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Should I do anything?

post #1 of 37
Thread Starter 
So, I went outside tonight and a short-haired orange cat walked right up to me (and it wasn't Belle or Delilah). I'm pretty sure he was a boy. He was super friendly - rubbing up against my legs, jumping up to be petted, rolling on his back for a belly rub, purring, etc.

A couple weeks ago, the kid from downstairs came up and asked me if I was missing a cat. I did a head count, and no, both cats were where they were supposed to be. Apparently there was an orange cat in the basement, that must have climbed in through an open window. My boyfriend has seen him around once or twice since.

He's got a decent amount of "meat" on him, and is quite soft. He was being so sweet, that against my better judgement, I brought him down a couple of my girls' treats. He gobbled them up like there was no tomorrow. When I went inside, he wanted to come with me but stayed outside when I said "no."

I'm pretty sure he's someone's pet, given how friendly and good shape he was in. However, I can't be sure. I live in a town that's been hugely affected by the downturn in the manufacturing sector, and I know people "dump" their pets during these times.

Should I do anything? I feel horrible leaving him out there all alone without food/water if he doesn't have a home. This guy just loves love! I don't think I could really take him in anyway (Belle and Delilah don't seem to have much desire for friends...and isolating would be tricky, although not impossible) and all the local shelters are full and not taking new animals. I could leave food and water on the porch for the time being, until something further could be done.

On the other hand, if he has a home, he's just a friendly visitor with owners whose decision to let their cat outdoors I don't really agree with.

If he's a boy, I imagine he's neutered - only because there were two smaller cats around (I'm going to be the crazy cat lady, soon), one of whom looked female, and he had no interest in either. He wasn't being cooperative when we tried to look at his "parts", however.

Any advice on what I should do, if anything?

We'll see if he's out there when I come out tomorrow. He didn't seem to have much interest in going anywhere while I was in and out of the house. He was faithfully waiting for me to come back out each time!
post #2 of 37
If you don't wish to catch him to either bring him indoors to to a humane society, have you tried putting a collar on him? I know some people have put a collar on kitties to see if their owner's contact the "finder" when their cat comes home with someone else's collar on. Another thing - perhaps take him to a vet or shelter to scan for a microchip?
post #3 of 37
Thread Starter 
Thanks Nat. I can't believe I didn't think of the microchip thing! However, I like the collar idea and may try it before attempting transport to a microchip scanner. I have plenty of random collars hanging around here.

You are the queen of rescues, Nat. IF I did decide to take this guy in, what would need to be done prior to bringing him in? Take him to the vet for check up, flea check, FIV/FeLV, and a fecal....anything else? My girls are fully vaccinated and I have revolution for them already.
post #4 of 37
I'd make sure he is FeLV/FIV tested, de-wormed, started on shots, stool sample done, & flea/tick preventative applied. Some vets don't want to do everything at once - in terms of stressing their systems.
post #5 of 37
yeah I've had this happen a couple times and just put a note on a collar. Usually the cat comes back with the same note still on it.

You can also take it in and post found cat flyers and post ads in the newspaper. ask around see if anyone recognizes him. Sometimes I'll find out that a neighbor has been caring for the cat for x amount of time but it's not actually owned.
post #6 of 37
I would try an ad in the local paper if he comes back with the collar on tomorrow (depending on how expensive it is, sometimes they are insane!!). He could have snuck out of the house & his owners may be looking for him . That being said Miss Kitty wasn't excessively skinny when she found us (she is an EXCELLENT mouser) just a little scraggly and very lonely.
post #7 of 37
Giving food only because he is superfriendly is no good, if you think he does belong somewhere. This way he may become unsure where he belongs.
I suspect this produce quite some strays...

But if you are unsure if he is he belongs somewhere, is a lost stray or dumped, or even friendly semiferal, the trick is to give help AND seek after the owner.
As mentioned earlier: the collar trick, and or flyers and ads at the towns message-places. Perhaps an add if it is cheap.

And exactly which help you give depends of course on you and the circumstances...

A cat being friendly may be a very social neighbour-cat. It may be a stray, it may be a dumped, may even be a homeless semiferal: Many cats have an ability to please themselves in especielly when in need. So it is often difficult to know.

