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I Have More Trust Issues Than This Feral..

Discussion in 'Caring for Strays and Ferals' started by Buffster7, Jul 7, 2019.

  1. Buffster7

    Buffster7 Thread Starter TCS Member Adult Cat

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    Hi guys,

    I have tried searching the forum for the answer but cannot find exactly what I'm looking for. There is so much info on the communicable cat diseases, but what I want to know is exactly *how* contagious they are?

    A tiny, skinny, adult feral showed up at my house a couple weeks ago. In that short time, he's gone from exiting the yard at first sight of me, to eating from a dish when I leave, to eating from the dish in my presence. Just yesterday he came and rolled over on my foot briefly, almost as if to say thanks, before taking off. Today he has started crying at my back door for me.

    I am so terrified of inadvertently tracking in some sickness or virus to my indoor cat. I recognize that these cat illnesses are often transmitted through saliva - but are there any that are more contagious than that? Like, can I carry anything in on my clothing or feet if the feral touches me? (Disclaimer: I've never been a cat person til a couple years ago when I took in my first stray cat, so my knowledge is still limited, forgive my ignorance.)

    I take my shoes off at the door when I re-enter the house, run and jump in the shower, toss my clothes in the washing machine, and sanitize my shoes. I know this might be overkill but until I know the answer, I can't risk bringing anything in to my cat. This feral is an un-neutered male and has some battle scars.

    Thanks for your insight!
     
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  2. Furballsmom

    Furballsmom Cat Fan especially Black Cats Staff Member Forum Helper

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    Hi!
    Is your indoors kitty up to date on his/her shots?

    Can you get the new kitty trapped and in to the vet?

    Would you have a way to get nursing scrubs, and disposable shoe covers?
     

  3. shadowsrescue

    shadowsrescue Advisor Staff Member Advisor

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    If you are feeding this little one,you are making him strong enough to breed. Please please get him neutered. It is the kindest thing you can do for him. At that time you can have him checked for FIV and FELV as well as getting vaccines.

    He does not sound feral to me, but more stray like. A true feral cat would not be rolling over on your feet or coming to eat so close to you in such a short period of time. Most likely he has had human interactions in the past and developed some feral tendencies due to be left on his own.

    You can purchase or try to rent a trap and find a low cost spay/neuter clinic that takes feral cats. Or you can ask your regular vet for help. He really needs to be neutered soon or he will continue to mate and eventually start to fight for territory. The fighting is what leads to the passing of diseases.

    Maybe you could consider taking him in and working on socializing him. You have established quite a bit in a short time. Thank you for caring about him.
     
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  4. Buffster7

    Buffster7 Thread Starter TCS Member Adult Cat

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    I've reached out to a couple rescues in town, but they must be so overwhelmed that I've not received a response from either of them. In the meantime, I have a vet appt scheduled for Tuesday, and had planned to borrow a trap. Initially I thought this guy was a stray and had planned to trap and adopt him out. After observing him for a couple weeks I've come to think he is feral. Maybe I'm wrong.

    Until the vet appt, do you know if it's possible for me to 'track' any illness into my house on my clothes or shoes? Are there cat illnesses that are contagious to that degree? Thanks so much!
     
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  5. Buffster7

    Buffster7 Thread Starter TCS Member Adult Cat

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    Hi, thanks so much for your response. Yes, I have plans to TNR. I had called my vet on Friday and asked if they treat ferals, and have an appt to meet on Tuesday.

    I initially thought this cat was a stray, but after watching him these last few weeks I've gotten a 'wild' vibe from him, and I began to feel he might be feral. We have a few that live in our drainage system in my neighborhood. However, I know nothing about cats, so I could very well be wrong. However, I saw him in my yard nearly a year ago, and neighbors say they've seen him around for a while, but no one can get close to him.

    He looks like a young adult (nothing kitten about him) and I only saw yesterday that he has nuggets; til then I thought it was a she. He's very small and petite, and has some battle scars. Any thoughts of attempting to tame him and integrate him into my house were paused when I saw those nuggets. I have a middle-aged male cat who was a stray and I took in a while back. He is my first priority and I don't know that I have the experience to integrate 2 alpha males. I do have a friend who has expressed willingness to adopt him should I be able to tame him.

    Until I can get him trapped - are there ways that I could potentially infect my cat? This little one is getting more and more brave and is laying on my porch step directly outside my door. I step outside right where he lays. This makes me so nervous for my indoor guy. Or are these diseases only spread through direct body fluid contact? Thank you so much for your time!
     
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  6. FeebysOwner

    FeebysOwner TCS Member Top Cat

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    A stray that has been left a while on their own can appear feral at first. But, typically a feral will not warm up to a human the way this cat has warmed up to you.

    As long as you are removing your shoes and washing your hands when you go back inside, that should be pretty sufficient in avoiding the transmission of most diseases to your cat - especially if he has been properly vaccinated and given boosters appropriately. Unless this feral/stray is salivating/urinating/pooping on your clothes and your cat comes up to you and immediately licks your clothes, the transmission odds are minimal.
     
