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Questions for the cat folks here
Posted by: PeterB
Date: March 20, 2022 01:12PM
Since Hurricane Ida, there have been a number of strays/ferals in my neighborhood who have seemed to make my house and that of my immediate neighbor their base of operations, so to speak. (I noticed the first one of the group hanging out on my neighbor's porch right after Ida, once the neighbors left town because it became obvious that Entergy wasn't going to have the power back on for several weeks... it's entirely possible that these cats were either left behind by their owners during/after Ida, or were already elsewhere in the neighborhood somewhere, but got displaced to my area because of Ida. The cats hang out a lot on my porch and that of my neighbor, probably because I haven't been outside much due to corona.)

I've identified at least four different cats, though there might be more, it's definitely not a huge number. I've been in contact with our local TNR association (a completely volunteer-based operation!) to make sure that they're all spayed/neutered... I first got into contact with them because one of these cats has a noticeable limp, not sure if that cat has a missing leg or what, because I've never been able to get close to it... and we haven't been able to catch it in order to make sure it's neutered and receives proper vet care if it needs it.

But I digress. The questions I have mostly relate to two of these cats: one is an already-previously-spayed female, who is seemingly fairly friendly, is accepting food, but will apparently not let me approach and seems very nervous (and yet seems to want to interact)... the impression, just the sense I get being a bit of a cat person, is that she might have been abused. The other is a male who was not neutered, but is now, and is extremely friendly... clearly enjoys/wants to be petted and might even want to come into the house. I would guess that he must have been someone's pet at some point, but the fact that he wasn't neutered is suggesting that whoever owned him was obviously not taking proper care of him.

I have been on-and-off feeding them... there is someone else in my neighborhood who has been regularly feeding the neighborhood cats (not sure if these particular cats, though) ... I myself don't really have the time to consistently feed or give water, and I CANNOT adopt them myself. (I just don't have the time to take proper care of a cat and give it the attention it would need-- and as I think you all know, I already have too many mouths to feed!) But I do want to help these cats however I can.

So my questions are:

1) Is it worth trying to get them to interact and/or socialized, so that they can get adopted by someone? If so, how would you all suggest I proceed?

2) Any suggestions on how to trap the injured one? He/she seems to only infrequently come around compared to the others, and he/she is the whole reason I started investigating the TNR program here.

TiA

P.S. ... I have photos of all these buggers, if anyone's curious and wants me to post. Took the photos hoping to be able to see if they were ear-tipped... but it's not always that obvious, at least not to me, whether they are or not; and apparently not to the TNR person I've been working with either, because at one point she said from the photos that some of them were ear-tipped, but then when we caught them, it turned out they weren't.




Freya says, 'Hello from NOLA, baby!' (Laissez bon temps rouler!)
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Re: Questions for the cat folks here
Posted by: Tiangou
Date: March 20, 2022 01:27PM
Adult ferals are very hard to domesticate. It's usually a fool's errand, tho there are plenty of stories about people who have accomplished it.

If the male appears to already be somewhat domesticated, I'd focus on him. Maybe lure him closer to the house with food each day and then see if he'll come in with food just over the threshold in the house. If he's approachable, foster him for awhile and you'll know if he's adoptable.

I'd leave trapping the others to professionals if that's an option. Discuss it with your local shelter.



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Re: Questions for the cat folks here
Posted by: PeterB
Date: March 20, 2022 01:35PM
Quote
Tiangou
Adult ferals are very hard to domesticate. It's usually a fool's errand, tho there are plenty of stories about people who have accomplished it.

If the male appears to already be somewhat domesticated, I'd focus on him. Maybe lure him closer to the house with food each day and then see if he'll come in with food just over the threshold in the house. If he's approachable, foster him for awhile and you'll know if he's adoptable.

I'd leave trapping the others to professionals if that's an option. Discuss it with your local shelter.

My suspicion is that the two friendly ones (male and female) are strays rather than ferals.

I'm betting that the male would have absolutely NO problem following me into the house now... he's already shown some interest in coming inside and seems to want to interact for the sake of interacting. The female, not nearly so friendly, she will allow me to watch her and she watches me, and she will tentatively eat with me nearby, but doesn't seem to want to let me approach her.

I wish I could foster, but that's pretty much out of the question for the same reasons I can't adopt.

