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Do I release or tame?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I have 3 feral females spayed and 1 male neutered and a kitten which was sick, but now she is better,but too young to be spayed. All are in cages except the little one, because she is tame and I have to clean out cages with my 2 year old little girl with me in the room. I have 2 of the ferals tame enough to hold and love on, but they will bolt out and hide any chance they get. 1 I can pet and I have picked her up, but she is leary of me. The little boy is still hissing and hitting at me, but I do pet him.Should I spend more time taming or trap the cats that need so badly to be altered? I am out of cages and room. Now I am at a standstill. Will I ever be able to get them to associate with someone other than me? I love them so much and want them to have petting and love and attention and not just set them back in the yard. Am I wasting precious time? I say that because the ones outside are wandering off at night and I fear they will get killed by dogs or cars. Plus they are going to be having more babies. What do I do now?
post #2 of 14
Sometimes, when space is limited, you just have to let them back outside. While with lots of time, they will tame, they may never be adoptable to others. It is ok to release a feral, that is why we have TNR (trap neuter release) clinics!

On the other hand, if you really want to keep them as your pets, just let them loose in your house. Sure they will hide, but thats ok. Over time you can decide whether to keep trying to tame them or let them back out. Of course, after keeping them in the house, you can't just let them back out in the middle of winter, but next spring you could.

There is nothing wrong with being a crazy catlady who has a houseful of cats who only let her pet them. But there is also nothing wrong with stabilizing a colony of outside cats, by getting them speutered and letting them go.

Remember, you can't save and keep them all inside, but truly, it is your choice if you decide to keep what is "too many" to someone else, as long as you can care for them!
post #3 of 14
I agree with Beckiboo 110% you could send a PM to TNR1 and Hissy, too, as they have so much experience & resources. Could you put out shelters for the outside ones? Too me, it seems that preventing anymore unwanted babies should be the priority. Perhaps you could rescue a tame cat or two from the kill-shelter, kitties that would be safer to have near your precious daughter, to keep inside as companion cats, and keep the outside colony neutered and protected. I am sorry that there are not more people like you in this world, to help the plight of cats. I will keep you in my prayers, that you get guidance, and also plenty of assistance. Maybe some teenage girls in your area would help you with the trapping/caring for the ferals.
post #4 of 14
Sometimes, too, I think it's truly kinder to TNR a feral who is not adaptable to being a housecat. If they are healthy and fed and have shelter, and will no longer reproduce, then you have done the best thing for them.
post #5 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Darla S
I have 3 feral females spayed and 1 male neutered and a kitten which was sick, but now she is better,but too young to be spayed. All are in cages except the little one, because she is tame and I have to clean out cages with my 2 year old little girl with me in the room. I have 2 of the ferals tame enough to hold and love on, but they will bolt out and hide any chance they get. 1 I can pet and I have picked her up, but she is leary of me. The little boy is still hissing and hitting at me, but I do pet him.Should I spend more time taming or trap the cats that need so badly to be altered? I am out of cages and room. Now I am at a standstill. Will I ever be able to get them to associate with someone other than me? I love them so much and want them to have petting and love and attention and not just set them back in the yard. Am I wasting precious time? I say that because the ones outside are wandering off at night and I fear they will get killed by dogs or cars. Plus they are going to be having more babies. What do I do now?
Darla...Hissy is probably the best person to answer your question. My opinion is that when faced with many cats needing to be altered, spaying/neutering should be the priority so that these cats no longer add to the overpopulation. I understand your concern about their quality of life...but my understanding is that cats that have been TNR'd do tend to roam less than their intact cousins given that they no longer have the need to mate. It also improves their quality of life by reducing negative behaviors such as fighting, spraying etc. With regards to the rehibilitation work you are doing....perhaps you can find someone to take over the work with the kitten and the females. I would contact the other TNR groups in Oklahoma to see if they have anyone who would be willing to work with the 2 girls and the kitten:

http://www.alleycat.org/orgs.html#ok

Good Luck.

Katie
post #6 of 14
I agree with those who have said that it is much better to focus efforts on the cats that you know still need to be altered. Remember that spring will be here before we know it and tragically, 3/4 of the kittens who will be born to the unaltered cats will die before their first birthdays. The most important thing you can do to prevent more suffering is to get the rest of the colony altered before spring and ideally before the cold weather hits. The females will start getting pregnant in significant numbers in mid to late January and that is right around the corner.

As to your question about getting them to trust people other than you, it is impossible to say for sure but getting a feral cat or even a former feral kitten to trust anyone other than their primary caregiver is by far the hardest and most time consuming part of the job and it may not ever be successful. Some may surprise you and take to strangers without much fuss but they will be the exception.

From my experience, I have known a fair number of adult feral cats who have been able to live comfortably and reasonably happily in their original caregivers' homes. But I haven't personally known of any who have been able to become realistic candidates for adoption by others. Even though many of them probably would ultimately do okay if adopted, it can be hard to find adopters who want to adopt even the friendliest adult cats. And since these adopters can have their choice of many, many friendly and sociable homeless cats from shelters and rescues and even "free to a good home" ads, not many of these people will gravitate toward cats who are fearful of humans. There are some people like that out there, of course, and God bless them. (Though tragically these "hard luck" stories can also be a lure for hoarders, so careful screening of prospective adopters is in order.) But these wonderful people are a rare type and meeting one of them is probably not something you can depend on.

