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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I really appreciate the love you provide for your neighborhood cats! They sure need it.

If you trap these kitties and get them into your domestic environment, you may be amazed at how quickly they will tame and enjoy being housecats. Under advice of this group, I trapped my Drexl and Brax in mid May. They were both total feral five year old cats that had likely never interacted meaningfully with a human until I started feeding them in March. Like your cats, they didn't get close and in fact would go running even if the porch light came on when they were eating or they thought they glimpsed me through the window. When I trapped them, I anticipated it might take 7-12 months to tame them and I was ready, but that wasn't the case at all. Drexl was ready for kisses within six hours of being in my house. I had him set up in my office, where he still prefers to sleep at night, but he is allowed access to the whole house during waking hours. Brax was not so easy. He was a total wild cat that would sooner take your eye out than look at you. He is still confined to my master bathroom until I can pet him, but he now is very easy going and content. He's still shy and hides in his cave during the day, but at night he enjoys visiting with me and plays toys with me. He will likely acclimate fully and join the whole house soon.. Respecting their space and letting them get to know you on their terms is everything.
 
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ChirpySquirrel

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Thank you all for the comments and advice.

Jcatbird Jcatbird , I love your pics of BJ and fun little captions you provide to document the journey. I'll have to post some pics soon. Great idea about blocking off some space to allow for some safe play time with Lippy! I already have an idea of how I might be able to do that. Lippy seems to actually be wanting more love and affection so I think I'll be able to handle her without too much fuss and maybe I'll have her in my lap in no time :)

emelyssa emelyssa , thank you for joining in and for sharing your experience with Drexl and Brax. I'm amazed at Drexl only needing 6 hours to get that comfortable after being feral for 5 years! That's either incredibly lucky or you have an incredible gift :wink:.

As for the HOA, yes there is an HOA and there is a restriction on the number of pets you can have. Truth is, my current house is in an HOA as well and with the 4 tree pile kitties, Coco Puff (my "regular" indoor cat of almost 14 years) and Marshmallow (still in the garage), I have more cats here than I'm allowed. So I guess I've accepted the risk and just have to do my best to keep the situation on the "down low". The main difference is that the townhome I'd be moving back to has neighbors on each side that might be able to hear the kitties if they get super rambunctious. I do have enough concern about the noise that I would likely put up some kind of sound proofing on each of the shared walls downstairs where the kitties will be. There is already sound proofing built in to the walls and the builders did a pretty good job with that but it still worries me since if for some reason the kitties get too wild and crazy and the neighbors happen to complain, it could become a major issue. I assume the HOA would force me to get rid of some of the cats (I can't recall right now but I think I'm allowed up to 3 there) and that would be awful especially since I think it would be extremely difficult to find anywhere that would take cats that are still not fully socialized. There is the fact that when I lived there before, I had 2 cats (one of which was Coco Puff). He was the most rambunctious kitty I've ever known when he was young and was always flying around downstairs crashing into things and making a racket but I never had any complaints from the neighbors back then.

I'm struggling with how to actually make the move all work and will certainly be seeking some help and advice here. fionasmom fionasmom , wow, moving 7 cats and 4 dogs makes my job maybe not seem quite so bad. That must have been quite a chore. I'm sure I'll need some suggestions/tips from you. I don't think I'll have much trouble getting Lippy and Milly in carriers or small crates, but I'm not sure how it will go with Stormy and Tiny Tuck (not very well if I had to guess...unless somehow I can make a lot of progress with them between now and then). Side note-- yesterday and today I was able to get Tuck to lick up his squeeze up treat while I was still holding the package! Yay, maybe she's trusting a little more! :biggrin: Anyway, I guess the first question I have is if it would be important to make sure I have their accommodations set up at the new place pretty much exactly like I have them set up when I move. If not, I'd want to prepare their new setup ahead of time and it would probably be arranged quite a bit differently. But if it would make their transition easier, I'd attempt to recreate the accommodations as closely as possible.

I would also like to ask about a concern that is right around the corner. The 4th of July. People in this neighborhood love their fireworks and they will be close and very loud if it's anything like last year. Where I live we are allowed all kinds of aerial fireworks (the ones that go way up and make huge booms). This will go on for hours all up and down my street on the night of the 4th (and probably even on the nights leading up to the 4th). I just don't know how the kitties will react to this. I keep worrying it will seriously freak them out. I just can't think of anything I can do to help them through it all. Anyone have any thoughts or ideas?
 

