Trapped feral and brought to new home, NOW WHAT?!

di and bob

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Hi everyone, I hope someone can help me get my Stewart to adjust to his new home easier. We trapped him last night and took him to our new acreage where we released him into a 10x20 chicken wired run. He ran around for a few minutes trying to get out and then finally hid in one of the two huts I have for him. The top is canvassed for shade, There is also a plywood sheet that is leaned against the side where he can hide or get more shade, it has been very hot here 100 degrees, but a much cooler week is here at last. What now? How long do I keep him caged? I am so afraid he will try to get back to the old place which is 2-3 miles away and has two highways in between. He started coming as a kitten two and a half years ago. I am so torn. I couldn't leave him, he is way too dependent on us and has a heated hut in the winter. But I brought him from lush grass an trees to dirt and stickers on the farm. The grass is going in this fall, and I'm hoping to get a fence up that he can get in like at the other place to escape predators, etc. Out here in the country I'm sure there are coyotes, though I haven't heard any close. He eventually would have died on that busy street by the other place, so many have, but did I just bring him to be killed here by coyotes or trying to get back home? The only thing is he IS feral, it took us these two years to stroke his head and that is it. So he is somewhat predator wise. I can't keep him inside, he is way too wild and my three other cats who have leukemia would be too stressed. So would he. How can I convince him to stay?
 

shadowsrescue

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I do know you need to keep him confined for 3-6 weeks so that he can acclimate to his new surroundings. Otherwise he will try to get back to his previous home. Do you have anything from his current area that would help him feel safe. Something like a cushion he might have slept on, a familiar feeding bowl or even something that smells like you?

You could try some Composure or zylkene too.

How wonderful you rescued him and brought him to a new home to be with you. I am certain he will settle in time. Just be very cautious that he doesn't escape.
 

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Honestly I'd keep him in the enclosure, if that's a possibility. Much safer. If that's not possible, I think you can probaby tell when he's ready to come out. At least a month, and only after he seems comfortable and content in the new surroundings, but perhaps a bit restless to get out.

Do you have any outbuildings? I've found that cats don't really like to hang around a farm if there aren't any outbuildings to prowl in. I suppose the open fields make them feel too vulnerable.
 
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di and bob

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Thank you shadowsrescue shadowsrescue and W Willowy for your tips. We did bring the wooden cat house he has went in to escape storms and his bowls. We do have bldg. But none he can access, he had a hole into our garage at the other house but never used it. My husband is building me a new garden shed so I'll have something there he can use if he wants.
He is SO scared! I'm so happy he didn't escape somehow last night, you never know....I put food out this morning, he didn't eat.I'll leave some for him tonight though I don't want to attract predators either. Maybe just until he starts eating. He's been in his hut all day. I don't think that is unusual, but I really hope he comes out soon! We have sat by the pen and talked to him several times today, I don't know if that is good or bad!
 
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di and bob

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It has been 6 days now and he is coming out more, studying his surroundings and not hiding when we bring in food. I was able to scratch his head yesterday, though he did hiss a warning. He still looks so scared, and I'm sure he is. I feed him wet food twice a day at the same time, leave dry food there during the day, and give him a treat around 8 PM like shaved turkey or gravy. He's eating everything, so things are improving. Bob is talking about building a Catuary, about 18x40 for him to stay in. I could use it for chickens when he is out, or have a screened-in place to enjoy. I am seriously thinking of keeping him there till next spring. Will that mess him up? I would watch for anxiety and take my cues from him. It is then we most likely will have an open-ended shed for him to go, and build him a safe place in it from predators. Will that be too long? Or will it be like housecats that are finally allowed out? Or should I let him out after 6 weeks and have him a few houses around he can go into?
 

will2002

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It is my opinion that the cat will need to stay restricted to the 10 X 20 space you have him in, as you suggested, till next spring, at least. If there is some way you could plant some oats or wheat in half of his runaround and irrigate it so it will grow fast it would give him something to "snack on" or better yet something to play and hide in. This "might" help.

I also believe the more human contact that he receives, the better it will be for him, however that is only an opinion. I would talk to him and touch him any way that is safe as often as is possible.

I have a "stray" young tom that the wife and I have been working with for the past six months. He just started coming inside the house the past two weeks to eat and eat and eat some more!

Afterwards he uses the litter box. Only then, when he has a full belly and all of his business is tended to, he wants back outdoors!!

Good luck with your project. God's blessings on you and yours for helping this kitty to have a safe home.

Will.
 
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di and bob

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The Pigweed, or Redroot that grows around here will most likely grow in his cage to give him some hiding places and shade, it grows inches a day! I could try the oat idea too. I'm going to clean his cage today, dig out where he does his business, and put down some cat litter on the ground to get him used to it. There is a litter box in there with some of his feces in it, but he has no idea what it is for. We put a patio chair with a cushion in there because I remember him enjoying the ones on our patio, and it gives us a place to sit while talking to him.
He looks so lonely and miserable, but it hasn't even been a week. He was never around other cats at the other place, so I don't know how lonely he will be.
It is going to be a hundred this weekend, we have tarps on the roof of his cage for shade, but I think I might set up a fan for him, there are outlets nearby. I saw him panting yesterday, it was 90, so I gave him some water with ice in it.
 

will2002

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di and bob: I believe that you are doing about as good a job of taking of that kitty as anyone could do.

You might consider putting a radio out there for some "easy listening" for him. We always leave the radio on at a low volume for the housecats that let us live in their house if we are going to be gone for an extended period.
 
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di and bob

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That's another good idea. In fact my husband was working in the garage all day yesterday and had the radio on. Its next to Stewart's pen.
I'm happy he's eating and letting me scratch his head. He is still very nervous, he still hisses and goes to the far side of the cage. He's right there now though when a plate is in your hand!
 

Furballsmom

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This will require maintaining, but I read somewhere to put ice cubes in a big bowl and have the fan directed so that it blows over the bowl.
 

moxiewild

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Can you work on vertical space in the pen too? He might need some enrichment, and more things to climb at varying heights could help!

If it’s in your budget, there are a lot of bowls online that will help keep water cool.

We use polar bowls and similar bowls from the K&H brand to help keep the water cool for our colony kitties down here in Texas. You just freeze them in the freezer every night.

We usually get multiples so that we can change them out often and keep a consistently cool bowl during June-August when the heat and humidity are unbearable even at night.

However, one trick to keep the water cooler longer is to fill the bowl up with water half way before you freeze it overnight. That way in the morning there’s a big chunk of ice to help keep the water and bowl cold.

You might also consider getting him a “cooling” pad. There are various types online. Some you fill with water, some you freeze, others use a nontoxic cooling gel. Our cats like the gel kind the most, and the water kind the least. I like the freezer kind the least because we have limited freezer space and most of it is already dedicated to cat bowls in the summer 😝

You might also try an elevated bed like this - https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07PF1LDMP/?tag=thecatsite

We have a few out that have canopies on them too. The cats really enjoy them during the spring and summer, so I think it must keep them pretty cool!

You’re doing a great job! Wish more people cared like you and your husband!
 
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di and bob

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I asked Bob to drag a big pine tree trunk we had laying out back into the cage. It will give him something to scratch and a new perch. He is sure staring at everything. I hope he is memorizing things in case he gets out....
 
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