For the cats, let them go back to their home. If they could talk, it is what they'd ask you for. A cage is about the scariest place in the world if you are a feral cat or other wild animal and an adult or "teenage" feral should not ever be caged unless it is medically or otherwise absolutely necessary (like for TNR and recovery from surgery). Even then you have to take steps to reduce the cat's stress or his health can be significantly compromised. This is mostly done by keeping the cage covered and keeping noise and intrusions to a minimum, and by keeping the time the cat is caged as short as can be realistically accomplished.

For another perspective, here is Alley Cat Allies' official "position paper" in the subject: http://www.alleycat.org/pdf/TNRnotTNA.pdf
post #7 of 14
Turn them loose and trap more to get them spayed and neutered. I know it sounds cruel, but you can't tame a feral cat. You can over time socialize them, but getting them to the point of accepting people running over to them, scooping them up, burying their head in their fur- it just won't happen. They are not wired like that, and those that are- spoiled house kitties that get outside or are kicked outside, rarely live long. The cats are born with deep survival skills and right now you are their predator. You are keeping them against their will, and cage training and ferals breaks their spirit. Me, I would rather have a spirited feral scampering out of my room any day, over one who has been broken in spirit.

If you have the resources to spay and neuter, concentrate there. THAT is the priority. Plus, with a two-year old child in the home? I would never say to adopt a feral cat. Unless there is a hands-off policy, your child stands to get bit or scratched down the road-
post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by hissy

If you have the resources to spay and neuter, concentrate there. THAT is the priority. Plus, with a two-year old child in the home? I would never say to adopt a feral cat. Unless there is a hands-off policy, your child stands to get bit or scratched down the road-
Yikes, good point! I missed that part.

And of course, good luck enforcing a 100% hands-off rule with a toddler no matter what the circumstances!
post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 
Pit Bull neighbors are moving in. The lots next to me have been abandoned for over 4 years. This is where the cats stay most of the time because the yard is uncared for and they can hide in high grass, trees, an old shed, or in the house because the window is broken out. This is their safe place, they think. They play in my yard, but when they feel threatened they go there. I was just informed that the lady and her Pit Bulls are moving back in. I have over 20 cats out here. The lady and her son told me the dogs would not bother my cats. The dogs were not taken care of when they were over there before. My kids and neighbors spent half the time running from them or calling the police. My kids spent over an hour on their trampoline with the Pit Bulls surrounding them waiting for the police to come. The police shot one dog because it kept chasing and grabbing him. I don't really blame the dogs. I gave them water and food. They didn't come to feed or water them for days and it was over a 100 degrees outside. I am sure that has a lot to do with the attitude they have. Now I don't know what to do. I really fear what is going to happen. I am just now getting my cats spayed and neutered. Every time I get some positive things going on there is a major set-back. Now I am just praying. I would love to make a cat fence but I don't have the money to pay someone to build it. What can I do?
post #10 of 14
Are the pitbulls allowed to run loose? That is not safe for anyone in the neighborhood, let alone the cats and kids.

Do the cats have places they can get away from the dogs, like high perches or small doorways in sheds? And what about your kids? This sounds like an awful situation.
post #11 of 14
[quote=hissy]Turn them loose and trap more to get them spayed and neutered. I know it sounds cruel, but you can't tame a feral cat. You can over time socialize them, but getting them to the point of accepting people running over to them, scooping them up, burying their head in their fur- it just won't happen.

Definitely agree!! I care for a colony of adult "ferals". It took years to get to the point of petting, sitting on my lap and even assist in bottle-feeding their newborns (before spayed). Although they sound like a colony of friendly gals...they bolt when someone besides myself steps anywhere near them.

I find, that for our own level of comfort, we want so much to cuddle-up under the covers with every feline we encounter. That's just NOT going to be. To take a feline from the outside that doesn't even know what a "wall" looks like and try to "tame" them is doing them an injustice. Again, I know it seems harsh to leave them outside as "ferals" but that simply is because of what "we" want for them...our comfort level...not theirs.

I wouldn't dare pull one of the adults from my feral colony to the inside of my home. I provide as much food, shelter and safety as possible...after that, well...a few prayers during the winter months is all that is left for me to do. These amazing animals are true surviors!! The best thing you can do for the ferals, is spay/neuter/release.
post #12 of 14
I am curious...at what age do you guys consider it to late to tame a cat/kitten that has lived outside??
post #13 of 14
I stand by it is NEVER to late. I have socialized all ages of strays and ferals with good results. If you have patience and you can listen to the cat's needs and cancel out yours, it is do-able.
post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 
They have a broken pen and they chain part of the dogs up. No fence in the yard. They don't run loose but get out of anything they have tried to keep them in. My yard is fenced but they are big dogs and I don't think it will keep them out. Also they breed Pit Bulls so they have different ones over there at times. My cats are not that scared of dogs. They get in my mom's yard with her 4 dogs and she is always running them out so they don't get attacked. She has normal little mixed breed dogs. There is a lot of trees here to escape and buildings but my bigger cats instinct is to fight off the dogs and they run most dogs yelping and squealing but they could not do that with these dogs.
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