Please help with big decision

Dinah Doll

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Hello folks. This Cat Site is wonderful. I have been reading for a while, especially on this forum as I have a big decision to make. I have been feeding a semi-feral 1 year oldish female calico (I call her Dinah, see Avatar pic) for almost 2 months now. She is afraid of Everything and Everybody but, she is warming up to me. Now, she is coming inside my (cat-less) house to eat after many weeks of eating on my front porch.

She will not come inside if she hears ANY noise at all except for me opening her can of food, the microwave oven, (warming her favorite...MILK) and my soothing voice. If she comes in and sees movement on the big screen TV, she will turn and scoot outside. So I have to turn everything off. When she does eat, then she leaves (I keep the entrance door ajar) and goes directly to a neighbors open garage that is falling down. That seems to be her home.

She will not let me very close to her, as she just scoots away. This seems to be her life. Eat here, sleep in garage. Come here to eat again. I would love to bring her into my home. We have Bears, Fishers, Coyote's, Eagles, and now a few other feral cats in this very rural area. My house also sits on a state highway and, another hard winter is getting started too.

I have an appointment with the local SPCA on January 16th between 8:00 and 8:30 am, to have her fixed and to get the normal shots. I must try and trap her outside, in a havahart trap. This will be very difficult as Dinah shows up at different hours of the day. I cannot try to trap her at night.

She seems to be good natured, curious in the house, and does play with toys sometimes (usually outside at a distance if I engage her.) She also seems to be in very good health, has a ferocious appetite (she was really thin when I first saw her) and loves catnip. Amazing how heart-warming it is to observe a Cat that has never played with a toy before or reacts to catnip for the first time.

My question is this. Do I try to wait and try to trap her the morning the appointment, or do I try to keep her inside as soon as I can, and hopefully get her to a vet later down the road?? I understand all of the procedures of trapping. I honestly cannot see the point of letting her back outside after the SPCA visit.

About me and Cats: I have had Cats in the past. My last Cat Pepper, left this world last February and I have not wanted any more Cats until this girl showed up.
I have a litter box filled and ready, a very large Cat-house condo, multiple Cat beds, and a small bedroom with windows dedicated for this possible transition. I will also keep this room's door ajar so she would be able to roam as she wants.

One last thing. FATE. I have never had a conversation with strangers about stray/feral cats. Yesterday, at a Doctors office, in a waiting room (and I changed waiting rooms because of a rude person) this couple just started talking to each other about a stray Cat they had taken in at their kennel !!! Needless to say, we had a very nice informative conversation on my current situation as well as the kennel they keep! FATE? That is what they said about my situation.

Thank you in advance for your votes on my decision and any other advice or questions you may have for Dinah and me!

Greg
 

poolcat

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Hi Greg, welcome to the forum! It's good of you to rescue Dinah. Sounds like you have a nice setup for her.

It may not be as hard as you think to trap her. You have almost a month to get her used to a trap. I suggest that you put it outside right now, not too far from where you feed her. Once she gets used to it being there, start moving her food dish a little closer to the trap at each meal. Tie the trap door open, and make sure it's secure. If she's a smart girl with a long memory, you may only get one chance to do this.

Eventually you'll move her food dish inside the trap, further and further toward the back where it will need to be when you set the trap to catch her. Make sure the dish you use to feed her now is small enough to allow the lever she'll need to step on to go down flat. You don't want the dish to prevent the trap from working. I've been told by a friend who does TNR work that cheap sardines make the best bait... very stinky and attractive to cats.

If you set the trap the evening before her appointment, do you think she'll come to eat during the night? If not, do it during the afternoon sometime. It won't hurt her to sit in the trap overnight, but you'll want to keep an eye on it after you set it so you can cover it with a blanket or towel as soon as possible after she's caught. (She will probably thrash around for a while, and covering the trap will help calm her down.)

If you have to leave the trap outside, you can put a few layers of corrugated cardboard under the trap so she doesn't get cold that night.... and cover the towel or blanket with plastic if it's going to rain or snow.

The cardboard should go down now. Don't make any big changes to the setup or the location of the trap right before her appointment, or it could make her suspicious and afraid to go into the trap.

Other folks here will probably have more suggestions.

