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Black and white cat feral?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
We have a new visitor, a black/white cat that was eating from the cat food dish before Pumpkin arrived on the scene. She's been stopping by regularly, looking for food/shelter. Is there a way that you can tell if she is feral or tame? Is it possible to keep her on the porch or in the garage and outside during the winter months?

She sits in front of the patio door

She'll roll on her back in front of the door.

While cleaning out the garage, I noticed that she was sitting on the concrete walkway, watching me.

Thanks for any advice. I feel badly for her because we took in Pumpkin and really don't have any room for her, plus the fact that she's a very large cat, and I have to admit I'm intimidated by her and a bit scared of handling her. How could you get her into a cat carrier if she would even fit in one?
post #2 of 6
Hmmmm, sounds like she's somewhat friendly. In my experience, a stray cat will be willing to eat in your presence pretty quickly (like a couple of days) but ferals won't eat until you leave the area. Even when they do get used to eating with you there (about a month or more) they still keep an eye on you and if you approach them they scram. Also, stray cats are more likely to meow at you, but ferals tend to be silent.

Initially it may be impossible to truly distinguish if she's a feral or stray, but if she's a stray there's a good chance she'll eventually start rubbing against you when you feed her (again, that's been my experience).

As for getting her into a carrier, one trick is to have the door open, with a fishing line tied to it. Put a weight on top of the carrier, and then some food inside. When she goes in, you pull on the line to close the door, and keep tugging a little to keep it closed (the weight should prevent the trap from moving). Or, you could always use a live trap, which would probably be a good idea since you don't know how his cat will react once confined.

Good luck, I hope you can help her out.
post #3 of 6
Cats can survive outside in the Winter just fine - well - in Ohio, anyway. We bought the large sized covered litter boxes, covered the outside with insulation and covered that with a plastic bag. We used a thin board to create an overhang entrance with sides so snow and rain couldn't get in. We were worried about the cats so used heat tape on the bottom of the inside of the "house", but that really isn't necessary. Just Hay that you change every few weeks or month would do just fine. A number of cats survived their first winter outside just fine, despite weeks of below zero weather here last year. We did heat up plain chicken broth or cat milk at night to give them something to warm them up.

We ended up feeling really guilty about the kitties outside though - because every time we left the house they would leave the shelter to come run over and greet us. They'd walk through the ice or snow, and we just couldn't stand it. But once you've worked with your "new" kitty enough for him/her to be social, you could consider trying to adopt him/her out - providing the adopter with the information that the kitty is a rescue and will need special attention when adjusting to living inside (whether the kitty is a feral or a stray).

To trap the kitty you can always use a have-a-heart trap instead of a carrier. See if your vet has one you can borrow. Get him/her used to eating in the same place and time, then one day put the food in the have-a-heart trap. You can cover the bottom with one layer of newspaper as some cats don't like the feel of the cage on their feet. Just use the trap when you're sure you can check it frequently, and when you know you can then take the kitty immediately to the vet for a check up. If it's a female, they can shave her belly to see if she's already been spayed. If it's a male, it'll be obvious whether he's been neutered or not. That's one sure way to figure out whether or not kitty is a feral or a stray!

post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 
Fortunately for me, the black and white cat hasn't returned. I didn't see it in Mysty's old box on the porch, either, last night. So, quite possibly, this cat belongs to someone and was just out roaming.

Last night was cooler with some rain and windy, so maybe this cat has a home. She seemed to appear on the back porch when the weather was very pleasant.
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
I spoke too soon! I left her some Nutro Natural Choice kitten kibbles outside in a dish and a bowl of fresh water. She should be on adult Nutro, but that's all that I have. My Mom gave me a coupon and the 8 lb. bag of Nutro cost only $.99, so that's a very small price to pay for feeding a stray cat. It was interesting to see a possum on the porch eating the Nutro and I saw a chipmunk gathering the Nutro kibbles a few days ago. It seems as if I'll be raising some "Super Nutro Critters" in the woods, as these animals are munching on 35% protein and 21% fat for winter survival.

I never thought a chipmunk and an oppossum would enjoy eating cat food.

post #6 of 6
With time, if they're around, you'll find that skunks, raccoons, dogs and some birds do, too.
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