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Just Rescued 2 Ferals... Questions

Discussion in 'Caring for Strays and Ferals' started by KrisinOhio, Oct 28, 2018.

  1. ParkBaby

    ParkBaby TCS Member Young Cat

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  2. KrisinOhio

    KrisinOhio Thread Starter Kristin Adult Cat

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    @ParkBaby - that really is a challenge! There are a lot of people on these forums that have a TON of experience trapping ferals in all kinds of situations - I know that they will have some ideas for you. If you can hold her and have a couple of people with you (holding the carrier, towel, etc) hopefully you can hang on to her long enough to get her in a carrier. You have my prayers this happens soon!
     
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  3. KrisinOhio

    KrisinOhio Thread Starter Kristin Adult Cat

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    Hi everyone, hope those affected by the blizzard and freezing temps are ok! I'm in Ohio and certainly felt the chill!

    Just a brief (ok - probably lengthy) update! :) Tortellini's UTI seems mostly resolved, thank goodness! But the after affects of the trip to the vet seem to linger. She is much more timid. Before the vet trip I was able to briefly pet her, she even would come to me and arch her back for a pet. It wasn't much but I seemed like steps forward. She will still come close to play, and eat babyfood from a spoon, but she won't allow petting. I am feeling frustrated, because at this point she has now been inside with us longer than she was outside. I know all in good time, at her pace, I've been telling myself this over and over. I just can't help feeling like this.

    I did have a positive this weekend, though. On both Saturday and Sunday afternoon both cats napped in the family room while I was watching tv. Miss Kitty was in a chair and Tortellini was in the condo area of the cat tree. I know this is a good sign and am thrilled! This is the first time they napped for a couple of hours outside of their room.

    I have decided to go very slowly in introducing them to the rest of the house. They seem to be happy with their access to the family room with us, playing and watching tv, just a couple of glances up the stairs.

    I also have a question for you all about feeding. How do you feed multiple cats and make sure all get their share? Miss Kitty is a piggy and will wolf her food to get to Tortellini's. Tortellini always gives in to her mother. I keep going back and forth trying to keep Miss Kitty occupied, and away from the baby, and encouraging the baby to eat more. Should I separate them to eat? It wouldn't be easy, but I can try it, at least in the evening when I have more time and flexibility.
     
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  4. Kflowers

    Kflowers TCS Member Top Cat

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    The only way is to separate them for meals. I had one who took her meals in a cabinet. She was delighted with it. The others ignored her, because the cabinet door was shut. Yes, it was dark in there, but she didn't mind a bit.
     
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  5. Avery

    Avery TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    When we rescued Palmer, we had to put him in a nearby room for quite a while because he ate so fast and wanted to eat the other cats' food. He didn't mind it at all and it went really smoothly. Eventually, we were able to feed him with the others.

    I have heard of "slow feeders" for cats and dogs although I've never used one for any of my cats so I'm not sure how helpful they are. They are bowls that are built to slow them down and they seem to be mostly for dry food. I'm going to try to add a link to an Amazon page. If it doesn't work, you can just Google "slow feeders for cats."

    Amazon Best Sellers: Best Cat Slow Feeders
     
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  6. KrisinOhio

    KrisinOhio Thread Starter Kristin Adult Cat

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    Oct 28, 2018
    Thanks Avery!! Ill check these out!
     
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  7. shadowsrescue

    shadowsrescue Advisor Staff Member Advisor

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    I have 6 cats and meal time is always a challenge. I completely separate 3 of them. My feral boys still eat in their room, but do an ok job of each eating their own. It's my other 3 that have the problem. I have 2 that are done in a flash and one that takes 10 minutes to eat! I still have to watch them.

    Before I moved, I had a room off the kitchen that I used to feed my slow eater. I had a pass through baby gate at the door. He hated the door being closed so the baby gate kept the other two out! My only issue was that I sometimes forgot about him in there! He would never make a peep.

