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View Full Version : FERAL CAT ADVICE, PLEASE



VAevent
Feb. 10, 2010, 06:08 AM
Any suggestions would be welcome! I've been feeding a feral cat for over a year, and have built him a shelter on my porch. I would not describe him as tame, but he's certainly friendlier than he was 6 months ago. However, now he has a cut on a front paw. It doesn't look infected, but I feel compelled to try to trap him, so I can get him to a vet.

I have a "humane" trap from the local shelter, but suspect he won't cooperate.
Does anyone have insight on catching this critter?

IronwoodFarm
Feb. 10, 2010, 06:19 AM
Given that it is winter, the risk of infection is reduced considerably. Paws heal pretty fast, so I would give it time.

oldpony66
Feb. 10, 2010, 06:23 AM
You realize this cat probably hasn't had any shots... so although it would be unlikely, it could have rabies. You might want to call your vet or local animal control to find out their opinion.
The cut on his paw is probably nothing, But IMO, once you start providing food and shelter, the cat is no longer 'feral' but has become 'yours', so give the humane trap a try but please be careful handling him/her. Make sure it gets it's shots, for YOUR safety. If this cat is living on your porch and it contracts rabies then you and anyone who comes on your property are in danger.
My mom was the crazy cat lady of the neighborhood so we took in feral cats all the time, but unless it was a kitten dropped off in a little box we always assumed it had every disease known to cats until it got checked out at the vet, and then we got it spayed/neutered as well.

GoForAGallop
Feb. 10, 2010, 07:15 AM
Here's my experience with the traps:

Leave the trap itself, unset, out where you feed him/he sleeps, just so he doesn't get too suspicious about it and it becomes part of the landscape. Then, one morning when you're going to be around for most of the day (I always set traps when I'm going to be around, ESPECIALLY when it's cold, so that they're not sitting there for hours.) put his daily food ration into the trap, and just wait. He'll probably go in there....it MAY take a day or two. I've trapped around 30 cats, and they all go in there eventually! :)

It's good to trap him, even if you plan on letting him back outside. Take him to the vet so that they can look at the paw, and get him fixed/vaccinated at the same time, for both of you.

VAevent
Feb. 10, 2010, 07:30 AM
It looks like this cat has a "tipped" ear, so I wonder if it's been thru TNR. But, thank you, I do treat him like a potential disease carrier.

trubandloki
Feb. 10, 2010, 07:41 AM
Having three feral cats I got thru a TNR program has taught me to not panic like I would for any of my other animals. I keep having to remind myself that I need to save the trauma of trapping/catching and taking to the vet for a serious injury if it occurs.

The paw will most likely heal on its own.

If you are able to trap him (great advice given above) be sure to get him all his shots and such when you have him at the vets.

Foxhound
Feb. 10, 2010, 08:06 AM
Erin, the former moderator of this BB, does a lot of feral cat work. She might be able to offer you some help/advice. I agree with the others regarding letting the paw heal on its own, unless it starts looking infected. I managed a colony in Northern VA for a few years before moving south and handing "my" kitties over to another crazy cat lady. I do have a humane trap, though, so if you want to borrow it, I could probably loan it to you, depending on where you are in VA.

Susan P
Feb. 10, 2010, 08:24 AM
This might be a good opportunity to get him checked out.

I suggest you do trap him but it will be a bit of a problem since he may be familiar with the traps. I also find that a lot of ferals are claustrophobic. But as long as you only feed him in the trap he should go in. What I've done is to feed them in the traps only by taking a clip to secure the spring loaded end so it can not fall closed. Feed them for 2 days like that in the trap then remove the clip. I did that with my first feral who had an injury. They will knock them out while in the trap. I've spent time at the clinic in Delaware for Forgotten Cats www.forgottencats.org (http://www.forgottencats.org) and believe me these people have it down just right. They sterilize an average of 50 cats at one of the 2 clinics every day they operate with only one vet and the rest all volunteers.

I've trapped a few cats too and I know they hate the traps so make sure you prepare your vet. If there is a good clinic like Forgotten Cats who is very familiar with ferals that is the best way to go. Some vets can't handle the ferals. They can be very dangerous. It would be a great opportunity to also catch up on his shots so you get a 2fer. 2 for one, check the foot and get the shots. I don't know how bad the cut is and if it's a puncture that's more at risk for infection. But I'm sure you know that and since you can't closely examine him then it would be helpful to get him to the vet.

By the way, thank you for caring for this cat, they all need a decent life and it sounds like you've provided that for him. I hope he's a good mouser for you too.

