Seeking help weighing decision to bring feral cat(s) inside

ChirpySquirrel

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Greetings kitty lovers and caretakers,

This is my first post and I’m happy to have found this site. I’ve already read through a bunch of threads and have found the advice and stories intriguing, insightful and often emotional-- both good and some not so good. In particular, the stories of rescuing community cats/ferals and giving them warm safe homes and socializing them are of particular interest to me at this time. I’m in a situation which could be life altering (both me and kitty/kitties) and I’m agonizing over the decision I need to make but one that needs to be made soon.

I have been feeding a group of community cats for a little over a year now. Included are a couple of sibling kitties. Their mom started bringing when they were only probably around 3 weeks old. Now they are around 8 months old. They are completely feral/wild. I have never been able to get closer than 20 or 30 feet away from any of them as they will bolt at any sign of me…or really of any movement in general (lol but actually sigh). I never really tried either since I always figured it was best to just let them come to eat when they felt it was safe. I have had plans to try to TNR going back to November before the weather got brutal but covid hit me and I was sick for over a month…then with the holidays and other things, it just wasn’t possible. Meanwhile, the weather got really bad. Lots of snow, freezing cold temps, lots of wind bringing windchill down close to 0 degrees. Even during this miserable weather, the kitties seemed to barely notice that I had set up my 10 x 10 shed in my backyard with multiple insulated storage bin shelters, some with lots of straw and some even with those K&H heated kitty beds. I had to assume they must just have other options they were somehow more comfortable with…even though I couldn’t imagine they would actually be more comfortable.

All of a sudden, I have a new and overarching issue. You see, while I had known for some time that the fields behind my home were potentially going to be developed, I hoped nothing would happen for a while, maybe a year or more. However, the weather started improving (sunny days with highs in the upper 30s and lows in the lower 20s) and the snow started to melt. While this brought me some relief that the kitties would be able to enjoy better weather conditions out there, it quickly led to a new source of dread and near panic (I experience a lot of anxiety for the well-being of these kitties…which I’m learning is a burden shared by many kitty caretakers).

This week, I began seeing heavy equipment moving in to the north and as a wave of panic came over me, I found that sure enough, they started clearing and leveling the ground on the north side of my neighborhood. This is the area where all along I suspected the kitties had been sheltering as that’s the direction from whence they would come and go for the most part and there were more natural hiding places along with some building materials and other “structures” that seemed to be the most likely spots that could be used as a sort of home base for cats. The last couple of days those makeshift “shelters” have been cleared out and the ground bulldozed, with trucks and heavy equipment going in and out all day. Thus, I believe I was correct and now the kitties have been displaced. Now I’m seeing a few of them wandering around more in the fields to the west and more like within a couple hundred yards from my house. The fields used to be pretty thick with tall weeds and natural hiding places, but the heavy snow flattened all the weeds to the point where there are not many places for a kitty to go and really feel unexposed from predators as well as the elements, not to mention the activities of us scary humans. As I’m typing this, hearing the heavy equipment to my north, I can see one of the sweetest, most precious of the group from my bedroom window trying to find a place to feel safe out in some weed patches just to the west of my home. She is alone and to my mind, seems unsure of what to do or where to go.

Meanwhile, last night, an unprecedented 3 of the other kitties used the shelters in my shed, at least for a little while. While I am glad to see that, it also seems to confirm that they are now seeking out different options for shelter especially at night. The one sweet kitty I mentioned is not one I’ve ever seen use a shelter and has not so much as poked her head in the shed for a long time as far as I’m aware. I have motion sensing cameras out there to try to monitor. I believe she is scared of some of the other kitties, especially one that is a male and has probably marked around and maybe in the shed. I believe she may have been attacked some time ago probably by an aggressive male and it left her with a severe looking eye injury. I watched and prayed over the course of a week or so to see if she would recover. Eventually her eye seemed to heal. It was a miracle. In fact, it was then that I gave her the name Mila (from Milagro which is Spanish for Miracle). Anyway, recently I’ve seen 4 of the other kitties interacting and having contact to some degree so at least maybe they have formed a group and can work together. That includes Mila (aka Milly)’s sibling, her mom, and two other cats…one of which I know is a male. Milly, however, will not associate with anyone besides her sibling (who I named Lipton aka Lippy because of a thin white line above his upper lip). If Lippy starts running more in this group then I fear Milly will be completely on her own.

I would have never considered it prior to this, but now that it seems their whole existence out in the fields is threatened, I’m thinking more drastic action may be necessary…so I started considering the idea of trying to bring one or more into my garage or even inside the house. Trying to find out if that’s even possible is what led me to this site. Initially I felt like I should try to bring in the two siblings. But Lippy seems to have integrated into this small group of 4 while Milly has not. So I wonder if I should just focus on Milly. I know I need to TNR all of them, and soon! (easier said than done of course) but if/when I do trap Milly and have her fixed/vaccinated, I am seriously wondering if I should bring her inside rather than release her back to the rapidly shrinking/vanishing fields. I can provide for her every physical need. Mental and emotional needs may be another story as I know it would be a grueling process to try to socialize her and I worry intensely that it may be the wrong decision for her. Milly is spooked by everything including her own shadow. I fear it would be a nightmare for her to be confined inside a relatively small space with a human. Reading about others who have tried and end up with months and months of kitty constantly being terrified and hiding at all costs, lashing out in panic, etc. has me in a huge emotional dilemma….especially considering I just don’t really know if I even have what it takes to succeed in those circumstances.

However, as I hear the loud scary noises of the heavy equipment just up the street, I think I need to do something knowing that soon all their fields will be swimming with bulldozers, dump trucks, earth movers and people who will surely not give a hoot about ruining these kitties’ safe haven and home. Perhaps the kitties can roam and find new habitat elsewhere, I’m not sure. As I consider where they might be able to go, no other location in the immediate area that won’t be impacted by construction seems to readily present itself as a good option as far as I can tell (but then again, I'm not a cat!). I know I simply can’t take in all of these cats. I think for the most part I will have to try to TNR as many as I can, continue to put food out and just hope they can adapt.

So, back to the thought of taking in Lippy and Milly….or just Milly since, by my estimation, she seems to be the one that is going to have the most difficult time and is the most vulnerable. That certainly was driven home in my mind last night when, as I watched Lippy go in another shelter I have under my porch by their feeding area. Meanwhile Milly waited and paced around the porch clearly not knowing what to do, eventually trying to join Lippy inside…but to my dismay, Lippy swatted at her and would not let her enter. This was repeated 3 times. Finally another kitty came into the yard and Milly bolted to parts unknown.

If I take in Milly or Lippy and Milly, I fear my indoor cat would not be fond of this new situation in the least. He is now a senior cat (13+ years old) and has been without another cat in the house for about 3 years. As he ages and health issues become inevitable, I worry a ton about adding a bunch of stress to his life. However, other than Puffy, I live alone in a 4 bedroom, 3 bath home so I could easily spare a room or whatever space is recommended for a feral kitty to first acclimate to being brought indoors. Would it be better or worse to try bringing both Milly and Lippy in together? They are currently about 8 months old. They do have a bond which I would hate to break…but as evidenced last night, I’m not sure Lippy is super invested in Milly’s well-being overall. That’s certainly only speculation on this human’s part…not understanding in the slightest all the mysterious and obscure relationships and behaviors of the kitty-kind. Any/all thoughts and advice would be extremely welcome. I would basically be alone in this endeavor with the only support probably coming from you kind and benevolent kitty lovers. I’ve always liked cats but I’m probably not what you might consider a traditional cat person. I only ended up with kitties when a girlfriend who was a cat person (and who I thought I would marry) talked me in to getting a cat…and then another. I got “stuck” with them…but had fallen completely in love with them and would not have dreamed of giving them up.

