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

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ChirpySquirrel

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Sounds like a bad storm. Stay safe! Short kitty visits and allowing them to investigate each other's space independently are really interesting ideas. I'll definitely think about that more but just thinking on it now, I believe I'll need to make a little more progress with Milly first to be comfortable that I'd still be able to control things well enough. He allows some brief scratching under his chin, cheeks and behind his ears but he doesn't seem to understand it or realize it might feel good if he let me continue. He will usually start biting at my fingers (softly) since he's most interested in food and probably now just associates my fingers with eating since I've been feeding him that way for some time now. I mean, I always leave them a plate of wet food as well and Milly usually gobbles it all up. Often I leave him a double portion. Lippy only seems to want to eat off my fingers and barely touches the food I leave on a plate :sigh:. Mostly she's now just addicted to the squeeze up and temptation treats and only wants to eat those. I may have spoiled her too much but she's irresistibly cute when she's begging for them.
 
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ChirpySquirrel

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Has anyone seen or heard of complications from the rabies vaccine? I'm wondering about Mallow today. I had the thought that his back leg stiffness and difficulty getting up seems to have really gotten worse since I took him to the vet. We did a rabies shot that day because the shelter that I was trying to work with wanted to have him up to date on all his vaccines. The rabies vaccine was the only one the vet recommended for Marshmallow. He's had some degree of difficulty with walking and getting around since I've known him but it sure seems worse lately and the fairly dramatic drop off would actually correspond closely to the visit with the vet and the rabies shot. I looked it up and there seems to be a risk of kidney and liver damage due to the protein contained in the vaccine.

Mallow1.png
 

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I am aware of some issues with vaccines but I have not experienced any in a couple of hundred cats. ( that is a conservative number ;)) That is not to say it cannot be so. Only a vet can really tell. I am wondering about the stress along with other physical problems like arthritis. How’s the weather there? How old do we think Mallow is now? Getting a shot in an area that already is tender might make it feel worse? Have you tried something like heat? You can put uncooked white rice in an old cotton sock which is tied at the top. Warm the rice filled sock in the microwave and then check with your hand to make sure it is not too hot. ( it warms quickly and provides moist heat, I use this on me! Lol)! Lay that near Mallow and see if he lays beside it. Are you seeing any other symptoms? Kidneys working okay? Any signs of jaundice? If you see symptoms, of course you need the vet to help. You can call and ask questions too. There are ways to treat arthritis as well. I never hesitate to call our vet any time I get worried. Sometimes I am apologetic for asking so much but they have learned that I am always learning and that I note anything different with the cats. They tolerate me really well since they know I am giving the best care I can. I think vets appreciate people who do give proper care. Mallow is so beautiful! Healing purrs sent!
As for visits. I would definitely start with one cat at a time looking in at the others and do this at your own pace. At the cats pace too.
Lickable treats but no food from Plates? Then put lickable s on a dish or on top of some other food on a dish or on top of other food on your fingers. We can’t really outsmart a cat but we can bend the rules they give us. Lol
 

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Feline Vaccines: Benefits and Risks

The above advice really covers everything; this article from Cornell basically backs it up. There can be reactions, rare and mostly minor, but it lets you know what to look for if anything seems serious. I have only ever had one reaction to a vaccine and it was an older version of the FeLV vaccine, but the cat recovered.

As for rabies, I actually tried for a rabies waiver for a very old, sick dog a few years ago and was turned down and forced to give him the vaccine. Admittedly, he was not a cat, but he was fine.
 
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ChirpySquirrel

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Thanks for the info and great ideas as usual. Mallow does seem to output a decent amount of urine still so I suppose that's a good thing. He's seemed a little better the last few times I've gone in to check on him but certainly still stiff and struggles some to get to his feet.

