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Separating Feral Group. Cruel Or Not?

Discussion in 'Caring for Strays and Ferals' started by catac, Aug 9, 2018.

  1. catac

    catac Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Jul 31, 2018
    I'm currently taking care of four (possibly related) male ferals who have been TNR'd. A local charity wishes to re-home them to a nice farm as they would have a better life there. I don't mind as I've never owned cats and do feel that if all four need medical attention, then I might not be able to provide that. They might also get better food rather than mainly dry or cheap wet food.

    However, I've grown very attached to one in the few months I've been feeding him and can't come to terms with letting him go. He's really helped me get some routine and happiness in my life after a bad period and I feel that might decrease when he's gone. He comes the closest to me and is so sweet. I believe he's best friends or bonded with another cat, and the other two are best friends with each other. So two pairs of best friends, but all four are friends.

    Would it be cruel to send the other pair away and keep one with me? It seems really selfish to split up a group of brothers.

    On the one hand, only taking care of two cats with one that eats every few days means I can give better quality food and provide medical attention easier. But on the other, maybe they might miss each other and get depressed.
     

  2. surya

    surya TCS Member Top Cat

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    Aug 23, 2010
    Houston
    Do you own a home? If so you could build an outdoor enclosure for the kitties. Then you could keep the one you are attached to, and his friend. And let the other two go to the farm. I think the kitty needs you and his friend and the enclosure would keep them safe.
     

  3. catac

    catac Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Jul 31, 2018
    I live with my parents, and by outdoor enclosure do you mean like a cat run? They have a little house that fits two but I don't think they're keen on sharing haha. But you're basically saying it'll be fine if they're split up?
     

  4. maggie101

    maggie101 3 cats Super Cat

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    Houston,TX
    They should be fine separated. These 2 cats were bff for 2 yrs. My neighbor took the male with her since she got close to him. The female, Coco, has been with me for a year. She was very timid. She has just started to leave my bedroom by herself. Coco gets along with my cat Peaches but Maggie she is still afraid of. When my neighbor moved the male was an inside outside cat but after 2 weeks he ran away probably to find his bff. Never saw him again. As long as you keep the cat inside it should work out P1020285.JPG received_2028323890730798.jpeg
     

  5. maggie101

    maggie101 3 cats Super Cat

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    Apr 20, 2014
    Houston,TX
    Also my cats are microchipped just in case.Coco is afraid of the outdoors now!
     

  6. kittychick

    kittychick TCS Member Super Cat

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    Jul 2, 2013
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    First of all - - YEAH FOR YOU for taking care of these guys! Especially since you've never had cats before - - many people would have overlooked/ignored your little group. So since the kitties can't clap well with their furry paws - - - I'm clapping for you pretty hard from here!

    As far as separating them, it won't cause any long-term trauma to either the group going to the farm or the one that you keep. I read thru the thread quickly since it's late (so sorry if I repeat anything mentioned already suggested) - - but if you keep the one little guy - - will you be able to bring him inside full-time with you, or will he still have to be fully outdoors? It would be much MUCH safer for the one you've really fallen for to come inside on a permanent basis - - safer for you AND for him! It will GREATLY reduce the dangers he's faced with everyday outside (from cars, to other animals - from larger predators like coyotes to other cats fighting him for territory). And it's safer for you as you'll eliminate the worry over times he doesn't make it home for dinner, or does come home with an abcess or something - - and by eliminating that stress - your lifespan will increase greatly too! Especially since it sounds as though he's REALLY touched your heart :itslove: !!! Like many of us on this site believe with all of our hearts - - having a cat (or 2 or 4 or 6.... :p) helps our lives as humans, reducing stress, lowering blood pressure and heart rates, etc.

