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Need help finding homes.

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
My husband and I bought our first home a year ago. As a "bonus", a beautiful feral cat came with it (We named her Cookie). In the year we have owned them, we have had the cat spayed and brought up to date on her shots. She is beautiful, black (w/ white patch on belly), medium-hair, smallish and very gentle. We have spent a lot of time letting her get to know us and she has rewarded us with being very affectionate towards us and our children, and she has been a great hunter.
She was abandoned from the time she was a kitten and grew up in the woods behind our house. Because she was outdoors, we never thought she'd become as sweet as she is, and we never thought she'd want to become an indoor kitty, but she does (so badly that she is annoying my neighbors by constantly sneaking into their homes). Because we cannot have an indoor kitty, we know we are not the right home for her.
I would love for her to have a new home before winter really sets in (which thankfully does not happen for a little while longer down here in Georgia). We have come to love her very much, and do not want her spending another winter outdoors (even though we have a warm place for her to always sleep). We are constantly worrying about her, and it scares us if we don't see her every day (though we have been told that those days she is usually camped out in someone's garage or basement!) We have tried rescue groups but they are full and because she "has a home", we are having a hard time find someone to help.

A couple of people have told me that I need to keep the cat with me because she was feral and wouldn't want to live somewhere else. My biggest problem with that is I have a couple of neighbors who are threating action against this cat because of her continually sneaking into their homes. She is sweet with children, loves to be cuddled and pet, and has never destroyed anything in my house when she has slipped in. I think she would be fine and thrilled to become a permanent in door kitty but I could be very wrong.
I also now have another problem, two ferals are taking over my yard. One of them is actually Cookies sister but not as sweet. She's ok w/ me, but I don't trust her with anyone. She gets mean. This was the first year to actually let me pet her and so she blessed me with two litters of kittens (getting pregnant with the second litter before the first was fully weaned and may have done it again to give me a third litter this year?!?!) Since she has had the kittens she is very nasty with her sister.
The other feral is a beautiful male Egyptian Mau (probably mix but he's still gorgeous) and the father of the past two litters. I think he was dumped when his owners moved away. When he first started coming around, I was allowed to pet him (the softest fur I have ever felt on a real animal!!!) but now he just runs when he sees me. He likes my deck because of the food and he sleeps in the same box with his "mate", but neither one likes my Cookie. Along with all this is a 10 week old kitten from this last litter, who I also can't find a home for. There were three from this past litter and I have found homes for 2 which they will be going to as soon as they are fixed.

If anyone can please help me find homes for Cookie, the male feral, and the kitten (named Bullet. "He" is black with brown stripes and swirls and a tiny white bib.) We would be so thankful. The feral female (Tigger) all my neighbors are fine with, she's scared of going in homes, and though I know it is a harder life for an outdoor cat, she seems very comfortable with it and I am worried about how she would do being moved. This area has been her "domain" for 2-3 years.
post #2 of 17
Hi Jenifer, Welcome to TCS.

First of all, I've moved your post to the appropriate forum. I know - it's a little difficult to figure out where something like this belongs. Because you're looking for homes for the cats and kittens, this is the right place and will receive the appropriate audience. The ferals forum is for when you want assistance working with the ferals.

I have a couple of questions:

1) It isn't apparent from your note why Cookie can't move in with you? It seems like you all love her very much, and she sounds like a beautiful kitty! Is it because of other pets or allergies? Or someone in the family doesn't like cats? Becuase if it's either of the first two, those are easily surmountable problems. I am almost tragically allergic to cats. But when we "rescued" our first feral kittens and moved them indoors - I went on Zyrtec-D twice a day, got an albuterol inhaler, and have a steroid cream for when I get scratched or break out in hives. Of course, I'm OK with taking all that medication. If it's a young child that's allergic, many people don't want to subject a child to that, and that is completely understandable.

Anyway - if you want advice on introducing your cat to other pets, there's help to be had in the behavior forum.

But if she really needs another home - and I'm so sorry you have to give her up - then perhaps eyes perusing this forum will be able to help.

2) Until you decide what to do about the other ferals, it would really be best if you were willing and able to trap that female and have her spayed. Local shelters or a local area vet probably have a trap you can borrow or rent. If the cost of spaying her is a problem, you can first call local area vets and shelters to see if they have low-cost spays available for feral cats. You can also try searching for low-cost spay-neuter programs in your area - there is a link in my signature line that will take you to links where you can search several databases. If you need help with trapping advice, that's in the feral colonies forum here: Helping Ferals...

