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New member - question about stray momma cat

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone!

I've been spending the past couple of months reading up everything I can about cat socialization. I'll try to do a quick background and then get to the meat of this post.

In early June, my husband and I saw a litter of kittens in our window well! There were 4 - about 7 weeks old. After an hour of deliberation, we decided to rescue them. By then, only 3 were there - momma cat moved the 4th. We got the three - put them in a bathroom in our basement. Looked all week for the 4th kitten and never found it... So we got the kittens to the vet, joined a rescue group, and fostered/socialized the kittens. A lot of work but they did awesome. 2 got adopted out, then we ended up keeping the last one - the very shy black kitten that warmed up to us as soon as the other 2 got adopted out.

Meanwhile - we started feeding Momma cat so we could trap her. We got her trapped, got her fixed, then released her. We did hold on to her for several days inside in a separate room as I emailed around seeing if anyone would want to take her in and socialize - got no's. We had assumed the 4th kitten was deceased because wen ever saw it outside. In late July, we saw the 4th kitten eating outside with the momma cat. (We continued to feed her because we felt obligated after 'stealing' her babies and getting her fixed.) This kitten was 14 weeks old. My husband wouldn't let me take in this kitten to socialize myself so I emailed every single rescue group in the area and bordering state. Found 1 person willing to help so I paid for all vet work, wrote them a check, and the 4 month old kitten is now in her hands. I'm keeping in touch with how that is going.

So things are almost back to normal. 3 kittens are happy spoiled inside kitties, the 4th is on its way to being that. Momma cat is what I really am writing about - but thought this whole long story would be important.

We never saw this cat until we found the babies. I have no idea how long she has been in the neighborhood. I need to ask neighbors - maybe they will know. We call Momma cat Patches - she is a GORGEOUS calico (she had an orange tabby, white and black, all black, and black with white spot babies). She is not a friendly stray, but she is getting pretty used to the house. As in, she sits outside the front door at the same time every night - waiting for food. When I open the door, she bolts and hides in the bushes - maybe 8 feet away from me - but I can see her. I feed her every night and watch from the window. She gives herself a bath, then hangs out and rests in the landscaping for a while. It's really heart breaking.

So I'm trying to figure things out. Should I keep up what I'm doing - feeding her outside and make a shelter in winter and keep things as is? Or should I try to bring her inside? I don't know if she would WANT to be inside - she seems to get on very well outside. But I hate hearing the dogs bark at her, hate worrying the neighbors are irritated with having her around, and just worry about her all the time. If I bring her inside, I don't know how it would affect the 4th kitten in the long run - he was sooo painfully shy until we got him alone. I've already thought out what room I would use as her socialization room. I am ok with the time commitment (although I have 2 cockatiels in their own room, the kitten and a husband!) But I don't want to take this cat inside if I would only be doing that for my own well-being - not hers. I hope that makes sense...

My plan for now is to keep up doing what I'm doing - and every time I feed her, talk to her softly, and eventually linger around longer before I leave - and see if she ever comes out around me. I do also want to find out how long she's been around the neighborhood. I don't see any other stray cats - I would think if she'd been around for a while, there would be a lot more cats (previous litters). We have only seen her with another cat one time - very late at night, she was sitting with a cat. I think male cats roam more, so who knows where that cat came from, but we only see Patches now.

Wow, this is a really really long post... Thanks so much in advance for your thoughts on this situation. I just want to make the best decision for this cat, her baby that we kept, and us people - but mostly the cats!! (The rescue group that I had temporarily joined when fostering doesn't deal with shy strays like this. There's a great TNR group in my area that recommends leaving outside if the cat is not letting me touch her, so I'm just reaching out for more advice.)

Here's a photo of Patches - such a pretty girl!


post #2 of 21
She is a beauty! And you are an angel for caring so much about her. I was in a very similar situation as you a few years ago. A mommy cat and her kittens showed up at my husband's office. We all took care of the kittens, 3 of them, we caught 2 and they were adopted into the same home and are doing great. I set a trap for the third kitten, but instead the mom cat went into the trap. She was so wild she cut her face on the trap door. She immediately went to the vet, was spayed and given her shots, and my vet suggested I ear tip her and put her back out since she was clearly not happy . I just didn't have the heart to do it. I brought her to my home and put her into a room by herself, it had places she could hide, and I would go in and talk to her several times a day. It took a very long time and alot of patience, but now she is so sweet and loving and NEVER tries to go back outside.

