what to do after trapping a stray

starrynight123

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Hi,

I have been feeding a stray cat for about 2 weeks. I am getting ready to trap her on my own and I have never done it before. I bought a trap on Amazon and it will arrive tomorrow.

About the cat, she is probably about a year old. I actually saw her as a kitten when my dog ran her up a tree but I could not catch her at that time. Now, she has reappeared months later. I have not been able to pet her. She does come when she sees me and hears my voice.

After I trap her, what should I do? I have a dog and a cat. My dog is allergic to flea bites and is allergic to topical flea medication. My cat is an indoor only cat but does use a topical flea medication. I have called vet offices, rescues and shelters and no one can treat her right away or taker her in. I have to make an appointment (which is not possible as I don't know when she is going to be caught). My house is carpeted so I am thinking of putting her in the bathroom but my bathroom is so small and she might be able to get out when we go in to check on her and feed her. Would I be able to contain the fleas inside the bathroom? Any other diseases that I need to be aware of? I also worry about how I am going to put her in a crate when I am able to get an appointment.

Any suggestions? I can use any help as I am not familiar with cats. I have a cat that I found as a baby and he is not very cat like. We are planning to spay her and willing to work with her to domesticate and adopt her for her safety as she hangs out underneath cars, chased by other cats and was very skinny before we started feeding her.
 

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Hi
I have to make an appointment
I can't help with the literal logistics that you're asking about, but one thing you may want to do even though you don't know how long the trapping might take (use a food that's really stinky like mackerel, chicken livers or Kentucky Fried Chicken, dribble it from front to back to entice the cat all the way in, and cover the trip plate with newspaper or something, since some cats are smart about traps) ... is to go ahead and get an appointment anyway, maybe a couple weeks out (depending on how busy they are) or so. You want to be on their schedule list as soon as is possible.
 

fionasmom

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Definitely make the appointment. I am in the same place now with a just rescued male who is in desperate need of neutering but no one is taking any appointments short of a few weeks from now. I have one scheduled for 3 weeks from now, which I find irritating, but is the best I have been able to do so far.

It is best to isolate a new cat in a room if you can. The cat will feel better and you should have her tested for anything communicable before you let her see your cat. She will not be instantly friendly, so don't take that as a failure. The best thing for you to do, so as to not burden you with a ton of info right now, is to come back and continue posting once you have her and have some idea of how she is reacting. We can go from there with advice. Don't even start to worry about crating her for the appointment.

If you can put anything like Advantage on her, that might be the best way to treat for fleas immediately. I have been able to sneak up on ferals and squeeze it on the back of their necks. When you open the bathroom door, have something to block her exit, like a very large piece of cardboard or pig board type of apparatus. You probably don't need to buy anything.
 
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starrynight123

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Hi.

I have some ideas, but you would be better off hearing from some of the members who have experience in dealing with strays, so I am tagging them in the hopes they will find some time to give you some guidance. Jcatbird Jcatbird , Meowmee Meowmee , catsknowme catsknowme , fionasmom fionasmom .
Thank you! I'm super nervous about the trapping. I don't want it to fail and have her never return
 
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starrynight123

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Definitely make the appointment. I am in the same place now with a just rescued male who is in desperate need of neutering but no one is taking any appointments short of a few weeks from now. I have one scheduled for 3 weeks from now, which I find irritating, but is the best I have been able to do so far.

It is best to isolate a new cat in a room if you can. The cat will feel better and you should have her tested for anything communicable before you let her see your cat. She will not be instantly friendly, so don't take that as a failure. The best thing for you to do, so as to not burden you with a ton of info right now, is to come back and continue posting once you have her and have some idea of how she is reacting. We can go from there with advice. Don't even start to worry about crating her for the appointment.

If you can put anything like Advantage on her, that might be the best way to treat for fleas immediately. I have been able to sneak up on ferals and squeeze it on the back of their necks. When you open the bathroom door, have something to block her exit, like a very large piece of cardboard or pig board type of apparatus. You probably don't need to buy anything.
Thank you! I will probably have tons of questions once she is trapped. Super nervous about it not catching her but also nervous about catching her and bringing her into my home.

That is a good idea about the flea meds. I do have the one that my cat uses. I wonder if that is safe for pregnant cats. I don't know if she is pregnant or if she is a she
 

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Hi,

I have been feeding a stray cat for about 2 weeks. I am getting ready to trap her on my own and I have never done it before. I bought a trap on Amazon and it will arrive tomorrow.

About the cat, she is probably about a year old. I actually saw her as a kitten when my dog ran her up a tree but I could not catch her at that time. Now, she has reappeared months later. I have not been able to pet her. She does come when she sees me and hears my voice.