As for the kitty visits...well Tuck came down to the floor level while Lippy was out (I basically just let Lippy roam around now while I'm scooping her litter, cleaning, replacing food/water, etc.) and she took it upon herself to visit Tuck in her cattery. I was very curious to see how it would go. I think Tuck was really wanting to come out and interact. She sees Lippy out and I just know she desperately wants freedom. It's hard for me to have to keep her locked up but I think it's way to soon still. But it was a happy reunion and they exchanged some pawing and "kisses" through the cattery wire. The wire for the catteries is so tight they can't really make much contact but it was good to see them have such a friendly encounter. I've let them "visit" that way a couple of additional times since. They still seem to know each other and I think the interactions are helping Tuck come out of her shell more. I'm now planning to arrange their enclosures so they can share a common "wall" where they can be closer together. I think Tuck will be happier to have some close companionship. I would really like to arrange a similar visit between Milly and Tuck. My impression was that outside, they were actually closer than Tuck and Lippy but all 3 got along famously for quite some time when they were younger. Here are some pictures:

Tuck up on her top perch
TuckTopPerch.png
Lippy going to visit Tuck. She turns and looks back at me...seeking my approval?? Yes, half of Tuckie's toys end up in the litter box most days... :sigh:
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Lippy and Tuck sharing kisses through the cattery wire
LippyandTuckKisses.png
Tuck wanting to come out :( She has the cutest tiny little paws!
Tuck.png
 

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These are great signs! Cats that are spayed and neutered are much better about calmer encounters. If they were a colony, there is every good chance they will be again. I have had cats “help me” to socialize others and I believe you will find this too as you go along. The bonds can be much stronger than we know. When I got the last cat in out of the last colony, Flowers helped me with him and as it went along, he helped me with Flowers. When BJ was reunited with others he had not seem in a year or more, it was a beautiful thing to see. It took a little bit of interaction with me to pet both as they looked each other over but once recognition set in, I often rejoice or just plain wept with how it touched my heart. They were family even if not related. The colony connections remained. The pictures are wonderful and very touching. Glad Mallow is slightly better. :heartshape:
 

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These cats look great! Silky coats, relaxed demeanor....you are doing a great job!

Jackson Galaxy often talks about the "social bridge" cat as he calls them, who help other cats gain confidence. I have seen this happen personally, so keep up the good work! These kitties will never know how lucky they are...or maybe they do.
 
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Lippy has been my social bridge cat for sure. I feel so fortunate she has seemed so naturally inclined to make the transition from the outside to inside and to being loved and cared for by a "scary" human. I don't know if Milly would have ever come around without Lippy. It's sort of comical really because Milly seems to try to imitate almost everything Lippy does. And I know Tuck's progress lately has to do with her being able to watch Lippy and see that she is safe and happy when I'm there. The only real hold out is Stormy. She still does not come out of hiding whenever I'm in the room. When Lippy is out roaming around, I've started letting her go over to Stormy's cattery. Lippy really seems to want Stormy to come out (hey, me too!). Just a reminder- Stormy is Lippy and Milly's mom...although Stormy separated from them and kept her distance other than sharing the large tree pile as home base. I was never able to tell if they shared common spaces in the tree pile or all had their separate "quarters". It certainly seemed to me that Stormy kept to herself while many times I would spot Lippy and Milly together. Of course they were still all aware of each other either way. Anyway, yesterday Lippy just sat there for quite a while looking into Stormy's cave (I assume they were looking at each other). She even made some noises or what I assume would be "calls" to Stormy...I'm not able see what Stormy is doing but there wasn't a peep or any movement or response back from what I could tell. I guess my hope is that Lippy is trying to coax her out to interact. That's the way it seems to me so maybe she will be able to entice Stormy out one of these days. Stormy almost always comes right out as soon as I leave and close the door behind me. She just still has not figured out that all the other kitties are safe, get food and treats, and play happily while I'm in the room.
 