This is Milly
Milly.PNG
 

tarasgirl06

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Greetings kitty lovers and caretakers,

This is my first post and I’m happy to have found this site. I’ve already read through a bunch of threads and have found the advice and stories intriguing, insightful and often emotional-- both good and some not so good. In particular, the stories of rescuing community cats/ferals and giving them warm safe homes and socializing them are of particular interest to me at this time. I’m in a situation which could be life altering (both me and kitty/kitties) and I’m agonizing over the decision I need to make but one that needs to be made soon.

I have been feeding a group of community cats for a little over a year now. Included are a couple of sibling kitties. Their mom started bringing when they were only probably around 3 weeks old. Now they are around 8 months old. They are completely feral/wild. I have never been able to get closer than 20 or 30 feet away from any of them as they will bolt at any sign of me…or really of any movement in general (lol but actually sigh). I never really tried either since I always figured it was best to just let them come to eat when they felt it was safe. I have had plans to try to TNR going back to November before the weather got brutal but covid hit me and I was sick for over a month…then with the holidays and other things, it just wasn’t possible. Meanwhile, the weather got really bad. Lots of snow, freezing cold temps, lots of wind bringing windchill down close to 0 degrees. Even during this miserable weather, the kitties seemed to barely notice that I had set up my 10 x 10 shed in my backyard with multiple insulated storage bin shelters, some with lots of straw and some even with those K&H heated kitty beds. I had to assume they must just have other options they were somehow more comfortable with…even though I couldn’t imagine they would actually be more comfortable.

All of a sudden, I have a new and overarching issue. You see, while I had known for some time that the fields behind my home were potentially going to be developed, I hoped nothing would happen for a while, maybe a year or more. However, the weather started improving (sunny days with highs in the upper 30s and lows in the lower 20s) and the snow started to melt. While this brought me some relief that the kitties would be able to enjoy better weather conditions out there, it quickly led to a new source of dread and near panic (I experience a lot of anxiety for the well-being of these kitties…which I’m learning is a burden shared by many kitty caretakers).

This week, I began seeing heavy equipment moving in to the north and as a wave of panic came over me, I found that sure enough, they started clearing and leveling the ground on the north side of my neighborhood. This is the area where all along I suspected the kitties had been sheltering as that’s the direction from whence they would come and go for the most part and there were more natural hiding places along with some building materials and other “structures” that seemed to be the most likely spots that could be used as a sort of home base for cats. The last couple of days those makeshift “shelters” have been cleared out and the ground bulldozed, with trucks and heavy equipment going in and out all day. Thus, I believe I was correct and now the kitties have been displaced. Now I’m seeing a few of them wandering around more in the fields to the west and more like within a couple hundred yards from my house. The fields used to be pretty thick with tall weeds and natural hiding places, but the heavy snow flattened all the weeds to the point where there are not many places for a kitty to go and really feel unexposed from predators as well as the elements, not to mention the activities of us scary humans. As I’m typing this, hearing the heavy equipment to my north, I can see one of the sweetest, most precious of the group from my bedroom window trying to find a place to feel safe out in some weed patches just to the west of my home. She is alone and to my mind, seems unsure of what to do or where to go.

Meanwhile, last night, an unprecedented 3 of the other kitties used the shelters in my shed, at least for a little while. While I am glad to see that, it also seems to confirm that they are now seeking out different options for shelter especially at night. The one sweet kitty I mentioned is not one I’ve ever seen use a shelter and has not so much as poked her head in the shed for a long time as far as I’m aware. I have motion sensing cameras out there to try to monitor. I believe she is scared of some of the other kitties, especially one that is a male and has probably marked around and maybe in the shed. I believe she may have been attacked some time ago probably by an aggressive male and it left her with a severe looking eye injury. I watched and prayed over the course of a week or so to see if she would recover. Eventually her eye seemed to heal. It was a miracle. In fact, it was then that I gave her the name Mila (from Milagro which is Spanish for Miracle). Anyway, recently I’ve seen 4 of the other kitties interacting and having contact to some degree so at least maybe they have formed a group and can work together. That includes Mila (aka Milly)’s sibling, her mom, and two other cats…one of which I know is a male. Milly, however, will not associate with anyone besides her sibling (who I named Lipton aka Lippy because of a thin white line above his upper lip). If Lippy starts running more in this group then I fear Milly will be completely on her own.

I would have never considered it prior to this, but now that it seems their whole existence out in the fields is threatened, I’m thinking more drastic action may be necessary…so I started considering the idea of trying to bring one or more into my garage or even inside the house. Trying to find out if that’s even possible is what led me to this site. Initially I felt like I should try to bring in the two siblings. But Lippy seems to have integrated into this small group of 4 while Milly has not. So I wonder if I should just focus on Milly. I know I need to TNR all of them, and soon! (easier said than done of course) but if/when I do trap Milly and have her fixed/vaccinated, I am seriously wondering if I should bring her inside rather than release her back to the rapidly shrinking/vanishing fields. I can provide for her every physical need. Mental and emotional needs may be another story as I know it would be a grueling process to try to socialize her and I worry intensely that it may be the wrong decision for her. Milly is spooked by everything including her own shadow. I fear it would be a nightmare for her to be confined inside a relatively small space with a human. Reading about others who have tried and end up with months and months of kitty constantly being terrified and hiding at all costs, lashing out in panic, etc. has me in a huge emotional dilemma….especially considering I just don’t really know if I even have what it takes to succeed in those circumstances.

However, as I hear the loud scary noises of the heavy equipment just up the street, I think I need to do something knowing that soon all their fields will be swimming with bulldozers, dump trucks, earth movers and people who will surely not give a hoot about ruining these kitties’ safe haven and home. Perhaps the kitties can roam and find new habitat elsewhere, I’m not sure. As I consider where they might be able to go, no other location in the immediate area that won’t be impacted by construction seems to readily present itself as a good option as far as I can tell (but then again, I'm not a cat!). I know I simply can’t take in all of these cats. I think for the most part I will have to try to TNR as many as I can, continue to put food out and just hope they can adapt.

So, back to the thought of taking in Lippy and Milly….or just Milly since, by my estimation, she seems to be the one that is going to have the most difficult time and is the most vulnerable. That certainly was driven home in my mind last night when, as I watched Lippy go in another shelter I have under my porch by their feeding area. Meanwhile Milly waited and paced around the porch clearly not knowing what to do, eventually trying to join Lippy inside…but to my dismay, Lippy swatted at her and would not let her enter. This was repeated 3 times. Finally another kitty came into the yard and Milly bolted to parts unknown.