Trapping ... there are really NO professionals here, at least none who really do their job (this is, after all, New Orleans we're talking about!). The volunteer organization is really it... here is their website, if anyone's curious: [www.trapdatcat.org] ... they've come out once already, and we trapped the friendly male and somewhat friendly female, another unneutered male (VERY unfriendly), but NOT the limping one. I will contact LA-SPCA if it gets to the point where it's clear that they could be adopted out (IF I want to try going that route). I just think it's very sad that a cat that's that cute and friendly should be living on the streets... but then a lot of them are, here. The people here are extremely irresponsible when it comes to animals. We've already had bunnies roaming around, as I've posted about here before, and lots and lots of dogs off-leash. And don't get me started about the pythons... facepalm




Freya says, 'Hello from NOLA, baby!' (Laissez bon temps rouler!)



Edited 2 time(s). Last edit at 03/20/2022 01:37PM by PeterB.
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Re: Questions for the cat folks here
Posted by: Fritz
Date: March 20, 2022 02:00PM
Quote
Tiangou
Adult ferals are very hard to domesticate. It's usually a fool's errand, tho there are plenty of stories about people who have accomplished it.

yup

We have found that ferals respond more to my spouse than I.
After she has their confidence, they buddy up easier.
But it does take time. Took a couple of months for a stray to feel comfy with my spouse. Then a couple weeks after that, me.

The local adopt a cat has many ferals. They don't even indicate they are available for adoption like the others.

The injured would probably take even longer.

I'd say lead with a woman or age of reason woman child.
Maybe some treats beyond conventional food.
Like cooked chicken, chicken hearts or liver, if you've the time and patience.
Weather safe shack with bedding, old towels, etc. for them to hang near the house.
But, be warned, that can become a stinkin' mess.



!#$@@$#!

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Re: Questions for the cat folks here
Posted by: wave rider
Date: March 20, 2022 02:46PM
Local TNR group here used to find placings for feral barn cats. I think they may have stopped due to the coyote population. Ask your local TNR about that option in your area.

Earning a feral's trust takes patience but can be very rewarding. And once they find out how easy the humans are to manipulate, it's all over. (Says the fellow living with two formerly ferals…)


Edit> No photos, no cats…



=wr=



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/20/2022 02:51PM by wave rider.
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Re: Questions for the cat folks here
Posted by: PeterB
Date: March 20, 2022 02:54PM
OK, some more information, courtesy a critter-cam that I set up in the backyard a couple days ago, to solve a different mystery:

1) The injured one is indeed missing the bottom part of a leg. Despite that, he/she seems to get around reasonably OK... I've even caught him/her at one point catwalking my fence. (See what I did there? grinning smiley)

2) My backyard has gotten all the same visitors as I've seen out front, except (so far) the very friendly one... but he might have gone back there too.

3) Apparently I have a rat problem, they are eating spilled birdseed or whatever on my back porch from my feeder. So maybe that's what's attracting the cats?




Freya says, 'Hello from NOLA, baby!' (Laissez bon temps rouler!)
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Re: Questions for the cat folks here
Posted by: Fritz
Date: March 20, 2022 03:26PM
" 3) Apparently I have a rat problem, they are eating spilled birdseed or whatever on my back porch from my feeder. So maybe that's what's attracting the cats?"

nothing like a good hunt



!#$@@$#!

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Re: Questions for the cat folks here
Posted by: wave rider
Date: March 20, 2022 03:53PM
Quote
PeterB
3) Apparently I have a rat problem, they are eating spilled birdseed or whatever on my back porch from my feeder. So maybe that's what's attracting the cats?

You need the cats, Peter…



=wr=
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Re: Questions for the cat folks here
Posted by: vicrock
Date: March 20, 2022 06:18PM
One thing - friends who TNR swear by KFC as bait - evidently it is irresistable to ferals. If the cat with the injured leg seems to be getting around ok and there is no obvious open wound, he's probably ok.

The cats will certainly help with your rodent problems. Putting birdseed into metal cans will minimize the ability for rodents to get into the storage.
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Re: Questions for the cat folks here
Posted by: PeterB
Date: March 20, 2022 07:11PM
No problems trapping the cats, using either tuna or cat food as bait.

I had thought that the cats would keep away rodents, but from what I've read ... apparently cats won't bother with rats or mice?

The spilled birdseed isn't from rats breaking into storage, it's from spilled seed on the porch from the feeder itself. (It's a platform feeder and some of the birds, especially the sparrows, seem to like throwing/digging around in the seed like crazy, which spreads it everywhere.)

