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Please advise on a stray cat, so conflicted

737lizakg

Shiny_Rock
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Oct 18, 2015
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412
Hi all, I need some unbiased advice about a stray cat. Long story short: what is more important for the cat, freedom or affection?


Long story:

I have friends who live in a neighborhood with a deaf stray cat. Several families feed it, occasionally pet him, but for 7 plus years he has been living outside.


This summer we moved in to take care of the house (and to escape the heat of our apartment) while my friends were away. He was dangerously skinny, wobbly, and just sick looking.

I had a charity take him in. I suspected he may have a chip (he didn't), and he loiked like he needed a lot of vet care. He was dewormed, vaccinated and had blood tests. When I called and asked if I could see him, the charity said he wasn't deaf, was healthy, and that he should be released back on the streets. I obliged and took him back to his neighborhood.

He has gained weight and looks better after 6 weeks of me constantly encouraging him to feed (he tends to continue eating if I pet him). The problem is that the neighbors (my friends included) who feed him all have dogs, and the cat obviously doesn't venture to their gardens often if they are around.

I strongly feel he should be inside as he is a very tiny cat who doesn't seem to be able to hunt effectively for his food. He is nearly 10 years old, DEFINITELY deaf, and is very affectionate, despite being skittish and wary. There are also a few foxes in the area.

The charity said he seemed too feral to rehome and unhappy being caged. But with me, he will sit for up to an hour getting scritches. He has never hissed, scratched, or bitten, even when I caught him and kept him in a crate overnight waiting for the charity. At the shelter he just crawled into my lap, dug his nose into my chest, and shook like a leaf. He is a craintif but gentle kitty. He did soil himself when crated, and when being taken back from the shelter. Anyone who took him in would have had a long adjustment period.

I had initially wanted to take him in but we have two rather 'catty' cats who are also literally twice his size. Seeing as he was assessed to be better off outside, I am reluctant to lock him into a small appartement with other cats. I am not sure I will be able to find a reliable person who would be willing to try to adapt him to indoor living. Being deaf, he cannot be rehomed somewhere else with outdoor access, as venturing outside somewhere new is too risky, and no one in the current neighborhood can/will take full responsibility for him.

I do not want to be the person who ignores the experts and claims to 'know better'. But my gut tells me he would be a very happy lap cat after a rough first few months.

Sorry for the ill composed ramble.

My question: should I take him in to prolong his life, giving him the affection which he obviously wants, at the expense of his freedom, solitude, and outside access? What would you do?

Thank you all for taking the time to read all this.
 

PintoBean

Ideal_Rock
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Jul 27, 2011
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6,583
do you have a backyard where you can build an enclosed catio for the kitty?
 

violet3

Ideal_Rock
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Dec 18, 2007
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I've only ever had one cat in my life, so I have very little knowledge on what would be good for a kitty. But I will say thank you for caring about this animal - he is a beauty! I hope it works out for him!!! :kiss2:
 

seaurchin

Brilliant_Rock
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Nov 2, 2012
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1,234
...This summer we moved in to take care of the house (and to escape the heat of our apartment) while my friends were away. He was dangerously skinny, wobbly, and just sick looking...
I don't think that charity knows what they are talking about. The bolded part of your statement above is where his previous "free" lifestyle got him.

Your own observations show that more of their "assessment" was also incorrect.

According to the Humane Society, the lifespan of a cat can be 15-20 years but for outdoor cats, it's more like only five years. Outdoor cats tend to have greatly shortened lives that end violently.

Since you are willing to take him in, I think that is definitely much better for him and he is a lucky kitty. Good luck. :)

 

yssie

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Aug 14, 2009
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20,941
Oh hello beautiful :love:
Thritto - he's yours. He's chosen you. Now that he's de-parasited can you do a house trial with him for a few hours?

@elizat's last set of foster kittens... She described them to me as "obviously grateful to be indoors", and I almost started crying just reading that text - no cat should ever be grateful to have warmth and food and safety. All cats should be able to take that for granted. Thank you for taking this little fellow under your wing and being willing to give him a chance to take "home" for granted.
 

