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Fri Mar 1, 2013, 11:51 PM

I need some advice from people who are cat savvy (UPDATED WITH PICTURES)

Last edited Sun Mar 3, 2013, 07:42 PM - Edit history (2)

I know quite a bit about dogs, had at least one most of my life, bred dogs for awhile, but I have never owned a cat. I am ignorant about cats.

A strange thing happened about a week ago. A cat started staying on my front porch stoop. I opened the door, and there she was. She immediately started whining at me. I was very startled -- I couldn't imagine why a cat would choose to come to my place.

This cat is small but beautiful. I asked someone that day what does that cat want from me (yes, I am that stupid). The answer was food. Also added in was do not feed the cat or she will never leave.

I am not barbaric. I can't know that an animal is hungry and not feed it. I went out and got some canned cat food, hoping it was okay. I brought it home and put the bowl down on the stoop. She came right up and ate it right away, even though I was standing nearby. I had been told by then that this was an "outdoor" cat, not an "indoor" cat.

Then I was advised not to give the cat wet cat food - feed her the dry cat food. I bought a big bag of that. I also have been giving her clean water everyday. I asked at the pet store what kind of treats do cats eat, and I was told I could give her the treats I was buying for my dog - sweet potato fries. I was not too sure of that, so I have not done it. Any thoughts on that? Any recommendations?

So everyday the cat is there and everyday I feed her. I have a dog that is almost blind. She has lived here for almost twelve years, and she means everything to me. Outside, the cat puts her nose up to the screen door, and inside my dog puts her nose up to it as well. She must sense the animal is there, but I know she cannot see it. It seems like they could tolerate each other.

It is really cold outside tonight. My neighbors have told me the cat will be okay, but I am not too sure about that. And guess what, even though she is not yet 1 year old, she is probably pregnant. I noticed she was looking bigger after a few days, and I asked someone from PAWS to give me some advice. That was her observation. She believes the cat is pregnant.

I need to ask anyone reading this post is that cat okay outside for tonight. It seems to be pretty cold to me, I think it is about 38, but I can't quit worrying about her. I also need to figure out what to do to get ready for the "big event." I can't understand how a cat can have kittens outside and newborn kittens will not be adversely impacted by the elements. I have found a website which shows different shelters that can be improvised, but they require materials and tools and a little know-how.

So tomorrow I am going to start making some changes, but please let me know what you suggest. This is really upsetting me. I want to protect the cat but I am at a loss to figure out what to do. I have put a blanket out there which she is lying on, but that seems pretty lame.

I think the problem is I am getting conflicting advice. Additionally, I have been told that an outside cat cannot become an inside cat. Is that true? This cat, although not there yet, allows me now to pet her. She walks between my legs and brushes herself on my pants. The night before last when she knew I was coming inside, she put her paw on my shoe as if to get me to stay. I think she is starting to feel trusting of me and eventually could be very comfortable if I keep working at it, slowly but consistently. Is that true or false? Could she be trained to live inside and use a litter box?

Sam

PS I am really starting to love this cat and want to do the right thing by her, but I need some expert advice for that.

UPDATE: If you have been participating in this thread, please see post 111 for pictures. If anyone can take a look at her right ear and let me know if that a "tipped" mark, that would be great.

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Reply I need some advice from people who are cat savvy (UPDATED WITH PICTURES) (Original post)
Samantha Mar 2013 OP
Curmudgeoness Mar 2013 #1
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Response to Samantha (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 12:06 AM

1. That cat is not necessarily an outdoor cat.

It may well be, but I have had several cats that were indoor cats....but they were found outdoors. This cat may have been an indoor cat at one time, and since it is not afraid of you, this cat has been a pet at some time. You can definitely have in be an indoor cat if that is something you want.

You have so many questions, I am not sure what all to say. Feed cats food for cats. If she is not very pregnant, she could be fixed and aborted.....but not if she is too far along because it would not be safe for her, but you could talk to a vet about it.

She probably has fleas, so you would want to make sure she is isolated if you do bring her in until you can get her to a vet. It sounds as if your dog would be tolerant, and so would the cat.

If you are worried about her being outside when it is so cold, do you have a cardboard box? We put cardboard boxes stuffed with blankets/towels and with blankets over them so the wild cats have a place to curl up. We have gotten more creative in my neighborhood, but this was what we did at first. The cats did use them, so they were better than nothing.

Good luck with whatever you do. And it sounds like you may be a mommy soon. If so, make sure the kittens get acclimated to humans early on.

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Response to Curmudgeoness (Reply #1)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 12:11 AM

2. I have been asking myself that question - how does one know?

But I asked someone else tonight who has a ton of cats, and he said it was an outdoor cat. If no one knows the cat's history, how can one tell. And also the cat seems like she wants to come thru the door into the living room.

Thank you for responding. I am going to go look for a box. If you think of anything else, please post it and I will come back to check. Thanks for caring about the cat. I am going to name her Nikita, but I am not sure how that name is spelled.

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Reply #2)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 12:35 AM

7. I'll tell you what I know.

I'm no cat expert, but I did find and adopt a stray cat once, who became my beloved Puddin'head. I later adopted a rescue cat. And I late bought a purebred Himalayan.

The cat I found outside as a stray was not an "outside" cat as your neighbor is calling it. He means "feral." Feral cats are wild and would never rub up against your leg or put your paw on your foot. People dump or lose their pet cats all the time.

When I found and adopted my stray, I coralled him, got him into a carrier somehow & took him to the vet for an exam. Altho he scratched the vet and was kinda wild, the vet told me he'd be a good pet. He wasn't acting "feral."

As long as it's above freezing, the cat should be fine, except I'd put something out there for comfort and warmth.

What I made for a rabbit in my yard one cold winter:

I found a box, turned it upside down, cut a round "door" on one end.

To make it moisture proof, I fir duct taped some of that pink fluffy thick insulation that has paper on one side, and on top of that, duct taped some sheet silver insulation all around it. I had some of that stuff already. I put something plastic on top - I think it was the bottom of a one of those drains you use by the side of the sink in the kitchen to drain dishes. I also put something plastic in the bottom, for a floor, with a lightweight blankie on top.

I put the box-house under a thick bush, for protection from critters and moisture.

On top the box-house I draped something so that it would partly cover the door I'd carved out in the box, for protection from wind and from other critters finding their way into it so easily.

It looked pretty comfy cozy to me. I saw signs that the rabbit used the house.

If you could put the house under covering on your porch, that'd be great.

I wouldn't put a flea collar on her, since she's pregnant. After she has the kittens, and whenever it's safe for the kittens, you can give them to a shelter - kittens will get adopted fairly quickly, I think. Then you can get her into a carrier and take her to the vet to get an exam and get her fixed.

If it were me, and if I decided to keep her, I'd probably get her into a carrier and get her to a vet now, though. And possibly get her an abortion (and fixed at the same time, if possible and safe). But she'd need a safe, secure place to recuperate (a garage?), free from possible encounters with racoons or other critters (or are you in a city?).

Cats take to litter boxes naturally, if you decide to bring her in (after she's examined by a vet and free from fleas). She might have a couple of accidents at first because it's a new place and a new system, but should be fine.

I have a friend who is involved in rescuing cats and has dealt with ferals quite a bit. I can ask her info, if you want.

I am a dog person and have had mainly dogs. But I will say that I absolutely loved Puddin'head, the stray I found. He was my pal and a wonderful, loving, and funny cat. Cats need less attention and tending than dogs. Cats and dogs CAN get along; it depends on the cat and the dog. One of my cats hated my dog, but they just avoided each other, so it was no problem. My other cat liked the dog just fine. I didn't have a dog when I had Puddin'head.

Female cats can act a little weirder than male cats. It's the opposite of dogs. With dogs, the males are the independent, more aggressive ones. With cats, it's the females.

As for her staying around if you feed her, is that a problem? That wouldn't be a problem for me. I'd probably have her pregnancy aborted, though, if it were safe, just to avoid more unwanted cats in teh world.

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Reply #7)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 12:53 AM

11. Wow, thanks for all the information

I don't know how far along she is, but I am going to let her have the kittens and try to get them adopted out. Someone told me today that she probably won't have more than 3 or 4 since it is her first. I hope that is correct.

From reading your post, I think the best thing to do would be just take her to the vet, but we are not at the stage yet where I can pick her up. I unfortunately am still a little nervous around her, and I startle her sometimes, so we need more time.

Since my dog is nearly blind, I wonder if I brought Nikita in eventually when I had to leave I just don't know if Cheyenne bumped into her accidentally, if Nikita would react badly. I wonder if she can sense my dog is blind and would make allowances, but I am really, really worried about that. Cheyenne has the roam of the house, and she knows her way around because she has lived her all her life. I also don't know if at this stage of the game, if Cheyenne could accept another animal competing for her owner's attention. In short, I am worrying myself to death over these questions. But I can't afford to make a mistake when it comes to either animal's health or well-being.

But I will re-read your post tomorrow again and see what I can take from it. I think having a place for her stay on the stoop and an another shelter, like one of the igloo ones I have seen on the net, might be good for in front of the house under the bushes. This might be where she could have her kittens. I know they have to stay with her a few weeks, but I am not sure how many that might be and if they would be save outside. To answer your question, I live in the city, College Park, MD, and there are a lot of houses on this street.

Thanks again.

Sam

PS the last three days when I have taken Cheyenne walking, Nikita follows behind. It is extremely funny. She knows the route now, and when I get to the end, she automatically turns around and heads back to the house, assuming we will follow her. And so of course we do!

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Response to Samantha (Reply #11)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 01:22 AM

18. You're welcome! That's a good sign that Nikita follows you on your walks.

If you bring her inside, you can close her off in a room, while you're gone. I wouldn't leave them alone together, w/o you there, at first.

Nikita may scratch your dog, if he gets too close. When I adopted a cat from rescue, after I had a dog, I left htem alone together. I figured she could stay on top of furniture, to get away from the dog (that was the cat that didn't like dogs). When I got home, I saw my dog had a bloody scratch on his nose! He learned his lesson right away...don't get too close to the cat!

I have two dogs. I keep them separated during the day, while I'm away. There is such a thing as too much closeness. They were together 24/7 and were getting irritated with each other. They seem to appreciate having their own space and their own time to be free from others. When I get home, it's a big welcoming for me AND for each other, as they wait for the other to be let out of his/her room. They have all evening and all night (they sleep with me) to be together.

When I found Puddin'head as a stray, he didn't come inside right away. And I wasn't sure I wanted him to. I started feeding him outside my door. He'd wait for me to leave, then cautiously approach to eat. He started coming to the food bowl, when I was still there. He finally let me touch his head briefly. I brought the food bowl closer and closer to the door. Then I finally left the door open one evening and put the food bowl inside the door. He came inside to eat, and left. Another time I left the door open when he was outside. He came in and walked around a bit and checked things out. Then he came up to me and purred and let me pet him. And pick him up. Then he urinated on my door (spraying, they call it, when a male does it). He was marking his territory.

So it was gradual. But it didn't take many days, all told. You do need a carrier to take him to the vet. But if she's never been in a carrier, that will REALLY scare her, to be confined in that small space. It was a job for me to get Puddin' to the vet. But it had to be done. In fact, I'm not sure if I succeeded, even. Or if I risked taking him in teh car w/o a carrier (dangerous). I just don't remember. But he ran all over the vet's office in a panic. Still, the vet said he was just scared and he could tell Puddin' wasn't wild or mean, just scared.

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Reply #18)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 12:29 PM

48. This is another great post and you actually addressed what I have been worrying about

You walked me through step by step the process you used to slowly move the cat inside. I have to take steps slowly in order to avoid making a mistake. A mistake is defined as having Cheyenne harmed. On this morning's walk, Nikita came closer to Cheyenne, and she actually allowed me to pet her when I was holding Cheyenne in my arms.

I think today I need to give some thought to the shelter on the stoop and keeping her warm, but I am also going to price kitty litter boxes and actual litter types. In case of an emergency (such as great big storm), I am going to try to bring her in and put her in the small bedroom. I might use that method you used with the food to get her in. But I know absolutely nothing about litter boxes and didn't know pets "bury" the poop until I read it here. How often does the litter get emptied, where does one empty it, and then how does one clean it before refilling it?

Over the long-haul I am going to try to enclose the porch and provide some heat and air conditioning out there for when I have to be away for the day. That would be her other room. But I will put a cat door there so she can get out. Another friend has advised me not to do this, either make the cat an indoor cat or an outdoor cat. He said he could not stand the thoughts of his cat roaming outside and getting hit by a car.

But it did occur to me today on the walk that Nikita heard me give Cheyenne commands, and I think she is picking up on that process. She went out into the road and I authoritatively said "Nikita, no road" (she had heard me say no road to Cheyenne) and she came back upon the grass.

This morning again I am looking at that ear and still trying to decide if it has been tipped. It is hard to tell because the tip of the ear is white, but it does look slanted. So if she has been neutered, she can't be pregnant. The fact she is getting bigger means I am feeding her too much or she has the worms. How many times a day should I feed her and how much? I am currently feeding her twice a day (once a cup and one-half of dry dog food and second a can of dog food (small one)?

I am having the PAWS lady took a look at her this weekend (if Nikita will allow her to get close). She thinks as I mentioned above she is pregnant. But she was not close enough to truly see that ear.

Thanks for all your help and time.

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Reply #48)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 08:37 PM

79. Do not feed dog food to the cat. It is not good for them. Their requirements are TOTALLY

different. A cat eating only dog food will get ill eventually from vitamin deficiencies and such.

Buy the cat dry cat food. It's cheap and willl provide the nutrients she needs. It's almost impossible to overfeed a cat (although I've heard of it). They basically snack off and on all day and, unlike a dog, will stop when they've had enough.

Do not give the cat milk. I've done this in the past, until I read not to. You can Google what to feed cats. Dry kibble and water is a good cheap thing to feed her. If you want to take it up a notch, you can also give her some canned food. But canned as the only food isn't good for her teeth or for other things.

LITTER: A litter box (I recommend one with a top to it, to she doesn't scatter litter outside the box too much - but it's not necessary). A litter box with just the bottom part is just a few dollars. SCOOP - you buy a scoop that has holes in it. Fairly cheap (or you can use an old kitchen scoop spoon with holes, if you want to designate that permanently as your litter scoop). LITTER: Any kind of litter will do, for starters. BAKING SODA: If the litter doesn't contain the smell too well (some of hte really cheap brands don't), you can sprinkle a little baking soda in with the litter occasionally.

How often to change the litter: I used to scoop out the clumps daily (I bought a kind of litter where it had good clumping qualities). Put it in a plastic store bag, and into the trash. No big deal. If it clumps well, you don't have to dump out the whole litter box every time you clean it out. Every now and then I missed a day, which meant a bigger scooping job. Every time I scooped out clumps, I poured out a fresh litter layer on top.

If you are able to scoop out clumps instead of dumping out the whole litter box, you still will want to dump out the whole litter box and clean it thoroughly, for sanitary reasons, occasionally.

Even if you don't get a clumping type of litter, you still can sift out with your scoop her poop from the litter.


If you let her be combination outside and indoor cat (which I never did and don't recommend), you should be aware that she will probably get sick and die or get killed by a car or a dog or another cat. That is what happens to outside cats. Outside cats don't die of old age. You can't train a cat to stay out of the road, like you can a dog (even a stray dog will wander into the street, even if trained not to). Cats are wanderers and very independent. It's their nature. Female cats will fight to the death over territory, also. Unlike male cats. Two dogs killed a cat in my driveway. They weren't mean dogs...they were neighborhood dogs. Poor little cat.

I would never have a pet cat be an outside cat. But I would feed an outside stray cat. Two different things. My cats liked going outside, but I would take them outside in the back yard, with me, for short periods of time only. They'd lay in the sun while I worked in the yard. Then they had to come back inside after a little while.

Cats are really easy to care for, compared to dogs, IMO. You should catch on in no time. Nikita is very lucky to have found your kind heart. And you're lucky she's such a good natured, friendly, cool cat! They aren't all like that!

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Response to Samantha (Reply #11)

Sun Mar 3, 2013, 02:49 PM

114. Four is a normal litter of kittens

Cats have two uteruses, and each holds two fetuses. The cat can have two (one per side), three (two on one side, one on the other) or four kittens.

And don't freak out about this, but because of the dual uteri cat litters don't always get delivered at the same time. If you leave the house one day with her feeding two kitties, and come back to find her feeding four, they didn't divide like amoebas do.

Also, get her flea problem cured now; kittens are at risk of being killed by prowling toms so they need to come inside.

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Response to jmowreader (Reply #114)

Wed Mar 13, 2013, 01:20 AM

191. Two horns of a uterus, one vagina. A bicornuate uterus.

It's Y shaped, so they can have two litters of different ages gestating at the same time.
Occasionally it will be reported that a human woman has a bicornuate uterus and can have two babies a month apart, for example.

