Relocating feral cats

torn

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Hi there, I have 2 feral cats that have been at my job for about 7 years. The company closed and I don't work there anymore since Dec 2018. It's an hour away so I go there usually once a week to fill the bins with dry food, visit with them, give them wet food and treats and just hang out with them. I have another lady going there once a week to give them wet food too. I'm wondering if i should move them in my back yard. I'll buy a big enclosure for them with heated beds. I know i need to keep them enclosed for the first 2 weeks of relocating them..then i would just leave the door open all the time. What are your thoughts on relocating ferals? Should I take them away from what they are used to? I am very torn on what i should do. What do you think?
 

dragonlady2

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I relocated ferals and built a catio for them. I have moved them cross country and back again with a catio in both places. They got used to the catio and don’t want to leave it.
I would relocate your ferals, build the catio and don’t let them out. I believe they truly will live longer, be healthier and happier in the long run. Even though they may lose their “freedom” to roam, the basic needs of warmth, food and safety trumps the roaming and dangers. I made a swing for them and have heating pads inside the shed and outdoors in the catio so they have the option of choosing where their safe, warm place is. Big thanks to you for caring about them.
 
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torn

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I relocated ferals and built a catio for them. I have moved them cross country and back again with a catio in both places. They got used to the catio and don’t want to leave it.
I would relocate your ferals, build the catio and don’t let them out. I believe they truly will live longer, be healthier and happier in the long run. Even though they may lose their “freedom” to roam, the basic needs of warmth, food and safety trumps the roaming and dangers. I made a swing for them and have heating pads inside the shed and outdoors in the catio so they have the option of choosing where their safe, warm place is. Big thanks to you for caring about them.
Thank you....can you send me a picture what your catio looks like?
 

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I am still figuring out how to make their outdoor space larger/longer. The catio is attached to the shed.
 

fionasmom

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I agree that relocating the cats is a good idea in this case, especially if you are able to do it. Two cats is not as bad as trying to relocate a large number and you won't have the long trip or the worry about what will happen to them. If you intend to make them outdoor cats, I recommend that you keep them inside for at least 4 weeks. A catio is a great idea. Once you have done this, you might be able to assess if they are adoptable and could be given new homes.
 

moxiewild

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Chiming in to say go for the relocation!

I’ve helped relocate many colonies, and we usually keep them contained for 6-8 weeks. Anything less can be very risky.

But I also agree that, if at all possible, building them a “forever enclosure” is totally ideal! Best to do it before winter too!

After 7 years… are you able to pet them? And if so, have you considered making them indoor kitties?
 
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torn

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Chiming in to say go for the relocation!

I’ve helped relocate many colonies, and we usually keep them contained for 6-8 weeks. Anything less can be very risky.

But I also agree that, if at all possible, building them a “forever enclosure” is totally ideal! Best to do it before winter too!

After 7 years… are you able to pet them? And if so, have you considered making them indoor kitties?
Thank you for your input. No, I can't pet them. I've come close but not able to pet them. Unfortunately.
 
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torn

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I agree that relocating the cats is a good idea in this case, especially if you are able to do it. Two cats is not as bad as trying to relocate a large number and you won't have the long trip or the worry about what will happen to them. If you intend to make them outdoor cats, I recommend that you keep them inside for at least 4 weeks. A catio is a great idea. Once you have done this, you might be able to assess if they are adoptable and could be given new homes.
Thank you....so keeping them in the catio is okay for at least 4 weeks? I was going to open the door after that so they can go out...
 
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torn

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Awesome. They have beds in the shed? I live in MD so it gets cold in the winter. I was going to put 2 small heated houses in the catio where they can sleep. I just don't know if they will go in it. We will see. Do you know that they don't want to leave the catio? I think i would feel bad if i didn't let them out. I'm going to keep them in the catio for about 6-8 weeks though.
 

