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

Jcatbird

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I know we hit bumps and lulls in what we do. I am bumping along right now too. I can tell you that we just keep taking it one day at a time. Persistence gets us through. I know my vet must get tired of me. Lol That’s okay. I stay apologetic but just keep reminding that I need help. I have gone and asked at the desk for just a moment to speak to the vet. Three hours in the waiting room and lots of other clients sympathizing with me sitting there but I got my chance to be seen. Again, apologetic but desperate for answers. I have also reached out through simple emails all over the country for medical info. I got it. Time, patience and determination to help a cat. Eventually you meet up with another person like you and they connect you directly or with another who connects you with another.
Shelters do not get paid per cat adopted out with the exception of huge ones that may be trying to get grants which are nearly impossible for smaller shelters or rescues to obtain. Funding is usually through counties/cities , individual donations or via companies that care. Space is so limited that you must keep calling. I made it a routine of once a week going down my list and calling, emailing or texting every place and person on that list. Just recently I had an employee at Chewy tell me they have some site for adoptions. This was new to me! You could call and ask. You may have to call more than one rep or ask for a supervisor to find out. Purina used to have a site too. Maybe other companies do as well. Tell the story of these cats to everyone! Tell it as you told it here. Lives are at risk. Ask every one you talk to for help for them. I purchased a portable AC unit for a porch I enclosed. I can’t run other AC in some rooms but this worked. Ask any AC company or employee if they have any old units they could contribute and explain, it could save a life. If you cannot put AC out, there is a trick I use of putting a small plastic kids swimming pool with ice in it in front of a fan. It isn’t deeply cooling but the cats loved it. A sealed plastic bag of ice water can be put under a towel and if a cat is too hot, they will lay beside it. I used that outside for ferals. Just keep thinking and reaching out to others. You have cat food on hand. Look on the package. You will find a customer service number. Call it! Tell the story and ask for any help or ideas they can provide. Don’t be discouraged if they don’t respond but don’t forget to call them back again next week. You are a loyal and devoted customer. Tell them. Don’t give up. Everything goes in cycles and nothing stays the same. Keep doing what you are doing. Heros are heros because they do what others are not doing. They also become examples for others to follow and for others to want to help. You are a kitty hero.:hugs: I found help recently by contacting a vet medical school. Long shot , I thought. They are trying to help.
 
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ChirpySquirrel

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You have so many great ideas and suggestions Jcatbird Jcatbird ...they are as abundant as your passion, energy and devotion. Thank you for taking the time to write up such helpful and encouraging posts. I'm still working on finding a home for Marshmallow but I thought I better finally get around to providing an update on the so-called tree pile kitties.

Lippy is so good and is super adorable. Her personality and temperament have been so wonderful. She just naturally seems to want to be a friendly, snuggly, playful, happy indoor kitty. She greets me with the cutest little high pitched meows. She is very comfortable with me and really seems to want to interact with me…of course, some of that is related to her serious weakness for the treats I give her. She is crazy about temptations treats and will do just about anything for her squeeze up treats that I let her lick off my fingers. She purrs happily and welcomes head and chin scratches, and I’ve been doing full length pets on her back to her tail. At first she would turn and nip at my hand as I got to her back but she’s pretty comfortable with it at this point. I just don’t know how to take the next steps toward being able to really handle her and pick her up while she is in the enclosure. Currently I’m just sticking my arm in there while trying to keep the door as closed as I can. I’ve added on to the crate so she has more room and I’m slowly expanding (trying to go in stages to get them comfortable with the extra space one step at a time). However, I can’t get in there with her and I don’t think I should take her out of the enclosure to try and handle her. To be honest, if it was just Lippy, I’d already have her out in the open room by now with no enclosure. Please let me know if anyone has any ideas...I think Lippy would be perfectly receptive to taking additional steps if I could figure out how.

