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What to do about a former indoor cat

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
I have found a cat that has apparently been hanging around my neighborhood for a month. I don't believe she's an outdoor cat, because she has no front claws, and is too hungry to be owned by someone. So I'm guessing she's either lost or abandoned. I am trying to find her a new home, and thought I was going to have luck today. Someone wanted to come meet her before making a commitment, so I brought her indoors and locked her up in the bathroom away from my own cat. When the people came over, I locked up my own cat in my bedroom, let the stray out, and she scared them off by crying loudly and trying to get outside. Since the flea damage is already done for now, she is still inside, since I'm hoping she will calm down for the next person who comes to visit her.

So what I'm wondering is, is it possible that this cat belongs outdoors, since she is trying so desperately to get out? She was pawing at the screens, trying to get out the door, and crying loudly. She calms down to go to sleep, but she is still trying to get out when she's awake. Or is this just a stressful situation that the cat will eventually get used to? She doesn't seem to be in heat, and her nipples are not full so I'm hoping that she doesn't have a litter of kittens somewhere. I just don't know that I can find her a home when she is clearly so upset. It has been less than a day however. She is separated from my cat, but I can't keep her in for long because my cat is terrified of other animals (my kitty has not come out from under the bed for several hours, and this has happened in the past when she's around my friends' pets). My kitty has had several days to get used to other animals in the past, but all she does is hide, not eat, and pull out her fur. She once lost 2 or 3 pounds in less than a week. So I can't keep the stray cat myself, which means I will have to put her out soon. I am just worried about the danger she may be in, having no front claws to defend herself with or hunt with. I can feed her outside for a while, but that does not protect her from clashing with other animals or from the coming winter. My next option is a shelter but with the overpopulation of cats I'm not confident that someone will take her.

Does anyone have any suggestions?
post #2 of 24
Step 1--Take this cat to the vet ASAP to make sure she doesn't have any communicable diseases that could be spread to your kits. She could be ill or in pain or distress.
Step 2-- Once she is given a clean bill of health, start the process over again of trying to find her a home. Call local no-kill shelters and see if they'll help you out.

But, this cat NEEDS to be seen by a vet!!!
post #3 of 24
My guess is she is lost and wants to go home. Have you had her scanned for a microchip yet? You can also call the vets in your area with a description- the front paw declaw they will remember and perhaps you can find out if she is owned by someone.

Is she eating and drinking and using the litter pans? Do her pads and her feet look okay? She is scared, you have trapped her and she wants her freedom. You won't be able to give her to a good home unless the person is used to handling abused cats, because that is what she sounds like to me. Keep her indoors, without her claws, she is a sitting duck for predators outside.
post #4 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by OllyExtra05
Step 1--Take this cat to the vet ASAP to make sure she doesn't have any communicable diseases that could be spread to your kits. She could be ill or in pain or distress.
Step 2-- Once she is given a clean bill of health, start the process over again of trying to find her a home. Call local no-kill shelters and see if they'll help you out.

But, this cat NEEDS to be seen by a vet!!!
Outwardly, she doesn't seem ill. She is also very friendly when she is outside--she will walk right up to you and let you pet her if you call her. She doesn't act distressed like this at all. I do realize that she may have diseases (which is why she is separated from my kitty) but I just found her on Saturday night and thought last night I may have found her a home, so there hasn't been an opportunity to take her to the vet. If the person coming tomorrow does not want her, I will take her to the vet myself. But I am still worried about her distress at being inside, and am not sure if she really doesn't belong indoors anymore.
post #5 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hissy
My guess is she is lost and wants to go home. Have you had her scanned for a microchip yet? You can also call the vets in your area with a description- the front paw declaw they will remember and perhaps you can find out if she is owned by someone.