After I trap her, what should I do? I have a dog and a cat. My dog is allergic to flea bites and is allergic to topical flea medication. My cat is an indoor only cat but does use a topical flea medication. I have called vet offices, rescues and shelters and no one can treat her right away or taker her in. I have to make an appointment (which is not possible as I don't know when she is going to be caught). My house is carpeted so I am thinking of putting her in the bathroom but my bathroom is so small and she might be able to get out when we go in to check on her and feed her. Would I be able to contain the fleas inside the bathroom? Any other diseases that I need to be aware of? I also worry about how I am going to put her in a crate when I am able to get an appointment.

Any suggestions? I can use any help as I am not familiar with cats. I have a cat that I found as a baby and he is not very cat like. We are planning to spay her and willing to work with her to domesticate and adopt her for her safety as she hangs out underneath cars, chased by other cats and was very skinny before we started feeding her.
There should be a fb group for strays/ ferals in your area and they may have trappers who can help you and give you advice.

Basically what I do is I trap the cat, I’ve done this quite a few times over the years, and I took in 2 and now a third of my outdoor colony cats recently. I have a have a heart trap and a drop trap.

I trap them in either of those and then I take them inside either in the hah trap or the drop trap carrier part and I attach it to the drop trap set up inside or get them into the drop trap with the hah and then attach the carrier part.

They are going to be very nervous and stressed when trapped so you need to put a towel over the cage immediately or already have it covered with a towel when you’re getting them to eat in it. It’s a good idea to set up the trap untriggered for at least a week before you plan to trap her and put the food in there so she will get used to going in there to eat. You should also put something like a weepad or leaves over the part of the trap that is triggered if you’re using a have a heart trap because they don’t like to walk on the metal portion of it.

You should make the appointment and then plan to trap her the night before if possible. You can leave them in the smaller portion of the trap if you don’t have a drop trap for up to 24 hours before an appointment just make sure not to put too much food and no water when you are trapping because she may need to be sedated when she goes to Dvm.

There should be local groups that can give you a coupon via your county so you can get a low cost spay neuter and vaccination. If you manage to trap her early in the morning before you have to take her to the appointment they will put flea treatment on her, ask them to do that to make sure they do, they will do the spay neuter and they will do vaccinations and testing. You will need to do testing for FIVFELVand parasites and she should be isolated from your other cat and dog for two weeks.

For Fred, my recent rescue, they checked him for fleas and he didn’t have any so they didn’t put the treatment on. They said they pulled a tick off of him. There was one big tick walking around in the room a week or so after he went to DVM so you can watch out for ticks. she doesn’t have fleas it probably shouldn’t be a problem, you might be able to try to put some flea treatment on her yourself if she lets you get close to her if you’re worried about it. I don’t use any flea treatment on my cats anymore unless they are an outdoor cat coming inside and they have fleas. Most Dvm automatically put the flea treatment on them if they have been living outside. I am not sure about the bathroom containing it but if you were careful when you go in there to interact with her change your clothes after it should.

You can also use a large dog crate and put her in there if you can’t get her to the appointment right away. It’s a little harder to take care of them because you have to get your hands in there to get out the litter box and feed and water her etc. and she may be aggressive at first.

If you want to let her be loose in the room before taking her to the appointment you could try to retrap her the night before and then you can get her into a carrier from the trap- the drop trap is very good because the carrier part attaches to the trap and it’s usually pretty easy to get them to go into the carrier part you can use a dividing thing or some other tool to kind of herd them over towards it or you could put a treat in it or something like that.

I had my Zena inside at first and he had not gone to the DVM, it took about a week to get an appointment, he was in the drop trap but I forgot to close the carrier part properly and he escaped into my studio. So what I did was I had to re-trap him again in the havahart and put him back into the drop trap.

Some people do not use caging as a technique to calm an outdoor cat who is coming inside. I use it because it is what I was told to do a many years ago, it helps to get the cat used to being inside, used to interacting with you and It becomes their safe space and calms them. I did not do that with Byron when he came inside because he was becoming already tamer/ touchable and sitting on my lap outside- he would come in for a few minutes each day and then go back out- he qwas really scared of being inside for too long and then eventually I took him in completely but he did live as an indoor outdoor cat his entire life and lived till the age of 19 or so.

You can also do this in a small room where you have a box set up with towels over it for a place that they can go to hide and feel safe if you’re in there feeding them and interacting with them etc.