3) If the ferals aren't socialized yet (which it seems they're not really), you need to either rehome them as ferals or try to find someone who's got experience or has the patience to work with them. PLEASE visit either of these threads in the feral forum: Socializing Lucky.... or New Here / New to Feral Cats. These would be of great value to anyone who wants to work on bringing "your kitties" inside.

4) One of the other moderators of TCS, hissy, has heard of a pet store in Atlanta that only works with ferals and strays. I don't know where you are in relation to Atlanta, but if she remembers correctly it was called something like "Friends of the Animals." She's searching her files - and you can try tracking it down, too, if you're anywhere near Atlanta.

5) Having the male ferals neutered will GREATLY reduce the nuisance they create. They generally stop spraying after being neutered, they become FAR less aggressive, and they generally stop fighting. Having the female spayed will stop her going into heat, prevent kittens - and having the males neutered will stop them fighting over femals in heat. It also makes them far more adoptable.

6) Take pics of the ferals you want to rehome or adopt out. Put up posters - at the local vets, in supermarkets, pet stores, animal feed stores, etc. Ferals make great barn cats (if spayed or neutered). We highly recommend using an adoption agreement, however, because you want to ensure the cats will be properly cared for. There is a very stringent adoption agreement in a link I'm about to post - it is written as a Word document so you can make any changes to it necessary. Adoption Agreement

Let me post this and then go back to address other issues....

post #3 of 17
Re: Tigger. Cats can live wonderful lives outdoors. Our feral colony survived last winter just fine. They weren't exactly happy with all the snow - or January/February where we had several weeks in a row of sub-zero weather - but we provided warm food for them, fed them kitten food which has extra protein, and provided outdoor shelter for them - and they survived just fine. We're up in Northern NJ on the PA border - outdoor cats in GA should do just fine with a little help from you.

Do let all the local area vets know you've got a kitten and several cats for adoption. Many people call the vets looking for pets.

Also ask all local area vets if they know of anyone who works with feral colonies - perhaps you can rehome the ferals to a colony that is cared for. Our vet would certainly give us a buzz immediately.

I hope these ideas have helped. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask here. And if I think of anything further, I'll post.

Please keep us posted as to what happens! ...and Good Luck!!!!!!

post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks for moving me to the right spot. I didn't now where to go since I did have the ferals. I was posting at a different site and someone told me to try here.

I do love Cookie and it will hurt to have her gone but it really would be for the best. For sake of time and space, let's just say that keeping Cookie (or any cat) indoors, does not work. I will say that Cookie is not very good with dogs. She will actually attack them before they even know she's there

Tigger and the kittens are all scheduled to be fixed November 19th. Too far away for my liking, but the assistance program that is used up here (operation Catsnip)only comes to our area every so often. If I can get the male trapped, I will do him also.

If neutering the male will keep him from spraying (which I have heard it doesn't always do) then he and Tigger can live here for as long as they want as outdoor cats. We have no problems feeding them and providing them a warm place to sleep.
I don't think I want to rehome Tigger anyway. My neighbors don't have a problem with her and I really do worry about how she would respond to being transfered. She also keeps the rodent population down (though I wish she'd stop hunting the frogs. They smell bad when she leaves them on the deck.
Tigger is socialized with me and my husband (we can pet, pick up, hold, and have lay on our laps if we are outside) but she is very standoffish and refuses to come in the house.
The kitten I am trying to home, is very much like Tigger in attitude. Bullet has calmed down since I have taken him away from his mom and "locked" him up. He no longer arches and hisses but he does not like to be help (the many scratches on my arms from him "clinging" or struggling to get down)are proof of that. I do spend time every day trying to hold him but it's not easy. As soon as he is picked up, the claws come out.
The male is definitly not social but I would love to let him at least pet him again. He really is so soft and I think one of the babies from this past litter will have his fur. One from the last litter did and it is so neat to run your fingers through.

