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Paranoid? Or valid concern? (with pics)

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
I have 4 indoor cats. 100% indoors, never go outside.

I also care for a feral that lives in my back yard. This cat is 100% feral, but I've been caring for him (food, water, shelter) for almost a year now. He never comes inside.

One of my indoor cats, my oldest (13 year old) is leash trained and I used to take him out on walks a few years ago. However, since I've been caring for the feral that lives in my back yard (and some of his friends too come over for snacks) I've been afraid to take any of my indoor cats outside.

I used to volunteer at a local shelter and learned how diseases are passed mainly from cat hair and possibly from their waste (litter). So I'm scared that my indoor cats could catch some sort of disease from being so close to where the feral lives so I never take them outside anymore on the leash.

The feral is scared of people, and I'm not worried about him attacking my cats, he'll run away if I go out there. I'm only worried my indoor cats could catch some disease or get sick from whatever the feral(s) may carry.

One feral basically lives in my back yard, and 3 others frequently visit just for food.

Am I just paranoid? Or is this a valid concern? I also don't want to open my windows in the back because I'm worried the cats could come into contact through the screen and pass diseases or whatever...

Here are some pictures. Everyone likes pictures.

Here is my yard and the cat that now lives back there.







The insulated shelter I built him for cold nights (not THAT cold here in Atlanta)



One of his buddies over for lunch,.. while he keeps watch on the fence



My oldest indoor cat on his leash before the other cat(s) moved into my back yard..



The rest of my indoor cats... First are the kittens (Maine Coons, 8 months old)







And my other indoor kitty we adopted from the shelter I used to volunteer at.



post #2 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by klag View Post
I used to volunteer at a local shelter and learned how diseases are passed mainly from cat hair and possibly from their waste (litter). So I'm scared that my indoor cats could catch some sort of disease from being so close to where the feral lives so I never take them outside anymore on the leash.

The feral is scared of people, and I'm not worried about him attacking my cats, he'll run away if I go out there. I'm only worried my indoor cats could catch some disease or get sick from whatever the feral(s) may carry.

Am I just paranoid? Or is this a valid concern? I also don't want to open my windows in the back because I'm worried the cats could come into contact through the screen and pass diseases or whatever...
All of my cats came from a feral colony and that colony lived right outside my house (I lived in the country). I have 2 cats that are inside/outside cats and they intermingle with the ferals. Then they come inside and sleep with my inside gang. I lived in that scenario for 13 years without a single problem.

My windows were open and the ferals would sit on the outside ledge and my cats on the inside ledge. They were nose to nose. The outside ferals and the inside cats built a bond with each other which was a good thing in case I had to bring one of the ferals inside.

I've never heard of a disease being transmitted through hair. A bad disease such as FeLV takes a fight, mating, or long time interaction.

I keep all of my cats vaccinated because of the 2 that go in and out. I've never had a problem in the 20 years that I've been working with feral cats.

Being cautious is a good thing. If the ferals fought with my resident cats I wouldn't do what I do. I wouldn't go as far as saying you are paranoid, but you are being a little overly cautious.
post #3 of 16
Now. Apparently you arent paranoid as you do help this feral and the visiting ferals. You also do volunteer at this shelter.

By the way, how do you do in between? Do you change clothes and wash hands with some suitable germ-and-virus-killer??

Momofmanys cats interchange freely with the homeless, but they are themselves ex ferals.
And ferals are made of tough weed being the survivors. The weak homeless succumbs or are taken by predators before they get ferals...

Thus Mom´s witnessing, although very striking and much positivie, cant be taken at the full value by the owner of stricktly indoors cats. Who, although healthy, sound and robust, arent proved survivors.


Cat rescuers are recommended to have their rescued homeless in some form of quarantene the first 2-3 weeks, even if the homeless seems to be healthy and the home cats are fully vaccinated. Deworming, deparasting, vet check up and shots.... etc.


I understand more then well you are cautious.
The question is thus: are you overly cautious, just a little too cautious, or a very sound just so cautious??

You arent definitely no paranoid no.
post #4 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by StefanZ View Post
Momofmanys cats interchange freely with the homeless, but they are themselves ex ferals.
And ferals are made of tough weed being the survivors. The weak homeless succumbs or are taken by predators before they get ferals...
That's a point that I've never considered. And my general philosophy is to take care of homeless animals, even if it adds a level of risk to the rest of my previously homeless cats. Thank you for that insight.
post #5 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks so much for the replies and info. This is exactly what I was hoping to learn.
post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by StefanZ View Post
By the way, how do you do in between? Do you change clothes and wash hands with some suitable germ-and-virus-killer??
I'm pretty meticulous when it comes to this as well. When I get home from a day of volunteering at the kitty shelter, I strip in the garage, throw those close right in the washer and go right into the shower without touching anyone or anything.