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Response to Samantha (Reply #2)

Wed Mar 6, 2013, 12:42 PM

143. An outdoor-only cat often reacts strongly the first time they encounter

"indoor" sounds, like a phone ringing or a vacuum cleaner starting up. Lots of cats don't like the Agent of Satan, but if they've heard the sound before, they'll usually slink away rapidly to a place of refuge looking affronted instead of having a kitty-cat psycho freak-out.

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Response to winter is coming (Reply #143)

Wed Mar 6, 2013, 05:16 PM

146. Well this is good to know

Last edited Fri Mar 8, 2013, 11:17 PM - Edit history (1)

I never thought about that. But the only noise in the house last night when I tried several times to coax her in was the television. It was not playing that loudly. Do you think that might have scared her off? She was looking at the dog when she back back out, but I think she kind of uses Cheyenne as a gauge to study how I treat animals. Cheyenne was snoozing on the couch. She is developing a comfort level with her. She got even closer today on our "walk."

Thanks for the info.

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Reply #146)

Wed Mar 6, 2013, 05:19 PM

147. Maybe, but that was probably just initial skittishness. n/t

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Response to Curmudgeoness (Reply #1)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 12:17 AM

4. I trapped a VERY pregnant cat on my street, and I could not take in any more...

Last edited Sat Mar 2, 2013, 12:30 PM - Edit history (1)

The vet said she was likely overdue to give birth, but he did do the spay. She adjusted just fine, and I feed her every day and have a warm bed on my porch. It's better than having her and a whole new litter breeding on my street. For my own pet? No, I would not do a late term spay. But choices have to be made and taking that risk to prevent more homeless cats seemed like the humane choice to me.

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Response to Lisa0825 (Reply #4)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 12:58 AM

13. I already have made up my mind about this

A vet told me once that a dog that was not fixed and never had a litter was more likely to develop female problems later in life. I believe that would probably be true of cats as well. Since she is already pregnant, and I don't know how far along, I am going to let her have the kittens and I will find new homes for them. I just can't deal emotionally deal with aborting the kittens. Sorry.

Sam

Edited to say: I am sorry. I might have misread your post.

Another edit: I did misread your post. I thought you were suggesting I have the pregnancy aborted. But now I read that a cat can be spayed while pregnant. Also thru the additional reading, I understand why people suggest I have the kittens aborted, but I just can't do that. I will follow thru in making sure they have good homes. I did that when I bred dogs, and I was very careful about where I placed the pups I so carefully had trained. I also told each new owner if the day ever came they no longer wanted the dog for whatever reason, to return the animal to me. I said I would take it back regardless of how long they had had it and regardless of the reason they no longer wanted it. No one ever returned a dog.

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Response to Samantha (Reply #13)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 11:49 PM

100. I have had cats and dogs that were spayed without having litters

and they all lived to ripe old ages w/o any problems. Vets used to think they needed to have a litter but no longer do so. http://www.mspca.org/programs/spay-neuter/myths-about-spay-neuter.html


Here are some cheap options for outdoor shelters. http://www.alleycat.org/ShelterGallery
Best of luck
Mojo

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Response to Mojorabbit (Reply #100)

Sun Mar 3, 2013, 04:07 PM

115. My doggie groomer's housemate gave me a pamphlet from the alleycat.org Saturday

That brochure was pretty neat; it led me also to their website where I looked at some of their shelter suggestions. I will check out this link latter in case more have been added. Thank you for contributing to this thread.

Sam

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Response to Curmudgeoness (Reply #1)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 12:54 AM

12. I do not have a box

But I did drape a rug over the railing behind her blanket, which is her current bed. It is 40-some degrees out this evening.

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 12:13 AM

3. I was involved with a rescue group, and all of our cats started out as "outside cats".

99% of them decided they either loved or didn't mind being "inside cats." The few who didn't adjust found homes that needed barn cats. None of my 7 current rescues ever try to leave the house. Though my psychological games may play a part.... I open the door for them when it is really cold, windy, and raining... they peek out and go back to their cushy beds! LOL!

I think she could adjust just fine, and you'll never know if you don't give it a try

Do some googling about how to introduce a new pet... may be a good idea to keep her isolated like in a bathroom or laundry room first while she adjusts, for example.

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Response to Lisa0825 (Reply #3)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 01:01 AM

14. You are the first person to tell me this, thank you

Last edited Mon Mar 11, 2013, 04:55 PM - Edit history (1)

You seem convinced that most cats could adjust to living inside even if they have been outside cats before. Someone told me today that outside cats never completely trust humans because their mothers teach them not to. Now I don't know if this is true or not, just as I don't know if most of the stuff I am told is true or simply opinions. Maybe I should just calm down, and take each new day slowly and the answer will come. Thank you so much.

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Reply #14)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 12:36 PM

52. I think it is more genetic then being "taught."

One cat that I trapped had her kittens a few days later in my closet. She had 4 kittens. Two were extremely shy and wanted nothing to do with me! They cowered under her when I came into the room, from the very beginning!!! Two were extremely friendly and rambunctious and love, love, love human attention! I tried to treat them all the same, but trying to pet the frightened ones was really hard. They would just squirm around and try their damnedest to get away from me! I think momma got pregnant by two daddies, and one was a true feral, and one was a stray or unfixed outdoor cat.

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Response to Lisa0825 (Reply #52)

Mon Mar 11, 2013, 05:04 PM

189. I started to worry at one point that maybe Big Grey was the father

But I am not so sure now that Nikita is pregnant. She has slimmed down since I cut back the food to a normal amount.

But her face, and her meow sound, look and sound more kittenish to me. She makes this noise that is not a true meow. Sometimes it is like a squeaky sound, sometimes it is a whining sound, for instance, if she wants food or if she wants me to pet her. I still cannot pick her up. I am really interested in what her age might be.

I am also asking people on this thread at what age a kitten can become pregnant. Someone (not a DU'er) told me about a year, but I am not sure that is true. I don't think she is a year old yet.

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Reply #14)

Mon Mar 11, 2013, 02:16 PM

187. Yeah, we caught the Moby Dick of outside cats recently.

Furface had eluded catch and release capture for years. She's now very happy on a cushion in a San Diego sun room.

One thing we've noticed: cats who have cage time make much better adjustments to a new home or a new life.

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Response to aquart (Reply #187)

Mon Mar 11, 2013, 04:58 PM

188. That is interesting

Do you mean daily cage time? Or do you mean after experiencing being caged to visit the vet, for instance, they adjust better?

I am having Nikita taken to the vet at the end of this month. I also got information today on the shots. I am going to post that info tonight to see what people think about the prices.

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Reply #188)

Tue Mar 12, 2013, 11:39 PM

190. Not daily.

Cage time is the prelude to death. They know it. Getting out of the cage....JOY.

Going straight from one home to another...cat can believe its been forcibly kidnapped. Knew one who tore out a wall to get free from very nice people. They returned him. We didn't try to place him again.

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Response to Lisa0825 (Reply #3)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 04:23 AM

37. I rescued my cat from outside and she wasn't friendly like yours.

But after a couple of vet visits and desperately needed dental surgery, she was more than happy to live the rest of her life as an indoor cat. She liked to sit in the window and watch the bird feeder, LOL, but she never showed any inclination to go outdoors again, had had a rough time out there.

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Response to Samantha (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 12:20 AM

5. I'm not an expert but I have experience with stray cats.

We had several strays that showed up at our house. Most of them eventually became inside/outside cats. They liked to spend time outside, but also liked to come in the house to eat and nap. We always brought them in for the night.

I think the cat will be fine outside in the cold. Ditto her kittens. My wife was always concerned about the cold, so every winter I would make a little shelter that would protect the cats from wind and rain when they were outside. I lined it with old towels and rug remnants. The kitties liked it, especially for rain.

If the cat allows you to pick her up, you can bring her inside and leave the door open. You can also lure her inside by moving her food bowl gradually closer to the door, then in the doorway, and then inside. The dog may or may not be a deal-breaker for the cat.

If the cat is comfortable inside it will probably take naturally to using the litter box. If the cat has her litter outside, it will probably be nearby. If you spend time with the kittens early, they will be socialized and will not be feral.

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Response to Samantha (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 12:21 AM

6. You can bring the cat inside

 

You may have trouble keeping her there if she's been very acclimated to being outdoors, but I've had cats that lived outdoors move inside, particularly when we moved from Texas to Colorado and the winters they had to deal with got worse.

As for trusting you, when I first got my last cat she spent a month hiding inside the box spring of my bed and then slept on top of me every night. Cats warm up on their own schedule. I had another cat who loved to be pet, but she never liked to be picked up.

What I'd recommend is when you first bring the cat inside, have a room you can put the cat in with food, water, a bed and a litter box. Let the cat acclimate to being indoors without the dog and with limited amounts of you. But that can depend on the cat as well. We found a cat in the garage once and once we got her inside it was instant bonding.

Here's a link to the ASPCA's article on feral cats: http://www.aspca.org/adoption/feral-cats-faq.aspx

As you'll see, the cat you've found exhibits signs of being a stray not a feral cat.

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Response to mythology (Reply #6)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 01:06 AM

15. Thank you - someone gave me some info today on "alley cats"

I have been reading it and went to their website to look at shelters.

As far as your cat eventually sleeping on top of you, Cheyenne sleeps in the bed now. It is a really big bed, but I am not sure if I had a cat and a dog in it, if a man would ever even consider spending the night!!! I know the one I am currently seeing would not, but that's another consideration for another day.

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 12:36 AM

8. I'm not an expert, but here's my 2 cents...

If she's willing to approach you, she's probably had pleasant contact with humans before, i.e., she's "socialized". If she's willing to come into your home on her own, let her in. If she wants right back out, let her go, as long as she doesn't feel trapped she'll trust you.

Second, it's probably best to keep her and the dog in separate rooms. She may have parasites or disease that your dog could catch. Once you get her checked out by a vet, introduce them to each other gradually.

On food- I look for grain free kibble and wet food, it's better for cats since they are carnivores rather than omnivores, though they will eat veggies, birdseed, and other things you wouldn't seem to think they would eat.

Both of my cats were strays and both adapted well to becoming indoor cats. They knew what the litter box was for almost instinctively, though I did have to show my second cat how to bury poop (which she took to in amazement, "Wow! I can bury this stuff?! Awesome!"

Here's pretty much the easiest cat shelter you can make if she won't come in or won't stay in.
http://www.catster.com/cat-chic/build-a-cozy-low-cost-cat-shelter-for-outdoor-cats

I'm sure you'll get more responses from the professional cat folk soon.

Good Luck and thank you for having such a kind heart.

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Response to AmyDeLune (Reply #8)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 01:15 AM

16. That shelter is extremely impressive

You are the one with the kind heart. I think I will show this to a friend and ask him to make this for me. So you do not think there is any chance the heating pad might overheat and catch something on fire?

The lady from PAWS told me this morning when I asked about having Nikita checked for diseases that cats do not transmit diseases to dogs, only other cats. Parasites I did not ask about. I thought the screening for disorders should be the number one priority, but she brushed that off in favor of having the cat fixed. What do you think?

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Reply #16)

Sun Mar 3, 2013, 12:19 AM

103. If by "fixed" you mean spayed...

I don't know, presumably it would be done after she has her kittens. Parasites can be a problem since (like disease) they can be passed on to the kittens. If the doctor is pushing you to terminate the pregnancy, then disease and parasite screening would be low on her priority list I guess.

As for the shelter, unless it gets below freezing on a regular basis you can leave the heating pad out, a blanket & soft pillow will probably be just fine. I'm about to put one together for a semi-stray kitten who hangs out in my yard, I'm going to use bubble wrap instead of insulation and two clear boxes, he doesn't seem to like dark boxes.


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Response to Samantha (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 12:41 AM

9. Oh and if you're really so inclined

 

you could get a heating pad in a sheltered location the cat could find like the corner of the porch, set it to a low level, put a blanket over the top and let the cat sleep there if she wants. My aunt and uncle were adopted by a cat they didn't initially want (due to allergies and traumatic experiences with their previous cats dying) and they realized that they had become the cat's when they were getting up every two hours to turn the heating pad back on for the cat.

Said cat has since moved indoors but goes outside frequently as she desires.

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Response to mythology (Reply #9)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 01:18 AM

17. That is too funny

Well, this cat definitely adopted me and I have no idea why. I think she made a big mistake in her life choices! But I am trying to do the best I can under the circumstances. The thing with her following Cheyenne and I on the walks is a hoot. I think she has made up her mind she is a part of the family!!

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 12:42 AM

10. I recommend seeing a vet

The swollen belly could be kittens, but it could also be worms. A stray cat could also have picked up a disease or two in addition to a world of fleas. A check-up by a cat vet would give you a general assessment of kitty's health and needs. Kitty chose you because you will care for her and love her.

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Response to HeiressofBickworth (Reply #10)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 01:26 AM

19. Oh wow, I had no idea worms could make an animal swell up as if pregnant

But she will not let me pick her up yet. I just today started petting her with both hands. I had to work up to that. I have been making a little progress each day, very slowly, very cautiously. Today, I started teaching her words. I do not know if cats have the capacity to learn key words as dogs do. Perhaps you know this??? I started telling her NO ROAD whenever she approached the curb. Maybe it was the tone but she backed away from the road both times. And I told her to WAIT, and she sat down (this happened once and that was today).

Sam

Yes, I think the vet is the priority but the PAWS lady said I had to pick up the cat and put her in a carrier. At this point, I think she would at a minimum scratch me from fear. I don't want to derail the relationship this early in the game, so I have to make a little progress every day. That's the only thing I know to do.

Thank you for your help.

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Response to Samantha (Reply #19)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 01:33 AM

22. Yes, cats learn words!

They recognize their names, for example. They can't have as large a vocabulary as dogs - and they wouldn't want to - but they can learn some basic things. My cats knew their names, din din, come. Or maybe they were just responding to my tone. Whatever it was, it worked. But I doubt they'll ever respond to "sit"! Even if they know what it means. They're pretty independent. Unlike dogs, there's no need for them to learn all those words, in their opinion.

I worry about the name Nikita, though. It's three syllables. I think about someone calling to me in a foreign language. Much easier to recognize a single syllable or maybe two.

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Reply #22)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 02:06 AM

29. Thank you for the info

I think Nikita has a very musical sound to it. That is why I picked the name. She is a very feminine looking cat, extremely beautiful, and I just thought she would like the sound of that name. It is kind of lyrical. I think she knows now her name. And she does seem to respond to the very few commands I have given her, and that is why I asked that question. My dog Cheyenne knows a boatload of words, and people say you can't teach them new ones after a certain length of time. But after she lost her sight, I taught her a whole new vocabulary. And she was about 10 then! So I am going to try this with Nikita.

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 01:27 AM

20. wet food is better for a cat's kidneys

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Response to ZRT2209 (Reply #20)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 01:35 AM

23. That is what I was feeding her until someone told me it was bad for their teeth

So i got the dry food. After a while, I started wondering if perhaps they just said that because dry food is cheaper. So now I give her two meals a day, one wet and one dry.

I realized today I don't even know how much to give for each feeding. So I am putting about a cup and a half of dry food in the dish, and one small can of wet food for the other meal, plus refreshing the water. I want to get some treats too but don't know for sure what to get.

She is a small cat, but she is getting wider, so I might need to rethink the amount I am giving????

Thank you for sharing this information. I need all the help I can get. I truly a pitiful owner for a cat....

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Reply #23)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 02:01 AM

28. I mix dry with

 

some wet.

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Response to Samantha (Reply #23)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 05:30 AM

41. pitiful owner

 

You want pitiful owner? The first time a cat adopted me, I took him to the vet because I thought he had some skin condition that caused him to scratch himself. He was...wait for it... rubbing around my legs.

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Response to RILib (Reply #41)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 12:30 PM

49. Thank you for telling me that

It is easy to misjudge something that you have no experience with, and I guess I will be doing a lot of that too. That is why I am trying to get thoughtful DU'ers to set me straight. And I am so thankful so many people have volunteered to much info. Thank you as well!

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 01:31 AM

21. I was told recently that a cat with a little nick in its ear

has been neutered/spayed by a humane organization and then released back where it was found.

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Response to ZRT2209 (Reply #21)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 01:37 AM

24. Now that is odd

I keep thinking there is a nick in her left ear and I have wondered if she ran into a bush or something. It is hard to tell because that part of the ear is white. So I keep staring at it, trying to figure this out. If she is not pregnant, I am either feeding her too much, or as someone mentioned above, she might have worms???

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Reply #24)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 01:43 AM

25. some info here

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Response to ZRT2209 (Reply #25)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 01:59 AM

27. I read it and it was very helpful

Thank you again.

Sam

PS I am going to have the PAWS lady take a look. I don't think now the ear has been tipped but I will have her check.

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Response to Samantha (Reply #24)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 05:28 AM

40. nick in ear

 

The ear tipping feral cat organizations do is usually pretty noticeable. One of the cats who adopted me had a little split in his ear but was an intact male.