If I take in Milly or Lippy and Milly, I fear my indoor cat would not be fond of this new situation in the least. He is now a senior cat (13+ years old) and has been without another cat in the house for about 3 years. As he ages and health issues become inevitable, I worry a ton about adding a bunch of stress to his life. However, other than Puffy, I live alone in a 4 bedroom, 3 bath home so I could easily spare a room or whatever space is recommended for a feral kitty to first acclimate to being brought indoors. Would it be better or worse to try bringing both Milly and Lippy in together? They are currently about 8 months old. They do have a bond which I would hate to break…but as evidenced last night, I’m not sure Lippy is super invested in Milly’s well-being overall. That’s certainly only speculation on this human’s part…not understanding in the slightest all the mysterious and obscure relationships and behaviors of the kitty-kind. Any/all thoughts and advice would be extremely welcome. I would basically be alone in this endeavor with the only support probably coming from you kind and benevolent kitty lovers. I’ve always liked cats but I’m probably not what you might consider a traditional cat person. I only ended up with kitties when a girlfriend who was a cat person (and who I thought I would marry) talked me in to getting a cat…and then another. I got “stuck” with them…but had fallen completely in love with them and would not have dreamed of giving them up.

This is Milly
View attachment 407733
Hello C ChirpySquirrel and Milly and Lipton and colony, and welcome to TCS! Firstly, if you own your home, you are at a distinct advantage and so are these cats. THANK YOU for everything you are doing for them and for coming here to TCS to try to get answers! You will find a lot of information and input about feral and outdoor cats here; just click on the site name and scroll down to find lots and lots of info you can use. The backyard structure is an EXCELLENT idea and again, many thanks for this!
TNR would be a must, and in the information here, you'll find a lot of info and suggestions on how to do that. If you are able to afford spay/neuter and basic checkups and innoculations for them, so much the better as those are the most important first steps.
Because Milly (and Lippy) are not part of the larger clowder, Milly is very timid, and she and Lippy are bonded, I would try very hard to bring them indoors into their own room with all of their needs (litterbox, food and water, some scratchers, cat furniture such as cat tree(s) and sleeping place(s), toys, window(s) to look out) until they can be tested and spayed/neutered/innoculated. Milly is adorable!
Time, patience, determination, and unconditional love are what is needed now. Cats have hierarchies and the swatting may be due to that and/or to stress because of their risky lives outdoors. I would not worry unduly over the swatting as long as Milly is not actually being hurt. Any multicat group will work out members' individual order in the group.
Please keep us informed as to your, and their, progress!
You can also access cat behaviorist Jackson Galaxy "The Cat Daddy" in his series, "MY CAT FROM HELL" on Animal Planet, his YouTube videos, and his several books, some co-written by Kate Benjamin, owner of hauspanther.com which is an essential site for many things "cat."
 

fionasmom

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Welcome to The Cat Site! Thank you for helping these kitties. As I understand this, you are considering taking in two kittens? Given that you have the room to spare, which is a huge bonus, I would proceed with that plan. The thing with ferals is that you don't know what they will become or not until you start to interact with them. Yes, it could range from shy, scared more feral than not cat to a cat who is happy to give you a chance and who will acclimate to living with you. If you have a safe room, you will work with that location for quite a while, so there will be no interaction with your older cat for a long time to come.

I have normally had to react to situations involving ferals or strays and have often brought one in as an emergency, placed them in a room, and gone on from there. My avatar and her sister were born under a neighbor's house; Lily did express some interest in me and the back kitchen door, but her sister remained distant. One very rainy morning I coaxed Lily inside, grabbed the sister and tossed her in as well, and slammed the door. Both are now complete lap cats. The remaining sister however is a true feral who is TNRed but lived outside. She hisses at me and swats even as I put down her nice meals and fix her heated outdoor bed. So you don't know what you don't know, as they say.

I would try to bring them both in together as closely as you can. Even if they are not super bonded, they will feel better together.

You can get a lot of help here as this progresses, so don't feel alone.
 
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ChirpySquirrel

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Thank you so much for the quick replies, info, advice and encouragement. For that matter, thank you for taking the time to read my super long post! There may be more to come! The thing that I find the most challenging right now as I try to think through the whole situation is assessing how bad their circumstance truly is. Honestly, I find myself feeling like reality could range anywhere from "oh man, they are in a dire a predicament and need to be rescued immediately" to "nah, they are they perfectly fine and able to adapt to pretty much whatever comes their way, including the development/construction that has begun in their fields". Certainly, the fields won't go away over night...I don't have any guess as to how long it will take for all 20ish acres of fields to disappear. I don't know if they'll clear/level the land in phases or all at once. Could be a few weeks, a month or two, a year...who knows.

I do own my house (well, other than the mortgage) and have plenty of room to provide a safe space. If the consensus is that I should try to bring both Milly and Lippy inside together, I think I would like to do that. As long as it won't make it that much harder to socialize them. One article I read suggested that isolation is best but I'm not sure...I wondered if they would be happier together too. This is all with the assumption that I am even able to trap them. Again, they are super feral, extremely frightened by humans and basically will not tolerate any human being even in the same zip code. That makes the prospect of bringing them inside all the more daunting. They don't come when I bring food. They wait until long after the coast is as clear as can be and then they sneak in from the fields or around the side of my house. For the most part, they gobble down their food as fast as they can and then they are off into the night. I mean, one time I went to take food out and surprised Milly and Lippy's mom who had come a little earlier than usual and was by my back porch when I came around the corner. I felt that it was improvement that she only ran at maybe half speed on this occasion rather than a full sprint and even stopped for a split second when she got to the edge of my yard to look back at me. That is about the extent of the interaction I've been able to have with any of them unfortunately. I'm wondering what the chances are of having some form of reasonable existence for them in my house. I would have to trap them to bring them inside, so I was thinking I'd take them to be spayed/neutered (I actually don't know if they are male or female) first and then release them into their safe room in the house. But maybe that is all too much stress for them? Would I want to trap them and bring them in to introduce them to their room first and then later try to get them back in at trap to be spayed/neutered in a few weeks or something like that?
 

Jcatbird

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The stress of anything you are considering doing is far, far less than trying to survive as a feral and a feral in a shrinking habitat. My answer is that if you desire to save them, yes. Simple answer to a complicated issue is Yes!!I was faced with a dimilar dilemma. A colony at high risk. It was do or die for them. I wondered if I could save one, much less the growing numbers. TNR was my first goal but I could not release to the danders at hand. I just took it cat by cat I started with the first one I could get. Some days it seemed an unreachable goal to get them all spayed and neutered but I knew that even one done reduced future generations of fear and struggles. So, started with one. I would hear things and worry too. Two cats inside and socializing started. I had cats already! They adjusted to the new arrivals. In fact, they grew to love them snd my elderly female adopted the young. We can think about this and over think it but action is better. I think you may be surprised at what you can do if motivated. I surprised myself. Lol Over time I managed to get every colony member spayed, neutered, vetted and most socialized well enough to be adopted! The rest remain with me as part of the family here. They are socialized too. They are my heart now. I can tell you that it is well worth the work and the rewards are huge. The love we get from these cats knows no bounds. To everyone I know who recognizes the things you recognize, if you are a kitty guardian, you are a kitty hero. I hope you will try. Many here will offer support as you go. Even the oldest of ferals here adjusted and the one make that was the last cat in, became the greatest lover of my life. He slept in my shoulder every night of his life inside. How is that for a wild feral? Please keep us posted.
welcome to the sight too! I look forward to hearing more.:welcomesign:
 

tarasgirl06

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C ChirpySquirrel I've lived with cats literally since (my!) conception, and I believe that cats, who are very intelligent, sensitive, and intuitive beings, not only desire safety for themselves and their families, but they also sense, many times, that a human either is or is not trustworthy. These cats are well aware of the changes occurring in their habitat and I think the mother cat is trying to find safety for her loved ones, just as we would in the same situation. My ex adopted a construction site cat and he was very glad to be safe, regularly fed, and loved by us. He wasn't feral, but he had been living outside for an unknown length of time when my ex started seeing him on the site.
Spay/neuter and baseline innoculations, as well as testing for infectious maladies, should be top priority and I would do it first thing. If they are as scared as you say, you don't want to risk not being able to trap them for their vetting. Get them in right away, if at all possible (and I know the logistics can be challenging during this pandemic). That way they'll have it all behind them and be able to de-stress and relax in their safe haven, with regular feeding and comfort. Your being a homeowner is very fortunate for them!
Jcatbird is one of our resident experts here at TCS--when it comes to rescue/adoption, she is an authority! so you can be confident of anything she says in relation to your own situation.
 

fionasmom

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I would try to get them fixed after they are trapped, then bring them inside, if that is possible. If they know each other, I would put them together.