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You are making great progress with these cats. Their backstory is very interesting about Stormy not really having a relationship, or not one that you can see, with the other two. If she comes out when you are not in the room, especially right away, there is probably some hope that eventually she will be there when are you. She may remain shy, but will probably adjust a little more. It is very touching how Lippy talks to her.

The pics you posted the other day really do show Tuck and Lippy engaged with you, even expectant for some interaction.
 
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I should probably clarify the back story a bit- Stormy was a great mom and took super good care of her kittens (Lippy and Milly), despite Stormy being less than 6 months old when she had them. It's just that after about 12 weeks or so, Stormy disassociated herself from them...kicking them out of the nest, so to speak. After that, they didn't seem to have much of a relationship with Stormy. Once in a while they would cross paths coming to get food but Stormy would always steer clear of the others and would wait or come back later rather than eat with them. Eventually, even Lippy and Milly started coming to eat separately most nights. Tuck usually came alone but once in a while came with either Lippy or Milly. Once in a great while, the 3 of them would come to eat together. I was always happy to see that.

I made a .gif of one of the first times I saw Lippy on my back porch. Lippy eventually does get up the step :) Stormy is standing watch there on the right. I took this picture July 20th, 2021...exactly one year ago tomorrow.
TinyLippy.gif


Here are some "Too Long, Didn't Read" details of the back story...I thought I'd share in case anyone wants to read about it...and since it was exactly a year ago today when Lippy and Milly came into my life. Scroll to the end if you only want to see some pictures :)

When the kittens were very young, Stormy started bringing them to my back porch where I was putting food out daily. Stormy's mom had brought her and her sibling the same way when Stormy was a kitten. I don't know what ever happed to Stormy's mom or Stormy's cute little sibling. They just stopped coming around after a while :( Stormy continued to come almost daily other than a couple of times she disappeared for several days in a row. Then one day last summer she brought 4 kittens. I was worried sick when this happened because at the time, I did not think Stormy was old enough to be their mom. In fact, I thought Stormy was a male and was maybe just looking after the kittens or something...like perhaps the mom was injured or sick and Stormy was trying to care for them- so I just didn't know how they were going to get fed. I put wet food and water out for them but I think they were still too young because they didn't try to eat. I thought they were going to die without a mom. I was panicking for like 2 days straight. Stormy even left the kittens under my porch nearly an entire day. I didn't know what to think. I would go out and try to check on them but was not sure what I could do to help them. They would do their best to hide in a corner or somewhere and would curl up in the smallest, tightest little balls of fur they possibly could to try to remain unseen. It was so heart-wrenching. One of them decided to try to escape and ran out on to my lawn as fast as her little legs could carry her...which was fast for how small she was but I was able to catch up and grab her. Again, I had no idea what to do but I put her back with the others and left them alone for a while. I was somewhat relieved when Stormy finally returned in the evening but was still unsure of what the situation was or how to get the kittens fed...but then I saw them trying to nurse on Stormy. I thought maybe they were just doing this by instinct but couldn't possibly be getting milk from a male cat...right? Well, turns out Stormy was a female and really was taking care of the kittens. It must have been quite a chore trying to get such tiny kittens to travel a long distance (for tiny little legs) safely through treacherous terrain to get to my place from the tree pile. Four kittens became only 2 after a while (Milly and Lippy). I actually believe the other 2 were from a different mom to be honest. They were both solid black and at the time there was another black kitty that was coming around. Totally a guess, but I wondered if the 2 black kittens were hers and maybe she couldn't take care of them or abandoned them so Stormy stepped in to help out...at least for a while. Whatever the case, those kitties stopped coming around after a while. It's hard when this happens because you just don't know what became of them. There were lots of coyotes (their yipping and barking noises in the night still haunt me) and other potential predators in the area, not to mention all the other hazards and hardships out there. But Stormy kept bringing Milly and Lippy diligently over the next several weeks. I constantly worried about them but they seemed to fare pretty well. Somewhere along the way, Tiny Tuck showed up and started coming around. She started trying to play with Lippy and Milly and did her best to fit in and presumably integrate into the family/colony. They would often play together (Stormy included) in my backyard after eating at around dusk or later at night throughout the late summer and into fall. Then Stormy decided she had raised them well and started the process of withdrawing herself from them. I just wanted them to stay together as a happy family so I was saddened by the "break up". I'm happy they are together again in my house but I really don't know what their relationship will be like with Stormy. She comes out when I'm not in the room and will sometimes interact with Tuck, who is closest to her. Mostly she just watches the others and they watch her back. As far as I could tell, Stormy actually only tolerated Tuck outside but was never really comfortable with her joining their family. After Stormy distanced herself from Lippy and Milly, I would sometimes see her chasing Tuck and it didn't seem like a friendly playful game either. Tuck would dive under the footings of my shed to get away which was too small of a spot for Stormy to fit. I suppose Stormy was just being protective of her territory. I have to imagine now that they are spayed, there won't be that type of conflict but I wonder how they will all get along. I expanded Milly's enclosure to arrange a common "wall" with Tuck and they've been playing a lot together. The first thing they did were give each other "kisses", just like Lippy and Tuck did on their first opportunity to have contact with each other. Then they immediately went into play mode like they were never separated. It's funny to see them next to each other now- back then they were about the same size. Now Milly is like twice the size of Tuck! It makes me happy they can have a little fun together yet they are still in separate enclosures which allows them each to retreat to their own space if they get annoyed at each other for any reason. Due to the space limitations and how things are arranged, I don't really have a way to expand Stormy's enclosure (which is the cattery combined with a large crate) over to share a wall with any of the others. That's probably fine for now anyway but I'm definitely curious about how they will interact. I guess we'll see when the time comes.