The vet can tell you, of course, if you have a pregnant female. He or she can also tell you if she has worms and prescribe a med to get rid of them.

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Response to ZRT2209 (Reply #21)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 01:59 AM

26. That is true.

 

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Response to Samantha (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 02:09 AM

30. I would say that this cat has adopted you.

 

About six years ago a cat showed up in my driveway at the start of a ferocious heat-spell, over 100 degrees every day for a week. The cat was emaciated and flea infested. I already had two cats and didn't want another one, but this cat clearly decided we were her last best hope and just stayed. After a day or so we gave her water. The next day, food. A few days later I took her to the vet, got her flea medication, then took her inside.

Because she was so thin at first we thought she was a young cat, but eventually realized that she was at least fourteen or fifteen at the time she came to us. She was clearly a well-taken care of cat for many years before whatever it was that caused her to be searching for a new home. We named her Gracie, and it took her and the other two cats quite a while to adjust to each other, but eventually they did. I had Gracie for only three years, but I am so glad I took her in.

So, my advice is to accept that this cat has selected you out of all the possible choices, to be her human. At the very least, get her to a vet, and do whatever needs to be done in terms of her pregnancy and all. From your description of her behavior she is not a feral cat, even if she's mostly lived outside. She's clearly one who is well socialized to humans. It's my experience that cats will almost always take immediately to a litter box if one is provided.

Oh, and congratulations on being such a wonderful human that this cat wants to be with you. It's truly special to be selected like that.

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Response to SheilaT (Reply #30)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 12:01 PM

47. I've adopted two senior cats

at different times. Both were indoor cats who were 'put outside' because their elderly owners had passed away and relatives didn't want to be bothered. The male had been declawed and put out, so cruel...he walked like Popeye. The girl was so beautiful I'm sure they thought someone would take her because of it. When I got her she was nearly starved, but with good nutrition and lots of love she lived four more years. The vet said she was at least 15.

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Response to yellerpup (Reply #47)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 12:32 PM

50. You are a very fine human being

Thanks for telling us your story.

Sam

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Response to SheilaT (Reply #30)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 11:01 PM

91. I love it when people tell me adoption stories that have happy endings

I am so glad Gracie had at least 3 wonderful years with you.

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Reply #91)

Sun Mar 3, 2013, 01:31 AM

106. Every single day I had her I was happy I took her in.

 

It was clear that she had no idea I had other cats, because they were indoor cats, when she adopted me. And she was quite miffed. I came to believe that she had lived with large dogs because she had a number of dog-like behaviors, and that her previous household had contained men, not women, because she vastly preferred the males that were around. After I moved to another state with the cats, she kept on trying to sneak off and move in with the man who lived across the hallway from me. It was hilarious.

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Response to SheilaT (Reply #106)

Sun Mar 3, 2013, 01:54 AM

107. That is hilarious

Cheyenne met one of my neighbors and immediately fell for him. I could not understand it. She went crazy when he visited and insisted on sitting in his lap. She would then lick his beard and keep at it.

Years later, she met another man with a beard and acted the same. I decided that since she loved people and she loved other dogs, these two guys were her absolute favorites because they were humans with fur on their faces -- the best of both worlds!

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 02:11 AM

31. if she does have kittens...

....it is important, as someone said above, for you to handle those kittens and teach them the human touch. That will make them more adoptable.

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Response to grasswire (Reply #31)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 02:31 AM

32. Now that would be the least of my problems

I love animals and probably would be spending most of my day with them. And then I would start wondering if I could keep them all. And then I would have to start a thread on DU asking if it would be a bad idea ... oh well.

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Reply #32)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 02:53 AM

34. oh it's really hard to give kittens away!

Just remember that they will procreate amongst themselves if left to their own devices. And then eventually the Hoarder TV show will be calling on you.....

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Response to grasswire (Reply #34)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 12:37 PM

53. Well if you see me featured on cable on Hoarder

you can always yell at the screen, I told you so.

I think I can manage to get the kittens adopted. My daughter has a ton of friends who are single. People like this often have pets. I also have some friends who will help me try to get them adopted out, and they will be the most well behaved, beautifully socialized kittens ever seen. From what my doggie groomer told me yesterday, since she is so young and this is her first time, she probably will not have more than 3 or 4.

So grasswire, which one do you want. I can send you pics!!

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Reply #53)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 12:59 PM

59. I would be tempted for a certain kind of orange kitty.

But I've got enough trouble right now with a 23 pound brown tabby, another tabby, and my border collie in a small apartment. Ha!

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Response to grasswire (Reply #59)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 10:21 PM

85. I'll say

Well, I don't hold out much hope for a certain kind of orange kitty. If you read the rest of the thread, it might be true her ear has been tipped and she has been neutered. I might have been overfeeding her, and I have started to cut back some. I need more time to find out the score, and I think only the PAWS lady can help me get that at this point.

How big is your border collie? I had one once. His name was Andy. He was a great pup who grew into a big dog that decided I was a short enough female he could be the boss. It was a tug of war for awhile, but I did manage to prevail. Never mess with a short female with reddish hair from the South. We fight dirty when pushed against the wall. Andy finally decided we would have a relationship of equal standing!!!

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Reply #85)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 11:20 PM

94. funny story about your border collie!


My BC Duffy is about 50 pounds, and very very strong. He was a rescue dog and spent two years in a shelter before my family member took him home. Then this family member accumulated two toddlers who weren't exactly willing to be herded by a herding dog. So I took Duffy. I have had him for almost six years. He has a seizure disorder, and we struggle with that issue. And his socialization with other dogs isn't great -- old shelter-kennel anxieties, I guess. But he is a very good dog who minds commands most of the time.

My cats don't particularly appreciate his innate herding skills. Ha!

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Response to Samantha (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 02:48 AM

33. Maybe the cat wants to adopt your almost blind dog

Maybe they are soul mates and she's come to be a part of her life as well as yours.

This cat has chosen you and your dog. If possible give it a chance.

Good luck. Keep us posted.

BTW, "outdoor" cats can easily become indoor cats. I found one and she converted easily.

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Response to Duer 157099 (Reply #33)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 12:46 PM

55. You know, you could have something there

I actually wondered about this because I spotted the cat the day before she claimed my porch. She was lying in a flower bed belonging to a neighbor 3 or 4 houses down. When we walked by, she immediately started watching us and then moving down the sidewalk a little bit to observe how I was treating this animal. This cat is amazingly intelligent.

So she came very close to Cheyenne this morning and stood by and let me pet her while I was holding Cheyenne.
So as I mentioned above, the only thing I worry about is that if Cheyenne bumped into her accidentally, would Nikita instinctively reach out and scratch her. Or does Nikita have the ability to realize that this dog is blind? Cheyenne, BTW, has absolutely no ingrained defensive mechanisms. Once when a dog tried to attack her (and she could see at that time) she stood paralyzed with fear and made no moves to defend herself. This whole things happened so quickly it was unbelievable. The dog came out of nowhere and made an incredibly fast charge at Cheyenne. His jaws were open and he was getting ready to bite her in the throat. I instinctively bent down and flattened my hand and quickly put it between his jaws and Cheyenne's throat. That stopped him. Then I started swiping at him (never actually hit him, just kept acting like I would, and yelling like a crazy person) until he ran away. It is my job to protect her, and I am very diligent about it. She is like my child. Unfortunately, I am developing that same attitude toward Nikita. I am trying to develop a comfort zone between them.

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 03:41 AM

35. Duer 157099 may be on to something. Here's a PBS program about cross-species animal friendships.

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Response to Fridays Child (Reply #35)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 12:49 PM

56. I clicked on your link. The video is 53 minutes long.

I am going to watch it this evening. I am sure I will love it. Thank you for pointing me to it.

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 03:48 AM

36. Congratulations. You have a cat

No point in pondering the issue. She's your cat now. Might as well start picking out a name. This is exactly how we acquired several of the cats we've had. It's the MO. I doubt she's feral. She's let you get awfully close to her. She was probably dumped or abandoned. People who say she wants food are right, but she may be looking for companionship and a home, too. And she picked you. If she was never spayed then she's probably pregnant. They don't go long in the outdoors without getting pregnant.

Outdoor cats can certainly become indoor cats, although they are more likely to slip outside once in a while. More than one of my co-workers has adopted some of the truly feral cats that have a colony near work. One of the women here has does trap/neuter/release with them, but some of them have been tamed and adopted. It took a very long time to get where you already are with your new kitty, though. Still, she may never exactly trust you the way a dog does. Only some cats are that relaxed, even if they've been living with you since kittenhood. So getting her to the vet might involve a good thick pair of gloves and long sleeves. The relationship will survive that, although you'll probably want to make sure she can't get out at all for a few days afterwards while she settles back down.

Oh, and a combination diet of dry and canned is probably ideal. Just remember, her humble beginnings don't preclude her becoming a finicky eater once she's secure in the knowledge that dinner will be served.

Best of luck to you both. I'm sure you'll find that being a cat's human is rewarding, if a bit humbling.

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Response to union_maid (Reply #36)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 12:53 PM

57. Thank you so much for your words - I am already humbled

She is still a little nervous and I get a little nervous at certain moments, but I am trying to chalk it up to a new relationship which is evolving. I am afraid that I can't pick her up yet, and if I tried and she bit me, it would be bad for the relationship. I do want her to see a vet asap. That is my top priority. I am going to discuss that with the PAWS lady.

Oh, and she does have a name - Nikita.

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 05:06 AM

38. It's a cat so it is probably planning something diabolical once she has your trust

 

Probably want to bring it inside where you can keep an eye on her. You don't want her skulking and plotting out there in the darkness. Keep your enemies close and all that.

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Response to Demo_Chris (Reply #38)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 12:55 PM

58. That is Republicans who do that - not cats

I hope you get out of the Lounge more often to observe that for yourself! Thanks for posting on this thread.

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 05:23 AM

39. Bring her inside

 

I haven't had time to read the other answers, but as someone who has had several cats over the years, most rescues from outside, I say:

Bring her inside.

She is probably out there because someone dumped her out there. She is exhibiting all the signs of a cat who is used to humans.

Even if she panics once inside, she will calm down and adjust after a short time. The longest it has taken any stray I've rescued was two weeks.

"Outdoor" cats have very short lifespans - averaging three years - compared to indoor cats. Who would want to be very cold and without shelter and pregnant outside?

Dry cat food is actually somewhat less good for cats than canned cat food, as the former can encourage urinary tract problems.

I can't speak about dog treats for cats, but as for dog food for cats (I know you didn't ask about that), it is missing a crucial nutrient for cats, taurine, so a diet -exclusively- of dog food for a cat will eventually lead to blindness and death. Of course, a bit occasionally is not a problem, like if she snacks out of the dog's dish. My experience with Pounce cat treats for cats is that they encourage urinary problems also. She will probably be perfectly happy without treats - try cuddling instead.

You will want a scratching post for her - tall enough for her to stretch out and stable enough so that it won't scare her by starting to tip when she uses it. If she ignores it, try putting some catnip on the top. I've never had a cat scratch furniture when a scratching post was available.

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Response to RILib (Reply #39)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 12:59 PM

60. thank you for the info but someone above said she might have worms or parasites

and she probably does have fleas. I need to get these issues addressed asap because I don't want Cheyenne to get parasites and I personally do not want fleas. But you make an excellent point. I never knew outside cats only live about 3 years. And I will look for a scratching post. It is going to take a little time for it all to come together, but I am working on it and doing the best I can. Thank you again for your suggestions. More people at this site seem to be leaning that way.

I started this thread clueless, and now I have a ton of clues as to things I need to do right away.

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 05:46 AM

42. There is no such thing as an "outdoor cat."

 

Bring the cat inside. You'll be doing a world of good for the cat - and for the local small wildlife (even if the cat doesn't kill them - and I promise you, it will - it scares the bejeezus out of the critters). Yes you have to put up with a litterbox (and the inevitable "oopsie poops" but the cat will be safer and healthier inside.

(one way to litter train; move any, er, strays to her box, and hose the stained area with an odor-killer. They latrine by scent, not sight, so they'll usually go in whatever corner smells most like their last leaving. The hard part will be keeping your dog from treating it like a snack bar)

Dry cat food, like dry dog food, is mostly corn and wheat; these are carbs for a dog, but are mostly useless or even harmful for a cat. It's cheaper, sure, but wet is better. if you have spare time you can look up recipes to make your own, and freeze / refrigerate batches. It's less expensive than canned generally. Also, generic brand and top-shelf brands are the same damn thing. Buy from the store's house brand.

Have her checked by a vet first thing; you don't know what she might be carrying that could harm you or your dog (cats are fun and frequent vectors for ringworm, for instance, not to mention fleas.) If she IS pregnant, and you want to have the kittens, you'll definitely want her to be indoors; few things are worse than a kitty colony under your floorboards.

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Response to Samantha (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 05:59 AM

43. You have gotten some excellent advice and I would like to add some

I trap and release feral cats. What people are saying is an "outdoor" or an "alley" cat actually means feral. These cats were born outside and usually will never adjust to living with humans. Nikita is absolutely not feral. She shows all the signs of contact with humans, including letting her touch you and meowing to you as ferals usually do not meow to humans or communicate beyond hisses and growls.

I'm glad you are speaking to someone from an organization as it seems some of the people who were first giving you advice were, shall we say, clueless. A first time pregnancy in no way means she will have a small litter and thinking a cat will have physical problems because it doesn't give birth at least once is the same kind of thing they used to tell women. Just not so. If you decide to let her have her litter, check with the vet on when is the earliest you can have her spayed--she will need to feed the kittens for a while so she can't be too soon after giving birth. Depending on where you live, there are many programs for low/no cost spay and neutering as well as vaccinations and wellness screenings. Cats can breed into huge feral colonies very quickly. I started trap and release spay/neuter when the neighbor in my apartment building moved out and dumped their cat outside unbeknown to me. It took me months to trap them all as we had a booming feral colony from just that one cat in less than a year. Check the animal charity Best Friends and find an affiliate in your neighborhood (ours is called Fix Nation) for help. And some places will spay/neuter at 14 weeks so if you would like to be truly responsible you can get the kittens done before they go to their new home or at least get a firm commitment from the new owners to get it done right away. The world has too many uncared for cats. The operation is very simple and recovery is overnight, with males being even easier. The cat usually sleeps for a few hours as the anesthesia wears off and then wakes up and eats a little food. Now they do a biodegradable glue so you don't even need to get stitches removed.

People are giving you great advice on flea control and keeping the cat separate before it is cleared by a vet. But if she is coming up close to your dog through the screen door, they will be great friends in no time. If she didn't like the dog or was afraid, she wouldn't do that. And often, though it may take some time, animals in the home adjust very well to blind friends. I have had that with two animals and it seems like they just knew.

If you can at least let her into a garage or laundry room, that is much better than letting her sleep outside. You may hear her yowling in the morning to get out. That doesn't mean she wants to get out forever, it's just what she's used to. Once she understands that your house equals food, warmth, and love, she'll always want to come home.

Good luck, there is also another great discussion today on what to feed your cat. Yes, wet food is better than dry by a long shot. Cats don't drink much and get most of their water from food. Cats also don't need grain or corn of any kind so read lables. Good food now means far less in doctor's bills down the road. Scratching posts and places where she can be up high and look out the window are essential for a happy indoor cat. And I also recommend new cat owners to watch My Cat From Hell on Animal Planet because it is a good introduction on cat behavior and how to make a nice home for them.

Please let us know how it goes!

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Response to BrotherIvan (Reply #43)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 01:05 PM

61. You are such a wonderful person to take the time to give me this info

I am keeping this thread in my journal so I can always go back and review important tips. I have to leave now to go do some errands but will be back later. And I will try to catch My Cat From Hell. That is a great idea.

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Reply #61)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 02:48 PM

70. Thanks goes to you

Any person willing to help an animal, especially a stray animal, is my hero!

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Response to Samantha (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 09:24 AM

44. Thank you for caring about this cat

Others have given you good advice on this thread and I do not have anything to add

I have rescued hundreds of cats and either found homes for them (if tame) or spayed/neutered and released them (if feral)

She is not feral and she has chosen you

Nikita is a nice name you could call her Nikki for short

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Response to MadrasT (Reply #44)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 11:22 AM

45. Good on ya

For the cat rescue. That is awesome and very humane.

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Response to MadrasT (Reply #44)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 01:08 PM

62. I will be calling her Nikki for short

Sternly "Nikita" when she is doing something wrong like going into the road - Nikki when she is being a good girl.

We all have to do our part, don't we, whether we are ready or not. And thank you for posting on this thread.

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 11:40 AM

46. Sorry that I posted and ran last night.

My cat, Sammy, insisted it was past bed time, and of course he was right.

But I did think a little more about this. The cat you have partially adopted already will do fine indoors. If she is pregnant, I really do wish that you would bring her in before she gives birth. Even if you have a spare bathroom or a garage for her to be in while you make sure that she will be a good pet, that will give her some place safe to have her litter.

