It feels like a betrayal- advice needed re: neutering

emelyssa

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I have been working with two feral tabby boys that showed up a little more than a month ago. I keep food and water on my porch for them. My goal is to tame them and bring them into my home when they are willing, but that is a time-consuming process. However, I'm making progress already. I talk to them and offer wet food every time I see them. One boy is looking at me with dreamy eyes and making blinky faces, even letting me get really close to him, though he's not ready for me to touch him yet.

Point is, I currently have a trap zip tied open on my porch and I move food bowl deeper into it each night. I have appointments for neutering, vaccines, FIV/FLV tests, etc. for both of them next week. The idea of those sweet shy kitties stuck in a trap really breaks my heart. They will be so scared. Am I betraying them? Will this ruin the trust I've built and destroy my chances with them?

I am doing this because I don't want them to make more feral kittens and because if they don't already have FIV, neutering is the best way to make sure they don't get it.

What do you think? What would you do?
 

tabbytom

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Point is, I currently have a trap zip tied open on my porch and I move food bowl deeper into it each night. I have appointments for neutering, vaccines, FIV/FLV tests, etc. for both of them next week. The idea of those sweet shy kitties stuck in a trap really breaks my heart. They will be so scared. Am I betraying them? Will this ruin the trust I've built and destroy my chances with them?

I am doing this because I don't want them to make more feral kittens and because if they don't already have FIV, neutering is the best way to make sure they don't get it.

What do you think? What would you do?
Thank you for the the love for these kitties and thank you for even wanting to bring them in :clapcat:

Yes, do it, trap them and get them checked and neutered. Yes, they'll be scared for sure but it's all for their good. It'll only be once if you get them in the first time. Once after the ordeal of being trapped and visits to the trap, after a while, they'll get over it as you continue to shower your love on them.

Have blankets to cover over the trap once they are in so to calm them down. Let your vet know about your kitty operations and make arrangements to let you in at any time once the kitties are trapped as you don't want to hold the kitties too long in the cage. You want this over as fast as possible.
 
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emelyssa

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tabbytom, thanks so much. I have an appointment for one kitty on Monday and the other the following Friday, so I would trap them each the night before. Do you think I should release after the neuter and keep doing what I'm doing, or do you think I should put them in a room in my house? When I tamed feral cats before, it happened outdoors and then they came in after many months. But, I see some websites and posts suggesting that feral kitty will come around after he's been inside in a dedicated room.
 

tabbytom

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tabbytom, thanks so much. I have an appointment for one kitty on Monday and the other the following Friday, so I would trap them each the night before. Do you think I should release after the neuter and keep doing what I'm doing, or do you think I should put them in a room in my house? When I tamed feral cats before, it happened outdoors and then they came in after many months. But, I see some websites and posts suggesting that feral kitty will come around after he's been inside in a dedicated room.
As you mentioned in your first post that you would like to bring them into the house, you can prepare a safe room for them. Since you've already that them and it won't be easy to trap them the second time and also it adds stress to them being trapped. Bring them in immediately after the vet's visit and this way no re-trapping and no stress. Once they are in, don't let them out again. Keeping them in is a safer choice for them whether they are vaccinated or neutered/spayed or not.

Yes, once they are in and after some time of reorientation, they'll get use to it, but it may take some time for them to get use to the new environment. You just need to do some work to get acclimatize them.

As now it's still an early stage of your plan, keep us informed of the progress and feel free to ask questions and members who have experience in this area may chip in to help. So don't worry.

Bottom line, bring them into the house.
 

IndyJones

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I would try indoors if possible. Outside is so dangerous with cars, wild animals, and idk what your neighborhood is like but many people dislike free ranging cats and might try to poison or hurt them. Some kids aren't that kind to animals either.
 

shadowsrescue

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After the vet visit is the ideal time to bring them inside. Just have a safe room completely cat proofed. I like to either put the bed flat on the floor lean against a wall or remove it. Under the bed is the first place they will go to hide and it's next to impossible to get them out. Also block under and behind all large furniture. You do want a safe place to hide, like a hiding box/bed or cat tree with hiding box. These places are more out in the open and easier to work with continued socializing.

