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What to do with Callie??? I have to move....

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
Gosh!!! I don't know what to do... I HOPE u guys can give me some advice regarding my situation.

As some of u know, I have been taking care of Callie and trying to earn her trust for over TWO years. She now will eat out of my hand, play with my feather teaser so that's a big step. (NO luck with petting though! Grin).

Last nite, my landlord told me that he just bought a house so he'll be selling this house which means I have to move out before the end of April.. I don't know what to do with Callie- she lives on my porch 90% of the time.

I can't take her with me for various reasons.. (some of my close friends actually had the nerve to tell me to get rid of the cats! )

I have emailed Rude Ranch (a cat organization- they have one room reserved for ferals who were abused/too wild) and asked if they could take Callie if I promise to sponsor her (pay for her food, etc). One big thing I'm worried regarding this (IF Rude Ranch DO agree to take her in) is would CAllie be HAPPY living indoors?????

I do not know anyone in my neighborhood that would be willing to take over tending to the 3 ferals (CAllie, Tango and Boo Boo- Tango and Boo Boo aren't REGULAR visitors- they come maybe 3-5 times per week to eat)..

I CAN'T leave without KNOWING that at least Callie will be taken care of since she seems to rely primarily on me for food/drink/tending...

Another idea I was thinking of was that I find a farmer who need barn cats and have him/her adopt Callie. HOWEVER, I know some people strongly encourage LEAVING ferals in THEIR terrority because Ferals will try to get back to their terrority..

I would really appreciate any ideas or input you might have regarding this. I won't have peace of mind until this is resolved with Callie..

HOPE to hear from some of ya! I have posted one pic of Callie here for u to enjoy.. I'll miss her so much!!!
post #2 of 23
Pamela, my heart is breaking for you. This is a decision Gary and I haven't really had to face yet, though we will be moving at some point in the not too far distant future (I'd say this fall, but I thought it was going to be in the Spring of 2003!). It is going to happen some day.

We debated for a long time about what to do with the one stray we were caring for. The ferals we'd already found someone to continue caring for, and had permission from the owner of the property. But like you we had a really difficult time deciding whether the territory was the most important part of this stray's life.

In the end our decision was easier than yours because she had become tame, and was coming into our home. So we found her a new home, to become a pet.

We did relocate the older ferals that weren't tame last fall. The one that was the most tame did come back. But the distance we're talking is very small - the ferals were relocated to barns and equipment sheds on the property, so they were only at most a mile away. The one that was most tame came back, and we did end up rehoming him with someone experienced with ferals, and though we couldn't pet or touch him, he's now a very happy inside cat.

My first thought is this. Are you moving far? If you're within 10 - 15 miles, it is too far out of your way to visit every day until someone moves into the home? Will the landlord let you discuss the option of talking to whoever's buying the house and seeing if they're willing to continue caring for her? Can you set up a feeder so that you only need to visit every few days until the house is sold?

In the meantime, I'd call vets, etc. to see if you can find anyone experienced with ferals that may be interested in adopting Callie. Or finding someone caring for a colony and relocating her there. Personally, I think I'd consider relocating her to a barn or another feral colony that's cared for before moving her into a permanent indoor home in a shelter.

No way you can look for a place where you can take her with you? That would be my first choice!

But there are people with a lot more experience with moving and older ferals, so I hope you'll get more opinions that are based on more experience.

My heart goes out to you. These are such difficult decisions, and I'm so sad you have to deal with something like this!
post #3 of 23

I have heard nothing but glowing accounts about Rude Ranch, though the name does give me pause. I am sure if they have a room for ferals they are very much in tune with making the transistion for the cat as easy as possible. I am sorry you have to move away from her, you have come such a long way with her. If I wasn't so far, I would be glad to take her for you.
post #4 of 23
Oh Pamela!! You must be so upset.. I know I would be too I wish you all the luck, I am sorry I dont have advice for you but this ranch sounds like a nice place. I dont know how she would adjust to living indoors. I know that I am sure she would find somewhere else to get food if you moved but I know you cant leave knowing you just left her there. ((( Hugs )))
post #5 of 23
Pamela, if Hissy's heard only glowing accounts of Rude Ranch, then that's the option I'd pursue first. Very few ferals are happy (at first) about being "confined" inside - but that's just because they don't know the joy of love and play yet. Talk to the ranch and if you feel comfortable about their experience with ferals, then see what you can do about getting her there. If they can't take her (I'll send up a prayer!) or if they can't take her right away, then I'd work on finding out if she can stay where she is, be adopted by someone experienced with ferals, join an existing cared for colony, or be relocated to a barn, in that order.


post #6 of 23
Thread Starter 
I wanted to thank u guys for ur support and advice!! Here's an update so far.