All depending on where in Atlanta, I'm not that far. I live about an hour away. I would love the info on the pet store. Never heard of a store that delt in ferals and strays. I do have a few farms around here and all have to ask if they want a cat. That would be a ferals "heaven on earth". I will also check with the vets. I was amazed at a website someone sent me, where these people have built this huge inclosed indoor outdoor home for feral and stray cats. their site is: I would love to find something like that.

I'll try posting the kittens and Cookie's picture as soon as I can (don't have a diggie so it will be awhile). Don't know if I'll be able to get the male's. He runs as soon as I open the door.
Thank you also for the adoption agreement. I have serious doubts about the family that wants one of my kittens but maybe going over this with them will help them realize they are to make a commitment or forget it.
Thank you for the help
post #5 of 17 (Alley Cat Allies) is a WONDERFUL site chock-full of tons of information and resources for feral cats.

You're right - in some cases neutering doesn't stop the spraying. But if the animal is neutered at 7 weeks to 6 months of age, they most likely will never develop the spraying "instinct." Also, most fully grown males will stop. It is rare that neutering doesn't stop the behavior. The cat will likey go through an adjustment period, but it usually doesn't take long for their aggressiveness to wear down. This isn't to say they won't continue to be stand-offish or scared of people - but it WILL reduce incidents of fighting.

November 19th isn't that far off... do you have any crates for the cats? If you start putting their food in the crates and get them used to eating in there, trappping them or locking them in the crate the morning of their spay/neuter shouldn't be too difficult (if you get them used to certain times). The only problem with that is that you need a crate for each cat - but it usually works.

BTW - it's a bit of a long read, but you may find these two threads in the feral forum VERY interesting:
Rehoming a feral colony
Rehoming feral colony - additional questions

post #6 of 17
BTW - Jenifer - I think what you're trying to do for these cats is wonderful!

Whether they stay with you as outdoor cats or you find homes for them - I hope cookie finds the wonderful home and parents that will spoil her rotten, like she deserves.

...and I should mention - the feral colony mentioned above (that is being rehomed) - is going to be rehomed with a woman who has free-roaming rats as pets... Now THAT's an interesting introduction!
post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 
I have one crate. I can fit all three kittens in there but I hadn't even thought about how they are now to big to fit in there with their mom. I'm not to sure what to do about the male. I'm thinking I'm going to have to do something different with him anyway. This Catsnip program is just a mobile home and I don't think they are set up to deal with a feral. I'm waiting for a call back, but I can just see this guy going nuts (and after reading about Cyclone, I'm really worried ). It would be wonderful if neutering him would stop the spraying. It would make it that he could stay around here, or easier to rehome.
I have read the threads about rehoming colonies and I'll be watching to see how it goes because I'll agree, that is an interesting introduction!! I would love to do something like that, but my husband has already told me his wallet can only stretch so far. We both know that we could not afford the vet care for as many cats that need homes around here.

I to hope that I can find a home for Cookie. I haven't seen her for the past two days (very rare) and neither have my neighbors (supposedly). I even sent the kids outside to play for a couple of hours and kept my front door open, hoping that she would sneak in to find me. It is possible that her sister is keeping her away. I hope that is the case but I'm doubtfull because Cookie loves humane attetion and has always come when I've called, kittens or not.
Tigger has taken over the front of the house (Cookie's domain) because of her babies locked in my garage or the playpen out front. Even though I am feeding her babies, she is still hunting for them and tries so hard to convince me that they really need some rodent in their diet!
Do you know if the other moderator has found the info on the pet store in Atlanta?
post #8 of 17
Jen, I'm sure she'll post it here as soon as she does (if she does). Have you tried a Yahoo Yellow Pages Search? Worth a shot, anyway!

And Jen - a really important part of rescuing is knowing your limits. If you can't afford the care for so many cats, then it is best to find them new homes.

I'm sending "Cookie Come Home" vibes!!! We all know how stressful it is when they don't show up for periods of time.

