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stray cat - possible problem?

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 
Hello everyone. I don't know if I should be worried but I'll explain the situation and would be grateful for any thoughts. For about 2 weeks I've been feeding a cat that I presume is a stray. I have an outside room - sort of where the washing machine is type of place and noticed wet pawprints on top of the machine. I started leaving food down twice a day and put a cushion on the washing machine. The food always goes and I only ever see the cat when it's dark and he/she races out and away but I can tell it's been tehre as the cushion is till warm! This is all fine and not a problem but yesterday my cat was outside and I went to find her and heard hissing and she ran inside chased by the stray. This is the only cat who hangs around that my cat seems to be afraid of - normally she defends her territory and does the chasing. I am worried that this cat is starting to defned what she sees as her territory but I don't want my own cat to ghet upset or distressed. Today I used fur from the grooming brush and put it all over the cushion so the stray might get the idea that she is not the only cat around but am unsure whether I shjould keep feeding a cat that scares my own cat. Any ideas?
post #2 of 30
i had a similar situation recently but i actually ended up taking in the stray eventually. its difficult when you are not actually seeign the stray that much (ie it isn't very friendly) so you cannot determine what kind of behaviour it displays to your cat.

i guess the thing you need to decide is do you keep feeding it or leave it be?

why not try leaving your cats litter tray around etc to give a strong indication that the one that rules the roost lives IN the house!
post #3 of 30
Thread Starter 
Hi - hmm, exactly - should i keep feeding or not? It eats everything I put down and I feed it twice a day. I would take it in if it wanted it (doubtful as it runs away whenever I see it - although yesterday it did hang around on a wall and watch for a while while I toik its food in before it scarpered) I'm also concerned that it seems to be quite a dominant cat. To me it looks female although I don't really know why I think that. I presume it is a stray as she is often there at 11 at night and at 8 in the morning.Today I opened the door for my cat to go out and she growled and didn't want to go until I carried her out and stayed with her for a while.
What do I do with my cat's litter tray to give it the idea that it is the only cat around? I can't leave it outside as my own cat won't know where it is - will she? I'm trying to leave my cat's smell around and that's all I can think to do. BTW, hello in Cheshire - I'm near Manchester!
post #4 of 30
Tara - I have a big sign on my lawn that seems to attract all the stray and ferals in the area. I think you have one too!

I would by all means keep feeding this poor creature. Only with time will she/he trust you and become accustomed to human and other cat contact. She/he has probably had a rough and miserable existance so far. You are that kitty's ray of hope and humanity! Good job!
post #5 of 30
Thread Starter 
I really don't want to stop feeding her/him as it is obviously hungry but I am worried that my own cat is getting chased in her own territory. I guess they'll have to sort it out between themselves. Thanks both of you for responding.
post #6 of 30
I hope it all goes well for you.

I took in a stray 3 months ago and have never regretted it....he was sleeping in a cardboard box that I left out for him for over 2 weeks.....initially i didn't feed him but then felt so sorry for him that i gave in.

it hasn't been easy....he's having to put up with a step sister who isn't the friendliest towards other cats (but is much better since our new addition to the family). He was very thin, be-draggled, unhappy when we found him. He now trusts his new mummy & daddy, has a lovely 3 storey house to chase up and down and has a beautiful shiny coat!
post #7 of 30
Thread Starter 
Aah, that's so sweet! You've made one cat very happy I'm sure.I'm not sure that my stray willever come anywhere near me let alone become a member of the family but I will keep feeding her and see what happens. Most of the time she doesn't come into contact with my cat so hopefully there won't be too much hissing.
post #8 of 30
Tara - Stray kitty needs a name! What is it going to be??????????

You are wonderful!!!

(this is from stray kitty)
post #9 of 30
Thread Starter 
Stray kitty is called Minky - don't know why but it sounds kind of asexual anyway. Haven't seen it for 2 days now but it's eating well! I always call its 'name' when I go to feed it in the hope it may get used to it but usually my cat appears instead. I can't think of anything I can do to be friends with it so I'll just keep going and at least it's getting fed although I have to admit to not feeding it the Premium food I feed my cat as it eats a lot . Of course it will get a few special treats at Christmas.
post #10 of 30
Thread Starter 
aha - now I have another problem. I saw Minky today. This morning she has been hanging around the garden and not running away immediately. I've got a couple of metres away and she is OK. That's her cut-off point. Anyway, she is very clean for a stray and looks to be in good condition and my neighbour saw her and thinks she is a cat called Colin who lives on a farm near to where we live. So maybe she is not a stray at all! How can you really tell? I know she sometimes sleeps in the outside room as the cushion is warm but it's hard to know whether I should keep feeding a cat that lives with someone else>
post #11 of 30
oops...sorry....don't mean to laff, but that just proves how fickle cats are!!!

when we took our stray in...it was always at the back of my mind that i could've quite innocently taken someone elses pet:paranoid3

even now....i get paranoid. I took him to the vets the other day and saw a black and white cat on the 'missing' board. My heart went in my mouth...until I realised it wasn't him.