Milly catching a nap in the shelter under my porch exactly one year ago today:
LittleMilly.png
Stormy came back later that night after leaving the kittens under my porch most of the day. She took the kittens with her when she left after eating.
Stormy20210719.png
Little Lippy and Milly a few days later starting to eat a little dry food. When I saw this I went and bought kitten chow that they could more easily consume. They were also licking up a little wet food by then.
TinyLippyandMilly.png
Lippy on 8-19-21
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Teeny Tiny Tuck started coming around in late August. This was 8-28-21.
TinyTinyTuck.png
 

fionasmom

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I enjoyed your account of the backstory of these cats! Their kitten pics are just precious. As I was reading, I thought of the feral colony that we had maintained at my workplace several years ago. There was clearly a family relationship with a grandmother, daughter, grandchildren, and some males. After an attack by some dogs, we had to clear out the colony, friendly or not. Most were either sociable by then, or neutral, so we were able to divide them up and get them into homes. I took the grandmother and a grandson and granddaughter. They had all lived together and she had been very affectionate with her offspring. Another employee took the mother of the kittens. As soon as she got to my house, with the grandkids, she never took a second look at either of them, for the next 8 years, until she passed on. I don't think that Stormy's disassociation with her kittens is all that odd and I have seen this happen much more than I have seen bonded family members.

It will be interesting to see what happens with your brood.
 
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ChirpySquirrel

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Thank you Margot Lane Margot Lane for asking and for your interest. I hope you are doing well.

