Thinking of adopting a Feral, but problems with the other animals.

ALEXAMONKEY

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This cat (I named him the first day I saw him- Hawkeye) has been around our back yard for months now. He doesn't often leave our yard anymore, and when he does he's usually close enough that he'll show up if I call him. We already feel like he is our cat and that we should adopt him, and there is urgency to this decision because we are about to move out of state. So unfortunately we can't continue to take the time for him to get even more comfortable with us, we'd have to catch him and put him in a box and he would have to travel for 2-3 days that way, which sure doesn't sound ideal. He trusts us enough to come right to us and will sniff our hands and sometimes rub against our legs but he's not ready to be touched. I've been giving him all the time he needs until now. I can't just leave him here. He's used to getting fed here, who knows what would happen with new tenants in the house we're renting. I asked around the community looking for someone who wanted to give him a loving home but came up short. Also this is BIG coyote country. He's lucky he hasn't become coyote food yet. Of course we have two other cats and a dog. There is the real problem. Our dog chases him and barks his fool head off. But he is small (he weighs less than our other cats) and he is totally harmless. It would take a bit of time and effort but I think he would calm down. The other cats, one in particular, are also a huge problem. One of my cats is just plain mean. She bullies the dog and he is afraid of her. I love her and will always take care of her but she is seriously just a downright mean cat. Both of my cats are girls, and this feral is a boy. We are planning to get him neutered no regardless of whether or not we take him though. But I'm wondering, how can I socialize this cat with our animals? Right now it seems like it would be world war 3. It breaks my heart the idea of parting with him, he is just an awesome cat. I would take him to a shelter but here there are so many ferals that what they do is trap them, get them spayed/neutered, then release them. I don't think they will house him and try to get him adopted. Do you think the cats might chill out on him a little after he is neutered? Is it unfair and too traumatic to have to catch him and put him in a box for several days? Sorry so long winded but it's complicated. (ps- he's pretty easygoing. He's figured out the dog is full of bs, so although he runs from him sometimes the dog corners him and all he does is bark and Hawkeye just ends up sort of sitting there looking bored. He also isn't too phased by our mean cat. He tries to avoid her but doesn't seem to let her interfere with him doing what he wants to do.
 

fionasmom

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Welcome to The Cat Site! How "about" are you moving? This may be a special situation where you have to do the best you can and work from there. If you leave the cat, he will have no source of food, he may encounter unfriendly people who want him no where near the property which he sees as his, and as he loses his safe haven he will be at risk from the coyotes, especially as he tries to find food. I know that you feel bad about this whole situation but I do want to add that I have been called in when people have left cats behind and there is nothing more heartbreaking than to see them waiting for the meal that will never come.

As for all the other pets you own, in any circumstance of bringing a new cat into the house, you need to give them their own safe room. Putting him out with your other pets would be out of the question regardless, and he needs to be kept inside for at least 4 weeks if you are considering letting him be indoor/outdoor, which I never recommend.

I once trained a feral to eat in a large dog crate, pushing the food to the back of the crate, and finally slamming the door on the day of the move. I don't recommend that you cut it that short though, but it can be done. You mentioned that you were going to neuter him, and you own other cats, so you must have cat carriers and you must have a vet. Timewise, I recommend that if you are going to get him fixed before the move, that you not let him back out again as he may resist going back into any kind of carrier or trap. My personal pets would do this, so it really has nothing to do with the fact that he may be feral.

He would need to travel in a cat carrier of some sort. You must be planning on doing the same thing with the other two cats. Are you going to stop at pet friendly motels or make a long drive? You need to be cautious with all the animals, including the dog, so that no one is accidentally lost along the way by opening a crate at the wrong time, etc.

As I said, this is not optimum, but starving to death once he is abandoned is not either. Given that I have only ever worked with ferals and strays, and have brought cats into the house on an emergency basis, I absolutely believe that this can work.

You will probably have a lot more specific questions which we can all try to help you with. However, I think that in your case you have to figure out how to get this boy and move with him and then work on the rest.
 
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ALEXAMONKEY

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Welcome to The Cat Site! How "about" are you moving? This may be a special situation where you have to do the best you can and work from there. If you leave the cat, he will have no source of food, he may encounter unfriendly people who want him no where near the property which he sees as his, and as he loses his safe haven he will be at risk from the coyotes, especially as he tries to find food. I know that you feel bad about this whole situation but I do want to add that I have been called in when people have left cats behind and there is nothing more heartbreaking than to see them waiting for the meal that will never come.

