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Just Rescued 2 Ferals... Questions

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

  1. KrisinOhio

    KrisinOhio Thread Starter Kristin Adult Cat

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    Oct 28, 2018
    Thanks @shadowsrescue. T is approx 6 months old. I've been giving her the Nutro Max Kitten wet food and kibble since they came inside. She just recently started turning her nose up at the wet, and only eating the dry. I wanted to try some other wet brands for variety and to see if she liked any, but didnt want to upset her stomach. Miss Kitty is on Merrick wet and loves it. So far T doesnt seem interested in that brand either. I used to feed my dog (we lost her a year ago) Stella and Chewy. I was thinking about adding that.
     
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  2. shadowsrescue

    shadowsrescue Advisor Staff Member Advisor

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    Try some other brands of kitten food. I really like Wellness. Merrick is great too. My feral boys eat Merrick Limited Ingredient wet food once a day. I would just go to the pet store and buy a variety of small cans. Try to see if she prefers poultry or fish. It's really best if you can get her to eat more wet food.

    I am sorry about your dog. We lost our dog too, 7 months ago.
     
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  3. KrisinOhio

    KrisinOhio Thread Starter Kristin Adult Cat

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    Oct 28, 2018
    Thank you... it is so hard to lose one of the babies! She was special needs and we had her for almost 18 years... My DH said i found these cats because i needed something to obsess over. He's probably right:)
     
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  4. KrisinOhio

    KrisinOhio Thread Starter Kristin Adult Cat

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    Oct 28, 2018
    So this finicky kitten thing is for the birds!! (no pun intended) I am trying a variety of brands and flavors with T, so far nothing. She did take a few bits of the Tiki chicken and egg, but went right back to the dry. She does drink water, I see her drinking several times a day, not sure if it's "enough" or not. Other than scorning the fancy wet food, she seems pretty normal otherwise. I've been diligent about checking her "output" and all seems normal as well. So here are my many questions - Do some cats just not eat wet food? Do I keep offering to see if I can hit on something? Should I make some home-made chicken or fish? (She turned her nose up at canned tuna and sardines). Has anyone tried the cat bone broth at the pet store? Should I just be happy she's eating the recommended amount and leave her alone?????

    Seriously - a kitten that came from outside where she had to scrounge for every bite to such a little doody-head!

    And one last thing - kudos to all of you who can navigate cat care so well, especially those with multiple cat households and ferals! I don't know how you do it. I have it relatively easy - my cats walked in themselves, they are the only pets, and they are together.
     
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  5. shadowsrescue

    shadowsrescue Advisor Staff Member Advisor

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    I wouldn't stress about the food thing. If she won't eat it, then she won't eat it. Let her eat the dry and make sure she has plenty of pee in the box.

    I have bought Honest Kitchen's bone broth and my cats hated it. I made my own for a long time and my cats loved it. Yet it was very time consuming. But I controlled what went into the food.

    Allow her to eat dry for now and try again in a month. She's still growing and changing. In a month it could be different.
     
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  6. azpops

    azpops TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    Welcome to my world! .... :insertevillaugh:

    Pops

    PS, I should have taken a photo of the food I purchased, which was a No Go! Luckily I bought the food from Petco, which has a great no question return policy. But still, you know, it's just a hassle kind of sorta thing!

    PPS, Yup, I'm at the cusp of having to do this all over again! ... sigh! ... :disappointed:

    PPPS, on the upside, Dr. Elsey's CleanProtein dry is still good to go! Not the can stuff though. They looked at it, looked at me, as if to say; OK, you want us to eat this stuff?
     
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2019
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  7. KrisinOhio

    KrisinOhio Thread Starter Kristin Adult Cat

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    Oct 28, 2018
    Hi everyone! I wanted to post a brief (ha!) update and ask yet again for advise.

    Next week will be 4 months inside, and while I am trying to not get caught up in dates/timetables, I am keeping track, for myself. Miss Kitty continues to be an angel. I should devote an entire post to how sweet and loving she is.

    Very sllloooooowwwww progress is being made with Tortellini. She is eating better - each meal is an adventure! She will eat about a TBSP of wet food that has been mixed with warm water and baby food. Then she accepts kitten kibble, a few kibbles at a time. I sit with her and basically hand feed her. I am happy to do it, since she sits very close to me and will even eat from my hand. I am monitoring her intake (and output in the litterbox) to make sure all appears normal.

