Sunday, July 9, 2017

Trapping Feral Cats for Shelter Surrender

Today while on Facebook I asked if anyone put out a bowl of water for the neighborhood cats or wildlife. Most people were kind and said that they did, but one of my followers said that she used a humane method of trapping stray and feral cats and took them to the shelter.  Know that there is nothing humane about trapping a cat, they are terrified and if they are feral the shelter will euthanize the frightened cat.

I have no idea what she was thinking but the animal shelter does not put feral cats up for adoption and they do not sterilize them or place them in colonies. As a rule, shelters will euthanize all feral cats immediately and any cat that is aggressive, even if they are fearful; hiss-spitting cannot be adopted and they are not going to socialize it for adoption.

 It is a death sentence for stray/feral cats if they are trapped and taken to an animal shelter.  Here is an article from Alley Cat Allies that explains why trapping and killing cats is not a good way to control cat populations

Feral cats that I have trapped for TNR or socialization

Feral kittens in my yard / both Trapped, Sterilized and socialized.  Had they been trapped and take to shelter they would have been euthanized.  They were Feral, wild and terrified of humans.  Cannot be adopted. Shelters would euthanize.

Many people assume cats without collars are strays or feral cats.  We find cats without collars in our yard all of the time, some stay a few days hanging out, others find their way back to their homes. 95% of them are neighborhood cats.
This cat without collar hung out in our yard for 4 days.  He was afraid of us, hissed and spit he also meowed.  Feral cats do not meow and they run from humans so they do not hiss or spit.  Today we saw the flyer, this cat was lost and scared.  He may have looked like a stray/feral cat with no collar, but the story is he got out of the house and was lost.

 If the cat hangs around for several days we will take their photograph and post it on a “found cat flyer” and pass it out to our neighbors. We will also go online to Facebook to share a photograph of found cat at the Humane Society and our contact information. We never trap the cat to surrender to the shelter for fear that the cat will be euthanized.

Here is a flyer that I use when looking for pet owners.

Lost or Found Cat Mailbox Flyer

Backside of cat flyer:

Lost or Found Cat Mailbox Flyer

As for feral cats we do trap them and take them to the veterinarian for feline disease tests, sterilization and rabies and other vaccines before we release them to an area called a colony where there are caretakers to feed these cats and watch to make sure they are okay. Learn more about neighborhood cats and their TNR at Alley Cat Allies  

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Stray Cat Hiding in Garden

Tonight a gray and white stray cat came to our backyard. At first, we did not see him because he was hiding in the grass garden. When there was movement in the garden my husband and I went to investigate and that is when we found a nice looking adult cat.

When the cat realized that we saw him he sat up and started to meow. His meows were loud and sorrowful. My husband decided that the meowing was anxiety or he was trying to tell us he was hungry. So we decided to offer the stray cat a bowl of food.

We fed him Natural Balance limited ingredients duck and chickpea morsels that were mixed with two tablespoons of water.  This food was given to us by a neighbor and the feral cats like it because there are only one protein source and no fillers.

My husband brought the food to the cat. The cat did not hiss which is an indication that it is not feral. He put the food down two feet from the cat and the cat walked by my husband, his fur brushing up on his leg. This tells us that the stray is not fearful of humans.

There was no collar on the cat but maybe the cat has a microchip? We did not want to pick up the cat because it might frighten it. So we will watch the cat, to see if it hangs around our house or goes back into the neighborhood. It is possible that it just came to visit our yard and hang out in the gardens.

The stray ate every morsel in the bowl then went to our pond to get a drink. Then we watched as the cat walked toward our front yard. Instead of heading back to his house the cat laid on our front porch until the neighbor's cat came to visit, then the stray ran into the woods.

We are not sure if this little guy is lost, abandoned or what...but will watch out for him to make sure he is okay and will look for "lost cat posters" in the neighborhood.

Here is a photograph of the stray kitty in our yard. 

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Cat Foods That Trigger Allergies

An abandoned cat that I rescued was showing signs of a cat cold constantly even though he was current with all of his vaccines. When I asked how he could be sick the veterinarian informed me that the vaccines were like the human flu vaccines being that it did not protect you from all strains of the virus.

We were told that our cat may be sick from household stress and was advised to buy the Feliway products for our home and the veterinarian suggestions to give our cat Viralys L-lysine supplement to boost his immune system. After doing everything that we were asked our cat still had cold symptoms which included the feline herpes virus, coughing, sneezing and eye drainage.

Here is a video that is helpful in learning more about foods your cat may be allergic to

Our veterinarian was certain that these symptoms were coming on due to the stress of being abandoned, rescued and living indoors. They noted that it was common to have sick cats in multiple cat homes where there were also dogs and any changes to a cat's life could cause the cat to get colds due to the stress.