As for all the other pets you own, in any circumstance of bringing a new cat into the house, you need to give them their own safe room. Putting him out with your other pets would be out of the question regardless, and he needs to be kept inside for at least 4 weeks if you are considering letting him be indoor/outdoor, which I never recommend.

I once trained a feral to eat in a large dog crate, pushing the food to the back of the crate, and finally slamming the door on the day of the move. I don't recommend that you cut it that short though, but it can be done. You mentioned that you were going to neuter him, and you own other cats, so you must have cat carriers and you must have a vet. Timewise, I recommend that if you are going to get him fixed before the move, that you not let him back out again as he may resist going back into any kind of carrier or trap. My personal pets would do this, so it really has nothing to do with the fact that he may be feral.

He would need to travel in a cat carrier of some sort. You must be planning on doing the same thing with the other two cats. Are you going to stop at pet friendly motels or make a long drive? You need to be cautious with all the animals, including the dog, so that no one is accidentally lost along the way by opening a crate at the wrong time, etc.

As I said, this is not optimum, but starving to death once he is abandoned is not either. Given that I have only ever worked with ferals and strays, and have brought cats into the house on an emergency basis, I absolutely believe that this can work.

You will probably have a lot more specific questions which we can all try to help you with. However, I think that in your case you have to figure out how to get this boy and move with him and then work on the rest.
Yes, we were planning on transporting all three cats in their own carrier. We are taking 2 vehicles, my husband is going to drive the moving truck with the dog and I'll have our 3 year old and the 3 cats. The motel in the evenings is a bit tricky to figure out. Normally we would let all of the animals out to stretch their legs, and also they will surely need to pee at least, but with all of them in this situation I'm not sure how we could do that, and if we let Hawkeye out who knows how we would get him back in. I once moved my sister's cats for her (from the same state, to the same state) and the vet had given her tranquilizers for them to keep them calm during the move. We may have to go that way. We should have enough space once we get to our new home that we can keep Hawkeye in his own room for as long as we need to. I'm also starting to take the dog out on his leash and let him see Hawkeye and bark until he gets it all out and gets used to him. Like I said, Hawkeye isn't really phased by him, especially when he is leashed. I think it would be best if Hawkeye at least has tranquilizers. But how do we let him pee? Maybe we can let him out in the bathroom for a while. I just don't know. Also can't have the dog barking at him all night. This is going to be tough. And yes, I can't stand the thought of that poor cat coming to the back door looking to be fed and wondering why he was just left there all alone.
 

fionasmom

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Asking for tranquilizers is a good idea. As for the peeing, I think you answered your own question. Or at least you would do what I would do which is to take him in the bathroom, close the door, let him have some cage free time there and use the litterbox, and then put him back in the carrier. I would not take a chance with releasing him in a hotel room for a lot of reasons. He will be unhappy, possibly, but then he may surprise you and be grateful for shelter and food. But 2 or 3 days in the face of getting a great life at the end of this is something that he will have to put up with.
 
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ALEXAMONKEY

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I just wanted to show off Hawkeye. Now how could anyone not adopt this guy?? I can't wait to get him to the vet and find out approximately how old he is, but I don't think he could be too old around here in coyote country. I mean it's a huge thing here. I sometimes see them just walking down the street in front of my house.
 

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fionasmom

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What a beautiful little black and white boy! We have coyotes around here in large numbers as well and the attacks on small dogs and cats are frequent. Coyotes are bold enough to jump into back yards and take out pets. Yes, Hawkeye is lucky to still be around. He is giving you such a sweet look.
 

MackerelTabbyStripes

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What a beautiful, lucky boy!

When I recently got some feral kittens secured, I ended up keeping them both in separate cat carriers for a couple days, just putting in some litter in the bottom of a cut-off plastic tub of cat litter. It was small enough to fit inside, and since the kittens were small, it worked out. It would definitely not be ideal for an adult cat, and if you think you'll definitely be able to get him back in the crate after releasing him in a hotel bathroom you can do that. But I am thinking if he still isn't ready for handling, you don't want to deal with spending an extra several hours in some random hotel dealing with a recalcitrant cat. Once you get to your new house, things get easier because you won't have externally imposed schedules and you can keep him in a separate room for however many weeks it takes for him to get comfortable with his indoor situation, with you, and with the other animals.

You might also consider using a medium sized dog crate in the hotel bathroom -- transferring him between each to give him a little more room and a better toilet. I've done that too -- they like going to the covered, secure place so I was able to move them by strategic use of a blanket.
 
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