Jcatbird

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Fireworks! Unh. Yes. Start now by trying to get the kitties used to a little more sound. I used both television and radio to help. Changes in the kinds of sound that come up on tv and radio let the kitties get a little less sensitive. I still use both for all the kitties and they tolerate almost all the fireworks sounds now. There is music online specific to calming cats and lessening anxiety. Try out different types to see what each kitty prefers as I find it can vary. There are also purr and heartbeat videos on YouTube that can really help calm cats. I use that too. If curtains or blinds can be closed and windows covered, that can also help since many fireworks are bright flashes of light. In the beginning I made the rounds with the kitties and sat on the floor with them to talk or read to them to calm them with music in the background. Play time can also be a distraction for the ones that like to play.
 

fionasmom

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I don't know if you have a relationship with a vet who will give you gabapentin for them, or if you think that it will be eaten in food. Sometimes this is dicey. They will be inside, of course, but the fireworks will be frightening to them, so stay near them if you can. I would not go out at all on any day or night that you expect fireworks. Is your area good about restricting them on the 3rd and 5th or is it one of those week long celebrations?

If you can set up the new place like the old one, they will feel more comfortable. If it is not possible, just do what you can. They will still be safe and inside and will adjust.

If the limit on cats is 3, no one may ever figure out that you have 4. You may not have the noise problem you expect either.
 
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ChirpySquirrel

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Fireworks are legal from July 2nd to July 5th so there will be 4 nights of it. Obviously the 4th will be the worst. I have so-called blackout curtains on the window in the kitty room so I will close the curtains to limit the bright flashes of light. I'm not really all that sure if me being in the room with them offers them comfort or not. I may be able to distract Lippy and Milly with some playtime but I'm quite certain it doesn't help for Tuck and Stormy yet. Funny thing is, my regular cat Coco Puff (Puffy) is always frightened of the noise and I have never been able to console him much. He gets all low to the ground and scoots under the bed to hide until the noise dies down. He is the same way with thunderstorms. We had one about a week ago that was pretty severe for about a half an hour. I watched Lippy and Milly on the wifi cam and, while they would certainly perk up and look around with a bit of concern for a moment when the loud booms would happen and cause the house to shake briefly, overall they didn't really seem to get too freaked out. I hope that will be the case with the fireworks but I suspect it could be different with the fireworks being so close and virtually constant for a long period of time. I still have gabapentin on hand from when Milly was struggling and being so aggressive the first few weeks. I could mix some in their wet food. I guess if they start showing signs of major distress the first night of fireworks, maybe I'll try it.

Also, I hope you're right that the noise the kitties will make at the new place won't be too much of a problem. Assuming I can find somewhere for Marshmallow before the move, I will still have a total of 5 cats. Puffy will not be allowed downstairs but he's old and quiet these days. The other kitties make quite a bit of noise jumping around and playing in their crates and catteries but I think it would be different if they weren't confined to such small quarters. I recall Jcatbird Jcatbird recommending putting potty pads under the crate floors to cushion the sounds. Brilliant but it wasn't enough of a concern for me to try it out here. Maybe I'll do something like that at the new place.
 

Margot Lane

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It’s possible to use empty egg cartons or a foam mattress as baffle stapled to a “wall” but I doubt there is time for this effort (or to eat that many eggs). Perhaps a plan for 2023 once you & the cats are settled might be useful.
 

Jcatbird

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The most effective sound proofing is using what recording studios use which is sort of a foam crate material but I knew someone who used cork panels and it worked very well! Making a panel to put st windows during fireworks could really help the kitties. It could work at the new location too.
As for a cat hiding under the bed…. I had a border collie rescue who shook through every storm or similar noise. I finally just went where she was and surrounded her with my body through a whole storm. Amazingly, it worked! I was her “Thunder shirt!” Lol Maybe crawl under the bed with kitty and just show him it’s okay, you are there to protect. I think your presence counts for more than you realize.
 