    Play time is fun also, both are very active and will engage with me with the fishing pole / wand. We do this in the morning before I leave for work, and several times in the evening.

    So here is where I am asking for your input / advice.

    Since they came in they have been contained to the lower level (family room, spare bedroom/cat room). The other day, T climbed over the gate that goes to the upper level (kitchen, living room, bedrooms). I followed her and she was standing in the living room, casually looking around. I pointed back downstairs and she trotted right back down. I am not comfortable letting either cat have the run of the house yet, but I do think they might be ready to have supervised visits to the upper level (I can close off most of the rooms). Thoughts??? I would only let them up when there are no time constraints. It's my hope to let them out whenever we are home, including overnight. Or should both cats be socialized enough to handle them before that? Miss Kitty is, but T is not.

    I have been reading on this forum all of the articles / threads about cat-proofing and creating boundaries. How do you all handle this? Do you let your cats jump on all surfaces or are some off limits? Ideally I'd like to keep them off the kitchen table / counters. Tortellini has tried to get on everything in the family room. EVERYTHING.

    Finally, when the time comes, way down the road, what do you do with your cats when you leave the house? Let them have the run of the house or contain them in a safe room?

    And last, but certainly not least, I need to schedule T's spay appointment. It was my hope that she would be a more social, but who knows when that will be? I need to figure out how I am going to contain her during her recovery. Any volunteers to cat sit?

    Thank you all for reading this very long post and thank you all for the advice and support. It keeps me going!

    Below are some recent pictures... i hope they post properly.


    cats.jpg cats2.jpg

    cats.jpg cats2.jpg cats.jpg
     
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  8. shadowsrescue

    shadowsrescue Advisor Staff Member Advisor

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    Apr 27, 2011
    Ohio
    I would start letting them out supervised on the other level. Since T seems to go back on her own I think that will work. Keep some rooms closed to start and then gradually open them. If you find that it's too hard to get her back to her safe area, then you will know that it's too soon.

    I do let my cats safely explore, but try my best to keep all off the counters. Easier said than done!! Out of my 6, I have 2 that do get on the counters. It's just the way it is!! The cats do need to explore and most cats will explore every inch!

    When you find the time is right, you will begin to leave the cats out for short times. I used to take a walk in my neighborhood and leave the cats out for 20-30 minutes. Then I would increase the time. So often I would find the cats in the same place I left them. You will know it is too soon if you find they have gotten into something. I used to close a lot of doors and keep their area confined at first.

    You also can start by allowing them freedom at night. Start with one level and go from there. My first feral cat inside took one solid year before he was out of his safe room at night. He gradually got more and more time out during the day, but at night he loved his safe room. At the 1 year mark, he started balking at going to his room. We tried it and he did so well. You will know when the time is right.

    You can always try new things and if they don't go well, wait a bit longer and then try again.

    Confining T after spay should only mean in her safe room. Remember that feral female cats are often let back out after 48 hours. She will be ok. She will be tired and have pain meds that will keep her tired and subdued for a few days. After a few days, it becomes less of a worry.
     
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  9. Avery

    Avery TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    Aug 5, 2018
    Shadowsrescue always has great advice! I follow it and have had good luck with Ruby and Palmer!

    Sadly, I have pretty much given up on keeping cats off the kitchen counters! You can try, but it isn't easy! Usually Palmer jumps up when I'm getting their food ready and I just put him back on the floor.... many times!

    I would suggest that you try letting them explore the upper level when you are home, including overnight, but plan on not getting much sleep! I am now leaving the safe room door open all the time when I am home and Lucky loves to be out, but Ruby rarely leaves. I know she has gone into the other bedroom and at least part-way down the stairs, but I don't know if she has made it to the first floor yet. She has the option to leave and she is getting more comfortable with Palmer, so I am happy to let her go at her own pace. Other than laying awake at night, listening for problems (and after Lucky races around, they all do settle down and sleep), I have been pleasantly surprised how well it is going. Right now I am at work and I have left Lucky out, but confined Ruby to the safe room. As soon as I get home, I will feed them all and then open up the door for the weekend.

    As shadowsrescue said, you can try things and if they don't work out, you can wait a bit longer and try again! I'll bet you will be surprised at how well things will progress! Good luck and keep us posted! (By the way, I love the picture of that little head popping up out of the pink furry thing... what IS that pink thing??!!)
     
