Author Topic: Considering taking in a stray - questions  (Read 3118 times)

Offline mustang480

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Considering taking in a stray - questions
« on: April 27, 2013, 01:57:11 PM »
There's a stray I've been feeding for a couple months and she also sleeps in our garage at night.  She basically spends the entire day in our garage because my dad is always out there and she follows him around and just hangs out in the garage with him.  Whenever we leave home, she sleeps under a bush in front of our house, and when she hears our car coming, she runs out in the driveway to greet us.  She also keeps running into our house, but we have to chase her out because she is infested with fleas.  She likes to rub on our legs and she purrs.  Problem is, she can't really be touched.  If you try and touch her she either bites or claws you.  I don't really understand why.  She seems to totally trust us otherwise and is relaxed around us and goes belly up around us as well, but you can't touch her.  She has bitten or scratched my dad a few times while he is trying to place her food bowl down in front of her.

ANYWAY....the REAL problem is that due to unforseen circumstances beyond my control, I have to move out of here within the next 2 weeks and I am so scared and worried about what will happen to her.  Before I started feeding her, she was very bony and her coat was falling out in clumps.  Now she has put on weight and her fur is not falling out anymore.  I'm scared she will be confused about us disappearing and that she will starve :(

I was considering maybe taking her with us, but I'm not sure if that is a good idea.  I don't know how I would pick her up to bring her to the vet or to the new house, and I don't know if she would bite us once indoors at the new house.  I'm also not sure how to litter train her if I can't even pick her up.  Anyway, I guess I'm just looking for some general advice on all of the above.  This really has me stressed out and sad and I don't know what to do.  I don't want to abandon her, but I don't want to create a nightmare for my family either or possibly risk my kids getting hurt (they are not toddlers or anything, they are 10 and 11 years old).  I have tried locating rescues around here and nobody is willing to help.  Maybe someone can give some advice, I'd really appreciate it.  Thanks so much.

Offline raindear

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Re: Considering taking in a stray - questions
« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2013, 03:46:51 PM »
Have you asked your vet for advice? Have you discussed the idea with your family? This is well outside my area of experience. I have tamed kittens before, but never an adult cat. It has occurred to me that sedating her might be a possibility to get her to the vet, but I would ask the vet for advice and assistance.

Offline Marybelle

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Re: Considering taking in a stray - questions
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2013, 04:18:16 PM »
That's a tough one.  I'd want to take her, too.

Do you have a room at the new place where she could be confined until she gets used to things?  You'd just need someplace that doesn't need to have someone going in and out of it all day. 

Also, you'd likely need a live trap to catch and transport her, and probably some Frontline or Advantage to get rid of fleas, if you can get it onto her... 

It's going to be traumatic for her either way, but it would definitely be better for her if the trauma ended with a happy home.  Definitely talk to your vet.  They may have other recommendations for you.

Offline mustang480

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Re: Considering taking in a stray - questions
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2013, 05:30:47 PM »
Have you asked your vet for advice? Have you discussed the idea with your family? This is well outside my area of experience. I have tamed kittens before, but never an adult cat. It has occurred to me that sedating her might be a possibility to get her to the vet, but I would ask the vet for advice and assistance.

I haven't talked to a vet yet because I don't have a regular vet.  Right now I only have an avian vet for my parrot.  As far as my family, my mom and dad don't really care.  I have had cats in the past a long time ago, but they were tame.  I don't understand why this one seems lovey dovey, but then scratches and bites if you touch her.  I'm confused.

Offline mustang480

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Re: Considering taking in a stray - questions
« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2013, 05:35:54 PM »
That's a tough one.  I'd want to take her, too.

Do you have a room at the new place where she could be confined until she gets used to things?  You'd just need someplace that doesn't need to have someone going in and out of it all day. 

Also, you'd likely need a live trap to catch and transport her, and probably some Frontline or Advantage to get rid of fleas, if you can get it onto her... 

