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Stray kitty

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
This is old hat for many of you but a first for me. I live in a city and there haven't been any strays around for the eight years I have lived here but now that has changed. A ratty looking very shy gray longhair kitty has been hanging around. She looks pitiful. Her hair is a mess. She is extremely skittish, runs as soon as she sees me. I have been leaving food out on the porch for her and I have seen her eating it a couple of times but mostly she is just a fleeing gray streak I see when I pull in to my drive way. The food is gone everyday, though. Should I rent a trap from the humane society and trap her? Then what? My vet is a cat specialist, I suppose I could have her spayed. Or neutered if that is appropriate. But then what? If I took her to the humane society she would be euthanized for being a scaredy cat. I can just keep feeding her. I don't want her to suffer. She seems so afraid, not a way to live, but I have also seen her lying in the sun, looking relaxed. Until she noticed me. Anyway, any advice? Becky
post #2 of 16
I would trap her and get her fixed and at the same time maybe get her groomed so all her matts are gone . You can keep her a extra day at the vet to make sure she is is ok . I also would ask the vet to use the stiches that don't have to be pulled out again after 10 days and come out by itself . If you have the time , patiance and room you can try to place her in a small room and try to get used to human very slowly . But I am sure Hissy will see this and can give you some great advice in that area for feral cats .
post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks. How do the traps work? Is it hard to figure out? When do I put it out? Do I put the regular dry food in it or something smellier? Will the cat try to attack me when I pick up the trap? Is there a website somewhere on how to do this? I just noticed tonight that there is a draining abcess or other injury on her neck so I need to accomplish this soon. Thank you so much for the help. I would be happy to get her groomed at the same time, Good idea. She will probably hate me forever for this but she needs help Becky
post #4 of 16
Here are some good resources:


post #5 of 16
Zanniesmom...I know it is a lot to digest...but if you can find a feral cat group...they will help you with everything you need to know...from how to trap, to where to take the cat to get it fixed. Thank you for caring for this cat.

post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 
There is a lot of information there. But this seems doable. I have tomorrow off from work so if I can get a trap from the humane society, they are open Sundays, I can maybe get this kitty seen by my vet on Monday. If not, then it will have to wait until Wednesday since I work 12 hour shifts. Thanks for the help. Becky
post #7 of 16
Hi zanniesmom! Any luck? Still seeing kitty around? I'm sorry I didn't see this post earlier! But hopefully I can still be a little bit of help.

Some Humane Societies, if they lend you the trap, do so because you have to bring the cat back there. Others will rent the traps. You can also try calling several local vets to see if any of them have a trap you can rent or borrow. They're easy to use, and we have some very helpful trapping hints in this thread: Helping Ferals...

As Hedi pointed out, the best thing to do is to trap this kitty, have him/her spayed or neutered, vaccinated - and if you can afford it, groomed. Ask the vet to put a little notch in her ear. This will signify to anybody who is involved with ferals that he/she has been sterilized. If you're able to do all of this on your own (Kudos to you for wanting to!!!!), you should also ask the vet to use disolving stitches because the cat is going to be returned and released.

If it is a female, it really is best to board her at the vet for a day or two to ensure she's OK and the incision has started to heal a little bit before she's returned.

After that - you can continue feeding her (make sure she has access to water too) - and over time, she may very well come to trust you, and you'll essentially have yourself an "outdoor" kitty - and he/she may even come to want to be petted. With ferals, the best thing to do is simply ignore them. To be near them while eating but not approach them is the best way to gain their trust over time. And don't try to reach out to pet kitty - when they're ready, they'll come up and bump their head on your foot or leg or something.

But all of that is only if you want to put that much work into it. Kitty has survived this long on its own - simply having it sterilized & vaccinated and returning it will help prevent more homeless kitties. Feeding and providing her water may some day turn her into your friend.

I've found working with ferals to be an amazing and wonderful thing. When we release them, a few have run away never to return. Most come back for the food. Many come back and approach us when they need medical attention. If it's a male, he'll stop wandering (looking for females) and make the area around your home his territory if you keep feeding him. If he goes on an excursion for a day or two, it's AMAZING how much you can miss them and worry about them!

Please also take a quick look at this thread about how much vets can potential help in situations like this: Vets are often an overlooked resource!

I think it's wonderful that you have such a big heart to want to help this kitty.

If you want to search for others who may be able to help you, clicking on the Rescue Resources in my signature line takes you to sites where you can search for no-kill shelters or other rescue groups.

Also, if you want to locate low-cost spay/neuter services that may exist near you, try clicking on that link in my signature line.