    Last edited: Jul 7, 2019
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  7. Furballsmom

    Furballsmom Cat Fan especially Black Cats Staff Member Forum Helper

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    I'm not an expert, but there are diseases that require a cat to come in direct contact with saliva, pee or poop.

    If your inside cat has been inoculated, it is definitely safer. I personally think your efforts are worth continuing until you can get the outside cat to the vet. Try shoe covers :).

    Homemade Flea Remedies For Cats
     
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  8. shadowsrescue

    shadowsrescue Advisor Staff Member Advisor

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    As long as you are washing your hands and changing shoes there should be no issues to worry about. You are not petting him. Just wash all of his dishes really well.

    I cared for many feral cats on my property and they lived on my deck for many many years. I also had indoor only cats. I never had any issues of infecting my indoor cats.

    As far as introducing cats, once males are neutered they are less likely to fight and can live together with some guidance. I have 6 males cats in my house. One from the Humane Society as a kitten, 4 feral cats and 1 stray. They have all been neutered a socialized to some degree. The fighting that occurs is more over territory in the house and just some dislike. It's the same with humans; you like some people and not others!

    If you want to socialize him, you will need to bring him inside. This would mean a room of his own that is cat proofed. That would mean either a bed flat on the floor or no bed in the room. Other large furniture blocked or also removed. You don't want him hiding as that makes it hard to socialize. You can provide a cat tree with a small hiding box that is open, but you don't want the cat hiding in a closet, under a bed, behind large furniture, etc.. You need to secure any window treatments too.

    It can take some time to get the cat adjusted to inside living and then socialized so don't count on it being quick. I had one take a solid year but then another did really well in 3 months.

    He also will need to be kept inside only. If you allow him time back outside, he will then be prone to pick up illnesses once again.

    We are here to help you along the way. I hope that you can get him neutered, tested and vaccinated and then we can go from there. After neutering it does take 3-6 weeks for hormones to settle. After that time period, the cat will be easier to work with too!

    Keep us posted.
     
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  9. Buffster7

    Buffster7 Thread Starter TCS Member Adult Cat

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    Wow, lots of good information here - thank you!
    My cat is is not current on his vaccinations as he is indoor only and has no desire to go outside; I can leave the front door wide open and he backs away from it. I think he was traumatized from his days living on the street. I'm not against vaccinations, but I do think our pets are sometimes over-vaccinated and that this can be hard on them. So other than a rabies shot when I took him in, he hasn't had any vaccinations in the last few years. So I'm anxious to get this outside guy trapped, neutered, and tested.

    My indoor cat is a 17 lb bruiser, was declawed in his past before I found him. He was a terrible bully to my dog when he moved in. She was docile but he would stalk her and beat the living daylights out of her any chance he got. I had to keep them separated when at work, and under constant supervision when I was home. And yet he is extremely fearful of noises, movements, and outdoor cats. I'm sure he was traumatized by being a street cat with no claws. I have no idea what he would do if I tried to bring this little guy indoors - if his alpha side would emerge, or if he would go into fear mode. For now I'll take one day at a time and see if I can get him trapped, will keep you posted. Thank you again for all of your wisdom and help!
     
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  10. Buffster7

    Buffster7 Thread Starter TCS Member Adult Cat

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    I am picking up shoe covers tomorrow - what a great idea! Thank you!
     

  11. Furballsmom

    Furballsmom Cat Fan especially Black Cats Staff Member Forum Helper

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    You're welcome!
     
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  12. Furballsmom

    Furballsmom Cat Fan especially Black Cats Staff Member Forum Helper

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    :vibes::goodluck: :crossfingers:
     
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  13. Buffster7

    Buffster7 Thread Starter TCS Member Adult Cat

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    Your post is reassuring and puts my mind at ease, thank you.
    I'm so perplexed by this guy's behavior. He has been very stand offish until yesterday. Today he never left my back porch from 9am to 7:30 pm. He won't allow me to touch him, but he will roll back and forth on the porch inching closer and closer toward me like he wants affection but is just too scared. He watches me love on my cat through the glass door with interest. Somehow I think his seeing me be affectionate with my cat has perhaps instilled a tiny bit of trust? He looks like a young adult, so I wouldn't think he's had enough time to become this wild if he were once socialized. Not sure what to think. But I put a one of my cat's toys outside (which shall remain outside now), and he played with it. Do feral cats know how to play with toys?
     
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  14. FeebysOwner

    FeebysOwner TCS Member Top Cat

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    He will certainly be interested and intrigued by the affection you display toward your cat. That is a learning tool, for sure! Unless the toy has catnip in it or looks like prey a true feral probably wouldn't know what to do with it, short of sniffing at it. I even had a true stray, maybe a little over a year old, that wouldn't attempt to play with toys! Of, course, every cat is different!

    You've certainly have this cats interest!
     