It has been so worth it, she is happy, gets along with my other cats, and I know I made the right decision for her.

Whatever you decide, I would put out a shelter for her. That might make an easy transition to moving inside. It sure does seem like she is adopting you, the fact that she is right outside you door lets me think maybe it would work for you too.

Best of luck with her and with her kitty too!
post #3 of 21
I would also make a shelter for her, it doesn't need to be fancy and heated or anything, but just somewhere for her to hide if something chases her.

I would try to bring her in but rather gradually win her trust outside, then if she wants she will come into the house.

If you can get close to her you might consider slipping a quick-release collar around her neck just to let people know she's loved & had people.
post #4 of 21
I'm currently trying (key word) to socialize a kitten, calico, female, from a local TNR group. She has only been in a crate since she was trapped and spayed. She doesn't want to be petted, and my daughter went to try to get her out of the crate of was scratched up. Cat went wild. Of course, daughter knows that it's not the cats fault. Anyway, I've gotten her so I can pet her gently, but she still will not come out of the litter box where she is hiding. It's a long process, but I think it is well worth it. Your girl is beautiful. I think she is worth trying to get into the house. As long as you have the time and patience then you should be ok. I've got several barn cats that were all feral. Our TNR group can't believe how social they are with dh and myself. anyone else and they go crazy. But, the would all love to be in the house and often try to sneak in. Go with your heart on what you want to do.
post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone! I'll keep you posted on what happens. I think for now I'm going to keep doing as I do, and wait for 'signs' that I should take it to the next level. We are going to set up some sort of shelter in the winter. I know she has something now (not in my yard) because if it rains, I don't see her - and when she shows up after it rains, she's dry and fine. So we'll see what the next couple of months bring. I'll keep you posted how things go if I decide to take it to the next level.
post #6 of 21
Whatever you do, thank you for caring.........
post #7 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by killerapple View Post
Thanks everyone! I'll keep you posted on what happens. I think for now I'm going to keep doing as I do, and wait for 'signs' that I should take it to the next level. We are going to set up some sort of shelter in the winter. I know she has something now (not in my yard) because if it rains, I don't see her - and when she shows up after it rains, she's dry and fine. So we'll see what the next couple of months bring. I'll keep you posted how things go if I decide to take it to the next level.
I hope you can find a way to bring this beauty indoors. It IS a long and exhausting process to socialize an older cat, but it can be done (my Ginger is proof of that) You may never have a snuggly lovey cat but you will know she is safe. Life expentancy is not good for outdoor kittys. Im not trying to guilt trip you, honest, but that is just the reality. We are all here for you to help if you decide to bring the kitty in.
So that said, as far as an enclosure for her goes, make sure it has two ways to get in and out. Feral cats will not use an enclosure with only one door, its not safe to them, no way out if trouble comes knocking at the door
post #8 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone.

Trillcat, what is really weird is that after I read your post, I heard the neighbor's dog barking (was around 8pm) and went outside to see if Patches was there. Usually she's there around 9 or so, but she was early tonight. And she was eating something... I thought it was a bat and I pretty much freaked out and had horrible thoughts about her eating a rabid bat and dying. But my husband thinks it was a bird - we looked later and saw just feathers, so I think everything is ok, but it gave me a bit of a reality check. We don't have a known rabies problem where I live, but that REALLY freaked me out. I will feel horrible if she gets rabies...

So I'm thinking if we rescue her, it will be sooner than later - probably after mid-September since we have some traveling to do. So we will see. But I felt like last night was life trying to tell me 'you should do something.. look what could happen!'

If we rescue, we would put her in a spare bedroom initially. Would it be best to buy a dog crate and start things in there like I've read online, or would it be better to have her free range of that room? We would move the bed/mattress out of there in case she isn't potty trained yet and to not give her something huge to hide under.

Thanks so much!!!
post #9 of 21
I encourage you to take her in and give her a chance to socialize and warm up to you and family!

She looks beautiful and sweet. And she must trust you to come to your door.

My Mom has the same situation and we have just had a female kitty spayed, taking into her home tomorrow to get her socialized... Give it time and patience and love of course!

I know it CAN be done.
post #10 of 21
Thank you so much for doing what you are doing.

IMO, wait until she trusts you. Outside she is on her own terms, she makes the rules, inside, she is out of her element and might not come around as fast. If you notice now that she is getting used to you, then odds are she will grow even more used to you. If it's winter and she still isn't used to you, if you can, make her somewhere to stay.

