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Rehoming feral colony - addl questions

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I posted below about having to rehome my colony of 4 feral cats and really appreciate all the warm thoughts, supportive and wonderful advice. I'm back with two more questions....

1) We are building a wood, roofed enclosure, approximately 8 x 8 x 4 feet where the cats will live until they are settled enough to explore their new surroundings. We will put a gate-like door on the enclosure, but are thinking that an inner, screen-type door is a good idea to let in additional light and air during the day whie they're being settled. What type of material could we use for this? Is traditional screening too flimsy to hold up and is a hardware cloth likely to hurt them if they chew it? I don't know what expanded metal is, but someone suggested that. All ideas are welcome!(BTW, the enclosure will have a kitty door for the long haul, so they can come and go, eat and be sheltered.)

2)As the kitties get used to using their kitty door, and after being "kenneled" in the enclosure for up to two months (a local rescue recommended that time frame) are they likely to be interested in using the doggie door into their new host house? (We have a doggie door and they've never tried to come inside here.) Their new host house has pet rats (as do we) and they free-range. Having the doggie door open is a good idea for the resident dog, but we don't want to worry that the cats may come in after the rats. Ideas?? Experiences?? Any "gut reactions?"

Again, I thank you for your insight. It's so great to have a place to ask these questions where I know people will understand and not think I'm out-of-line to go to these lengths for a group of wild cats! (And continued kudos to their new owner-to-be. She's about an hour away from me, and is out digging trenches for the frame as I write this ...)
post #2 of 10
Regular screening material will not hold them in. If they want out, they will claw thru it. Chicken wire is stronger, and I don't think they could get thru it, but it has sharp edges that you would need to be careful with. I've seen welded wire used in cages that is softer that chicken wire, and a lot more sturdy. You can get it with fencing material in a good home improvement store.

I've never tried a doggie door, but know of cats that learn to use them. If you try it, you need to really entice them to come into the enclosure with good smelly cat food. Perhaps start with the door propped open, then partially open, then closed.
post #3 of 10
We use chicken wire and brace it between two strips of wood, then screw the wood strips together to diminish the danger of the ends of the wire sticking them.

Doggie doors are great, mine uses ours all the time. Cats are explorers by nature, and eventually they will go through the door to see what is on the other side.

Again kudos for you for doing all of this for these cats!
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the suggestions. We ended up purchasing hardware cloth, which is a coated wire with about 1/2 x 1/2 inch openings. I think it will make a nice interior screen so the cats can see out while they're adjusting to their new home. The enclosure is really coming along. We're even putting shingles on the roof!

It's so hard to "lose" them, but I know we're doing our best to keep them safe and provide good care for the rest of their lives!
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
A quick P.S. ... Do you think that when the cats get used to using the kitty flap to enter their enclosure they'll be likely to try to use the doggy door to get into their new owner's home? (We're worried about her pet rats that free-range inside the house.)
post #6 of 10
Well you can even get ferals adjusted to other critters. I have had ferals and guinea pigs together as well as rabbits with no problem, but there was an introduction period for the two species first- of a matter of about 2 months. Until that happens, I would put the rats into a room by themselves and close the door. They are less likely to be upset at containment than the cats. But yes, once the cats get used to one door, they are likely to use the other one as well.

I would love pictures of these cats and this enclosure (hint hint)
post #7 of 10
Originally posted by hissy
I would love pictures of these cats and this enclosure (hint hint)
Me too! Me too!!
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
I took a couple of construction shots last weekend and will continue until the enclosure is complete. I'll be glad to e-mail them ... or are there instructions somewhere for posting images to the forum?
post #9 of 10
Click here for a thread on how to post pictures.

I can't wait to see them!
post #10 of 10
What you are doing is so fabulous! I really look forward to pics!!!!!
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