I don't know why she insists on hanging out on your porch, but some might say that she chose you....for some reason that you cannot know at this time. You say your dog is 12 years old. Maybe Nikita is there so you will not be alone one day. I don't really buy into things like this, but there are lots of stories like this.

Take her to the vet as soon as you can, and if you can't pick her up yet, invite her in and find a place to isolate her until you can. I would not be surprised that you can't pet her and get her used to you touching her while she is eating. Or sit so you make a lap and hold treats or food so she has to jump up on you to get it. But I really would be concerned about her having kittens outside.

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Response to Curmudgeoness (Reply #46)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 01:12 PM

63. I am very concerned about this

I talked to a neighbor last night and asked him this very question. He said she was an outdoor cat, he had seen her before, and to get a box for her to have the kittens in. He said they would be okay even in the cold, but the runts of the litter would probably not make it. She would put them out of the box when that happened. I could hardly handle listening to this. This guy has a ton of animals, and he does have a good heart. When a lady down the street got evicted, she had a ton of cats which she let loose in the neighborhood. He and his wife trapped many of them, and got them all neutered. But his thoughts on that matter make me uncomfortable, which is why I came here and asked for advice.

And thank you so much for caring enough to give me some.

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Reply #63)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 02:08 PM

67. I hate to tell you that you should ignore your neighbor,

but there is really no such thing as an outdoor cat. There are homeless cats, but that does not mean they like being homeless or would not appreciate having a home. Think about how you would feel. Yes, you could "survive" without a home, and you could find some sort of shelter, but you would not be happy about it.

I have taken in cats that were outdoors, and they have loved having a warm and safe place to live. The cat you are talking about is not wild. It HAD a home at some point and may have even been abandoned when it got pregnant, because some people are just evil.

Oops, sorry for the rant. But seriously, just because a cat is found outdoors doesn't mean that it cannot be an incredible house cat.



I am so glad that you care.

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Response to Curmudgeoness (Reply #67)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 09:10 PM

82. I agree - ignore your neighbor

Just because he saw the cat outside for a while it doesn't mean at one time it didn't live in a house esp. since it wants to get into your house. I live in a remote area in the country and a cat showed up at my place initially fighting with my dog and cats. I captured him, neutered him and now he's one of my favorite animals sleeping on my bed. Also, I've had lots of cats and never had a flee problem so I think worrying about flees is over exaggerated. My cats are all indoor/outdoor cats eating lots of rodents and I've never had a worm problem either. I think you should go with your intuition and ignore your neighbor - just enjoy your kitty and let him in.



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Response to womanofthehills (Reply #82)

Tue Mar 5, 2013, 12:41 AM

119. He said he participated in the roundup of all the cats that were let loose by the woman evicted

Last edited Tue Mar 5, 2013, 01:27 AM - Edit history (1)

He and his wife personally trapped 4 kittens (as well as a lot of cats) that were very small and still nursing. They were not able to catch the Mom right away but did manage to round her up later.

He said all of the cats were taken to the vet and spayed or neutered. The County has just changed a law that had been passed years ago pertaining to "feral" cats. These cats when captured were euthanized. Under this new law, they are trapped, neutered, given rabies shots, marked by an ear tip and then let loose back in the area where they were captured. My neighbor thinks Nikita is one of these cats.

I don't think he has been correct about everything he has told me, but he has a big heart and has done a lot to help a lot of animals. I am hoping in a way that he is correct about this because that would mean Nikita is not pregnant, just gaining weight from my overfeeding her, and that she has had a rabies shot. That would mean I would just have to address the flea question (because I do have a dog that I protect from fleas) and the worm issue. That would be a huge step. Then when we reach the point she allows me to pick her up, I can address taking her to the vet for the vaccines.

In the meantime, she is sleeping in her igloo home, and amazingly enough she listens to what I tell her (sometimes). I pat the igloo home and call it "Nikita's house" and I tell her to go in it. She does not but when I come back out to check on her, she is in it. And she looks so cute with her beautiful little face looking at me through the round access door. So this happened the last 3 nights. Also I called her today, and she came from across the street. She knows her name!

So as I have said before, this is a work in progress and I am loving the cat more each day. I think this will end up very well.

I hope you check out the pics below and thanks for posting on this thread.

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Reply #63)

Wed Mar 6, 2013, 06:16 PM

150. your neighbor is clueless

 

I am glad he's helping animals, but his ideas about Nikita fending mostly for herself outside are just wrong.

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Response to Samantha (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 12:33 PM

51. Sorry I'm late to the discussion.

First, there's that case of the seeing-eye cat in Wales:

https://www.google.com/search?q=Wales%20seeing-eye%20cat&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-USfficial&client=firefox-a|

Second, I once adopted a family of four feral kittens. Kept them outside on the side porch (not my idea). In New England. Gets really cold there. My brother the carpenter built me a box for them, with a baffle to keep the wind out. And I went to the local sporting goods store and got some of those hand warmers. You just rub them, and they give off warmth.

My niece and I would go for walks around the neighborhood, and all four of the kids would accompany us. Their idea, not ours.

The one who stayed with me when I relocated was Magic. Most definitely an indoor/outdoor cat. He lived to the ripe old age of eighteen. Caught mice regularly. He'd devour every part of them but the kidneys.

Third, it's no wonder Nikita looks like a blimp. A cup and a half of dry food a day??? Girl, a half cup of dry food a day is plenty. Especially if she's getting a whole small can of wet food as well. As for treats, try Temptations. They and Greenies are both beloved by cats, but Temptations are about half the price of Greenies and more likely to be available at your local grocery.

Fourth, your friendly local animal shelter will lend you a trap for taking Nikita to the vet. Put her food in the trap and find something else to do for a while.

Fifth, congratulate yourself. You've been chosen.



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Response to dudeanddaphne (Reply #51)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 01:17 PM

64. Thank you so much - you specifically answered the food question

She might not be pregnant, I probably fed her too much. But one-half cup cat food is really enough for one feeding?
I am going to do as you say because I know cats get overweight and develop serious health problems. The tipped ear things is yet to be resolved, so I need to get ahold of the PAWS lady today. Thanks again.

Sam

and I will look for those treats. got to get going. got a lot to do today for this cat. I will be back later.

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Response to Samantha (Reply #64)

Thu Mar 7, 2013, 01:38 PM

160. A little late to this thread...

Just chiming in to say that my two 10-ish pound almost-9-year-old cats each get 1/3 cup high-quality dry cat food a day. Total. Divided into two feedings, so each meal for each cat is 1/6 cup dry food. No canned food, which I will never feed, since they drink plenty of water. A few extra morsels means they gain weight, a few less means they lose weight. No treats, except the occasional avocado shell, which they like to lick, or rare sour cream spoon or bit of cheese.

My previous cat adopted me when she was just shy of a year old, and newly pregnant and wormy. I knew nothing about cats at that time, and gave her free access to dry cat food, which she ate lots of without gaining weight. Once she was neutered and wormed she started gaining weight pretty dramatically, so I realized I had to limit what she ate, and 1/3 cup dry food a day turned out to be roughly her ideal quantity too. Tapeworms make a big difference, and depending on what stage they are in, can consume a large quantity of your cat's food. You just have to go by seeing what happens with your cat's weight... trial and error. Good luck!

(And don't forget to clip her nails... indoor cats' nails can grow so long that they pierce the pad if they are not trimmed).

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Response to LancetChick (Reply #160)

Fri Mar 8, 2013, 01:54 AM

165. Thank you so much for the information

I cut back to one-half cup a day, suggested by a poster here. It just seems so little but that is probably because I have only fed dogs.

I am afraid to ask this question, but here goes: how does one know if a cat has worms if the cat cannot be picked up and taken to the vet? If the cat does have worms, and the owner also has a dog, and the dog is exposed to the cat, does that cause a problem.

Sorry to be so dumb about these things, but I have never owned a cat.

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Reply #165)

Sat Mar 9, 2013, 11:51 PM

182. It DOES seem like way too little to eat.

Sometimes I look at how little it is and think "Really?" I'm not sure if dogs and cats can give each other tapeworms, but cats can get it from fleas and eating rodents, among other ways. You don't need to bring the cat to the vet to check for worms, just a stool sample from the litter box. The real trick is if she's positive for worms, because that means giving her a pill. But you need to have a vet see her, at least initially, so they can test for diseases like feline leukemia, assess general health, and vaccinate. Pet store vaccinations are much cheaper, but the vet will have assistants, and they know how to handle uncooperative and frightened cats. Getting her into a crate may be as simple as leaving a treat inside and closing the door after her. She won't fall for that one twice, though.

My cats are indoor/outdoor, so they nearly always have tapeworms. I don't bother with getting them tested, though, because there is usually no sign of any problem, which means the tapeworms and cats are coexisting in harmony (yes, they can do that). Every once in a while, though, I'll notice a cat losing weight and/or having a dull coat, and that means the harmony thing is over. I rarely see dried tapeworm segments, but my previous cat would always drop tapeworm segments when she was infested. First, the soft white segment wriggles out of the cat's butt (you can see this happen sometimes, and although this looks alarming, it's actually a pretty harmless phase health-wise), then it drops onto the nearest surface and dries up, which makes it look exactly like a sesame seed. I still can't eat hamburger buns with sesame seeds.

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Response to LancetChick (Reply #182)

Sun Mar 10, 2013, 12:38 AM

183. There is no litterbox except in the house

and she has not come in yet. I have never seen the cat's poop, and I don't know how if I found some, I would know it was hers unless I caught her in the act. There are a lot of cats in this neighborhood. So there is no way the vet can test?

That last line of yours is a riot.

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Reply #183)

Sun Mar 10, 2013, 01:37 PM

185. It's possible, but not a sure thing.

Sometimes the vet can find enough fecal matter in/on the cat to examine under a microscope.

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Response to dudeanddaphne (Reply #51)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 03:11 PM

71. Hello ~ dudeanddaphne. It's nice to see you here in the lounge.

[img][/img]

In The Wind
[img][/img]

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Response to Samantha (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 12:45 PM

54. Open the door!!!

You've been chosen! Congratulations.

I bet she walks right in.

We need pictures!!!!!!!!!!!

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Response to Sweet Freedom (Reply #54)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 01:19 PM

65. I am so tempted but don't push me over the line yet

Last edited Sat Mar 2, 2013, 10:14 PM - Edit history (1)

I have to find out about the parasites and worms first so Cheyenne will not be under threat. I am going to go now to contact the PAWs lady. But I will be opening the door soon to see what she wants to do. I just got to get prepared. Thank you Sweet Freedom.

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 01:19 PM

66. By "outside cat" I assume you mean feral

This cat is not feral. Way too friendly and trusting for that. She's certainly a stray, and very possibly an abandoned pet, but if she were feral she wouldn't let you get near her.

38 isn't too cold for a cat, as long as they have shelter from the wind & rain. They'd rather be inside sleeping on the radiator, but as long as they're dry and out of the wind, they can manage in the cold.

It's true that once cats have been outside, it gets in their blood, and they don't fully adjust to being indoor cats. (By 'indoor' I mean they live inside, and are not allowed out) This cat sounds like she's pretty tame, though. If you do allow her inside, cats are very easy to housetrain: Show them where the box is, take one of their paws and scratch the littler and they're trained. After that if they go somewhere else, it's because they're mad at you. She's still going to want to go outside though. Once they move inside, only feed them when they're inside. And once they're had their evening meal don't let them out again, or you'll be up until the wee small hours waiting for them to come home.

Also if you end up keeping her, it would be a very good idea to have her chipped.

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Response to Samantha (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 02:12 PM

68. take pics of the kitty and post them here

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Response to tabbycat31 (Reply #68)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 10:57 PM

90. coming soon to a thread near you

perhaps in a a few days. I have a friend that captured two pics on day 1 and I asked her to email them to me. I am going to try to take a couple with my phone and I also want to picture Cheyenne and the new igloo home.

Nikita has the most amazingly beautiful green eyes. Her face is just so pretty. But she scares very easily.

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 02:45 PM

69. Nothing to add to all the terrific advice. Just a (((hug))) to you for your new kitty

 

Pictures please soon!



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Response to riderinthestorm (Reply #69)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 03:57 PM

74. Thanks for the hug (from all of us) but I need to get my confidence level up

I am going to try to post pictures soon.

Thanks for posting on this thread.

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 03:13 PM

72. microchipped?

 

Ask the vet to check if she's microchipped, in case she is genuinely lost and not dumped.

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Response to RILib (Reply #72)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 03:56 PM

73. I never thought of that

but I did hear that a woman way up the street who had a lot of cats, I mean a lot, was evicted. She opened the door and let all the cats out. There are a number of them up around the other end of the street. I have seen 3 around here, including Nikita.

I am going to take pictures soon and post on this thread.

Thanks for posting.

Sam

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Response to RILib (Reply #72)

Sun Mar 3, 2013, 10:11 AM

109. excellent reminder for all pet owners

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Response to Samantha (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 07:09 PM

75. Our cat was a stray "outdoor"cat - now is a totally indoor cat

Our cat just showed up one night in a storm, meowing at our door. We had 2 large dogs at the time and lived on a rented house in the middle of farmland. We took the cat in immediately and then called our cat owner friend for advice.

The first several months our cat (Scout) stayed outside but came back for dinner or to sleep, eventually spending more and more time indoors. When we moved back to MN, he had to be an inside cat because now we lived in town with roads and traffic. At our current rental house, the transition was tough - he ripped Scout-butt sized holes in all our screen windows and kept escaping - only to end up back at the front door crying to get back in.

Our cat now has no desire to go outside (other than a sniff or too) and has lived with 4 large dogs - he is 14 yrs old now.

An outside cat can definitely become an indoor cat. Good luck to you!

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Response to Samantha (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 07:21 PM

76. Cats pick their owners, and she chose you.

Congratulations on your new friend!

Don't buy flea products until you see a vet. A lot of the flea products in stores are toxic, the vet will treat her for worms and fleas and tell you what to get.

The vet will check if she's got a chip. If she doesn't have a chip and you want to chip her, you might be able to get it done free or cheaper at the Humane Society or ASPCA or county than the vet.

They instinctively know to use litter boxes, no training needed.

They don't like being in carriers, but there's a pheremone spray which works really well.

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Response to bananas (Reply #76)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 08:53 PM

80. Thank you for all your information

Here is the progress I have made this evening. It started to snow slightly and I ran out to the local pet store. I spent about an hour looking at "shelters" but then realized I couldn't afford the proper ones. I then went just to the cat section and I found a dome type creation that was suppose to be a litter box. However, it looks like an igloo and has a round opening in the front. It looks like it would do well shielding her from the wind. I brought it home and lined it with a rug type throw, and then I put another blanket on top. It is very cozy. I put the first blanket I had put out on the porch in front of the "house" in case she does not go in it.

I feel like I can improve on this setup from tips I have gotten on this thread should the weather take a turn for the worse. It only snowed lightly and is back into the 40s now.

The best thing is that this can be converted back to a litter box if she moves inside. I am conflicted about the information I gathered today. It does appear that her right ear has been "tipped" but it is hard to tell. If that is true, my neighbor across the street told me this County just passed a law that instead of euthanizing feral cats, they neuter them, tip the ear and immediately release them back on the street to rejoin their colony. If a cat's ear is tipped it is ineligible for adoption. I don't know what monkey-wrench that might throw into the works if I can get her to move inside. Will no vet treat her they would any other domesticated cat?

The woman at the pet shop told me never to touch a cat that had been living outside. Besides the usual yada-yada-yada all reviewed above, she said cats that live outside could be -- I am going to get this close but wrong -- the feline equivalent of HIV infected. That can spread to humans and other animals. She advised me not to pick up the cat, but when I came home I continued to pet her with gloves on. She prefers that anyway because she likes the thickness of the gloves rubbing her back.

I also got kitty litter in case I do end up converting the "shelter." So I feel at least somewhat prepared for anything inside and out. I could not touch base with the PAWS lady, and I will be trying again tomorrow. I am going to tell her I want the cat tested for any and all diseases. I don't know if she will help with that if that ear is tipped. Also, if the ear is tipped, Nikita is obviously not pregnant, just getting bigger because she is not scavenging for food and I have been overfeeding her. I cut that back this evening.

This igloo type construction can also be used as a cat carrier if I get to take her to the vet for the testing. I will know more after I talk to the PAWS lady. It has a handle on top and a lid for the front opening, which ventilation on the sides can be activated if the front door is shut! So this item cost $32.00 and can be used for 3 different purposes I believe. I feel good about this.

I was so excited about the new "house" I could not wait to get home. So when I found she was not on the porch or under the bushes beside the house, I felt let down. I walked down the street and called her name but nothing. Just as I came back inside the house, I saw her running toward the porch! She knows my voice and she knows her name!

