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Anyone have "retired" ferals?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
I'm wondering what some of you have done with feral cats who, due to age and or illness, can no longer be left on their own outdoors.

Two of my feral cats are starting to get up in age, especially Nicky. He's estimated to be at least 15, maybe older. Nicky's ladylove, Nobu, is about 9 (they're both neutered, of course!). They're an adorable couple and devoted to each other. At this point, they're more accurately described as semi-feral since they will come to me when called, rub against me, and love to be petted.

The last couple of years have been tough on Nicky especially. He's had two episodes of FLUTD, which required vet visits. He's also had several facial abscesses that, fortunately, healed with the help of antibiotics. An apparent fight with a raccoon left a gash across his nose so deep the vet said it was almost into the nasal cavity. All this, and a few pretty harsh winters to get through in recent years. The cold weather is tough on Nobu, as well. In the last few months, I've noticed her drinking more water than usual, too.

To complicate matters, it has become impossible for me to care for them properly. Nicky & Nobu moved themselves to a backyard a few blocks from their original location. Nicky had been shot with a pellet gun (the pellet was removed)and the cats wisely decided it was no longer a safe area. Unfortunately, their new location (their decision, not mine) is in the yard of a woman who insists on feeding the cats mountains of low-quality dry food, even though it's on the "Do not feed" list according to my vet, since Nicky is prone to FLUTD and the woman knows that. From the start, I have provided the woman with the same high-quality food I'd been feeding the cats, but she refuses to give it to them. She leaves food out 24/7 which not only attracts flies that lay eggs in it, but becomes a magnet for wildlife - a dangerous situation. Nicky's health problems have developed since his move to her yard.

I could build a good-sized enclosure in a wooded area at one end of my yard for the two of them. The would have a well-insulated, heated shelter. Small trees and logs would be provided for scratching and climbing and I'd maximize the space by putting shelves and walkways in it so they could sit up high. I could give them the best quality food and be able to carefully monitor any health issues. There'd be plenty of chipmunks, squirrels and birds around to keep them entertained.

I know that a feral's sense of place and territory are extremely important. I know that Nicky & Nobu are happy where they are. But when does health/safety/age take precedence over that?

I've been struggling with this issue for a long time. I love the cats and want them to be happy but I also want them to be healthy and safe.

Is it time for Nicky & Nobu to go to a "retirement home"?
post #2 of 4
I'm no expert but I think your solution sounds lovely. After all, they are already familiar with your yard, and its smells, noises etc. It does seem as if they won't last long where they are.
post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
jennyranson, thanks for your reply and for getting through a post that turned out to be far longer than I had intended!!!

Actually, the cats have never been in my yard. I've been caring for them at a location which is about 1/2 mile from my house. Since they've relocated themselves, they're now a bit further away, but still in the vicinity of the original location.
post #4 of 4
As long as you can catch them...since you have semi tamed them, I would say go for it. It would be nice for them to keep feeling good and live out their lifespan somewhere warm and safe!
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