Emailed Rude Ranch (Hissy, I agree with u about the name- I didn't like it but after reading about their organization and their FUNNY stories about rescuing Ferals, I fell in love with them-found out about them about 2 yrs ago! U guys who don't know about this organization HAVE to read their stories about ferals they rescued. I about fell out of my chair laughing my head off as I read them) and am waiting to hear back from them.

I also emailed another lady who works primarily with ferals- she helped me trap some ferals and took 2 feral kittens (one of Callie's litters!) from me to try to tame and find homes for last summer. She responded today and told me she'd be happy to take Callie and try to find a home for her- either inside or as a barn cat. She said Callie can be tamed if Callie is eating out of my hand.

I have a few concerns regarding this though. I know she has MANY cats at home and she's not home much because she's out helping trap ferals and showing cats at adoption shows so I'm worried about attention for Callie.

Another thing is that she has had Willow and Anya (Two kittens of Callie's that I trapped and gave to her) since summertime and still have not placed them in homes so that means it will be longer for Callie since Callie is older and most ppl prefer kittens? And would Callie be happy in a small house with MANY cats???

Another thing is one of my close friends (she has 8 cats and is always trying to convince me to keep the feral kittens/cats I've trapped and found homes for) is trying to convince me to keep Callie because she thinks Callie bonded with me and doesn't think she will do good away from me.. Could that be true??? I LOVE Callie but I just can't take in another "inside" cat along with my 4 cats.. Financially and emotionally, I don't think it'd be fair to Callie or my 4 cats if I take her in but again I want the best for Callie sooo I am thinking long and hard regarding this.

It is most likely that I will have to move to a place that's more than 30 min away from where I live if I want to live in a small condo or house in a good neighborhood. I was extremely lucky to find this apt and live here for 2 1/2 yrs. So the idea of setting up a feeder and having me come daily or every couple days to feed probably won't work. But I'll see after I KNOW where I will be living.

I am afraid that the new owners might hate cats and will do things to harm cats here so I've decided to be SAFE than sorry. I am going to start moving the food/water further away from the patio and closer to the yard so Tango and Boo Boo won't continue the habit of coming to the patio for food. I am also going to ask a neighbor if she'd be willing to feed Boo Boo and Tango and if she's willing then I'll start moving the food/water over to her area.

Keep ur fingers crossed that everything will work out for the best! If u have any other ideas, pls feel free to share with me! Grin.

I am posting 2 pics of Tango and Boo Boo (2 other ferals I feed) Tango is the orange/white cat and Boo Boo is the black cat. U can tell I'm not very creative with names!!!
post #7 of 23
Thread Starter 
HHEEEEEEEERRRRRREEEE's Boo Boo!! When I first saw him/her, I freaked out and thought one of my boys had gotten out then realized it was a feral black cat! Whew.

As u can see from the pic, 2 of my cats were checking him out.
post #8 of 23
I can just imagine how stressed out you must be. However, every one of the options you discussed for Callie sound awfully wonderful to me. So, the good news is that it doesn't sound like you could go wrong with any of these choices. Of course, the bad news is that it will be hard to decide which one to select AND it will be terribly hard to say goodbye to Callie. Just know that whatever you decide will be a heck-of-a-lot better than what her life was like before you came along!
post #9 of 23
Thread Starter 
SIGH! I spoke with a friend who works at Animal Allies for Ferals regarding this and now realize that Rude Ranch is not a viable option for me.. She explained that is mainly for abused ferals- tortured, or rescued from horders, etc and Callie is a healthy cat sooo I guess that option is out.

I asked her regarding Callie bonding to me, the options of asking a neighbor to feed the ferals or relocating her. She said Callie has bonded to me and won't adjust well to someone else.