I can understand that BUT my cats and dogs all got along and normally when one cat is sick they all are and none of my other cats had symptoms of cold or another feline virus.

When none of the other cats got cold like symptoms I thought that what my cat may have is food allergies. So I changed the cat's food to Natural Balance limited ingredients duck flavor because if a cat is allergic to food then you should stay away from chicken, beef, grain, gluten, egg and seafood including salmon as these foods will trigger allergies symptoms.

After feeding the limited ingredients duck cat food for a week I noticed that the cats cold like symptoms went away. I am certain that the food I was feeding my cat was causing him to have an allergic reaction.

From website a quote: If your furry feline has a sensitivity to fillers and additives found in most canned cat food, natural balance L.I.D. Green pea & duck formula is a perfect choice! duck meat, duck broth, duck liver, and real peas provide the vitamins and minerals needed, with no grains or fillers tiger wouldn’t eat in the wild. Limited ingredient diets are great for cats of any age with food sensitivities, or for owners that want a simple, wholesome, natural meal for their pet. They are rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals needed for a long, healthy life”

Here are some shopping links for limited ingredient duck food formulated for cats. Know that you should always seek veterinarian care before making changes to cats lifestyle because your cat may have another health condition.

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Cats Choose their People

Cats are social animals that will choose the people they want to be with and the yards that they want to visit. Some visits are daily and other visits seem like the cat will never go home.

Know that when neighborhood cats visit your yard that it means that the yard has a positive energy, Cats visit my yard daily, they drink from my pond, lie in my clover garden and lounge on my patio furniture. These cats are feral, stray and cats from the neighborhood. My neighbor has a pond and a natural looking yard but no cats go to their yard and I suspect it is due to the energy, they do not like cats and the felines sense this.

Here are some cat cards that I created from the photographs I took of the cats that have chosen my yard.

Beautiful Tabby Cat in Grass Garden Photo Postcard

Feral Kittens in Garden Postcard

My husband and I love cats, but that does not mean that we do not respect their space, as we make no attempts to bond with them because if we did they would not go home. We care for a feral and stray cat colony that is away from my home but we do not put out a bowl of cat food in our yard.

Know that over the years I have had two neighborhood cats decide that their visit would be indefinite. Both cats had no intention of going back to their homes. Both cats were from the same family and they were subjected to abuse. The cats decided that they wanted to live at my house and showed me that I was the chosen one by jumping up on the bench where I sat to lie next to me when I read my book in the garden.

Eventually, I did put out a bowl of food and fresh water for these cats. I also opened the kitty door on my shed so they could take shelter when the weather was extreme heat, cold and the rain.

Photo card of feral cat being fed in winter

Cat in Snow with Greeting Christmas Card

But before I did any of the above I researched the family and found that the mother was a hoarder and that she had many cats that did not get along. She trained her cats by allowing them to fight among themselves and work out their indifference. The cats that got beat up were put outdoors and the cats that ruled the house lived indoors.

Both cats that came to my yard, arrived with multiple bite wounds, and these cats were seniors, age 14 and 17. The cats choose to my yard as they are free to leave anytime between 6 AM and 7 PM ( the time when the cat shed is opened/closed.) The cats were always prompt to go in for the night because they choose their people.


If you are thinking of adopting a cat or a kitten then I would recommend that you allow the cat to choose you. Whenever we have taken in feral or rescue kittens I have told the adopters to sit away from the kittens then wait for the kitten to approach them. To allow the kitten to check them out and the kitten that shows affection is the one that has chosen them as their person. These unions have been very good and no kittens were returned to me.

Monday, June 5, 2017

Where Do Cats Go When They Leave Their Yard

Many cat owners wonder where their cats go when they leave their yard. Some cats are gone for days and others for longer periods of time. Pet owners have no idea where their cats go but they assume that eventually, their cat will come home.
Kitten came to live with us, no pet owner ever found

Your neutered or spayed cat vocally tells you that they want to go outside and soon as you open the door they bolt past you and run out of the yard. You call for your cat but they do not look back. Where is your cat going and will it come back?
Lost kitten being cared for 

Cats are social and many times they will leave their yard to go hang out with other neighborhood cats. They will also go to neighbors house provided there is a cat food bowl on the porch or catnip growing in their garden. Cats will also hang out in a neighbor's yard or a vacant lot that has a natural setting overgrown grass, brush and trees. 