But as well, and I do not mean this in a scary or rude way, but she may be injured at one point staying outside. She might go missing. I took care of a stray, became really attached to her, and she got hit by a car. I am still heartbroken about it and I kick myself every day for not forcing my parents and my landlord to allow her in the house.

But as well, you'd kick yourself if you tried to tame her, it didn't work out and she was unhappy or you had to put her outside after she lost the total 'wild' about her because this would be hard on her too.

You are kind of between a rock and a hardplace right now with this and you may have to debate with yourself between which one is easier for you to deal with and how you will react if your choice doesn't work out. Its hard, but keep us updated, and I wish you luck!
post #11 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone.

She took the tinnnniest step forward with me last night - literally. I sat outside and was talking to her, and decided to throw one of the cat chow nibblets near where she was in the bush (not at her). She sniffed, looked at me, then took a small slow step forward, kept sniffing, looked at me, then slooowly sat down. So she moved a bit closer but stayed put. I am going to try to keep doing that and see if I can get her to approach me. Maybe I'll bust out some treats too...

We'll see what the next few weeks bring!!
post #12 of 21
All of the cats that live in my house were born feral. The oldest feral cats that I've "socialized" were about 2 years old when I moved them inside my home. It is easiest to socialize them when you start about 6 weeks old. But that doesn't mean you shouldn't try to start with them while they are older.

Looking at the picture of Patches, she doesn't look to be a die-hard feral to me. Those cats have a clear look of fear in their eyes when they look at you, and you would not have gotten close enough to her to take that picture. Patches look is one of slight distrust, not fear (yes, their eyes say so much). So IMO, there is a lot of hope for Patches.

I agree with you when you mention to start after you get down with your travels. While you are gone, get a trusted person to come over and feed her in the same place at the same time you do every day. You do not want her to wander off while you are gone.

A spare bedroom is a great place to start your indoor socialization process, and frankly, I've never used a cage for mine. When I use a bedroom, I put the mattress on the floor so that they can't hide under the bed, but give them a big box with the opening facing a wall so that they have someplace to hide when they feel threatened.

A lot of us use some tried and true methods to socialize a feral cat. Here are some of the things we use:

- Feliway diffusers. These can reduce anxiety in roughly 70% of cats. They release a pheromone that is like one that a mom cat releases with her kittens. It can relax a cat of any age.

- Stay at the same height as the cat. Anything that towers over a feral cat intimidates them. When you are with them, sit on the floor.

- Never stare them in the eyes, as this is a threat to cats. If you happen to catch her eye, slowly blink your eyes. This is a sign of greeting cats.

- Classical music, particularly harp music, has a calming effect. Don't ask me why.

- Acclimate them to your voice. When you are sitting on the floor with her, bring a good book and read out loud to her.

- Acclimate them to your scent. Use a t-shirt that smells like you (one used during exercise is best) and put it in the spot where she sleeps (such as her security box).

- Cats LOVE routine. Feed them in the same spot at the same time everyday. This builds up a lot of trust with them.

- Patience, patience, patience. Cats work on their own schedules, not yours. Never force yourself on a feral cat. They will come to you in their own time once you have earned their trust. Some feral cats can take a LONG time to trust you. Take every tiny bit of progress as a major accomplishment and give yourself a huge pat on the back.

And never give up on them.
post #13 of 21
Thread Starter 
Thank you so much for the detailed response!!

Unfortunately that photo was taken through a window. She hasn't eaten in front of me - but I do peek out at her and we make eye contact briefly before I look away. Yeah I don't think she's a real wild one - when we had her caged after her spay, she just sat there - she didn't thrash or anything.

This Feliway stuff sounds amazing. I'll definitely pick that up when we do this.

Once we get things figured out, we'll borrow another Havihart trap for this. I'm nervous about that though - if she will 'fall' for the trap a 2nd time (I think she's a real smart kitty). We'll just have to see. But I'm leaning towards getting her inside in mid-September rather than winter just so I can get an early start on things (and not worry about her being outside). I think my heart and mind are aligned. I just hope the kitten is ok w/ this!

Do you think the momma cat and kitten would remember eachother...? They were separated on June 7th. (I know they're not going to be around eachother obviously for a while, but just wondering if there would be some type of cat reunion).

