see to it that the unreliable one will at least put out food and water for them?
I am trying to do what is best for the cats - that is all. The relative will feed them as long as she is alive - I am sure of that as she is reliable. That means that they won't have a change to their routine and will be in the environment where they have lived all their lives in the country and are comfortable as opposed to the trauma of a move to a strange place with a cramped garden which is not safe as where they lived before. This was a large house with a long driveway up to it so no danger at all of being hit by a passing car. I spoke to the vet who neutered the ginger guy and to the woman at the pet guardian programme and they both said it would be too traumatic for the cats and to only move them if absolutely necessary.

The other relative is unreliable. I would not leave the cats with him - it would be better to try and take them with me or have them put to sleep. I I have since spoken to the landlord who while he will allow me to keep them in the garden area will not allow the cats inside the flat complex - that limits me further. As I wrote before the garden is down a long flight of steps so once the arthritic cat is there that is where he will have to stay.
 
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Pudner1

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I used medium sized dog crates. Cat carriers are so darn small. I used something this size https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B008AGV63G/?tag=thecatsite
Maybe you could find someone who has one and borrow it. I also had this one on hand https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/product/go-pet-club-32-brown-soft-dog-crate

I put something soft inside and then sprinkled catnip on top of the blanket. I always had a bowl of something stinky (canned tuna or really stinky wet cat food) and also a small bowl of dry.

I would put out on Nextdoor or CraigsLIst for medium sized pet carrier. A small dog crate would work too as long as it would fit inside a car or whatever you would use to transport them.

Also be sure to think about the space they will be going to. They will need a small sized room of their own for awhile. This room would need to be completely cat proofed. You don't want a bed in the room as they will run under it. You want to minimize large furniture too as they hide under it. As I mentioned the room I first used had nothing but litter boxes and 2 cat trees. Also be sure that blinds are securely down or removed. Cats may try to scale them. Keep windows closed too.

My boys needed a few months in the room before I allowed them time to explore the house. The hardest part is not being able to pick them up and get them easily back into their room. It does take A LOT of planning and time and patience. Also flexibility as things can change along the way.

I would suggest crafting a plan and seeing if it is doable. Would you have anyone to help you?

Ask questions, we are all here to help.
Thanks - I will check out the dog crates on Amazon - indoor is not an option after transport to new location I'm afraid
 

shadowsrescue

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Thanks - I will check out the dog crates on Amazon - indoor is not an option after transport to new location I'm afraid

If you do take them with you to your new place and they will need to live outside, they will need to be quarantined for at least 3 weeks to acclimate to their new setting. This will mean they will need to be in an enclosure outside or inside. If you let them go immediately outside at your new place, they will only try to find their way back to their old home. This is a cats nature.
 
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Pudner1

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You learn something new every day. No one told me this - not even the vet. Thank you very much for this info.
 

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Try to keep this short and relevant. Started feeding a colony of ferals at my house after my daughter gave me the sad eyes and asked if we could put out food. There were two males and one female which grew after several cycles of kittens. Needless to say, I had to become an expert on trapping quickly and recently was able to spay and nueter 7 cats.

These ferals are pretty smart and will not go for the regular trap. Doesn't matter what food I used or camouflauge, etc. Ended up buying the drop trap with remote and used it to trap all of them over time. Trick was leaving food under drop trap for 1 month before actually trying to trap them. They were so comfortable after a month it was like shooting fish in a barrell.

The learning curve kicked in when I put the first one in my back garage storage in a chicken coop cage to stage until I could take to the vet the next day. The cat got out. After chasing it around with my kevlar gloves https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07SJCTSSC/?tag=thecatsite

I caught it, got it on a table and exerted pressure on its back to get submission. When carrying it to the table it bit me several times but the gloves protected me until it was able to get its fang through a small area without extra padding. It punctured the skin and went in all the way near my thumb but it did not hurt and after cleaning with soap and water for 5 minutes, everything ended up healing nicely.

Hope this info can help someone. I have a few kittens from the last cycle before I spayed the females that I need to trap and take care of.