A construction site is a situation that can always become dicey. You may not be allowed onto the site once they begin work and there could be fencing, all of which complicates everything. If you have to try to deal with this after the fact, it could be a huge issue.
 
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ChirpySquirrel

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Jcatbird Jcatbird - WOW! That doesn't even begin to describe how amazed I am at your dedication and love for all the kitties that have come to you and been under your care. I've only had time to read a little bit of your thread but even at that, I'm unable to comprehend your level of strength and resolve to help so many kitties. Nor can I even begin to imagine the millions of hours spent and logistics of what you have been able to accomplish....not to mention how much time you clearly spend helping others here! I'm truly blown way.

I've read and reread your post here along with those of fionasmom and taragirl06. You are all amazing to be sure...thanks again for your comments. I have to admit, I'm still struggling with the decision and I'm just not sure if I'm capable of bringing Milly and Lippy inside. I really do want to. Truthfully there are others I'd like to bring in too but I'm no Jcatbird and I am having such anxiety at the prospect of just 2 that I can't really imagine trying with any more. What if they have health issues or get really sick once I bring them in? What if they don't get along in confinement? What if they won't adapt? What if they never accept me? And a million other questions and potential issues that I could be facing and would likely really struggle to deal with. All the articles I read suggest that this sort of thing should not be taken on unless you are highly experienced. Here I am with no experience.

I've done my best to provide sustenance and shelter for the kitties here but I feel like that's only been somewhat successful when it comes to sheltering (certainly you can't force a kitty to use the shelter but I still wonder if there is something I could have done or should be doing to improve the chances). Most of all, I should have started the TNR process long ago. I get stuck in the planning stage and never seem to come up with a solution for all the possible issues that could come up. If you haven't picked up on it, I'm the sort of person that has a hard time taking something on until I'm confident I've got everything figured out and know it will turn out the way I would like. Jcatbird Jcatbird , I do like what you said about taking action as opposed to over thinking it. I'm just trying to get there.

So here I am still struggling with the logistics of TNR'ing all the kitties. I guess I need to just get going/try something/anything. I feel like I’m experiencing the ever increasing number of kitties Jcatbird mentioned above with a new kitty customer this week and old customers returning. To top it off, tonight as I was watching Milly (on camera) happily dine, all of a sudden trouble in paradise…I heard yowling and cat fight noises close by out in the dark. Milly bolted. I had seen 3 black kitties out in the field earlier when it was still light out. Not regulars but I have seen them before. I may have a rivalry brewing…argh! That stresses me out even more. I've certainly had some run ins before but usually, most of them are fairly civil about getting their food and scampering off- basically taking turns to avoid each other for the most part. Sometimes a few of them will eat together. That’s actually become a little more common recently but only certain ones. Whatever the case, the fighting is yet another sign I need to get busy with TNR. Not gonna lie, it feels overwhelming. I’m sure I’m not the first to ever feel that way. The things is, I’m not sure how to this will work when temperatures are almost always below freezing when the cats come to eat which is almost after dark. I have serious doubts that they’ll go into a cage for yummy wet food let alone dry food. I have to keep their wet food in warming bowls or it will freeze. I typically leave some food out in the morning as well but it’s rare for a kitty to come by in the daylight when it’s a little less likely to freeze. I’m really concerned about withholding food. Based on their behaviors, most will not easily be lured into a trap if at all. Maybe one or two will go in without too much trepidation and I can get them taken care of but I certainly don’t want to basically have to starve the whole group to get certain ones to the point that they will be desperate enough to enter a trap. That is the most upsetting thought to me. Then there’s the ones that don’t come regularly and some that I see very rarely. How does this normally play out? For the most part they do not follow any patterns I can rely on. Ok, so much for trying not to overthink things :cringe:
 

Jcatbird

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It is daunting but I must inform you that I am not any kind of trained expert. Just a person, like you, who cared. The experience came from doing! The cats themselves and the people here as well as others I met along the way taught me. I am not a young person and have vision and health issues. I had many of the thoughts you just expressed. How could I possibly help that colony? You are not alone in any of what you expressed. I really appreciate your kind words but please know that many others, including those who responded to you here, have done many things that required dedication to help kitties. I could tell you many stories of people on this site who started out just caring. It starts very simply with one cat. Any cat. To that one life, you have changed the world.

Trapping is not how I got most of these cats. So many were here. Approximately 120. Feeding is the first path to establishing trust with them. You will notice some, like Milly who are more in need of a human bond. I started just by sitting on the ground nearby while they are. Letting them see that I was not a predator, threat and would not pursue. Cats are curious. They will be observing you. This is how you start. Trapping is great and a drop trap means you can target a specific cat as needed. You can put food out and not starve the others but you may have to repeatedly bait the trap. Lol Patience. Time and patience. When I did use a trap, I made sure I was the one triggering the door. There are sooo many little tricks you can use to get Milly and others without disturbing the colony but first, establish trust. Anyone who cares can do this. I am not special. I started with no experience and no idea how I would accomplish anything. I just cared. You care and I feel strongly that you are going to save a life and maybe much more. This site is filled with wonderful, caring and experienced people who will be here to help and offer anything they have learned along their own paths. You are in the right place for support! As for TNR, I started with the females so no more kittens would be added. It took time but I did manage to stop the breeding which also stopped the fighting. When hormones are not raging, males are not competing for mating rights. It slowly begins to make a gigantic difference! If you ever get through the thread to the day I get the last colony cat, you will see the relief I felt. The efforts are not always easy but the rewards are huge! I would not change a moment of any of it and I think any person who rescued a cat would agree. If you do decide to do this, you will truly be amazed at the things you learn about the bonds and lives of those cats. I certainly was.:cloud9::rock:
 

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You are in excellent hands with the folks who have responded to date! I received LOTS of great ideas and advice from this site several years ago when I was making some decisions about bringing outside cats into my house. I also reached out to local cat rescue organizations for additional support. These groups are usually all volunteer and super-busy, but I did connect with a few people who shared experiences and provided moral support.

Do you have any rescue groups nearby that can loan traps, give advice, offer spay/neuter services? Alley Cat Allies has great information on their website, along with a way to look for local help: Get Help Can you contact your vet so they will be on board and might even know of others who could help you? I even found sharing my progress with cat-loving friends kept things in perspective and gave me incentive to carry on.

I think you will find this easier once you make a plan and get started. Worrying is too hard!
 

tarasgirl06

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Jcatbird Jcatbird - WOW! That doesn't even begin to describe how amazed I am at your dedication and love for all the kitties that have come to you and been under your care. I've only had time to read a little bit of your thread but even at that, I'm unable to comprehend your level of strength and resolve to help so many kitties. Nor can I even begin to imagine the millions of hours spent and logistics of what you have been able to accomplish....not to mention how much time you clearly spend helping others here! I'm truly blown way.