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  10. KrisinOhio

    KrisinOhio Thread Starter Kristin Adult Cat

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    Oct 28, 2018
    Thanks Avery and Shadowsrescue!! We will try letting the go upstairs soon. Fingers crossed! Sometimes i think i need to get out of my own way! The pink thing is a Cat Martini Condo that my husband found st TJ Maxx. They love it! A better picture is below. Screenshot_20190222-075053_eBay.jpg
     
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  11. FarmersWife24

    FarmersWife24 TCS Member Young Cat

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    Four days isn't that long and they're both probably enjoying the rest -- not having to worry about predators, shelter, food, etc. The mom probably won't be too active just yet. If it's possible, some kind of cat tree or things they can both climb would help. I have a feral in a basement bathroom right now and I have some old square foot stools and a sturdy laundry hamper that he likes to climb on. He also sits on top of his large pet cage.
     

  12. KrisinOhio

    KrisinOhio Thread Starter Kristin Adult Cat

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    Oct 28, 2018
    Hello all! I once again need your advice and support! It appears Tortellini has decided that she is ready to be done with the safe room. (While she goes there to use the litterbox without fail, she is getting more and more difficult to wrangle back in (overnight, when leaving the house, etc). This past weekend we allowed them access to the upper level (closing off all rooms - leaving only the foyer and hallway accessible.) They have cautiously explored, and always run back down to the family room quickly. I have been giving them all meals in the safe room - Tortellini used to follow me back in for meals, now she needs to be coaxed with cooked chicken, toys, etc. Miss Kitty will often go back in the room on her own to lounge on the cat tree, nap, look out the window, while the door is open. My DH says - let them out, stop confining them! I am the exact opposite, uber-cautious, and want to keep them in their room forever when i can't supervise them! Thoughts?

    We are cat-proofing the house as best as we can, but just when we think we have it Tortellini finds another thing to get into. Some things can't be helped... TV, bookshelves, furniture. Socialization is progressing slowly - she interact and play, take food from my hand, I can brush her a little... but she will not allow petting, or picking up. Also, she's not very food motivated - cooked chicken and baby food are right now my only "for sure" options. I'm sure she will get over those quickly also.

    Did anyone's stray / feral just decide they were done being confined? (They will have been inside 5 months the end of this month). (And FYI - when they are in the room they are fine - they're not sitting at the door waiting to get out - I watch them on the camera. They sleep, play, etc.)
     
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  13. shadowsrescue

    shadowsrescue Advisor Staff Member Advisor

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    I do believe it is time to set them free. When I brought Marvin inside, it became the same way. I had to lure him back to his room when I left the house and at night. I could not pick him up and it was getting so hard. I figured that was my cue. I started leaving him out during the day when I was not home for short times. I would start with an hour and then increase. He was out almost all day on the weekends. He used to love to go to his room and it seemed he almost wanted the alone time, but that soon stopped too. He started running to hide.

    It was a bit nerve wracking a first. Just keep doors to unsafe rooms closed. My guess is they will come out for meal time. You might want to set up a new location outside of the safe room for feeding.
     
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  14. Avery

    Avery TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    Aug 5, 2018
    I think shadowsrescue is right. You just do your best to cat-proof the house for dangerous things like hanging cords and tipsy lamps and then decide to go for it! It is a bit nerve wracking at first, but once you see that nothing horrible happens, I have found that it is really much easier.

    My two were in the safe room for about five months when I finally let Lucky out all the time for good. At first, I followed him around the house! I worried that he would get lost in the basement, but I think he is afraid to go down there! Ruby, the semi-feral cat, has been given the run of the house for a few weeks now, but she doesn't go far from the safe room. This morning, I thought I heard her go downstairs and then I couldn't find her and I was afraid she had gone into the basement. She hadn't, but I calmed myself by figuring she is safe inside no matter where she is, and she will have to come out sooner or later for food! I definitely can't pick up Ruby so I just hope that I don't have to take her to the vets in an emergency, but I'm trying not to worry about all the "what ifs" when things are going so well. (And I am a big worrier....!!)

    I do still feed Lucky and Ruby in the safe room, separately from the others, mostly because Ruby seems to like having Lucky there for meals! Lucky has to really be coaxed back into the room and eventually I will probably feed him downstairs with Palmer and Rosie. I also have six litter boxes in three different locations and happily there have been no accidents! Depending on the size and set up of your house, you might consider adding another litter box somewhere when they both are out full time.