Thanks for the web site. A lot of very good information here.
 
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fionasmom

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Welcome to The Cat Site C cmb ! Thank you for your story of trapping your cats. Those kevlar gloves are a lifesaver.
 
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Pudner1

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Try to keep this short and relevant. Started feeding a colony of ferals at my house after my daughter gave me the sad eyes and asked if we could put out food. There were two males and one female which grew after several cycles of kittens. Needless to say, I had to become an expert on trapping quickly and recently was able to spay and nueter 7 cats.

These ferals are pretty smart and will not go for the regular trap. Doesn't matter what food I used or camouflauge, etc. Ended up buying the drop trap with remote and used it to trap all of them over time. Trick was leaving food under drop trap for 1 month before actually trying to trap them. They were so comfortable after a month it was like shooting fish in a barrell.

The learning curve kicked in when I put the first one in my back garage storage in a chicken coop cage to stage until I could take to the vet the next day. The cat got out. After chasing it around with my kevlar gloves https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07SJCTSSC/?tag=thecatsite

I caught it, got it on a table and exerted pressure on its back to get submission. When carrying it to the table it bit me several times but the gloves protected me until it was able to get its fang through a small area without extra padding. It punctured the skin and went in all the way near my thumb but it did not hurt and after cleaning with soap and water for 5 minutes, everything ended up healing nicely.

Hope this info can help someone. I have a few kittens from the last cycle before I spayed the females that I need to trap and take care of.

Thanks for the web site. A lot of very good information here.
Thanks cmb for this valuable info,

The Kevlar gloves are very far from foolproof so it would seem - I hope your thumb healed up and what a great achievement in getting them all trapped and neutered :) I have been trying since on and off with the traditional trap since. The ginger cat will not enter but the bicolour is entering and eating (as he was not taken to the vet and does not know what is in store for him). I have taken to letting him eat there and then letting him out subsequently on and off in the hopes of lulling the ginger cat back in.. He badly has to go to the vet for a chest rattle that is worrying me. I have been unable to source a drop trap anywhere.

I have now graduated to being able to pet the ginger cat on the top part of his back.

Since I posted last, I have been looking into catios that I can assemble myself in the new venue. I have attached the link here. They cost a lot but as shadowsrescue wrote previously if I manage to transport them they will have to be in a secure enclosure for three weeks. The two cats do not like each other but their beds are side by side and they 'tolerate' each other. I am thinking of purchasing the second cheapest cat run - it is roughly 6 feet width and length. The ginger cat is huge now and weighs about 9kg; the bicolour is only 6kg at most. Is this humane or should I try and get a larger one?

Outdoor Cat Run | Outdoor Cat Runs, Indoor Cat Houses, Luxury Cat Beds and more | Omlet

I will also need to purchase two cat crates so I am trying to get all things purchased and ready before I make the final attempt to move them. Once I get the cat crates I am going to try the Jackson Galaxy option of feeding them in the crates.

I realise this mail seems a bit scattered - essentially I am dealing with two things - 1. being able to get the cats to the vet and 2. the transport of the cats to a completely new environment. All this costs money and I am having to plan what I can afford to purchase as finances allow.
 

fionasmom

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You are approaching this very logically; I have seen cats become accustomed to eating in crates and being trapped that way. Cat absolutely will ignore each other which is one of the most interesting behaviors I have seen in them. I have to male ferals outside who originally despised each other and fought (one at fault more than the other) but once they realized that getting food meant that they had to coexist they developed a strategy of tolerance.

I am not trying to spend your money and you are absolutely going out on a limb to save these cats. If you can afford the bigger cat run, fine. Bigger is usually a little better. If you are doing what you can, get the one that you mentioned.
 