Whether he was a stray or not (and I did report him to all the vets clinics and police) I just reckon that he is happier in our house and shows us so much love and affection that it must be right
post #12 of 30
Thread Starter 
What a cheeky little freeloader is Minky. Although I do agree that if your new cat seems happy and affectionate with you, even it wasn't technically a stray, it's much better off. How do your other cats react? Yesterday I went to the shed to put some food down and Minky ran out and the cushion was warm where she's been sleeping or resting. This was at about 11 at night so even if she isn't a stray, it's a bit of a shame if she has nowhere better to go. Basically she comes for food and is in our shed fronm 10 or 11 until 7 or 8 in the morning so she can't have much of a home can she?
post #13 of 30

IMHO, even if Minky IS Colin, I'll make the assumption that Colin is probably a 90-95% outdoor cat whose owners think he/she is OK as long as they see her once a week or so. Thus, you're offering more of a haven. Depending on your geographic area, you could well be keeping that kittie alive by giving it shelter from the weather in the wee hours.

Keep working on him/her if you can. I'm sure things will work out fine.

post #14 of 30
Thread Starter 
Thanks Bill - that's kind of how I feel. Minky is already getting more used to me and doesn't run so far away so I'll just keep on with the feeding and see what happens. Even if Minky never really becomes 'my' cat, I'm happy to feed and provide a cushion.
post #15 of 30
I got Dani from a shelter in July. At the time she'd run from me constantly but still would watch my every move. It took nearly 5 months for her to be comfortable around my 2 roommates, although she still shies away from 1 of them. But if I had a penny for every purr and rub she's bestowed on me once she trusted me, I'd be a very rich lady today. It takes time and patience for cats to fully adopt their new families... Minky will get there soon enough -- so let the joy begin!!

JoJo & Dani Night Stalker
post #16 of 30
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the encoragement JoJo. Today I interrupted Minky having her lunchtime feed and she ran off onto a nearby wall and watched me for a while. I think she's interested but still nervous. That sounds like it might be a start. I have an ideal scenario whereby she lives in the house and gets on really well with my own cat - who is phenomenally playful and I think would like another friend if she could get used to her. Seeing as they still hate each other that's a long way away.
post #17 of 30
Thread Starter 
I am making progress with minky but don't know waht the next step is. I have tried a couple of times going up to the farm where I think she might 'live' but there hasn't been anyone in yet. I put a bed in the outside shed and she sleeps there pretty much every night. She now will let me in there when she is eating but hisses a lot at me. She will feed from my hand but is very nervous - lots of hissing interspersed with very pathetic miowing. She now is quite interested in coming into the house but I can't let her as I don't know if she's ever seen a jab of any sort. Her belly looks pretty big so she may have worms. I really don't think I can get her into any sort of box to take to the vets but I really want to let her in. I won't though as it isn't fair on my own cat. Any advice much appreciated. Thanks.
post #18 of 30
Tara - I think you have made WONDERFUL progress with Minky, in this short time. I have been feeding my feral Goldie for a year now and she won't let me get that close to her. The fact that she will feed from your hand is magnificant. You are doing a good job! She is lucky to have found you. You will get her eventually. Are you sure that big belly is worms? It could be kits!?!
post #19 of 30
Thread Starter 
Could be babies but I have to admit I'm not entirely sure yet whether Minky is a boy or girl! What's the situation with Goldie? As you say Goldie is a feral, does that mean s/he never comes into your house? I've been trying to work out if Minky is a stray or a feral - whether she has ever had an owner. As she was so scared initially I presumed she couldn't have an owner at the moment but as she is already so much better with me after about a month, do you think this might mean she was once owned? Also, the interest in coming into the house. . .I only see Minky in the mornings when she waits around if she's especially hungry and late at night when she's already in bed. She's never really around in the day. Maybe she goes back to her owner and sits around in a nice warm house before coming to see me and acts pathetic to get more food!! No, don't think so. Thanks for your support.
post #20 of 30
I think maybe Minky may have had an owner of sorts, but perhaps one that was not good to her/him - or paid very little attention. True ferals are very cagy and VERY fearful of humans and take a long time to get familiar with. Some never trust humans except only for some food and such.

I have a good feeling that before long, Minky will be coming in and enjoying a good live with you!