    The slow feeder sounds like a really good idea. I have read that you can make your own too. If you do a google search on how to make a slow feeder for a cat, there will be ideas.
     
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  8. KrisinOhio

    KrisinOhio Thread Starter Kristin Adult Cat

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    Oct 28, 2018
    Thanks @shadowsrescue! I will check everything out. I hate to upset the routine now, other than Miss Kitty being a piggy everything has been going well with feeding. Tortellini is still so skittish from the vet visit (10 days ago!) that she has to keep checking her surroundings while she eats, and it is taking forever! This weekend i'll experiment separating them.
     
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  9. KrisinOhio

    KrisinOhio Thread Starter Kristin Adult Cat

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    Oct 28, 2018
    Forgive me, but I need to vent briefly. Today is the kitties 3 months gotcha day. Miss kitty's progress is phenomenal! She has been loving and sweet most every day. She's been to the vet 4 times, spayed, and continues to be her sweet self.

    Tortellini, on the other hand, is a very different story. Although she was only 2 months old when we brought her in she is still more feral than tame. Her socialization was progressing nicely, if slowly, until last week. She had a UTI and we had to take her to the vet. I had to scruff her to get her in the carrier and she is still spooked. She is hiding more and overall very distrustful. I get it, and I know it's a process, but I am still discouraged.

    I hope in another 3 months i will have a better update. For now I guess it's one day at a time.
     
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  10. shadowsrescue

    shadowsrescue Advisor Staff Member Advisor

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    I know it's really hard to get caught up in the number of months and where you think they should be. But remember feral kitties work at their own pace. It's common when a vet visit occurs for their to be some regression. Remember one step forward and 2 steps back.

    Also each cat is different. Tortellini may just always be more shy. Keep working with her. My very first feral kitty that I brought inside took a solid year to adjust. He keeps progressing even now and has been inside for almost 6 years.

    You are doing great with these 2 and you have made soooooo much progress in the short time span.
     
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  11. KrisinOhio

    KrisinOhio Thread Starter Kristin Adult Cat

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    @shadowsrescue - good morning! My head knows everything you are saying is 100% correct and I have been telling myself this non-stop. I was feeling sorry for myself and a bit defeated last week. Also, I need to schedule Tortellini's spay in a month or 2 and I was hoping she would be a bit better adjusted.

    I will work at Tortellini's pace. In my mind I was going to give them a nice dinner yesterday to celebrate 3 months inside and everyone was going to play nice! Obviously that was not on Tortellini's agenda! On a positive note, as I type this on my laptop she is running around me, peeking at the screen - no touching though! I think a nice snack of sardines later might win me some points. I have never given them sardines or tuna, so this should be interesting!

    You're near Columbus right? I'm near Akron - so glad all these kitties are inside today! Stay warm and THANK YOU for the support! (I'm reading your blog - it is fascinating and very helpful!)
     
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  12. shadowsrescue

    shadowsrescue Advisor Staff Member Advisor

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    The 3 I brought inside last year are over the one year mark inside. I have shed many many tears over the process. Yet 3 adult feral's coming inside for the first time in their lives, it was expected to take a long time. Their adjustment to inside was smoother than anticipated, but the introductions to my other 3 has hit snag after snag. I guess with 6 cats there are bound to be issues. Right now we are in a really really good phase. Yet my DS is coming home for a quick visit today and bringing 3 friends. This will of course cause a minor setback. I just hope that after a day or two they will all settle again. I just try to celebrate the small steps!!

    I used to live in a suburb of Columbus and moved east to Granville. It is beautiful here and so very quiet away from the city. Of course when I need to do any real shopping it's a 45 minute drive. Trade offs for sure!

    I desperately need to do a blog post, but have been so busy. My next one is going to be before and after ( outside to inside). Hopefully next week!

    I heard a Polar Vortex is headed our way. I am so glad that I don't have any cats outside. In 2014, I was beside myself with worry. I only had 2 outside at the time. Now I can just relax! Stay warm too and give those sweet ones hugs and kisses!
     