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Pudner1

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Hi Fionasmom and everyone else who helped out with this query,

An update: I decided ultimately not to move as I couldn't face moving the cats and the disturbance they would go through if I did so.
The new environment would have been simply awful for them. Currently they have cat beds where they can look in the kitchen window and side door and come in and out of the house, a beautiful rural environment which is quiet. They would have had to go from that to a small strip of land surrounded by high walls in an urban area which is full of noise and strange smells and they wouldn't have been able to go in and out of the house or look in because the garden is at the end of a large flight of steps. The place where I am living will be going up for sale at some point but I am going to wait until it does so.

I want to thank everyone here who posted who gave me such valuable information. I never would have realised that cats have to be contained in one area for 3 weeks after a move because they will try and get back to their previous abode; or that cats can bite through raptor gloves.

The cats never did go back into the cat trap no matter what I put into it unfortunately - too smart.
 

shadowsrescue

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What a wonderful decision to stay. It must have been a difficult one to make. Thank you for taking care of these cats and giving them a wonderful life.
 

fionasmom

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Thank you for the update! I am glad that you were able to make this decision for all of you and stay in your lovely home. The cats are very lucky to have someone like you to care for them.
 

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I am so glad your ferals still have you! I know the one I had on my property for 7 months or more was very used to us and would follow us around outside but we could not touch her. She would eat soft food at my feet. Eventually, she snuck into our garage after a snow storm and right before a month long polar freeze hit for a month this past winter and would not leave (but I did not want her to leave!). Once she had a feline specific heated pad and heated water/food bowls she ate and slept forever. She had escaped 3 times out of live traps and carriers so we modified a live trap we had.

Both ends opened so we propped one end open with a piece of wood and string attached to pull it out once she went in. Food, etc., she would not go in. Then we bought some thick acrylic cut into a square at the hardware store to the size of the end opening. Cut off the wire on a different live trap, drilled holes on the side of the acrylic, attached to the trap with strong zip ties. My husband also made a square frame made out of wood and attached to the trap end first, then the acrylic, which I could pull up and put down for the food bowl. Miss Kitty loved that. She could see out the end, thus, not threatened.

We cut cardboard to fit along the bottom on the inside and zip tied that to the trap. Then she could walk in and not feel the metal wire squares on the bottom of the trap. I started putting treats in there, kept spraying with Feliway and liquid catnip on the inside of the trap. You name it, I tried it. She started eating in eat there and then after some time I would walk by while she was eating. She adjusted and wasn't fazed by me. One day, the garage was just getting too warm for her so as I walked by I grabbed the piece of wood holding the end open, grabbed the flap with my other end, quietly and slowly pulled out the wood as I held the flap open then slowly lowered the trap. She just kept eating!!

We put an old towel over the trap, took pics, put her in our Jeep and took her to our shelter for their Working Barn Program (chase and capture mice, rats, live on hay bales, stay out of the weather, etc.). I was able to touch her a few times before trap day. Like another poster said, I do not miss the stress and worry I dealt with daily. It was starting to get to me. I miss her terribly but I know she is safe (we have a very nasty boy in our neighborhood that I fear had been harming her before she started staying on our property).

A few months later, I saw "Momma" feral walking by about to have babies. She just walked on by me as I called to her with food. Then a few weeks later, more kittens. Rumor was an old farm woman had passed away and had 50, then it was 100, then it was 150 feral cats nearby. So I am intent on catching when I can, but hopefully not traumatize them. I have another adult that we call "Short Tail". Half the tail is gone, left side of the face is kinda dropped and the eye is a bit misshaped. Very large, handsome boy (we think he's a boy). Two growing kittens, Spots 'N Dots and CC (short for calico cat) I am working on socializing. There was a third kitten I caught but that was a sudden, not planned event and kitty was scared. I will not do that again.

Every day I feed all the cats. The kittens talk and play with me, let me pick them up, pet them and one of them purrs like crazy. Soon, I hope to gently put them in carriers and take them to the shelter, hopefully to be adopted to a home. Short tail and Momma are too skittish so I will have to go the live trap route. But Momma appears randomly and I don't even know if she is still alive.

I wish you the best with your kitties. They are used to you and you do give them love and happiness. They know that. :petcat:
 
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