Things in Kittyland (as a friend of mine likes to call the kitty room) are fairly good for the most part. Based on a previous suggestion from Jcatbird Jcatbird , I allowed Milly and Lippy some time together, first in Milly's enclosure and then in Lippy's. Well, I'm not sure what to make of what happened. After some brief sniffing around, Milly got excited and was making his trilling noises a lot and then almost immediately they started wrestling. And I mean really wrestling...not to mention biting and bunny kicking, etc. It was pretty cute and while I'm certain it was play, it wasn't long before it seemed a bit aggressive for my liking. For some reason, the wrestling mostly took place in each other's litter boxes :confused2:. After a short time of really going at it, I decided to intervene. I was worried I wouldn't be able to separate them but they cooperated and I got Lippy out of there. Then the whole thing repeated when I allowed Milly to go into Lippy's enclosure. I know they played and wrestled outside when they were younger but I had never seen them go at it like that. It certainly makes me wonder and worry a little for eventually letting them out to share common space. I assume they would calm down after a while but it seemed like they wanted to both establish some form of dominance. I'm not sure- I started thinking they may actually hurt each other (probably not intentionally, but it certainly reminded me of competitive human siblings that end up taking things a little too far sometimes). The thing is, Milly is getting quite big and is also male so I'm pretty sure he would win (even though his sight is somewhat limited in the one eye where his 3rd eyelid is still protruding a lot). Lippy always seems so calm and nice that I didn't anticipate her wanting to "fight" but maybe Milly brings it out in her. Although, with them in separate enclosures with a common "wall", they paw at each other, share toys back and forth, and although they can get rowdy, they stay pretty civilized for the most part. Certainly way less aggressive than these encounters. I even expanded their enclosures to where they each have common "walls" with Tiny Tuck. They all seem to love it and play together and get along great. They often sleep and lounge close to each other and I've even spotted Tuck grooming Milly as they lay close together. I really think they all enjoy each other's company and being together.

Tuck is getting more and more brave as far as allowing me to be close. She is overcoming her fear and shyness especially while licking her squeeze up treats off my finger. We are super close to the point where I think I'll be able to start trying to scratch and pet a little. Milly allows some scratching but he'll mostly avoid my hands if there's no treat attached. I'm under the impression he doesn't necessarily care for it or understand it. At least not yet. Certainly not like Lippy. Lippy loves scratches and pets and snuggle time. When I let her out, usually the first thing she does is lay down right next to me for snuggles and scratches. Of course, she gets treats for additional motivation. Brushing her fur has not been terribly successful yet...she allows it briefly but then gets a little "annoyed". I may need to try a different style of brush.

Lippy, the week I trapped her. Sometimes after eating, she would make a stop in this shelter I had made out in my shed. I was always glad to see her in there because it had a heated mat and there were some really cold nights. She would never stay very long though.
LippyinShed.png

Fast forward to now...she does love being warm and comfy :)
LippySnuggling2.png

Stormy is still my biggest concern. I've been trying not to force anything but I'm not getting anywhere yet. I've been spreading squeeze up treats on a plastic knife and laying it just outside her kitty cave. All of the kitties I have (including my "regular" cat Coco Puff and Marshmallow) seem to go crazy for that stuff. It's been huge in the taming process for Lippy, Milly and Tuck. Still, Stormy will not budge. I thought maybe at least I'd see her nose poke out to sniff the treat a little but she doesn't seem to be curious at all about anything while I'm in the room. When out roaming around, Lippy still goes back there a lot where Stormy can see him but she's not having any of it so my hopes that Lippy could coax her out have been pretty much dashed. Some things I've read suggest I should only be providing food while I'm in the room. For the first couple of months while my mom was in the ICU, I really had no other choice but to allow free feeding. Luckily, I've been able to make progress with the other 3 but I'm wondering if Stormy needed that approach. I don't even think I'd have the heart to try now because I think she'd starve and I can't handle that thought. I could only allow wet food when I'm in there but I don't think she'd care too much...she normally eats more dry food that wet anyway. The way she eats the wet food is really cute though, despite the fact that she makes a mess. She dips her paw in the food and scoops some up and licks it off her paw. So funny...I don't know why she is doing that. I don't recall her ever doing that outside. I'll probably just keep trying to get her hooked on treats and only allow access to those while I'm in the room. I don't know if it will be enough to motivate her though. Any thoughts or ideas would be much appreciated.
 