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  15. Buffster7

    Buffster7 Thread Starter TCS Member Adult Cat

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    I met with my vet yesterday and he loaned me his trap. I'm feeding the little guy in front of the trap so he gets used to it. I'll trap him on Sunday night and have an appointment with my vet to get neutered on Monday. Any tips or things to beware of with the trapping process? I've never done it before and want to get it right the first time.

    Every time I go sit outside with him, I do get the sensation of something on my skin. It goes away after I shower. I don't think it's my imagination, I'm wondering if it isn't mites? I take a white cheesecloth outside with me to sit on to see if I can see any fleas. I have not seen any yet; today was the first day I thought I saw one on his plate when he was eating. I've been giving him Capstar in his food every other day, but I know it only kills the adult fleas and I don't know how hard this is on his system. Perhaps I should just give it a rest and let the vet apply a topical when he is neutered on Monday?
     
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  16. shadowsrescue

    shadowsrescue Advisor Staff Member Advisor

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    Here is a really good video on how to trap. The most important thing is to not let him be unattended in the trap for long. Once you get him, immediately cover the trap with a blanket and take him somewhere safe to wait for the appointment. You don't want him outside flailing in the trap where he can hurt himself. Keep the trap covered at all times.
    Trapping Cats: How to Trap an Entire Colony
    Have the vet treat for fleas/ear mites. A liquid dose of Revolution will take care of them for a month.

    What are you plans after the neuter? Will you bring him home that night or have him stay overnight at the vet? If he comes home you will need a place to keep him overnight in the trap.

    If you think you want to bring him inside and work on socialization, now is the time to do it. Retrapping is very very very difficult. Also if you need to retrap, he will need to go back to the vet for more testing. Please be sure to get him tested for FIV and FELV. THis is most important. FELV is something to worry about, but FIV is just more of a nuisance. I have 6 cats and 2 are FIV+. Once neutered cats rarely fight to the point where they would bite deep enough to transfer the disease. All as long as you are feeding the cats well and getting vet check ups, FIV is very manageable.

    I hope the trapping goes well, but please do have a plan in place for after care.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2019

  17. Buffster7

    Buffster7 Thread Starter TCS Member Adult Cat

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    Everything really depends upon the results of his FELV and FIV tests. If he's positive for either one, I will not bring him in, but will allow him time to recover in my garage. I ordered a cage from Amazon and will attach a pic at the end of this post. I thought I could always use it afterward for my indoor guy to enjoy some time on the patio now and then. If he is positive for FELV, I am going to be in a real dilemma and seeking advice. If I can regain his trust after trapping him, I may be able to beg a friend who does not have a cat to bring him to her home. If she declines, I can't just release him to go out and infect other cats, or is fighting unlikely once he is neutered? What do people do in situations like that?

    How long will it take to be *certain* that he does not have these diseases? Meaning even if the initial testing comes back negative, if he has been recently infected, might it take a couple weeks to show up? Like I said, my number one priority is my indoor guy. I've never been as bonded to a pet as I am to him, and I would be devastated if I compromised his health in any way.

    How long does it take for cats to recover; how long will he need to stay confined? Will I have time to rid by garage of fleas in one day - any idea of how to do that in case they're in there? (I suspect he has been overnighting in my garage; I have blankets and a food dish off the ground which is empty every morning.)
    Will this cage be too large or adequate for his recovery?
    36 x 22 x 51
    [​IMG]
     
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  18. Buffster7

    Buffster7 Thread Starter TCS Member Adult Cat

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    I cannot find a link for how to trap. I did see a video somewhere on the Hava Heart trap, but it was an instructional on how to set the trap, not really tips on how to ensure success or what to avoid. Will 8 hours be too long in the trap? I had planned to set the trap at bedtime and take him to the vet in the morning. He uses the doggy door to enter my garage; I have taped the flap of the doggy door open and he learned to enter that way.
     
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  19. walli

    walli TCS Member Super Cat

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    I don't think you should leave the trap unattended, you can start feeding him in the trap with it locked open, and then you can easily set the trap when the time comes. That's nice that he gets to go in the garage!
    He will be in the trap for an additional 24 hours when you get home or your shelter, but you will have to have a plan getting him out of that shelter. He will be freaked out, its normal.
    I think @shadowsrescue posted a video? ah! I see the link isn't there, she will post back
     
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  20. Buffster7

    Buffster7 Thread Starter TCS Member Adult Cat

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    He is going to have his trust in me totally broken when I trap him, isn't he? That just breaks my heart. We've made such progress. He finally allowed me to touch him for the first time tonight. He stiffened up, then rolled over against me and soaked it up. So he must not be a feral, but I don't know that he's been a pet. Seems too young to be this wild. Maybe dumped as a kitten?

    He needs vet attention for sure; ears eaten up with mites, bald spots on his fur, and I saw a worm on the ground next to him. Then he grabbed my socked foot with his claws and wouldn't let go, and went to bite my foot; I had to shake him off. I'm sure he was being playful, but just doesn't really know how to play or be gentle. Poor thing.
     
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