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A special stray I need help with.... Please

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Hello, I'm new to this forum. Just registered actually.. I was hoping that I would be able to find a little bit of help for a farel cat I'm trying to domesticate.

My landlord did not want any pets at all in his duplex. I had a cat already and he was advised of the situation. He aggreed to let me move in on the basis that I take really good care of her, which is no problem because she's a great cat. Just after I moved in Calley used to go crazy running from window to window. It took me a little bit to figure out there was a cat walking around in the yard all the time. I felt bad for her so I started feeding her and she'd let me pet her a few strokes while she was eating but always backed away.

Long story short I sat outside indian style, super still with a piece of lunch meat in my hand. It took time but she'd run up.. take it and run off. Eventually she'd just sit there scarf it and look at me for more. But was super shy and always ran when there were loud noises and such (live next to a highway). I'd have the neighbors come out and do the same thing to feed her until she got used to all of us and stuck around all the time. Could pet her anytime I wanted and she was fine.. so long as things were on her terms.

She's had plenty of litters and the last litter she had she finally trusted me enough to let me sit within inches of her while all 3 of the babies were feeding. I finally got the okay to rescue the kittens, found homes for 2 and kept 1. I just had Momma kitty fixed (she's atleast 3 years old). Ever since I put flea medication on her I've never met a cat that loves a brush the way she does. If I had known she would be so lovey and such a great little thing I'd have taken her in instead of one of the kittens "Zoey".

Now my problem is... I have a place for her to live. She's not making strange to anyone I bring to see her, just wants loving from everyone. But she lives in the basement... on Sunday it will be 1 week. I clean up poop and pee every day. I put potting soil and mulch in the litter because she didn't like the feel of the clay. That wasn't working so every time she pooped I'd put it in the litter and make her stand right next to me while I tossed litter over the poop. Now.. she still finds every place other than the litter to go. So I put leaves on top of the litter and it looks like she has been digging in it... But today she pooped right next to the litter. It's so close that I think there might actually be some of it on the side of the litter pan.

I know she's recovering from the surgery still and it has to be stressful being stuck in the basement. I have heaters on down there though and I run the dryer doing laundry and such to keep it warm. It's just that I can't send her anywhere until she starts using the litter box. She's such a great cat.. I need to find a way to make things work.

I've even went so far as to sprinkle cat nip over the top of the litter to attract her to it and nothing so far.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.... Thank you!
post #2 of 15
Hey Jessie....welcome to TCS. Have you tried using "cat attract"?? I know some people who swear by it for a cat that is having litterbox issues. Also...you may want to have her checked out for any possible health issues that are causing her to have issues with the litterbox.

post #3 of 15
She needs two boxes not just one. Cats that live outside are driven strongly by instinct. If you ever watch one for long periods of time, you will see that they go to one area to pee, cover that up, then move off at a greater distance to poop. Pooping and peeing in one place is not normal for any cat, let alone a 3 year old that has to be street smart.

You also have to be sure the location of the pans are good. It should be private, but with a quick getaway path (in case of ambushes) In an unattended feral cat colony, many cats are attacked and hurt when they go potty.

You cannot domesiticate her, you can socialize her, but that is a big difference. She will likely always run away from the strange noises or the people she encounters. It takes a long time to bond with cats who have been on the street, but it can be done.

Also be careful of using straight dirt in her litter pan, you will have a bug infestion soon, very likely maggots. Use organic potting soil only and be sure not to let it set in the pan over 2 days.
post #4 of 15
HI there Jessie_N!!!

First I want to say WELCOME!!!
And I also want to say...Listen to Hissy. She gives great advice.
And thanks for being such a responsible cat owner!!

post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thank you for replying..

Momma kitty is in my basement right now, by herself which makes me feel bad. Then again on the other hand... I'm glad it's not carpet I'm cleaning every day and I'm sure the landlord is too. He actually goes down and spends time with her every day while I'm at work. Buys her toys and brings canned food, a dog lover slowly turning cat lover.

There has been 3 instances in the past few days that she's gone both poop and pee in the same place. I'm thinking I might need to block off part of the basement so she only has access to one room.

I've been taking care of this cat for 2 years now. I took her to the vet with a leash and a collar (because she escaped the cage I had her in). So I can pick her up at any time, she doesn't really love it but tolerates me. That's the wierd thing, you'd think that once you cage a stray and take it places like the Dr's office that it would become hostile. She never hissed or groweled and swated.. no clawing or anything. I do worry that she trusts me too much and might keep running away and comming back when I try to move her after she's potty trained. I'd take her in if I could afford 3 cats and I was sure my 2 year old wouldn't freak out!

Okay.. texturally speaking.. what is feline pine like? is that something that would feel more natural under her paws? or the feline attract (was reading about that earlier online) maybe be the better option? I can do 2 litter pans no problem.. maybe one of each? it's just once her feet hit the clay she wants out... The leaves she'll stay in 15 seconds longer but that's about it. I don't want to keep her captive downstairs.. but in Michigan here.. winters comming fast. The environment my landlord has set up.. so long as she accepts it. Would be that she'd have free reign to come and go as she pleases and locked in at night when all is cold. I'm sure there's even mice in the shop for her to hunt down and play with.
post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 
I put cat attract in her litter pan, I even have 2 litter pans down stairs like Hissy suggested. One in the same room her bedding is in and the other in the other room next to where she's been peeing. I treated all of the spots she was going #1 or #2 with stuff called nature's miracle or something.