Watch out for windows too. You want curtains removed, or put up on the rod and the same for blinds. Watch the strings. Many cats feral/stray cats that I have brought inside have immediately freaked and run to the window and tried to get out. Be sure the windows are tightly closed.

I like to have 2 litter boxes. Some people like to bring in a bit of garden soil, but I find most cats take really well to a litter box. If there is a pee or poo accident just sop up the pee with a paper towel and bury it in the litter box. Same with poo. Cats are attracted to their own scent.

Playing soft music can help too. You can find some relaxing cat music on Amazon or even youtube. I like to keep a nightlight in the room too.

Be prepared that the first few days can be challenging. Some cats will not want to eat and hide as well as hiss and spit. This will subside and do your absolute best to not cave and let them back outside. Composure treats or liquid are a great decompressor. They are non sedating calming supplements. Feliway plug ins can help too.

Try to visit often for short spurts. Sit on the floor so that you are not looming. No direct eye contact as this is frightening to the cat. If possible each time you enter the room, bring something extra delicious. Bring canned tuna or plain cooked chicken. This will signal to them that you are extra special as you bring such yummy treats.

I like to sit in the room with the cats and read or do some light work on my computer. Just spending some quiet time with them helps to ease the tension.

We are all here to help. I have brought in 6 feral/stray cats and each has adapted with time. Some do well right from the start and others need lots of encouragement along the way.
 

nurseangel

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Bless you for taking care of these kittens and for being such a kind person. I felt the same way when two pregnant strays brought their kittens to our house. (There was a feral colony living nearby.) I felt awful when I caught the cats and kittens. Most of them went wild when they realized they were trapped (so please be prepared) but one of them was just scared. A sheet covering at least part of the cage should help to calm them. We kept four of the kittens, one mom, plus two male cats that I caught. Everyone is fine with me and DH now. We didn't lose their trust or love. In fact, all except for one of the former feral toms, we are able to pet them. They have tamed quite well. You are doing these kittens a big favor.
 

maggiedemi

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Oh man, do it! You are doing the right thing. The sooner the better. Trust me, unfixed male cats pee/spray all over the place and howl all night when they want to find a mate. It's torture. And their pee stinks.
 
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emelyssa

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As you mentioned in your first post that you would like to bring them into the house, you can prepare a safe room for them. Since you've already that them and it won't be easy to trap them the second time and also it adds stress to them being trapped. Bring them in immediately after the vet's visit and this way no re-trapping and no stress. Once they are in, don't let them out again. Keeping them in is a safer choice for them whether they are vaccinated or neutered/spayed or not.

Yes, once they are in and after some time of reorientation, they'll get use to it, but it may take some time for them to get use to the new environment. You just need to do some work to get acclimatize them.

As now it's still an early stage of your plan, keep us informed of the progress and feel free to ask questions and members who have experience in this area may chip in to help. So don't worry.

Bottom line, bring them into the house.
Thanks for this advice. I've heard that when feral cats are brought in under these circumstances, they just live under the bed and never come out. I don't want that- I want to build loving relationships with these cats. I have tamed two total ferals in the past, but I didn't trap them. They became super bonded to me and I just picked them up and brought them in. We did neutering at that point. Has anyone had a good experience with bringing in after trapping?
 
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emelyssa

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I would try indoors if possible. Outside is so dangerous with cars, wild animals, and idk what your neighborhood is like but many people dislike free ranging cats and might try to poison or hurt them. Some kids aren't that kind to animals either.
My neighborhood is pretty chill. Nice suburb. The cats are really only in danger from weather and health issues. I definitely want to bring them in but I don't want to lose my chance of building a relationship with them by taking them before they are ready.
 
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emelyssa

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After the vet visit is the ideal time to bring them inside. Just have a safe room completely cat proofed. I like to either put the bed flat on the floor lean against a wall or remove it. Under the bed is the first place they will go to hide and it's next to impossible to get them out. Also block under and behind all large furniture. You do want a safe place to hide, like a hiding box/bed or cat tree with hiding box. These places are more out in the open and easier to work with continued socializing.