If you want more questions answered by knowledgeable people you can email info@forgottencats.org or check with Alley Cat Allies, they are a national organization which can help you find local help.

Calhoun
Feb. 10, 2010, 10:12 AM
Sorry if this was already mentioned . . . if you do manage to trap the cat, please get it fixed. A friend works with feral cats and they trap, fix and release all the time w/o problems. Good luck!

bird4416
Feb. 10, 2010, 11:20 AM
A word of caution, snap the trap shut with something when you catch the cat. I caught a feral male and was carrying the trap to my car when he bumped the door really hard and it flew open and he was gone in a flash. I was so pissed. I haven't tried to trap him since as the weather is so crappy. But come spring, I will try again and this time I will be sure the trap is securely closed with a snap.

Good luck with your feral boy. Hope he heals up fine.

MSP
Feb. 10, 2010, 11:53 AM
Don't trap him just for this cut but if you want to give him shots and have him checked out then go ahead. If he is used to you you may be able to put a little antibiotic cream on the cut with out trapping. I had a cat show up at the barn with all his hair missing around is neck and several scrapes. I think he must have had a run in with a car. He let me treat his wounds, he got better and took off.

If you want to trap him place the trap near where you feed him. I would try for a quick trapping first by setting the trap up with a can of food or Tuna at the very end of the trap. put a towel over the trap and news paper on the floor of the trap being careful not to interfere with the door.

If you don't get him in the first 24 hrs then try this:

I have had success by putting food at the door of the trap then mid way and then the rest of the can all the way back in the trap.

For the super hard to trap I take days to get them used to the trap. I prop the door open so it can not trap them and begin feeding the cat at the door. Every day gradually moving the food further up the trap until it is in the back, then I set the trap.

Be prepared, they really don't like being in a trap and will explode.

Ozone
Feb. 10, 2010, 01:52 PM
Awe "My" Gracie the feral cat hurt her paw this winter too. She wason 3 legs for about 2 weeks. She was always cleaning it so I thought OK it looks broke but I don't think it is by the way she was cleaning it so much... after 2weeks Grace was walking and running like normal.

Infection is lessend in the winter. I personally would just keep an eye on the kitty - if in a few weeks you see no difference then I guess try the trap. Is he the only feral you have?

I have 4 ferals in the barn, 1 actually has a broken paw. He is 10 years old and I think if I went to trap him and take him to the vet that would seriously do the old man in. He's a survivor and belongs out side. Does ok with his broken paw - it's healed but he cannot walk on it.

oldpony66
Feb. 10, 2010, 05:37 PM
1 actually has a broken paw. He is 10 years old and I think if I went to trap him and take him to the vet that would seriously do the old man in. He's a survivor and belongs out side. Does ok with his broken paw - it's healed but he cannot walk on it.

:(
We had one like that growing up. It was a front paw, it was already broken and recalcified when we found her (or when she was dropped off is more like it) She couldn't walk on it, but used it like a club to keep other cats away from her food. She was definitely the "alpha" kitty of the barn!

VAevent
Feb. 11, 2010, 08:19 AM
Thanks to all who've responded. "My" cat re-appeared tonight, but prefers hiding in the snow-covered bushes to hanging out on the porch or in his shelter. His leg does seem better, however: he's putting more weight on it, and not holding it up against his body. Every time we get a storm, he's a little more spooky....maybe he suspects I'm responsible!

I also think the shovelling/plowing has made him squirrelly.

Ozone
Feb. 11, 2010, 11:10 AM
:(
We had one like that growing up. It was a front paw, it was already broken and recalcified when we found her (or when she was dropped off is more like it) She couldn't walk on it, but used it like a club to keep other cats away from her food. She was definitely the "alpha" kitty of the barn!

It's :( isn't it! Pop as I call our broken foot old man. He too just showed up one day with his broken paw, thankfully he does get around ok. His back has some atrophy from compensation but he has made it 10 years like that. He is the Boss man, like your Alpha Girl!

Coyoteco
Feb. 15, 2010, 01:24 AM
This is too late for your immediate problem I think. However, for future advice. I have a few feral cats that are here - now all spayed, so the population isn't increasing.
When I need to give wormer or antibiotics, I give them in food. The antibiotics in the canned food worked always worked very well. I can now do more with them than I could in the past, but even now, whatever I can get them to eat in food, I put in the food. There can be a little waste with worming them this way, but it is so much easier that it's worth it. The antibiotics have always worked flawlessly.