    Bringing him in full-time is also very important in the immediate weeks following his separation from his brothers. He will likely try to find them for awhile if he's outside - - which can cause him to go looking - further than normal, making it even less safe for him out there and harder to find his way home! If he's brought inside (and if you've not tried him inside fully yet - - - MANY of us here have done that often and can offer lots of suggestions for making the outdoor to indoor an easier transition), he'll eventually be MUCH happier inside with you. :heartshape: He may vocalize for a bit - - -even go from room making noise looking for them. But he WILL eventually calm down and see how great his new digs are! But if he was a true feral, he may take a bit more work than the old "plunk the cat in the middle of a family room and hope for the best." But many of us here can truly offer LOTS of very helpful advice from lot

    And a note on the 3 going to the barn through the rescue - - how wonderful that you've got a humane group willing to take them!!!!! Hopefully they know this already and have let the farmer know this - ---but very kittens/cats (feral or not) will NOT stay if allowed out immediately at their new barn home. Instead they get confused and take off, thinking they'll be able to get to get "home." They'll need to be kept in some kind of enclosure (such as a large dog kennel, or safely enclosed tack room, etc) for several week. It's not a reflection on how "good"their new home is - - it's simply that they knew they could eat and be happy at their "previous home" and the barn home is a big "unknown" for them. But if they're kept in some type of crate or completely enclosed room, where they can be fed and everything in there), they learn to associate their new place (with its new smells, sounds, people, etc.).

    Keep us posted! If it's all done slowly, everyone should, in the end (including you!) be healthier and happier!
     

  7. catac

    catac Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Jul 31, 2018
    Well I'm glad to hear that separating them won't cause any long term damage. Although I should clarify that the little guy won't be by himself, his best friend will stay behind too!

    @maggie101 Coco is absolutely adorable! Really glad that she's happy with you now :)

    @kittychick Thank you for the kind comments. :) Unfortunately, my mum is still afraid of cats being indoors and around her, so until she comes to terms with her fears I can't keep him (or any other cat) inside full-time. I do feel that he would be happier outdoors or as an indoors/outdoors cat since he's lived like that for 2 years and enjoys looking at the birds and flowers and hunting moths. Wouldn't want to take that away from him.

    Also fwiw, I'm in the UK so the main dangers are cars and one ginger tom who likes having staring competitions with him (I try and chase him away if I'm nearby). Most people let their cats go outside anyway, in my area at least.

    We are letting him eat in our kitchen now though, so would you say it would be good idea to install a cat flap around the time two of his brothers are sent off? Get him used to coming in the kitchen if he wants our attention or something? Or another way to transition him to being "our" cat?

    As for the farm, the charity volunteers are indeed very nice people. In fact, they specialise in rehoming feral cats to farms :D So when a farmer chooses the two cats, they'll be kept in a cat pen for a few weeks on the farm, which has beds, cages, food and water. That should hopefully stop them from walking away. I'm sure they'd like to be as far away from pesky humans as possible, so a farm would be great for them. ;)
     

  8. maggie101

    maggie101 3 cats Super Cat

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    Apr 20, 2014
    Houston,TX
    A friend of mine has a catio connected to her garage. Can the cat have a room of her own?
     

  9. catac

    catac Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Jul 31, 2018
    The catio sounds like a nice DIY project, could certainly try building one over several months. As for a room of his own, we currently don't have an empty one, although I could use my bedroom but that only has a curtain.
     

  10. catac

    catac Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Jul 31, 2018
    On an unrelated note - just fed four of them and after eating they went to the back of the garden and got spooked by something. Then all of them starting walking extremely carefully around the back, with their bodies low to the ground and tails arched. Some howling was also heard, would this be the result of a rival gang or something? First time it's ever happened and now they've disappeared through the back fence.
     

  11. maggie101

    maggie101 3 cats Super Cat

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    Apr 20, 2014
    Houston,TX
    My guess is a wild animal. Do you have coyotes? If somethings spooking them is there a safe sancuary they could go? Except the one you want inside. That would be a good excuse for your mom to keep him inside.
     

  12. catac

    catac Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Jul 31, 2018
    The howling seemed to have been coming from a cat o_O No coyotes in London luckily, even foxes don't seem to faze them that much. They have a lot of sheds or garages to climb on and a small cat house. Otherwise they pretty much run as fast as they can. Surprisingly, my mum's agreed to us temporarily fostering a cat! So hopefully after a month or two, she'll warm up to letting him inside for non-safety reasons :D

    NB: Fostering lets us get her used to being around a tame cat and slowly reduce her fear.
     

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