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Need Help with Ferals

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I recently moved into a rental house and agreed to feed the four feral cats who live in the area. Since I have two dogs, I built a feeding deck for the cats and have been feeding them every day.

Here's the problem. The lady next door has three small children; the cats have been pooping in her yard; she has set cage traps for them, with the intent of capturing them and calling the pound.

I have come to enjoy having the ferals around, and empathize with the lady next door. The idea of spreading garlic powder in her yard appeals to me, if she will agree.

Also, I intend to build a small fenced area where the dogs can't go and within it a small sandbox where the litter can leech into the ground.

My question is: will this solve the problem? I don't want to have to deal with cat litter outside but am willing to give them a place to go. I just want to make a safe haven for these animals and to stay on friendly terms with my new neighbors.

All advice is appreciated.

Thank you.
post #2 of 7
Hi and welcome to TCS - I think you should perhaps start a new thread about your ferals. That way anyone who pops in here will know its not a reply to an earlier thread.
I dont have ferals so I cant help I'm afraid but I am sure some here will be able to.
Good luck
post #3 of 7
Feralinheritor..you may want to build a large outdoor enclosure for your ferals in your yard. The problem with fencing is that cats can oftentimes get over it and back into your neighbors yard. There are many good examples of outdoor enclosures...simply go to Google and type in "cat outdoor enclosure". You will want to make sure that part of the enclosure is covered or at least have a shelter or two within the enclosure for the cats to go if there is bad weather. Also, I have to ask...these ferals have been fixed correct?? If not, you should take them in so that they do not create or have litters.

post #4 of 7
You're terrific for caring about these kitties! Katie gave you a great suggestion about the enclosure - that's probably the only way you can be totally assured of the cats' safety.

In the meantime, speak with the neighbor ASAP and tell her you understand the problem and are working on it as quickly as you can. Ask her for a bit of patience and to please not trap the cats since you're trying to rectify the situation. That's certainly a reasonable request.

Like Katie, I too hope that these ferals have been spayed/neutered. If not, put that at the top of the "To Do" list as well.

You might also try something called "cat attract litter" to attempt to keep the ferals in your yard to do their business. www.preciouscat.com

These are lucky cats to have you caring for them. Having a group of feral cats myself, I fully appreciate the effort you're putting in and your desire to keep them safe.

Please let us know how it's going.
post #5 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hello All,
Thank you for your help with this problem.

Tulip, thanks for the suggestion. Being new to forum, I don't really know the protocol, but I think the others have given me great leads from which to work.

TNR1 Katie - first of all, yes, they have been vaccinated and fixed, according to the landlady, a feral protector. It was my first question, too. Secondly, at first I was just thinking of a way to make it safe for them from my dogs in the yard, but you have given me a whole different way to think about this. I've visited your sites and checked out cat enclosures, and am now working on a plan for an enclosure to include the feeding deck.

Where do these guys go during the day and night? Would an enclosure harm them in any way? This yard is fairly big, with lots of plants and cover, but I seldom see them anywhere except the deck at feeding time.

KTLynn - Thanks for the suggestion about the attracting litter. I already spoke with the neighbor, asking her for patience, and told her about sprinkling garlic powder on her lawn (a suggestion from someone at this site) to keep them off. Do you have an enclosure for yours?

Since I am looking for a kind of 'self-maintaining' system, I thought I'd build a sandbox for them to use. I am told that by not putting a floor in it, the waste will leech into the ground and therefore maintain itself (just adding new sand regularly). If this sounds right to you folks, I'll do that and use some Precious in the first batch of sand to help bring them over. Then think about a full enclosure.

Thanks again, folks, for your very helpful advice. If I need to open a new thread, I'm not really sure how to do it. So, if this is the right way to go, will someone please open the thread and just direct me how to get there?

Thank you,
post #6 of 7
Hi Pete- Glad to hear you've bought some time to help the ferals - at least your neighbor is reasonable (count your blessings about this - too many people, unfortunately, aren't). Your landlady especially is wonderful - love the name you gave her: "feral protector"!

Also happy to know the kitties have all been S/N! Excellent!!!

I'm not familiar with garlic powder being used as a deterrent - in fact, some cats like the taste!

I'm planning to build an enclosure this spring for 2 of my ferals. I got the construction plans from the just4cats site. I was able to get some advice about the litter situation from someone who also built an enclosure for ferals. She tried using litter boxes at first but said it didn't work too well. Like you, she's doing a sandbox-type system. She dug a hole and is using compost. I don't have a lot of detail about this but she says it's working for her.

As to your question about where the ferals go- they probably don't wander far, especially since they are S/N and they have a consistent food source in one place. They're very resourceful and will find places to shelter themselves in bad weather. Unfortunately, they will sometimes get themselves into trouble in an attempt to find shelter, like crawling up onto the engine block of a car to stay warm, or getting themselves locked in a shed, garage, or basement.

As long as you try to build the most spacious enclosure possible, and outfit it with tree limbs for climbing, perches near the top to maximize the space, and shelters where they can get out of the weather, they should do well. If the enclosure is free-standing with no connection to your house by which you can get in and out, you should plan on installing 2 doors. This helps keep the cats from escaping, since you close the first door behind you before opening the second.

If you want to open up a new thread just scroll up to the top of the "Caring for Strays & Ferals" forum, and click on the orange box on the left that says "New Thread". I'm LOL while I'm writing this because I myself am so inept on computers it's ironic that I could actually help someone else!

Keep up the good work Pete! Thanks for keeping us posted.
post #7 of 7
Originally Posted by Feralinheritor
Where do these guys go during the day and night?
I can tell you that mine generally hang out on my deck, where they nap in the sun or they hang out in the yard and watch the birds or nap under the evergreen trees. They also go visit the other cats in the colony, which means they travel about 3 houses down the block. They also hang out in the storm drains. At night, same thing - they are either sleeping in the planters on my deck or in one of the shelters that we put out. Keep your eyes peeled, you'll may figure out their favorite spots yet

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