Carol
 

Kwik

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Hi Greg.
Welcome to TCS- it's nice to meet you... glad you have come to join us and there's something thst really stood out to me after reading the info you provided :
BEARS,FISHERS,COYOTES and EAGLES-for this reason and this reason alone I would say that once she's inside there is absolutely no reason to let her back out again- not to be a prophet of doom but each time she goes back outside can be the last time you'll ever see her.It sounds to me thst this is your concern as well as mine

The first thing I always ask is " Is the cat safe?" If she was then I'd be more than happy to help you to do a slow transition and gradually bring her inside or get her inside a carrier or a trap but it does not sound like there really is thst option

I'm absolutely thrilled that you have opened up your heart to her and are considering giving her a forever home.Since you have no other animals in your home then I don't see any reason not to get her inside to safety immediately and get her to the Vet at a little later date....you can immediately put her on a parasite control med by dosing her food since a topical application will not be pheasible at first and then bring her in for spaying,,tests,vaccinations a little down the road- thats my suggestion

It's difficult to assess whether or not she is a feral but certainly either a semi feral or an" outdoor" stray- it's apparent by what you've described thst she's not been indoors,,having said that it might be a bit difficult at first but I can assure you that with love and patience she'll be a wonderful,loving housecat and without doubt' - your baby girl

She'll have to be contained in one small room at first- there's no telling how she'll react once you close of her access to outside but once you close that door all bets are off- so I must asked " Are you all in?" If she reacts badly once you shut the door chances are she might freak out a little but you cannot let her back out-I'm not saying she will start clawing at the door or banging into windows but there's a chance she may- ard you prepared for anything? If so then the decision is easy- bring her in now

Once she is inside you'd have to work to get her into a " safe room" for starters..... starting out this way you can prepare a safe room and we can talk more about it if you decide to take that route

The other option is setting the trap,camouflage it - trap her ,bring her to the Vet and then home to a safe room - much easier option to begin outdoor to indoor transitioning

So what do you feel,is she safe and not in immediate danger ,do you have the luxury of time or do you think not?
 
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Dinah Doll

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Hi Greg, welcome to the forum! It's good of you to rescue Dinah. Sounds like you have a nice setup for her.

It may not be as hard as you think to trap her. You have almost a month to get her used to a trap. I suggest that you put it outside right now, not too far from where you feed her. Once she gets used to it being there, start moving her food dish a little closer to the trap at each meal. Tie the trap door open, and make sure it's secure. If she's a smart girl with a long memory, you may only get one chance to do this.

Eventually you'll move her food dish inside the trap, further and further toward the back where it will need to be when you set the trap to catch her. Make sure the dish you use to feed her now is small enough to allow the lever she'll need to step on to go down flat. You don't want the dish to prevent the trap from working. I've been told by a friend who does TNR work that cheap sardines make the best bait... very stinky and attractive to cats.

If you set the trap the evening before her appointment, do you think she'll come to eat during the night? If not, do it during the afternoon sometime. It won't hurt her to sit in the trap overnight, but you'll want to keep an eye on it after you set it so you can cover it with a blanket or towel as soon as possible after she's caught. (She will probably thrash around for a while, and covering the trap will help calm her down.)

If you have to leave the trap outside, you can put a few layers of corrugated cardboard under the trap so she doesn't get cold that night.... and cover the towel or blanket with plastic if it's going to rain or snow.

The cardboard should go down now. Don't make any big changes to the setup or the location of the trap right before her appointment, or it could make her suspicious and afraid to go into the trap.

Other folks here will probably have more suggestions.

Carol
TY Carol! I cannot set the trap the night before. Too many animals,...Racoons, skunks, possums, other cats..etc. Even the afternoon is too late/early. It is too cold now for a late afternoon trap. Thanks again!
 
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Dinah Doll

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Hi Greg.
Welcome to TCS- it's nice to meet you... glad you have come to join us and there's something thst really stood out to me after reading the info you provided :
BEARS,FISHERS,COYOTES and EAGLES-for this reason and this reason alone I would say that once she's inside there is absolutely no reason to let her back out again- not to be a prophet of doom but each time she goes back outside can be the last time you'll ever see her.It sounds to me thst this is your concern as well as mine

The first thing I always ask is " Is the cat safe?" If she was then I'd be more than happy to help you to do a slow transition and gradually bring her inside or get her inside a carrier or a trap but it does not sound like there really is thst option

I'm absolutely thrilled that you have opened up your heart to her and are considering giving her a forever home.Since you have no other animals in your home then I don't see any reason not to get her inside to safety immediately and get her to the Vet at a little later date....you can immediately put her on a parasite control med by dosing her food since a topical application will not be pheasible at first and then bring her in for spaying,,tests,vaccinations a little down the road- thats my suggestion

