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Mooch, Our Stray

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
So a year or two ago...we noticed a big mama cat and her gray kitten were living under our shed. We fed them for a few months and eventually they left. Well, a couple months ago, a big male gray cat started showing up around our house. We are pretty sure he's the same little gray kitten that used to live under our shed. My parents have been feeding him while I've been at school and he's become very sweet. I named him Mooch and it seems fitting . He looks plump and healthy, but doesn't have a collar or appear to be neutered, so we're guessing no one owns him. Lately, he's been showing an interest in coming in the house, but we haven't let him (we have Jerry and Nimbus inside).

Anyway, I'm pretty sure my parents are going to adopt him eventually. After all, Jerry will be moving out in a month with my sister and I'll be taking Nimbus back to school. They'll miss having a cat around. However, my dad mentioned that if/when they adopt him, they'll get him neutered and declawed . I'd like to talk him out of it (declawing, that is), but I know I don't have much authority on the subject. I even suggested that they don't declaw and keep him as a mainly outdoor pet. Nonetheless, if they ever bring him inside...he'll probably get declawed. He'll be pampered and well fed for the rest of his life...but he'll have to sacrifice his claws...

What's everyones experience with taking in an outdoor male stray? That is, are they more likely to have behavioral issues (litter box, scratching, aggression)?

post #2 of 11
From what I understand the younger they are declawed the less behavioral issues they will deal with as they haven't had time to really understand they have claws that serve a purpose. If this cat has been living outside his entire life, he has used his claws many times for meals and protection--he will notice they are gone. I would think living as an inside cat would be a big challenge/adjustment as it is, let alone taking his claws at the same time.

I thought for sure I'd declaw when we got our kitten--but after talking to some people including my father (who has never owned a cat or lived with a cat) I decided it was unfair to do to a 10 week old kitten who could very very easily be taught right from wrong. I stood my ground with my husband and said no to declawing. 7 weeks later I'm really glad I made the choice I did--even if I have some scratches on me.

post #3 of 11
Well, he will spray unless he's neutered. Being used to being outside, he'll need attention & play to keep him from getting bored. Not being used to being inside, he'll need time to adjust - trusting people when he's in his territory is one thing - learning to trust people who just put him into a new, very strange environment is another thing.

Although he's already friendly, here's an article that may help (on socializing ferals): http://straypetadvocacy.org/html/soc...feral_cat.html

....and here's some information on declawing you may want to print out and give to your parents: http://straypetadvocacy.org/html/declaw_detoe.html It is illegal in 23 countries.

It also has lots of helpful links - you may want to look through them and find some more info to print out for your parents.

And here's a great thread that also maps out the problems with declawing: see in particular the fifth post: http://www.thecatsite.com/forums/sho...d.php?t=150790

Personally, I think he's better off being trapped & neutered and fed and cared for outside than being brought inside and being declawed.

post #4 of 11
I have to agree that this cat would be better off fixed and cared for outside than brought in and declawed. It's unecessary to declaw any cat, but do so to an older cat that's used to having its claws to survive is just wrong. As others have suggested, there are plenty of other options.

For what it's worth, I'm currently fostering a 4-year-old male cat that was obviously on his own for a while before being brought inside. He wasn't fixed when he was rescued in Nov., but is now. He took to the litter box right away and has used it faithfully. He's been fine about about his claws clipped and has only used appropriate scratching surfaces. He loves the turbo-scratcher. And, he's a big sweetheart, no aggression whatsoever.

Thanks for caring about Mooch!
post #5 of 11
Thank you for wanting ot care for Mooch. But, please do NOT take inside only to declaw. For a cat that is his age, it would be a torture, and most likely there would be litter box or other issues surfacing.

My advice is to TNR, fix Mooch, give vaccines and allow to live outdoors -
feed him, provide a nice shelter (kitty cabin for example: http://www.catplay-stations.com/cat_kabin.htm)

This would be the most humane, thoughtful and caring thing for you to do.

declawing should never be done ideally. And then if it must be, only on already indoor only kitties. Never to cat that is used to using its claws...

There are a variety of options for claws - soft paws for example.

I personally have had cats 40 years, and only (1) instance of the cats destroying / clawing furniture. Thta was my fault because I moved their
kitty tree and the sofa around, and they didn't like hte new kitty tree location!! So they quit doing claws on the tree and started in on the sofa!

No big loss, as it was old etc. But seriously, that's the only problem I've ever had. So, really its pretty much a non issue in my opinon. If kitty has
his tree, he won't want to do claws anywhere else...
post #6 of 11
I agree about not declawing but definitely neutered. Our RIP Brownie was an outdoor cat that adopted us. We got him fixed. He still wanted to live mostly outdoors so declawing was not an option. He gave us so much pleasure for 11 years.
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the great advice! My dad bought a small outdoor pet house the other night and we put a warm blanket inside. I think Mooch has been using it. Hopefully this means he'll remain an outdoor cat and avoid being declawed.

post #8 of 11
Actually, to keep him warm outside during the cold, straw is much better - it's a better insulator. It can easily be thrown away every week or when it gets wet and replaced. Blankets tend to be good homes for parasites too, and the straw is much safer from that perspective.

Please ask your dad to have the kitty neutered and release him back outside! Then he can't father more homeless kittens and his chances of being hurt in a cat fight are greatly reduced - he'll live longer and be a more stable backyard pet.

post #9 of 11
Declawing should not be an option, period. Mutilation could cause many more issues that just scratching. Using claws is an instinctual thing. Just because it is done in kittenhood does not make it any more acceptable. Half the world manages just fine with clawed cats.

I would opt for outdoors, too until you can hopefully get your parents to see that mutilation is not love. Can't wait to see photos Thanks for being in this little guy's corner!
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
It's been awhile since I've posted, but I have some updates about Mooch. Basically, he's started to become aggressive towards us. He will abruptly scratch and bite us if he catches the scent of our other cats on us. He just attacked me and bit a chunk out of my arm (which I quickly washed and put neosporin on).

This change in behavior seems so sudden. He's been around us for months and we've always petted him, with no problems. We've also always had the other cats living with us. So, why is Mooch lashing out on us now? Is there anything I can do? We always wash our hands before we go out to pet him, but he must still smell the other cats on our clothes.

It's a shame that he's decided to become so aggressive. I really don't think there's any chance of my parents bringing him into the house now. We're also unable to take our indoor cats outside anymore, because we're worried Mooch will attack them.


EDIT: I know Mooch should be neutered, but how can my parents do this if they can't bring him into the house to heal? Will the Vet be able to keep him until he's healed?
post #11 of 11
Odd he is doing it now. It could be another cat is in his territory, and/or he is reaching sexual maturity (3 yrs of age in a cat, even though they can
reproduce at 6 months of age - psychologically they don't get aggressive etc till that time.)

Or he could be in pain from wounds etc you don't know he has.

You can get him spay/neutered AND they will put him in cage at
vet's till he is ready to go outside - 48 hours is recommended.

You could also put him in a cage in a bathroom in the house,
a trap style cage. (The kind used in trapping ferals/cats).

But I would opt for the 48 hour vet stay. He may be VASTLY
different once neutered and the vet could check for other
issues once he is out cold (like abcesses etc.)

Should be put back outside, kept as outdoor only. You may find
he disappears for a bit once released, then comes back.

Keep in mind, spay and release TNR is the most humane thing you
could *possibly* ever do!
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