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ChirpySquirrel

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Thank you for asking Margot Lane Margot Lane and Jcatbird Jcatbird and thank you for the concern...fortunately the gang seemed to handle the noise fairly well. Stormy hid in her cat cave the whole time fireworks were going off. Tiny Tuck didn't seem too bothered for the most part. Milly and Lippy stayed relatively relaxed but would jump up and look around with concern when the close, loudest ones were going off. The good thing for me was that this year there seemed to be a lot fewer fireworks than last year. Maybe people are spending less money on things like that with the cost of everything else going through the roof. Maybe last year people were still staying home a lot more due to Covid so lighting off fireworks at home was the thing to do. Whatever the case, it was fine by me and we got through it pretty well. There'll be some more tonight I'm sure, but it doesn't seem like too much of a worry. I hope the same for others out there with similar concerns.

In other news, I've now let Lippy out of her enclosure 3 times to see how she would do. She's so ready to be out! I wish I could just leave her out all the time. She is so good and pretty much only does what I let her. She is definitely more interested in wandering and exploring than in cuddling and playing with me (although she'll do that a little too). It makes me nervous to let her do too much so soon though. I worry something will excite or spook her and then I'll have a really hard time getting her back in the enclosure. For the most part she lets me "steer" her around in the small area I would prefer her to stay in but at one point, she really wanted to go over by the catteries and tried to "escape" in that direction...I had to get up to hurry and grab her to bring her back. She got mad when I put her back in the enclosure and burrowed under her carpet to protest, lol. Now that she's getting a taste of "freedom", I'm really starting to wonder if it's a good idea to be letting her have these little adventures right now since I don't have a good plan to where I could just leave her cage door open and let her roam full time. If anyone has any pointers on where I should go with this, please let me know. Milly is not ready to be out yet. Tuck and Stormy certainly are not (more on Tuck in a minute). While Lippy has been out, Milly turns into "Trilly Milly" :biggrin:. His other nicknames are "Messy Milly" and, of course, "Silly Milly". It seems like his constant trilling might be out of concern when he feels uneasy with Lippy being on the "outside". Although, he also does it on occasion when they are interacting and playing as well. Milly is just not good with change of any kind it seems. I'm having trouble planning the next steps for them all, especially with the move I'm planning in the near future.

Tiny Tuck is making a little progress too. Yay! She had been licking her squeeze up treats from the package (as I mentioned last time, I was finally able to get her to do so while I was still holding the package). Last night, I was able to get her to lick some right off my finger! That was exciting! Something else kind of strange (probably good, I think) was that instead of staying up on her top level perch the whole time, she came down to the floor level and waited for me there. She stayed there the whole time I was in the room. I was actually nervous to open the cattery door to get her litter box out because she was sitting right there. I started to wonder if she had noticed that I let Lippy out of her enclosure for a while and was hoping I'd do the same for her. Awww. I know I've mentioned this before, but Tuck was always such a free-spirited, playful, and energetic kitty outside when she could run around, catch mice, and play all day. Putting her into confinement pained me quite a bit...more than with the others I think. Anyway, maybe this will be a break-through and I can start interacting with her more.

Just a quick note on Marshmallow. I ended up bring him in the house. I couldn't keep it cool enough for him in the garage once temps started going above 90 degrees every day. He now occupies the room formerly known as my office, lol. I moved my office downstairs to the kitchen, which is fine for now. Mallow doesn't seem to be doing very well to me lately though. The last few weeks I've noticed he seems to be having a harder and harder time walking and moving around, with his back legs looking really stiff. He is starting to struggle to get up on to his feet too. He just stays lying down almost all the time other than when he gets up to eat or use the litter box. Even months ago when he was outside and would come to eat at night I could tell he seemed to have some trouble walking. Poor guy..,especially when other cats would chase him away. But it seems to be getting worse almost by the day at this point. He seems to be having more and more trouble seeing and/or hearing as well. When I come in the room, he knows I'm there and starts meowing up a storm (sometime loudly) but can't really "focus" on me or locate where I'm at until I'm next to him to start petting/scratching him. I took him in to a vet who I had heard good things about. He just did a quick examination and said Mallow is old (he estimated between 12 and 15), may be blind or partially blind, and has arthritis and there's not much that can be done. I was a little surprised. I asked him about further tests but he just said it wouldn't really be worthwhile. He was getting ready to head out of town on vacation that particular day so I wonder if his mind was on other things but with how Mallow seems to have deteriorated quite a bit lately, I'm just worried that maybe there's something quite progressive going on other than just arthritis. Any thoughts? A google search turns up anything from arthritis to organ failure to cancer. I may have to try yet another vet. I've basically given up on the lady with the shelter I was trying to work with to find him a home. She's either too busy or just not interested enough in helping out with Mallow. It may be for the best anyway if it turns out he has something serious going on. There are a couple of organizations that deal specifically with senior cats and those with disabilities, illnesses, and conditions. I think I'll try to focus on finding out more about something like that for Mallow. The issue seems to be that they apparently only take animals from local shelters. I refuse to send Mallow to a shelter like the one the county runs. They are nice and everything but they have such limited space and resources. It would be better for me to just keep him here with me unless I knew one of these organizations could come get him right away so he could have better care and quality of life.
 