We have now set up a new elaborate trapping contraption to try and get Goldie. After a whole year she will only let me stay on the porch with her and get about 5 feet from her, before she runs off a bit and eyes me. Lately, she has been staring in the door and I can sit with her a while ~ but at her set distance, of course. She has brought me two litters of kittens that I have been able to get (except for the 2 remaining ones out there now) and I feel she trusts me and feels safe on my property. We have placed 8 all together and I WILL get the remaining ones! We have a plastice igloo doghouse, boxes and such filled with hay and blankets for her and the two little ones there still. I do not see her wandering down the road like last year.
post #21 of 30
Thread Starter 
Good luck with the remaining two! Minky just keeps getting friendlier. I just put her food down and she let me stay in with her while she ate it. She also drank almost a full bowl of cat milk which seems to be her favourite thing. I think some kind of trapping is the next step for me as well. She was snuffling and sniffing quite a lot just now. I think I'll try and get in touch with some cat rescue people for advice as to how to catch her and get her to a vets. She followed me back to the door and sat outside peering in. It was very hard to close the door on her but had to be done. The only thing I need to do now is convinve my boyfriend we really want another cat. He hasn't even seen her much as she runs away from him at the moment. He is worried about how our cat will cope. I've been putting our cat's fur (from grooming brush) around in the shed so Minky realises she's not the only cat around. Big kiss to Goldie and her kittens.
post #22 of 30
Thank you Tara for your well wishes! You might need some antibiotics for Minky. It sounds like an upper respitory problem - not uncomon for the poor ones who have not had their shots. Goldie's brood has had this and we have doen the medication routine for them all. It clears up pretty good with the Amoxicillan in a few days. You kitty should be Ok if she has had her shots. My vacinnated kits have not caught anything from the others I brought in - or the two of the first litter I kept.
One little pathetic meow from Minky in front of the boyfriend will win over his heart. Good work Tara. Keep me posted?
post #23 of 30
Thread Starter 
Well, there's good news and bad news. Good - Minky is getting used to me being around and is allowed i nto the kitchen when I'm getting his (having got a closer look, I can confirm definitely a he!) food ready and he doesn't run away when I go out - just sits there hissing at me when he first sees me. Bad - today he came in and was obviously really hungry as he was miaowing all the time I was getting his food ready and standing on his back legs near where I was. However, when I took his food out he went for my legs and scratched me quite badly. It's been snowing here and is really icy so I had to walk really slowly and he was under my feet and then went for me. I hissed at him and he ran off into the corner of the shed, looking as if he always expected me to turn nasty but I did only use my voice. The only other time he's been aggressive was about a week ago when he rubbed his face against me and I went to stroke him and he reached out with his paw and hissed but that was easily avoidable as it was more defensive than aggressive/ Is there a best way to deal with this sort of behaviour? I know I'll be more nervous when he's around me now as I am getting a bit scared of him!
post #24 of 30
Tara - sometimes mine will turn on me a little bit when thery are disturbed or anxious. This is new for Minky ~having a human really care for him. I for one think you have made EXCELLENT progress with him. If he has not been neutered, this may account for some of his behavior. Un-neutered males tend to be more territorial and somewhat more aggressive.
post #25 of 30
Tara, you might want to try private messaging Hissy. She has worked with adult feral/semi feral cats for quite some time. She probably has some really good ideas on how to help calm him down a bit.
post #26 of 30
Thread Starter 
thanks both of you - I'll try contacting Hissy. He went for me again last night but didn't manage to get me! I think the problem is because he feels a bit more comfortable near me so he goes in first to his little shed and then feels a bit cornered. He used to wait outside and then skulk in. Poor little thing - i noticed today his face looks mis-shapen where the jaw is as if he had something pretty terrible happen to him. Basically it looks as if his jaw partly caved in but his fur has grown over it so you can't tell until you get a close look at him.
post #27 of 30
keep trying with him...you are making great progress. Even if he never becomes a housecat or gets very familiar with humans....at least he has somewhere to sleep and meals - something which he never had before.

I took in a stray (I think I have mentioned this before) and it was difficult, but now he's a firm member of our little family and very loving. He still turns on you from time to time (and oh boy..when he bites, you know about it!)

Let us know how you are gettign on...and just remember its ALL worth it.

post #28 of 30
Thread Starter 
thought i'd let people know how things are going with minky. he is now much friendlier (and fussier about his food as he knows he has a regular food supply). He hasn't spat or hissed or swiped at me for weeks and loves to roll over in front of me. I can stroke him quite happily but have not attemptd to pick him up. I am now at the stage where my boyfriend is reluctantly accepting him as he isn't so vicious and so we are taking steps to make him fully part of the family. I am going to try and put a collar on him with my phone number on it so if he has an owner hopefully they'll contact me. my own cat tolerates him being around and they sniff noses sometimes but also she chases him away if he gets into the house. I do let him in the house as he is desperate to get in and he behaves like a happy little house cat and settles down to sleep so i think he's had a home at some point. i have never heard him purr though which is sad. I put a note on the health forum about his eye as he rolls is up so only the white area shows and i'm not sure if this is a sign of a problem or not. Minky has more than repaid the time i've put into him - from being a scared little thing to a cat who will roll over in catnip and i'd like to thank everyone who offered my advice and told me to give him time. does anyone know if there are ways to 'prepare' a cat for being picked up as, if all goes well, I will have to get him to a vet for check-up and to be neutered?
post #29 of 30
This is wonderful news! I am so happy your wild kitty is settling down. Sounds like he will be moving in any day now!
post #30 of 30
This is really great news and I am so happy for Minky! I would approach him slowly and only try to pick him up if he feels safe. I would wear heavier clothing and perhaps only try a little at a time. See how he tolerates it.....please keep us updated on your progress.....Maybe just have alarge carrier near by and 'scoot' him into it instead of actually picking him up? As for the collar - you might want to make sure it is a break-away collar in case he gets into a tight spot.....
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