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Feral Cat Clinic
#1
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Feral Cat Clinic
I have a 5 month old feral cat living underneath my sofa. She comes out to eat and to poop.  She will not use litter box and I don't know where she urinates.

I can't really capture her without it being traumatic. She is too quick and attempts set her back in regard to trusting me. I can try using potting soil and put down a towel. 

 Should I just let her back outside?
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#2

Feral Cat Clinic
(02-28-2023, 01:11 PM)Vorpal Wrote: I have a 5 month old feral cat living underneath my sofa. She comes out to eat and to poop.  She will not use litter box and I don't know where she urinates.

I can't really capture her without it being traumatic. She is too quick and attempts set her back in regard to trusting me. I can try using potting soil and put down a towel. 

 Should I just let her back outside?

No, because she will not trust anyone on any level anymore and probably perish.

You can make sure that she thinks she cannot be seen where her "facilities " are. Still, capturing her quickly by throwing a huge towel over her and wrapping her in it for transport is the best outcome because the result is guaranteed to be positive after a bit. She must be able to be invisible in an environment she can see in its entirety while spending some time in close vicinity with you. Only that will quiet her enough to become tame and happy. 

I raised a pair of kittens the way you have it now, and they lived but never tamed and it was an ongoing issue. I did raise 7 individual ferals using the bathroom and they were all a success. Ferals are always on edge in an environment they cannot survey, and they always calm down within days when in a small area. 

My husband had set out to reduce the feral population that had sprung up in the area. (a secluded setting). He trapped the adults and took them to be neutered and spayed, and brought me the kittens for taming.  We did this for years. Ferals make wonderful companions once acclimated. Very devoted and protective, more like dogs than cats.

For the adults, he had an old trailer. He'd pop them in there with food and water and a litter box and not open the door for at least a week. Then he'd open up in the morning. They would leave, but come back for food and he'd lock the door again. Eventually they would spend the days roaming and the nights eating and sleeping, saving them from being eaten by racoons and coyotes etc. There is no dealing with them without starting in a confined, surveyable space at first.
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#3

Feral Cat Clinic
Thank you.

I have actually used the small room method two times in the past. They both caught on to the litter box fast. I just put their put their leavings in the box and then they followed suit. This time it is not working. Older cat and more confusing setting.

This cat is fast and I do not have big towels. It will take many attempts to catch her. I feel very bad each miss.
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#4

Feral Cat Clinic
(02-28-2023, 07:41 PM)Vorpal Wrote: Thank you.

I have actually used the small room method two times in the past.  They both caught on to the litter box fast.  I just put their put their leavings in the box and then they followed suit.  This time it is not working.  Older cat and more confusing setting.

This cat is fast and I do not have big towels.  It will take many attempts to catch her.  I feel very bad each miss.

Yes, missing is not good. We have also used a fishing net. Not as good as a huge towel, best to have a tight wrap during transport. The third option is a large dog kennel, positioned very close to where the cat hides, with cooked fish or chicken livers or something super enticing inside. Rig it up with a rope so you can pull the door shut from a distance. We used that outside a lot. Or a live trap for racoons etc., but that tends to be upsetting them. 

The special bait has to have a strong scent.
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#5

Feral Cat Clinic
Havahart trap, food deep inside.
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#6

Feral Cat Clinic
(02-28-2023, 08:28 PM)Gawdzilla Sama Wrote: Havahart trap, food deep inside.

That works, and sometimes animal control loans them out. But it can really freak out a feral cat, not all of them but some go so nuts in there that they hurt themselves. Still, we have used them and they work. Not sure just how spooked Vorpal's cat is.
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#7

Feral Cat Clinic
I just eat all the feral kitties.
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#8

Feral Cat Clinic
(02-28-2023, 09:12 PM)Dom Wrote:
(02-28-2023, 08:28 PM)Gawdzilla Sama Wrote: Havahart trap, food deep inside.

That works, and sometimes animal control loans them out. But it can really freak out a feral cat, not all of them but some go so nuts in there that they hurt themselves. Still, we have used them and they work. Not sure just how spooked Vorpal's cat is.

Monitor the trap and put a blanket over it as soon as you can. Keep the area quiet until the cat settles down. If you have a cooperative vet get some diazepam to put in the water.
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#9

Feral Cat Clinic
(02-28-2023, 09:43 PM)no one Wrote: I just eat all the feral kitties.

I've eaten some wild pussy in my day. Thumbs Up
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#10

Feral Cat Clinic
That reminds me of when we caught a squirrel in a cardboard box. Between the three of us, it's amazing that everyone departed in one piece.
Mountain-high though the difficulties appear, terrible and gloomy though all things seem, they are but Mâyâ.
Fear not — it is banished. Crush it, and it vanishes. Stamp upon it, and it dies.