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  13. KrisinOhio

    KrisinOhio Thread Starter Kristin Adult Cat

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    Oct 28, 2018
    Hi everyone - hope you all are warm! I just got home from work - it's -2 outside! Thankfully this is only for a day or so more, then a nice warm up this weekend. I am very thankful that these 2 kitties are inside, it was really nice to check them on the cat cam and see them sleeping on their window perches in the sunlight!

    I do have a big regret though. There were originally 3 kitties I was feeding outside. The 3rd was a big male, who I assumed to be the daddy. He was a light tabby, we named him Butters. He was very feral, would never come too close to eat. It was our hope to bring all 3 in. I think he must have figured out what happened to the 2 ladies and got spooked. I only saw him 1 more time after that. I am hoping he has a shelter for the winter. (I cannot bear to think of the alternative). Before we caught the girls, we bought an insulated cat shelter, filled it with straw, we put it where he used to walk by to eat, but he never used it. I'm not leaving food out any more, if he is somewhere with shelter and food I don't want to draw him (or any other animal) out. After the weather breaks, if I see him again, I will at least try to TNR. :(

    On a different subject - @shadowsrescue I totally get what you are saying about the trying to get caught up with days, weeks, months and my expectations. I hope your visitors didn't upset your cats' routines too much. Tortellini has me so confused and upset though. She has taken such a backslide since her visit to the vet. In retrospect, I did it all wrong. I gave her treats / dinner in her room, and while she was eating snatched her up and loaded her in the carrier. I should not have done that while she was eating, trusting me to feed her.

    Ever since (2 weeks and counting) she is more timid, hiding more, and not coming out to eat. I've tried tuna, sardines (no luck) and baby food (it is a hit). It's not all negative though, she will still come in the family room, play with me with the wand toy, and take the baby food from a spoon. She is just extremely skittish, running to hide with any sudden move. I just keep playing with her, feeding her the baby food, etc. waiting for the day she will accept a pet again. I'm not reaching for her, will wait for her to initiate.

    sorry about the long post, a lot on my mind!
     
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  14. shadowsrescue

    shadowsrescue Advisor Staff Member Advisor

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    This terrible cold does make us worry about all of the other wildlife and cats that must survive. I was outside numerous times yesterday feeding the birds and squirrels. I just felt awful for them.

    I imagine Butters has another place he goes for food and shelter. Hopefully he is being well taken care of. Yet if you do see him in the warmer weather it would be great to get him neutered.

    My boys did very well with the visitors. None of them hid until the very end when the boys were packing up. My most feral boy, Hampton was not happy for the 24 hours after, but he is doing better now.

    I think Tortellini's reaction is very normal for a feral/timid kitty. You might use Miss Kitty as bait. Love on her and play with her. Offer her yummy treats. Tortellini might watch for a bit, but hopefully she will join in the fun too. I know it's really frustrating to have them backslide. Yet this will happen over and over in their lives. My first feral Marvin hides whenever the vacuum cleaner comes out. He would hide for 6-8 hours after we were finished. Then he would be skittish for days on end. Now 6 years later, he still hides, but has learned to come up within an hour of us finishing. The adjustment process will ebb and flow. You just have to remain calm and keep working with them.

    Stay warm!! I saw it's to be in the 50's starting Sunday. Such crazy crazy weather. It's -5 right now. Brrrrrrrr
     
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  15. Avery

    Avery TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    Hello, Ohio Cat People, @shadowsrescue and @KrisinOhio! I am in the Western New York area and we have also been having some very low temperatures with tons of snow and wind. I keep looking outside and am so happy not to see any cats, and I am so glad that Lucky and Ruby are inside. I point this out to them every day although I am not sure they realize how fortunate they are!

    I am finding it difficult not to put deadlines on expectations, too. Lucky is doing well and I have been leaving the door to the safe room open for longer periods of time, but he doesn't always want to leave and, when he does, he usually stays on the second floor and does less exploring downstairs. He gets spooked pretty easily and runs back to the safe room. Ruby has only peeked out the door of the safe room a few times. She seems very happy to stay on the cat tree or take naps in the carrier on the soft pad. It is hard to accept that things might not ever get to the point I had envisioned or, at best, it will be a long time coming! Then I look outside and I am so grateful that these cats are safe and warm and well-fed!

