Monday, October 15, 2012

Blog Reunites Owner with Rescued Bengal-Mix Cat

Since 1999 my husband and I have been rescuing abandoned cats in our neighborhood.  We work with two of our neighbors to pick up these cats that are left behind, to take them to the veterinarian and to find them new homes. 


A few weeks ago I published an article on a rescued Bengal-mix cat that had showed up in our neighborhood in July of 2012.  The cat terrified of humans was well groomed, neutered and declawed.  

At first we suspected that the cat had gotten lost and we notified the newspaper by posting a found cat and we posted flyers in our neighborhood. There was no response.  

Photograph of lost cat cutting through a yard:
Lost Bengal Cat
In the past month the blog post about the Bengal mix cat was shared 26 times and within a month the original owner had contacted me by email and told me that I should call the Bengal by the name of  KAT and if he responds then it is his cat.  

The owner had raised the cat from a kitten, he was a Bengal-mix house cat that he had surrendered in June 2012 to a family that lived two blocks from my home. The original pet owner suspected that the adopted owner had put the cat outside due to the cats marking behavior.

I immediately went outdoors to test the name on the the Bengal cat.  He was sitting on my patio furniture so  I sat across from the cat and addressed him by saying Kat.

The Bengal looked up and made a funny sounding meow. After I addressed the cat with his proper name he warmed up quickly, rubbed on my legs and was very talkative.

Blogging is an effective way to locate the original cat’s owners and to obtain a history on the cat as well as reuniting cat with their owner.   A happy ending for this rescued cat.

Thank you to all of my friends who helped to get the word out about the Bengal-mix cat.



Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Keep Outdoor Cats Hydrated in Winter



Outdoor cat in winter
Keeping outdoor cats hydrated in winter is of utmost importance. Outdoor cats can survive many days without food; however they must have water daily.  When it is cold outdoors the water source is limited as it may be frozen. 

If you keep your cat outdoors or if you care for a colony of feral cats then it is wise to provide them with water several times a day and if you are able to do so, set up a non freezing water bowl for outdoor cats.

My colony of cats come from the forest and I never know when they will come to eat or drink so I have provided fresh water for the feral cats by setting up a deep water pond with water pump and fountain in my yard.  This pond will provide the cats with a water source provided the temperatures do not dip below zero. 

Another way to provide outdoor cats with water during winter is with a thermal bowl, or a non freezing water bowl.  This bowl does require an eclectic outlet and it is best if you set it up in a protected area; on your porch or covered deck.  

 Check the water bowl a couple times during the day to make sure it is full of water.  I will leave the water bowl plugged in from 6 to 10 pm, but when I go to bed I will unplug the bowl as I do not want it to overheat due to an animal drinking all of the water. 
 
If you do not have an electric outlet on your porch or your deck then set up a solar bird bath.  There are free standing solar bird baths and there are ones that attach to your deck railing.  

There is also  a ground level solar water sipper for birds. This sipper water source  will allow the cats to get a drink of water.  Use these birdbaths for the cats.  The solar heat keeps the water from freezing.  As long as you provide a way for the cats to reach the water the solar bird bath is a good way to provide outdoor cats with water in winter. 
  
Tips:

  1. Set cement blocks next to the solar bird bath to make steps for the cat to get to the water.
  2. The solar bird baths are great as you will save on energy and the cats will have a water source that is not iced over. I recommend changing out the water in the bird bath daily to provide the cats with clean water. 
  3. Feral and outdoor cats need a dry shelter with no wind, bedding of straw, high protein food and reliable water source, if these requirements are met they will survive the winter. 


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Rescuing Bengal Mix Cat



Louie the abandoned Bengal Mix
Every day a cat is abandoned in my neighborhood, these cats are not feral, they are domesticated house cats, and many of them have no claws or skills to survive in the forest.   

We do our best to rescue all of the cats that are left behind and to rehabilitate them so that they can trust and love a human again. 

Last month a Bengal mix cat was viewed being chased by a queen feral cat.  The Bengal cat was approximately 2 years old and showed up at the cat colony feeding station.   

The cat was hungry and did not know how to hunt or where to go for food so it tried to eat from while one of the feral was eating and the cats rude eating habits did not sit well with the feral cats. The feral cat chased the domesticated Bengal from the colony.

This Bengal mix ran for the next three weeks, he was scared, hungry and did not know where to go for shelter.  He was viewed by one of my cat helpers sitting in a meadow in a heavy rain down poor.  The cat was soaked to the bone.