It's difficult to assess whether or not she is a feral but certainly either a semi feral or an" outdoor" stray- it's apparent by what you've described thst she's not been indoors,,having said that it might be a bit difficult at first but I can assure you that with love and patience she'll be a wonderful,loving housecat and without doubt' - your baby girl

She'll have to be contained in one small room at first- there's no telling how she'll react once you close of her access to outside but once you close that door all bets are off- so I must asked " Are you all in?" If she reacts badly once you shut the door chances are she might freak out a little but you cannot let her back out-I'm not saying she will start clawing at the door or banging into windows but there's a chance she may- ard you prepared for anything? If so then the decision is easy- bring her in now

Once she is inside you'd have to work to get her into a " safe room" for starters..... starting out this way you can prepare a safe room and we can talk more about it if you decide to take that route

The other option is setting the trap,camouflage it - trap her ,bring her to the Vet and then home to a safe room - much easier option to begin outdoor to indoor transitioning

So what do you feel,is she safe and not in immediate danger ,do you have the luxury of time or do you think not?
This is the problem. Does she have time on her side? I do not think so. The odds are against her in my opinion and it is also the opinion of some of my Cat friends.

I just wanted to get some more feedback from other people too. I am thinking that if I can, I will get her in the house tomorrow. Then let fate take its course! I welcome all feedback here!
 

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Yes, Kwik Kwik is probably right about getting her into the house asap. (She usually is right on anything cat-related! :) )

A dose of gabapentin can be useful, given an hour to an hour and a half before trying to do anything with a feral cat. Makes them kind of dopey, so they're easier to get into a carrier -- and it makes things easier for the vet, too, if the cat is fractious. If your SPCA doesn't dispense drugs, whichever vet you plan to use may be willing to give you a dose or two, if you explain the situation.

Edit: Oops! I just realized that drugging a cat before anesthesia probably isn't a great idea. Whoever will be doing the surgery should be able to advise you on that.
 

IndyJones

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Nobody meantioned the biggest threat of all... humans.
Cars specificaly are the biggest threat to loose animals even moreso than wildlife. A car isn't going to veer off the road to avoid hitting an animal that runs out into the street. any place there are humans there are cars. And law doesn't require you to stop for a hit cat unlike a dog or a pedestrian.

Please keep her as an indoor cat from the point you catch her onwards. She may protest but it is for her own good. Ignore any howling or scratching and it will die down. Keep windows and the hvac system closed patch any gaps on cupboards or furnature. Provide empty amazon boxes instead for hiding.
 

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She seems to be good natured, curious in the house, and does play with toys sometimes (usually outside at a distance if I engage her.) She also seems to be in very good health, has a ferocious appetite (she was really thin when I first saw her) and loves catnip. Amazing how heart-warming it is to observe a Cat that has never played with a toy before or reacts to catnip for the first time.

My question is this. Do I try to wait and try to trap her the morning the appointment, or do I try to keep her inside as soon as I can, and hopefully get her to a vet later down the road?? I understand all of the procedures of trapping. I honestly cannot see the point of letting her back outside after the SPCA visit.
:hellosmiley:and welcome to TCS!

Thank you for planning to take Dinah indoors and for giving her a warm and fur-ever loving home and a safe sanctuary to live out her life! :clapcat:

Great advice from the above posters.

Looks like Dinah has pretty warmed up to you though still very skittish, which is normal. Coming into the house and eating in front of you and enjoying catnips and played with a toy are very good signs.

First thing, can you let your vet know that you are trapping Dinah and there's no sure timing of bringing her in. Make this arrangement with the vet to let you bring Dinah in at any time. This is what most of us will do and most vets understands this kind of situations.

Second thing is try to cat safe the area where you are feeding Dinah and have a safe room ready for her. Have some towels around her when she's in the house or if you know where she lays to rest. Let the towels soak up her scents foe a few days and then place the towels in the safe room.

Once she's in the house eating, wherever that may be, close the door so that she cannot run out. Have the trap always ready or you can even try feeing her inside the trap whenever she comes to eat to let her get use to it before trapping her. It is worth a try and it's kind of easier to trap her indoors than outdoors because she's already inside, as you mentioned, is time on her side if she's outdoor?

Whatever it is, it may not be easy but just don't give up. She has some trust in you so that plays a big part.

Do keep us posted and here's an idea for the trap if you leave it outside.

Screenshot 2019-09-04 at 7.17.05 AM.jpg
 

Kwik

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This is the problem. Does she have time on her side? I do not think so. The odds are against her in my opinion and it is also the opinion of some of my Cat friends.