No matter what you do, I'm wishing you lots of luck! And please provide updates if you get a chance!

post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 
Well, I still haven't taken action. I am just feeding her. I don't actually see her everyday, but the food disappears. I called the humane society. They said they would euthanize her because she would not make a good pet. They told me I could rent a trap from a local feed store. So I will rent the trap and get her spayed or him neutered. I imagine she will need treatment of the wound on her neck and she needs to be groomed. She will have to stay at the vet until her treatment is done, I can't catch her for meds. I will have what ever needs to be done, done. I don't know if I should get the labs done that my vet usually recommends because I won't be able to treat her if there is something wrong. So now I have an outside kitty. My inside ones don't know about her and what they don't know won't hurt them Becky
post #9 of 16
I always hate to hear about shelters that give up on ferals. But you are from my old stomping grounds, so I can well imagine they would put her down. Is it possible to travel out to saddleback? There used to be a really good animal shelter there that specialized in ferals. That was quite awhile ago, I am trying to even remember the name of it now.....let me think on it a bit-
post #10 of 16
Thread Starter 
I don't mind traveling anywhere that would give her a chance of a good life. Becky
post #11 of 16
Becky, I'm so glad you found a trap! (And thanks for the update!) I think you're doing a really wonderful thing. Hope Hissy can remember the name of that shelter! In the meantime,

So now I have an outside kitty. My inside ones don't know about her and what they don't know won't hurt them

post #12 of 16
Thread Starter 
I bought a trap today. I looked to rent one but was unsuccessful. I bought a large Havahart trap. 1079 is the model number, it was the one that the feed store recommended. I set it up out back where I feed her with the door held open by a stick. I want to take her in to be fixed on Monday so I thought I would just feed her in the trap for the next few days so she will be trusting of it and then set it to trap her on Sunday night. I feel so mean, but this is for her own good. Sunday night should I just put a little food in there or should I go for the smelly stuff to be sure. My own indoor kitties will not eat canned fish, like sardines, so that wouldn't work on them, they just like their cat food. I have made her appointment at the vet for Monday. Any ideas about what to do with the trap when I am done with it? I don't really have the space to store it. Becky
post #13 of 16
Hey Becky....if it were me...I'd keep it because you never know when it could come in useful again. Otherwise....I'd contact a local feral cat group and donate it to them.

Congrats on trapping this girl.

post #14 of 16
Hi Becky - wow, you're really going above and beyond for this little girl and I can't tell you how wonderful I think that is!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Makes me proud to be part of the human race.

I like Katie's idea of donating the trap to a local shelter. You could also ask the vet if they ever get requests for a trap, and if they'd like to have one so they can provide it to people for free use in the future? (That way you could use it again too if you ever need it).

Good luck trapping her. I would definitely use stinky food. Renae recommends kippered herring (obviously with no sauces or anything!) - located with Tuna and Sardines in the supermarket. Many people have had good luck just by adding a pinch of catnip to the food. Don't do this for inside cats, but for trapping ferals it draws them in like bees to pollen. You might want to consider putting a bit of newspaper or something down on the trap floor - animals don't like the feel of the cage on their feet, and a thin layer of something won't prevent the trap from working when you go to set it.

There are trapping hints here: Helping Ferals...

I feel terrible at the idea of her being in the cage all night, though if you have no choice, you have no choice. Please cover the trap once she's in there with a blanket or something, that will help calm her at least a little bit. Make sure no other animals can get at her and that she's not exposed to "the elements." Perhaps set a bowl of water in there with the food so she has access to at least water. Since you live in an urban area, is the vet staffed all night? Is there any way for you to drop her off as soon as she's trapped and for them to hold her in one of their hospitalization or boarding cages until her appointment time?

Also, be aware that most ferals are absolutely terrified of the traps and by the car and travel. Also, if she's in the trap that long, and she didn't just go to the bathroom, she may well have no choice but to go where she is - and if she does manage to hang on, the car and driving experience may scare it out of her. Please be prepared for that to happen, and please put something you don't care much about under the trap before you put it in your car or you may have a real mess on your hands. And keep it covered, but with something breathable so she has fresh air. We always keep car windows open at least a bit while driving with the animals - the fresh air moving around seems to help at least a bit (one of our pet cats gets car sick, but leaving the windows open a few inches each seems to help prevent that).

No matter what happens, good luck!
post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the advice. I didn't think about getting her to the vet. No, my vet is closed at night but they open at seven am. The trap is really loud closing so I will know as soon as she is in it. I can bring it in the house then but that might be scarier than being out on the porch. I can cover it right away, though. I will put newspaper inside. She went in to eat her food last night so I am sure I can trap her easily on Sunday night. Poor kitty. I wish I could tell her that this is for her own good.
Maybe I will see if the vet wants the trap. They have one but they said it is in pretty bad shape and they weren't sure if it would work well, and since I will only get one chance at trapping her because she will probably never fall for this trap idea again, I need to be successful the first try. Becky
post #16 of 16
You could donate the trap to your local humane society or I'll bet your vet would be happy to have it.

Good luck trapping this sweet kitty!
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