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Old 01-11-2009, 10:16 PM
 
Location: Northern, VA
980 posts, read 2,079,299 times
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There's a cat in my neighborhood that I believe is abandoned. The people living in the house I used to see her entering/exiting moved over the weekend and didn't take her with them. The cat prefers to be outside and I'm guessing she only went into the former neighbors house to eat. It is really cold outside and I don't think the cat should be outside. I have been able to coax her into my house a few times but as soon as I close the front door, she begs for the door to be opened. She is a very finicky eater and I'm afraid that between the cold and her lack of willingness to eat many of the foods I bought for her, she'll die. Every now and again she will eat fancy feast...but I wonder if that's good for her teeth? Is it normal for cats to skip water when they eat? When is it too cold for a cat to be outside? Should I force the cat to stay in my house when she comes in? Can a stray be converted to a house cat? As you can tell, I know absolutely nothing about cats.
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Old 01-11-2009, 10:36 PM
 
3,730 posts, read 8,176,609 times
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That's very nice of you to be so concerned for the cat's welfare. I too know next to nothing about cats but would also be concerned. If she's friendly (and it seems she is) and is used to being inside at times, I'd prob. try to keep her inside unless she's miserable. Have heard inside cats have longer lives etc. Would just make your house cat-friendly with toys, empty paper bags that are open (have heard they like to go inside them and explore), would prob. give her the Fancy Feast and take her to the vet in a pet carrier just to make sure she's spayed, current on shots and healthy, they can clip her nails too (usually for free w/ an exam) and guestimate her age. THey can also check for a microchip to see if she maybe belongs to someone else (maybe the former owners assumed she was a stray). Anyway, just some thoughts, glad you're helping her.
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Old 01-11-2009, 10:39 PM
 
Location: Some place very cold
5,503 posts, read 14,070,281 times
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If you do decide to leave her outside, maybe you can build a little shelter for her and put some hay in there for her to sleep in. It's no fun being homeless. I always feel so bad for these animals. And the way things are going, more and more people will be leaving their fur babies behind.
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Old 01-11-2009, 10:40 PM
 
Location: CA
830 posts, read 1,551,665 times
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There are a few ways you could approach this. Here's what I would do.

Firstly, I would immediately post the cat as Found at the local animal control. This is really just to cover yourself legally. Chances are no one will come forward but you never know. Maybe the cat was previously lost, those neighbors started feeding her, and someone somewhere is still looking. Not likely, but...

Then I would gather her up for a vet exam. If she wasn't fixed, I'd do that. Where I live it is a 2 week waiting period between finding the animal and claiming it as your own, IF you've posted it as found, so that's when I'd fix her.

I'd continue feeding her and offer her indoor access but wouldn't push it at this point. I might leave my shed open too, with a box and a blanket, so she could opt for that if she got cold. Cats survive outside in very cold temperatures. My hometown of Portland Maine has a thriving feral population. As long as they can find cover - and they are good at that - they can do ok. You can help by providing options.

A stray can be converted to a house cat, fairly easily in most cases. It sounds like a tame stray from your description, not a feral. A lot less complicated. So if it were me, I'd start by encouraging the cat to stay inside more and more, particularly at night. I wouldn't force the case at this point as you want her to keep coming by, not be trying to escape from you. Provide a litterbox. A heating pad might be very enticing.

Fancy Feast is fine. Long term you'd probably want to encourage her to eat something a little higher quality (a "non-grocery store" brand) but FF has its place for finicky cats. Water should be made available but many cats don't drink very much. The only one of mine who drinks enough so that I notice is the one who is in kidney failure.

I'd recommend not leaving food outside for her... that's a good way to get raccoons interested and then you may get a problem with neighbors.

Good luck! Lucky kitty, someone cares.
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Old 01-11-2009, 10:46 PM
 
2,437 posts, read 3,248,738 times
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I haven't read all of the other posts, due to time. I would be hesitant to bring a stray into my house w/o testing her for Feling Lukemia. If you're going to make her an inside cat, please take her to the vet and have her tested and vaccinated.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tish Thompson View Post
There's a cat in my neighborhood that I believe is abandoned. The people living in the house I used to see her entering/exiting moved over the weekend and didn't take her with them. The cat prefers to be outside and I'm guessing she only went into the former neighbors house to eat. It is really cold outside and I don't think the cat should be outside. I have been able to coax her into my house a few times but as soon as I close the front door, she begs for the door to be opened. She is a very finicky eater and I'm afraid that between the cold and her lack of willingness to eat many of the foods I bought for her, she'll die. Every now and again she will eat fancy feast...but I wonder if that's good for her teeth? Is it normal for cats to skip water when they eat? When is it too cold for a cat to be outside? Should I force the cat to stay in my house when she comes in? Can a stray be converted to a house cat? As you can tell, I know absolutely nothing about cats.
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Old 01-11-2009, 11:04 PM
 
Location: CA
830 posts, read 1,551,665 times
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Leukemia is only an issue of contagion if you have other cats, and it sounds like the OP doesn't.

