Relocating feral cats

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torn

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Your catio looks really terrific! Several years ago, I brought into my home a semi-feral cat and a stray cat who I had been feeding and sheltering outdoors for about three years. At the time, I considered building a catio and did a lot of research. Once you start Googling "catios" you will find tons of examples and information! Even though you are purchasing a ready-made catio, you could get some ideas to help you decide on location, items to put inside, etc.

I bought plans from a company called Catio Spaces and was going to hire someone to build the catio. It was going to be up against my house where a downstairs window could be opened to let them come inside. The two cats did so well and never wanted to go back out so I scrapped my plans and just kept them totally indoors. However, if you have a shed or a room that can be closed off to the rest of the house (initially anyway), you might consider having the catio lead into this inside space.

Good luck with trapping momma and baby! I think you are absolutely making the right decision for the cats as well as for yourself! It will be so nice to not have to make that long trip to feed them and visit!
This is all spectacular news! You did it! I reread the entire thread and you do have a catio...the one you posted a pic of? Or a couple with heaters? At this point, don't let yourself feel bad about having her confined until you get to the vet. This is all for the much greater good and all rescued ferals go through some less than pleasant time in a trap or confined someplace, as you know from experience. Which confined place is easier for you to work with? More escape proof since that might be the first thing on her mind. She has to stay on your property, in some housing, for at least 4 weeks so that she knows that this is the new home and you can interact with her. In many ways, it is your judgment call based on what your garage and property are like. I might go in the direction of the houses you bought for them if it were me unless your garage is also set up like a shelter. If it is a typical garage with a lot of stuff in it, use the houses. They are now at the location where they are going to live....or Baby is and Mama is hopefully coming. You must be so relieved.
This is all spectacular news! You did it! I reread the entire thread and you do have a catio...the one you posted a pic of? Or a couple with heaters? At this point, don't let yourself feel bad about having her confined until you get to the vet. This is all for the much greater good and all rescued ferals go through some less than pleasant time in a trap or confined someplace, as you know from experience. Which confined place is easier for you to work with? More escape proof since that might be the first thing on her mind. She has to stay on your property, in some housing, for at least 4 weeks so that she knows that this is the new home and you can interact with her. In many ways, it is your judgment call based on what your garage and property are like. I might go in the direction of the houses you bought for them if it were me unless your garage is also set up like a shelter. If it is a typical garage with a lot of stuff in it, use the houses. They are now at the location where they are going to live....or Baby is and Mama is hopefully coming. You must be so relieved.
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thank you! I have a dog crate that i'm putting in my garage. I was thinking i would keep her in that until i trap mama. and then move them both in the catio outside. It's getting colder here but I do have two cat houses (small to fit one of them each) with heated pad underneath. Do you suggest that I don't put them in my back yard with the catio immediately? I don't have heaters in the catio. only the little houses with heated pads. are you able to contact me? 240-426-2723 I don't want to put her alone in the catio. new place with sounds can be really scary for her. after i get mama, i won't feel so bad putting them out there. Do you think i should really relocate them? I only want best for Baby. She's getting medical attention tomorrow and I'll have to watch her for about 2 weeks to make sure she is healing. Gosh, i don't know what to do. I wish it wasn't this time of year!!
 

dragonlady2

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I dropped trapped her! She is with me now. I'm bringing her in the doctors tomorrow. They couldn't see her today. Can you help me with the relocation part now or are you not experienced with that?
I can feel the anxiety you went through trying to trap her. I have had the same feeling when trapping/rescuing our ferals. This is just my experience...once I trapped them and put them in the catio, I didn’t let them out. My anxiety around them potentially leaving and not knowing where they were or if they were alive and/or potentially getting injured by other territorial cats was too much for me. After all this time with them and interacting daily with them, I am 100 % certain I made the right decision. They are healthy, happy and well cared for. Your mama cat may also become more bonded to her daughter when she is alone with her. My mother feral tolerates her daughter, but they always sleep together on the swing and groom each other. I feel it would be better to put the baby in the catio so she can recuperate in peace and get mama cat as soon as you can to reunite them.
There is no hurry to decide what to do in the future re: letting them roam. One day at a time.
 

fionasmom

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torn has been in communication with me and is having some difficulties. If anyone has any advice, please respond.

D dragonlady2 ?

The two cats have been in the catio which was pictured earlier. Last night there was a storm which frightened them and they tried to dig out. Both have become more aggressive when torn enters the catio. The plan is to put flooring in the catio, probably slipping it under, to make it impossible for them to dig out. Rocks around the outside could be an alternative. Prior to the storm, the cats appeared to be settling in but have now seemingly lost ground. Baby had become a little less interactive once Mama was trapped and put in the catio.

I have never used a catio, so wondered if there was any advice. To me, although I could be wrong, it seems that continuing on the same course if the best thing. The cats have not been on the new property long enough to be released IMO. Being confined during a storm was terrifying for them, but I don't see an alternative. More enhancements are being done to the catio today to make it more storm proof, along with upgrading the floor.
 

