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New stray.. few questions

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Hi. A new cat just adopted me. He just started coming over and inviting himself right into the house. He was very thin so I began feeding him regularly outside and (I live with my parents) Dad said he could stay so he comes in whenever he wants now.
I have 3 other cats 2 females and a male. The new cat who I've named Mack gets along famously with my other male, Jack. They play fight and have a ball I'm really glad they are so friendly. Jacks really a little brat, he needs someone else to smack around instead of me. Also, we live in a very woodsy area so I feel better knowing The two are together in there together. (They follow each other constantly)
I'm worried about a few things. How soon should I take him to be fixed/shots. I'm terrifed that when he comes back home he'll run off and never come back. My parents are very forgetful, its impossible to guarantee he stays indoors for a few days. I havent even given him a bath yet for the same reason. (My other cat loves water this one doesnt) He doesnt have fleas, thank god!
Anyone know how long I should wait, or am I just being silly. I'm not worried about money, Even if he doesnt come back I'll be glad to know hes healthier and not making more strays. I just love him and jeez I'd miss em.
Shots are important too.. maybe i should just take him for those and hold off on the surgery? I dont want to endanger my other animals.
Thanks all!
post #2 of 10
How old is he about. A few weeks, a month or more, almost full grown? You normally take in a cat to get neutered at six to eight months old. If he is almost full grown or is full grown, then take him in. If you plan on keepinmg him, then I would get him his shots. They could save his life along with your other cats' lives. If he is getting fed regularly and has a nice home with toys, or companions, then I don't know why he would want to leave. He may be one of those cats that likes to come and go. He may leave for a few days at a time, but always come back. I wouldn't be worried. Some strays are just always independent, I wouldn't force him to stay inside, if he is just dying to go out. Even if you don't get him neutered, you want him to get his shots to be safe around your other cats.
post #3 of 10
I take any cat to the vet before letting them around my normal cats because I worry about felv and fiv. You would want to get him tested for those. My outside cats are actually friendlier now that i got them fixed, so i wouldn't worry about him not liking you anymore.
post #4 of 10
No need to give him a bath if he doesn't have fleas!

I would take him in to be neutered and vaccinated right away (unless he is tiny). Since he has clearly decided that your house is the place to live, it is very unlikely that he will run away once he returns from the vet. If you are afraid that your parents will forget to keep him locked up after the neutering, you can just leave him at the vet overnight and then bring him home and let him out. A 24 hour lock-up after the neutering is all he needs.

Bravo to you for adopting this cat!
post #5 of 10
Hi flyte! How wonderful of you to rescue this kitty!!!!

In the future, you should always take a stray or feral (wild) cat to the vet before interacting with any of your other pets. He could be sick, have a disease or pests that can be passed along to your kitties. Always best to play it safe!

BRAVO to you for wanting to neuter your cat!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Both you and he will be so much happier.

Actually, it has been proven that kittens as young as 7 weeks old can be neutered as safely as kittens of 7 months old. Our vet uses the guideline of when the first baby tooth falls out for spaying/neutering (between 4 and 6 months), but this study by the Winn Feline Foundation Early Spay/Neuter in the Cat has shown that there is no detrimental effect of early spay/neuter.

As to whether or not he will run away... these days, a male neuter takes just a morning or afternoon. The way we've handled it with our ferals is if it is foul weather outside, we leave the cat in the hospital, boarded with the Vet for a day or two, but this isn't really necessary, just a precaution that we've been willing to pay for.

We found that "our" cats didn't run away when neutered. The ones we released outside maybe disppeared for a few hours, but they came back at mealtime . The one stray that was indoor/outdoor, we released indoors. Not only did she not want to run away, but she wanted lots of extra love.

Your kitty is far more likely to disappear if not neutered... if he gets the scent of a female in heat, who knows when he'll be back?

You're both better off the sooner you do it. The vet should be able to check his health and get him vaccinated at the same time.

Also.... just two additional thoughts, even though you didn't mention it.

1) Make sure the vet knows he is a stray and his feces should be checked for parasites. You'll probably have to take a sample in with you. Outside kitties often have worms and he'll need medication for that.

