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Feral, stray or neither?

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
Okay, I wrote about this cat already, but I still don't know for sure if it's feral, stray, or just someone's cat. It's an orange cat that is not skinny at all. I've been leaving out food for it and made a little shelter out of a carrier and some shredded newspaper (covered with towels), but it's December in Michigan and I don't want it to freeze to death. It doesn't look that young and a neighbor said she thinks it's a stray she's seen around for a while. It's terrified of people and runs away when anyone comes near. It will sit like fifty feet away until you try to approach and then it will take off.

My question is how can I tell if this is someone's cat or not? I'm not really in a position where I could trap it because there are a few outdoor cats around and I'm not home enough to check the trap. Is there anything else I can do for this cat? I can make it a better shelter probably, but is that it? Please help!
post #2 of 5
Welcome LDM...it really is crucial that this cat is trapped so that it can be fixed. Chances are it is a stray or a feral. Below is a touch barrier to help determine if she is stray or feral:


Maybe this group can help you:


Here is another group to contact:


It is really important to get her spayed before next spring so she doesn't end up having any litters.

post #3 of 5
LDM- I don't think it's all that important to know if this kitty is stray or feral. He's outside in winter fending for himself, so what you're doing for the cat right now is vital to his survival. You're providing food and shelter. I agree with you that given where you live, you need to provide the warmest shelter you can. You can make your own out of a styrofoam ice chest or plastic tub. I'll post back with a link for some info on that. The most important thing is to keep the shelter elevated off the ground and in a protected area out of the wind, if possible. Ideally, you should put a thick bedding of straw in the shelter for insulation and warmth - don't use blankets or towels.

If you can get this kitty on a feeding schedule, and this will take a little time, you will be able to trap him when you're home. You never want to leave a trap unattended, so you need to be home when you are trying to trap.

Between your neighbor having seen this cat for awhile, and the fact that it's pretty darn cold out now, my guess is that this poor cat does not have a home. If he's not lost or feral, he could very well have been abandoned.

Thank you for caring about him!
post #4 of 5
Hi LDM -
Here's the link I mentioned in my previous post that will give you "how-to" information on making a good winter shelter.

Though they say that hay is the best bedding material to use, I prefer straw. I've used both, but the straw isn't quite as messy and because the individual straw pieces are like hollow tubes, they provide great insulation. Either one though, will work well for warmth.


Hissy has said that she uses Snugglesafe Microdiscs for additional warmth, too.
post #5 of 5
I agree that you shouldn't spin your wheels about whether this is a stray or a feral. It clearly needs help and it is getting it. Styrofoam coolers make excellent cat shelters, but you need to be sure to either keep them out of the wind, or make sure they are weighted down so they don't blow away. If you have a store near you that has pallets, you can get a few pallets and either have them carefully cut in half by a skilled craftsman (because they have so many nails in them and then nail the two sections together to make an elevated and stable platform for the shelter.

You want to stay away from human type bedding, towels rags, blankets, pillows- straw is the best bet, or wood shavings that are not toxic to kitties.
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