I could not get Nikita to go into the house, but I left her alone with it for awhile. I am thinking of finding a small bowl and putting some of her food in it and placing it inside the new home.

I will be getting some pictures some soon.

I just wanted to update everyone who has been helping me on this thread, and thank you for posting your info.

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Reply #80)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 09:59 PM

83. Is it possible the cat suffered frostbite on her ear

& that is why it appears tipped? I hate to say it but the woman at the pet shop is full of hooey! The only time a cat can transmit the feline aid virus is to another cat. NOT to a human and not to a dog. I think she was trying to scare you into possibly buying a cat from her? If your cat is showing no signs of illness you are probably safe till you see a vet. The other possible diseases she might possibly transmit to your dog is Distemper or rabies which being a responsible animal owner I am sure your dog is already vaccinated against both. The vet will want a poop sample asap to check for worms. The only way your dog is going to get worms from this cat is if s/he eats cat poop. As far as fleas are concerned look carefully around her nipples and on the belly fur near the groin. If you see little black dots or smudges in the fur she might have fleas. The only other contagious thing I can think of is ear mites which leaves very dark almost black looking wax in the ear canal. Relax & don't let all this scare you. As someone who has taken in strays for over 45 years I have never had a stray infect any of my house pets. Oh yes and have her vaccinated for feline leukemia since she has been around other cats. I can't remember if the vet tests for that first or not. Mine didn't

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Response to Frosty1 (Reply #83)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 10:42 PM

87. You have hit on my exact problem

I am told so many things and I don't have the ability to separate the truth from fiction. I can't pick Nikita up yet but I think the day is coming when I might be able too. I have only been able to pet her with two hands the last couple of days. She still scares very easily. She is not yet totally comfortable, but she makes baby step progress every day (and you might say that about me as well). We just came back from another walk -- I took Cheyenne out -- and once again she followed us. This has happened three or four times now, and it is very amusing. She is not yet comfortable with Cheyenne, but she makes progress with this everyday. So it is complicated (like the movie!).

That is amazing you have taken in strays for 45 years and never had a stray infect any of your house pets. It sounds like from the people I have talked to this happens more often than not.

My best friend, when I first told her about the cat, started telling me not to pick it up and not to let it near Cheyenne. She told me a story about her friend in Pennsylvania who had 10 cats which stayed in a barn. Someone dumped 3 more cats on her property. So Carol, the friend, just felt she had no choice but to let them live in the barn as well. One of the cats had feline pneumonia, and all 13 cats died from that. All of them. You mentioned feline leukemia. I didn't even know about that.

This is a work in progress. Tonight I have been trying to coax Nikita into her new igloo home. No success yet. I think I have to put something in it to attract her to go inside. Maybe some of her food (I don't really like that idea) or perhaps a cat toy.

So what is the complete list I should have the cat vaccinated for, and I am thinking I can't do them all at once.

I have never even spotted Nikita's poop. It must be out there under the bushes somewhere. I guess I will have to keep an eye out.

About the frostbite question, I don't know. It looks like the procedure my neighbor described for marking feral cats, but it is so slight, and upon closer inspection, the white hair on the tip is growing back and it makes the ear look pointed, but if you look very closely, it is just hair. So the PAWS lady is going to have to check that too and tell me if she has been marked as feral. I don't know the ramifications of that, but my neighbor said adoption is out for cats so marked. So if that is true, I don't even know if a vet would accept her as a patient and treat her like a normal pet. So is so much to learn here, at least for me.

Thanks for all of your wonderful advice.

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Reply #87)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 11:29 PM

98. While a marked cat may not be adoptable from an organization like paws or a shelter

It would not prevent you from taking a cat and giving it a home on your own. I think the basic first time shots
for cats are:

Core Vaccines
FVRCP (feline viral rhinotracheitis (herpes), calicivirus and panleukopenia). First shot administered at 6-8 weeks of age. Series administered every two-three weeks until 12 weeks of age. Boosters given at 1 year of age, then once every three years.

Rabies virus. First shot administered at 4 months of age. Boosters given every one to three years, depending on type of vaccine and requirements stipulated by local rabies regulations.

Non-Core Vaccines
FeLV (feline leukemia virus). First shot administered at 8 weeks of age. Second in series administered at 11 weeks of age. Boosters given once every one to three years
FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus). First shot administered at 8 weeks of age. Series administered at 10-11 weeks of age, and 12-13 weeks of age. Boosters given annually.

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Response to Frosty1 (Reply #98)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 11:41 PM

99. You are an absolute wealth of information

and I can't thank you enough. I am going to keep doing what I am doing regardless of whether I am allowed to adopt the cat legally or not. I just don't know if a vet will treat a cat like a pet instead of rejecting it as feral if he or she sees that mark. But I will keep this schedule, hoping for the best, and I really, really appreciate your taking the time to respond.

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Reply #99)

Sun Mar 3, 2013, 09:50 AM

108. Um Cats aren't people

There is no such thing as "legally adopting" a stray. The shelters use the term adoption loosely to disguise the fact that you are in fact "buying" an animal from them. The only laws involved are their rules which may vary from organization to organization. Be careful if that nice PAWS lady offers to "let" you adopt the cat who it appears has already adopted you. (especially if there is money involved) A vet will treat any animal if you are willing to pay for that treatment. It doesn't matter if the cat is feral or tame.

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Response to Frosty1 (Reply #108)

Sun Mar 3, 2013, 04:10 PM

116. Thanks - I have really been wondering about that

Regarding "adopting" I have papers for my dog and I guess I slipped up there. I have never had a cat until now.

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Reply #87)

Wed Mar 6, 2013, 06:22 PM

151. feline pneumonia

 

I assume you mean feline respiratory disease. Cats who get antibiotic care 99.99% of the time do not die from that. It woulds like the barn lady did not do anything to help her cats when disease broke out.

But from your description, Nikita does not have any signs of this.

I think you are perhaps worrying too much about potential diseases, esp. since you have a dog, not another cat (or do you? Did I miss that?)

I would be much happier if Nikita was seen by a good vet, but I understand that getting her there is a problem for you.


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Response to RILib (Reply #151)

Wed Mar 6, 2013, 09:30 PM

154. I haven't seen any signs except a little scratching

but it is not an excessive amount that would point to fleas.

Yes, I am a worry wort, but most of that centers around Cheyenne. I worry because she is so use to having the run of the house and I don't want to disturb the confidence I worked so hard to rebuilt in her after she lost her sight. She has just recently gotten to the point where she is acting like her former self. But I have taken care to call her up to the screen door when Nikita is there, and I pointedly steer Nikita to the door to "sniff" it. I think both are sort of starting to feel a comfort level, but there is still a little distance to go.

Yes, there is a problem getting her to the vet. I cannot pick her up yet, but I do have a carrier now. She is very skittish. Getting to the point where I can pet her with both hands has taken over a week. If I just tried to grab her, I think out of fear she would scratch at me and do her best to jump out of my arms. Something like that might derail the work that has been done up until this point, and I am trying to let her decide when she feels comfortable enough to allow me to do that.

Things have been much, much better since the day I realized that I don't have to move from zero to the finish line in 24 hours. I am very calm around her, and she senses that and is likewise calming down around me. And so each day, we make progress. This is the best I can do.

Sam

PS No, I don't have other cats to answer your question. I have never owned a cat and know nothing about them, except what good DU'ers have taught me here. But Nikita was hanging around a group of cats that have sought refuge under my neighbor's house foundation. I don't know anything about any of them, but I don't see anyone helping them out. I would like to get to the point where this house is her only refuge so she doesn't get exposed to something. I think she went there last night after refusing to come into the house here or to sleep in her shelter I put in place....

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Response to Samantha (Reply #80)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 10:26 PM

86. feline equivalent of HIV infected. That can spread to humans and other animals

No, it can only be spread to other cats. Usually when they fight and since you don't have another cat this shouldn't concern you.

The same thing happened to me about three weeks ago. Hubby open the garage door and in popped a cat. Never saw the cat before and took her to the vet to see if she had a microchip. Of course, not. Then put up a craiglist ad to see if anyone lost a cat. Of course, not. Background information I already have 4 cats and 4 dogs.

Daughter was visiting from New Jersey and tells me she will take the new cat. Who is as sweet as can be. So I take her to the vet because she looks rather "full" and surprise, after the 100 dollar bill for the x-ray, she's now pregnant. So daughter left without the cat but she can't deal with a cat with kittens.

SO, the end of this story and you won't like it but she has an appt on Tuesday morning for an abortion and spay. The cost in 310 dollars but I don't trust giving kittens away. Not to mention my male corgi dog makes me nervous around the new cat, forget kittens. Then when she is all fixed up in a few weeks she will fly to live in her new home in New Jersey.

This is the second animal in the past few years that have been dumped in my neighborhood and how they keep finding my house , I will never know.

Good luck and if you need anything let me know.

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Response to Corgigal (Reply #86)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 10:53 PM

89. Thanks for all your info and I did learn from reading one of the links a poster supplied

that a cat can be fixed while it is pregnant. That is amazing to me. I thought an abortion would automatically have to happen. Not so. I am learning a lot with the help of DU cat-savvy people! But I am not going to be critical about anyone else's decisions. I am pro-choice all the way around. It is wonderful you are helping the cat. I don't feel reluctant to letting Nikita have the litter if she is in fact pregnant because I used to breed dogs and I trained all the newborns by the time they were four weeks, and I put them all in wonderful homes. I told everyone who adopted one of my pups they could always bring it back, regardless of how long they had the dog or regardless of the reason. No one every took me up on that offer. I think I can handle a litter, but I would have her fixed asap if she is not now. (There are complications which you would have to read most of the thread to understand the confusion over this issue).

And thank you for your offer.

Regards,

Sam

PS It really is amazing. The woman at the Pet Store (PetCo) told me that pregnant workers in vets' offices were never allowed to handle feral or stray cats because of threat of contacting that feral equivalent of HIV. I just never know who is shooting off their mouth or what. Thanks for straightening me out on that one.

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Response to Samantha (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 07:49 PM

77. A cat used to come by my place, and I wasn't sure what its

situation was. It looked neglected to me, so I opened a can tuna and gave it to the cat. One of my friends told me I shouldn't have done that, but I didn't want to see the cat suffer, and I was too poor to go buy it some cat food. I still gave it a can of tuna once in a while, despite the advice I had received. I don't know if it was a bad choice, but I know I don't feel like a jerk for sharing my food with a neglected-looking animal.

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Response to ZombieHorde (Reply #77)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 11:06 PM

92. That is the whole problem when people tell you not to feed a hungry animal

which is what happened to me when I asked my neighbors on this street for advice. I soon learned to ask, what is the alternative, let the animal starve to death? So I fed the cat and am now off on this journey. You are cut from the same cloth, and I don't know if a cat can have tuna from the can or not, but I am sure you did what you could. I have learned one can buy a nice size bag of kitty food for $5.00. I also got some cans of wet food for 69 cents per can. She loves both.

I thought she would be considered a kitty because she looked small. Now I think she is about 9 months old. She is a very lovable cat, and I hope I can do right by her. It just is going to take time.

Thank you so much for sharing your experience.

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 07:58 PM

78. Feliway pheromone comfort spray for the carrier

This stuff is amazing. We used to not use a carrier, but decided a carrier was safer, especially after he got spooked by a lawn mower and hid under a house for an hour. He really hated being in the carrier and would claw the bars. With the spray, he still doesn't like going in the carrier, but once he's in, he's fine.

http://www.sfgate.com/pets/article/Nervous-cat-Pheromone-sprays-can-work-3212688.php

http://www.feliway.com/us

http://www.petco.com/product/100221/Comfort-Zone-Spray-with-Feliway-for-Cats.aspx

http://www.petsmart.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2755196

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dpets&field-keywords=Feliway+spray

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Response to Samantha (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 09:00 PM

81. very happy nikita found you!

and if she is about to have kittens, i know you will handle this in a good way, too.

you are kind and good - trust your instincts as much as she trusts you

my kitty, chloe, is a found kitty and we have had her for 13 1/2 years. her love and companionship are a huge plus for us.

fresh water every day. don't be alarmed if she moves her kittens after having them...38 degrees is very cold and will be hard on the kittens' immune systems. even my kitty gets a runny nose and gunk in her eyes when it is below 65 degrees indoors. but, she is a rescue from arizona and we now live in the pacific northwest.

may the force be with you.

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Response to hopemountain (Reply #81)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 11:08 PM

93. I love these nice stories

Thank you for sharing. I am giving it my best shot here and hoping for the best of results. it is just going to take time.

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 10:17 PM

84. The woman in the pet store is so very, very wrong

As was said upthread, Feline AIDS is FELINE. It would only be worry for other cats. And as far as handling a cat that's been living outside, I guess technically there's some risk,but people do it all the time. Every cat person eventually adopts at least one stray who starts hanging around the house. We've had at least two, one of which is still with us. Which brings me to another point. The cat we have now was abandoned as a young adult. He was afraid to come into our house. He was terrified of our other pets. So we let him live in the garage and fed him there for a while. He got thinner and thinner. Other cats were coming around and eating his food. Finally we just picked him up and brought him in and made him stay here. Now he's a tad chunky if anything, but even though he resisted and he's still leary of dogs I think he'd agree that it was all for the best.

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Response to union_maid (Reply #84)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 10:50 PM

88. That;s how I ended up

 

with 8 cats. Two were pregnant when they came to me. Picked them up, showed them food dish, water dish and litter box. Within the week all was ok.

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Response to 840high (Reply #88)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 11:24 PM

96. What happened within that first week

You need to prepare me. And thanks! Did they scratch up your furniture? I am looking now for one of those cat scratchers. I saw one I really liked for $12.00. I am going back to get it soon. Spent most of my disposable income earlier at a pet store for the shelter, the litter, and some food. I am on an extremely tight budget.

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Reply #96)

Sun Mar 3, 2013, 12:43 AM

104. Well, yes

Our furniture is pretty much shredded, more from the cat that's always lived inside. They have cool things for cats to scratch on now, though. Better than they used to. Those old hemp or carpet covered scratching posts were just something for the kitties to ignore, but there are better choices now. All those things do get expensive, but I bet there are people here who are a lot smarter than I am who'll have solutions for you.

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Response to Samantha (Reply #96)

Sun Mar 3, 2013, 02:16 PM

113. There was some hissing and

 

posturing. Within days all calmed down. A scratching post is good - make sure i's stable and won't tip over. Put a bit of catnip on it and kitty will be attracted.

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Response to union_maid (Reply #84)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 11:20 PM

95. Thank you for this story

I think a lot of people here would just pick Nikita up and bring her in. But she startles very easily. Although people say I have made amazing progress with her inasmuch as she allows me to pet her, she comes up to me and rubs against my legs - but if I unexpectedly sneeze, she jumps way in the air and off the porch. She needs more time to learn to trust me. Today I learned that when she scares, I can say it's okay, Nikita, it's okay, and she will calm down and come back on the porch. I just don't know what would happen if Cheyenne did something to startle her (my nearly-blind dog) and I was out of the house on an errand. I think she would instinctively reach out and claw her, but I don't know. Cheyenne is now 12 and has lived with me in this house since she was 10 weeks. So part of this process is getting Nikita and Cheyenne accustomed to each other so that they might live in peaceful coexistence. Cheyenne doesn't have an aggressive bone in her body, but she does bump into things.

I don't know about that woman in that pet store. I think she might have had another agenda. I kept mentioning PAWS (which does not euthanize animals) and she kept telling me I should be working with the animal rescue organization of the County. I have heard some really bad things about that organization, and good friend of mine had an appalling experience with them when he tried to rescue a Yellow Lab which had been put out on the street and nearly hit by a car. They kept insisting he was a Pit Bull (which are banned in PG County) and they said he had to be euthanized. I was so upset by their stupidity I told my friend he had to do some amateur detective work and track down the original owner to get the dog's records. This he amazingly managed to do (to save the dog's life and to adopt him!) and he found out from the original vet that the doctor too could not imagine anyone mistaking this wonderful yellow lab for a pit bull. He turned over all the dog's records and my friend was able to get the dog a reprieve from the needle. After about a month, they allowed him to adopt the dog. So I am not beating a path to their door for any reason.

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Original post)

Sat Mar 2, 2013, 11:29 PM

97. cats

the most important thing with cats is to dress them up in little cat costumes and become a crazy cat lady

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Response to lostcat (Reply #97)

Sun Mar 3, 2013, 12:11 AM

101. lol - absolutely!!

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Response to Samantha (Original post)

Sun Mar 3, 2013, 12:13 AM

102. She will hide those kittens.

When she appears for food, sequester her. When you let her go, she'll make a bee-line to her brood.

Give up; you're smitten.

I've been adopted by a dozen cats over 40 years. First and now last came as mis-guided teenagers, i.e. preggers.

I leave them dry food 24/7. Will not buy the cheapest, nor the most expensive. I let visitors split a can for the two each weekend. They love visitors and rub them more than they rub me. Plus I got them to feed 'em.