A cat with decent flesh MAY be homeless anyway: successfull ferales/semi do have decent flesh... The very successful ferales may even be rather thick.
post #8 of 37
Thread Starter 
No sign of him so far today, but I'm keeping my eye out. I also took a bike ride around the neighbourhood to see if I could see him hanging out anywhere, and didn't find him. Perhaps he's comfy in his home.

The collar trick is next on my list...then maybe an ad or checking for a microchip.

Thanks for the help, folks.

And, I know, I know...no more treats for now. I said it was against my better judgement...he was just too cute!
post #9 of 37
He he he - we were out with hubby's parents for dinner the other day when we both saw this ADORABLE orange tabby strolling down the street... he even meowed back when we called him. We're both lucky his non-cat parent (who just rolled their eyes at us) were there, he was REALLY cute!

I'm not a cat napper...
post #10 of 37
Originally Posted by zoeysmom View Post
And, I know, I know...no more treats for now. I said it was against my better judgement...he was just too cute!
Ah, treats arent no big deal. It is food at wrong place which can be real dangerous.
post #11 of 37
Have you contacted your local shelters to see if there's any orange cats reported missing in your area recently?
post #12 of 37
Thread Starter 
OK...I have a collar and have attached a note. If I see "Gus" (that's the name I think of when I see hime) tomorrow, I'll put the collar on him and see what happens.

We also happen to have a street festival happening right up the road from us, and two local shelters have booths there. One, I'd rather not deal with, but the other (bigger, more recognized) I'll go visit tomorrow and see what info they can give me. Perhaps they can check to see if he has a microchip.

Now...this is still COMPLETELY hypothetical, but I've been thinking about how I would swing it if I decided to bring him into our home, with the necessary isolation. We have two bathrooms, but they are both very small, and this guy isn't a tiny cat. We have a spare bedroom, but I'd prefer not to put him in there, for multiple reasons. We do, however, have two enclosed staircases leading downstairs. The one at the back (which we could easily avoid using) has two good sized landings...more than enough space to put a litter box on one and some bedding, etc. on another. There are lots of stairs for food and water as well. My question is, do you think this would be enough space to keep him in? My other concern is that there are no windows or vents in the staircase and therefore very little ventelation. It doesn't seem stuffy at all, and I could open the bottom door (leading to a mostly unused back room) occasionally, but I don't know if that would be a problem. This would also be an ideal place to put him because we could go see him through the back door, allowing no chances for him to get into the apartment or our cats to get into the staircase.

The more I think about taking this guy in (provided he doesn't have a home already), the more I would love to do it. He's a sweet little guy, and I have a soft spot for orange kitties...now that he's become my buddy, I feel a sort of responsibility for making sure he's safe. I've known I'd like to get another cat for some time (a rescue), but wasn't really planning on it until I had a little more space (the apartment is more than large enough for 3 cats, but isolation is the difficulty). I'm also afraid of messing up the dynamics of the house. Belle and Delilah get along great...they are also fairly well-behaved. They have finally stopped scratching the furniture, we have no litter box problems, neither really show any interest in escaping, and I can trust them not to destroy the screens on the porch, etc. I have no idea how this guy will behave, or how my girls will handle a new addition. I know no behaviour means this guy doesn't deserve a home, but I also feel that I also need to think of my cats as well.

So, this is what is going through my head at the moment - I'm unnecessarily torn!
post #13 of 37
Using this extra staircase as your quarantene-room sounds very good!

You need also to think out a good, strong and proper name for him, otherwise there is really not much left now!

(a liiittle exagerrated of course , but you seem to be well conscious/aware about possible problems - and thus, it is half of the solution too )

Good luck!

ps. And if it would become clear this cat does indeed has an owner, so the though is there: you have perhaps place for one cat more. Preferably an ex-homeless. And/Or perhaps a foster?? Or being an "emergency home". Be sure though your residents are fully vaccinated and healthy: "The double safeguarded is protected by God", as the saying says.
All this possible as you are lucky enough to have a excellent quarentene room. Many rescuers must use their own bathroom fort this. Or a big dog cage.

Sending vibes for this purpose!
post #14 of 37
Thread Starter 
Well, here he is...this is the first time I've seen him during the day. I went outside to read a book on the steps, curious if he'd find me....and I didn't even get the book open before he came strolling along.

We put the collar on him last night, and it's still there this afternoon. I'll go back out tonight and see if we've made any progress. He's currently sleeping, hidden under a big pine tree in our front yard. I'm hoping if he has a home, he goes there this evening.