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I have inadvertently left doors open and they were still there when I returned. Another time, one went on a walkabout but was back in 10 minutes wanting back in the catio. At times when I go in to clean or change things, the cats disappear in their outdoor hut or into the shed. They could easily escape/leave if they wanted to. They have been with me for years though, so I think they just don’t like the disruption to their routine when I start messing around in the catio. We have been able to pet the male to the point that he can sometimes be a bit of a nuisance because he keeps calling us over to pet him.
I have heating pads in the shed and outdoors in their huts. The females prefer to be outdoors in the winter.
If you do decide to make a catio for them, I would keep them in there for longer that 6 weeks. Once they have a chance to winter in a warm and protected space, I think they become attached to that safe place. However, if they aren’t spayed/neutered, they will roam and may or may not return. Just my thoughts.
 
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torn

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I have inadvertently left doors open and they were still there when I returned. Another time, one went on a walkabout but was back in 10 minutes wanting back in the catio. At times when I go in to clean or change things, the cats disappear in their outdoor hut or into the shed. They could easily escape/leave if they wanted to. They have been with me for years though, so I think they just don’t like the disruption to their routine when I start messing around in the catio. We have been able to pet the male to the point that he can sometimes be a bit of a nuisance because he keeps calling us over to pet him.
I have heating pads in the shed and outdoors in their huts. The females prefer to be outdoors in the winter.
If you do decide to make a catio for them, I would keep them in there for longer that 6 weeks. Once they have a chance to winter in a warm and protected space, I think they become attached to that safe place. However, if they aren’t spayed/neutered, they will roam and may or may not return. Just my thoughts.
I appreciate your thoughts. I'm trying to find a catio that is warm for them. I found this but I'm not sure if it will be warm enough. Wayfair.com - Online Home Store for Furniture, Decor, Outdoors & More
Can you give me your thoughts on this? I plan to buy two warm cat houses to put in the catio. electric ones that i plug in to make their bed warm. I've never done anything like this so I could use all the coaching i can get. thanks so much.
 
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torn

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I appreciate your thoughts. I'm trying to find a catio that is warm for them. I found this but I'm not sure if it will be warm enough. Wayfair.com - Online Home Store for Furniture, Decor, Outdoors & More
Can you give me your thoughts on this? I plan to buy two warm cat houses to put in the catio. electric ones that i plug in to make their bed warm. I've never done anything like this so I could use all the coaching i can get. thanks so much.
Oh, and they are fixed. 2 females. mama and her baby. The baby is about 6 or 7 now. I think Mama is only 7 or 8. Mama doesn't like to be around Baby but Baby loves Mama.....
 
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torn

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Chiming in to say go for the relocation!

I’ve helped relocate many colonies, and we usually keep them contained for 6-8 weeks. Anything less can be very risky.

But I also agree that, if at all possible, building them a “forever enclosure” is totally ideal! Best to do it before winter too!

After 7 years… are you able to pet them? And if so, have you considered making them indoor kitties?
I can't pet them. I thought I responded but can't see my response. lol. Do you suggest any good catio's?
 

dragonlady2

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The Wayfair catio looks awesome. From my experience, a heating pad inside the enclosed part would be enough. If they sleep together, you probably just need a small doghouse with a heating pad for outside. It would give them options of being indoor or out.
I gave up trying to make “beds” for them as they would track in grass and dirt from outside. I just have one of the hard plastic heating pads with a towel that I can take out to wash or shake out. I also use outdoor cushions for sleeping or laying on. The dollar store in our area sells some cheap ones or I get them from yard sale.
Because we get so much snow here, I covered the top with steel roofing and in winter, I literally wrap most of the catio in vapor barrier. They used to get too much snow in the catio to do much of anything in winter. Now they can come and go from the shed and not get wet from the snow. They will spend a lot of time outside in their huts in winter because there is very little wind this way.
The have litter boxes inside the shed which are cleaned once or twice daily. For their food and water, I use heated food bowls.
 