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Goodness you‘ve come such a long way since we first read about your “tail.” :) I’m gonna let multiple cat owners speak up here but from my perspective, I think you are right in assuming the “play” is just that, cats trying to figure themselves out in the pecking order and also, maybe, the sudden free excitement of no barriers! I think you are right after a bit to referee, only b/c if things DO get out of hand, well, then there’s another vet bill for a scratch you don’t need. Sounds as if Stormy will just need more time…have you tried music for cats and Feliway products? One person on this site - I am forgetting whom- spent an inordinate amount of time reading aloud to a shy cat, and after persistent effort, won her over. Perhaps Stormy went through something deep the others didn’t, and so trust is more hard won. But gosh, even the tone of your voice and the way all of you sound like a little clowder is just joyful. Good on you, this sounds like real progress.:hearthrob: :hearthrob: PS Sometimes cats us their paws to eat due to whisker sensitivity or not wanting to get their faces messy. If the plate is super flat sometimes they switch over, but it is cute, the paw thing…my cat has done it for years.
 
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ChirpySquirrel

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Yes, I bet you're correct about the excitement of no barriers sort of sending them into a little bit of a full contact frenzy. I was hoping for some comments from those with experience in this area too. Anyway, I may have to try to set up some "neutral" ground for Lippy and Milly and see how a visit would go under those circumstances.

Maybe I should try the music for cats for Stormy while I'm in the room. I had been using Feliway but after all the aggressive behavior and most of the fear dissipated from the others, I stopped using it. I guess it couldn't hurt to get some more refills and still have that going in there. Stormy doesn't seem to need it and seems fine as long as I'm not in the room. She plays with her toys (often quite vigorously), lounges and sleeps comfortably outside her kitty cave, eats/drinks, watches the others play quite intently (makes me wonder if she would like to join in), etc. I'd like to be able to have her share a common wall with the others too and see how that goes but unfortunately, right now there is no way for me to do that without blocking my access. I feel kind of bad she is somewhat segregated a few feet away from any of the others.

Thanks for sharing about your cat who likes to paw at his/her food too. I serve their wet food on flat paper plates so maybe that's what it is. Maybe I'll try an elevated bowl or something but I don't see any issues with her using her paw other than the mess it makes (not sure why, maybe the food easily drops off her paw before she gets it in her mouth). I bought a tray for her that keeps most of the mess contained and relatively easy to clean up.

I also wanted to mention that I started the process of packing up boxes in anticipation of moving back to my townhome. The basement there is a better space for the kitties but I am still very nervous about the amount of noise they make when they play. It's really the one thing giving me a lot anxiety to the point where I've just been procrastinating everything for way too long. The tenants moved out of my townhome at the beginning of the month yet I've really done very little to get myself and the kitties ready to move. It's a difficult call since I have no way of knowing what the level of noise will be for the neighbors. The only comparison I have is that I can hear them quite well in my bedroom and there are plenty of noisy thumps, thuds, and bangs when they get going. I mean they can really get going sometimes- jumping around on and off things including the crate walls, banging on their crates and catteries, chasing and batting their toys around, scampering back and forth, etc. As I mentioned before, the walls at the townhome are better insulated and have more sound proofing but I know some sound will get through even if I add acoustic foam or something along those lines. I will be taking a chance because it is possible that the noise could be enough to cause a complaint. I fear it could be a nightmare if the HOA got involved. It's just hard to know but I feel like I would be wondering and worrying that the neighbors can hear them every time they get rambunctious. And yes, I am a worrier when it comes to stuff like that. What to do, what to do....
 