Once you have them inside you need to go and sit with them each day reach and then play music play purrli.com, try playing with them with wand toys and just interact with them generally and see how they are. Using treats, baby food and other tasty foods is a good way to get them to be social with you and to feel safe and happy. Feeding them with a long spoon or a stick is another technique people use with a scared or aggressive cat. I tried that with Fred but he will not eat anything that way.

Each cat is different, you never know what they will be like and how they will feel inside. My recent guy who came inside, Fred , is still in a big room by himself now and he hides behind the bed a lot of the time he will come out when the other cats come in, he’s met my other cats but he will usually run if I do a motion or come too close to him, back behind the bed again. He’s interacting and purring with my cats and they rub up against him, except for Quinn. He will sometimes come right underneath me under a tunnel part with a blanket cover purring but if I move even a little bit he will run back behind the bed. He will eat when I’m there now sometimes and use the litter pan but I think it’s going to be a slow process with him. He was quite aggressive at first hissing and spitting, lunging etc. and he has been on medication gabapentin to help calm in which has helped a lot. Zena was also on gabapentin he was really aggressive and scared at first and he is a total Lovebug now. He was not on it for long.

I’ve read stories where people said they took in a cat and the cat became totally tame and friendly after only a few hours, while that doesn’t usually happen with a cat that has been living outside for any length of time it can so the only way to tell is just to see how she reacts once you get her inside. Just give her the safe space and let her come down because the trapping is traumatic for most cats. Use food and interaction to get her to trust you.

I’ve also read other stories where people said they took in an outdoor cat and the cat hid for two months in a basement and ceiling part of their house and then all of a sudden he came out and started interacting. I can’t remember if it was here I read that are in one of my other cat groups.

There are some cats who will just walk into a trap/ carrier. And I helped cats years ago who I basically just let them inside my house and then took them to the Dvm, those were the easy ones 😀

Some people also just let the cat in the house or get the cat in the house somehow and just let whatever happens happens. And then the cat becomes tamer and acclimated to being inside. I do not think that would be a good idea if you don’t know the medical history of the cat because they could infect your cat or a dog with something and there’s the fleas issue as well.

However years ago I did just let some of the cats that I helped into the house and then took them to DVM for spay neuter. At that point I was not using the clinics and there really weren’t any county vouchers for sn tnr clinics as far as I know then, there were just low-cost Dvm for sn and it was easier for me to take them to my own Dvm who was closer to me. I did take one or two to the low cost.

Eventually I started volunteering with a rescue group after and then I got a little more connected to the whole network of TNR etc. but I have mostly just been doing it on my own although I have done some of the TNR with the clinics/ coupons too, mostly my recent colony. Two of them passed, Merlin, Zena and Fred are inside now and there is only cinnamon outside now.
 
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Meowmee

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Thank you! I'm super nervous about the trapping. I don't want it to fail and have her never return
If you don’t trap her at first do not give up- you will get her eventually. Try the technique that I mentioned where you set up whatever trap you’re using with the food in it for a week or so and let her eat that way so she gets used to it, then you will have a better chance of trapping her when you do trap her for the appointment. You need to cover the trap with towels and put leaves or a wee pad in the inside of it as well.
You are a food source so she’s going to come back even if you fail to trap her the first time. That said do everything you can to make it a successful trap so it is less stressful for her.

With Zena I made a big mistake- he was crying for help when he first showed up which was two years before I actually managed to trap him. I went out there with a carrier to try and just get him to come in because he seemed like he was tame but he would get scared and he ran away- also my male colony cats probably chased him off too.

But then I thought he had vanished or passed away and I didn’t see him for months, then I saw him on my security cams- he was still coming to eat but for some reason he didn’t always show up on the cams and I didn’t know he was there for about four months. So he was out there for two years. I could not take him in at this time because by then my father was very ill and I was dealing with too much taken care of and 24 hours a day.

But if I had just kept going out and feeding him and had not tried to get him in the carrier right away and had let him trust me more I probably could’ve got him inside sooner.

He is the sweetest most loving a little boy and I call him my Marshmallow now 😀 Just today when we were sitting there with Fred, Zena came and sat on my lap for the first time and let me stroke his head and his belly for at least 20 minutes.

I never thought he would ever be a touchable cat due to his fear/ aggression at first. When I took him to the DVM for his neuter he was lunging and hissing and spitting and I said I was scared of him and I’m going to have to let him back outside. One of the techs there said something to me that made me give him a chance. I knew her from my previous DVM who was the best DVM practice ever. She said he’s a fighter and that’s a good thing. I think that stayed in my mind and I decided I have to give him the chance to see if he can live inside. He really is a wonderful little guy, I love him so much.
 