Vivekananda
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#11

Feral Cat Clinic
We have progressed to the stage where the cat rubs against my legs and we fist bump. She is accepting being petted. She is very jumpy and easily spooked. She won't leave the sofa area. I am trying to lure her to the bathroom.
______________

I think I found me a batch of frumious bandersnatch. Dance  
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#12

Feral Cat Clinic
(03-03-2023, 06:48 PM)Vorpal Wrote: We have progressed to the stage where the cat rubs against my legs and we fist bump. She is accepting being petted. She is very jumpy and easily spooked. She won't leave the sofa area. I am trying to lure her to the bathroom.

This is good, she is coming around. I would just let things take their course at this point. You're good. It'll be a little slower but you are doing very well. I wouldn't mess with it at this point.
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#13

Feral Cat Clinic
(03-03-2023, 06:48 PM)Vorpal Wrote: We have progressed to the stage where the cat rubs against my legs and we fist bump. She is accepting being petted. She is very jumpy and easily spooked. She won't leave the sofa area. I am trying to lure her to the bathroom.

That is real progress. A cat that is marking you by rubbing is beginning to accept you (and feeling safe in the house).

Talk to the cat softly and calmly often, extend a hand on the floor a few inches away to be sniffed but not seeming "grabby". A toy with catnip or valerian may calm it and make it like the home. I'm sure you keep a clean litterbox in the room, but keep the food and waterbowl far away from it.

Adopting and socializing a feral cat is not easy. It seems to me that you are doing well. Keep up the good effort and feel free to ask questions. I've been around cats for 70 years. There aren't many surprises to me these days.
Never try to catch a dropped knife!
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#14

Feral Cat Clinic
(03-03-2023, 10:26 PM)Dom Wrote:
(03-03-2023, 06:48 PM)Vorpal Wrote: We have progressed to the stage where the cat rubs against my legs and we fist bump. She is accepting being petted. She is very jumpy and easily spooked. She won't leave the sofa area. I am trying to lure her to the bathroom.

This is good, she is coming around. I would just let things take their course at this point. You're good. It'll be a little slower but you are doing very well. I wouldn't mess with it at this point.

The rubbing is a mix of getting attention and marking you as property, part of her pride. It's the signal that all will be well.  

Quote:Scent-marking in Cats is Communication

Scent-marking in cats is a form of olfactory communication. Scent is released from rubbing various sebaceous glands along the forehead, tail, lips, chin and paw pads along surfaces or onto other animals.
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#15

Feral Cat Clinic
This cat does not use a litter box. I am going to use dirt instead of litter and see if that works
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I think I found me a batch of frumious bandersnatch. Dance  
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#16

Feral Cat Clinic
(03-10-2023, 05:31 PM)Vorpal Wrote: This cat does not use a litter box.  I am going to use dirt instead of litter and see if that works

The type of litter and the location of the box can make a big difference.
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#17

Feral Cat Clinic
Apparently this kitten is pregnant
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I think I found me a batch of frumious bandersnatch. Dance  
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#18

Feral Cat Clinic
More servings, same amount of work.  Thumbs Up
Mountain-high though the difficulties appear, terrible and gloomy though all things seem, they are but Mâyâ.
Fear not — it is banished. Crush it, and it vanishes. Stamp upon it, and it dies.


Vivekananda
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#19

Feral Cat Clinic
(03-21-2023, 06:28 PM)Vorpal Wrote: Apparently this kitten is pregnant

That figures. Too late to have an abortion?
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#20

Feral Cat Clinic
(03-21-2023, 06:28 PM)Vorpal Wrote: Apparently this kitten is pregnant

I had that situation twice. First time, a female cat in heat (before I knew about spaying) jumped off the 1st story balcony and it took me a week to find her. Only because I went to a neighboring building seeking a working washing machine and heard a familiar "meow". She was young and delivered 2 kittens and only one survived. I kept them (mother and daughter).

Another time, an idiot roommate allowed an intact male cat into the apartment "just to see what happened" with the daughter cat who was in heat. I was still so dumb that I didn't know about vets and operations much. I ended up with 6 kittens.

Which was fascinating at first. But I had left the idiot and gotten a small apartment myself. The cats grew. They went crazy, too many of them in a small place. I found homes for some and a couple of barns where the largest males thrived on the mice. But that was 50 years ago and I learned a lot after that.

Find a Vet who will do an abortion (and the sooner the better, it really does grieve them to have to kill developing kittens). There are so many cats without homes already, it is best not to add more.
Never try to catch a dropped knife!
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#21

Feral Cat Clinic
(03-22-2023, 02:09 AM)Dom Wrote:
(03-21-2023, 06:28 PM)Vorpal Wrote: Apparently this kitten is pregnant

That figures. Too late to have an abortion?