2) Do you treat your indoor/outdoor kitties for fleas and ticks? Please make sure you do not use store-bought products. They are very, very dangerous to your cats' health. Frontline or Advantage, which can be purchased from your vet, are safe and very effective products. Please discuss this with your vet.

post #6 of 10
BTW - welcome to TCS! Glad you found us. We all love cats here, and we'd really appreciate it if you let us know what you decide to do - and what happens.

post #7 of 10
All good advice, although I tend toward the 5 to 8 months for spaying and 4 to 5 months for neutering. Neutering is a simple external operation and doesn't require a long period of anesthesia, but spaying is like a woman's hysterectomy and is a far more major operation. I like my cats to be near full growth before they go through that. Not that they pay much attention to either operation -- the males are up an running within hours and the females within a restful day (which they usually enjoy anyway). You will find that the operations are not always the widely believed idea that cats become gentler or more loving. Each cat has its own personality, and if the operations make them a little calmer, that is only to the good. However, I have seen many cats who really don't change very much. In fact some of my males think they are real tough guys. One thing they generally do not do, however, is mark territory except by clawing or rubbing their cheeks against thing. And that is a singular blessing.

Most cats do not seem to equate the operations or the vet with their caretakers. Their main thought seems to be how glad they are that you took them out of that stainless steel and antiseptic environment and brought them home to familiar things. I have had only one male cat run off as soon as he was released, but he was a trapped totally wild stray and wasn't really used to people, let alone me. My experience has been with more than 50 cats at this point (a fairly stable 15 to 20 in-house family plus wild drop-ins). I always have the drop-ins neutered or spayed, and as long as they look to me for food, I see that they have their yearly shots or antibiotics and worm medicine when needed. Why? because I have had very unfortunate luck on several occasions: a terrible unknown parvo-like virus that killed 3 of 7 kittens almost overnight (I accepted a litter of 3 healthy looking kittens on an evening and was to take them to the vet in the morning. By morning, however, one of the kittens was dying. Even with treatment for the others in the kitten-room, 3 died within a few days and 7 came down with the disease, but were saved by hospitalization and constant infusions.)

Another time, someone dropped off a kitten in a paper sack into my garden, and the dogs released it from the bag. It then ran all over the yard and went to ground in the tool shed. Result -- the kitten had ringworm and all 24 cats and 10 dogs at the time came down with it, which was both horribly expensive and took a month and a half of pills and ointments to cure.

Since I live on a pension, I cannot easily afford high veterinary bills and would never manage if the vet hospital didn't give me time to pay a running bill and discounts on everything they can get away with. But it is a real joy, isn't it, to have such proud, wild creatures looking to you are their friend?

So always be safe. Quarantine the newcomer and get to the vet for a thorough check-up and standard shots. Wonderful that you have accepted the cat's desire to live with you and your family. When they actually come off the street and choose you -- not just as a food-giver, but as someone they want to live with -- you have been blessed.

Older and wiser.....Catherine
post #8 of 10
since girl kitties can go into heat as young as 4 monthes, I beleave, I like to get them fixed around that age.

With boy I normally wait until around 6 monthes.
post #9 of 10
I do girls at 6 months and males at 8 months. I would not let him outside until after he is neutered. It is still kitten season and he can add to problem. Neutering him will stop his will to stray. He will still travel but not that far.

Hate to bust your bubble, but just because you can't see the fleas does not mean they aren't there. If he has been outside, he is privy to all sorts of parasites, fleas included. Laurie is correct, a fecal exam is a must because he probably has parasites.

Thank you for rescuing yet another in the world.
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the replies everyone, sorry it took me so long to reply myself but i've been sick. I took the new stray, Mack, in for his shots a few days ago and he's going in a few days to be nuetered/tested for that feline lukemia (sp) and then he'll get that shot as well. There havent been any cases of that in my area, hopefully he's fine. My other cats are vaccinated against it.
I really had no choice about him interacting with my other cats..I'm pretty sure my other male, Jack, brought him home.
They play together constantly and Jack isn't as nippy with me now.. which is great!! I still cant believe two male cats get along this well. They are both about a year old. Mack is fitting right in and starting to get comfortable with the family.. He's still afraid of my parrots but he chases my dog all over the yard
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