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Rescues that Deal with Feral Cats

aries99
December 23rd, 2006, 05:34 AM
Hello Everyone:)
I am new to this so please bare with me. Just last evening I captured a feral cat. I was trying to catch a different feral cat, one that I have been feeding and slowly gaining trust. She was acutally in my trap eating (hadn't set it off yet), when along came another kitty and chased her away. This (not so nice) kitty ended up setting of the trap. I read somewhere that not to be suprised when the cat goes nuts. Nothing could have prepared me for that! I thought she was going to kill herself by headbutting the ends of the trap! Anyway, I ran out, threw a blanket on the trap and put her in my van. When I got home, she had settled down and when I lifted the blanket to get a good look at her she greeted me with a pleasent "HISS!". I could tell right away that she had a respiratory infection by her wheezing and runny eyes. I called my vet and brought her in right away. He gave her some shots (I think it was to reduce her fever and help her) and then prescibed her an oral antibiotic (liquid). He told me if I couldn't get her to take it by the syringe to mix it in with some food. So, my problem now is she won't eat! I don't know if it's because she is too sick or too scared. I'm not sure what I should do. I did try to give it to her through the syringe. I geared up (sweater and leather gloves) and managed to get a bit into her but it was a pretty traumatic experience for the both of us. I pretty much literally had to hold her right down with a towel over top of her and she attacked the syringe and latched on to it. I squirted it into her mouth and she got most of it in. I have never delt with a feral cat before and I am not sure if I am doing this right. If anyway has experience and wants to take her or can give me some advice, it would be greatly appreciated! Sorry to make this so long, I'm just worried and wondering if I did the right thing by keeping her.
Thanks, Tanya

chico2
December 23rd, 2006, 08:50 AM
Tanya,we have quiet a few people her who have rescued ferals,I am not one of them,but hang on and I am sure you'll get some sound advice.
Thank's for caring for these poor little felines:angel:

cpietra16
December 23rd, 2006, 08:51 AM
ferel cats never say no to food. You can try putting the meds in her food dish. I did that when I did not want to get that close to a ferel

cpietra16
December 23rd, 2006, 09:06 AM
oops, I just read all your post. She may not eat because she is scared, but give it time. You don't want her not to trust you...but I know you need to get the meds in her too:( . When a cat is stressed they are more likely to get sick faster...she may eat when everyone is sleeping. You can try tuna water to add the meds too..I have never met a vat who could resist the smell. Good luck

aries99
December 23rd, 2006, 10:32 AM
Hi Cpietra,
I just got back from taking the kids to gymnastics. I checked in on "Sparkle Tangerine". Yes, my 4 year old named her. Anyway, I had some dry cat food in the cage with her. I think she may have eaten some of that (hard to tell, she sort of through it all over). She also used the small litter box I put in with her. Smart kitty! So, I think I will try mixing in some of the meds with the tuna. She seemed to have eaten when we were all out of the house. Another question, right now she is still in the trap as this is the only cage I have. I'm scared to put her in her own room as I have two small children (ages 4 & 2) who might let her out. Is it ok to have her in there still? It's one of the bigger traps, I can fit a small litter box in, food and she still has half the trap to lay. Not much room for exercise though. I've got a towel in there for her to lay on and half the cage is covered to make her feel safe. She is in a room by herself. I was thinking I could let her out in a room and just put a lock at the top of the door to keep the kiddies out. Do you think she would feel more safe being in a room with more hidding places?

badger
December 23rd, 2006, 11:13 AM
It seems to me you are doing everything right, so trust your instincts! She is probably fine in the trap for another day or so, while she settles in. Don't handle her any more than you have to. Always let her come to you. I hope the meds in her food work out, because she needs those.

Leave the door of the room ajar and get into the habit of visiting her and talking to her, establishing yourself as a friend, not a threat. I always leave a radio on low nearby, it can be soothing (no heavy metal, please :)).

When you feel she's ready for more space and the room is cat-proof - no curtains to shred or valuables to break - leave the trap open as her den. And yes, a hook-and-eye lock latch on the outside is a good idea, just to be safe.

Is she spayed? If not, there's a good possibility she's pregnant. I'd have that checked out, because if you want to get her spayed, the earlier the better. You didn't say you were planning to keep her? Either way, she's not ready to move on yet. Thanks for your efforts, every saved animal counts.

cpietra16
December 23rd, 2006, 04:40 PM
I always released my ferels in a room that had a few hiding places. I never want the to feel like I have hte upper hand, which is what I feel when they stay in a caged environment, but that;s just my opinion. You seem to be doing all the right stuff.

kashtin's kin
December 24th, 2006, 12:33 AM
'aries', the people who have posted above in response to your situation are all pretty experienced with the feral issue, and have good :thumbs up advice (even if it varies a bit!). Early last summer I found myself with a very feral mother and her 3 kittens on my rural property near Simcoe/Delhi. I was totally overwhelmed with regard to how to deal with things (wanted to spay the mom, and gentle and eventually spay the kittens), and posted a bit of a "help!!" :eek: in this general forum.

