or Connect
TheCatSite.com › Forums › Feral Cats and Rescue › Caring for Strays and Ferals › I'm Moving. What Can I Do About The Feral Cat I Feed?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

I'm Moving. What Can I Do About The Feral Cat I Feed?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hi. I live in Queens, New York in a house with a small back yard. A feral cat who is porbalbly about 6-7 years old has gotten accustomed over the years to coming into my back yard for the food we put out for it in the morning and evening. We were eventually able to trap/neuter and realese her, but not before she had given us a number of litters of kittens, all of which we tamed. Six of her kittens are now our tame cats. Her kittens (now ranging in age from 1-3 years) are indoor/outdoor cats. They will hang out in our garden with the feral mother cat, but there is not much interaction and they are a bit scared when they get too close to her. We are going to be moving soon to a place with a lot of indoor space, but no outdoor space. Our 6 cats are coming with us (of course). However, I am concerned about the feral mother. While she tolerates us and will alow us to get relatively close to her when we put out food, she is still a "wild" cat. She will not come in the house and will usually hiss at us when we are putting her food out. Since she is so accustomed to getting fed by us, I'm not sure if she will survive if we move away--her hunting skills are probably not what they used to be--and I don't think anyone else feeds her. I would love to tame her and bring her with us, but at this stage in her life, I don't think she can be tamed and that she would go crazy if she were not able to roam outside. The one time she accidentally entered our house and got closed in a room she thrashed around like mad. I'm also worried what her presence inside would do to our other cats, who, as I said, are used to hanging out with her, but generally try not to get too close to her. I will not consider euthanizing her, but the thought of her starving to death without us is terribly upsetting.

Any suggestions or tips on what to do or whether or how she can be tamed enough to live indoors would be really appreciated.
post #2 of 7
Is there no chance that the people who are moving in will feed her? I took over the feeding of an eight year old feral here when I moved in, much to the relief of my landlord, and although he (the cat!) was very suspicious at first, he soon adjusted to the fact that I was the person with the food! He hangs out with my three and I can even pet him now sometimes. Or you could ask your neighbours - one of them may be more sympathetic than you know.
post #3 of 7
The best thing is definitely to find someone to take over her care. It should be very possible to find someone willing to feed her especially since you can say for sure that she is middle-aged and already spayed. So she won't be around forever and there won't be kittens.
post #4 of 7
pm Hissy, she has worked with ferals of all ages and with a lot of time and effort has 'tamed' (for want of a better word) many older ones.

if you can put in the time and have a spare room you can put the dferal in for a while it can be done.
post #5 of 7
do you know if anyone owns this cat?
post #6 of 7
You can socialize an older feral cat but it could be a very long process and sometimes the best that comes out of it is that she will tame up to you (to some degree) and no one else. I've done that with 2 year old ferals, but honestly have not tried it with the older ferals that live by me. I have 10 acres and lots of safe spots for them to live in so I'm not so pressed by bringing them indoors to tame.

But every time we think about moving, the same dilemna passes my mind: what to do with the older feral cats that I've been taking care of for years. I've thought up some various plans just to have some options available to me in case it ever comes down to it (like I lose my job and have to move to find another).

I would first advertise my house within the animal rescue community or find people that love cats. My ideal situation would be to find someone to buy it that loves feral cats and would take over caretaking duties. I would even lower the price of the house or leave them food for a year to allow them to feed them.

Secondly I would find a place where I could move them with me. I have an outdoor cage set up that can be used to relocate ferals.

Third, I would bring them inside, tame them up as necessary, and once I move and they are used to the new location, allow them back outside (if it is safe to do where I move).

You face a tough dilemna!
post #7 of 7
It would be wonderful if you could find someone to step into the caretaker role. However, as you know, this is a true commitment, and not something to be taken lightly. Anyone who accepts the responsibility of feeding her must also accept that they will be doing that for possibly the next 7-10 years, since she is only about 6-7 years old. Not only will they have the expense of providing food, but they will have the responsibility of making sure someone *else* will feed her if they're unable to due to vacation, etc. They must also continue to provide and maintain a shelter for her, and take her to the vet should she become ill, which means they will have to trap her. If you tell a potential caregiver all these things, and they are still willing to do it, count your blessings. If you're not moving too far away, you can offer to continue providing the food for her, and to pay for any vet expenses. This may encourage a neighbor or the new homeowner to care for her.

I very much appreciate your concern for this cat, since I have ferals myself and I understand the difficulty of your situation. You are absolutely right that you can't pick up and leave without providing another caregiver. The cat is dependent on her food source and that needs to continue.

As you said, the other alternative is to take her with you and try to socialize her. There are no guarantees, but many cats *can* be socialized, to varying degrees. She may never be a lap kitty, but she may become comfortable enough to interact with you and the other cats. It will require LOTS of dedication, patience, and determination. If you have a place where she can be kept by herself initially, that will help. There are several members on this board who've taken ferals in and they'll be able to help you.

If you decide to take her with you, and it will be awhile til you move, you might want to start gradually introducing her to the indoors by feeding her closer to your home, and eventually (if possible) keeping the door open at feeding time so she has to venture into the house, at least a little, in order to eat.

Thank you for caring about her - I wish you the best of luck. Please let us know how it's going.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Caring for Strays and Ferals
TheCatSite.com › Forums › Feral Cats and Rescue › Caring for Strays and Ferals › I'm Moving. What Can I Do About The Feral Cat I Feed?