She said that she thinks the best options would be to first, have a neighbor take over, secondly if I move to a house/condo with a backyard to take her with me (confiding her to the new place 2-4 weeks so she's less likely to run away) and third to relocate her to a barn or something.

Sooo I am now more unsure than ever! sigh.. Keep ur fingers crossed that I'll make the best decision for Callie. This might be a dumb question but... How do u know for SURE that a feral cat has bonded to u or is just depending on u for food, etc?
post #10 of 23
If you can take a road trip to Western Tennessee, Angelwings Sanctuary is the perfect solution for Callie. Click here to take a virtual tour of the sanctuary. You will be amazed!
post #11 of 23
Hi, I was in a similar situation. Let me try and keep it brief. (yeah right!)

We lived in an apartment complex for 2 years and fed/neutered/vetted strays. Some were somewhat wild and some had gotten completely tame. About 2 months before we were to move in a house a young male grey FERAL (when i say feral I mean just the opening of the door would scare him off into the bushes) started showing up. Of course I started feeding him. Everday that went by I got more and more anxious bc I knew that we were going to be moving soon and what would become of my little LaShawn ??? It took about a month before he would even sniff my hand. Even then when I would move he would dart off. About 2 weeks before we moved i was at least able to brush the back of his tail with my hand. About a week before we moved he'd eat his catfood with me standing there. I worked on this for hours everyday because I had to take him with me .... I couldn't just leave him there at that hell hole.

So one day when he just woke up from his nap in the bushes I called him on the porch for some tuna. He walked up and was so sleepy and I tried to relax (I thinkthey can sense our tension) I had a catcrate near his food bowl. After he ate for a second I grabbed him by the nape of the neck and shoved him in the crate.. He was MAD. I made an emergency call to the vet to have him neutered/vaccinated/ and boarded while we moved.

Before we even moved in our furniture I had a catfence installed. I wanted my cats to be able to enjoy the backyard , watch birds, sun themselves, but I did not want nutcases harming my cats.

FF to when I picked up LS from the vets. They said he hadn't eaten. He looked wild... he bit the vet and broke a bunch of equipment at the vets office. When I brought him home in the backyard he tried to jump the fence and couldn't so he climbed a tree. Stayed in the tree for 9 hrs. and eventually made a LITERALLY FLYING leap over the fence (flew about 30 feet like a squirrel)

We were in our new neighborhood I thought, well that was the end of him... he'll never find his way back nor will he care to but at least he's neutered.

FF to about 3 days later. He showed up! He's been here everysince and we've lived here for 2 years!! . Yes he roams our neighborhood. Yes I worry like hell about him but he's well fed, neutered, vetted, and fairly safe. We live in a fairly quiet place so I suppose that's a plus.

My point is if you bring her with you that doesn't necessarily mean you are setting her and yourself up for failure. Do you realize how shocked I was when I successfully relocated this feral?? (LOL) She doesn't sound full blown feral like he is, but semi feral... am i right ? I have one like that too and the cat fence works wonders for her. The catfence is very effective UNLESS the cat is completely and totally wild. I'm convinced if a cat is wild it cannot be contained. I have seen it. I have seen ferals get in my backyard and escape. But for cats who have had some human contact it's ag reat thing.

Please consider taking her with you! My heart breaks for both of you. Sounds like in her own way she IS bonded to you! Good luck and keep us posted !!
post #12 of 23
I do think the idea of a sanctuary is a good alternative too. Leaving her with neighbors, etc. ehhh don't know about that.

Here's a link for the catfence. I hope it doens't seem like I am advertizing the thing or anything but it really did help me in my situation with all of my cats. It gives me peace of mind and helps them enjoy life. If the weather is beautiful and they want to go out and play, they can, but they can't get out. With supervision, it is a great tool.

The downside is that it's a pain to install and is expensive.

So far it's held up well and I've only had to do a few minor things to maintain it's condition.
post #13 of 23
9Katz..Wow!!! What an amazing story! I am so glad that LaShawn came back and that your move was successful.