I just wanted to get some more feedback from other people too. I am thinking that if I can, I will get her in the house tomorrow. Then let fate take its course! I welcome all feedback here!
I've lived a long life Greg and one thing I can say is " go with your gut"- if you have that sense that her time out there is short then trust that and go with it,don't second guess yourself!👍

I was working very hard with a true feral boy for a very long time to slowly transition him to the indoors and it was going quite well but at that rate I think I he'd be fully indoors by the year 2030!!!!Greg,all of a sudden I felt impending doom,got a real bad feeling- well the good news is I'm not here to tell you what awful thing happened because I didn't listen to myself- nope,I got thst cat inside asap and that feral rogue wildcat is now known as "Timmy the housecat" only 6 months later! We should be more like our feline friends & TRUST our instincts- you can read all about Timmy's transitioning here on TCS,it's long but you should find it helpful and encouraging- I'll give you the link

The others have given good advice( as ususl,lol) and I'm sure WE will all agree- get her inside and we will help you with the rest as it comes ,each step of the way- I promise,we are all here for you
 

price053

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Hello folks. This Cat Site is wonderful. I have been reading for a while, especially on this forum as I have a big decision to make. I have been feeding a semi-feral 1 year oldish female calico (I call her Dinah, see Avatar pic) for almost 2 months now. She is afraid of Everything and Everybody but, she is warming up to me. Now, she is coming inside my (cat-less) house to eat after many weeks of eating on my front porch.

She will not come inside if she hears ANY noise at all except for me opening her can of food, the microwave oven, (warming her favorite...MILK) and my soothing voice. If she comes in and sees movement on the big screen TV, she will turn and scoot outside. So I have to turn everything off. When she does eat, then she leaves (I keep the entrance door ajar) and goes directly to a neighbors open garage that is falling down. That seems to be her home.

She will not let me very close to her, as she just scoots away. This seems to be her life. Eat here, sleep in garage. Come here to eat again. I would love to bring her into my home. We have Bears, Fishers, Coyote's, Eagles, and now a few other feral cats in this very rural area. My house also sits on a state highway and, another hard winter is getting started too.

I have an appointment with the local SPCA on January 16th between 8:00 and 8:30 am, to have her fixed and to get the normal shots. I must try and trap her outside, in a havahart trap. This will be very difficult as Dinah shows up at different hours of the day. I cannot try to trap her at night.

She seems to be good natured, curious in the house, and does play with toys sometimes (usually outside at a distance if I engage her.) She also seems to be in very good health, has a ferocious appetite (she was really thin when I first saw her) and loves catnip. Amazing how heart-warming it is to observe a Cat that has never played with a toy before or reacts to catnip for the first time.

My question is this. Do I try to wait and try to trap her the morning the appointment, or do I try to keep her inside as soon as I can, and hopefully get her to a vet later down the road?? I understand all of the procedures of trapping. I honestly cannot see the point of letting her back outside after the SPCA visit.

About me and Cats: I have had Cats in the past. My last Cat Pepper, left this world last February and I have not wanted any more Cats until this girl showed up.
I have a litter box filled and ready, a very large Cat-house condo, multiple Cat beds, and a small bedroom with windows dedicated for this possible transition. I will also keep this room's door ajar so she would be able to roam as she wants.

One last thing. FATE. I have never had a conversation with strangers about stray/feral cats. Yesterday, at a Doctors office, in a waiting room (and I changed waiting rooms because of a rude person) this couple just started talking to each other about a stray Cat they had taken in at their kennel !!! Needless to say, we had a very nice informative conversation on my current situation as well as the kennel they keep! FATE? That is what they said about my situation.

Thank you in advance for your votes on my decision and any other advice or questions you may have for Dinah and me!

Greg
Hello Greg...

I have a stray that I was taking care of for about a year, my dear friend Kwik said lets do a bigger carrier and that worked, I was not able to take her to the vet right away but when I did get her I was not really all that concerned about that, I just wanted her off the streets. I have three kittens at my home as well so I just separate them. Bella stays in one room, and the kids stay in the other. Vetting is important and you may not be able to trap her the day of the appointment, you can always make a new appointment. I would say get her as soon as you can and work on the vet appointment as you go. There is a lot of stress involved in trying to trap them the day of or before. I have been there and don't that twice with Bella and each time she was having no part of it lol and it put a lot of pressure on me and stressed me out. You will be able to bond with her as well once you get her inside and then that will help..
You will get the pretty girl, just don't over stress it or over think it.. I am so glad I got Bella off the streets it was such a relief in every way ..
We are here if you need us Greg!!!!:)
 

Kwik

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Hi Again Greg!
You can also read Bellas story,the little cat thst @price just told him you about above
Stubborn Stray cat

We all help each other - from the most experienced professionals to the first timers but we all have the most important thing in common- WE LOVE CATS and that is the the only thing required- everyone has something to offer here and it's our good pleasure !
 
