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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 Alpha Cat

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    Sorry to be so pesky with the questions, but one more quick question in case anyone sees this:
    When going to visit little guy at the vet, should I bring a blanket or something with Charlie's scent on it to leave in his cage, or will that just make him associate Charlie's scent with scary place?
     

  2. walli

    walli TCS Member Super Cat

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    I would keep it simple, he may be be pretty freaked out still.
    Are they going to let you take him home today?
    I would just go and bring him home.

    About the baby gates, I have one set on hinges that can be opened.
    I have another set stationary.
    Shadowsrescue has some really good ideas, you have to get a little creative with your situation. Are you handy? or know someone that is?
    shadows rescue' ideas don't take much assembly, mine does.
     

  3. Buffster7

    Buffster7 Thread Starter TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    Thank you! I'm going to research the baby gates and find one with hinges. I'm not handy at all, I'd have to hire someone, so I will go the baby gate route. Thanks so much!
     
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  4. walli

    walli TCS Member Super Cat

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    I had to put the hinges on myself.
    I will take a pic of it where I put the hinges.
    It's not real hard, not too expensive either, I have 3 stacked on top of each other. I think I paid about 15 for each baby gate.
    @shadowsrescue has a pic of baby gates she used a tension rod to hold in place this is an easier way and you could just wire tie the gates together. actually shadows rescues pic is of a screen door perhaps.
    people here have a lot of ideas about this, it's where I got my ideas.
    there are so many ways you can go.
     
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  5. Buffster7

    Buffster7 Thread Starter TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    Well, I just went to visit him and I am both encouraged and heart aching at the same time. My vet wants to keep him until Monday; he doesn't feel he's ready to go home, yet. I trust my vet implicitly, so I will wait until he thinks little guy is ready. My vet has really gone above and beyond with loaning me his trap, patience with my questions and bringing the little guy 5 days before his appointment, working him in early, holding him for me, etc. Very thankful.

    Before I went in this morning, I prayed that I would get a definitive sense either way of what to do with this kitty. I prayed that the little guy's response to me would give me a clue as to which direction to take this.
    When I got there he was hunkered in the back corner of the cage, looking so scared, and it stabbed my heart. It took a few minutes of talking to him, and I brought a sock and a toy of Charlie's that purrs, and I squeezed them through the bars of his cage on the opposite side of where he was. He looked at them with interest, but he inched closer to me and eventually came up and sniffed me, settled down briefly then crept over and started scarfing his food down - ate nearly all the kibble in his bowl!

    This is going to sound so contrived and silly, but at one point I asked him, "Do you want to go home?" and he looked up right into my eyes and literally seemed to relax. That was my moment. The best news is that he came back FIV and FeLV negative, so - all signs are pointing toward adoption. I left the toy and sock in his cage; hopefully the scent will give some comfort til I can bring him home.

    When I got home, I let Charlie sniff my hands and he was all over me like white on rice. He sniffed, sniffed, sniffed, gave my hand a lick which I understand is just to better capture the scent, but then he started sniffing around the house calmly. I'm encouraged. :hearthrob:
     
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  6. shadowsrescue

    shadowsrescue Advisor Staff Member Advisor

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    Yea!!! I am so happy that he is negative with all tests. He definitely gave you a sign. I think you have a new addition to your household.

    He will be ok at the vet. Not happy, but better than having an issue at home over the weekend.

    This gives you time to get the room ready. He will not be needing a cage. Just be sure you really block off under the bed. You might try to get him a small cat tree or perch. Also a few toys. Get him some of his own. A catnip stuffed one might be nice.

    Do you have a feliway plug in for his room? THis would help too.

    The gates I linked just attach by screwing a soft end into the door jams. They are simple to attach. I love the walk through as it makes it really easy to get in and out.

    Everything is working out nicely for you. Now to give this little one a name!
     
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  7. Feral Mom

    Feral Mom TCS Member Adult Cat

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    :hellocomputer::cloud9::goodluck::clap::redheartpump::kneading::hearthrob::kneading::redheartpump: :crossfingers: :cheerleader:
     
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  8. Avery

    Avery TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    This really does sound like it is going to work out! The fact that he came up and sniffed you and felt comfortable enough to eat while you were close to him is a good sign. I'm so glad the tests were negative and the vet is going to keep him for a couple more days just to be sure he is fine. Sounds like you do have a very caring vet!

    After feeding her outside for about three years (had her spayed, too), I decided to bring in a semi-feral cat. I was able to lure her into a carrier and she was pretty calm until the vet tried to examine her. She literally climbed the wall, got close to the ceiling! I have never seen anything like it! Then she hid under a counter. It took the vet and two techs to finally capture her (with huge gloves) and sedate her. I felt horrible for her and for them, but when it was all over (blood work and a VERY quick exam), they said that she was by far not the worst cat they have dealt with! That made me feel much better!

