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Help with semi ferals

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hi, a few years ago we adopted 3 feral kittens, sisters. Two are still semi-feral (they will let us pet them occassionally but never pick them up) and one is still feral (we've only touched her once and that was when my husband caught her when she fell off the window sill). We've never tried to catch them to take them to the vet, although they were all fixed and given shots by the adoption agency before we got them.

At least one of them is now pee-ing on bathroom rugs -- we have no idea which one. In addition we just discovered one of them peed on our futon so we treated it with Nature's Miracle and just a few minutes later, in front us, one of them peed on it again in another place!

So my questions are (1) how to trap them so I could take them individually to the vet to find out if this peeing is a medical issue, (2) should I check with the vet's office first to see if they will even see a semi feral cat and (3) are there other issues I need to consider before trying to trap them for a vet visit? I'm really worried we either won't be able to catch them or won't be able to find a vet to treat them. If this continues my husband will make me put them outside (they've never been outside before and I don't think they could survive) or give them away (I can't imagine anyone will take them under the circumstances).

post #2 of 6
Thread Starter 
I thought I should add that the amount of fluid does not seem to indicate a UTI. Each time (on the rug or the futon) has been a regular amount of pee -- and when we saw one of them pee this time, she did not appear to be struggling at all. Thanks.
post #3 of 6
I would maybe try a box trap???? At least that way you could catch one at a time without hurting them. Other wise maybe you could entice them into a kennel with a can of tuna or something they really like. Normally when they pee on stuff and dont normally do this, its a UTI. When mine does this I dont even take them to the vet anymore. Just get the meds by calling the vet. The other problem you're gonna have is if it is a medical issue how are you going to give em meds with them being ferals?? Its really hard if they dont let you catch em! I have a vet in my town who if I pay a little extra will come to my house and do the exam there. Maybe you could do that!
post #4 of 6
Call you vet and tell them the situation. If you choose to do so, you can get a light sedative and sneak that in their wet food.
The vet will give you instructions on how and when to put them in a carrier. You may also want to ask if they wish you to bring them in live traps, as this will allow them to sedate the cat again (later) to remove it from the trap if it's too violent.
At the very least your cats could probably use an update on their vaccinations, especially rabies -in case they bite one of you or someone at the vet's office.

BTW, three years is plenty of time to have tamed those cats down. Best motivator is food, particularly wet food or boiled chicken. Let them know they at least have to be friendly with you for that treat. Don't ever act jumpy or worried, and talk to them a lot.
post #5 of 6
Oh boy, I've got a few of those in my house! All of my cats were born feral and some are still semi-feral.

The best way to "trap" them in my house: Get the carrier out and leave it out for at least a week. Pick a room to trap them in, preferably one that doesn't have a bed for them to hide under and put the carrier in that room. Open the door to the carrier and place the opening facing the ceiling. Small bathrooms don't really work and I prefer a bedroom, as they don't get so claustrophic when they have a little bit of space to move around in. I've seen cats try to climb bathroom walls and its very scary for them.

On the day you want to catch them, start closing the doors to all the rooms in your house except for the selected room. Make sure they aren't in that room in the first place. Then "herd" the cat towards that room. If they catch on that you are trying to catch them, they will immediately try to get away from you and will find a room to hide it. Make your selected room the only choice. Once in there, go in and close the door behind you so that they can't escape. At this point you need to have a sense of the cat's reaction to you picking her up. I simply hold them firmly by the scruff so that they go a little bit limp, scoop them up while holding their weight with the other hand and drop them into the carrier. You want them limp and curled up so they don't fight the carrier too much. If they are going to fight, wear long sleeves (something you don't care if it gets ripped) and leather gloves. Once in the cage, close the door quickly and gently lower it to the floor.

This was the only way that I could catch my 18 pound Tigger who was very much a wild child.

For the vet: ask them for a flexible appointment time or find a time during the week when they are normally not too busy. If you can't catch the cat right away, you will miss an exact appointment. If you tense about making the appointment, the cat will sense it and will be harder to catch.

Good luck! I have scars from the times when I didn't use this technique.
post #6 of 6
If you don't have a top loading carrier, which makes things much easier, try my "reluctant cat" trick: Have the carrier standing on end so the door is on top. Lower them in, hind legs first. And let go when their front legs have cleared the opening. They will be distracted by landing and orienting themselves, and we can close the door and then return the carrier to its normal position.

I would seriously consider tranquilization. It's easier on everyone.

It makes dealing with the aftermath better too, because we've imprinted the experience as "Dang! That was weird!" rather than a fight to the death.
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