We fed kittens Gerber's baby dry mixed with heated milk. A little on the nose and the tongue would let them know they like it.

Cottage cheese is good food, plus it keeps your supply fresh. My current two don't like milk stuffs. Go figure.

Good luck.

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Response to Festivito (Reply #102)

Sun Mar 3, 2013, 01:16 AM

105. You are right, I am smitten

I was from the first moment I saw her. And I could not believe she was not too far from me, looking me in the eyes and meowing away. It was like she was obviously trying to tell me something. It was a magical moment really for me; I learned to love cats.

Thank you for contributing to this thread. I appreciate all info I get.

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Reply #105)

Tue Mar 5, 2013, 01:04 AM

122. If you make a warm comfy secluded place for her

she will probably have her kittens there. When my first cat was pregnant, I'd heard stories of cats having kittens under beds and other inconvenient places. I made a cozy place with a blanket for her on the floor of my closet. I took her in there a few times so she knew it was there. Sure enough, one Saturday morning she had her kittens there.

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Response to TexasBushwhacker (Reply #122)

Fri Mar 8, 2013, 08:52 PM

169. I missed this post but you have an excellent idea

Thank you.

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Original post)

Sun Mar 3, 2013, 11:25 AM

110. They say I have to enter a subject.

Yeah, that pet store woman was all kinds of wrong. Feline leukemia (feline AIDS) is most definitely not transmittable to humans or dogs, and most definitely not transmittable even to a cat by the touch of a human. By the way, the shots they have now will protect a cat from it for as long as three years.

From your first post: "I asked at the pet store what kind of treats do cats eat, and I was told I could give her the treats I was buying for my dog - sweet potato fries." That right there should have told you you were not dealing with a reliable source of information at the pet store. Shit, I wouldn't even give a dog sweet potato fries.

You seem to me to be quite intelligent, with excellent instincts. Your biggest hurdle right now seems to be a lack of confidence.

The vet who helped your friend with his Lab seems to be a good, competent vet and a good person. That's who I'd take Nikita to, if possible. As soon as possible. And by all means stick with PAWS.

Now I have a couple of questions. What makes you so sure Nikita is a female? Do you know how to tell the difference between a female cat and a male cat? My feral cat Magic (male) was once befriended by what I thought could only be a female, who'd abandoned "her" "home" down the street to hang around our place all the time. When "Jenny" went into what I thought was labor, and appeared to be having a hard time with it, I took "her" to an emergency veterinary clinic. There I was informed that "Jenny" was in fact a "Joey", and had problems voiding his urine. Thus the "difficult labor".

My current cats, twin tuxedos, Dude and Daphne, were advertised on a pet adoption site - C.A.T.S. - with the one I now call Daphne listed as male, and Dude listed as female. It wasn't until their vet came to undo their neutering stitches that it was determined who was which.

Another question: Are you determined to make Nikita a strictly indoor cat? I know, I know. The common wisdom these days, propagated especially by vets online, is that indoor cats live longer than indoor/outdoor cats. To which I call horseshit. As I've said, my feral indoor/outdoor cat Magic lived to the ripe old age of 18. The trick is to go outside with your cat. You've already done this. Nikita's walked with you and Cheyenne. She's far less likely than a strictly indoor cat to be accidentally let out of the house and freak. She gets roads and traffic and dogs. She's not likely to get run over by a car, as so many poor ignorant-of-the-outside cats are wont to do. (I'm thinking of a gorgeous loveable indoor cat (not mine) named Mystery who accidentally got out and promptly got run over by a car). The litter box is fine, but why shouldn't she enjoy the outside, as you and Cheyenne do?

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Response to dudeanddaphne (Reply #110)

Sun Mar 3, 2013, 01:08 PM

112. I don't have answers to your questions because I just do not know

I can't imagine bringing her into the house and never allowing her out again. So I am holding off on bringing her in because of Cheyenne. I have to be sure they can peacefully co-exist. In case you haven't read the entire thread, Cheyenne is blind.

Nikita knows this street, I am learning. She must have been outside for at least some time. My best hope is that she can be both if that is what she wants.

Do I know for sure she is a female? I was pretty sure when the PAWS lady said she was pretty sure Nikita was pregnant. But she was standing back and didn't really get a close look.

If you have a moment, perhaps you can take a look at the pictures I just posted and focus on her right ear. Has that ear been tipped?

More later and thank you so much for the info.

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Original post)

Sun Mar 3, 2013, 12:56 PM

111. Good morning -- here are some pictures Nikita and Cheyenne wanted to send you

Last edited Tue Mar 5, 2013, 01:21 AM - Edit history (2)

Nikita takes a step to finding a new home


I think I might like it here


Is that a shelter just for me?
?t=1362328364

Maybe I can have someone take a look at my right ear while I am here.


Here's a different perspective on that ear


Cheyenne asks: could someone wake me when this is all over?



To all the DU posters who helped me on this thread, here are some pictures I snapped. Sorry they are not better. I am hoping someone will take a close look at that right ear and let me know if this is what a tipped ear looks like to mark a feral cat.

Thanks you for all the tips and info you took the time to give me.

Sam

PS And the best news is when I went out for the last time to say goodnight, Nikita was sleeping in her new bed! I need to try to get a picture of that for you.

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Response to Samantha (Reply #111)

Sun Mar 3, 2013, 06:09 PM

117. Very Nice

They are both adorable. Good Job Samantha.

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Response to Frosty1 (Reply #117)

Sun Mar 3, 2013, 07:39 PM

118. The pictures do not do Nikita justice

I missed the best one -- when I went out last night and she was in her new "house." Her sweet little face just looked up at me through the doorway, and I once again thought how beautiful she is. This does not show in those pictures, but the camera scares her. I will get some great ones so you can see for yourself.

In the meantime, Cheyenne and she were five inches apart out on the porch and neither gave it a second thought.

Did you by any chance look at that right ear? I was hoping someone here would comment on whether that was tipped?

Talk to you later.

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Reply #111)

Tue Mar 5, 2013, 12:48 AM

121. if you delete the "th_"

from your links the pix will be full size



ear looks marked to me, but it could be a tear that was just very straight

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Response to Samantha (Reply #111)

Tue Mar 5, 2013, 04:25 PM

138. I've never seen the notch that large when a vet marks the ears on a feral

 

I've taken in a LOT of cats to be vaxxed, spayed and/or neutered and the notch is usually pretty small. That one is very severe if you ask me. I find it very hard to believe a vet would have taken that much off... the past 5 cats I've taken in you could hardly see tell the difference.



Nikita's very pretty! Her new house looks perfect.

You are doing beautifully!

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Response to riderinthestorm (Reply #138)

Wed Mar 6, 2013, 06:27 PM

153. I've seen large notches, like the top 1/4 of the ear.

 

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Response to riderinthestorm (Reply #138)

Thu Mar 7, 2013, 12:47 AM

155. It looks very similar to the V notch another poster illustrated in this thread

but looks are deceiving in the picture. The V part is smaller than it looks in the picture because the color of the ear makes it look so. The very top of that ear is white. What does not show is the white hairs growing above what looks like a V. What I am trying to say, but not doing so very clearly, is that the gray part makes the V stop where it does not. The white hairs are short but not even discernible in that snapshot. But it is not a straight cut as everyone has said it should have been. So I don't know. The vet will have to let me know.

But here is another thing. When a cat is spayed, how anatomically is the approach made? Sorry about that question. I see what looks like two small stitches, one on either side right below her tail. It is not dirt -- it really does look like two neat small stitches exactly the same size on either side.

I wish I were doing well, but check out the post at the end of this thread in a few minutes. Something has happened that I have no idea how to handle.

Thanks for all your help.

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Reply #155)

Thu Mar 7, 2013, 12:59 PM

159. A ragged notch would be very atypical if done by a vet. Pretty unlikely if you ask me

 

As for the stitches you are seeing, those would not be related to a spay site. Female cats have a straight incision right on the abdomen. Its a pretty clear line/scar right in the center of their belly.

I replied to your new problem downthread. Hope you can find a solution....

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Response to riderinthestorm (Reply #159)

Thu Mar 7, 2013, 08:41 PM

162. The events of today

I emailed the picture to the PAWS rep here locally. She first said it was the tip mark; they remove the actual tip of the ear. But then she saw it was the right ear, and this procedure is usually done to the left. She emailed the picture to another person, who said that was a tip mark. So now we are going back to see if the person who rounded up the cats (trapped them and delivered them to the vet) has any paperwork; if he does not, the PAWS rep will contact the vet. This might lead nowhere if the vet didn't do any paperwork. I don't know if that is typical or not, the paperwork in the event of a mass feral roundup....

Thank you. I am going to check that post you submitted after this one.

Sam

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Response to riderinthestorm (Reply #159)

Fri Mar 8, 2013, 07:44 PM

166. Thank you, I have never seen her stomach

Going to check out your post below now.

BTW, if you have read the comments on this thread about the amount of food I should be giving her, if she were pregnant, would you think she would be needing more? I have cut back to the recommended amount of one-half cup dry cat food, and I do give her a little bit more at night. I no longer leave any food out unless if I am there standing watch to keep the Big Gray away.

But she is coming to my door and whining, and I know she wants more. What do you think? Do cats have increased appetites when they are pregnant?

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Original post)

Tue Mar 5, 2013, 12:46 AM

120. All the tipped ears I've seen

are straight across. It looks like she got a chunk out of her ear in a fight.

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Response to kurtzapril4 (Reply #120)

Tue Mar 5, 2013, 01:05 AM

123. She will not let anyone else near her, even the PAWS lady

I took the pictures to show to her. I don't know what she is going to say. But I bent down and looked at it very closely. The "tear" is not ragged. It does look like a "V" but maybe the cat turned her head when the procedure was being done??? What is not readily apparent is that the whole shape is distorted from the distance because there are very short white hairs (standing straight up) lining the entire shape.

So I am not sure, but thanks for offering your take on it. I hope to find out soon.

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Reply #123)

Tue Mar 5, 2013, 01:21 AM

124. Keep us updated.

 

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Response to Samantha (Reply #123)

Tue Mar 5, 2013, 01:51 PM

134. Hi Samantha

I have a former feral cat here, her name is Missus. She was born, and lived outside, for her first two years. When she got pregnant the 2nd time, after the kittens were born, we trapped her and the kittens, and installed her and her family in their very own room. When the kittens were weaned, we had her spayed, and her ear tipped, and released her. A few months later, she was still hanging around (we kept two of her kittens, Sake and Vodka), and we thought, what the hell, lets bring her in. So we re-trapped her, and brought her into the den, where it took a full year before she'd let us touch her. Taming a cat that is truly feral can take many months, but it can be done! Anyway, after we put her back in "population," her sons had forgotten who she was, and Vodka got into a few good fights with her, and notched her ear.

The ear on your left is the one that Vodka ripped. You can see that it healed into a very smooth "V." The ear on your right is the one that is tipped for ID purposes when one does Trap, Neuter, and Release, which I don't agree with doing, but that's a whole other post.

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Response to kurtzapril4 (Reply #120)

Tue Mar 5, 2013, 01:22 AM

125. ah, I did not know that

this is definitely v-shaped, I was kind of going by livestock (cattle especially) markings

I have never actually seen an ear-marked cat, although my Mamakitty has a small hole/peircing from another cat's fang. I am always tempted to try putting an earring in it (but I don't like fishhooks embedded in my hands so have never tried)

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Response to Samantha (Original post)

Tue Mar 5, 2013, 01:43 AM

126. I have not read all your answers but here is something from experiences

that I have had.

Laying on the couch next to me as I type this is a feral cat that lived at my barn for about 6 years. He would never let me get closer than about 20 feet. I left food out for him every day for all those years and then one day he came closer to me. Now he is in my house with my other 2 cats and 4 dogs. Just saying. This cat has apparently chosen you and trusts you pretty darned well if you can get this close to it.

If it is indeed an outside cat it should do fine. Still I would provide her with shelter of some kind. Even a med. sized cardboard box covered with something to keep it dry with the blanket inside would be helpful until you can figure something better out.

I suspect your dog will not hassle the cat since she is almost blind, the cat may feel differently so I would be more worried about a curious dog getting smacked than a scared cat.

If you make the cat comfortable enough she will live in your house. Wet food since you have it is OK. Mine transitioned slowly from the wet I used to make friends with him to dry and is perfectly happy with it now.

I would worry about the babies in the cold but I bet mama will know what to do. Try to get her into a safe, dry and warmer place.

Bless your heart for being kind enough to care. I wish everyone did, I would no longer spend a fortune every year on the farm neutering stray cats that get dumped here. I feed them and neuter them and wish like hell I could save them all.

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Response to MuseRider (Reply #126)

Tue Mar 5, 2013, 08:35 AM

127. Something not mentioned

In my past I lived on the edge of the city in a house on a cul-de-sac and ended up with many drop-offs. At one point we had 20 cats and kittens living with us. Some preferred the outdoor life but stuck around for the food and companionship of the tribe. Most of them stayed indoors in the attached garage that had plenty of access to the outdoors. Our observation of these over time was that some were much more comfortable up in the rafters, while others were always 'under' something. In our attempts of understanding cats we determined that there are, in the wild, 'Tree' cats and 'Cave' cats and that is where they are most comfortable.

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Response to OxQQme (Reply #127)

Tue Mar 5, 2013, 10:16 AM

129. Interesting.

That would explain why the black cat that hangs out here on the farm can be seen almost all the time in the trees sitting on a long branch watching the world go by. I always figured he was just smarter and knew he could visualize more prey from there. Maybe in addition to that he is a Tree cat. I never thought of it like that but since we are on a farm the cats out here usually do not have a lot of good contact with each other. Right now I have an orange and white cat, never had one of those, that is wanting in the house. We simply cannot house one more animal so he can hang out all he wants, I have shelters for them if they want them and food, but he will not be a house cat. He could be a garage cat but he has not attempted that yet. The other cats I see now and again. I am not the only person who feeds them.

I know that people here and others think that this is a bad thing because of the damage cats do to the bird population and this is true sadly, very true, but I don't know how a person could possibly turn them away. These cats are almost 99% not going to become house cats or be adoptable. How could they ever turn them away to certain death just because another human was not responsible?

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Response to MuseRider (Reply #129)

Tue Mar 5, 2013, 10:46 AM

130. That is what I don't understand as well

I don't understand how any decent human being can ignore that an animal is starving to death. Despite all my neighbors telling me not to feed the cat, I did so because I am not barbaric. Additionally, I have no desire to morph into that kind of person that can ignore the desperate needs of either an animal or a human being. If I were, I would become a Republican and fit right in!

Thank you for posting your info on this thread. I like learning all I can about cats. I started out with zero knowledge, and I have picked access to a lot of information from both posters here who are indeed cat savvy, and through reading the links they have supplied.

I am a better person for it.

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Reply #130)

Tue Mar 5, 2013, 12:22 PM

131. Sounds to me like

you were already a pretty damned fine person to begin with.

Don't get too huffy about it, your new cat will show you that you are only here to provide for her highness and THAT is how it should be, lol. <----joke just in case someone thinks I was being mean to you, I am not and if they don't have cats they may not get it.

If I had all the money back that I have spent feeding mangy coyotes trying to nurse them through that nasty disease, racoons, possums...you name it, I could have a pretty good indoor arena for my horses to be warm and toasty in. I vet them all if I can, neuter every single one even if I know they belong to the lady down the road who never neuters or vaccinates her cats and that is why they turn up starving, dead and by the 20's on my doorstep.

It is impossible for me to ignore this.

I am the future "cat" lady of my little tiny village. Kids, don't go to her farm, who knows what lurks there with that odd lady (she NEVER kills anything ) I will be proud!

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Response to Samantha (Original post)

Tue Mar 5, 2013, 08:56 AM

128. My favorite cat in the world found us...

He lived with us for 12 years and brought a lot of joy and companionship.

right now we have 4 cats, three of them are Sib's and one was a rescue.

I love having the cats around. They listen to me and kind of follow me around the house....

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Response to Samantha (Original post)

Tue Mar 5, 2013, 12:29 PM

132. YAY!

I see she now has a name, and igloo and a new bed and most importantly someone who loves her. You have no idea how happy this makes me and probably everyone on this forum.

You will never lack for a buddy now. Rescued cats, dogs as well but in my experience cats even more so, are devoted beyond measure. As long as she lives you will be hers and she will love you every day.

This is just smiley news and I am so happy to have read about your very short journey from no cat to one very grateful and loving cat for life.

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Response to MuseRider (Reply #132)

Tue Mar 5, 2013, 01:28 PM

133. Thank you, MuseRider

I couldn't have done it without you guys, so take a bow.

I am going to get a kitty litter box. I have the kitty litter. We are supposed to get a storm, and I want to at least know I can bring her in if it gets bad. I have already purchased the kitty litter, but do you have any recommendations for the litter box? I will need to take a crash course on how to maintain these, how often they should be emptied, and how they should be cleaned.