Thank you so much!!!
post #14 of 21
You sound like you're doing a sterling job with Patches. As to her & Batman remembering each other I don't know. When I was a girl I got a kitten from my mother's uncle. We used to have a holiday house near them. When we took the cat there for a weekend away & showed my cat to her mum, I can't remember how old the cat was, but there was a lot of hissing going on. And my cat disappeared at a little over a year old. My mum used to tell me the greyhounds got her. I guess I'll never know.

I hope you are able to get her inside & she lives the rest of her life a happy cat.
post #15 of 21
As for remembering I can answer that. I have Peppers momma, she lives outside and Pepper has no idea Ginger is her momma, I can't vouch for the other way around because Ginger doesn't show aggression to any of our cats through the window (or any cat or dog for that matter). They were separated when Pepper was 8 weeks old and she is now about 18 weeks old. However they have only been separated by the walls of our home, they have been able to see each other for the last 6 weeks (since Ginger was spayed) and Pepper has never recognized her momma. Like I said I can't vouch for whether Ginger recognizes Pepper as her baby.

Leslie
post #16 of 21
Your situation is very similar to my own one year ago. An almost grown tortie kitten somehow got locked in my garage for 24 hours, and my son found her. She was terrified, and all bones. I'd seen her around a couple times before, being screamed at by my neutered cats out on the back porch.

Needless to say, we fed her - lots - and my son begged my husband to keep her. Now, he said okay, but he thought I was going to leave her outside permanently. WRONG. For being married to me 18 years (at that time) he sure as heck didn't know me very well. I could NEVER leave a cat I call mine outside 24/7.

So began a month-long process of feeding her across the street under an elderly neighbor's fence (they never even knew about her). She was so terrified of me, people, cats, cars that she would run when I opened my front door. But I fed her twice a day there, and after a couple of weeks she would come close enough to pet. She still wouldn't come near anyone else.

As the weather got steadily cooler at night, I made the decision finally to bring her in. By this time she was pretty comfortable with me, but still no one else. She had her own private room for weeks, with family coming and going out of it (the computer is in this room). Slowly she became accustomed to everyone (except my 17-year-old son - we don't know why) and actually likes me now. She'll tolerate the others.

She was mega-aggressive - even after spaying - and chased one of my male cats. During the past year she has calmed down considerably. She has never stepped one foot outside. Like you, I feel kind of bad, because I'd see her outside enjoying trees, nature, etc. Truly she doesn't seem to miss it or want it. There have been plenty of opportunities for her to slip outside when the other two go out.

I share you Scaredy's story to let you know there is much to be said for knowing you've made them safe by bringing them in. My hope is that yours will adjust quickly and happily.
post #17 of 21
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone! Just wanted to give an update.

We are still in the same situation - feeding her daily. I feed her after dark though (around 8:30 or so) and she's starting to eat it in various feedings over the night. Just a few minutes ago I looked - and there was a darned POSSUM eating her food!!!!! This got me upset... Would it be a good idea if I transition to feeding her early in the morning instead of night? We go running a few times a week and I see her many times in her 'spot' so I think I could transition since I see here there in the mornings. However she does show up on our door step every night waiting for her dinner so I wouldn't want to screw up her schedule either - not sure what to do. (It's kind of cute - if we get home at 10 or so, she's sleeping on the front step - she'll stretch, then go off to her 'spot' and wait for her food.) But I figure morning feeding would eliminate possum issue?

We are still actually not 100% sure about taking her in. I think I let my emotions get the bigger of my brain. I have pet birds... I have 2 cockatiels that are my little girls. My birdies are now in their own room where our kitten doesn't have access to them, but I have horrible visions about a cat (who is a great hunter - Patches) getting in the room accidentally and opening up the cage and killing my precious pets. Batman (our 5 month old kitten) was also sooo shy and nervous until he became the only cat in the household when we were fostering his litter mates - we are not sure how he would do with another cat. So it's hard. I think about it all the time - what to do, what we can do - but I want to keep all my animals safe. With just my husband and I, I'm sure we could keep the door closed at all times and not worry, but one day we'll have kids and we just don't want an accident to happen!

So we'll see.... I'm not 100% "no" on it, but I just don't want something to happen to my birdies.
post #18 of 21
I hope all works out for you and for Patches, if she is beginning to trust you then that is a step in the right direction. Perhaps you could put a shelter on our porch for the time being and then try to transition her inside. I have a rescued feral, it took a very long time to get her to trust me, but now she is the most loving cat.