Almost 6 months later, and with TONS of great advice, encouragement and support from folks on this BB :D I've been able to: lure the kittens inside; livetrap the momcat (preceded by the unexpected livetrapping of a tomcat I hadn't known was around!); have both the mom and tom spayed/neutered and given shots, then released (had momcat recover in a large dog cage in the house for over a week, and thought of 'taming' her, but she was VERY adamant about returning outside); get the kittens to the vet for 2 sets of shots and S/N x3; AND FINALLY, integrate all kittens into our household (already 3 cats and 2 dogs), although one kitten is going to be adopted by a relative.

Along with all the BB help, I used common sense (didn't know I had that much ;) !), and just played things by ear. I panicked a few times, and was sometimes a bit discouraged, but the BB always got me through. Each situation is of course unique (i.e. I made the rather agonizing financial decision to spend what I had to for the vet, when $$$ was in short supply), and was able to adopt most of the family...and I can't do the $ thing OR the adoption again without ending up homeless myself!!

Soooooo, good for you for doing what you've done so far-it's wonderful :angel: . And keep posting as concerns and/or questions arise; people will ALWAYS reply, even if it takes a day or 2. Also, I hadn't done 'private messaging' before I joined this board, but I've used it a lot to stay in contact with and thank people specifically...I've done most of my communicating on the board, but sometimes there's stuff that's not 'secret', but just more appropriate to PM.

As folks kept urging me, keep us posted with how things are going; once everyone starts to follow your story, it's like we all feel involved i.e. some emotional investment! We really do care, and can help an awful lot with whatever comes up. Especially with 2 children, and being in the holiday season, you've already done a bunch; hang in there, knowing that all of us are only a 'post' away :D . Best wishes, and best of luck :fingerscr .

p.s. it's been a lot of work, but I've learned soooo much, and it's been a very rewarding experience in general...while I've been writing this, one 'former feral' kitten has been on my lap while another one napped happily nearby...oh yeah, and I'm still feeding the feral mom daily (she has shelter on our property).

vfrohloff
December 24th, 2006, 09:39 AM
Sounds like you are on the right track. My one suggestion though is to keep the children away from her for now. They're a bit young to understand that this kitty is scared and needs to be left alone. They also risk getting bitten by her if they get too excited and freak her out. I would say she can stay in the cage for another day or two and then let her out into the room by herself. Again, I can't stress enough how important it is to keep the kids out of that room, otherwise she may never adjust to being in your house, or worse she may become aggressive. Don't worry about her not getting exercise in the cage, she's probably too scared anyway and if she's not feeling well she will want to sleep more than usual. I know what you mean about the reaction of a feral cat when you first cage them. I took my feral in to be neutered about a month ago and by the time we got to the vet his nose was all bloody from trying to push his way out of the cage. He also ended up with blisters and blood on his paws from trying to claw his way out.

aries99
December 24th, 2006, 11:09 AM
I just wanted to say thank-you to everyone for your advice! Last night Sparkle Tangerine finally took her meds. I mixed it in with a wee bit of warm milk and she drank it right up. I read somewhere that cow's milk wasn't good for kitties so I went out his morning and bought some of that kitten milk and mixed it in there for her. She drank that right up too! So, I'm realived that she's finally getting the meds into her. I can say that she looks a lot better today. She was a little bit bloody from the night when I caught her (plus she was soaked to the bone because it was raining out). She has now managed to clean herself up and she is looking pretty good. As for the pregnant thing, it did cross my mind. I'll probably be able to tell more in a couple weeks. I haven't decided yet what I will do with her. I would like to keep her but if she is determined to stay feral, then I will have to release her (but don't worry, not until after she has been spayed:thumbs up ). I do have a full house right now. I took in a stray about one month ago. We named her Nutmeg and yup, she was prego! Just this past Tuesday (the 18th), she gave birth to 4 babies and everyone is doing fine. I have her and the babies in the spare room so Custard (our other cat) keeps away from them. I'm going to have to do some room juggling so I can let Sparkle Tangerine out in that room (once I've 'feral' proofed it) and Momma & babies are going to have to stay in the bathroom. The kids haven't been allowed to go near Sparkle Tangerine, I wouldn't allow that for everyone's safety. She still greats ME with a pleasent "Hiss!" Anyway, I will keep you all posted! I did read all of the posts about the lady and her feral cat "Ted" and I really enjoyed following that. Thank again for all the advice!

cpietra16
December 24th, 2006, 11:17 AM
Can you post some pictures pleasssssee..:D

chico2
December 25th, 2006, 08:34 AM
Aries,thank's for returning to the Forum..it seems you have a very busy kitty-household:D
I am amazed at people like you and several others on this Forum,who go all out to save these worthy little lives,often turned feral,
due to other peoples heartless actions and ignorance.
We are all rooting for you and the kitties and please keep us posted,also some pics would be great.Merry Christmas!!