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I don’t have much time right now. I am so sorry I have been absent. I did see about the wrestling match. I have thise here sometimes. Slow and steady. I think they are excited but it can get a little rambunctious so a time out was the right thing. It’s a reunion and they may get a bit too excited reestablishing boundaries. I am thinking they’’ll get there though.
Try the cat music and the plates and see what happens. Stormy could be like my Allie. She completely changes when I put her in the bathroom and it is just us two. At first she objects. She keeps away but, as soon as I start rubbing under her chin or other places she likes….. SHE loves it! Lol Go figure. As soon as I let her back in the room with the others, she is back to being a cat’s cat.:dunno: Every cat is different and it just takes experimenting to find what works for you and the cat. Hopefully Stormy will give you some clues as to what path you need to take. Your instincts are spot on so I know you will figure it out. Feeding, IMHO, should be free feeding if Stormy prefers. Some cats are grazers. Have you tried catnip with any of them yet? Sorry if I missed something but way to much going on here right now. Lol Sending purrs! There are videos on YouTube of cat purrs and heartbeats that sometimes calm rather well. Maybe that would be of interest?
 

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I agree that you do not want to create a situation where Stormy does not eat; that only makes everything worse, so I would continue to free feed her.

One of mine uses a paw on any dry food, including the freeze dried treats which can get crumbly. There is always residue around her treat bowl and it is really just an idiosyncrasy.

Cat play can look very rough and supervising is a good idea until you understand how they play. Sometimes a cat who plays hard will become overstimulated and a little aggressive. It is almost like redirected aggression, but not at something out the window. My youngest cat, Rikki, loves to play with Da Bird but as he really gets into it, he will suddenly turn and chase another cat as if he means business, including his friend cats. They will back away from him, but nothing has ever happened. If you see claws being used or hear yowling, that might be a sign that they need to be separated. I have a tennis racket I use to separate cats as it is safe and humane and can be put between to cats to break their concentration.

You are moving with 6 cats total? What is the limit for the HOA? They don't really meow, only dart around?
 
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ChirpySquirrel

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Jcatbird Jcatbird - absolutely no need to apologize. Despite your superhuman strength, willpower and determination, there are only so many hours in a day ;) I consider myself very lucky to have your input from time to time whenever you can check in. I'm just afraid my way-too-long boring posts with too many details for anyone to keep track of were just a bit too much for people to want to follow along.

I actually have not yet tried catnip other than in some of the toys I've given them. I have some but the only time I ever tried using it was when I would sprinkle it in traps when I was trying anything and everything to get them to venture in. I never got the impression it did much good but wouldn't hurt to try it with Stormy - would I just sprinkle it outside her kitty cave to see if it will lure her out?

she is back to being a cat’s cat.
Lol, yes Stormy may very well be a "cat's cat". She was mostly business outside with the responsibility of taking care of kittens when she was basically still a kitten herself. I think of her as having to "grow up" way too fast. Not to mention she was born during the winter so from the beginning life would have been difficult. Now, she plays daily with her toys and I often see her (on camera) just relaxing on the floor sometimes rolling on her back with paws up in the air or lazily batting at one thing or another. I love that she can just relax and be a cat without any danger or hardship. One interesting note is that I recently decided to try putting one of my shirts near her crate and she pulled it and has been laying on it.

fionasmom fionasmom - thank you as well for always providing responses and great suggestions/advice. Yes, 6 cats total counting Marshmallow. At the townhome, I'm allowed only 3. I had really hoped to have a new home for Mallow before moving but so far that hasn't happened. I'm very fond of him and he's just so sweet. I owe it to him to make sure he will have a great home even if I have to keep him as long as that takes.

The only one that meows is Lippy. She has the sweetest little high pitched meow. She mostly only meows at me a few times when I first come in the room. Milly makes a lot of trilling noises when she's playing with Lippy or wanting Lippy's attention. But yeah, I'm not really concerned with the meowing or trilling noises being a problem. It's the banging, thumping and crashing noises when they get rowdy. They can be surprisingly loud and could easily be enough for a neighbor to wonder "what the heck is going on over there??!!" I do think there are things I can do to decrease the potential for noise but until I can get them out of crates and enclosures entirely, there will still be the banging, crashing and thumping noise for sure. For example, they'll run and jump up high onto the crate wall, sometimes clinging up there for a bit and other times just hurling themselves back the other way, landing on the floor. There's the banging and rattling of the crate, and then there's the loud thumps when they land back on the floor. They all tend to get going at the same time which certainly magnifies the noise. Running around and darting back and forth causes plenty of noise as well. This happens usually 2 or 3 times a day and they can be rowdy and noisy sometimes for 20 or 30 minutes at a time.