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Jcatbird

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Try not to be nervous but, instead be calm and confident. You can totally do this. We all start with our first cat and don’t know exactly how to get things going. We manage and you have help here. Lots of rescuers are on TCS and you can benefit from their experiences. As mentioned above, lots of good tips. As for topical flea treatment, the nice thing about that is that many also cover other parasites. Fleas are pesky too. All can be handled though. There is something called Capstar that is a pill and kills adult fleas only and does so for 24 hours. A tiny amount of crushed bacon (tiny bits) piled with the pill in the middle works well for me. The oil from the bacon hides the smell and taste of the pill pretty well. I understand they taste kind of bitter. If you get one in the day before catching her, that helps. You can ask your vet about this. It can be given in 24 hour increments until you can get a topical on her. The vet may want to test her for worms. If any are found they can treat that easily enough.
I brought in a lot of cats in a short time and I used large crates and a bathroom for the kitties. Cat ( child) proof the room. Remove chemical cleaners electrical cords, elastic hair ties etc. to keep her safe. I like using a bathroom as a start because I am in and out of there a lot and the cat can learn that I am not a threat. I always announce myself before going in so kitty can hide if they want to. I have a low cabinet under the sink which I propped open so kitty could hide there. I put a blanket in the bottom shelf and kitty could feel safe. Over time they begin to venture out and in the meantime they are isolated until you can do vet check. After being vetted then you can start socializing and letting kitty get to know others in the house. After trying many things to help let cats smell each other and then move on to viewing each other I finally got the idea of using vinyl lattice panels as sort of a second door on my bathroom. Light weight and easy to install, I wish I had thought of that years ago! Lol There are so many little tips and tricks but first, just go ahead and work on getting the kitty. Personally, I went ahead and got them whenever I could rather than waiting for a vet appointment just because of trying to prevent pregnancies. I had over a hundred in a colony and cats have babies quickly and often. If you cannot isolate one a bathroom or other room, large cages or even small catios will work. I covered the outside of them to keep everyone calm. Although fleas can be spread, limiting exposure through litter box, dishes and mating or fighting is huge in preventing spread of most things. For my wood catio, I put sheet plastic around the outside bottom so the litter box on the bottom level was private and it keeps litter from being scratched out. The catio is on wheels and it is three levels. The top has walls for a private bed. A carrier inside whatever you use is a huge help from the start and forever after. That becomes a safe retreat for all the cats here. I give toys there, treats and new kitties will hide there. Every cat here has one and they use them as their bedroom now. It becomes their traveling home when we go anywhere. Especially the vet. On vet day or any day a cat is nervous, I know I can find them snug in their carrier if they are trying to hide out. That would be one of the greatest tips I can suggest to start off with. Always give a kitty their own portable carrier and safe sanctuary. It will make life easier for you and them.
As mentioned, every cat is different. Some adjust quickly and others slower. We can never predict but the old feral Tom that I thought most likely to be the hardest to socialize became the light of my life and towards the end of his days he became a search and rescue cat. I was nervous with my first rescue and worried about all the rest but I would not change a single minute of getting these kitties and getting to know them. Most got adopted but some remain with me still. Worth every moment ! The cats give us far more than we ever dream when we start out. You have my gratitude for helping this kitty. You are making the world a better place. Every life counts and if you are a kitty guardian, you are a kitty hero.

This was a new rescue living in a bathroom for several weeks.
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His first knowledge of the other cats was seeing them under the door. Lol
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The lattice panels do not interfere with closing or opening the doors already in place.
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The panels allow kitties to watch, smell, hear and learn what is going on in the house.
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Once cats have begun to accept new arrivals, it is time to meet each other..
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Their individual carriers will remain a great place to take a nap! Lol
F780BA51-83AA-4FE3-8C71-13EA5C3C4E2D.jpeg

This is the old feral Tom after being socialized.
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He actually had no objections to wearing a harness for a rescue mission.
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Nose to the ground, no search and rescue dog could have done better!
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After a day of working to save kitties, he got rewards.
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He also gave rewards.
Believe. You can do this!
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starrynight123

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Thank you for all the feedback! I trapped her this morning within a minute of setting it down and she's in the bathroom in the trap. She hasn't even hissed but trying to find her way out. I feel so bad just leaving her in the trap. I'm hoping to get her into urgent care which opens in 30 minutes. If I can't get an appointment today, should I move her into a dog crate?

Should I leave her alone or stay in the bathroom with her?
 

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I'm hoping to get her into urgent care which opens in 30 minutes. If I can't get an appointment today, should I move her into a dog crate? Should I leave her alone or stay in the bathroom with her?
Any update about an appointment? I would spend time in the bathroom with her, especially if she seems to find some 'comfort' from it, but you don't have to stay in there all the time. Whether or not you move her to the dog crate kind of depends on when you can get that appointment.
 