I am also going to get one of those items she can scratch her paws on to file down her nails. (This is for my furniture!) She currently does this on a tree.

So I feel better because it seems each day, we both take a step. She has learned that if she sits in front of the closed door, or even from her igloo home, if she lets out a loud meow, I will come running. Both times there has been nothing wrong. I think she is training me!

Still got to handle the flea situation and worm thing next. Waiting for PAWs lady to get back to me re ear tip/injury.

So maybe adopting a cat is like any other relationship. I probably stressed over this because I thought I had to resolve all issues asap. Put now that I am letting the relationship evolve naturally and just taking the next step, I am starting to settle down. So is she.

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Reply #133)

Tue Mar 5, 2013, 02:09 PM

135. Thank you for helping her!

 

As for the litter box, my main recommendation is to get clumping litter (remember to buy a scooper when you get the box). With the clumping kind you can get rid of #1 and #2 and change out the litter much less often (it's more expensive than the regular kind but it lasts much longer and is well worth it). I'd also say the bigger the litter box, the better.

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Response to Samantha (Reply #133)

Tue Mar 5, 2013, 02:11 PM

136. I always buy a big litter box

so they can move around. I have a covered one I really like but not all cats like them. Clean as you see the need. Daily for sure but if you are passing by and it needs it do it. They like them clean I like clumping litter for my 3 but don't use it in the box with the top because I think it gets too dusty when they scratch around. If you keep it clean you do not really need all the smelly stuff and that is also not supposed to be very good for them. I don't really know, I just like to keep it natural as possible and clean. One hint because we live in the country and use septic I can't really flush any of the cat litter stuff. I don't know if you can in the city but if not or if you prefer not to the smell will get overwhelming in the trash. We use doggie bags that you take when you walk your dog and put the litter litter in them. With one cat you should be able to use one for quite a while and they contain the smell and use less plastic than other bags that get too smelly to fill up all the way.

Some cats take a while to get used to the scratching post. All but one of mine were quick to use it the other still has to be watched, lol.

You two will figure it out just fine. Whatever you end up doing will be what works best for the two of you. Relax, she has been out on her own. Anything you do for her will improve her life so much that there is no need to second guess yourself. She will guide you. Vet her as soon as possible, maybe even check for HIV. 2 of mine have HIV and since there is nothing you can do to prevent it in other cats we assume the 3rd one does as well. It requires some careful watching and you would probably not want to get another cat if she is positive or you could adopt another positive cat. I don't know. We are still feeling our way through that. All 3 healthy and fat now so so far so good!

I love these good ending stories.

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Response to MuseRider (Reply #132)

Tue Mar 5, 2013, 08:24 PM

140. We are expecting a storm tonight -- starts late

gathers accumulation tomorrow. The temperature is supposed to be 32 but I don't know with the wind chill factor, how cold it will seem.

So not knowing how things will work out, I did run out and get a kitty litter box. I did get a big one, but I think I do not have the best litter (got that when I bought the igloo shelter). I also got an item she can use to scratch her nails on.

So we are set which ever way it goes.

I heard a noise a little bit ago, a loud cat "protest meow." So I ran to the porch and Nikita was sitting there, but two other cats were chasing each other and making noises. Seemed like they were in a fight. I wasn't sure what Nikita would do; I know she has in the past hung out with these cats. Two cats stopped at my neighbor's house two doors down, looked at the door, and started making loud noises again. I suddenly got concerned they might come to my porch, or that Nikita would run off with them, but neither happened.

This incident has left me upset because I feel for them with the coming storm. I do know they crawl under my neighbor's house across the street because I have seen them going in and out. So I am sure they will have some protection, but I am sorry some of my neighbors have not been helping them with their needs....

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Original post)

Tue Mar 5, 2013, 04:06 PM

137. Let her in...


When she is ready. You will not regret it. Cats have good instincts about people.

When the kittens are born, you must keep them.

Boy cats must be given English surnames like "Ramsay" or "Chesterton".

Girl cats must be given female first names from languages you don't understand like "Celida" or "Arianne".

It is the rules.

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Response to sibelian (Reply #137)

Tue Mar 5, 2013, 08:14 PM

139. I think I got close to the name rule

http://babynamesworld.parentsconnect.com/meaning_of_Nikita.html

Origin and Meaning of the Name Nikita

Gender: Both

Origin: Greek

Meaning: Unconquered, unconquerable

Origin: Russian

Pronunciation: (nee KEE tah) [Guide]

Form of: Aniketos

Actually, I named her this before I knew if she was male or female. But I like the name quite a bit. I am not sure that she is pregnant. Since I quit giving her so much wet food and more dry, she seems more of a normal size. I believe I was overfeeding her. But with this situation, nothing surprises any more... I will keep you posted.

Thank you for posting on this thread.

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Reply #139)

Tue Mar 5, 2013, 08:52 PM

141. hey Samantha, you've done a great job with Nikita

I have 5 cats - 4 of whom are the same family: a mommacat who brought us her three girl kittens (the vet thought it was Novi's - the momma's - first litter). I couldn't give them away - I just didn't like any of the people who inquired after them. So I kept Novi and her three girls; at that time we had 3 other cats so our family rapidly swelled from 3 cats to 7. Lol. Now we're down to 5 because two of our belovedests have passed on.

You'll have to play Elton John's song "Little Nikita" when she comes in

Anyway - back to basics: I have several large litter boxes; you'll only need one, or, if you have a two-story house, maybe two - one on each floor. A "standard" box might be just fine for her, but you may also want to get a larger, plastic under-bed storage box (minus the lid, of course) -- easy to find at Target or Walmart; these boxes are a bit larger. Most cats don't like covered boxes simply because they like to see what's going on when they're doing their business and don't like to feel trapped when using the litter box. But Nikita might have no issues with it; one of my (late, beloved) cats was perfectly fine with a covered box.

I use TidyCats or Arm&Hammer scoopable litter (I find FreshStep to be kind of dusty, even the clumping kind); if there had been a good, 'green' alternative when I was first getting the cats used to being inside, I might have used that exclusively. But cats can be picky about changing the consistency of the litter -- brand changes are fine (like, Tidy Cats interchanged / mixed with Arm&Hammer is OK), but if I tried to get them to go 'cold turkey' on SwheatScoop, I could have a messy rebellion on my hands.

We have a septic tank, and I still flush the poo. I put the clumped urine into a small trash can lined with a plastic grocery bag that I then combine with the household trash before we go to the dump. Flushing the clumped litter would make a mess with the septic tank. I scoop all three boxes twice a day, but that's just so it's clean, odor-free and so I don't dread dealing with the box the way I would if there were days of accumulated waste in the box. With one cat, you probably don't need to worry about cleaning the box that much - but it takes less than 30 seconds each time you scoop if you keep up with it regularly.

Also, I have found that I can use 2/3-3/4 parts scoopable litter mixed with 1/2-1/4 of the regular, non-clumping clay and everything still clumps together just fine - just a way to reduce litter expenses without any negative effect on the clumping performance. With 5 cats, I go through a lot of litter so if I can cut my costs a bit, I'm happy.

The flat, corrugated cardboard scratching boxes you can find at Target, Walmart, etc., are great for indoor scratching; they also come with a small package of catnip to encourage your cat to scratch on the box. Our cats love these boxes and regularly shred them to bits. I buy extra catnip just because my cats are addicts

I also keep a fair number of old bath towels around, tossed on the couch or chairs or our window seat as makeshift, quick "beds" for the cats - our cats rarely sleep in the same place and like to rotate through a variety of spots in the house - the towels keep extra fur off the furniture.

And you may also want to buy a comb to groom her when/if she lets you -- I just buy regular, human 'rat-tail' combs that have a little (not a lot of) flexibility - they work just as well as the kind sold specifically for cats...

I hope you and your pup and Nikita are all very happy together!


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Response to Flaxbee (Reply #141)

Wed Mar 6, 2013, 10:00 AM

142. Hi Flaxbee -- we are having a bad weather today in DC

Last edited Wed Mar 6, 2013, 05:34 PM - Edit history (3)

First of all, thank you for all the information you volunteered. It is very helpful.

I got ready to let her in the house and out of snow, but she is ambivalent. It is in the mid-thirties now, but with the wind chill factor, News 4 reports it feels like 25. While the wind is not bad now, it is expected to get worse as day goes by. Four to eight inches of snow is projected, with the storm coming to an end late tonight. Tomorrow morning, temperatures will dip down to freezing or just below.

So I filled the litter box with litter last night, brought her igloo house in, sat out some food, picked up Cheyenne's food, got out the scratching rug, and covered the furniture. I opened the door, she looked inside and walked away.

I set my alarm for early this morning (4:00 am) to go check on her, and she was not even in her house, which I had moved back outside. So I have tried coaxing her several times and she has stepped inside, looked around and then turned back around to go back out. I will keep trying this today. She sees Cheyenne lying on the couch but she seems not to be bothered by her, having gone on the walks several days and sensing that Cheyenne, although a dog, is a "cool cat" in real life.

I think she is just intimidated for the whole concept of taking a dramatic step like coming inside. She wants to but she just doesn't know about the whole thing ....

I have decided it must be her decision. I think if I try to trap her in here, she will go ballistic from the unknown. So I will keep trying the rest of the day, and perhaps with worsening conditions she will summon up her nerve and take a leap of faith. I also tried moving her food inside as an enticement. She just sat at the screen door and kept eyeballing it.

If you have any suggestions or thoughts, I am all ears. Currently, she is running down and hovering under the bushes next to the house. I think she feels more protected from the wind there. I did see her cross the street this morning, and I could not help but wonder if she is crawling under my neighbor's foundation and consorting with the cats that have sought shelter there. I would be okay with that as long as I knew she was warm.

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Reply #142)

Wed Mar 6, 2013, 06:07 PM

149. I'm about 60 miles west of DC

so I know what you're dealing with.

It's not so cold out, but it is wet. And with the igloo there, she can get warm and dry if need be.

It might take a while. Weeks, or even months. She equates you with food and shelter, but might not completely trust you yet. She's definitely getting there, though, if she walks with you and Cheyenne.

Cats are OK if they're out of the wind, and it's not subzero. So don't fret about her being warm, because she knows where to go if she needs to.

I've dealt with feral and not-feral-but-skittish cats before, and it can take the skittish ones a while to relax enough to come inside.

Patience is all you need right now. You're doing a great job; she just has to relax a little bit more.

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Response to Flaxbee (Reply #149)

Thu Mar 7, 2013, 08:49 PM

163. Two things (and thank you for your continuing help)

Please check around post 164 for the results of the day on the ear tipping.

I ran into the person who participated in the roundup of the feral cats this evening. He said when the cats were brought back to the area and released, they scattered very quickly. He also said they were very skittish after the treatment at the vets. Some of them are very untrusting around humans again, at least some take a long time but eventually come around.

I think that is why people here say she is feral; some say she is not.

She probably was indoors at the lady's house that got evicted. Then she was released and she lived with the other cats outdoors but sleeping under my other neighbor's foundation at night. The Big Gray cat started being mean to her, so she sought refuge at my house. This scenario explains why she could be wanting to trust me (because she was domesticated) but can't quite take the big step because of the ousting into the cold and the congregation with feral cats, combined with the trauma of the vet visit.

If that scenario is true, I think she can definitely eventually be an indoor cat again. Just a working theory, but it does seem to fit....

What do you think?

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Reply #163)

Sat Mar 9, 2013, 12:25 AM

172. She absolutely can be an indoor cat again.

She does trust you to a certain degree; it really might take a while, but it doesn't sound like she is a true "feral" - she wouldn't have slept in the igloo, nor would she walk with you and Cheyenne.

At least it's warming up so the concern and stress over temperatures and snow will be gone ...

Do you have a chance to just sit out on your porch for a few minutes every day? Just hang out, see if she approaches you on her own terms?

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Response to Flaxbee (Reply #172)

Sat Mar 9, 2013, 01:19 PM

174. I have been sitting down on the porch the last two days

She doesn't come over. She is used to me standing up, and she will walk over when she has finished eating and either start walking between my legs or she puts her back up for me to pet. She definitely gives me signals when she wants me to pet her. Yesterday, I stooped down to pet her to see if she would allow me to get down to her level. That worked out well. She was not afraid and I petted her in the usual manner.

I thought I might try sitting there to use the technique someone recommended of holding her food in my lap. I haven't held the food in my lap, but might try that.

I am thinking of taking the PAWS lady advice. She will trap her and take her to the vet for whatever she needs. I cannot feed her for 24 hours before she goes. She might be skittish when she comes back, and our relationship built thus far might be set back. I am finding it difficult to consent to doing something that will scare her or maybe make her panic-stricken. But I am telling myself it has to be done to ascertain if she is or is not pregnant, if that is a tipped ear or a tearing, and getting her a rabies shot. This would the the precursor to getting all of the shots she needs.

So that is where I am now. I am thinking over the long haul she will be both an inside cat and an outside cat. Twice, when she was trying to show off, she ran very fast towards a tree. She made it halfway up the tree and came back down. I think about the one post I read here about the two different types of cats, and she might have a little bit of that tree-hugger thing going on. I think it might be cruel to try to bring her in and never let her out to do her thing. But I realize it is dangerous to leave her out there unprotected. So maybe a middle of the road compromise will be the answer. I had thought about a cat door, and then it occurred to me maybe the Big Grey and/or other cats released in the neighborhood might invite themselves in. Maybe overtime, she will always want to stay in....

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Reply #174)

Sat Mar 9, 2013, 11:14 PM

181. Her health is priority number one -- so getting her her shots, seeing if she's

preggers, etc., getting her wormed, all are good things to do. That way, even if she dallies around and flirts with you a while longer before consenting to come in, she'll still be protected from illness.

Two of our five go outside for about 1-2 hours per day. I don't have to be at my office until mid-afternoon, so I let Novi and Ivan out while I'm puttering around, having breakfast, etc... then I get them in before I leave. They seem to enjoy it, I know they're safe before I leave for the day, and I'm at home in case anything happens while they're outside.

All of my cats have been strays that came to us, except for one girl who I adopted from a shelter (the late, great Clarisse). The three of my five who are indoor cats are Novi's babies, and I've kept them inside since they were weaned.

But Novi and Ivan both were adults when they came to me as strays, and enjoy a little outdoor time.

However, Novi is just as happy with a cushioned window seat and the window open to let in fresh air during spring, summer and fall. So you don't *have* to let Nikita out once she's become an indoor kitty. She may be perfectly content to be inside full time once she's not so skittish.

I just placed a young male stray with a delightful young woman who lives in an apartment - he's perfectly happy being an indoor-only cat. He just wants love, food, and tummy rubs. He seems to figure love and a full tummy and peaceful sleep are an excellent trade-off to being outside.


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Response to Flaxbee (Reply #141)

Wed Mar 6, 2013, 05:28 PM

148. I re-read your post today in this storm

It is a wealth of suggestions I really needed. I am glad I saved this thread to my journal so I can look at any time for issues I am wondering about. I feel very lucky so many people have volunteered their time and knowledge to this thread. Thank you again.

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Reply #139)

Wed Mar 6, 2013, 03:13 PM

144. Ha, see, you knew the rule already!

It is wired into our souls...

Nikita will probably grow a bit and become healthier. Don't forget to sometimes give her a little fish - it will help to make her coat glossy and easy to clean. And she needs somewhere outside that she can somehow get up onto, a platform from which she can survey her new kingdom. It must be more than waist high. She's probably too old and been outside for too long to trust cardboard boxes, but sometimes the puss-cats are very calmed by the presence of a nice, sensible box into which they can fit. I usually have one or two lying around for Harry and Hamish, my two cats.

My cat Harry sleeps with me under my bedcovers. Every night he paws his way in, settles down and stares at me unflinchingly with his huge golden eyes, purring like a tiny, quiet dynamo.

I have decided that he is protecting me from evil spirits.

Hamish has no time for such nonsense. He is a proper cat and is always out catching mice and seeing the rabble off his property.

I could go on.

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Response to sibelian (Reply #144)

Wed Mar 6, 2013, 05:09 PM

145. Thank you for sharing this smiley information

Nikita is not quite a year old. She looks to me to be about 9 months. But if you look at the definition of the name, she lives up to it. Some commands she has learned. Sometimes I tell her to get into her "house"; she doesn't then but does when I go back into the house. We are having a storm now, and I have tried to get her to come in. She made progress yesterday, after stepping into the house a few times (not going past the doorway, but once solidly having all four feet on the carpet) -- she turned right around and went back outside. I had everything ready for her.

I am feeling pretty let down because she is out there now and won't go into her "house." I had the the bright idea this morning of checking the bedding, and it was a little wet. I took the shelter apart, wiped it dry inside and out, and put clean, dry bedding inside. She is huddled outside next to the porch stoop, squatting down behind a big bush. We are going to have higher winds tonight.