May I ask about the other cats you were caring for at the apartment complex?
post #14 of 23
Originally posted by lotsocats
9Katz..Wow!!! What an amazing story! I am so glad that LaShawn came back and that your move was successful.

May I ask about the other cats you were caring for at the apartment complex?
Sure thing...

Moe -- who is now 10 was about 8 when we moved. The apt. manager said he had been there for many many years and ate out of the dumpster. He was about 7 lbs. Now he's 16! He was sort of wild/skiddish at the time but after he was neutered and socialized he is doing quite well. He's sitting at my feet in the dogbed right now as I type this ! LOL !
He does have FIV but thank goodness is FeLeuk negative (small mmiracle) He really just sleeps and eats all day!

Maynard -- also a stray is about 3 yrs old , he was fairly tame already and so he moved just fine

bootsy -- a real challenge !!!!!!!!!! She's about 8 yrs old. Hard to tell bc she has few teeth. Just catching her was difficult. She was a pregnant feral when she showed up at the complex. (during flood Allison in TX) She adjusted OK for the most part to the move. Prefers to stay out in the backyard on the deck. She will let me pet her but no one else. Does very well with the other cats. I also bought her an igloo dog house and she gets in that sometimes to feel secure. She'll come in on occasion, but only if it's raining. She's really terrified of the indoors. She's a PB maine coon , or at least appears to be.

Simon -- was found in the woods at the complex but as a kitten so he socialized just fine as being an indoor kitty.

There was one other cat that i captured there and neutered but come to find out he had a home. Not sure if it was the best home or not but at least he's neutered.

There weren't anymore kitties that I know of.
post #15 of 23
9Katz, That is simply amazing that all of these ferals moved so well! I hope Pamela reads this and feels as if there is more hope for Callie once she moves.
post #16 of 23
One thing I learned is that they are so SMART and so resilient.
post #17 of 23
Thread Starter 
Hello.. Here's an update and I need ur advice! .. This will be a bit long so I apologize in advance!

I just moved into my new apt with my four cats. After some hard thinking, crying and talking with some friends, I thought it'd be best to ask a neighbor of mine named Mona to feed Callie so Callie can stay in that area since she's used to living there. Mona lives 2 houses away from my old home.

It seemed to be working out okay. For the last week, I have been stopping by the old place after work to call Callie to follow me to Mona's place so she'd get used to eating at Mona's place. Callie would come running when I'd call and would follow me over to Mona's place while MEOWING her head off which is very unusual and would break my heart. I have never seen her meow until I moved out.. However, I think Callie is getting used to going over to Mona's place now. Well, I just got this email from Mona today...

"I have good news and potentially bad news. The good news: I saw Callie near my front door yesterday.
The bad: we will probably be moving within the next six months.
My husband has been looking for a job and nothing is panning out in this
area. Outside this area things look more promising.
I'm not sure what effect there would be on callie if she starts to faithfully come around, then we have to move.
Let me know what you think."

So now, I'm back to step one... What to do with Callie. There are some options I could explore- I have one friend who works a lot with ferals and she said she would be happy to take Callie in because she thinks Callie can be tamed since I've gotten her to trust me and would eat out of my hand. She could find a home for her.. She said if Callie doesn't like being an inside cat, then she could find a barn for her..

However, I have never seen where she lives and am not sure what her living environment is like. I do know that she has MANY cats in one small house and she isn't home a lot due to travelling all over trying to TNR cats and/or take cats to cat adoption shows to find homes for. Would Callie be happy in that environment?? Would it be FAIR to Callie??

Another option is to try to find somone in the old neighborhood to feed/care for Callie. If so, I'd want to start having her go over to the new place instead of Mona's so she won't be confused about going to a new place in a couple months to eat.. My fear is what would happen to Callie if THAT person do decide to move also later on??

Another option- I have spent so much time worrying and anguishing about Callie that I'm starting to think it'd be easier to just trap her and try to adopt her/convert to being a housecat...

I have some BIG FEARS regarding what might happen with Callie-

First- I've noticed with former strays/cats I've had fostered, I have had problems with either the "visiting" cat or my cats EVEN after I followed the introduction process stated in this forum..

I am really scared that either my cats or Callie WON'T be happy with the new living arrangements..

I'm scared that Callie won't be happy being an inside cat..