I'll keep the tennis racket idea in mind, lol. It sounds a little funny but I can see how that would be a great way to separate them if things get a little out of control.
 

fionasmom

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Will anyone figure out how many cats you will have at the townhome? Can you move in after dark, or transport the cats then, or do whatever it takes to just get them inside initially? Once inside, do you think that they can be, or some of them, let out of the crates and enclosures and allowed to hang out where they want? Three cats could be as noisy as six, so I don't see where you need to own up to how many there are. Windows that others can see into? I think that if the noise is minimal or something that can be passed of as "cats are getting used to new place" that the neighbors won't care that much. Is the HOA board snoopy?
 
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ChirpySquirrel

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As far as getting them in the house, I should be able to just drive into the garage, close the garage door, and then carry them into the house without anyone seeing anything.

Thanks for helping me think through this. You bring up a good point that 3 cats could be as noisy as 6. Even if I still have Marshmallow, he doesn't make any noise and neither does Coco Puff. So really I could think of it as 3 cats could be as noisy as 4. The 4 tree pile kitties will be downstairs in the basement level. There is a sliding glass door down there and one other window. They both face the back yard which is actually at ground level back there because the building is on a slope. Back there is considered a common area but it's just a strip of lawn. There's not normally much activity back there other than sometimes kids will play and run around back and forth. However, if a curious neighbor happened to want to have a look at what's going on in my basement, it would be easy for them to sneak a peak though one of the windows. I would really like to leave the blinds open so the kitties could have a view to the outside. Just thinking as I type but maybe there's some kind of window treatment I can apply that allows you to see out but nobody can see in. I'll have to look in to that.

The HOA could be snoopy if there are complaints. The nightmare scenario in my mind is where the HOA finds out I have too many cats and they send someone to assess things. If somehow I am forced to let them in, they would discover the enclosures and everything downstairs and find that the kitties are not tame house cats. So then they could determine that they are "dangerous" and at that point, it wouldn't surprise me if they brought someone in to remove the cats. I'm sure they would not mess around trying to find a sanctuary or somewhere that would take them either. This is obviously worst case scenario and hopefully it would not play out that way but that sort of thing can and does happen.

Now, about the possibility of letting them out of the crates/catteries/enclosures. I would love to do that sooner than later. I contemplate when and exactly how I will be able to let them out all the time. I've felt like it's something I need to do slowly in increments (like with the supervised visits and expanding their space little by little) but is there a case for just going in one day and leaving all their doors open? I can think of a few concerns. Would they be territorial? Would they all get along well enough and not get too aggressive/physical with their playtime? Would Milly eat everyone else's food and make a mess out of all the litter boxes? I can already pencil that one in as a "probably" :lol:. Would letting Stormy out hurt my chances of ever getting her to warm up to me? Then, of course, the whole issue is compounded by the move and them having to get used to a new area, new smells, etc.

Side note- I was able to touch Tuck's head and chin a little bit tonight while she was licking her squeeze up treats off my fingers. I've been taking it really slow so it's always nice to hit those new milestones. It's funny how their defenses seem to go way down and they get so focused on the treats. Meanwhile, Lippy decided to help himself to inside Tuck's cattery. I'm able to pick Lippy up though so I decided to let her hang out in there for a while knowing I could extract her if needed. She cooperated though...as usual...she's so good and even somewhat obedient to a certain extent (you know, for a cat...haha).
 
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