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post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I am soliciting opinions. My vet doesn't have the answer and I probably will only have one opportunity.

We have been feeding a feral cat colony for 12 years. At the peak, we fed over 30 animals. We were successful trapping and neutering and the colony gradually reduced to four. The others either died or found new homes.

We recently relocated to a new neighborhood about 5 miles away. We sold our house and the new owner originally agreed to continue the feeding if we provided the food. After a few weeks she changed her mind. Two of the four cats appear to have found alternate food sources. The other two will not leave the property and are obviously starving. They will wait until death to be fed.

To avoid the obvious, I have rescued the two and will attempt to relocate them to our new location. We expect this will cause problems with our new neighbors but now I feel there are no alternatives.

The problem is, when I release the animals will they remain in the new territory? I am nearly certain that they won't and will attempt to return to their original home where they were born as they really haven't bonded with humans. It is extremely unlikely that they would survive with canyons, major housing developments, major roads and freeways separating old from new.

My current plan is to isolate them in a spare bathroom and try to bond with them before the release. This is risky for my household as we have other cats that must be separated and are exclusively indoor. There is no option to convert these 12 year olds to indoors.

Any thoughts or experiences would be appreciated.
post #2 of 10
I have no experience with these things, but wanted to share some thoughts about it anyway. Looks like our feral specialists haven't seen this thread yet but I'm sure they will pop in soon.

I would think that the two ferals will stay where the food is. I know that wildlife relocations work as long as there is an ample food supply. The other thing is that since you have been feeding these cats for years, they may recognize you as someone who provides for them, even if they aren't socialized.

It's a wonderful thing that you are doing and have done for these cats. No matter how wild they appear, they still rely on humans for their health. Bravo!
post #3 of 10
I'm glad you're concerned. I do think if you can keep the cats inside for a couple of weeks it's more likely they will stay. There's always a risk when anyone moves-even when it's their own pet they're moving. Like Heidi, I am hoping Hissy can give you some concrete advice. I believe the feral cats would be "attached" to the food, though, not the location of the food.
post #4 of 10
If I were in your position, I would try to re locate them. If there's a way to put an enclosure outdoors, then they shouldnt bother the neighbors and you can keep them close to the house. It's too bad that these people cant simply put some food and water out for them!!
post #5 of 10
I think this page from the Alley Cat Allies web site will help. It is a guide to relocating feral cats.


By the way....BRAVO to you for rescuing the poor kitties!
post #6 of 10
I am moving this to the feral section for you. I will pray for you and these two babes. Thank you for saving them!
post #7 of 10
I tend to agree that partially-socialized ferals will stay where there is a food source. Keeping them in the spare bathroom and attempting to bond with them is a very good idea, although if you go that far, you might as well take them in for a thorough vet check with the appropriate innoculations, and make sure they are both healthy since it would put your current indoor cats at risk.

It sounds like these are your cats now, feral or not. *grin*

Best of luck, and please keep us posted,

post #8 of 10
as long as you provide ample food for most of the day and night for the first couple of days. Put the food out near an outbuilding if there is one on the property, so when they are approached or threatened they will flee. Lace their dry food with shreds of tuna, sardines, treats they are not used to and this will also encourage them to stick around. I applaud you heartily for what you are doing.

It takes a long time to socialize a feral. You will think you are gaining ground, and then quickly loose it. Some ferals resist captivity so much they eat the walls trying to escape. If you see this type of stress factor going on, release the cat outside, it will be happier there, and it will come back to food.
post #9 of 10
Cat Toy. Any undates for us?
post #10 of 10
Keep them confinded for a few days outside so they can get used to the noises, smells, etc. If you let them out too soon, they will leave and possibly make it back to where you took them from.

I have had the worst luck trying to relocate some ferals, especially older cats. The kittens will pretty much stay where there is food and shelter.

I've had many try to go back to where they came from, some succeeding and others not. Ending up God knows where.

Do you have large dog crates or cages you can keep them in for a few days under a carport or something. If you keep them inside they will be so stressed that when you let thm outside their only goal is going to be to bolt. Do you have a fenced yard? Do you have a sheltered area they can immediately go hide in when you release them from the carriers?

Also, do the cats know the sound of your motor vehicle? My ferals know I'm coming a block away and come running. This is a familiar sound that the cats will relate to their food source and know they are suppose to stay. Does that make any sense? I find that if they have a place to immediately hide and feel safe, it gives you time to put food around that area and leave them to calm down. If they don't have a space to feel safe, they keep running until they find one. Which unfortunatley could be far from your home.

Good luck. Hope all goes well.

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