Although he's friendly, he's very skiddish. Loud noises and the appearence of new people make him jumpy.
post #15 of 37
Originally Posted by zoeysmom View Post

Although he's friendly, he's very skiddish. Loud noises and the appearence of new people make him jumpy.
This is no clearcut case. Good flesh, and jumpy...

Quite many outgoing homecats are a rather shy. - Which by the way is only good the outgoing cats are a little vary....

And successfull homeless are often quite fleshy. Sometimes even almost thick...

But tomorrow you will see if he belongs to someone in the neighbourhood.
post #16 of 37
Thread Starter 
This is what I've decided...

If he doesn't have the collar/note off by tomorrow, I'm going to call and make a vet appointment for Saturday when both my boyfriend and I will be home.

I have already placed an ad on Kijiji (kind of like craigslist, but more popular around here), but tomorrow I will call the local shelters/animal control and look into an ad on the paper.

The begins homing him in the staircase. I will pick up a cheap litter box from the dollar store as well as some decent, but affordable food (Kirkland, if I can get to Costco). If I can convince my BF, he will be in there as early as tomorrow evening (provided no owners have shown up).

I figure by Saturday, if no owners have shown up, it'll be pretty much certain and he can go to the vet where he'll get the tests/checks he needs. We'll see how he does in the staircase and move him to the spare room if everything tests out OK.

I hopefully go back to work in 2 weeks, although if I get a position, I will need to be at the school setting up a classroom, etc before then. However, I will make this work. Hopefully, my cats do well with an introduction by then...otherwise, we'll have to keep him in the spare room and keep Belle and Delilah out until they learn to co-exist.

I asked Belle today if she wants a brother. Her response was "meow." Unfortunately, I'm not sure if it's a "no" meow, or a "yes" meow.
post #17 of 37
Thread Starter 
Well, this morning I went out and the note from his collar was gone. I got worried that it fell off and hopeful that his owner took it and was waiting to call me until a decent hour of the morning.

I was heading out of the house and the phone rang. I thought maybe the owner, but it was actually the person across the road saying that he's been hanging out around there as well. So, that's two nights that he doesn't seem to have been home.

So, in between interviews today, I picked up a cheap litter box and scoop, some blankets etc. I just ate lunch, and now I'm off to clean up the back staircase and prepare it for his arrival. I called and made a vet appointment for Saturday morning. I also called animal control and there are no reports of a missing short hair.

Please send vibes that he takes to his temporary accommodations well and that everything goes OK at the vet.
post #18 of 37
Thread Starter 
Tonight as I was heading downstairs, Gus caught a glimpse of Delilah. Now, I really thought my girls would be the difficult ones in this occasion. However, Gus hissed...and hissed...and hissed. Belle and Delilah seem curious, but I don't think they've hissed.

At the same time, my new downstairs neighbour brought in their small dog...into their apartment, but you could hear it from the stairwell. This seemed to make Gus uneasy as well.

I think, as a result, Gus was a little on edge. I sat with him and he cuddled and purred as usual. However, I pet him in the wrong place and he did not react well. He grabbed my arm with his claws and bit me. He did not bite me with all his power, but definitely harder than the little "touched me in the wrong place" nibbles he's done before. The first time, I let it go. Paused from petting him but let him stayed on my lap. The second time, I made him get down and went upstairs.

He was continuing to hiss everytime Belle and Delilah went near the door, even though I have no idea how he knows they are there (I've put blankets to cover the crack on both sides of the door).

I feel like crying right now. I thought I was helping this little guy and that he'd fit into the family. However, now I'm not sure. I know there is a process I need to go through (scent swapping, gradual introduction), but his response really concerns me. The last thing I want to do is cause my current cats stress and frighten them. They are my babies.

And the biting.... It's not an appropriate response in this household. Will he learn that it's not OK? I know he was on edge...in a week of petting him, he's never once done that.

I need success stories, advice, or even discouraging opinions. At this point, I'm not even sure what to do. He's here now, I feel that I can't release him back outside. But he can't live in the stairwell forever either.

Maybe I'm not cut out for this rescuing thing...
post #19 of 37
Breathe. Really, just breathe.

There's a reason we suggest an introduction process. A lot of cats have that reaction to another cat in the beginning.