She used the litter pan I had down there.. clay litter with leaves on top of it to pee 1 time. I cleaned out the pee and then she never touched it. She peed on the floor so I soaked it up in a paper towel and covered 3/4 of the way with the cat attract and left it in the pan. I took a wash cloth and rubbed it all over her cheeks and nose and rubbed that all over the litter pan and on the floor around the litter pan on both so it would have her scent.

So I go down there a 30 minutes ago and she pooped like 6-8 inches away from the litter pan. The litter pan is actually in the general area I have cleaned up poop 2 or 3 times before. It's a horrible smell, one poop and the entire basement.. the hall way leading upstairs.. everything smells like it. I can't believe the scent is that Strong.

I was thinking about putter her baby down there with her. They've been appart for about a month now maybe a few days longer. When her momma wines from down stairs she doesn't even pay attention to her at all. Does this mean that they won't remember each other? I just thought that maybe if she see's the baby using the litter that she will get the hang of it. The only thing is if she doesn't get the hang of it and the baby starts messing all over the place like momma does then I'd have double the problem.

Do you think it would work to reintroduce her to her mother? Maybe the baby could teach her a thing or two? On the cat attract bag it says if you still have a problem to lock them in a cage with a litter covered floor so that it forces them to use the litter... sounds so mean doesn't it? Please any other suggestions?????? Thinking I might have to go the expensive route and buy feliway huh?
post #7 of 15
Hey Jesse....so she used the clay litter covered with leaves once and not the cat attract. This is going to have to be a matter of detective work. Not sure if letting the kitten be around her will help her learn to use the box or not...but if you think it may work..it may be worth a try. Both have been vet checked and have a clean bill of health correct? You may want to PM Hissy who has much more experience with trying to socialize feral cats.

post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 
I did PM Hissy, I don't think I was doing things exactly right. I didn't take her to the vet for a regular check up. My main priority was to get her spayed because most of the cats in the neighborhood were from her. We caught a few of them and found them homes last year. They were so young there wasn't much adjusting at all (just to the other animals in the house). Put a litter in front of them and they knew what to do.

I expected her to be quite wild and go insane once I caged her. I didn't schedule a regular visit... just a spay because I wasn't sure they would really be able to handle her a whole lot. Now that I see how non-aggressive she is, I will be able to get her back in for a check up.

The kitten has been to the Vets yes. The Vet told me that the kitten was fine. But Something that the vet I took Momma kitty to though said that you couldn't test a kitten younger than 8 weeks old for FeLV or FIV?

Is this true? I had the kitten tested at 6 weeks, the vets office I took Momma kitty to said that it would most likely not show up that early.

I appreciate your response... maybe I'll bring a few leaves back into the mix.. hmmm
post #9 of 15
Welcome to TCS, Jessie! I'm married to a Michiganer, a Spartan! ...Anyway, bless you for all the work you are doing with this cat & her babies and kudos for getting your landlord involved, and learning to appreciate cats
IF mama-kitty goes pee in her box again, I'd suggest leaving it - pee is one way that cats mark their territory. And since she's in a new territory, she needs time to adjust.
If you put baby with her, be sure to bring baby's box, too.
This is such a wonderful thread - your work with this feral kitty is AWESOME!!
Prayers for continued success!! Susan
post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thank you Susan,

I live in Lansing by the way, about 10 or 15 minutes away from Spartan Head Quarters

They baby kitty is upstairs with me and uses the same litter as my 2 year old. They started using the same box as soon as I started leaving them together all of the time. I think it has something to do with it being new and having a cool swinging door on it. Calley (2yr) likes to catch the baby in there and fling the door back at her when she tries to get out. It's mean I know... but it's so funny when Zoey finally gets out because she just ambuses Calley.

They play so much it's sick, if I'm not mistaken I'd almost think that Calley took her almost as her own baby. She grooms her and cuddles with her quite a bit. After 2 days they were left together on a 24/7 basis.

But thanks, I'm trying. It's the Momma kitty really, she's such a nice cat in general she just kinda sucks you in. As soon as she was fixed she changed 100 percent, she's warming up to everyone. She wouldn't ever let the landlord pet and play with her so much. She would bother with him more when I was around otherwise, she didn't care about him unless there was food involved. Now he calls her Sweetie

btw.. thought it was funny. My brother (former michigander) moved to California just over a year ago.
post #11 of 15
Yes leave the pee in the box. I would also try putting some poop in the box and leaving it also. Could she be confused with all the different materials in the boxes?
post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 
Actually Hissy told me to just put the litter with some dirt on a tarp on the floor in a pile. That's what I did just a little bit ago, so we'll see if she digs in it I guess.
On my way down to feed and play with her now.. by tomorrow morning she'll atleast have let me know once what she thinks of the new situation
post #13 of 15
Thread Starter 
Hissy Rocks!! She was right...
Momma kitty went wee-wee on the side of both of the piles AND she dug in both of them. I haven't messed with it but I smelled a little hint of poop in the air when I went down there and I didn't see any laying around in the basement. So It's gotta be in the pile!!

Tis Very exciting. She's getting more lovey every day (she gets a few visitors) She kneed's my hand and lets me rub her little pads. Also enjoys attacking my hand now.. I always pat my hand on the floor when I call her. She only comes up to swat and play with it now, Never claws me - just swats and gently bites.

post #14 of 15
yay!!! I am so happy that it worked!!! You're right, "Hissy" (Mary Anne) is wonderful!!!
post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thank you Lacey
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