I am having trouble moving the kitty from one room to another. I can't see myself cramming her in a carrier for a car trip and visit with strangers anytime soon. A visit to a vet is months away.  I won't ever be a part of an abortion. But I will make sure animals in my care are made sterile and I will place them in reasonable homes.
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#22

Feral Cat Clinic
Last week we had some good progess. The kitty jumped up next to me on the sofa and relaxed for ten minutes. Then she has regressed and spent three days in the window sill behind the sofa. She ate or drank very little. She's eating again now but is moving around the house in stealth mode.

She was not pregnant. Maybe she is really constipated. And their might be fleas.
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#23

Feral Cat Clinic
(05-09-2023, 01:51 PM)Vorpal Wrote: Last week we had some good progess. The kitty jumped up next to me on the sofa and relaxed for ten minutes.  Then she has regressed and spent three days in the window sill behind the sofa.  She ate or drank very little. She's eating again now but is moving around the house in stealth mode.  

She was not pregnant.  Maybe she is really constipated.  And their might be fleas.

Or maybe she has a dead litter stuck in her womb. It happens. It calcifies. I do think you need to take her to the vet.

I think when she jumped on the couch with you, she was looking for help that wasn't happening. 

Get a big towel or blanket, throw it over her, grab her and pop her into a carrier. I have done it many times. Just shove her in, almost close the door and then pull out the blanket slowly. She needs to be checked, and if the vet is forewarned, he will tranquilize her for the examination. She will never know and just be relieved when she emerges in now familiar surroundings. She won't hate you for it. Promise. 

It sounds like she is sick, one way or another. Letting her suffer isn't good for anyone.

P.S. Keep the carrier covered during transport, so she only sees the interior of the carrier, not the scary world.
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#24

Feral Cat Clinic
My kids convinced me to take in another feral cat recently. We call him uncle cheese. Chili Cheese Toes. He looks suspiciously like a sibling of another feral cat we took in (that had kittens - hence uncle). Mama Mae. Little Grendel. The Grey Ghost - she goes by many names. They both act like it too. Spends all of his time at the window sil. I think it's like comfy tv for a feral rescue. Dewormed her, by chance? That's the only thing I can think of (beyond the unthinkable) that would make a cat seem preggers when it isn't. That's if your cue was visual. If it was behavioral....torn diaphram...?

In my experience, rescues like that are perfect cats. They don't want or need attention, and you -will not- have a rodent or snake problem. They do, if it helps, stop pissing and shitting in the house eventually (no hand wringing over litter type or placement required - just an open window). Might take longer if it's the only one, no community of cats to show it the ropes. Get her to the vet and you'll have a ride or die friend for years. As in, when we pack for the season or vacation, they pack themselves into our bags. From their POV they found a meal ticket and they're not letting go, lol.
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#25

Feral Cat Clinic
(05-09-2023, 02:24 PM)Rhythmcs Wrote: My kids convinced me to take in another feral cat recently.  We call him uncle cheese.  Chili Cheese Toes.  He looks suspiciously like a sibling of another feral cat we took in (that had kittens - hence uncle).  Mama Mae.  Little Grendel.  The Grey Ghost - she goes by many names.  They both act like it too.  Spends all of his time at the window sil.  I think it's like comfy tv for a feral rescue.  Dewormed her, by chance?  That's the only thing I can think of (beyond the unthinkable) that would make a cat seem preggers when it isn't. That's if your cue was visual.  If it was behavioral....torn diaphram...?

In my experience, rescues like that are perfect cats.  They don't want or need attention, and you -will not- have a rodent or snake problem.  They do, if it helps, stop pissing and shitting in the house eventually (no hand wringing over litter type or placement required - just an open window).  Might take longer if it's the only one, no community of cats to show it the ropes.  Get her to the vet and you'll have a ride or die friend for years.  As in, when we pack for the season or vacation, they pack themselves into our bags.  From their POV they found a meal ticket and they're not letting go, lol.

Remember that there is a huge difference between feral and stray. Ferals have not been near humans in many generations. Strays have moms or grammas who were used to humans. Their DNA is very different. Ferals will only come near you when in extreme trouble. Strays will be more opportunistic, they will befriend you if the situation is right. 

You are right, the example of other cats does help hugely - once the ice is broken. Our cats all came when called and went to their room when told, among many other things they picked up from their brethren.  

Ferals will tame towards one person at a time, and the first person will be favored. Eventually, when fully confident in a house, they will bond like dogs, follow you and defend you ferociously. I think you have strays.
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