Bron357

Ideal_Rock
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Jan 22, 2014
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4,451
I would take him in because I’m a soft touch Mumma.
He’s old, he’s been getting by, just, on the streets. On the streets there’s bad weather, food insecurity, mean dogs, other cats, mean people, cars and trucks to avoid 24/7 lest they hurt him.
If you think your other cats can adjust to him, he won’t mind one bit giving up an outside life for safety, sanctuary and love.
 

Daisys and Diamonds

Ideal_Rock
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Messages
5,679
It must be hard for outside cats in the parts of the world that get really cold snowy winters
we took in a stray - it took ages to get him friendly, but since the end of summer he has been sleeping inside and in our bed at night
He worked out how to use the dirt box all on his own
Last night when i went to call him in at bedtime he was on the doormat waiting and was inside before i even turned on the porch light

take your little panther home and see how it goes, your two have to be a better alternative to dogs and foxes

Regular food and warmth does wonders
 

mtsapphirelovingannie

Shiny_Rock
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737lizakg, thank you for all you have done for this kitty so far! If you can, please see if you can integrate him into your home.

I wouldn’t agree with all of the things the charity said. Even some non-feral cats do not like to be caged. He sounds like he could be brought into a home with a little planning and patience.

I’ve taken in several stray adult cats. However, this fellow’s story reminds me of my cat Gracie. She was very skinny and sad when she appeared in my front yard. I fed her for several days and final decided to take her in. Before long she was coming up to me and lean on my leg. Initially, I kept her on an enclosed porch until I was sure she would use the litter box. I then introduced her to my adult male. He was never very happy to have her but they managed without much drama after the first week or so. She was devoted to me and thrilled to have food and safety. She never went back outside – and she never wanted too.
 

YadaYadaYada

Ideal_Rock
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I would take him in but keep him apart from your other cats until he can be checked over for fleas or anything that could be contagious to your cats. If he has been out on the street for any amount of time he probably picked up something and should be dewormed and throughly checked.

It sounds like your his person though =)2
 

TooPatient

Ideal_Rock
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I'd take him home in a heartbeat! If he can be slowly integrated into your cat family, that is best. I have also had two senior kitties who decided they liked having their own room (each at different times) and insisted on keeping it that way. We just made sure to split time between the main house and their room and had time to snuggle mid morning, play afternoon, brush in the evening, 3 feedings, and slept in the room overnight. (They decided our bedroom was a happy place to be...) I felt bad that each was alone, but they really were happy sitting on the bed, watching birds out the window, and having lots of quiet time with and without people.

Anyway, worst case I would bring him home and hang onto until a good fit is found. Senior kitty who loves having attention from you should not be outside. Especially since he is deaf!
 

mellowyellowgirl

Ideal_Rock
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Take him. He's old and frail and doesn't need the freedom in this state.

I think you're only hesitant because you care and you don't want to restrict him. You're saving him, not curtailing his freedom. Take him and be at peace with it. It's not like you've decided to go grab a lion or a wild bird!
 

ForteKitty

Ideal_Rock
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Oct 7, 2004
Messages
4,625
Keep him! The way he looks at you... he loves you. He looks just like my Tasha, who came to us practically dead. We thought she was pregnant but she had a severely infected uterus and needed immediate surgery. The group who fixed her also told us to put her back outside because she's too feral, but I couldn't do it. I have too many cats inside and she's FIV+ and unpredictable with anyone who's not me, so we converted our garage into her sanctuary. Cars are parked outside haha. She's happily living in a garage with plushy rugs and a bunch of cat beds and trees to pick from. We have a security gate on the door and keep that open so she can have sunshine and breeze.

Please keep that kitty, he trusts and loves you, and can live many more years inside under your care.
 