The ferals I care for in my backyard are not scared of me any longer (been caring for them for 10 months now), but wont allow me to touch them (nor do I try, hehe). When I change their water and food bowls they go right into the dishwasher (not the sink) and I wash my hands immediately before touching anything or anyone.

Here's a few more pics. Everyone likes pics
post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 
This is the cat that lives in my yard. I see him every day. I try to keep the bowl full of dry food at all times and I change the water daily. Once a week, I give him a can of wet food. At first he'd run away at the sight of me, now he isn't scared at all and will hang out on my porch when I grill. However, he wont let me touch him. He comes within a foot when I refill his food bowl, but still no touching.

We nicknamed him Dorian Gray, for obvious reasons















Here is another gray cat that just started coming around a few weeks ago. Similar colors as Dorian, but much smaller and different face. We've nicknamed this one Dorian's Sister, (again for obvious reasons) even though we know they aren't related. She's VERY shy/scared.



This cat below we don't think is a feral, but more of an indoor/outdoor cat that jut comes by for a snack once in a while. Looks like one of my indoor kitties



This is the only long haired cat we've seen in the yard, and only saw her once.



This solid black cat has been coming by for about 2 months, him and Dorian don't seem to get along well as Dorian runs away when this one approaches. However, this black one and Dorian's Sister seem to be buds... I've seen them on the porch together eating at the same time.





Saw this cat twice, but haven't seen it in the last 6+ months.



Saw this one just once,...



Here is the ugliest cat I ever seen!



hehehe
post #8 of 16
That may be the ugliest CAT you've ever seen, but it sure is a beautiful possum!!!!

That is so nice that you take care of these cats!
post #9 of 16
I see you do thus have 5 cats, 4 strictly indoors and one shy outside cat.
And you do also help some visiting cats, ferals and others...


Could you please show us the head/face profile of Dorian Grey? (=picture from aside)
- does he have the russian blue-stoop or......
post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by StefanZ View Post
I see you do thus have 5 cats, 4 strictly indoors and one shy outside cat.
And you do also help some visiting cats, ferals and others...


Could you please show us the head/face profile of Dorian Grey? (=picture from aside)
- does he have the russian blue-stoop or......
Yep, when people ask me how many cats I have, I always say 5. 4 indoor, 1 outdoor

I'll try to post some more pics of Dorian Grey, I'm not sure what you mean by the "Russian Blue-stoop" but I have more pics that might help.
post #11 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AddieBee View Post
That may be the ugliest CAT you've ever seen, but it sure is a beautiful possum!!!!
I feed them too

I have a picture of Dorian and the possum on the porch at the same time, totally ignoring each other. Dorian was by the window messing with my indoor cats through the window and the possum was crunching away on the dry food.

It was dark outside and the flash on the camera through the glass made it a crappy picture... but if you look close you can see both animals hehe.

post #12 of 16
I love your pics!
Several of them could be entered into photo contests (in the leaves, etc.) Thanks for sharing!
post #13 of 16
Dorian Grey will probably get more friendly. I have my semi feral girl Baby (Mamma) down stairs. It is too cold for her outside. It took 2 years before I could touch her. She is now 3 1/2 I still can't hold her. She let me carry her into the house, first time when she was pregnant last spring (she had the babies 2 days later) She was too big to fight. I had her spayed, When it turned -26 C she was cryiing at the door. She had no problems with me picking her up, she knew there was a nice warm bed and food. I will let her decide in the spring if she wants to be in or out.
post #14 of 16
You are GREAT! Dorian is a beauty as well as your other furbabies. Even the possum!
post #15 of 16
To answer the initial question:

It's always possible to transfer diseases, and I'm in a similar situation. I use disposable bowls and always wash my hands before going between indoor and outdoor cats. In the opposite scenario, one of our indoor cats had ringworm a few years back and I didn't want to give it to the outdoor ferals!

However, we have many neighbors who let their cats roam outside with the ferals, and so far, all have survived without any obvious diseases. I haven't noticed any incidents.

One of our outdoor ferals has a chronic respiratory problem, and of course, you should be careful about fleas, worms and other parasites.

I don't mix cats, but the neighbors cats seem to be OK.
post #16 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Scott77777 View Post
To answer the initial question:

It's always possible to transfer diseases, and I'm in a similar situation. I use disposable bowls and always wash my hands before going between indoor and outdoor cats. In the opposite scenario, one of our indoor cats had ringworm a few years back and I didn't want to give it to the outdoor ferals!

However, we have many neighbors who let their cats roam outside with the ferals, and so far, all have survived without any obvious diseases. I haven't noticed any incidents.

One of our outdoor ferals has a chronic respiratory problem, and of course, you should be careful about fleas, worms and other parasites.

I don't mix cats, but the neighbors cats seem to be OK.
Great info! Thanks!!!
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