It's going to be traumatic for her either way, but it would definitely be better for her if the trauma ended with a happy home.  Definitely talk to your vet.  They may have other recommendations for you.

I guess I could keep her in my bedroom at the new place, but I'm scared she will go to the bathroom on my bed and on the carpet  :eek:  Downstairs is tiled, but there would be a lot of activity with us all coming and going down there.  I don't think I could get any flea treatment on her myself.  I was hoping the vet could do it for me.  Maybe I could coax her into a carrier with food.  She is always desperate for her wet food  :-\  Thank you all for your help.  This is so stressful.  I'm already stressed out with having to move and now I'm worried about kitty too  ???

Offline Marybelle

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Re: Considering taking in a stray - questions
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2013, 05:39:32 PM »
If you provide a litter box, odds are very good she will use it.  Cats naturally want to cover up what they do, so it's usually not hard.  :)

Offline forkyfork

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Re: Considering taking in a stray - questions
« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2013, 07:00:02 PM »
Yup what marybelle sayd. I add a little dirt to the litter. You could even put one in the garage now and see if she uses it. I have only met one barn cat that absolutely would not use the litter box. She was not social at all. Her kittens learned to use it fine though.

Offline nakedrats

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Re: Considering taking in a stray - questions
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2013, 11:12:07 PM »

You should take her in  :cheeky:

I had an indoor feral (totally untouchable), and multiple scaredy cats fostered through a local TNR group.  Even cats that have been on the street for years will take to the box.  I have an older barn cat that lived outside for years fostering at my house now.  He was a bit confused at first but took to the box like a good boy.  Give her a nice quiet place to adapt to being in the house.  A spare room or bathroom works well.  The confined space will make her feel safe and also help her adjust to using a litter box.  A non perfumey litter with some Cat Attract additive is a good way to start off on the right foot. 

Offline mustang480

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Re: Considering taking in a stray - questions
« Reply #8 on: May 01, 2013, 02:36:20 AM »

You should take her in  :cheeky:

I had an indoor feral (totally untouchable), and multiple scaredy cats fostered through a local TNR group.  Even cats that have been on the street for years will take to the box.  I have an older barn cat that lived outside for years fostering at my house now.  He was a bit confused at first but took to the box like a good boy.  Give her a nice quiet place to adapt to being in the house.  A spare room or bathroom works well.  The confined space will make her feel safe and also help her adjust to using a litter box.  A non perfumey litter with some Cat Attract additive is a good way to start off on the right foot.

Didn't your indoor feral ever bite you?  Could you just hang around, sit on the floor and whatever without him coming over and scratching or biting you?  Our stray in question likes to bat at pants legs or bare legs when you are standing around or walk around near her  :-\  We always kind of jump out of the way, so I'm not really sure if she is trying to scratch/use her claws or if she is just batting with her paw.  Also, I think she may have been trapped and spayed.  The very tip of her left ear is missing.  I read that when they do TNR, they assess to see if the cat is adoptable and, if not, they release it.  Is that true?  Would that mean she is not a good/safe candidate for living indoors (with children)?  I think she is a pretty young cat, as she is very playful and active.  I mean, she is full-grown, but does not appear to be old at all.  Hmm...well, the time is getting closer for me to leave and I still haven't really decided what I'm going to do.  Thanks for your help  :)

Offline *Kat*

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Re: Considering taking in a stray - questions
« Reply #9 on: May 01, 2013, 04:45:51 AM »
the tipped ear does mean she was fixed, often vets will fix ferals for cheaper than they will pets, and some rescues use it as a way to get cheaper surgeries.   It has nothing to do with if she can be a good pet.   Some groups don't even attempt to work with them, they just trap, have the vet do what needs done, wait for the cat to wake up fully and rerelease them. 

Offline forkyfork

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Re: Considering taking in a stray - questions
« Reply #10 on: May 01, 2013, 03:29:40 PM »
Like said it's no indication. I have an indoor tattooed boy that is a lump now. The vet even commented yesterday at how laid back he is.