I guess she just doesn't have the confidence yet to make the leap. The one time I went out to take Cheyenne for a walk, she did follow. And she came up pretty close to Cheyenne.

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Original post)

Wed Mar 6, 2013, 06:25 PM

152. when you get her to the vet

 

Be sure to tell them she is just getting used to you and they should shut the door to the exam room before you take her out of the carrying case, so she doesn't bolt, including possibly through a door to the outside.


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Response to Samantha (Original post)

Thu Mar 7, 2013, 01:04 AM

156. A problem has developed that I do not know how to handle

Somewhere in this thread I mentioned two cats that got into a fight a couple of nights ago. Then one chased the other and they ended up in front of my neighbor's house two doors down. They were making terrible noises and continued to "tango." After a few minutes, they quietened down but stood there staring at the neighbor's front door, like they expected him to come out and feed them or something. These cats are big and appear to me to be somewhat wild.

I have seen one of those cats, a big gray one, in my driveway one night, and another night approaching the bushes. I think that cat is after Nikita's food. I think on two separate nights when I heard a noise from Nikita outside the door that cat was probably taking over at the food dish.

Last night the cat appeared again as Nikita was eating out on the porch and l saw it crawl out from underneath my car. It paused for a moment, studying the fact a human being was actually out on the porch standing by the food and the cat eating the food. I scared the cat off. I am sure some of you here will criticize me for that but just let me say I do not like that cat and I do not want it hanging around my house. Even if I did not have Nikita, I would not want that cat. That cat appears to me to be mean. It sure acted mean in that fight. But Nikita is very small and by no means is a match for that cat. So I decided not to leave any food out if I am not around.

Tonight I took her food out and kept saying "eat your food." After rattling the dish a little bit, she would continue eating when I gave that command. Now I think that gray cat is somewhere where he or she can hear noises or smell the food because once again the cat came in. He or she stared at me and truthfully, I was afraid. I didn't know what it was going to do. I picked up the food and said "Go" to Nikita and she jumped off into the bushes. I came into the house.

I guess this is a stupid question, but how do I keep that cat away from my house? I know I can't leave the food out and under ideal conditions she would be eating inside, but for now, I have to work with what I have got. If this has ever happened to you, maybe you have some ideas.

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Reply #156)

Thu Mar 7, 2013, 10:19 AM

157. If you have a hungry large feral out there

 

there is really no way you can keep her from Nikita's food except to be there when the food is there. Another reason to get Nikita inside for good. At some point the gray cat may harm Nikita.

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Response to RILib (Reply #157)

Thu Mar 7, 2013, 12:56 PM

158. I agree with this. If the feral begins to challenge Nikita while you are also standing on the porch

 

I would recommend carrying a squirt gun with h2o and use it if the big boy begins to try to dominate the situation. He will try to challenge her sooner or later over the free food on the porch, especially if he's a tough guy who isn't intimidated by a fight. Unfortunately he may continue to hang around long after you get her inside since he's gotten food on your porch in the past. Do you have a feral cat association in your area who may help you trap this guy and get him fixed? Since you aren't worried about blowing HIS trust, and in fact having him experience a traumatic event associated with you may keep him away...!

Hang in there. Sooner or later you will get her inside. Just keep working on gaining her trust and trying to get the food dish closer and closer to your door - and ultimately IN the door with her as well.



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Response to riderinthestorm (Reply #158)

Thu Mar 7, 2013, 09:01 PM

164. I went out on the porch stoop, food in one hand, pop up umbrella in another

I guess I realized today I am not just Nikita's food source, it is my job to protect her (boy, is she in trouble). I had a severe problem with mockingbird's attacking me last year, and started a thread here in the lounge to get some advice. I learned to carry my umbrella, and the last time one of those birds dove at me, I hit the buttom at the last minute and popped that umbrella up into his line of flight. He barely swerved enough to miss it and he never did that to me again. But someone here advised me to never show fear, and I did not ever again after reading that line.

So this is my plan. Take the food out, carry the umbrella, scare the gray away if he approaches, already asked the PAWS lady if there was anything that could be done about him because I am frightened of him, and Nikita is as well; she said they might be able to trap him and relocate him to another area. I recommended Rand Paul's vacinity! So there is hope on that problem.

I thought the food would be a good way to entice her in if I sat the dish down in front of the opened door, which has a screen door beyond it. That way, she can still see the outside, will eat her food protected from the Big Gray cat (I have named him that, Big Gray) and she can gradually become accustomed to the indoor environment. I can show her her new litter box, and her new scratch rug.

I think the trick with her is just to gradually build the relationship and try to secure her trust. I don't think this will happen overnight, but I do think it is in the process of happening. I will also move her igloo house in when she comes in because she is familiar with that.

Thank you so much for caring about the cat, and taking the time to give me advice and good tips. It is really wonderful of you.

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Reply #164)

Sat Mar 9, 2013, 12:35 AM

173. The grey cat is just hungry. I would

 

think they all know each other/

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Response to 840high (Reply #173)

Sat Mar 9, 2013, 01:22 PM

175. Well, he might be "looking for love" too

but he does have a wild side and the capacity to be mean. So I am wanting to keep some distance between him and me, and Nikita and him. Last night it occurred to me if she is pregnant, perhaps he is the father. That would be a real trip. Half would be like her, and half would be like him.

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Reply #175)

Sat Mar 9, 2013, 03:45 PM

178. When you're feeding her put

 

some dry food out for grey cat away from her. He'll eat and calm down.

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Response to riderinthestorm (Reply #158)

Fri Mar 8, 2013, 08:13 PM

168. The latest update - maybe you could comment

I have been on this crusade to try and find out as much as I could about Nikita's history so I can determine where do I go from here. Here is where things stand today:

A series of events which include a mixed review by people who should show if the tipped ear is indeed the mark left by a vet (and these are people who should know) have ranged from "I am 99% sure that is a tipped ear" to that mark is on the wrong ear and most likely has been caused by a tearing. Please note: I have been studying this mark a lot, and it does not have ragged edges. The cut was truly a clean one, so I am inclined to think it was not a tearing.

Those on this thread who advised me not to listen to my one neighbor were so correct. Even though he originally told me Nikita was one of the cats trapped and taken to the vet had his cats mixed up. The ones that were taken, were marked, given a rabies shot and spayed or neutered. Some are at his house across the street, and the rest were taken to his home in West Virginia. In other words, he and his wife kept them all. So he was mistaken about Nikita being in that group.

So where does this leave things? She may have been marked by another vet or maybe that is a tear. She may have had the spaying and rabies shot should that be the case; otherwise, she has had nothing that I can determine. There are no records I can locate. So she may or may not be pregnant. Keeping in mind my dog Cheyenne, this is a true depressing turn of events. I was working on keeping them comfortable with each other, I am now back to wondering exactly how to proceed. I have put a question mark over Nikita's head as far as history, and if you will pardon the expression, I am starting from scratch.

So I guess that leaves things in this order. First, I have to get her to the vet. I still cannot pick her up and I think I need at least two more weeks working with her. I have to quit feeding her 24 hours before I take her (the PAWS lady told me this today) so the spaying can be done. (I think) I will have to ask if the rabies shot can be given if she is indeed pregnant and I have to check for worms. I guess it is possible once she gets there, the vet might say she definitely has been marked at some point, but I consider that a remote possibility. So when I reach this point (after the visit to the vet), I start down the list gradually of other shots she needs. But after the original visit, I can again start coaxing her inside. I have a flea treatment I can put on her myself.

I am pretty demoralized about all the contradictions I have been given because it is a huge setback, but I have to hand it to DU. People who have posted here have given me the best advice. And that does include you. Thanks again.

I think I have to expect once Nikita comes back from the vet, she will be standoffish with me, traumatized by that visit. A couple of people have said this to me. I regret that, but the PAWS lady will help with getting her there.

Pardon me for saying this, but I am being a big baby about the whole. I look at her and I can't hardly think about doing something which I know will terrorize her. But I try to give myself pep talks and say I am doing the right thing for her long-term well being. I guess I just need to toughen up.

If you have any thoughts, I am certainly listening. Thanks.

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Reply #168)

Sat Mar 9, 2013, 12:19 AM

171. IMO, Nikita's history matters naught. You can only proceed from here.

 

I would stop worrying about whatever's happened in her past.

1. You need to continue to build her trust. Most animals that's done with food. You are working towards that. Proceed ("governor" heh. We ARE a political website).

2. Once you can get her into a cat carrier you can get her to a vet. They will know how to evaluate her from there - whether the ear is vet-notched or not (and if she's spayed) is irrelevant. The vets will evaluate her whether she's been spayed - anything else about her ear isn't relevant. They will proceed as though she hasn't had any recent vet work (as they should) and make her up-to-date on vax, deworming etc.

3. Your cat may come back loving or stand-offish. I've had both reactions. Don't worry about it. She will come around to you regardless. Especially if she's in the house and must interact.

Continue to keep Big Gray away with an umbrella or squirt gun. Continue to build trust until you can get her into a cat carrier. The vets will take it from there and advise you.

FWIW, the feral cats (30 years +) that find their way into my raccoon Have-a-Heart traps go straight to the vet - no nonsense. ALL of them stick around after I've been such a meanie - vax, neutering, ear tips, deworming etc. Don't over-think this. Food is a huge motivator in any animals life and you are already established as the primary food caretaker. Whatever happens, they'll forgive you.



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Response to riderinthestorm (Reply #171)

Sat Mar 9, 2013, 10:48 PM

180. Thank you for all the encouragement

This is what I am going to do. I am going to pay at the end of the month and ask the PAWS lady to take her.

I will let you know how it ends up. Thanks again.

Sam

PS Do you know at what age a kitten can become pregnant. Someone told me today they thought it was about a year. I am double checking everything now!!!

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Response to Samantha (Reply #168)

Sat Mar 9, 2013, 03:40 PM

177. All the nicks on my strays

 

are on their left ears.

My vet always said nothing by mouth after 6 pm - before office visit for spaying.

You're doing good -

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Response to RILib (Reply #157)

Thu Mar 7, 2013, 02:09 PM

161. That is what I am worried about

I have to run to the doctor, but I talked with the PAWS rep this morning. I told her I had been keeping Nikita's food out only when I am standing nearby, but the gray cat started to approach one night even when I was there. It might be possible for PAWS to trap the gray cat, have it checked out, and released in another area.

But I am getting an answer to the ear tipping question soon. Her initial reaction was that it was the type of mark vets do here, they cut off the tip of the ear, but she said it is on the wrong ear. She is going to try to talk to the vet and I emailed her the pictures for reference.

Thank you for replying, I need all the help I can get. I will tell you though the PAWS lady not to pick up Nikita at this point because she will probably scratch me and run away. She said all the work that has gone into building her trust will be gone. So I am just taking it one step at a time. But I am thinking of trying to put the food inside the door, leaving it open, and seeing if I can coax her in. In another post I wrote the night of the storm I mentioned she made 3 or 4 attempts to come in but just couldn't quit talk herself into it. She turned around and went back out. The four time, however, she totally came in, looked around, and again exited. I am letting her be the pace car so you can do what she wants at the time she wants.

We are making progress, and maybe that is all I can ask for for now.

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Reply #161)

Fri Mar 8, 2013, 10:08 PM

170. That's how I got my stray in. I left the door open...

for short periods of time, when he was out in front. I sat back in the room on teh sofa, not near the door. Just for him to feel safe to come in quickly and leave...which he did. I had his food near the door on teh inside, too.

Once he started coming inside, it went pretty quickly, once he saw there was nothing dangerous inside, and no one or anything, incl. me, interfered with him or scared him. The door was open, so he had a way out.

Once it got to the point where I started closing the door...he still didn't stay in long. He'd go to the door, anxious, and I quickly let him out, so he wouldn't feel trapped. Once he figured out that I'd let him out, he started staying inside longer...he felt much safer inside than outside, I'm sure.

Before you know it, he was crawling up on me, looking at me, rubbing his head on me...he was claiming me! He totally came around, and he became my beloved Puddin'head.. and I guess I became his beloved savior or mom or something.

I loved him with all my heart. He was such a neat, cool cat. I never regretted taking him in. It sounds like you and Nikita may turn out the same way. She sounds pretty cool. And she sure is a pretty thing!

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Response to Samantha (Original post)

Fri Mar 8, 2013, 07:47 PM

167. I've taken in strays

They do fine. The cat you describe is not feral. A feral cat cannot become a pet, but if the cat were feral, it wouldn't be looking for attention from you. They behave more like rats, stay out of sight and steal food. A stray pegged you for a softie. That's how it start with cats.

You should take her to the vet as soon as you can to make sure she gets up to date on all her shots.

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Response to Samantha (Original post)

Sat Mar 9, 2013, 02:33 PM

176. We've brought in so-called feral cats. Usually their choice.

Once a cat makes the decision to be a house cat, it's a house cat. No idea where people get the idea that one can never be the other.

She needs to be spayed. You might want to talk to a local rescue group about a trap and release.

If she put a paw on your shoe and allows you to pet her SHE IS NOT FERAL. Sounds like a dumpee.

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Response to aquart (Reply #176)

Sat Mar 9, 2013, 10:41 PM

179. When I first saw her, that is what I thought -- someone dumped her

I said that to a couple of people and everyone started telling me she probably came out of the woman's house that was evicted. She had a ton of cats and just opened the door and let them out. Perhaps I should have stayed with my original thought! But then when one of my neighbor's who helped with the trapping of those cats saw her, he said he was pretty sure that was one of the cats trapped. Then people I asked about the ear said it looked like the tipping process, they remove the point of the ear. One these who said that is with a local rescue group.

So due to all of the lost time, I am just erasing everything I was told. I think I am going to have the PAWS lady take her to the vet. I sure do not look forward to this because I think when Nikita returns she will distance herself from me. I know she is going to be terribly frightened, and it is hard for me to put her through this. But I have to move forward with this relationship, so I think that is the best move.

Just for your information though, she will not let anyone else come near her. She runs and hides whenever anyone visits. And I think before she came here, some bad happened to her. She is very easily frightened of noises, anything.

And thank you for your thoughts.

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Reply #179)

Sun Mar 10, 2013, 01:06 AM

184. Really typical behavior. Bonded just to you.

When you bring her home after the vet, she will be so relieved...

My cat David came from one of those horror homes you see on the news, where workers in hazmat uniforms bring out endless animals in horrible condition. He was infested, infected and traumatized. Clinically insane for the first ten years of his life. It took that long till he began to relax and become a cat.

You know what his breakthrough was? I left him to spend 3 weeks in Ireland AND THEN CAME HOME. From then on, he trusted me more and more.

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Response to aquart (Reply #184)

Sun Mar 10, 2013, 02:37 PM

186. Wow, that is amazing

I am going to have her taken to the vet by the PAWS lady at the end of the month. I won't have the resources until then. But she has done some cute things lately. When I was walking in last night, she lightly scratched the back of my pant leg. I think she was trying to tell me she didn't want me to come in. She has also done the paw scratching on my shoe, it is like a pawing thing. She has this signal she gives when she wants to be petted. When she has gotten all she wants or needs, she walks down to the bushes and lies underneath them. In other words, she has dismissed me! So I am being careful to let her call her own shots.

She is becoming more comfortable with Cheyenne. Yesterday on the walk (when she follows us), she pulled up right beside her and poked her nose into Cheyenne's side. She actually walked right along beside her for awhile. Cheyenne doesn't know how to react to her, but she is not nervous. Nikita has studied Cheyenne quite a bit, and I am wondering if she has figured out yet Cheyenne cannot see. Nikita is incredibly smart.

You must be the epitome of patience to take that cat through 10 years of nervousness from his ordeal. You are a very kind person to be willing to help the cat, no matter how long it took. I hope I can do as well as you.

Sam

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Response to Samantha (Reply #186)

Wed Mar 13, 2013, 04:37 PM

192. Get yourself a spray bottle and fill it with water.

Spray that cat you don't like. It won't hurt him, but it will deter him.

"She is becoming more comfortable with Cheyenne. Yesterday on the walk (when she follows us), she pulled up right beside her and poked her nose into Cheyenne's side. She actually walked right along beside her for awhile. Cheyenne doesn't know how to react to her, but she is not nervous. Nikita has studied Cheyenne quite a bit, and I am wondering if she has figured out yet Cheyenne cannot see. Nikita is incredibly smart. "

Blind dog in Wales gets seeing eye cat:

<a href="|>Blind dog in Wales gets seeing eye cat.</a>

Hope the link works. I'm not familiar with posting links here.



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Response to dudeanddaphne (Reply #192)

Mon Mar 18, 2013, 05:43 PM

193. I am sorry I didn't reply to this post, but it is quite encouraging

I watched the video and thought it was touching.

I also appreciate the suggested about the spray bottle.

I have received some inquiries about the status of Nikita and my relationship, and will be starting a part 2 to this thread. I hope to see you there.

Regards,


Sam

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