Margot Lane

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You are such a good cat owner! ❤ The cockles of my heart are just warmed all over. I have no advice, but just love that they are in such good hands. I do worry if Mallow is in any pain, but am not enough of an expert to say. Just make sure w/ Lippy or any other ‘explorer’ that there are no mysterious escape hatches you hadn’t thought of…tile ceilings or duct work, etc.
 

Jcatbird

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Let me start with Mallow. I often find that cat ages are not estimated well because it’s just hard to judge. Old can be older. However, there should be something that can be done, at least to make Mallow more comfortable. When does the bet you like return? Fresh off a vacation? Lol Get an appointment lined up because vets get booked up upon return. It is possible the vet was distracted. They are human. It happens. If another vet is available then maybe another opinion would be worth it. I am wondering about dehydration. It can happen quickly and especially older or compromised kitties. Get as much wet stuff as possible in Mallow. Do the skin elasticity test too if you can. If water added to food is accepted, do that. Just so you know, some vets try to save you money on tests with older cats and ferals are often viewed as having such hard lives that there could be a complicated history to figure out. I have had to be insistent at times myself that each cat here is just as important to me as any cat I could have raised from birth and nurtured for 12 to 15 years! They are no longer ferals to me, they are my friends and loved ones. My vet gets it but in the beginning when I brought in large numbers, I guess it was more of helping the young and most likely to recover that she focused on. We have to be their advocates. The vet now knows that I will sit in that waiting room until closing time to get my answers. I sit quietly and patiently but I stand my ground. The vet went to great lengths for Banjo recently and I am most grateful that the people there have accepted that I want each cat to have whatever we can do to help them. I’m glad Mallow is inside. Personally, I would request tests. Mallow was treated for tapeworms and other parasites right? They can drain strength. Hydrate well and keep Mallow as comfortable as you can. If sun q fluids are suggested them make sure they have checked kidney function. What goes in must come out too.
Forgive me if I can’t keep up with the relationships that the kitties had outside. If all of them knew each other and got along to some extent, seeing Lippy interact with you teaches the others. Bj learned trust from his previous mate, Flowers. She was out while he was caged. He was sort of sad and she would head butt him through the bars. The first time, he hissed. Later he perked up and when he was out, it was a reunion of love. It was amazing. BJ also remembered others from the colony. I still had to be the middle person for reintroduction but it went great! Milly trilling could be calling to Lippy. How far do you let Lippy go? Trust your instincts. At some point I would give it a test though. If she stayed out, is there anything she can get into? If she is letting you interact well and you can hold/touch her, maybe a little more exploring will be in line soon. It’s a judgement call since you know them best.
Tuck came down? Yes , that is progress. I think you are well on your way to getting them all fairly social. Baby steps and be patient but also give them a chance to show you what they learn. Lippy might love to explore but also go to visit Milly? Maybe you could try putting Lippy in a carrier and putting that next to the cage with Milly? If they bump heads, your heart will melt. That will be hello in cat speak. Another step forward! You’re moving rapidly. It may not seem so but I have read as many people worked with ferals and I can tell you that you have done an amazing job with them. They trust and love you. There is no greater reward than earning the love of a feral.
 