It's a good idea to know the leukemia and FIV status of a cat, so you'd want to get the combo test done whenever you do get her into the vet. But in a household without other cats, I wouldn't give undo concern to it.

Just wanted to mention that so that folks don't think a leukemia positive cat poses a danger to any one other than other cats (and even with them, it's not the easiest disease in the world to catch, not like some of the respiratory illnesses, panleuk, etc.)

Sheesh, if stray cats are walking bags of contagion, then how in the world am I still alive??
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Old 01-14-2009, 09:29 PM
 
Location: County Mayo Descendant
2,658 posts, read 2,954,044 times
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I've had a stray visit in summer, the cat came around for dogfood that i smash up for the birds, i then started buying some dry cat food for him/her? She is still here now, will come up to front door right at dusk and meow if i don't have the food out, i had made a shelter put some treats in it hoping the cat would go in it. she just took out the treats, i think she felt threatened, so again i did another shelter area so one side is completely open, i have not seen the cat inside there, tho she could be late at night, but i know she lays down on top of it.

I have been buying some canned cat food and mix that with dry with some warm water, its so cold here, but somehow she is surviving. She just wants me to put the food out and thats it, wants me to go away or she will not come and eat the food, the cat had to have been abused and don't trust humans "can you blame her" so hopefully by spring she'll come around and get to know me, the cat does not belong to anyone, I've been told to throw a blanket over her and take her to a shelter, but I am hesitant to do that as alot of cats are put down. I've been keeping alook out for her at night in case she is meowing for me, i'd bring her in if she'd let me but i would have to crate the cat as i have dogs. I think the cat must be sleeping somewhere, where do the wild cats sleep outside? make an area like a den? i know the cat will lay under my car.

Keep feeding your cat, hopefully both our wild cats will come around.
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Old 01-14-2009, 09:50 PM
 
Location: County Mayo Descendant
2,658 posts, read 2,954,044 times
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Found some info on the feral cats

I've been told that cats should be indoors only, so isn't it cruel to leave them outside? The safest place for your tame companion cats may be indoors, but the best and usually the only environment suitable for feral (wild) cats is outside. Feral cats that have undergone TNR and live in managed colonies can live healthy, content, and long lives-often as long as indoor cats. Finding homes for feral cats is not a realistic option. Humane societies, animal shelters, and other animal organizations rarely accept them for adoption because they cannot be touched or held by people and are, thus, "unadoptable." Shelters usually kill feral cats without a holding period and animal sanctuaries rarely have room for them.
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Old 01-15-2009, 09:47 AM
 
2,801 posts, read 5,877,821 times
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For additional info on ferals, check out IndyFeral - Welcome to IndyFeral's Home on the Web!. They are a great organization.

We have two older bachelor boys outside and a new feral kitten that recently turned up. We feed them and have built a variety of shelters for them. Very important in the zero degree days we are having.

The two older boys are neighbor throw aways and the kitten is a feral (wild). We cannot bring them inside since we already have 5 and none would be adoptable. So we provide a safe privacy fenced living area and feed them well.

Note: Feral "Momma cat" has lived in our neighborhood for almost 10 years. Probably used up all her nine lives during that time but there are some tough old cats out there. When the bachelor's moved in, she moved down the block to another neighbor's yard and shed.
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Old 01-15-2009, 05:40 PM
 
Location: Northern, VA
980 posts, read 2,079,299 times
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A couple nights ago, it was in the 20s BEFORE the wind chill factor. When the cat came to my house, I let her in and made her stay for 4 hours (I think it's a female...but I've named her Mr. Cat...she "talks" to me when I call her that). Mr. Cat didn't react as poorly as I thought she would...she did ask to go back out, but when I refused to open the door for her, she whined a little and tried to open the door herself but gave up. She searched the house for a place to sleep and slept for a couple of hours. When she woke up she walked around a bit, ate again, and asked to go back out. I let her out and figured she'd be upset with me and not come back. She came back every night until last night and I am so afraid the cold weather got to her. I really hope she's OK. I will build a shelter for her with a heating pad, maybe she'll be more comfortable with that than with me holding her hostage. Whenever she shows up again, I'll get her to a vet. I will continue feeding her as long as she needs to be fed. I bought a litter box and cat toys, but she didn't seem to know what to do with them. Thank you all for your awesome suggestions. I am more of a "dog person" but now I believe I can be a "cat person" too!
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