I've read and reread your post here along with those of fionasmom and taragirl06. You are all amazing to be sure...thanks again for your comments. I have to admit, I'm still struggling with the decision and I'm just not sure if I'm capable of bringing Milly and Lippy inside. I really do want to. Truthfully there are others I'd like to bring in too but I'm no Jcatbird and I am having such anxiety at the prospect of just 2 that I can't really imagine trying with any more. What if they have health issues or get really sick once I bring them in? What if they don't get along in confinement? What if they won't adapt? What if they never accept me? And a million other questions and potential issues that I could be facing and would likely really struggle to deal with. All the articles I read suggest that this sort of thing should not be taken on unless you are highly experienced. Here I am with no experience.

I've done my best to provide sustenance and shelter for the kitties here but I feel like that's only been somewhat successful when it comes to sheltering (certainly you can't force a kitty to use the shelter but I still wonder if there is something I could have done or should be doing to improve the chances). Most of all, I should have started the TNR process long ago. I get stuck in the planning stage and never seem to come up with a solution for all the possible issues that could come up. If you haven't picked up on it, I'm the sort of person that has a hard time taking something on until I'm confident I've got everything figured out and know it will turn out the way I would like. Jcatbird Jcatbird , I do like what you said about taking action as opposed to over thinking it. I'm just trying to get there.

So here I am still struggling with the logistics of TNR'ing all the kitties. I guess I need to just get going/try something/anything. I feel like I’m experiencing the ever increasing number of kitties Jcatbird mentioned above with a new kitty customer this week and old customers returning. To top it off, tonight as I was watching Milly (on camera) happily dine, all of a sudden trouble in paradise…I heard yowling and cat fight noises close by out in the dark. Milly bolted. I had seen 3 black kitties out in the field earlier when it was still light out. Not regulars but I have seen them before. I may have a rivalry brewing…argh! That stresses me out even more. I've certainly had some run ins before but usually, most of them are fairly civil about getting their food and scampering off- basically taking turns to avoid each other for the most part. Sometimes a few of them will eat together. That’s actually become a little more common recently but only certain ones. Whatever the case, the fighting is yet another sign I need to get busy with TNR. Not gonna lie, it feels overwhelming. I’m sure I’m not the first to ever feel that way. The things is, I’m not sure how to this will work when temperatures are almost always below freezing when the cats come to eat which is almost after dark. I have serious doubts that they’ll go into a cage for yummy wet food let alone dry food. I have to keep their wet food in warming bowls or it will freeze. I typically leave some food out in the morning as well but it’s rare for a kitty to come by in the daylight when it’s a little less likely to freeze. I’m really concerned about withholding food. Based on their behaviors, most will not easily be lured into a trap if at all. Maybe one or two will go in without too much trepidation and I can get them taken care of but I certainly don’t want to basically have to starve the whole group to get certain ones to the point that they will be desperate enough to enter a trap. That is the most upsetting thought to me. Then there’s the ones that don’t come regularly and some that I see very rarely. How does this normally play out? For the most part they do not follow any patterns I can rely on. Ok, so much for trying not to overthink things :cringe:
Avery and Jcatbird have excellent thoughts and suggestions. Don't overthink if you can help it. EVERY journey, great or small, starts with one step. And you may or may not be able to do everything you want to do. But you'll never get any of it done unless you start. The beginning of any journey or task is always the hardest and most daunting. The cliche about a body at rest staying at rest and a body in motion staying in motion is absolutely true. Once you start, it gets easier and you get more determination for this time and the next time. Earning the trust of the community cats in our neighborhood two locations ago took time, patience, and love. Those are the three requirements. In time, we were even able to earn the trust of the matriarch and a completely feral kitten well enough to get them vetted! Cats are mammals, like we are, and mammals are hardwired to be social and affectionate with those they can trust. Don't forget -- to a little cat, we are big, lumbering, loud, clumsy giants who know little about how to behave. Cats can't be sure whether you are friend or foe unless and until you earn their trust. You're doing a good job of that. Fighting will lessen, or even cease, once females are spayed, and males are neutered. Just like with humans, hormones influence behavior.
If you have love for Milly and Lippy -- and you do -- I believe you can bring them in and share life with them. Keep up the great work and never give up! We are all here to support and encourage you in this labor of love.
 
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ChirpySquirrel

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Thank you for your words, encouragement and support. I am very grateful for any/all support I can get. It's invaluable to me right now and helps me settle down a bit. I truly am in need of support for my particular situation and these particular cats and it would be a huge help to have someone local that could actually get involved in my situation, walk me through specific things, show me the ropes and mentor me, etc. I have been in contact with Best Friends, the county animal shelter, and a few vet offices which will take community cats for spay/neuter. The vets around here all seem to have very limited availability which increases the complexity of the job at hand. I also even contacted a somewhat local couple who maintain a large colony. So far, Best Friends has been great for getting general info but overall my results have been a little disappointing and discouraging. I can understand it though...shelters and organizations are short staffed and overrun, everyone is super busy with their own things and can't really spare time or resources for the most part. The couple I mentioned can lend me some traps and have given me some basic thoughts but almost seem reluctant and I get the impression they have their hands full already. This sort of thing seems to be a full time job. I already have one of those...so my time is also limited. I appreciate the alleycat link for getting local help. I will try that and see if it leads anywhere.

Building trust sounds like a wonderful thing. In my case, I may be able to have some patience but time may be another matter. Either way I just don't feel much optimism there. You all certainly have the experience and would know way better than me, but based on my observations so far, I'm just not seeing it. I don’t think it will be possible for me to ever get anywhere near any of them if they have anything to say about it. They will not come on to my property or even let themselves be seen if I’m anywhere outside. They are not curious about humans, they are terrified of them. It doesn’t matter if there is food out or not. They would just as soon starve if I’m anywhere in sight even if there are truckloads of their favorite food waiting for them. Not once has a cat ever approached for food no matter how long I'm out there. They clearly feel better under the cover of darkness- I've never sat out there after dark but I don't believe that would make any difference (they would still know I'm there). It's just too cold for that right now anyway. They appear to feel threatened by every moving thing other than the few other kitties they are familiar with. Even then, they proceed with extreme caution for the most part. They stay hidden out of site most of the time. They are smart to do all of this because of the many threats they face.

The only way I can observe them is by security camera when they come on to my property or sometimes I see them hunting or roaming in the fields from my upstairs bedroom window. They come to get food after dark when all is quiet in the neighborhood. Their feeding station is underneath my back porch which is where I think I'd have to put the traps. I think I'll just have to start with that but I worry I won't get far. I'm being too negative here but even a drop trap probably wouldn’t work because as I understand, I would have to be out there to be able to pull the string. I can't imagine that would be possible. If they are eating and I make so much as a tiny noise (like opening the back door) or they sense any slight movement approach within 30 feet or even 50 feet , they will flee as fast as they can run. And as you know, they run very fast.

Most stories I’ve read and videos I've watched seem to depict cats that are much more tolerant to the presence of humans and less threatened by everything that moves. They are willing to be out in the open even during the day, and don't have a problem being around other cats. I don't know if my situation is unique or maybe I'm just not looking at the right videos or reading the right stories.