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ChirpySquirrel

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Just make sure w/ Lippy or any other ‘explorer’ that there are no mysterious escape hatches you hadn’t thought of…tile ceilings or duct work, etc.
Milly trilling could be calling to Lippy. How far do you let Lippy go? Trust your instincts. At some point I would give it a test though. If she stayed out, is there anything she can get into? If she is letting you interact well and you can hold/touch her, maybe a little more exploring will be in line soon. It’s a judgement call since you know them best.
Tuck came down? Yes , that is progress. I think you are well on your way to getting them all fairly social. Baby steps and be patient but also give them a chance to show you what they learn. Lippy might love to explore but also go to visit Milly? Maybe you could try putting Lippy in a carrier and putting that next to the cage with Milly? If they bump heads, your heart will melt. That will be hello in cat speak. Another step forward! You’re moving rapidly. It may not seem so but I have read as many people worked with ferals and I can tell you that you have done an amazing job with them. They trust and love you. There is no greater reward than earning the love of a feral.
Lippy can't go far. The room they are in is only about 12' x 12' or so. A lot of that space is already taken up by their enclosures and the catteries. I always close the bedroom door when I'm in there. The only place I would worry about is if she tried to scootch under one of the catteries or behind one where it would be a challenge to extract her if she got determined. She seems to know and complies with the invisible boundaries I've sort of set by nudging and redirecting her back if she tries to go too far...or once in a while I'll have to pick her up and bring her back over close to her crate door. She has already picked up the routine that when I start to scoop her litter box, it's time for her to go back in her enclosure. She just seems to understand and is so good it boggles my mind. Milly still gets excited/anxious when Lippy is out of her enclosure and I'm sure his trilling is meant to get Lippy's attention. Maybe he thinks there's danger and is trying to warn Lippy, lol. Lippy generally ignores the trilling but once in a while acknowledges and seems to reassure Milly. So far I haven't let Lippy wander more than a few feet and she's always either right next to Milly's enclosure (on the outside) or only a few feet away. Since they already share a common "wall" inside their enclosures, they often play through the bars, reaching through to paw at each other, playing with the same toy together, and will often give each other "kisses". They love being close to each other, especially Milly. In the beginning, allowing Milly the ability to see Lippy and know he was okay did wonders to help calm Milly down. I keep wondering if I should just adjust their enclosures to allow them to share the same space so they can really be together. I feel like they would really enjoy being able to wrestle and snuggle. I don't know though, they are kind of opposites in a lot of ways. Lippy is so well behaved, not usually very rambunctious, and keeps everything pretty tidy. Milly is always scattering litter and food everywhere and can get a little carried away during playtime, jumping and knocking things around. I also don't like the thought of not being able to keep track how much each of them eats and drinks or uses their litter box. Actually, to tell you the truth, I don't really want Milly anywhere near Lippy's litter box!

Yes, there seems to be a shift in Tuck's behavior. She's still cautious but keeps coming down to the floor level and seems to be trying to allow herself to trust and interact more. Now she's regularly licking her squeeze up treats off my finger. I've got everything ready to expand the lower level of her cattery to give her some more play area. I hope that will be a good move and not make her feel less safe. She often watches Lippy and Milly intently but I can't really discern whether or not she wants to interact with them. She doesn't seem to make any attempt to get their attention but will often sit and observe them. The extra space will allow her to get closer to them so I guess I'll see if that leads to any interaction from them.
 

fionasmom

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You are doing everything right and it is paying off in all the positive behaviors you are seeing with the cats. I do think that cats can be trained as you are seeing and they can learn that there is a routine to where they get to go and how far. I agree that Milly and Libby might not be ready for full time companionship, but their relationship is very touching. As for Mallow, also agree. Try again with a vet of your choosing for some help for him. Given the number of options available, there should be something that can help. Some of this is your decision; it is not all a matter of the vet saying that it is not worth it. I have had vets who seem to think, maybe well intentioned, that they are not spending your money on an older animal, but at the end of the day it is up to you.
 

Jcatbird

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I am having a storm here and signal issues but wanted to post quickly. You are making great progress. Maybe short kitty visits and not sharing litter or food? Your instincts are great so go at the pace you feel is working. At some point you can do some test visits. Maybe crate one and let the other investigate the space occupied by another? Sniffing around helps kitties to understand each other.
 
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