Also I think if you are careful with your birds and closing doors, things will work out. My son brought home a ferret last Christmas. I am just very careful when she is out of her cage, the door is closed at all times so that she can run and get some exercise. Once you get a "gameplan" and stick to it, it just becomes routine.
post #19 of 21
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone! I just wanted to update what's going on.

Built the Rubbermaid container type shelter - she's ignoring it so far, but it's not freezing outside. She comes every night for dinner still - she's gotten quite fat (or wormy??). She cracks me up. The other night, she was laying down all stretched out and meowing - I guess telling me 'hurry up and feed me!!!' Whenever I open the door, she trots away to the bushes - she comes to the food after the weird human goes away (waits about 30 seconds). We make eye contact through the window in the door all the time - if she's out waiting for her dinner, we'll look at each other. I think she understands who I am.

We have this really gross house problem right now with our leaky-ish basement... If there are heavy rains, the closed-off unfinished part gets a leak, but since we've been feeding Patches, there's the smell of cat pee too. I think we have a foundation issue so when she pees, her pee smell goes down there too.. We tolerate it - understanding it's part of the package. We bought a demidifier which has helped, but somehow the stink now has carried through to the finished part of the basement adjacent - so that is stinky now even though I know there can't be any actual physical pee there. (Our cat hasn't been down there in weeks and we've kept the door shut because I don't want him thinking pee smelling area means he can pee there and because he had fleas again and that is all carpeted.) This all is part of the story, I promise.

So I've been really thinking hard about taking Patches in the past few months. I've mentioned before that I have pet cockatiels that I love very much. (They are now in their own room - our office - and Batman isn't allowed in. Easy for 2 adults to manage the door, but I worry about the day when we have kids...) Also, our Batman was painfully shy until he became the only kitten in the house. He didn't purr or enjoy my company until his siblings got adopted out!!! Not sure if adding another cat would affect that. So those 2 things really have been the main reasons in delaying taking her inside. I know cats do well with cat company, but he really was a mess until they were gone!

My husband and I talked last night about the whole situation pretty openly. He hasn't thought about it as much as I have admittedly, but said why he would be concerned about taking her in is a) her potentially hurting our kitten b) her eating my birds and c) her "peeing everywhere". Which brings me to the basement issue from earlier. We talked about where she would be placed. We have 2 options - a spare bedroom (would remove bed) or the basement - which does have a bathroom that I used for kitten socialization. We could start her in the bathroom while she gets de-flead/etc and then in case she has potty issues, the floors are easy to clean etc. The rest of the basement is carpeted. I would be worried though that she would smell that pee smell from the unfinished basement and associate that with where to pee?? (Probably would be a good idea to clean the carpets and do what we can to remove that smell first, right? Figure pee smell would never come back if she's inside.. unless there's another animal peeing there!!) Or would just having her in the bedroom be a better idea? No pee smell to worry about.. hardwood floors.

He also is worried that one day we'll have like 18 cats... I asked him what we would do if we found another litter of kittens next summer. (I would want to take them in and get them adopted out!!!) He doesn't want to end up with a ton of animals in the house - which I understand... but I would beg to take the kittens inside. But when we found 8 week old kittens in June, the shelters we called wouldn't take them, so I know the reality is that we would be foster them again (which was really emotional for me, but I would do it again). I guess that's something we have to work out ourselves... but if taking in Patches meant I couldn't save a litter of kittens next summer, I would probably want to not take her in! I hope that makes sense.

To those who have rescued strays that aren't friendly - how do you handle nail trimming? I figure we'd have the vet do that when we bring her in, but not sure if we would want to bring her to the vet every 3 weeks for that.

Also, I think I've read somewhere that a vet may be able to figure out the cat's disposition just by doing the exam... Any truth to this? I know she's a shy kitty, but that would be pretty cool if the vet could tell if she was a house cat at one time or what not.... I haven't seen neighbors lately to ask them if they know her story. (No one has been outside lately since summer ended.)

Sorry for the long post.... Thanks for any feedback!
post #20 of 21
Thread Starter 
She was hanging out in our landscaping now (in the afternoon, basking in the sun) so I went outside with a handful of dry food. Put 1/2 of it down. After a minute, she came to investigate - saw me, so sat down where she was. I threw a kibble near her and she went to eat it. So I kept doing that a bit closer. She happily gobbled them up, getting closer to me. In the end, she got about 4 feet from me I think, until she decided that was close enough and backed off.