So now I need a way to kill the rats, but not harm the cats (who of course are welcome visitors) or the possums (who of course aren't nearly so cute as the cats, but are also welcome visitors).

Oh, and nobody asked for it, but here are photos of the kitties in question... it's a good crew:












Freya says, 'Hello from NOLA, baby!' (Laissez bon temps rouler!)



Edited 3 time(s). Last edit at 03/20/2022 07:12PM by PeterB.
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Re: Questions for the cat folks here
Posted by: Rolando
Date: March 20, 2022 08:25PM
Check to see if a local catch and spay program is around. They will lend traps, offer free spaying services. They clip an ear to mark them as neutered.

Then they released back to live out their lives. Getting rid of cats will increase the number of mice and rats in your local neighborhood



San Antonio, TX (in the old city)


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Re: Questions for the cat folks here
Posted by: mattkime
Date: March 20, 2022 09:04PM
Those cats look to be in awfully good health. Only the bottom one looks a bit dirty to me.

Sounds to me like you need a different feeder. Stop feeding the rats.

Some rats might be a bit big for cats to take on but I think both mice and rats will avoid the smell of cats.



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Re: Questions for the cat folks here
Posted by: PeterB
Date: March 20, 2022 09:20PM
Quote
Rolando
Check to see if a local catch and spay program is around. They will lend traps, offer free spaying services. They clip an ear to mark them as neutered.

Then they released back to live out their lives. Getting rid of cats will increase the number of mice and rats in your local neighborhood

This is precisely what I've been doing ... please see my posts above, about TrapDatCat.com ... they're volunteers who lend the traps and then when the cats are caught, they bring them to the vet to get them spayed/neutered and ear-tipped.

I do NOT want to get rid of the cats! I like them... I just want them to have better lives than what they have on the street.

Quote
mattkime
Those cats look to be in awfully good health. Only the bottom one looks a bit dirty to me.

Sounds to me like you need a different feeder. Stop feeding the rats.

Some rats might be a bit big for cats to take on but I think both mice and rats will avoid the smell of cats.

Yes, that was my impression too (about their good health)... the bottom one might look a bit dirty because he's got something going on with his eye, but otherwise he looks fine (but is very hungry).

I don't know what you mean about the feeder ... it's nearly impossible to not have spilled seed, and a lot of birds here won't feed from a regular, tubular style feeder.

And I agree that the rats might avoid the smell of the cats -- what I caught on the critter cam was a bunch of rats (or one very persistent one) who was consistently going up and down my porch, apparently in order to snack on spilled seed. But they/he/she really flies up and down ... looks like the cats might have been chasing them, as they too can be seen going up and down the porch.

In terms of killing the rats, I came across something interesting: [www.ratrelief.com]




Freya says, 'Hello from NOLA, baby!' (Laissez bon temps rouler!)



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/20/2022 09:21PM by PeterB.
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Re: Questions for the cat folks here
Posted by: Janit
Date: March 20, 2022 10:27PM
How do the cats get along with each other? A pair of cats that can play with one another don't require as much in-your-face attention as a single cat, though, of course, the food costs and general awareness regarding their welfare is doubled.

It sounds like the two friendly cats would do well with being fostered/adopted, and if you can't do it yourself, then you may need to find someone who will. The skittish female may simply be skittish by nature and not necessarily abused. Some cats are just one-person cats who take a long time to decide they like/need a new person.
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Re: Questions for the cat folks here
Posted by: PeterB
Date: March 20, 2022 10:41PM
Quote
Janit
How do the cats get along with each other? A pair of cats that can play with one another don't require as much in-your-face attention as a single cat, though, of course, the food costs and general awareness regarding their welfare is doubled.

It sounds like the two friendly cats would do well with being fostered/adopted, and if you can't do it yourself, then you may need to find someone who will. The skittish female may simply be skittish by nature and not necessarily abused. Some cats are just one-person cats who take a long time to decide they like/need a new person.

The cats do NOT seem to get along with each other, at least not that I've seen. For example, the black and white will chase after the tortie. (That's especially unfortunate, because they're the two friendliest.) The tortie is indeed the skittish one, which is also unfortunate because she is pretty as you all can see from the photo. She has "hung out" with me on at least one occasion, in the sense of seeming interest in being near me (I think she likes me), but will not let me approach her, she will run away. I just sense that she may have been abused, based on her body language and how she responds to being approached/around people.