    I take comfort in the postings of others who are struggling with similar issues, and enjoyed reading shadowsrescue's recent blog summary--you are doing such good work with your cats! It is inspiring!
     
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  16. ParkBaby

    ParkBaby TCS Member Young Cat

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    Kristin, thank you for keeping my girl in your thoughts! Very cold in NYC...and so many worries. Baby doesn't like many people around, she would run ...since she is so suspicious. I will try with only my husband the crate or the carrier option, with a string. I believe somebody else tried to catch Baby in the past...because she is very afraid of being watched while she eats under the bench. Stay warm!
     
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  17. white shadow

    white shadow TCS Member Top Cat

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    Hi again KrisinOhio !

    There's another wonderful thread on here that might help you with Tortellini (luv her name!).....

    It's (mostly) a story about two cats, one of whom seems very similar to her...and the other, more like T's mom.

    There's a video that shows how to bring the 'reluctant' one out of her reluctance. It's in this post (#81): Foster Kitten Adventure (1 Sweet + 1 Feral)

    You can go from there back to the thread's beginning to better understand just how difficult things were at the beginning of that 'journey'. (There are also videos from the previous days that show the cats' progression too.)

    Small steps will eventually reach the goal.

    Hope this can help you !
    .
     
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  18. KrisinOhio

    KrisinOhio Thread Starter Kristin Adult Cat

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    Thanks everyone for the tips, ideas and blogs to review! I am reading everything I can find. I agree with @Avery - hearing about others experience is a comfort! So good to know i'm not alone dealing with these issues!
     
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  19. KrisinOhio

    KrisinOhio Thread Starter Kristin Adult Cat

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    Oct 28, 2018
    Good Sunday Morning! Hope all of you are well and for those of us in the north enjoying the warm up!

    I'm here with an update and more questions (of course!).

    Overall things are good, and improving with Tortellini. This weekend both cats have been in the family room with us watching TV. (We have also been leaving them alone there for limited amounts of time, while we are home, but in other rooms - all has gone well!) Tortellin is much less timid, will play with us in the middle of the family room, just no touching yet! I can pet with a back scratcher, but she is still leery of hands. (and she will eat baby food out of a spoon, will put her front legs on my lap to get to it). I'm taking it day to day... relishing in the small successes!

    My question is about food / eating. Miss Kitty is eating slower and I am able to keep them separated at mealtimes, but now T. seems to prefer dry kibble to her wet food. I've been giving her Nutro Max kitten and the Nutro kitten kibble. She'll take a few bites of the wet, but devour all the kibble she can! I know wet is preferable, but I want her to get all the food she wants while she is growing. Here are my many questions:
    Can I / should I soak the kibble to get more moisture in her diet?
    Can I just give the dry kibble and wet as she will eat?
    Is it ok to switch brands of wet food to see if she would prefer something else (do I have to do it gradually, or can I go back & forth)?
    Luckily Miss Kitty (my husband is calling her "MK" for short) eats anything put I front of her!

    Thanks again for all the support and advice!
     

  20. shadowsrescue

    shadowsrescue Advisor Staff Member Advisor

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    How old is T now? Do you think she still needs to be on kitten food? Kitten food has lots of calories. Have you tried any kitten wet food? It can sometimes be tastier.

    You can add water to the kibble. Most cats love love love dry food as some manufactures coat it with extra fat to make it taste so good. I would try to find some wet food that she likes. I often buy the small pouches or 3 oz cans and try multiple flavors. My cats love Wellness canned. Trader Joe's brand is another favorite.

    If you switch wet food you do need to do it slowly. Yet usually just gradually adding it in for a few days does the trick. It just depends if your cats have sensitive tummies or not!
     

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