April 9th, 2008, 12:23 PM
I'm writing here from a perspective of total ignorance, I'm a dog owner and have never owned a cat before, so...
There's a little cat that has been hanging around in my back yard sometimes. It has no collar, and it looks thin to me (but then, I can judge dog weight, but all cats look thin to me). I tried to tempt it with some food, but when I got near it, it hissed at me. So I backed off and left the food, watching it through the window, but it wouldn't eat it (it was ham, all I could find, I don't even know if cats eat ham!).
Is there some way to tell if it's a stray? Would all outdoor cats have a collar, or do owners remove them so that they don't get caught up on fences and stuff? Would a stray eat anything? Am I looking for a level of tattiness or dirtiness in the cat to tell?
I probably couldn't adopt the cat anyway, but I'm wondering if it's a stray if I should try to catch it and take it to a shelter. If it is, I'd rather not let it roam around here and breed (I've seen dirty little kittens which are clearly strays around my area, but they are so nervous they dart away almost as soon as you see them. There's definitely a stray cat population around here.) Or should I just leave well enough alone? It might just be a curious outdoor cat that lives somewhere close.
April 9th, 2008, 01:21 PM
First of all, thank you for thinking of this poor cat. Odds are he's a stray. I would trust your instincts about his thinness and assume that he's hungry. Ham is way too salty, even though a starving cat will eat almost anything. Would you consider buying a few cans of cat food? or some decent kibble (get the one for kittens, it's richer; and always provide water)?
He doesn't sound like he is ready to be caught just yet :) so basically you have to go through the process of putting food in a safe place on a regular basis and slowly gaining his trust.
Alternatively, you could rent or borrow a trap from your local humane society or a rescue group and try to catch him that way. If you're not up to caring for him, maybe a cat rescue would take him on. You could even call a couple of them now and ask for advice; rescue people tend to be very well informed about local resources.
Of course, all homeless cats are at risk but if it is a female and more than a few months old, she will probably be pregnant, which complicates things, because if they give birth outside it is often in some inaccessible place, if you can find them at all, and the female would be extra cautious.
If it has been someone's pet, the process should go faster. A feral (cat born outside) which has never had human contact is more complicated but not impossible.
April 9th, 2008, 01:31 PM
Thank you for caring. I agree with badger, sounds like the kitty is a little too scared yet to be rescued. If you can, canned food will be better because it provides the necessary water.
I can't add any more suggestions then what badger has given.
Good luck and keep us posted.
April 9th, 2008, 02:45 PM
Maybe if you could get a picture of him, someone with cat experience would be able to tell if he's too skinny? (and it's a great excuse for a pic posting too :D heheh).
Otherwise, agree with the above, but I'd also install a folded blanket or something under a deck/ stairs and put the food next to it, he might appreciate a soft(er) bed.
April 11th, 2008, 08:35 PM
Well, badger just about covered all the 'question bases' with her post...and she's always got good critter info :thumbs up. I pretty much am just seconding what she said! :rolleyes:, as in it's good of you to take an interest in this poor little cat...especially since you're not such a :cat: person.
Please take badger's advice if you can, and do a little detective work (google, ask around at pet stores, vet clinics etc.) to try to find a nearby cat rescue. They're never short of needy felines, but they don't put down cats unless there are extenuating circumstances i.e. extreme illness, unlike most formal shelters.
Until about 18 mos. ago, I had always had indoor cats, and had adopted a small number of outdoor 'shy strays' as barn cats, but had zero experience with feral (alias pretty darn wild and unsocialized cats descended from domestic pets) felines.
Although I'd lived on the same small farm for almost 10 yrs. with just the odd independant stray passing quickly through, all of a sudden I was presented with a feral cat scenario; a momcat had kittens just off our property in an old building. Fastforward to now: we adopted 2 of the 3 kittens after time spent 'taming' (the 3rd cat is with a relative), and the momcat is now my buddy...after over a year of keeping a safe distance!
It's all been very interesting and rewarding-not to say that you must embark on the same path!! BUT, my feral saga is an example of just how incredibly supportive and helpful :D the members of this BB can be; I would have been really lost if I hadn't found this place just at the right time!!
So, glad that you posted re: kitty...hopefully you've got some info to help you figure out what to do at this point, and if other questions arise (or whatever!!), don't hesitate to continue this thread. There's always someone around to lend a hand, so to speak.
Good luck with the kitty-even helping one cat (i.e. connecting with a rescue, spay/neuter et al.) makes a big difference!
April 11th, 2008, 09:17 PM
I can't add anything that hasn't already been said by the kitty pro and others but a big thank you for caring about this little lost soul. You are an :angel: for sure. Thank you :thumbs up