And just re: the adoption agreement. Feel free to adjust it as fits your needs. But the two things I feel really strongly about are that 1) whoever adopts any cat NOT get it declawed, and 2) whoever adopts any cat will be in touch with you to rehome it if the adoption doesn't work out.

post #9 of 17
OH.... and for my suggestion to work, unfortunately you'd need a crate for each cat. And just FYI - most mobile spay/neuter units have experience working with ferals. In my experience, the ferals are so terrified (because they're so scared of people), they actually tend to be more docile than hand-raised cats. Out of 28 spayed/neutered from the property on which we live, only one male was a problem.

post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 
I actually just got off the phone with Catsnip and as you said, they are able to deal with ferals. The greatest thing is that I don't need to have a reservation because they understand that you may not be able to catch them. Nice to know since I have just been told that the next time the unit comes close to me, they are already full. If I bring Momma and Dad in traps though, they will take them anyway. The lady who called was so sweet because when she found out about the kittens, she reserved me a spot at another clinic (much further away from me) that still had an opening, and is going to help me get them there and back. This way I don't have to wait another month for them. She even has some extra carriers for me to use for the kittens. I was very impressed with how willing she was to help. It was encouraging. I'm at least getting somewhere with some of these cats. This will allow at least one kitten to definitly have a new home and make sure I have no more coming.

When using the traps, is it better to cover them before or after the cat gets in?

I have someone to call tomorrow and see if I can borrow two traps for the mom and dad. I'm not to worried about the mom because she does allow me to pet and pick her up. Placing her in a cage may be another story, but she'll do just about anything for wet food, so hopefully that will help. Hopefully I can get the trap soon and get them both used to it now.
post #11 of 17
Just to let you know I sent an email to my neice the other day. She is in Japan right now, asking her for the name of the pet store. But with my computer on the fritz my emails aren't accessible. As soon as they are, I will give you the information when it arrives.
post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 
PS. Still no Cookie. I'm going to the shelter tomorrow, just in case. Kinda neat, this cat looks just like her. The eyes are even the same bright green.
post #13 of 17
OH COOKIE - COME HOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I hope she hasn't turned up in the shelter. It sounds possible - like maybe one of your neighbors called on her. Or - perhaps she's found a home herself? We have to pray for the best!

And what wonderful news. It is always so encouraging to find helpful people and support out there!

Re: the traps. You can try putting a thin layer of newspaper on the bottom of the crate - many cats do not like the feel of the wire on their feet. It will not prevent the trap from tripping. As for covering it - we always left it uncovered until a cat was in the trap. Some cats will not go into the unknown place they can't see out of to eat. Don't be scared - every once in a while they bonk out when they realize they're trapped. It may mean they struggle so hard to get out they hurt their noses - usually covering the trap will help mitigate that. We just used an old blanket.

Also, if you get the cats used to being fed at a certain time - then provide very little food the day before you're going to trap them it helps to have them hungry - but expecting food. And use really stinky food. Feeding cats tuna isn't healthy for them - but for the purposes of trapping them, it usually helps lure a hungry cat into a trap.

post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 
Cookie came home this morning. She needs a good brushing and she was starving for both food and affection, but other than that, she seems to be OK, this time.
post #15 of 17
YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm sooooo glad she's home. It is enough to drive you nuts, isn't it? That's the terrible part of having an idoor/outdoor cat. Or just caring for cats outdoors.

I hate to ask - but what's the timing on the spay/neuter mobile? I know Tigger and her kittens go in today... what about the male and isn't there another female or pal?

Whatever happens, good luck and keep us posted.

post #16 of 17
Thread Starter 
Tigger was able to get in this morning for her spay along w/her three male kittens. Still no word on how things are going but I don't know how many cats they were doing today. I was able to fix Cookie last year so she's in good shape. There is still a feral male out that I can hopefully trap Sunday night and take in Monday morning (fingers crossed. I'm having a tough time figuring out when does he actually come to visit. He is so fearful that if I startle him one day, it may be a few days before he starts showing up again and then only at night first. I scared him twice yesterday.). Once he's done, then that's it, for now. We have a bunch more people moving out of our subdivision again so who knows what will happen then. I don't mind the trapping and fixing but finding new homes is just so hard. I did find out that there is an organization that will help out with food for those who are trying to help the ferals. This would definitly make it easier on my husband to continue feeding ferals if any more show up. He's okay with having 2-3 cats around, but he's not big on much more than that. If we didn't have 5 kids then he'd be different about it, but we know we really don't have the time or money for any more than three. He also had a really rough summer with having to bury two kittens and help me make the decision of having another PTS. That was a lot for us to deal with.
post #17 of 17
Jen, that's a lot for anyone to deal with! I'm so sorry.


I'm sure Tigger and sons will be fine!!!! Sending lots and lots of positive vibes their way.
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