Daisys and Diamonds

Ideal_Rock
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5,679
I don't beleave fereals can't be tamed

it took months for Borris to stop hissing at Tibby and she's tiny and he's big
he still is a bit afraid of her but they hang out in the same room together and even sometimes a few meters apart on the lawn, very occasionally she will be on my chest and Tibby will be on my knee and i get to feel special

he taught her not to be afraid of fire works
 

foxinsox

Ideal_Rock
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My question: should I take him in to prolong his life, giving him the affection which he obviously wants, at the expense of his freedom, solitude, and outside access? What would you do?
I would take him in in a heartbeat, feed him up, give him a safe space and love him as much as possible. I'd also take him to my own vet to get checked since that charity's other assessments appear to be incorrect in your experience with him so far.
He looks like a sweetheart and your own little panther.
 

missy

Super_Ideal_Rock
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38,555
I have to admit I just read your first post. My gut says please take him in. He doesn’t sound feral. He sounds like he needs you. He chose you. Please take him as your own. You have already done so much more than many would have and I think he’s meant to be yours. You won’t regret it. He’s healthy and he needs love and shelter. Thank you for doing all you are doing. ❤❤❤


ETA keep him separated from your cats (in another area of the home) for a month just to make sure he doesn’t have ringworm.
 

Kaycee2018

Brilliant_Rock
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678
I feel your pain. It breaks my heart to see stray and feral cats and whenever one shows up we do our best to trap, vaccinate, spay/neuter and release. Some are clearly too feral to even attempt to domesticate, but the ones that were successful had the same demeanor you are describing, so I believe he can be in a home. In my experience, even some completely domesticated cats will absolutely flip out when confined to a cage, but are otherwise sweet and loving. A cage is different than a home and my guess is he will adjust nicely. I think you would be doing a wonderful service to him if you could take him in and provide a loving home for his final years. If the charity is correct and he does not acclimate, you can always release him back to his old neighborhood. GL
 

rungirl

Rough_Rock
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Jun 3, 2020
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I agree with many of the other posts here that this sweet, vulnerable kitty would be better off with you, in a home. You may already have this experience, but if not, you can do some reading on how to introduce a new cat to your household. It involves isolating the new kitty in a separate room and then very gradually introducing him to your cats. This might smooth the whole process for you.
 

Austina

Ideal_Rock
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Feb 24, 2017
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I know someone who took in a feral cat, she actually liked to live outside in the summer, so they got her a little house and put it somewhere sheltered, but she became very tame and did end up a house cat. Give puss a chance! :mrgreen:
 

1ofakind

Brilliant_Rock
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Aug 22, 2012
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I understand that some have a soft spot for cats....I like birds. Owned and un-owned cats are responsible for killing billions of songbirds a year (just in the US!) and over the last few decades (along with other factors) bird populations have plummeted. They also kill many mammals that natural predators (raptors, foxes, etc) would otherwise use as a food source. Cats may be able to survive outside but they do not belong there.
Besides that...this old guy doesn't look like he can take care of himself much longer. If you can provide indoor food and shelter for his remaining days that seems like a good thing for him.
 
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Musia

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Mar 28, 2020
Messages
832
My daughter who practiced trapping/neutering/releasing before she got pregnant said that completely feral cats are usually quiet in cages. No noise. I hope he shows intolerance for crate because he is not that feral. Here is a daddy of one of my current kitties. He had his last good fight for female before my daughter finally got him trapped. Couldn't be more comfortable in his crate. Just sitting nicely and looking tame. 0'''.jpg 0''''.jpg
My daughter spent many months trying to lure him into the trap. Almost a year! His 10m.o. daughter was already dead before he got trapped.
 
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Asscherhalo_lover

Ideal_Rock
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I don't think I could ever NOT keep a cat out who clearly showed bonding signals. My Mom has a cat who we call "half feral". He has indoor/outdoor access to her house and comes in to get affection only from her/to hide from bad weather/to eat. It's their happy medium to keep him safe while keeping him sane (he needs to go out).
 
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