dragonlady2

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We put bricks and rocks around the outside and inside of our catio as we found that our cats liked digging in the dirt. I would definitely not let these cats out of the catio. I am so impressed that you were able to persevere and catch them both. This is just my opinion and experience and just so you know, I am a firm believer that cats should not be wandering around at will, for a number of reasons.
Your cats have been plucked from their comfort areas and put in new surroundings...they will probably regress as they are in distress. The thing to focus on is they are safe and will eventually get used to their new surroundings. It is crucial right now that they do not escape so be extra careful when feeding and cleaning litter. Our last feral hissed at me initially when I put him in the catio. Right now, he is the biggest suck of all our cats. You are essentially building a new relationship with these cats. Once they see that the food is regular, they have heat and a place to hide, they will come around. I bring catnip toys and treats to our cats daily. I just toss the treats in their eating area and they look forward to their treats. Win them over with being calm, offering treats and consistency. Cats are animals of habit just like other animals. A regular routine will go a long way to calming them down. Don’t expect too much from them initially.
I know it’s hard to figure out whether they will be happy in their new surroundings or if you are hurting them by taking them away from their wild life. Keep the long goal in your mind...safety, security and knowing they will have regular food, water, heat etc. I was okay with Squeaky never responding to me, knowing that he was neutered, safe, fed etc was enough for me. I didn’t need his acceptance to know I was doing the right thing for him. It turned out he is a wonderful cat. You will know in your heart if you are doing what is best for them. Go with that.
 
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torn

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We put bricks and rocks around the outside and inside of our catio as we found that our cats liked digging in the dirt. I would definitely not let these cats out of the catio. I am so impressed that you were able to persevere and catch them both. This is just my opinion and experience and just so you know, I am a firm believer that cats should not be wandering around at will, for a number of reasons.
Your cats have been plucked from their comfort areas and put in new surroundings...they will probably regress as they are in distress. The thing to focus on is they are safe and will eventually get used to their new surroundings. It is crucial right now that they do not escape so be extra careful when feeding and cleaning litter. Our last feral hissed at me initially when I put him in the catio. Right now, he is the biggest suck of all our cats. You are essentially building a new relationship with these cats. Once they see that the food is regular, they have heat and a place to hide, they will come around. I bring catnip toys and treats to our cats daily. I just toss the treats in their eating area and they look forward to their treats. Win them over with being calm, offering treats and consistency. Cats are animals of habit just like other animals. A regular routine will go a long way to calming them down. Don’t expect too much from them initially.
I know it’s hard to figure out whether they will be happy in their new surroundings or if you are hurting them by taking them away from their wild life. Keep the long goal in your mind...safety, security and knowing they will have regular food, water, heat etc. I was okay with Squeaky never responding to me, knowing that he was neutered, safe, fed etc was enough for me. I didn’t need his acceptance to know I was doing the right thing for him. It turned out he is a wonderful cat. You will know in your heart if you are doing what is best for them. Go with that.
Thank you. We ended up added a floor and shimming it under the catio. The were frightened. I haven't seen them come out since. The night before was the storm so they have been in the for a couple of days. The firs few days they just seemed exhausted and slept. But now, I see stress in their eyes. I can't really see them unless I go up close to the little window and mama always hisses at me. She always has hissed at me so it's no surprise. Baby was talking to me a lot before I trapped Mama. She even let me pet her for a few seconds...with my finger...

I'll keep them in there for 2 months total? Then open the door?
Yeah, I do feel bad that I may not be making the right decision. But I have to move forward at this point. My fear too is that in 2 months, it's going to be very cold.
 

dragonlady2

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Why do you want to let them out of the catio in 2 months? If you are releasing them anyway...why didn’t you just leave them where they were? I know this sounds judgmental and that is definitely not what I am feeling. I am just confused as to why did you move them? Why is 2 months your target date? The only reason the cats will stay there is the food and shelter you will be providing, and most importantly, is the relationship you will have with them. How can you tell what your relationship will be by then?
This is just my opinion, but I wouldn’t let them loose just before winter. A spring release would give you and the cats time to “settle”. Give them a chance to explore their new surroundings and if they decide to leave, give them a chance to survive in warmer weather, rather than fight off the cold of winter, snow, lack of food etc.
These decisions when you try to take care of cats, feral, stray or domestic, don’t come easy. I really 👏your efforts for the cats and I truly empathize with the difficulty of the decisions ahead.
 
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dragonlady2

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After reviewing my previous post, I see that I am becoming judgmental as my views on cat rescue/ownership are starting to colour my replies. For that reason, I will be unhelpful to you in your efforts with the cats and so won’t be responding to other posts. I truly wish only the best for you and the cats and hope you will be able to find a solution that gives you peace of mind.
 
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torn

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After reviewing my previous post, I see that I am becoming judgmental as my views on cat rescue/ownership are starting to colour my replies. For that reason, I will be unhelpful to you in your efforts with the cats and so won’t be responding to other posts. I truly wish only the best for you and the cats and hope you will be able to find a solution that gives you peace of mind.
I appreciate your feedback and I'm sorry if you were getting responses from others. I'm not used to this website yet so I haven't seen the responses as of yet. I've been fighting this decision for a few years now. Long story short. They were at my work living there. I trapped them both and were taking care of them. My company closed after 15 years of me working there and 10 of those were taking care of the cat population and taking care of Mama and Baby...the two cats with me now. I was making the 3 hour trip to my old work every Saturday...refilling their water and food bins. I would try to get there during the week one day too but that was difficult because of the distrance. Baby (that's her name and she is around 8 years old) has had very bad issues with her skin for years. I had her treated a few years back..and it came back. I finally trapped her after about 8 months of efforts. I tried everything. Looking at her scratching constantly and suffering was tearing me up. I finally got her, brought her to the doctors and she is good now. I'm afraid if I let her out this problem will come back again and I can't see going through this again for the 3rd time. She loves her Mama so much that I wanted to bring Mama with her here too. In August, a school opened up there. I'm afraid it's a matter of time that they will say something about the cats. So I moved them here. I only want what is best for them...100%. They don't come out of the catio cubby holes and I'm afraid they aren't happy in there. I would greatly appreciate any advice to help me make this decision.
 
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