Is she eating and drinking and using the litter pans? Do her pads and her feet look okay? She is scared, you have trapped her and she wants her freedom. You won't be able to give her to a good home unless the person is used to handling abused cats, because that is what she sounds like to me. Keep her indoors, without her claws, she is a sitting duck for predators outside.
That is not a bad idea to have her scanned for a microchip. I hadn't thought of that. I assumed that since my landlord doesn't know of anyone missing a cat in my complex, she probably is not lost (maybe abandoned though), but it's possible she has gotten too far from home for me to know where she belongs. This is a busy neighborhood though, if she is lost she can't be from too far away or else she would surely have been hit by a car. I have her indoors for the night...I just hope she calms down!
post #6 of 24
Thread Starter 
I have another question--is it possible for me to pass any diseases from the stray cat to my kitty just by handling both? They are not sharing a litter box (yes, the stray does seem to know how to use one) and they are not sharing food. I have been petting both and allowing both to sit in my lap--before I let the stray indoors....is that a bad idea? What about with well washed hands? I wasn't doing that before but it occurred to me that is probably always a good idea.
post #7 of 24
You should always get new cats vet checked before introducing them to others, and petting them both without washing your hands is not a wise idea. I would also check petfinder.com their lost ads, you might find her listed there-
post #8 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by roadrunnr
That is not a bad idea to have her scanned for a microchip. I hadn't thought of that. I assumed that since my landlord doesn't know of anyone missing a cat in my complex, she probably is not lost (maybe abandoned though), but it's possible she has gotten too far from home for me to know where she belongs. This is a busy neighborhood though, if she is lost she can't be from too far away or else she would surely have been hit by a car. I have her indoors for the night...I just hope she calms down!
She could be from anywhere in your city...it's actually pretty common for cats that get out to climb into cars & get accidentally transported across town. Definitely go ahead & have someone check her for a microchip, check your newspaper's lost & found ads, and call your local shelters & veterinarians to report the cat found, and see if anyone has reported a cat matching her description as missing. The Pets911 web site (click here) has a lost & found listing too. If she got out & got lost, it's natural that she'd be traumatized, and would be frightened in a strange house with strange smells.

It's possible that she has been abandoned, so keep looking for a new home for her, but don't actually let her go until you've made a good effort to locate her previous owner - it's also possible that someone heartbroken could be desperately searching for her.

Do you by any chance have some Feliway? A Feliway plug-in in the bathroom, or even some of the Feliway spray sprayed around the area might help to calm her.

I'm glad you brought her inside - she doesn't have much of a chance outside with no claws! As Hissy said, be very careful to keep them separated, and wash well between handling the cats. If there's a gap under the door, you might also want to block it with something so the cats can't sniff each other under the door. You're a very caring person, to go out of your way to help her.
post #9 of 24
Her chances of surviving outside without claws is minimal. Let us know where you are located (city), and we can give you references to a no kill shelter or foster agency. My foster agency has strick no-declaw policies, meaning you cannot adopt a kitten and declaw it. So having the occasional cat that has already been declawed, gives people who prefer declaw an option.