    Good luck with the next chapter! You can do it!! Keep us posted!
     
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  9. Buffster7

    Buffster7 Thread Starter TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    Thank you, those words are soothing. At risk of sounding dramatic, I cried on my way home when I remembered how terrified he looked. His stiffened little body jerked every time a dog barked, and his cage faced the big dogs with the big barks; he was on high alert and so stressed that he seemed to have retreated inside himself in absolute traumatized mode. It broke my heart to leave him. I am not sure of the reasons why he might not be ready to go home. I wonder if there is something that concerns my vet that he doesn't want to mention in case it's nothing, or if it's that he still needs to be de-wormed, or if there's some other reason for concern. I'm literally praying for supernatural sedation for this poor baby for the remainder of the weekend.

    Okay, about not needing the cage: what do you think about leaving him in the cage for the first day that he's here? Bad idea? I ask because he is not litter-box trained yet. He had room in his cage but was sitting in liquid behind his litter box. When he came closer to me, he settled and laid down in his litter box like he thought it was a bed. The vet said he had peed and pooped in his blanket. So my thoughts are that I either put him in the cage for the first day to see if I can get him to use the litter box (thinking that he would be unlikely to use a shelf to defecate?) OR I could put him in the guest bathroom again which is tiled until he uses the litterbox. What do you suggest?

    I do have both Feliway and Comfort Zone. Something tells me I need to order a couple more between him and Charlie.

    Thank you for the link on the gates - I ordered the extra tall walk through, and then can get some of the cheap $9 ones from Walmart to go above it? He will jump and climb; I've seen him jump from the ground right up into a tree before, and another time right to the top of my fence. I put nothing past him- he's lightning fast, too.
     
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  10. Buffster7

    Buffster7 Thread Starter TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    Oh my goodness, yes! That sounds like the scene my vet described to me today. He said when he went to retrieve him for bloodwork he was like black lightning past his shoulder and down the hall and to the top of the cabinets. I can't recall if it was he or the girl on the phone that mentioned the ceiling.. They also had to sedate this one. I can imagine the momentary shock an event like that causes right before the chase begins!
     
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2019
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  11. shadowsrescue

    shadowsrescue Advisor Staff Member Advisor

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    I would have cried too! It's so hard, but you have to trust that he's in a really good place. My guess is that the vet thought it would be easiest for this kitty to recooperate there as a precaution. He didn't want you to freak out over the weekend and not be able to catch him. He is safe where he is. Just remember that this is all a necessary step. You will both forget all about it one day!

    You could certainly start him in the cage, but my guess is that he will want out after being caged for so many days. Have you ever used Dr. Elsey's litter attract? It works so well. It has special herbs that attract a cat to it. You may also want 2 litter boxes to start. Sometimes outside cats get in the habit of peeing and pooping in separate areas. I always start with two and then wittle down to one. Also if he would pee/poop out of the box, you just sop the urine with a paper towel and bury it into the box. Same with the poop. He will be attracted to his own scent. You can also get puppy pee pads if you think they might be necessary.
     
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  12. Buffster7

    Buffster7 Thread Starter TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    Great advice, thank you! I have two litterboxes and just ordered Dr Elsey's cat attract. Charlie already uses Precious Cat, so that will make for an easy transition once little-guy-who-needs-a-name learns to use cat attract. Great tip about the paper towel in litterbox too, noted!
     
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  13. Feral Mom

    Feral Mom TCS Member Adult Cat

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    @Buffster7 , you are planning on keeping NewCat in the bathroom for first day?
    sorry, I have lost track of your current plan for his first room in your home...
     
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  14. Avery

    Avery TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    I'm very excited for you and this new little one! The two cats that I brought inside last September (one stray, one semi-feral) only had one accident, litterbox-wise. One of them peed on the rug that I had right in front of the litter boxes to catch the scattered litter. After that, they used the litter boxes faithfully. I did get a suggestion from this site that some cats would be more comfortable starting off with clean potting soil in the litter box and I did buy some and put a thin layer on top of the Cat Attract in one of the three boxes. Within a week, it got all mixed in and I never needed potting soil again which was great because it was dusty and messy! You probably won't need it.

    My two started out in a small bedroom with most things removed. In addition to the litter boxes and water bowl, I kept a table (formerly a desk) so I could have a place to prepare their food, store a water bottle to refill their bowl, keep a litter scoop and bags, have a brush, a flashlight, and paper towels. I also had a futon mattress on the floor with a waterproof cover (never needed!) and soft blankets, cat trees at the windows, a scratching post, some catnip toys, and a cardboard box with holes cut in as a hiding spot, but not TOO much of a hiding spot! I removed the shutters on the windows so they wouldn't damage them or try to climb them -- probably not necessary. I bought a CD with harp music, which is supposed to be soothing for feral cats, and played that sometimes just outside their door. I used shadowsrescue's ideas of having a baby gate and those wire shelves to block the door -- it worked really well and allowed me to get in and out of the room without having my other two cats sneak in to meet their new buddies before it was time for introductions!
     