My apologies--I'm afraid overthinking is my thing and while I agree that worrying is hard, right now all I'm seeing are major obstacles/challenges. I hope it will get easier once I get the hang of things a little better. I will try to be more positive. You are all helping with that for sure. As many of you have had to do, I'm sure I'll learn as I go. I think the plan is to start with a baited trap in their feeding area but I'm not sure if I should leave it open for a couple of days for them to get used to it first, or if I should bait it right away and see if I can get lucky. I guess that will be question #1 of a million.

Oh, let me get question #2 out there as well. If I am able to trap Milly or Lippy and decide to bring them in, should I put them in a cage first or just let them have a full bedroom? I've read that for the very unsocialized kitties, a cage first is better. I would need to buy one if that's the best way to go.
 

tarasgirl06

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Thank you for your words, encouragement and support. I am very grateful for any/all support I can get. It's invaluable to me right now and helps me settle down a bit. I truly am in need of support for my particular situation and these particular cats and it would be a huge help to have someone local that could actually get involved in my situation, walk me through specific things, show me the ropes and mentor me, etc. I have been in contact with Best Friends, the county animal shelter, and a few vet offices which will take community cats for spay/neuter. The vets around here all seem to have very limited availability which increases the complexity of the job at hand. I also even contacted a somewhat local couple who maintain a large colony. So far, Best Friends has been great for getting general info but overall my results have been a little disappointing and discouraging. I can understand it though...shelters and organizations are short staffed and overrun, everyone is super busy with their own things and can't really spare time or resources for the most part. The couple I mentioned can lend me some traps and have given me some basic thoughts but almost seem reluctant and I get the impression they have their hands full already. This sort of thing seems to be a full time job. I already have one of those...so my time is also limited. I appreciate the alleycat link for getting local help. I will try that and see if it leads anywhere.

Building trust sounds like a wonderful thing. In my case, I may be able to have some patience but time may be another matter. Either way I just don't feel much optimism there. You all certainly have the experience and would know way better than me, but based on my observations so far, I'm just not seeing it. I don’t think it will be possible for me to ever get anywhere near any of them if they have anything to say about it. They will not come on to my property or even let themselves be seen if I’m anywhere outside. They are not curious about humans, they are terrified of them. It doesn’t matter if there is food out or not. They would just as soon starve if I’m anywhere in sight even if there are truckloads of their favorite food waiting for them. Not once has a cat ever approached for food no matter how long I'm out there. They clearly feel better under the cover of darkness- I've never sat out there after dark but I don't believe that would make any difference (they would still know I'm there). It's just too cold for that right now anyway. They appear to feel threatened by every moving thing other than the few other kitties they are familiar with. Even then, they proceed with extreme caution for the most part. They stay hidden out of site most of the time. They are smart to do all of this because of the many threats they face.

The only way I can observe them is by security camera when they come on to my property or sometimes I see them hunting or roaming in the fields from my upstairs bedroom window. They come to get food after dark when all is quiet in the neighborhood. Their feeding station is underneath my back porch which is where I think I'd have to put the traps. I think I'll just have to start with that but I worry I won't get far. I'm being too negative here but even a drop trap probably wouldn’t work because as I understand, I would have to be out there to be able to pull the string. I can't imagine that would be possible. If they are eating and I make so much as a tiny noise (like opening the back door) or they sense any slight movement approach within 30 feet or even 50 feet , they will flee as fast as they can run. And as you know, they run very fast.

Most stories I’ve read and videos I've watched seem to depict cats that are much more tolerant to the presence of humans and less threatened by everything that moves. They are willing to be out in the open even during the day, and don't have a problem being around other cats. I don't know if my situation is unique or maybe I'm just not looking at the right videos or reading the right stories.

My apologies--I'm afraid overthinking is my thing and while I agree that worrying is hard, right now all I'm seeing are major obstacles/challenges. I hope it will get easier once I get the hang of things a little better. I will try to be more positive. You are all helping with that for sure. As many of you have had to do, I'm sure I'll learn as I go. I think the plan is to start with a baited trap in their feeding area but I'm not sure if I should leave it open for a couple of days for them to get used to it first, or if I should bait it right away and see if I can get lucky. I guess that will be question #1 of a million.

Oh, let me get question #2 out there as well. If I am able to trap Milly or Lippy and decide to bring them in, should I put them in a cage first or just let them have a full bedroom? I've read that for the very unsocialized kitties, a cage first is better. I would need to buy one if that's the best way to go.
For Milly and Lippy, you'll have to go with your instincts. I have always brought new cats into room-sized enclosures that are cat-proofed the way you would proof a room for a small toddler. But if you feel more comfortable with a crate, you can try that.
My ex and I used to visit a location where there was TNRing and colony caretaking going on. It was a high traffic area kind of similar to what yours may be in some aspects. People who didn't know would never have thought cats lived there, as they stayed strictly out of sight until the colony caregiver came on scene. Some or all of them would wait until the caregiver had dispensed the food to come out. But all got TNRd and every one was charted by the caregivers. They recorded all medical appointments and any other pertinent information. The cats were very wary of humans, but they were well cared for and according to the caregiver we established a relationship with, they were living to good ages. They were cared for and about, by the caregivers.
With our community cats, it actually took a couple of years for the matriarch to trust us enough to let us touch her. But she knew that she and her family would be fed and that they were safe in our yard. There were a couple of other families we knew about who fed, but never intervened to TNR. We took care of all of that. It was extremely rewarding. When we moved, we took every one of them except for one little man who slipped the trap. They moved into our barn compound where they had good food, fresh water, toilet facilities, toys, cat furniture and platforms, warm beds, and climate control. They had varying levels of desire to interact with us, but every one knew (s)he was safe with us.
 
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ChirpySquirrel

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I'm not sure I have any instincts when it comes to this. I even feel inadequate just trying to understand and take care of my indoor cat's needs, especially now that he's getting older. Again, I can't imagine the time and effort many of you have invested. When I have some more time (or should I say "if"), I want to read all your posts and threads. Haha, as I write that I see that would be almost 20,000 posts and that's if I only read yours tarasgirl06 tarasgirl06 ! I really wish there was an organization or group with the know how and resources to come in and get me oriented and help with best practices, problem solving, etc. Maybe I can find just one person that can come and help me assess things. Unfortunately, I don't even have family close by to enlist. Even then, my sister and my friends (at least the few I've mentioned the cat situation to) think I'm crazy and end up just poking fun at me. They aren't doing it to be mean-spirited or anything, but it does make you feel bad and/or like some kind of weirdo. They certainly don't understand the things I see and feel. Honestly, I don't even know why I feel the way I feel. If I'm being painfully honest, I feel like my motivation is not as much for the love of the kitties and having them around in my life as it is from stress and anxiety it causes me thinking about their plight and how difficult their lives seem to me. I am seeing that this is more a permanent way of life rather than just something I can do for a little while. This is what gets me the most- I don't think I am cut out to support a colony long term for a variety of reasons. The past few months I've been trying to figure out where my freeway exit is. I have yet to figure it out. There may not be one. My stomach is always in knots about it. I certainly don't feel I can abandon the kitties I've been feeding. But I also don't know how I can be tied down with this responsibility full time for 10, 15, 20 years to come. Probably typical, but it never occurred to me for one second to think about these things when I first started feeding the 2 poor hungry little guys that began this whole saga. The fact of the matter is, I have never had plans to be in this home all that long...that's what literally keeps me up at night. How could I possibly move away knowing I'd be leaving all these little guys to fend for themselves after all this time of getting fed and knowing that no matter how bad things were otherwise, they could always count on a meal? tarasgirl06 tarasgirl06 - it astounded me that you were able to bring all your cats with you when you moved. Many things would have to line up for that to even be possible including the new property being suitable. I'm glad you were able to provide such a wonderful environment for them. It gives me a tiny sliver of hope or at least something to consider. Another fact, as long as I'm spilling my guts here, is that I told myself I would never take on another cat after my first one (who was my kitty soulmate) crossed over the rainbow bridge. It was too painful. That is a whole other story.