Try to think of it from his perspective (yes, it's anthropomorphizing but still helpful in understanding their reactions). Gus is finally in a place that he wants to claim as his, with a person he wants to claim as his. And now he sees these other cats! And worse yet, there's a D-O-G! He's had bad experiences with dogs before (going by your thread in Fur Pics when you said you could hear (a) dog(s) barking in his former house), he doesn't want that (whatever it was - being chased, attacked, hounded, cornered) to happen again.

So yes, he was definitely on edge while you were petting him. His senses were peaked and in addition to smelling and hearing everything he could, his skin was extra sensitive as well. If he is at all prone to over-stimulation via petting he was over-over-stimulated which likely made him react like that. Over-stimulation can actually be painful to them so it was likely that when he got to that point being on heightened alert already it felt intense enough that he had a more intense reaction.

You're both learning each other right now, so when you spend time with him watch for the signs - ears changing direction (usually facing back or slightly more downward), eyes dilating, tail swishing or flicking. When you start to see those signs just stop petting for a couple minutes until he calms down.

As for his reaction to your pretty girls, I also think that goes to the unsure feelings he has about his environment. He's not sure if it's his territory or not but he sure doesn't want any interlopers chasing him off!
post #20 of 37
Okay, I can only offer you my story; I'll try to keep it the short version.

Last year I began feeding a feral, terrified, skittish, beautiful, long-haired tortie female across the street. Clearly she was horribly afraid of every noise, and all people. She wasn't even a year old, and she appeared out of nowhere.

Risking divorce, I fed her until the weather turned cool, and brought her in. I isolated her for a couple of weeks, had her spayed and vaccinated, then decided to let her meet the two resident, happy, neutered boys.

Oh boy! She became THE MOST aggressive thing I'd seen since our Cujo back in the 80's (another story for another time), and she chased Mickey mercilessly, and even took a chunk out of him, I think. She was never aggressive a single day with me, but she ran from all other people, and waited until I was in bed to chase Mickey. Dusty didn't like her, but tolerated her. Mickey hated her, and began to avoid coming inside the house. I bought Feliway, plugged two of them in, and that's when Dusty began spraying around the house. I unplugged them, and have mostly gotten that problem under control.

Fast forward to now. They all eat side by side. Scaredy (that's her name) licks Mickey sometimes. He is indifferent toward her. Dusty tolerates her a bit more. She likes everyone but my 17 year old son, we don't know why. The cats all exist fine together. They aren't in love with her, but we're okay, and I know it's because the deck was stacked against her from the get-go. Socialization is not her strong suit. But I love her to pieces.

I think you just need to give it time. I never thought this would work, but I didn't have a plan B. I think your stray attacked you because of the scents of the other kitties. Be patient, but please don't give up on him. He is a beauty.
post #21 of 37
Thread Starter 
Thanks ladies.

Well, it was a tough night, but I guess this is why taking it slow is a good idea.

Remember how I said Belle and Delilah didn't hiss? Well, that didn't sound like them. They've started hissing/growling now too. However, as well as covering the crack at the bottom of the door, I've also now stuffed the crack at the jam as well. They were somehow looking through there and getting a glimpse/whiff of each other, which started the hissing, etc. We will now also only be visiting Gus from the door downstairs, which means no more possible "glimpses" until we're ready. My girls are starting to get back on with their normal life...they are losing interest in the door. I've also moved their litter away from there so that they have no reason to be in the area anyway.

I went and visited Gus once more before bed. As usual, he hopped right up onto my lap and started purring. I was careful just to pet his head and a few gentle body pets. He eventually hopped off and plopped down right in his bed. I pet him for a little bit longer and then said goodnight and left him.

I wondered if taking him to the vet earlier was a bad idea now that we've had these problems, but I think I'll still attempt for a trip tomorrow. At the moment, I'm not even comfortable scent swapping until he gets checked out. At least taking him tomorrow, I'll be able to get the ball rolling before Saturday.

I've been wearing the same outfit each time I go see Gus...I then change out of it when I get back and put it in a garbage back. Would it be a good idea to eventually keep these clothes on so that the girls can smell him on me? Or should I stick strictly with the blanket?

I think we've got everything under control for now, my biggest fear is the actual introduction the lies down the road. I really don't want any blood shed or any of the kitties hurt in any way.

Thanks again for your reassurance. It helped relax me a bit.
post #22 of 37
sorry I dont remember. Is he already neutered or is he a whole tom?
post #23 of 37
Thread Starter 
I am pretty sure he is neutered.