If that DID happen, that what would I do with Callie? It won't be fair to her to be returned to the old neighborhood if the living arrangements didn't work and I wouldn't be able to live with myself if I did that.

Financially, I am on a tight budget since I am trying to save money to move back to Utah and am not sure if my budget would be able to take another cat (bills, extra food, etc). That's another issue- would Callie be able to handle the move to Utah?? I might have to live in the basement of my parents house until I pay off all my bills and have enough money saved for a house so that might mean a year in the basement..

My apt is really small. I am not sure how it'd work with introducing- all the litterboxes are in the bedroom so if I put Callie in the bedroom, then where would I put the litterboxes so all the cats would have access to them? Where would I sleep? On the couch with my 4 cats or in bed with Callie??

I am really confused about this - I have spoken with a friend who works at Alley Cats organization regarding this and asked her what she thought of me taking Callie in and she basically said NO. She said Callie would not be happy living inside and that would put a lot of stress on the cat's health and also would break the cat's spirit... I DO NOT WANT TO HARM CALLIE IN ANY WAY AND DO NOT WANT TO BREAK HER SPIRIT..

I would really appreciate any input/advice on my situation. Pls let me know ASAP..
post #18 of 23
It sounds as if the person you know who works with ferals would be the perfect solution. I especially like that she wants to socialize Callie and find her a home.

I don't think you could go wrong with working with this friend.

Good luck with your move to Utah!
post #19 of 23
I think you are causing yourself a lot of stress over this Pam. Ferals are very adaptable, more so than most cats, and moving her to a barn where she can be outside and still be managed makes perfect sense. The ferals and strays are just different and even being outside/inside they prefer to be outside, even at night.
post #20 of 23
Ask your friend if you can visit her house to allay your concerns. My opinion is trusting a neighbor to feed isn't a good option here--you don't seem confident with anyone you know and I'd trust your gut there. Relocating her to an established colony you trust sounds like a good option. I've relocated some and it's worked. What about that rescue in TN someone posted? Have you investigated that one? You have 6 months it sounds like so dig in and research and pick the best option for Callie. You can do this!
post #21 of 23
Thread Starter 
Thanks for ur advice and input! Pls continue to share ur advice and input.. I know I am a worrywart. I tend to worry myself to death about things like this. I just LOVE Callie and want the best for her.

I think I will talk to my friend and see.. I am not sure how to approach her about seeing her home- don't want to offend her.. I might talk to her and see what she thinks regarding finding a place with a barn where Callie can be relocated to or trying to tame her and rehome her..

Hissy, u said "The ferals and strays are just different and even being outside/inside they prefer to be outside, even at night." meaning most of the ferals tend to prefer living outside and not live inside ONLY?

I WISH there are some stats on this.. Grin. That would help me to know what'd be best for Callie. Oh well.. I'll just have to do my research and cross my fingers that it'll all work out.
post #22 of 23
Originally Posted by Pamela
Emailed Rude Ranch (Hissy, I agree with u about the name- I didn't like it but after reading about their organization and their FUNNY stories about rescuing Ferals, I fell in love with them-found out about them about 2 yrs ago! U guys who don't know about this organization HAVE to read their stories about ferals they rescued. I about fell out of my chair laughing my head off as I read them) and am waiting to hear back from them.
Did anyone mention that the last name of the founders is Rude? Or that they are terrific people and not at all "rude" in manner? My group has always found Rude Ranch a very honest, caring organization. They have a hard job, in that they are sheltered, and don't euthanize for space, and they are the nearest such facility to Prince George's County. I am sure they get far more than their fair share of calls to shelter and place cats.

post #23 of 23
Thread Starter 
No, I didn't know that the founders' last name are Rude. That explains why! I did wonder why they chose that name and now I understand. I really admire their organization and know they do a very excellent job with the cats they've worked with. I LOVE to read their "adventures with Ferals". They have a very positive view and I really enjoy that.

I didn't mean to imply that I was put off by them and that I wouldn't work with them. I just meant my first impression- I was taken aback at first at the name but after I read more about them on their webpage, I realized how special they are.

I apologize if I gave a negative impression of the Rude Ranch organization- that was not my intention at all..
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