If anyone is still reading, I'll just say that at this point I am probably putting this stuff in writing as a cathartic activity for me as much as I am seeking to get advice and feedback. That said, advice and feedback is even better especially since I know most of you have probably "been there done that".

Well, back to the pressing matter at hand. I actually just received my spay/neuter vouchers from Best Friends in my email about an hour ago. Unfortunately, the copay is apparently $50 now. Oh well, I'll gladly spend that money if it means I've successfully TNR'd all these kitties. Time to get to work, make the necessary preparations, and give it a try.
 

tarasgirl06

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I'm not sure I have any instincts when it comes to this. I even feel inadequate just trying to understand and take care of my indoor cat's needs, especially now that he's getting older. Again, I can't imagine the time and effort many of you have invested. When I have some more time (or should I say "if"), I want to read all your posts and threads. Haha, as I write that I see that would be almost 20,000 posts and that's if I only read yours tarasgirl06 tarasgirl06 ! I really wish there was an organization or group with the know how and resources to come in and get me oriented and help with best practices, problem solving, etc. Maybe I can find just one person that can come and help me assess things. Unfortunately, I don't even have family close by to enlist. Even then, my sister and my friends (at least the few I've mentioned the cat situation to) think I'm crazy and end up just poking fun at me. They aren't doing it to be mean-spirited or anything, but it does make you feel bad and/or like some kind of weirdo. They certainly don't understand the things I see and feel. Honestly, I don't even know why I feel the way I feel. If I'm being painfully honest, I feel like my motivation is not as much for the love of the kitties and having them around in my life as it is from stress and anxiety it causes me thinking about their plight and how difficult their lives seem to me. I am seeing that this is more a permanent way of life rather than just something I can do for a little while. This is what gets me the most- I don't think I am cut out to support a colony long term for a variety of reasons. The past few months I've been trying to figure out where my freeway exit is. I have yet to figure it out. There may not be one. My stomach is always in knots about it. I certainly don't feel I can abandon the kitties I've been feeding. But I also don't know how I can be tied down with this responsibility full time for 10, 15, 20 years to come. Probably typical, but it never occurred to me for one second to think about these things when I first started feeding the 2 poor hungry little guys that began this whole saga. The fact of the matter is, I have never had plans to be in this home all that long...that's what literally keeps me up at night. How could I possibly move away knowing I'd be leaving all these little guys to fend for themselves after all this time of getting fed and knowing that no matter how bad things were otherwise, they could always count on a meal? tarasgirl06 tarasgirl06 - it astounded me that you were able to bring all your cats with you when you moved. Many things would have to line up for that to even be possible including the new property being suitable. I'm glad you were able to provide such a wonderful environment for them. It gives me a tiny sliver of hope or at least something to consider. Another fact, as long as I'm spilling my guts here, is that I told myself I would never take on another cat after my first one (who was my kitty soulmate) crossed over the rainbow bridge. It was too painful. That is a whole other story.

If anyone is still reading, I'll just say that at this point I am probably putting this stuff in writing as a cathartic activity for me as much as I am seeking to get advice and feedback. That said, advice and feedback is even better especially since I know most of you have probably "been there done that".

Well, back to the pressing matter at hand. I actually just received my spay/neuter vouchers from Best Friends in my email about an hour ago. Unfortunately, the copay is apparently $50 now. Oh well, I'll gladly spend that money if it means I've successfully TNR'd all these kitties. Time to get to work, make the necessary preparations, and give it a try.
Things can sound one way when writing about them and they are usually quite different when actually being experienced. We rented our place 2 locations ago from my ex's first wife. She basically wanted me out and ultimatumized him. That started us looking for places. The one we found was almost 100 miles away and what happened was that of course, all of our indoor cats moved with us. The outdoor guys were more of a challenge. He'd go by the old place after work, top up their (dry) food bowls, freshen their water bowls, and scoop up as many as he could find to bring up. This went on until all of them were scooped and moved. No one else had access to the property at that time, so we could do this. We'd put a fence and locking gate all around it. So it all worked out.
I am so very sorry for your loss!
That pain has been mine, many, many times. My philosophy is that if I have room in my home and heart, I want to adopt another, NEVER to "replace" but to give another sweet cat a loving permanent home. I believe this is the best possible tribute to my loved ones who were also rescued, who have passed. I know they would want this.
Though I micromanage much in my life, I also know that I can't plan everything, and when something happens like what is happening to you, I know it is for a reason, and I really try to rise to the challenge. And once I start something, I am tenacious and determined.
The little guy who slipped the trap did not come with us, unfortunately, but I knew there were a couple of other good families in the neighborhood who would at least feed him. The completely feral girl tried to get out of the new compound and we were afraid she would do herself in, so after talking to some feral cat experts, we took their advice and my ex drove her back down to her territory. We hated to do it. But we felt we had no choice. And one of the guys did escape the compound early on. We posted flyers, put ads in the local paper, and did everything we could think of to try to get him back, all to no avail. We would talk about him being the fierce mouse-and-rat catcher of the Mojave after that. He was born outside, so he easily could have; or, as he was very handsome and neutered and vetted, someone could have scooped him up and brought him in and loved him. I always think and believe the best.
The point of these stories is that life isn't perfect and things happen that we don't plan for or want. But that shouldn't stop us from caring and putting that caring into action for those we care about, who need us. You're there and they're there for a reason. *Go forth and spay/neuter!* :yess::cheerleader::goldstar:
 
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ChirpySquirrel

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I should be paying you therapist rates at this point! You not only obviously have a gift for helping and caring for kitties, but you also have a gift for helping people through your way with words, saying the right things, sharing your experiences and being positive. Being positive and having a "can-do" attitude doesn't seem to come naturally for me so I have to work at it. Some moments are better than others. I've been reading a lot of other threads and I'm still going back and forth on whether I should try bringing Milly and Lippy inside once I get them trapped and spayed/neutered. They are at a minimum third generation ferals. I wish my house was lain out differently or that I had a basement so that I could keep some good separation between them and my senior cat. I can only put them in an upstairs bedroom and he will certainly know there are new guests in there. I think it may stress him out just having them in there, especially since I won't be able to let him go in and check things out. He does not like closed doors and will paw at them and meow loudly until I open them. I just watched a Jaxson Galaxy video where he was pretty adamant about avoiding stress for senior cats as it tends to bring on other health problems quickly. I'm already concerned enough about that. He also said you should never bring kittens in to house with your senior cat. As of right now, he barely has a care in the work as he relaxes on his futon. His name is Coco Puff (aka Puffy). Yes, I tend to add a 'y' at the end of cat nicknames, lol.
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tarasgirl06