As far a the cat jumping out at you, get a cat toy on a pole with a string and play about 15 min a day and that should help calm the prey drive.

Offline mustang480

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Re: Considering taking in a stray - questions
« Reply #11 on: May 19, 2013, 01:43:25 PM »
Quick question - will cats jump over pet gates/baby gates?

Offline *Kat*

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Re: Considering taking in a stray - questions
« Reply #12 on: May 19, 2013, 02:24:38 PM »
Quick question - will cats jump over pet gates/baby gates?

yes

Offline mustang480

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Re: Considering taking in a stray - questions
« Reply #13 on: May 19, 2013, 02:47:47 PM »
So, when you bring them home, I know you're supposed to put them in a small room or bathroom.  You just close the door to keep them in there?  It seems it would be better if they could see out, so they can get used to the family and what is going on around the house.  If I can catch the stray girl and bring her to my new house, I will need to confine her to a small bathroom, and I don't want to just shut the door with her in there  :-\  Any suggestions?

Offline *Kat*

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Re: Considering taking in a stray - questions
« Reply #14 on: May 19, 2013, 03:24:30 PM »
Closing the door for a while can be fine.   Most the time it is done to seporate established cats/other pets, but let them smell eachother and do bedding switch and then let them see eachother with one caged, and then intro out supervised, also to deal health issues.   

In your case it will be to make sure she's consistently using litterbox, treat her for fleas and worms, and make sure she is not able to run straight for the door outside.   

Offline mustang480

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Re: Considering taking in a stray - questions
« Reply #15 on: May 19, 2013, 03:32:21 PM »
Okay, thanks.  Also, I know I need to take her straight to the vet before bringing her home, but should I also take her to a groomer?  I know she has a lot of fleas on her (and possibly mites/lice I suppose?) and I am scared they will get in our carpet.  Then again, if they put Revolution on her at the vet, I don't think I would be able to take her to get groomed because it would wash it off, right?  I just want her as clean as possible before bringing her home.  I know I could give her a bath, but I am pretty scared to try that at this point.  Is it enough to just put Revolution on her and let the fleas die off?  Or does she need to be scrubbed and bathed?  Thanks again.

Offline *Kat*

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Re: Considering taking in a stray - questions
« Reply #16 on: May 19, 2013, 04:44:25 PM »
They shouldn't have a bath when revolution is put on (day before or day after) cause it will make it less effective, I also would not make a groomer try to groom her when she is not used to humans.   That would be torture for both the cat and the groomer.   Does the new house have a garage you can set up a large dog crate in for her til the fleas start dying off a little?   temp controlled if your weather is going to be hot.

Offline mustang480

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Re: Considering taking in a stray - questions
« Reply #17 on: May 19, 2013, 04:54:45 PM »
Hmm, yes, we have a single-car garage.  It still has lots of boxes in it, as we are not done unpacking.  But maybe I can clear a spot for my Martin's playpen and put her in that.  I don't have a dog crate.  How long do you think it would be before I could bring her inside?

Offline forkyfork

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Re: Considering taking in a stray - questions
« Reply #18 on: May 19, 2013, 05:29:45 PM »
Its probably better for a cat not used to people to spend some time getting used to the indoor cat thing while not terrified of the scary things on two legs it can see outside the cage.

Dont use revolution at first. Its slow and does not kill adults. You need to use advantage multi, it kills adult fleas fast, keeps them from reproducing, gives  heartworm protection and eliminates ear mites, roundworms and hookworms.

When Ive brought infested cats and kittens in I put them somewhere there isnt carpet and treat them with advantage multi. Then I keep them treated for at least 3 more months to make sure any fleas that got into the house are eliminated. I also treat my other cats at the same time. Doing this I have never had a flea infestation and I have taken in 6 total infested cats at different times.