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torn

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The Wayfair catio looks awesome. From my experience, a heating pad inside the enclosed part would be enough. If they sleep together, you probably just need a small doghouse with a heating pad for outside. It would give them options of being indoor or out.
I gave up trying to make “beds” for them as they would track in grass and dirt from outside. I just have one of the hard plastic heating pads with a towel that I can take out to wash or shake out. I also use outdoor cushions for sleeping or laying on. The dollar store in our area sells some cheap ones or I get them from yard sale.
Because we get so much snow here, I covered the top with steel roofing and in winter, I literally wrap most of the catio in vapor barrier. They used to get too much snow in the catio to do much of anything in winter. Now they can come and go from the shed and not get wet from the snow. They will spend a lot of time outside in their huts in winter because there is very little wind this way.
The have litter boxes inside the shed which are cleaned once or twice daily. For their food and water, I use heated food bowls.
This helps a lot. What is a vapor barrier? I live in Maryland and sometimes we get a lot of snow and sometimes we don't. I'm taking them from an area where they go in the drain a lot. I'm afraid they will be colder her after I relocate them. Do you think they will go into small house with the heating pad? Should i put 2 holes in the house for an escape route. I hear that ferals won't go into sometime unless it has an escape hole. What do you think? Should I not worry about that? I would think they would go into a warm place, but I just don't have any experience so i just don't know.
 

dragonlady2

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Vapor barrier is just a large roll of plastic that is 8 feet wide. We get it from the lumber yard. We cut little flaps/windows in it so that we could let in the sun and breeze on warmer days and pet the male cat. It’s kind of like Saran wrapping the structure. We had panels and stapled them to the building. Once the cats realize that there are no predators able to get in, they will probably use the indoor part to stay warm. Especially if their food is in there. Once they discover the heating pad, their little behinds probably won’t want to be anywhere else. Indoor and outdoor heating pads/areas will resolve any concerns you have because they have the choice of where to be.
Is there a way to set up the catio against your home, garage, shed etc? Just to provide stability. We also placed pavers/rocks along the ground against the walls. This also reinforced the area against any other cats, raccoons, coyotes, etc. couldn’t dig their way in and when we moved, it discouraged the cats from trying to get out. We built new catios in each place and they needed time to acclimate.
 

fionasmom

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Most feral shelter literature will tell you that you need two openings but I don't know how true that is or if it depends on whether or not they see it as a place where escape might be necessary. In a very cold place like MD, they certainly might want that heated bed or whatever you decide to put there and I think that it has to be an option for them. Sometimes it takes a couple of days for them to check it out, but I bet they will use it.
 
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torn

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Ok, we will see if they go in. I have to trap her first. I've been trying for months. I even took all the food away for 5 days two separate occasions in hopes to trap but she will not go into a drop trap or the other trap. I have a trap unset right now where we are putting the food in there in hopes that she will go in and eat the food. No success as of yet!!
 
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torn

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Vapor barrier is just a large roll of plastic that is 8 feet wide. We get it from the lumber yard. We cut little flaps/windows in it so that we could let in the sun and breeze on warmer days and pet the male cat. It’s kind of like Saran wrapping the structure. We had panels and stapled them to the building. Once the cats realize that there are no predators able to get in, they will probably use the indoor part to stay warm. Especially if their food is in there. Once they discover the heating pad, their little behinds probably won’t want to be anywhere else. Indoor and outdoor heating pads/areas will resolve any concerns you have because they have the choice of where to be.
Is there a way to set up the catio against your home, garage, shed etc? Just to provide stability. We also placed pavers/rocks along the ground against the walls. This also reinforced the area against any other cats, raccoons, coyotes, etc. couldn’t dig their way in and when we moved, it discouraged the cats from trying to get out. We built new catios in each place and they needed time to acclimate.
Ok, thanks for all the info...this really helps. Just ordered my catio. I am going to start a new thread on trapping because she will not go into the trap. I've starved her 5 days in a row on two separate occasions trying to drop trap her. she won't go near it. I have a trap unset that is up right now. We are putting food in the unset trap but so far, she doesn't want anything to do with it. I hate to take her dry food away because she lost weight the last time and she can't loose any more weight. She is constantly scratching due to an allergic reaction to the fleas. She had this issue about a year ago and i was able to trap her and bring her to the doctors but its back and she is sufffering. it breaks my heart..
 
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