(If you cat is not neutered or spayed then they will leave to mate and come home only when exhausted and hungry or they may not come home because they wandered too far and got lost.  I recommend that all cats are sterilized) 

Overall cats will leave their yard to be social and to hang out elsewhere and then go home when they are hungry or want to sleep on their favorite chair with their best friend "the dog or other cats".

Here is a photo card I created of my socialized feral cat with my dog.  They are best friends and always sleep together.

Pit Bull and Tabby Cat Friends Forever Card

Pit Bull and Tabby Cat Friends Forever Card

But….What about the cat that leaves their yard for days/weeks? There are two reasons why cats do this. One they wander too far and get lost or something in their home has changed and they do not want to live there anymore.  They find their home to be stressful and want to leave.
Know that I have had two of my neighbor's cats come to live in my yard for six months and one never went home. They one cat owner came looking for their cat after four months had past and told me that they had adopted a young female that was nasty to their older male cat, so they put the male cat outdoors, kept female indoors and assumed their male housecat would adjust. The cat left their home and decided they like my home better. Here is the article I published about one of the cats that left his people and came to live me.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

People Who Should Not Own a Cat

This month I have wondered why people adopt cats because some people are not responsible pet owners. Three weeks ago my husband found a cat in our yard in the middle of the night that was attacked by another cat. The cat my husband rescued was an adult Maine Coon that was defenseless because it had no claws.

Read my first post about this cat here

We gave this cat shelter in our garage and treated its wounds. For the next three weeks, we tried to locate the cat's people. A neighbor showed us a house that they thought was where this cat resided but after several attempts to contact the pet owner, we never heard from the people who resided in this house.

Then my friend who lives a block away called to say that she found the cat owner and they said to release the cat because it was an outdoor cat. My friend mentioned to the pet owner that the cat in question had been wounded and they said their cat was nice and did not fight and if it got into a fight then it was nature.

A cat that has no claws should not be an outdoor cat. They cannot defend themselves and it is not natural for a cat with no claws to get into a fight with another animal. No claws this is not a fair fight and cat with no claws will take a beating, is no match against other cat or dog.

My husband said we must release the cat as that is what the owner has requested. We did release the cat but the cat did not leave our yard and at the end of the day, the cat went back into our garage to sleep in safety.

When my friend called to see if the cat was released we were honest and said that we did let the cat loose. She told me the cat did not go home, after four weeks the pet owner said they would not come get their cat because it was an outdoor cat and they did not mind it wandering the neighborhood.

As requested we release the declawed cat daily and he goes where he goes and returns to sleep in our garage at night. We have never met the pet owners. In my opinion, they should not own a cat, especially not a declawed cat.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Declawed Cats Cannot Protect Themselves

 Cats from the neighborhood frequent my yard because I am in the woods, have a fresh water pond and I grow catnip.  So a new cat visiting is not a big deal, but a declawed cat should not be in my yard because it cannot defend itself or climb a tree when predator; aggressive feral cat, coyote, hawk or stray dog approaches.

For the last month a large Maine Coon cat has been hanging out in my yard, this cat is very friendly but has no claws.  It does not hiss and is not aggressive.  Very laid back but should be in its yard and not be hanging at my house in the woods.

My friend lives a block away and I asked her about this cat.  She told me that the cat's owners were down the street about five houses and that the cat lived outdoors. She did not realize that it had no claws.  She went on to say that this cat spent a lot of time in her yard and she suspected that it slept on her patio chair because she would see it there in the early morning.

Pet owners are funny, and I suppose they just assume that no harm will come to their cat because he is so laid back, he gets along with other cats, but getting along with dog or coyote?  This cat would be in danger.

Early this morning my husband heard loud meow's coming from our side door.  He went out to investigate and found the Maine Coon cat.  The night was cold and rainy, and cats fur was wet so my husband picked him up and put him in our shed.

I went outside to the shed with a cat bed, litter box, and food and water bowls and when I got there I saw that my husband was examining the cat.  There were bite wounds under each ear, with fresh blood.  At three in the morning, we were cleaning this cat's wounds and closing the door to the shed so he would be safe for the rest of the night.

This morning my husband went to see about locating the cat's owners, he found the house and they were not home, so he left a note on their door to call him about their cat.  Know that if the cat owners were responsible their declawed cat would have lived indoors and not permitted to go outdoors unsupervised.  This cat seems to live outdoors and has no claws to protect itself and this is why he has two bite wounds.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Sewers are Not a Safe Shelter for Cats

Outdoor cats will go into the sewers when the weather is rainy, cold or hot. The sewer provides cats with a comfortable temperature and they feel safe under the ground. However, the sewers are not a safe shelter for cats.