Milly is coming along at his own pace- slower than Lippy but doing pretty well. He will also lick wet food/treats off my fingers and I can hand feed him dry treats. Sometimes he wants to eat my fingers too but he’s actually quite gentle about it and won’t bite too hard. He does like to grab at me and will sink his sharp claws into my arm or hand if I’m not careful. I’m trying to teach him that he eats with his mouth and not his paws (or claws!) :lol: Unlike Lippy, he doesn’t seem to understand the concept of me trying to scratch and pet him and is really only interested in the food. He does watch me as I scratch and pet Lippy so maybe he'll figure it out as that seems to be his pattern. He has quite an appetite! He is getting super long and lanky. I realized today that he and Lippy are now right around 1 year old. I don’t know exactly when they were born but it would have been right around this time last year. Milly really loves having Lippy right next to him. I still haven’t combined their space and I’m not sure if I should or what the best way to do that would be but they have a common wire “wall”, and love to play, reaching for each other and sometimes play wrestling as much as they can along with the usual game of taking turns lunging at each other with the other one dodging and quickly darting the other direction. It’s funny but they can definitely get a little rambunctious! Milly’s eye is still about the same with the third eyelid covering about 1/3 of his eye. Sometimes when he’s relaxing it seems to cover even more. It still looks a bit swollen too but I’d say not quite as much as before. I’m just not sure if it will ever be able to return to its normal state and function on its own…it really doesn’t seem like it will.

Tiny Tuck...well, she is a cutey and still pretty tiny but just has not gotten very comfortable with me getting close. In the very beginning, I had assumed she would be the easiest and most “tamable” of all of them because of how calm she always was. I guess I was wrong. It was definitely Lippy. She still almost always gets up on her top perch when I come in the room and usually watches me closely. However, sometimes she just relaxes and even just lays comfortably when I’m in the room. But if I open the little door and put my hand in there, she gets nervous pretty quickly. I can put treats next to her but she will often start backing up when my hand gets too close. She will start munching on the treats as long as I remove my hand and then I can sit and watch her. She won’t lick the squeeze up treats off my fingers or even from the package if I’m holding it but if I push some up and leave the package next to her, she will lick it up. If I’m in the room for a long time, she has sometimes gone into play mode with her toys and just basically ignores my presence. She will not interact with me and any attempt to entice her with toys, wands, etc. usually results in her backing away quickly while making a squeaky meow noise presumably to indicate disapproval. I’m not sure if there’s something else I should be trying to do at this point or if I just keep with this same routine….I feel like I’ve been stuck with almost no progress for a long time. These kitties are all so different!

Then there’s Stormy. I’m getting concerned and feel like I need to do something different but I’m not quite sure what to do. She still remains in her “cave” whenever I’m in the room. She will not come out no matter how long I stay in there. There have been times I’ve stayed for more than 2 hours. She hisses when I get close and open her cattery door to get to her food/water/litter box. She then remains completely still and silent. She does come out pretty much as soon as I leave the room. She is active at times (as long as I’m not around) and will do her best to play with toys, getting fairly frisky sometimes. But in general I worry she is not happy. Since she has not shown any signs of being even a little bit comfortable with me, I haven’t pushed the issue or attempted any changes. I feel like any changes would upset her quite a bit. I thought I may want to try turning her cave so the entrance faces me and she’d be unable to actually hide in there the way she currently does. I guess she feels safer if she thinks I can’t see her. I just worry she won’t handle that well. Any suggestions about how to make some progress with Stormy would be very welcome and appreciated. Is it best to just keep trying more and more to lure her out of the cave while I’m there? Should I attempt to transfer her to a large crate or something where I can work with her more easily? I think that same question applies to Tuck as well although I’m more optimistic that she’ll start coming around eventually.