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Dinah Doll

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Well, thank you all for your replies, support and tips! It has already made my decision so much easier. I admit, I was stressing over this whole situation. I am not getting any younger. But now I feel more at ease. I will get her inside as soon as I can and will post back when I can. I knew this was the place to go for this advice!

Thank you all again
!

Greg
 

Kwik

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Well, thank you all for your replies, support and tips! It has already made my decision so much easier. I admit, I was stressing over this whole situation. I am not getting any younger. But now I feel more at ease. I will get her inside as soon as I can and will post back when I can. I knew this was the place to go for this advice!

Thank you all again!

Greg
Glad to hear it Greg!
And do post photos after your girl is ready to have her picture taken by her Cat Daddy❤
 

price053

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Well, thank you all for your replies, support and tips! It has already made my decision so much easier. I admit, I was stressing over this whole situation. I am not getting any younger. But now I feel more at ease. I will get her inside as soon as I can and will post back when I can. I knew this was the place to go for this advice!

Thank you all again!

Greg
You are so welcome. Off the streets first and then the rest will come. At least she is the only one so not as much stress 💜💜💜💜. You have a Merry Christmas!!!!
 

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Just remember, she will NOT like it at all you have 'trapped' her in the house. She may climb the walls and crash into windows. So keep her safe and make sure she has somewhere to hide, don't leave her in the open, she will panic. don't panic and let her out, you may never see her again. It WILL work out, but it will take time and a lot of it. The fact that she is coming into teh house at all to eat is fantastic, and usually means she is a stray and not a feral. Ferals won't come within ANY distance of humans or houses. she is just scared and may have never been inside. Please come if you ahev any questions, we'll be here! (Thank you for caring!)
 
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Dinah Doll

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Just remember, she will NOT like it at all you have 'trapped' her in the house. She may climb the walls and crash into windows. So keep her safe and make sure she has somewhere to hide, don't leave her in the open, she will panic. don't panic and let her out, you may never see her again. It WILL work out, but it will take time and a lot of it. The fact that she is coming into teh house at all to eat is fantastic, and usually means she is a stray and not a feral. Ferals won't come within ANY distance of humans or houses. she is just scared and may have never been inside. Please come if you ahev any questions, we'll be here! (Thank you for caring!)
I did not post this before as I had written so much (long winded) already. About a month ago, she got in by mistake. Front door was open as was the outside screen door. She came in to eat. It was a very windy day and a gust of wind slammed the screen door shut! Dinah of course freaked out knowing she was trapped. She climbed the curtain on the picture window, ran across the curtain rods and then disappeared. I reopened both doors wide and searched the house and figured she must have gotten back outside.

I looked everywhere 3X during the day. Then while in bed that night I heard a noise. A picture frame on the coal stove mantle was off kilter. Now this has happened before with this frame but I searched again at midnight, found nothing and went back to bed.

Next morning I went to the upstairs to the computer room and there she was on a printing table with her head against the wall looking at me sideways. I FREAKED!!! I brought her some food where she was (not too close), she gave me a low warning growl and I backed off. After I left the room she moved to a higher place in a bookshelf in the same room.

I called a friend and we got her back outside. So I am kind of prepared for what's to come when I get her back in. I have 3 sections of jake sticks laying on the floor ready to push them gently to close the door IF she comes in today. I hope it works. I will let you know what happens!

Greg
 
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Dinah Doll

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Just to add to the story of Dinah getting in the house. I know she explored the house while I was sleeping. I found dirty paw prints on the bathroom counter after we got her back outside. So she at least was not hiding out in complete fear!

Waiting for her to show up again this morning. My security camera caught her at the front steps at 4:30 this morning then again at 6:00am. She must be hungry.
 
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Dinah is in the house! I am nauseous, and still stressed so I can only imagine how Dinah feels. She is under or behind the couch I am laying on as I write this post. It did not work out to "steer" her towards her bedroom.

After I closed the door gently with the 30ft jake sticks, she looked for a way out at the door, then jumped up and clawed at the door window and hung on the window for a minute. Then jumped down and went under a baseboard. Then i went upstairs and she came out after a few minutes and went behind the couch.
Thank you guys again for your support. She is safe now and we can begin our journey!

Greg
 
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