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First time feeding of ferals! How should we procede?

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
So to recap: my husband and I found a young kitten we fell in love with (and named Whisper) and subsequently had to put to sleep b/c she had feline leukemia. She's the offspring of a group of feral/stray cats that live by our house. I want to start feeding them, neutering them, and testing them for feline leukemia (and unfortunately, putting down any that are positive), and my husband's completely on board. So we got some wet food and left small piles of it out to "lure" the cats near the house, and the main supply of food is in our driveway, at night (when we feed them) we can see them but they can't see us. Anyway I put the food out around 9pm tonight, and it worked!! We had two adult kitties show up, one I'm calling Cow b/c it's black and white, and the other is Whisper's Mom (or Dad). Anyway they ate the food and headed off.

So here is our plan, let me know if there's anything we should change. We'll feed them at the same time every night, for a couple weeks, so hopefully they will settle into a routine of coming here. After a couple weeks I want to try to approach them, I believe Whisper's Mom may be approachable, b/c a few days ago she let me get very close. The other I have no idea if it's approachable. But I figure wait a couple weeks, so we don't scare them off from here completely. Then find a way to get them to the vet for testing and neutering.

I'm also wondering, is it likely that they'd bring the other cats in their group to our feeding spot? I know there's more cats than the 2 we saw. Do feral cats normally do that?

post #2 of 10
I perhaps recollect wrongly, but was they not feeded by your neighbour who did feed them but wasnt interested in further helping them?

Could it be possible you did agree with him, him proceed to feed them as is his wish, and you take the "hard" TNR-part?

Ie, you do catch them at his place, if necessary with some cooperation by him at the catching, but he doesnt need to bother with the vet-visits.
Ie, not only a de facto cooperation with him, but a real cooperation.

His feeding them is good, IF they were neutered.
post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Our neighbor does feed them, and you're right, it'd probably be easier to trap them at his place, if he's ok with it (which I don't see why he wouldn't be). Honestly, I had not thought of that solution!! The only issue I can see with this, is I'd like to be able to keep an eye on the health and numbers of the group, which will be harder if they're not being fed at our place, b/c we won't be able to watch them as close. (our neighbors home and ours are separated by a creek and some reasonably dense trees and brush, so I can't see into their yard to keep an eyes on the cats). The only time I see the cats are when they wander into our yard, but they live in either the woods or my neighbors yard, not in ours.
post #4 of 10
Yes, I understand. But this would mean you are not only spaying them, but also removing the colony from there, and starting it anew at your places. And having this colony living their lives at your place. Or??

If it is OK for you - and for your neighboor - fine. (as their feeder, he is sort of the owner. Thus it would be preferable if he agrees you are taking over the full responsibility for all these cats, and be fine with it).

The optimal solution is if you share on the burden. If it is possible to talk with him, he perhaps agree to look after them too? Ie, if someone is missing, or dont seems OK.
Your part will be then to go in, and look more closely at the injured or sick cat, and take it to the vet.
In the agreement preferably also it would be oK for you to visit them now and then, without anyone thinking about this as trespassing or unwelcome.

Try to be nice to this neighbour, so he will see your visits as nice him too...
This depends of course very much who he is.... And who you are....
post #5 of 10
I agree with StefanZ, but wanted to add that you may have to borrow a humane trap from your local animal shelter. We've been feeding our ferals for nearly a year, and they still don't let us get close enough to snag them. We eventually just bought our own humane trap, because the shelter only let us borrow theirs for a week and we had 6 cats out there. Sometimes, you have to be a little patient with the trapping because you might end up re-trapping the same cats. Unless you plan to have the ears tipped, I would recommend you take pictures to help you keep track of who is who. In our case, we had 3 grey and white females... all with similar markings.
post #6 of 10
When planning to have stray or feral cats spayed and neuterd and "vetted," (whatever that will entail for you), it is best to not even bother to try to approach or worry about socializing the cats. Not at first, certainly. Getting them trapped and sterilized (and tested for FeLV, since that is one of your goals) is far more important.

And yes, they should be "ear-tipped." This is when the vet makes a neat "snip" off the top of the left ear. This way you can quickly see that you have a cat in the trap that has already been sterilized and tested, and save ALL of you a lot of cost and trauma. Otherwise you do have to keep very detailed records. It's not as easy as you'd expect to identify the same cat(s).

post #7 of 10
OH - and YES. When you start feeding cats, more will turn up. I do think it makes sense to work something out with the neighbor.

post #8 of 10
Ear tipping is a good idea for all feral cats. If you (or someone down the road) were to trap them when they are already fixed, it is easy to spot and they can be let out of the trap immediately.

If you find that you are trapping the same fixed cats over and over again, I've resorted to temporarily releasing the fixed cats in my garage until I catch another that is not fixed. I caught 6 fixed cats one day trying to trap the last unfixed girl. But I got her.
post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
Hey thanks for the advicE!! I'm waiting to get a chance to talk to my neighbor about it..I'd definately want to get the ear marked, so I know I've had the cat fixed
post #10 of 10
The most important thing I can add is - even if you *think* they are friendly enough for you to catch - they can change their friendly behavior in an instant, and then you have an angry/unhappy/scared cat in your hands. It is far easier to trap them - safer for both you & them.
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