You can let them out and about after about 3 days without risk of fleas hopping off. You need to wash the bedding daily for the first week or so just to be safe.

Offline mustang480

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Re: Considering taking in a stray - questions
« Reply #19 on: May 19, 2013, 05:50:51 PM »
Thanks, this is all great advice.  I guess I should update a bit more on what has been happening.  We did move, but we are within walking distance of our old place.  I have been walking over every other day to feed her wet food and I leave some dry food for her as well for the day in between when I can't come.  There is also another neighbor who puts dry food out for her, so it's not too bad.

Anyway, she has changed quite a bit and she is very friendly to us now.  We have no trouble petting her and she is so loving when we go to visit.  We usually spend an hour or so with her just sitting out on the grass and she stays right beside us and follows us around.  When it is time for us to leave, she gets upset.  She follows us about 3/4 of the way and then won't go any further and just sits and meows, calling us back :(  She is constantly rubbing on us and head-butting.  I haven't tried to pick her up yet though.

There is another cat over there as well, a male cat.  I have been feeding him too, and he is friendly, but very skittish.  He also seems to have mange.  I feel really bad because, if I do take any of them, I can't take both.  I would only be able to take the female (we named her Cookie).

Ok, well that is the situation.  I bought a carrier a couple weeks ago and I think I am going to try and catch her.  I'm going to put the carrier out of sight, behind a bush or something, and then sit with Cookie as usual, and when she is not paying much attention to me, I'm going to gently grab her with a towel.  I think it might work.  Hopefully.

Thanks for all the help and advice  :)

Offline *Kat*

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Re: Considering taking in a stray - questions
« Reply #20 on: May 19, 2013, 05:57:09 PM »
Trying to grab her might undo all the trust you have earned for her and if the first attempt doesn't work you might have to work to be able to get a second chance, so keep that in mind.   What about borrowing a live trap?   At least then you are her rescuer if she goes in it.

Offline mustang480

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Re: Considering taking in a stray - questions
« Reply #21 on: May 19, 2013, 06:08:55 PM »
Hmm....well that is a bummer.  I actually tried to catch her the day we moved out, but no success.  I had a cage and as soon as she saw me with the cage, that was it.  She was off and there was no catching her.  She was afraid of the cage.  I really don't think she would go into a trap.  The other problem is this... I moved from one gated community to another gated community right beside it so, to see Cookie, I have to walk.  I can't drive because they won't let me in to the old community.  So I would have to walk about a mile with the trap and it would look odd and maybe draw attention.  I try to be very inconspicuous when we walk over, because I don't think we are allowed to walk from one community into the other, there is a fence we have to go around.  The carrier I bought is collapsible, so I could put it in a shopping bag and it wouldn't be obvious at all, and it doesn't resemble a cage because it is fabric, so maybe she wouldn't be as scared.  I'm not sure.  This is quite a dilemma.  I don't want to break her trust, but I need to catch her before we aren't able to go over there anymore or something happens to her  :(

Offline forkyfork

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Re: Considering taking in a stray - questions
« Reply #22 on: May 19, 2013, 07:09:20 PM »
Have you considered getting with the neighbor that feeds her to make arrangements to let you in with a car and a live trap to get her moved?

Offline mustang480

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Re: Considering taking in a stray - questions
« Reply #23 on: May 24, 2013, 01:04:44 AM »
Have you considered getting with the neighbor that feeds her to make arrangements to let you in with a car and a live trap to get her moved?

Didn't really want to go that route, but I have considered it.

Over the past couple days I've been e-mailing back and forth with Alley Cat Allies and they have been really supportive and helpful and have provided me with a lot of information to help me decide what to do.  They were saying that it is possible that, since this cat has lived outside, she may never been willing or able to live indoors and may end up very unhappy.  That is the last thing I want to happen.  They said maybe I could try relocating her to my new home so she could live outside of it, but that's not a possibility for me either.