  15. Buffster7

    Buffster7 Thread Starter TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    This is all great information - thank you! How long did you keep the door shut before you did the scent swapping and then opening the door to the baby gates?
    I've stripped the bed in there and thought about getting some plastic shower curtains to cover it with and then put blankets on top of that. I'm a little nervous about blankets right now since my vet said he used his to poop and pee. And I'm very nervous about him peeing on the carpet. And scratching the furniture when I'm not in there, although I'm not as concerned with the furniture in the guest bedroom. I will stop by and get some potting soil tomorrow. Thanks for the great tips! This cat seems to seek me out, so should I be worried about him hiding? I'm trying to block off the bed underneath but it's challenging.
     
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  16. Buffster7

    Buffster7 Thread Starter TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    I'm thinking about putting him in the large cage in the guest bedroom for the first half of the day to see if he uses the litter box in there, and then opening the door and letting him out. I've could use some of that plastic adhesive floor cover that I can put on the carpeting and then put pee pads over it...I have no idea the best way to prevent getting cat urine on the carpet. Still mulling it over! But I think moving him from the bathroom then to the bedroom would be more stressful for him than simply spending the first half of the day in the cage before I open the cage door and let him loose?
     
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  17. shadowsrescue

    shadowsrescue Advisor Staff Member Advisor

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    I would give it a few days before you start scent swapping. Allow him time to adjust. You don't want to rush the introductions. They take time and must be done at the cat's pace not the human pace! We humans want to rush the process that will usually backfire. Slow and steady wins the race.

    You need to work on getting him socialized so you can handle him. Allow him to adjust first and get used to inside living and you. Scent swapping can be done at the same time, but don't rush the other steps unless you get signs from both Charlie and the new cat that both are interested.

    Swishy tails, ears back or flat, any hissing or growling and all signs that you are going too fast.

    For now concentrate on new kitty and his adjustment.
     

  18. Jcatbird

    Jcatbird TCS Member Top Cat

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    Hey! I had some cat activity here so catching up! I am so happy to learn of all the progress. I know it has been a long road for you. Before you realize it, he’ll be home and happy to be with you. :yess:

    I would suggest you play it by ear as the little guy is adjusting. His pooping in the blanket at the vet office is not abnormal. It’s a different place! At home he may use the box. Keeping him in the cage for a bit will give him time to adjust. You’ll be better able to watch his bathroom and eating habits as well as calming him for his new life. Remember, kitten steps. That goes for introductions too. I think you’ll get pretty clear indications from kitties as to when they are getting used to each other. Some kitties take awhile and some bond very quickly. I think all signs are good! I’m so relieved little guy has tested negative and he spoke to you with his expression. I already knew he loves you from the photo. I pray for all to be a happy family from now on! :cloud9:
     

  19. Avery

    Avery TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    Even though my two cats were negative for FeLV and FIV, my vet suggested keeping them separate from my other two for 60 days and then re-testing them. (I can't remember why now...) Well, even though this sounded impossible, it worked out fine. I would spend time with them, just sitting and reading, bringing them treats, talking to them, seeing if they would play. After the 60 days was up, I started to do scent swapping, feeding treats on either side of the door, etc. The stray cat, Lucky, was allowed to come out to explore for short periods of time around then, too. I went very slowly with this because he was nervous and would run back to his room! I would put my busy-body cat, Palmer, in another room and let Lucky out to explore for a few minutes then a few hours, increasing the time, but then put him back overnight until he was finally OK throughout the house and had been introduced to the other cats. Ruby, the semi-feral, was in the safe room for longer as she really didn't want to leave! After I did the introductions and felt that they were all OK with each other, I just left their door open one weekend while I was home to monitor... and it has been open ever since!
     

  20. Buffster7

    Buffster7 Thread Starter TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    That makes sense to me. It would seem that if, worst-case scenario, one of the cats had been infected with a virus within a day or so of capture, that it might not show up on a blood test right away. 60 days separation prior to scent swapping is a lot - I had a month in my mind! That kind of takes the pressure off in some ways and makes me more determined to make the guest bedroom very livable and appealing for this guy.

    I was going back and watching videos of the day this guy first came to the back patio window, and in the videos Charlie was upset and growling. I had completely forgotten about that. I'm apprehensive but so thankful for you guys and all your experience!
     
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