I think she will calm down once she spends more time with you. Wash your hands between petting the new cat and your cat, or you could spread something like distemper.
post #10 of 24
Thread Starter 
I have tried all the local shelters, the only one accepting cats is the humane society which does not have a "no-kill" policy. All the others are overpopulated--they say this is "kitten season". She is not microchipped--I did manage to get her in for a scan but not for a full checkup at my vet, so she is still separated from my cat. She has calmed down alot though, so I have taken a chance and tried to contact the person who originally wanted her. They turned her down because they thought she wanted to be outdoors too badly and "belonged" out there...she still wants out now, and if I open up windows or doors, she acts like she did yesterday, but today she was not wandering around the apartment crying her head off or pawing at the doors & screens. So...I hope that this person, who is inexperienced with cats, will realize that cats tend to be a bit stressed at first in a new situation but will adapt quickly. If the person won't give her another chance, I am almost out of options, but a friend promised to try to pull a few strings and get her into a specific no-kill shelter. In the meantime, I am keeping her indoors.
post #11 of 24
At this point I assume you've already checked your newspaper ads & shelters for a lost cat matching her description?
post #12 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by tuxedokitties
At this point I assume you've already checked your newspaper ads & shelters for a lost cat matching her description?
Yup. No luck. I've also put up flyers at mailboxes in the surrounding apartment complexes....some have been torn down twice (after I put them back up again). I don't understand why someone would do that.
post #13 of 24
Thread Starter 
OK, so I have more questions...I got the cat to the vet, and it turns out she's a HE.....he's a healthy 2 year old, and anyway, I thought it was probable that (s)he wanted out so badly because (s)he was in heat, but that can't be the case now. It turns out he is neutered too. So, any idea why he would be yowling so loudly anytime he sees an open window or screen door? I did try to take him out on a leash and he easily escaped from the safety collar, although he let me pick him up and bring him inside, where he proceeded to start yowling again. I can't think of an easy way to solve his problem, apparently he must REALLY want to be outside, which could explain his being lost. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Also, he has been treated for fleas with Frontline on his neck, and so has my cat. The vet tech told me that I should not need to bomb my apartment now, because all fleas would either die on the cats or hop onto the animal and die, or else starve. Is that true? If you were me, would you bomb the place anyway, or is that overkill & a waste of money?
post #14 of 24
I rescued 3 kittens who were all infested w/ fleas. I put them on Revolution for 3 months and had no problem w/ the house. I had 3 other cats at the time who I had to treat (just in case) but they were fine and so was my house (ALL carpets). I never even thought to bomb, I probably would have if I knew it may have been a problem, but didn't and thankfully didn't need to.

It definitely sounds like this cat belongs to someone and is lost. Some newspapers (most I think) will place free Lost & Found ads... can you try placing some ads? Also a good idea- put those posters you have up at the local vets and shelters (if they'll let you), as well as the local Police Dept. - as a lot of people call those places first.

Hang in there- you're really going to bat for this cat.. keep up the good work!! We're all here to help you and keep you going as long as you can.

Quote:
Originally Posted by roadrunnr
OK, so I have more questions...I got the cat to the vet, and it turns out she's a HE.....he's a healthy 2 year old, and anyway, I thought it was probable that (s)he wanted out so badly because (s)he was in heat, but that can't be the case now. It turns out he is neutered too. So, any idea why he would be yowling so loudly anytime he sees an open window or screen door? I did try to take him out on a leash and he easily escaped from the safety collar, although he let me pick him up and bring him inside, where he proceeded to start yowling again. I can't think of an easy way to solve his problem, apparently he must REALLY want to be outside, which could explain his being lost. Does anyone have any suggestions?

Also, he has been treated for fleas with Frontline on his neck, and so has my cat. The vet tech told me that I should not need to bomb my apartment now, because all fleas would either die on the cats or hop onto the animal and die, or else starve. Is that true? If you were me, would you bomb the place anyway, or is that overkill & a waste of money?
post #15 of 24
Quote:
So, any idea why he would be yowling so loudly anytime he sees an open window or screen door? I did try to take him out on a leash and he easily escaped from the safety collar, although he let me pick him up and bring him inside, where he proceeded to start yowling again. I can't think of an easy way to solve his problem, apparently he must REALLY want to be outside, which could explain his being lost. Does anyone have any suggestions?
Your situation sounds earily like my parents....a while ago my brother and sister in law rescued a "stray" cat that had been hanging around their neighborhood..they tried to drop it off at a humane society but that didn't work out (long story) so my mom and step dad adopted him. He "talks" all the time. At first, my parents thought he wanted outdoors...but we now think that he is just a "talker". Could be the case with your cat. You may want to check into a behaviorist...which is what I've suggested to my parents since they are still concerned about Max.

Katie
post #16 of 24
I agree with Katie - you or those who adopt him- might want to engage a behaviourist. I wonder if he is part Siamese - they have a propensity to "talk" often, chirping and meowing. And their curiosity draws them to windows to look outside. He does sound like someone's pet though, since he is neuyered AND declawed. He may have seperation anxiety from missing his people?? It's hard to say without knowing his background which of course is diificult.