Well, at 4am I woke up to growling cats. Both blankets that were blocking the door have went missing. But, the cats weren't growling/hissing at him, they are growling at each other.

I've recovered the door with towels and tried to get my girls to stop hating each other. I'm headed back to bed for now.
post #24 of 37
Neutered or not, shy semiferals are usually submissive to residents.
But exceptions do occur, as we see here....
(non shy territorial toms may be problematic, even dangerous, to residents).

Your girls growling at each other is because they are aggressive at him, but cant reach him - and instead turn against each other.

Time for a Feliway diffuser I think.

"should" not be necessary, but it does makes things easier.
post #25 of 37
Thread Starter 
I'm off in a few minutes to get some rescue remedy and some Feliway (although I don't think why my pet store has is called that, it looks like the same idea).

I'm gonna have to get the Feliway spray if they have any. There are no electrical sockets on either side of the stairwell.

Rescue Remedy - how do I apply it? I think I'd like to do both my cats and Gus.
post #26 of 37
Put a dab of vanilla under their chins, too. It helps so much because all they will all smell is vanilla, versus cat.
post #27 of 37
The feliway diffuser is good to have in your apartment, as it is clear your girls are getting touchy also to each other and unhappy.

When it it time for them to meet, he will too breathe in the Feliway fumes...

Of course, if you afford, do have both diffuser and spray, so you can begin with the spray in his stairs.
Spray is handy also in other situations, say if you must transport a touchy cat.

Rescue remedy can be useful to try, yes.

essentially, it is for solving in water. The drops are in 40% brandy, so if oral intake, they must be solved.
You can also try to dab them on where the skin is thin; behind ears, on soles of feet, also at the tail...
As it is solved in alcohol, it will absorbe through the skin.
post #28 of 37
Thread Starter 
I've been dreading coming to post this...

I feel like a horrible person...just as bad as his "owners" who don't care.

But I care...I've been thinking about this all day and am currently crying as I write this.

I let Gus out this morning. He's absolutely fine when someone is in there paying attention to him, but he just meows and meows and meows once we leave.

As much as I've grown attached to Gus, I can't do this to my cats, even if it's only for a few days. I know a week or so of stress could very well lead to a successful introduction, but I just don't have it in me...right now at least. I just got called this morning because I got a teaching position for this year, meaning that I have many long days at work in the next few weeks. I would have very little time to spend with Gus in the stairwell and I would have to lock my girls up in the bedroom all day because they can't go near the door to the stairway without hissing. It just doesn't seem fair to any of them.

We will continue feeding Gus on the front porch and spending time with him outside whenever we can. If he appears ill or anything, we will take him to the vet. We've discussed maybe making him some sort of house on the front porch, although at the moment, the dog living downstairs (our new neighbour says she's trying to re-home him) sometimes gets tied out there, so I'm not sure how much he'll want to hang out on our porch. Not sure yet about winter.

Maybe we'll try again sometime, armed with Feliway and Rescue Remedy from the beginning. I'm really torn up about this...I'm so mad at myself right now.
post #29 of 37
I know you must feel terrible I am one that has very territorial cats that could not handle being around another cat.

Is there any way for you to start contacting local rescue groups in your area? I know that people are so full, but this little guy, according to your other post about being uncertain outside, would probably do better inside.

You know you can go to petfinder.org to find all the rescue people in your area. On the left just type in your zip code.
You can email them and see if any of them can help you.
I have helped 2 stray adult cats that way and they were adopted very quick. They even posted them on petfinder for me.

If they cant help you they cant, but if they can, it will be beneficial to him and to you.
post #30 of 37
Thread Starter 
I feel like I made things 100% worse by feeding/trying to take him in. As Stefan said, maybe I confused him...

I did email his owners back to see if he's still coming around there. I noticed when I walked by the other day that there was a carrier on the porch. Maybe it was for him.

This is all complicated by our new downstairs neighbours, who are in the process of moving in and have a little beagle who they tie up out front. Gah! She mentioned that she's trying to rehome him, so I'm hoping they do so.

I've moved his food and bed to the little deck at the back door, hoping that he'll visit there more if he's disturbed by the dog.

Edited: Just walked by his owner's house and the carrier isn't there. If it was for him, it looks like they've given up on him.
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