Advice For Taking In A Stray!
Posted 30 September 2009 - 02:58 PM
Hubby and I have noticed a cat around our house for the past few months ... we think he likes our yard because we have no grass yet (new place) and we just have really tall weeds and LOTS of grasshoppers ... so he likes to hunt. He's skittish and would run whenever we attempted to go near him, which is what made us think he was a stray ... that and he's ALWAYS around, no matter what the weather.
As the temperature steadily plummets here in north-eastern Canada, hubby and I are getting worried that the little guy is going to freeze to death come winter. So, we started feeding him 2 weeks ago. He SCOFFS his food ... he's obviously hungry ... and he stares with wide eyes if we watch him eat ... he's obviously afraid.
Yesterday, hubby was able to pet him and he rubbed up against my leg once this morning, then ran back to his food when I went out on the porch with him.
So, we're both too compassionate to leave the little guy to freeze to death in the coming months. But, here's the kicker: We already have 2 cats at home.
Now, I made an appointment with our vet for next week ... but we have to get him into the garage first and then into the cat box ... have any of you ladies had experience taking in a stray and getting him to the vet?
I'm quite certain this isn't an owned cat ... his feet are always filthy (they're white), he's pretty skinny and he's too scared of us to be a house cat ... and he has no collar which all of the other outdoor owned cats in our area have.
Any and all advice would be much appreciated!!! Thanks ladies!!!!
Posted 30 September 2009 - 05:15 PM
It is important to keep him away from your other cats until he sees the Vet (but I'm sure you know that) as he could carry Feline Leukemia or another transferable disease.
If you have any other questions just PM me, I often take in strays as I can't stand to see them out in the cold either and have done this several times.
You have a big heart, its great that you are looking out for the little guy!
Posted 30 September 2009 - 05:38 PM
Posted 01 October 2009 - 02:07 PM
The cat pictured below in my siggy was hanging around our house, one day we noticed that he was hurt and quickly took him to the vet. FI couldn't bare to see him put down and we spent the money to save his life and have surgery performed, someone had shot him. He was a skinny little stray then and now he is a fat happy lazy housecat. Our other cats get along with him aside from the occational spat over controling the food dish and he has more personality than we know what to do with. We are so glad we saved him and made him a part of our family.
Good Luck, let us know what happens.
Posted 01 October 2009 - 07:16 PM
Posted 02 October 2009 - 12:49 PM
IDK what your opinion is, but consider getting him fixed, too - maybe not at the initial vet visit, but definately if you plan on keeping him. It often mellows out strays a bit, and will take care of that annoying spraying/in heat problem.
And even if he does check out - to preserve harmony you should still keep him seperate from your other cats for a week or so - maybe in the basement or garage or something? With lots of blankets and warm comfy spots and food to make him more comfortable?
I like cats...
Posted 03 October 2009 - 10:59 AM
Posted 04 October 2009 - 12:29 AM
I have a couple strays I feed and have provided shelter for in the winter for the last 4 or 5 years. They are perfectly happy with the arrangement and are probably curled up out there as I type. I have two little cat houses that are water/wind-proofed and have two little heated cat beds in them. When the temperature starts to drop I put them out, nestle some old towels in them and plug in the heaters. I usually leave them up all winter. The heated cat beds are about $20 and up. I have had one of them spayed through a spay/release program. The other is much more feral and I'm hoping next year to be able to get him in as well.
To attract your kitty:
I would put out a heated cat house for a couple days and put some really yummy (moist food, tuna, ect) food in there. He'll get used to going in there and associate it with a pleasant experience. After the first couple times you see him go in, stay close after you put the food in so he gets used to associating you with that pleasant experience. Once he doesn't run out when you move closer try closing him in while he eats then open the cat carrier and let him out. That way he knows that if he goes in he can come back out. If you trap him and take him to the vet the first time he'll never go near it again. Do that a couple times then you should be able to get him to the vet.
One the vet gets his shots, de-wormer, and neuter he may fly like a bat out of hell from that box and stay away for a day or two but his hunger will be stronger than his fear and he will come back. Just slowly work back up that same process of moving closer while he eats and encouraging him to eat in the cat house. Depending on how quickly you want to integrate him you can continue progressing like that until he's willing to come into your garage to eat. If he's really feral you may just want to continue to provide him a warm, dry place to get out of the elements for this winter and see where it goes from there.
Not to discourage you but to help protect you and the kitty here are a few things to keep in mind:
Even if you don't end up taking this cat into your home if you're willing to at least get him to the vet please please please have him neutered. Even if he remains a stray the rest of his life he will be less likely to engage in risky behavior that will shorten his lifespan as well as reproduce and multiple the problem. It may lessen some of his feral behavior as well.
Stray cats almost always have worms. If you want to bring him into your home you'll want to make sure to quarantine the new kitty for a while and treat his litter box with extreme care. Your vet will advise you further. It's not the end of the world but something to be aware of.
Fleas are a nuisance but pretty easy to get rid of with treatment prior to introducing kitty into your home. You could have the vet apply the first dose of medication during the initial visit.
FIV is a common virus cats contract and carry. It's not devastating but you need to be aware of how it works. Several cats at the shelter I work with have FIV and are happy, healthy cats they just have weaker immune systems. FIV Facts has some great information. Note-it is species specific (won't spread to you or other kinds of animals) and once an animal is spayed/neutered it is unlikely to spread between cats.
The most difficult thing I would suggest watching for is ringworm. This site has some pretty basic info and images for what to watch for: Feline Ringworm (including pictures) - Causes, symptoms, photos & treatment of ringworm in cats You can ask your vet to check your cat under a special light as well as culture some of it's fur. These will usually indicate if there is ringworm present although it's not 100%. The main problem with ringworm is that it can take a long time to show up and is extremely difficult to treat because you have to treat not only the animal but the environment the animal is exposed to and avoid re-contamination. I had foster kittens one time that had ringworm and we had to be extra careful with their environment. This is where your quarantine will come in.
I wish you both the best of luck, that kitty is lucky to have you to watch out for him!
Whew - I'm done rambling :-) PM me if you have any other questions.
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