I feel sad to say this, but I am starting to give up on the whole thing.  Between the difficulty with trapping her in an appropriate manner and then the prospect of her just being unhappy that I have forced her to live indoors, maybe it is better for me to just step out of this situation.  I really don't know what is the right thing to do in this case  :(

Offline lovemypayne

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Re: Considering taking in a stray - questions
« Reply #24 on: May 26, 2013, 12:22:50 PM »
Sounds like a very difficult situation.
One thing I thought I would suggest for future reference. When it comes to picking up a cat, especially one that is prone to biting/scratching, is to pick them up by the 'scruff'. I know some people think this is not the right way to pick up a kitty, but if you think about it, this is how the momma cat picks up her babies. This is also how my vet picks up cats. If you pick them up by the scruff, they are usually unable to scratch and definitely unable to bite, as they cannot turn their head around when in this position.
That way you can safely pick up the cat and place it in the carrier. Trust me, it does not hurt the cat!  ;D
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Offline mustang480

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Re: Considering taking in a stray - questions
« Reply #25 on: May 26, 2013, 11:53:15 PM »
Sounds like a very difficult situation.
One thing I thought I would suggest for future reference. When it comes to picking up a cat, especially one that is prone to biting/scratching, is to pick them up by the 'scruff'. I know some people think this is not the right way to pick up a kitty, but if you think about it, this is how the momma cat picks up her babies. This is also how my vet picks up cats. If you pick them up by the scruff, they are usually unable to scratch and definitely unable to bite, as they cannot turn their head around when in this position.
That way you can safely pick up the cat and place it in the carrier. Trust me, it does not hurt the cat!  ;D

Thanks so much for the suggestion :)  Yes, it's a difficult situation.  I have been doing a lot of thinking and I didn't go see her for about a week because I decided it was better for me to just stay away.  Today I was really missing her and my kids were begging to go, so reluctantly I packed up her food and walked over to see her.  The male cat was there as well.  We spent an hour with them and it was really nice.  Then the male cat decided to follow us all the way back to my truck, meowing at us not to go  :-\  He has never followed us this far before.  He went under the fence and followed us into our new community.  I felt so bad to have to get in the truck and drive off.  That is why I had stayed away - because I figured maybe it is best for us and the cats if we just don't keep doing that.  Ugh.  I hate everything about this.  Anyway, thanks for the scruffing suggestion  :)

Offline nakedrats

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Re: Considering taking in a stray - questions
« Reply #26 on: May 27, 2013, 01:16:27 AM »

Cats can definitely still claw while being scruffed.  They may not be able to bite depending on how well you've got them scruffed, but they can still claw.  Outdoor cats have fought for their lives before and typically react differently than house cats to being grabbed.  I would highly recommend trapping the cat if you want to take her in.  This way nobody gets hurt.

I work with stray cats and I am a foster home for formerly stray cats.  I've had about 30 of them come through my house over the last 6 years and I can tell you that cats are very adaptable.  Of those 30, two cats I had may have been better off outside.  One of those cats was always terrified of people ever since she was taken inside as a tiny kitten.  The other one is one I have right now, and she's actually coming around and will probably get adopted to an indoor home.  If this cat walks up to you and wants to hang out with you, it will probably make a fine indoor cat.  Mangy scruffy beat-up tomcats that have been cruising city neighborhoods for years have turned out to be such nap time couch snuggle buddies if they are given a chance.  Sure, living indoors may not be as exciting for a cat, but it sure beats being cold, hungry, wet and flea infested outdoors.  Life expectancy is much better indoors too. 

You should adopt this cat.  ;)

Offline mustang480

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Re: Considering taking in a stray - questions
« Reply #27 on: June 01, 2013, 09:51:30 PM »
Thanks nakedrats and everyone for all the advice and help.  I'm still doing some thinking and haven't come to a decision yet as to what I will do, but if anything develops I will post a little update about it.  Thanks again  :)