Makes me wonder if there is a lot of hope for her.
post #21 of 21
Bring her in she will get used to being a loved and cared for kittie, the last one I brought in well first I found her kittens and i have an indoor garage heated so I made alittle room for them then I caught her and brought her in it will be better for both the kittens and mom happy to say got them all vet care and in new furever homes, and bring them all in will give them all that chance, bring her in you could socialize her, lots of love care and you can really save her life to it will take alittle time for her to warm up it can be done I had brought in one wild kittie and she after awhile warmed up and felt safe and secure






Quote:
Originally Posted by killerapple View Post
Hi everyone!

I've been spending the past couple of months reading up everything I can about cat socialization. I'll try to do a quick background and then get to the meat of this post.

In early June, my husband and I saw a litter of kittens in our window well! There were 4 - about 7 weeks old. After an hour of deliberation, we decided to rescue them. By then, only 3 were there - momma cat moved the 4th. We got the three - put them in a bathroom in our basement. Looked all week for the 4th kitten and never found it... So we got the kittens to the vet, joined a rescue group, and fostered/socialized the kittens. A lot of work but they did awesome. 2 got adopted out, then we ended up keeping the last one - the very shy black kitten that warmed up to us as soon as the other 2 got adopted out.

Meanwhile - we started feeding Momma cat so we could trap her. We got her trapped, got her fixed, then released her. We did hold on to her for several days inside in a separate room as I emailed around seeing if anyone would want to take her in and socialize - got no's. We had assumed the 4th kitten was deceased because wen ever saw it outside. In late July, we saw the 4th kitten eating outside with the momma cat. (We continued to feed her because we felt obligated after 'stealing' her babies and getting her fixed.) This kitten was 14 weeks old. My husband wouldn't let me take in this kitten to socialize myself so I emailed every single rescue group in the area and bordering state. Found 1 person willing to help so I paid for all vet work, wrote them a check, and the 4 month old kitten is now in her hands. I'm keeping in touch with how that is going.

So things are almost back to normal. 3 kittens are happy spoiled inside kitties, the 4th is on its way to being that. Momma cat is what I really am writing about - but thought this whole long story would be important.

We never saw this cat until we found the babies. I have no idea how long she has been in the neighborhood. I need to ask neighbors - maybe they will know. We call Momma cat Patches - she is a GORGEOUS calico (she had an orange tabby, white and black, all black, and black with white spot babies). She is not a friendly stray, but she is getting pretty used to the house. As in, she sits outside the front door at the same time every night - waiting for food. When I open the door, she bolts and hides in the bushes - maybe 8 feet away from me - but I can see her. I feed her every night and watch from the window. She gives herself a bath, then hangs out and rests in the landscaping for a while. It's really heart breaking.

So I'm trying to figure things out. Should I keep up what I'm doing - feeding her outside and make a shelter in winter and keep things as is? Or should I try to bring her inside? I don't know if she would WANT to be inside - she seems to get on very well outside. But I hate hearing the dogs bark at her, hate worrying the neighbors are irritated with having her around, and just worry about her all the time. If I bring her inside, I don't know how it would affect the 4th kitten in the long run - he was sooo painfully shy until we got him alone. I've already thought out what room I would use as her socialization room. I am ok with the time commitment (although I have 2 cockatiels in their own room, the kitten and a husband!) But I don't want to take this cat inside if I would only be doing that for my own well-being - not hers. I hope that makes sense...

My plan for now is to keep up doing what I'm doing - and every time I feed her, talk to her softly, and eventually linger around longer before I leave - and see if she ever comes out around me. I do also want to find out how long she's been around the neighborhood. I don't see any other stray cats - I would think if she'd been around for a while, there would be a lot more cats (previous litters). We have only seen her with another cat one time - very late at night, she was sitting with a cat. I think male cats roam more, so who knows where that cat came from, but we only see Patches now.

Wow, this is a really really long post... Thanks so much in advance for your thoughts on this situation. I just want to make the best decision for this cat, her baby that we kept, and us people - but mostly the cats!! (The rescue group that I had temporarily joined when fostering doesn't deal with shy strays like this. There's a great TNR group in my area that recommends leaving outside if the cat is not letting me touch her, so I'm just reaching out for more advice.)

Here's a photo of Patches - such a pretty girl!


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