All of the cat caregivers tried to lure him to a safer area, and we all tried to trap him. The traps terrified the cat and only made him run deeper into the forest.  

In my neighborhood cars are viewed stopping at the nature center gate and putting out their cats.  We have reported this to the city and they are aware of the going on.  We  assumed that this is how the Bengal mix came to our neighborhood.  But since we were not 100% sure we posted cat flyers and placed a classified in the newspaper.  Nobody contacted us about the Bengal mix cat.

It took my husband and I one week to teach the Bengal mix cat his name; Louie.  Now I can call him when it is time to eat and he will come and stay in my yard most of the day but that does not mean that we can get close to him.  

Louie came to us very thin, however he had been neutered and then I wormed him with a chicken flavor tapeworm powder that was mixed into his food.  After he was wormed Louie began to put on weight.

My one neighbor made me an outdoor insulated cat house for Louie and we set it up on our patio.   

Louie is afraid of the house he hisses at it and runs out of my yard.  I sprayed the house with feliway behavior modifier to calm Louie.  But it has not helped.  I decided that it was in the best interest to try to coax the terrified abandoned cat to come indoors. 

Bengal Mixed cat lying by Bamboo
Bonding with a cat that has been abandoned by their master is difficult because the cat is frightened and is afraid of humans.  Louie may not be ready to bond with me but soon it will be cold and this cat will not know what to do.  

 He does not hunt, and he does not go into his cat house when it rains.  Instead he tries to lie under the bamboo as if this shrub will provide him with shelter or he will lie in leaves under my neighbors shrubs.

I now call Louie when it is time for him to eat.  Normally he will come to my side door and wait patiently for me to put out his food but today when he arrived he found the door open.  

I set his food in my mud room and Louie did not hesitate, he walked into the room.  He sat quietly and ate the food and when he was done he looked around the corner and saw me sitting at the desk.  Louie immediately ran out of the door across my backyard and leaped over our retaining wall before fleeing to the forest.

About Louie:

Bengal mix cat by woods entrance
Louie does not meow like normal cats, instead he makes a chirping sound.  He is starting to relax as he greeting me with a chirp rather than a hiss today.  

It is going to take time but I am determined to rescue Louie from the hard life in the forest and to rehabilitate him.  When all that is done I will put Louie up for adoption.

Update 10/07/12
A cold front came to our area and temperatures dipped into the lower 30's.  We were busy filling the outdoor shelters with straw and Louie sat 20 feet away from me in the back side of our yard.  He watched me all day and when I went inside he slowly approached the outdoor shelter and went inside to lay on the straw. I ran out to the shelter and shut the kitty door. 

We will all sleep tonight knowing that Louie is safe inside the shelter. 

___

Learn more about Bengal cats by viewing this YouTube video:


Monday, October 1, 2012

Getting Rid of Cat Urine Smell in Yard



Feral Cat crossing meadow
Feral cat in yard
If you smell cat urine in your yard or garden then this is a sign that your yard has been marked as the cat's territory.   

Tomcats and female cats in heat will spray to communicate with other cats.  When the cat urine smell is very strong it is due to the cats hormones during mating.   


 Get rid of the cat urine foul smell with non-toxic products that will not hurt living things and the environment.

Treat the cat urine smell with white vinegar.  Use the vinegar full strength to remove tough stains and orders.   Vinegars acetic properties make it useful for cleaning and deodorizing tough stains and odors.

Treat the cat marking by pouring the white vinegar into a trigger spray bottle and then spray the urine and stain thoroughly. Saturate the area and leave it to dry. 

Another way to get rid of cat urine smell in your yard is to buy an enzyme formula to break down the odor.     

Check your pet supply store for products.  The product that I recommend is Nature’s Miracle cat odor destroyer.  I learned about Nature’s Miracle from my veterinarian as this is the product they use in their office and kennel.  This product has a pleasant scent and removes the cat urine stain and smell well.  

Apply the formula by saturating the area with an even spray.   The natural enzymes break down the stain and smell without harming the environment.  When you treat the cat urine with Nature’s Miracle the stain and smell will disappear.  The feral cats that are in heat will not return to the treated area to mark their territory. 

The best way to get rid of the cat smell in your yard is to trap the tomcat or female cat and take the cats in to be neutered or spayed. When cats are sterilized they no longer have the urge to mate and to mark or spray their territory with urine.