This leads to my final question and challenge. It’s not a 100% done deal yet but I’m heavily leaning toward the idea of moving back to my previous home which I’m currently renting out. The lease expires at the end of July. It’s actually a townhome but it has 3 levels with a fairly spacious finished basement. It would be a much better space for the kitties than the relatively small bedroom they are currently in. The concern, obviously, is how well they would handle the move. I’m really hoping to get input and advice here. It’s about an hour drive from my currently home and I’ve not yet worked out exactly how I would go about transporting all of them down there. Mostly, I’d like to hear if anyone would strongly advise against doing this move. Will the trip be too hard on them? Will it be too traumatic and upsetting causing the progress I’ve made especially with Lippy and Milly to be lost? Or is it more likely that they would adapt quickly to the new place and not have too much of a set back? I guess I’m referring mostly to Lippy and Milly since Tuck and Stormy are not very far along anyway. I’d still have them in somewhat similar enclosures initially. But there would be more room to expand as needed and the extra space would make it easier for me as well. Eventually they could have access to the whole downstairs area. There is a door to the stairway that leads to the basement so it’s basically a natural separation. I could add a gate or some sort of second barrier at the bottom of the stairs if needed. I can provide additional details if you have any questions but please let me know what your thoughts are. I would really appreciate that especially since I know some of you have ended up moving kitties at various levels of “tameness”.
 

Jcatbird

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You are so kind! Thank you. I have just had to be very creative here to get through many things. This site is a great place to share ideas and bounce things off others who have walked the same path! Together new thoughts are sparked!
Moving. First thing to find out is if there is an HOA or ordinances that limit how many cats you can have. Do that first.
I would write a lot more but right now I have some injured fingers. Lol Typing with little finger is hard.
Let me just say that tying a brush to a long handle and using that to touch any cat from distance often works. They may be scared of it at first but leaving it for then to smell and examine can help. Brushing feels so good to some. My most feral girl melts at being brushed. Feels good in spite of her not wanting it at first. Lol I use that whenever I must put topicals on. A relaxed cat closes their eyes and I sneak the topical which usually ends the relaxing but it must be done so…
Lippy. That makes me think of BJ. He was caged but allowing pets. I had him in a place with many cats! I worried about releasing him into the mazes. Lol I surrounded myself on the open sides with baby gate and furniture. I sat with my back against the wall and the cage door in front of me. At first I opened the door just for pets. Then I worked up to letting him climb onto me. I was just a piece of cat furniture. Lol I prevented him from going further at first. Then he laid down on me! Yay! He started giving head butts but he still seemed nervous. Each day was a test. Then as he climbed in me, I skipped a hand under him to just lift slightly. I did it more each day. I got a few dirty looks but one day he turned and stood up to put his head on my neck. Kitty hug! It was soon after that I let him explore the room. He was so funny in the sofa! He got up, looked over and then lounged. At first his visits outside the cage were short but he did well so I finally just left the door open. I still fed him there and litter was there so he could retreat but he rarely did. The rest is history. He meshed with one and all and slept on my shoulder every night for his last year. He became the tamest snd most amazing purrsonality. He is the one I had thought most likely to try to eat me up. No. Best friend ever! Hero to me and all cats here.
I hope it’s okay to let some photos tell some of the story. My typing is not great right now. Lol BJ can show you what we did. Hand feeding helps. Keeping treats in your pocket can be handy and I put catnip on my shoes a lot. Lol
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Catnip on shoes
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Not a happy guy in the cage at first
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Petting in cage while another cat is on the other side.
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First time out but can’t go far since he isblocked off
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First lifting. Lol Keep it brief snd the moment they want down, let them down.
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Looking over.
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Other cats there!!!
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Kitty kisses instead of being eaten. Lol
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Lounging cat. Lol
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I hope something here helps?
I will answer more when I can type better but keep us posted!
 

fionasmom

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I agree that you need to check with the HOA on animal limitations. Four cats is not a huge number, especially if they will be living in a place where they can't be seen or if the design of the community allows for privacy.

If you need to move, or want to, you should. I moved with 7 cats and 4 dogs years ago. Everyone adjusted with no problem. Cats do attach themselves to places, but that does not mean that they can't adjust to a new place.

As for actually moving them, one hour is not a hugely long drive and they can be with you in a vehicle of some sort. The idea of a more spacious area for them sounds very good. This is something that you should not avoid doing because of the cats if you want to make the move.
 

Margot Lane

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I’m very excited about this plot development. Have a soft spot for Milly. Personally I hope this happens but obviously follow the advice of these 2 above. Wish I could be there to help. Very excited for the kitties, for you, for the future. It really sounds as if there is a subtle trust shift happening! Fingers crossed, whatever happens…but clearly your consistency with them is paying off. :catlove:
 
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