This week the weather forecast is calling for a dip in the temperature which means the mild weather will cease. The weather forecast is calling for a light freeze and heavy rainfall. The temperature dip will come first so the cats will go to the sewers, then the hard rain. There is one wide opening sewer that has a ledge where the cats go to lie, then there is a wide mouth drain. We worry about the cats if the rain water from gutter rushes the sewer, these cats could get swept into the drain.

Neighbors have petitioned the city to put a grate over the opening of this sewer but they city said they would prefer to have animal control come out with traps to remove all stray cats. Well, that is not the solution because even neighborhood cats, small dogs or a child that is curious about the opening could fall into this sewer. Since the city will not install a grate covering my neighbors and I are watching the sewers and will do our best to rescue any cats.

One of my friends lives across from the large opening street sewer and he recommended that we all open our garages to welcome the outdoor cats to a warm and dry shelter. The thought is that the cats would go into our garages instead of the sewer. That if we all install a kitty door that the cats will know that our garages or storage sheds are their safe place.  
We have also opened up the shed. Both the garage and shed have cat beds with self-heated pads if the weather is cold. We are hoping the outdoor cats have the good sense to come out of the sewers and go into the neighbor's garages. 

Saturday, April 22, 2017

What to Do When Cat Opens Carrier / Crate

In the photo, you view a sweet 7-week old kitten that we rescued with his four siblings when they had been put in cardboard box and taken to our woods. All kittens are developing their personalities however this little orange and white cat is like Houdini, he can escape all crates, cages, carriers and slides under the safe room door. Keeping this cat confined has been a challenge but we did find ways to keep in his crate, cage, and carrier.
We keep the kittens is a safe room away from the other pets in the house. This room we have all that they need including toys, beds, litter boxes, cat tree with a scratching post, pet crates and kitten food and water bowl. The room is 9 x 14 so the kittens have plenty of room to play. All of the kittens are adjusting to their new surroundings except the orange and white one, he does not play with other kittens because he is too busy trying to get out of the room.
At night we put all of the kittens in a large cat cage that has a bed, water, kibble food, hammock, and litter box. The latch to secure the cage works properly, but we discovered that no latch was going to keep the orange and white kitten inside the cage. He broke out of that cage in no time and all the kittens followed him. Now we must tie the cage shut with rope.
When I say nothing keeps this cat in one place I mean it. We put the orange and white tabby cat in the carrier to go to the veterinarian's office, then put the carrier in the car, covered it with a pet blanket (to keep kitten calmer while riding in car) and I have no idea how he got out, but he was out of the carrier and running all over the car.
Thank goodness the sells soft sided carriers that zip open and close as he has not figured out how to get out of them. As for the cat cage at night, we keep the kittens in with the latch and we used twine to tie it closed with a double-knot.

This kitten will be a good match for a family with kids because he will have them laughing constantly. We will be putting the rescue kittens up for adoption in 2 to 3 weeks. 

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Therapy for Cat with Behavior Issues

My husband rescued an older cat that had been abandoned in our woods a few months ago. This cat is a nice with people but is not crazy about any other animal. The veterinarian confirmed that this cat has arthritis and suspect that this is the reason for his bad behavior as well as the anxious behavior from being abandoned.

Know that it is difficult to find adopters for mature cats with health concerns and bad behavior. This cat will undergo therapy for its behavior, then be placed with a animal foster or we will keep the cat.

We tried the usual therapy for cats with behavior issues; feliway diffusers and rescue remedy treatment for drinking water. They helped some but this rescue still suffered from not being able to go outdoors. (Meowing loudly, scratching on the side door and becoming aggressive when not let out of the house)

The cat wants to go outdoors and we have been reluctant due to the coyote that reside close to our home. Fearful that this rescue cat would become an afternoon snack for the predators that cross our side yard to get to the pond in the woods.

I decided to teach rescue cat to walk on a leash. I bought him a cat harness and a leash and took him outdoors. Talk about a happy cat, he rolled around in the grass, did his nails on the bark of the oak tree. Marked his territory and yes walked me around the yard.

Know that taking a cat for a walk does take practice. I presently walk this cat 4 times a day. I also walk him on the leash to my greenhouse. I do not have to worry about the cat in the greenhouse as he has his routine and the door is shut so he can not go outdoors. He stays with me while I garden.

The outdoor activities has greatly improved the rescue cats behavior The cat seems to get along with our cats and dogs. His territorial behavior is under control thanks to outdoor exercise. By allowing this cat to go for walks and be outdoors was the right therapy.

Note: We are still using the feliway diffuser as it is a good way to lessen cat stress overall.

Here is a video of cat walking on a leash.