Watch out for windows too. You want curtains removed, or put up on the rod and the same for blinds. Watch the strings. Many cats feral/stray cats that I have brought inside have immediately freaked and run to the window and tried to get out. Be sure the windows are tightly closed.

I like to have 2 litter boxes. Some people like to bring in a bit of garden soil, but I find most cats take really well to a litter box. If there is a pee or poo accident just sop up the pee with a paper towel and bury it in the litter box. Same with poo. Cats are attracted to their own scent.

Playing soft music can help too. You can find some relaxing cat music on Amazon or even youtube. I like to keep a nightlight in the room too.

Be prepared that the first few days can be challenging. Some cats will not want to eat and hide as well as hiss and spit. This will subside and do your absolute best to not cave and let them back outside. Composure treats or liquid are a great decompressor. They are non sedating calming supplements. Feliway plug ins can help too.

Try to visit often for short spurts. Sit on the floor so that you are not looming. No direct eye contact as this is frightening to the cat. If possible each time you enter the room, bring something extra delicious. Bring canned tuna or plain cooked chicken. This will signal to them that you are extra special as you bring such yummy treats.

I like to sit in the room with the cats and read or do some light work on my computer. Just spending some quiet time with them helps to ease the tension.

We are all here to help. I have brought in 6 feral/stray cats and each has adapted with time. Some do well right from the start and others need lots of encouragement along the way.
Did the cats you brought in this way become affectionate?
 

tabbytom

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Thanks for this advice. I've heard that when feral cats are brought in under these circumstances, they just live under the bed and never come out. I don't want that- I want to build loving relationships with these cats. I have tamed two total ferals in the past, but I didn't trap them. They became super bonded to me and I just picked them up and brought them in. We did neutering at that point. Has anyone had a good experience with bringing in after trapping?
It's natural for them to hide as the environment is new to them. You still can build that loving relationship with them except that it just take a little while more. This is what most people go through and so did the cats. Very rare if they get acclimatized immediately which I will not rule out. Every cat is different.
 
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emelyssa

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I will discuss with my husband and see if we might prepare a room. However, I am not convinced I'm going to be able to trap the cats. I've had trap propped open and putting food dish in deeper every day. Have been doing so for a few weeks, but cats becoming nervous as food goes deeper in. They are not finishing food like they usually do and might avoid it altogether once it's in back of trap. If I can't trap them, then I will keep working with them outside until they are tame enough to handle and bring in.
 
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emelyssa

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Okay, based on all these responses and your experience, IF I can trap them, I will bring them in. 1) will it help if I put blanket with Feliway spray over trap? 2) do you think it will be okay for them to be in the same room? They are brothers but you know tom cats . . . I'm thinking my office will work best because it has a large window and enough space for cat tree and good set up. Too much traffic in bathrooms, too depressing in laundry room, no other tools available (small house).
 

tabbytom

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However, I am not convinced I'm going to be able to trap the cats. I've had trap propped open and putting food dish in deeper every day. Have been doing so for a few weeks, but cats becoming nervous as food goes deeper in. They are not finishing food like they usually do and might avoid it altogether once it's in back of trap. If I can't trap them, then I will keep working with them outside until they are tame enough to handle and bring in.
One way for trapping them is disguise the trap
Screenshot 2019-09-04 at 7.17.05 AM.jpg
 

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When I take my cats for thier yearly vaccine, I keep reminding myself, it's only once a year. They will be fine
 

shadowsrescue

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Did the cats you brought in this way become affectionate?
The stray cats I have brought inside are all affectionate to my husband and I. When visitors come they hide. I have 3 that were true feral cats. They have come a long long way. I can pet all of them, one will sit on my lap and one I can pick up. They are not typical lovey dovey socialized cats. But they live in a warm loving house and are safe from the dangers of outside.
 
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emelyssa

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Well, last night, I had the food dish almost all the way back in the trap and the kitty ate 100% of the food. I am almost certain to trap one of the kitties tomorrow, then, as planned. The second boy is scheduled for next week. I am so nervous!!!!! I have Feliway plugins on the way today and I am going to work on cat proofing my office. I really hope this goes well. I don't want these babies to hate me!

Hoping they don't have FELV. No signs of illness; they are hearty lads.
 
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