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Thank you for all the feedback! I trapped her this morning within a minute of setting it down and she's in the bathroom in the trap. She hasn't even hissed but trying to find her way out. I feel so bad just leaving her in the trap. I'm hoping to get her into urgent care which opens in 30 minutes. If I can't get an appointment today, should I move her into a dog crate?

Should I leave her alone or stay in the bathroom with her?
Yay😻

They can stay for up to 24 hrs that way but lets hope you got the appointment. How is she? I would spend time with her if it’s not stressing her out.
She is a beauty, I 💕Calicos.
 
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starrynight123

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We just got back and she seems healthy but the doctor could not tell me whether she had kittens or she's feeding. I told him about how much she is eating. She is eating everything we have given her and we have been giving her double the amount of food that my 10 lb cat eats and she is only 7 lbs. She had vaccines and had topical flea meds on her so I don't know what to do. My mom is going out and seeing if she can find kittens. Any advice on how to find kittens?
I think she has been living behind our yard. That house is not occupied as it has been sold months ago but the new family hasn't moved in yet.
Also, she spends hours in our driveway. Is that normal behavior for a mama cat that is feeding? So worried about the kittens
 

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We just got back and she seems healthy but the doctor could not tell me whether she had kittens or she's feeding.
Glad she comes across healthy! I cannot imagine a vet who is unable to tell if she is feeding kittens!!!!!! If she hasn't really 'disappeared' much in the past two weeks, I am guessing the odds are if she did have kittens, she is no longer feeding them.
But, do continue to look for kittens regardess.

Here is an article on the subject in case it could help any until some of our 'experts' respond.
How to Tell If a Stray Cat Has Kittens - Pet Rescue (thepetrescue.com)
 
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fionasmom

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This is only my experience with feral mothers, so take it for as much or as little as it is helpful. Any feral mom who had kittens who were nursing, and even the ones who were no longer in need of nursing, always expressed great desire to be with the kittens. Any feral mom I have ever trapped has returned immediately to her kittens when we came home from the vet. Yes, there are moms who abandon kittens, but if that were the case you might have heard little squeaks by now coming from someplace in the vicinity.

Another scenario is that kittens will stay with the mom, so there is some likelihood that you would have seen them around your driveway by now.

Feral moms who are tending kittens always have a game plan in mind for food and safety. I was told once by a vet that feral moms have a 100 foot radius mapped out in case of emergency or need to move the kittens.

Having said all that, keep looking around as best you can for kittens. I cannot tell you to enter a property that is not yours, but abandoned properties, or empty ones, are sometimes places chosen by ferals for giving birth.
 
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starrynight123

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We had not planned on releasing this feral cat back due to the fact that she is small. She weighs 2.9 kg with a heavy towel and this is after she gained weight from us feeding her for 2-3 weeks.
Today went terribly and I'm so disappointed in myself. I'll explain later as I am really tired.
She is in a room by herself but she is in a dog crate. Should I let her out? The tests are negative so she is safe to be around but was informed that we shouldn't introduce her to other animals until after 2 weeks.
Also, at the vet, she came out of the cage and jumped really high onto the walls as she wanted to escape. Scared that is what she might do if I free her from the cage. On the other hand, she did eat some food and I gave her some churu but she looks mad. I'm so sad as she was such a happy cat meowing for food this morning
 

FeebysOwner

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She has been through a lot in such a short period of time - of course, she is not impressed! She will get over the vet visit soon enough.
Kittens or not, she wants to escape, like most cats do that are strays or semi-ferals, as she has no idea what might happen to her in this whole new situation she is in.

Can you 'cat-proof' a room to let her have as her own? If so, then I would let her have a bit more freedom - to just that one room - so she doesn't have to be in the dog crate 24/7. You can also use the dog crate as a hiding spot for her, by covering 3 of the 4 sides to give her a place to retreat to when she feels the need. Place it away from the door to the room.
Bringing Home A New Cat – The Complete Guide – TheCatSite Articles
How To Help A New Cat Adjust To Your Home – TheCatSite Articles
Kitten Proofing Your Home: 13 Practical Tips – TheCatSite Articles
Ultimately (down the road) -
How To Successfully Introduce Cats: The Ultimate Guide – TheCatSite Articles
 

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Location
Central FL (Born in OH)
Only you will know for sure since you can see things we cannot with pics; but she looks like a cat that is trying to figure out what is going on. The very fact that she looks so comfy in that bed seems to be a good thing. Just watch over her, that is about anything any of us could do in a situation like this.

She is so pretty! Keep us posted.
 
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