    Maybe start on a weekend when you are around and can keep an eye on things. Then go out for lunch or run an errand, come back, and see where they are. Do this a few times until you realize they are most likely sleeping or sitting around waiting for a snack! Please let us know how it goes!
     
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  15. KrisinOhio

    KrisinOhio Thread Starter Kristin Adult Cat

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    Oct 28, 2018
    Thanks Avery & Shadowsrescue! I thought that would be the consensus. When everyone said "go at their schedule" who would have thought the cats would be moving faster than me?! Since I am a professional worrier this will not be easy for me, but I know it has to happen eventually. I hope that they continue to play all night and sleep most of the day. I'm not too concerned about Miss Kitty, she will go anywhere for food! I hope that T doesn't find a nook or cranny to hide in and freak me out for days. I will try another feeding spot also. I am concerned about another litter box. Does everyone have multiple litter boxes on multiple floors? With just the 2 cats I have two huge boxes in their room that I clean several times a day and there have been no issues.
     
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  16. Avery

    Avery TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    Aug 5, 2018
    @KrisinOhio - I totally understand being worried about this! I liked coming home and knowing my two outside cats were safely confined in their room, only out under supervision. One day I mentioned to my vet how comfortable they seemed inside their safe room and she kind of paused... she said that cats are creatures of habit, they don't like change, and she hinted, in a nice way, that I really needed to move ahead and let them out already! This got me thinking that instead of keeping them safe for their own good, maybe I was isolating them because it had become a habit for me, too. It was, and still is, a time of transition, but honestly, it has become so much easier to not have to close doors and block off spaces and herd them around. Once you let them out and watch how they do, make any changes that might be necessary to the landscape, you can relax and enjoy them more.

    That said, you need to move at the pace that is comfortable for you. If you want to wait a little bit longer, that's fine. Don't feel pressured!! I just wanted to share my experience and let you know it was easier than I thought it would be!

    As far as litter boxes, you may be fine with the two you are now using. I started out with two in the basement, added one in my bedroom a few years ago when I needed to confine a cat at night, then added three in the safe room. Palmer uses all of them and Lucky and Rosie use a few so I just haven't removed any since it is working!

    Take care and keep us posted!
     
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  17. shadowsrescue

    shadowsrescue Advisor Staff Member Advisor

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    I have 6 cats and sooooo many litter boxes. Since my feral boys still spend most of the day in the sun room, I have 3 litter boxes in there. I have another one on my main floor for my 3 other cats. I then have 1 litter box on the upstairs floor and then 3 more in the basement. I am always cleaning litter boxes.

    When I only had 2 cats, I only had 3 litter boxes. When I added the 3rd cat, I had 4 for awhile, but got down to just 3. I hope some day to get down closer to 6. Yet, for me it's better to have too many than not enough.

    I am a worrier too. I worried about them outside and hoped that once inside, I would worry less. Yet, there are other things to worry about. When I brought my first feral inside (Marvin), it took my DH and DS to tell me that I needed to lighten up. They actually took over the cat care for a weekend to give me a break and to allow the cats to adjust. It was a defining moment. I had to learn to take cues from the cats as well. I did have a few sleepless nights, but in the end it all worked out.
     
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  18. KrisinOhio

    KrisinOhio Thread Starter Kristin Adult Cat

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    Oct 28, 2018
    Thank you both for the thoughtful insight and advice! It means so much to me. I am going to move forward with giving the cats more freedom (slowly) and see how it goes. Like you have said, I can always go back if it doesn't go well. I will keep you posted!!!
     
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  19. Avery

    Avery TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    Aug 5, 2018
    @KrisinOhio - good for you! This site is really a wonderful community, a great place for advice and support from people with experience! I'm happy to have accomplished some small steps that I can share with others in similar situations! And definitely let us know how it goes with your two.

    (On a side note, I really appreciate your comments to messages in my own thread and just saw your latest: vegan!! I am impressed! I tried once and went back to plain old vegetarian... couldn't give up dairy products! I do buy organic, pasture-raised, all that stuff to make myself feel better about it. So keep up the good work on ALL fronts!!)
     
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  20. Avery

    Avery TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    Aug 5, 2018
    How is it going with Miss Kitty and Tortellini? Any updates to report?!
     

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