Good luck!!!
post #17 of 24
Thread Starter 
Well, in my difficulty in finding a home or shelter for him, I still have him. His behavior has gotten alot better in the past couple of days, so I wonder if it is just that he needed some time to settle down.

Does anyone know what the usual story is about Humane Societies? They are the only place that will take this cat, but depending on who you ask, their euthanasia policy is hard to figure out. The local Humane Society and a vet's office near me have said that they will only euthanize a cat that is sick, has a heart murmur, or personality problems, and that a cat might be there for years or until it's adopted. However, some of the other shelters I tried and even a volunteer at the Humane Society (I took him there and then changed my mind) told me that they euthanize more cats than they tell people about. But what makes me wonder, when all the local shelters are full, and they are the only ones taking cats, how does the Humane Society have the capabillity to take any cats if they are not euthanizing alot more animals than they are telling people about? I just don't know what to do, and I can't keep him for too much longer. Does anyone know the real story, maybe from having volunteered at a Humane Society themselves?

Thanks
post #18 of 24
First, bless you for taking this poor baby into your home! He really does sound like someone's lost baby. Try the lost and found poster idea with a color picture. May God bring you a happy solution.

Second, since you have this cat much longer than you had originally planned, has your own kitty warmed up to the visitor at all? Maybe, if you were able and willing to keep the little fellar, you could gradually introduce the two. You know, take something with your smell on it and rub the new kitty and then let your kitty have it to and back and forth.

Cats are notoriously obstinate. If they think that it is their idea, it is a whole 'nother story. Just a thought. Don't feel bad if you are unable to keep the fellow. Your kitty was there first and you have really bent over backward to help the new guy, but if you have to give him up just try to find him a good home.

Third, if you really can't keep him, you might try making up "Home needed / wanted" posters and putting them in vets offices, etc. A lovely color picture of the fellow with notes on all his desirable features (declawed, neutered, probably had his shots, etc.). Someone went to a lot of trouble and expense on this cat and someone should be grateful to have such a well cared for kitty with little or no expense.

God bless and keep you in your current kitty crisis!
post #19 of 24
Thread Starter 
I have tried introducing them to each other, so far they have not gotten along at all. I still am mostly keeping them separate to avoid any hissing/spitting/fighting matches. I am sure with time, it could work out, but I really don't want to stress my kitty out that much, especially after knowing what happened the last time she was around other animals....

It's also a money issue--I am living off a student loan right now and barely working, so I really can't afford two vet bills. As it is, I have put off my kitty's much needed dental cleaning for six months. I hope to scrape together some money to do that soon....

I have made up a flyer. If anyone has any feedback on whether this would entice people, please feel free to let me know. A friend suggested I make it as funny as possible, so I did, with my terrible sense of humor. Here's the link:

http://www.geocities.com/roadrunnr23/flyer.htm

I'd be grateful for any and all feedback.
post #20 of 24
Love the ad....put it EVERYWHERE. I would also ask vet offices if you could possibly bring him in to show to people. Oftentimes, you get a better response when people can actually see the cat.

Katie
post #21 of 24
I agree with TNR1. The ad is great. Picture is worth a thousand words. He is adorable. And if people can actually see the animal (preferably when not stressed or freaked), they are a whole lot more interested.

I understand the money issue. With 15+ mouths to feed at our house, things have to be delayed and juggled a lot.

Good luck and God bless you!
post #22 of 24
Thread Starter 
Just wanted to let you all know, he is adopted out to a woman who works at the local science museum. She seems pretty nice and is looking for a cat to replace the one that her son took to school. So it looks like all is going to turn out well! Thanks everyone for your advice!!
post #23 of 24
Wonderful!
Thanks for the update.
post #24 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by roadrunnr
Just wanted to let you all know, he is adopted out to a woman who works at the local science museum. She seems pretty nice and is looking for a cat to replace the one that her son took to school. So it looks like all is going to turn out well! Thanks everyone for your advice!!
That's great news!! Bless you for all the heart, soul, and sweat you put into finding this cat a good home. You are, truly, an angel.
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