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I should be paying you therapist rates at this point! You not only obviously have a gift for helping and caring for kitties, but you also have a gift for helping people through your way with words, saying the right things, sharing your experiences and being positive. Being positive and having a "can-do" attitude doesn't seem to come naturally for me so I have to work at it. Some moments are better than others. I've been reading a lot of other threads and I'm still going back and forth on whether I should try bringing Milly and Lippy inside once I get them trapped and spayed/neutered. They are at a minimum third generation ferals. I wish my house was lain out differently or that I had a basement so that I could keep some good separation between them and my senior cat. I can only put them in an upstairs bedroom and he will certainly know there are new guests in there. I think it may stress him out just having them in there, especially since I won't be able to let him go in and check things out. He does not like closed doors and will paw at them and meow loudly until I open them. I just watched a Jaxson Galaxy video where he was pretty adamant about avoiding stress for senior cats as it tends to bring on other health problems quickly. I'm already concerned enough about that. He also said you should never bring kittens in to house with your senior cat. As of right now, he barely has a care in the work as he relaxes on his futon. His name is Coco Puff (aka Puffy). Yes, I tend to add a 'y' at the end of cat nicknames, lol.
View attachment 408015
Well, I love and respect Jackson to the "nth"degree, but life just doesn't run like that -- not for me, anyway -- and if someone needs help, if that "someone" is feline, I'm gonna help if I can. When Suha first turned up, as a feral kitten, on our land, I was caring for one of our loved ones who was diagnosed with CRF, giving sub-Q fluid injections. I don't know how old she actually was, but she was definitely in kidney failure. So Suha went into our 12x12 "kitten cabin" and I'd try out different ones from the barn compound in there with her. Tiny Sahra tolerated her and since she herself was born outside, most likely to the community matriarch, she was a good choice. When our sweet girl with CRF ascended, Sahra returned to her family in the barn compound and I brought Suha in the house, as she was too tiny to go up there and could have escaped. Our angel Rani, who was mature at the time, detested her on sight and ever after. Everyone else pretty much lived and let live. It had to happen, and it did happen, and I would do it all over again.
Puffy is gorgeous! I love all cats, but black and tortoiseshell are my favorites aesthetically speaking, and the floofy ones? WOW! :goldstar: :redheartpump::blackcat2::redheartpump::wow:
 
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ChirpySquirrel

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I don't know how people like you have such strength. Ugh, I'm afraid words like kidney failure and sub-Q fluid injections take me to a dark place :(. I often just didn't have the heart to do it and had to hire a former vet tech to come in and help. Together it was easier on me, but still hard on my little guy. He hated it and he hated taking meds...he hated anything and everything we had to do to try to help him but he put up with it so valiantly. His name was Chirpy Squirrel (hence my screen name). Chirpy because he would make the cutest sort of chirping noises when he would dart up the stairs. Squirrel was due to his bushy tail. I know- weird name for a cat.

Some progress I suppose I will chronicle on the trapping situation. While the Alley Cat Allies "get help" link returned 0 results within 25 miles, I did talk to the lady I think I mentioned that cares for a colony somewhat local to me and has lots of experience with TNR. We had a good conversation and she was really helpful. She also even contacted a lady who is willing to come and help me get started, show me the ropes, and maybe even help me with some of the trapping process. Yay! That is a small miracle to me and exactly what I had hoped for. I think it will make the task more bearable and probably a lot more successful....so that was encouraging. I'll call her tomorrow and then arrange to go pick up the traps and supplies.

The bad news is that a large pile of dead trees/branches that Milly and others use as a safe haven and likely even their full time home at this point appears to be the next victim of the construction activities. Today, the crews moved a bunch of large concrete sewer pipe sections into the area and placed some right around the tree pile. Later I actually spotted Milly perched on a branch on top of the tree pile before diving down into the interior which must be a labyrinth of hiding places and safe spots. They will presumably remove the tree pile any day now...could even be tomorrow :frown: I hope the kitties will be able to escape. I don't know where they will find refuge after that. I'm still hoping I can figure out a way to feel like I can at least bring Milly and Lippy in....
 

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Can you form a pile of branches in your yard to lure them near? Even if you just pile enough to cover the branches with a tarp, I found ferals like to go under tarps. I secured them by tying them to trees or other things that would not move in high winds. I had a few tarp shelters around my house set up tent style and they were very popular. Even just covering a patio table or chair works. If you can talk to the crew removing those limbs and get them to move carefully at first, the cats should evacuate the pile. The cats will be likely to run from the machinery noise. If the crew seems reluctant, you can go over and try to startle the cats out by shaking the limbs some or maybe get those guys to rev engines to scare them. Maybe poke around in the pile a little? I would try. If need be, tell them your kitties are in there! Plead with the driver, “ Please don’t hurt them!” If you are standing there, they are more likely to remove the top of the pile and then down instead of just pushing it around. I had a neighbor, unknowingly , wall a cat and kittens in under a house. He hates cats but with me standing there and being persistent, he did reopen the wall. Mom and kitties are all with me now. It’s very hard to resist a pleading human. ;)
You are getting help! First hurdle completed. This is how you start. Before you know it, You’ll be far beyond what you imagine now.:clap2:
 

tarasgirl06

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I don't know how people like you have such strength. Ugh, I'm afraid words like kidney failure and sub-Q fluid injections take me to a dark place :(. I often just didn't have the heart to do it and had to hire a former vet tech to come in and help. Together it was easier on me, but still hard on my little guy. He hated it and he hated taking meds...he hated anything and everything we had to do to try to help him but he put up with it so valiantly. His name was Chirpy Squirrel (hence my screen name). Chirpy because he would make the cutest sort of chirping noises when he would dart up the stairs. Squirrel was due to his bushy tail. I know- weird name for a cat.

Some progress I suppose I will chronicle on the trapping situation. While the Alley Cat Allies "get help" link returned 0 results within 25 miles, I did talk to the lady I think I mentioned that cares for a colony somewhat local to me and has lots of experience with TNR. We had a good conversation and she was really helpful. She also even contacted a lady who is willing to come and help me get started, show me the ropes, and maybe even help me with some of the trapping process. Yay! That is a small miracle to me and exactly what I had hoped for. I think it will make the task more bearable and probably a lot more successful....so that was encouraging. I'll call her tomorrow and then arrange to go pick up the traps and supplies.

The bad news is that a large pile of dead trees/branches that Milly and others use as a safe haven and likely even their full time home at this point appears to be the next victim of the construction activities. Today, the crews moved a bunch of large concrete sewer pipe sections into the area and placed some right around the tree pile. Later I actually spotted Milly perched on a branch on top of the tree pile before diving down into the interior which must be a labyrinth of hiding places and safe spots. They will presumably remove the tree pile any day now...could even be tomorrow :frown: I hope the kitties will be able to escape. I don't know where they will find refuge after that. I'm still hoping I can figure out a way to feel like I can at least bring Milly and Lippy in....
Jcatbird is right!
We had a pile of branches in our front yard two locations ago. The little feral kitten was living in it. She didn't seem to be part of the extended family of community cats, though she could have been an outlier. Anyway, after we moved, the buyer razed the house and all of the trees and plants. But Shah Rukh (the little feral and yes, for anyone who's wondering, we found out she was female when she went for her vetting and spay! but as a tiny kitten, she got that name and I did not change it.) knew enough to run from any human. There were, and are, lots of places to hide in that neighborhood.
Excellent news about your neighbor! I dropped the ball on this, but you can also consult animalrescuedirectory.net which has a drop-down by-state menu that you can pull up local/area listings from. These are sheltering facilities, but the advocacy community is all connected, and they may know someone. Best Friends and Alley Cat Allies have networks of local advocates.
 
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