One mystery I just noticed: in the photo I took of the orange and white, he/she seems to have two back legs, and yet I have video strongly indicating that he is missing an entire back leg. (He has been limping for a very long time now, so he could not have lost a leg between when I took the photo and when I got the video.) It's peculiar.




Freya says, 'Hello from NOLA, baby!' (Laissez bon temps rouler!)
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Re: Questions for the cat folks here
Posted by: Acer
Date: March 20, 2022 11:04PM
Advice you may not want to hear, but should be said:

The cats will eat the birds. Get the cats off the street for their own health and for the health of your birds.

Cats or no, stop feeding the birds until the rats go away. If the rats persist, consider a pellet gun, or maybe another non-poison control. Never poison, you'll poison any cat or hawk or scavenger that eats the rat. The birds will find other food. Bring back the bird feeders when the rats are gone. When you bring them back, consider pole baffles and feeders designed to discourage squirrels, which will deter rats, too. And trays to keep spillage off the ground and out of rat domain.
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Re: Questions for the cat folks here
Posted by: rgG
Date: March 21, 2022 06:23AM
The orange and white kitty definitely has two back feet.





Roswell, GA (Atlanta suburb)
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Re: Questions for the cat folks here
Posted by: CJsNvrUrly
Date: March 21, 2022 08:11AM
We have feral cats in our neighborhood and a few of our neighbors feed them, as do we. We even have a small house on our carport with a heated pad in it that the more domesticated ones sleep in. We have identified a couple of the cats as castoffs from nearby homes that seem to prefer living on our carport than going back home. We've been successful bringing one into our fold. His ear was clipped and we've been letting him in and out whenever he wants. He's well-mannered except for the occasional hiss and swat at our dogs and cats. Last summer, we were able to trap a female with her two kittens. We kept them in a large, multi-level cat condo (cage) until the kittens were weaned. We re-homed the kittens--both to the same home where they are happy--and neutered & tipped the mom and released her back outside. She still comes by to visit and allows herself to be picked up briefly. It's better for the feral cat community that they get neutered and released back to their colony.
Just feed them and watch for health issues.




bunny smileyCentral VA
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Re: Questions for the cat folks here
Posted by: PeterB
Date: March 21, 2022 09:55AM
Quote
Acer
Advice you may not want to hear, but should be said:

The cats will eat the birds. Get the cats off the street for their own health and for the health of your birds.

Cats or no, stop feeding the birds until the rats go away. If the rats persist, consider a pellet gun, or maybe another non-poison control. Never poison, you'll poison any cat or hawk or scavenger that eats the rat. The birds will find other food. Bring back the bird feeders when the rats are gone. When you bring them back, consider pole baffles and feeders designed to discourage squirrels, which will deter rats, too. And trays to keep spillage off the ground and out of rat domain.

The cats haven't been able to get the birds ... the feeder is too high up for them. I've made sure of that, and also the birds have been very aware of the cats. If one or two stray birds gets caught by a cat, well... that's nature for you.

I know not to poison the rats ... that's why the baking soda idea appealed to me. Also because the way they die sounds really gruesome! And I presume it would not affect a scavenger eating that rat.

But I'm fine with not feeding the birds for a bit, so that the rats run out of food. I also have snap traps, so there's always that option.




Freya says, 'Hello from NOLA, baby!' (Laissez bon temps rouler!)
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Re: Questions for the cat folks here
Posted by: Randalls
Date: March 21, 2022 04:21PM
I have been on a learning curve for 2 years now. Momma cat I should have fixed had a litter and am dealing with keeping them safe. If you FB I follow ‘Feral Cat Rescue’ as they have a pretty good information base with 9k members. I trapped and took in 6 (the mom and litter) and they got their shots as well. I converted a wooden crate on my covered porch and have 2 heating pads in it. I insulated it and have a cat door and I fill it with about 6 inches of straw (not hay). Blankets and towels hold moisture. Indiana is much colder in the winter than Nola so I also have a heated food and water bowl.

This winter my neighbors started letting the cats come in to their house and they love it. Only have 1 cat left that is either too dumb or may be ostracized by the group to join the indoor group. After 2 years I can now pick up and hold little Poe and purr’s up a storm. Hopefully she will eventually join the others in the neighbors house.

One thing is I also feed birds so have to be careful about feeding locations. My neighbors did say they have noticed that their rodent issues have disappeared and they thank the kitties for that.
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Re: Questions for the cat folks here
Posted by: PeterB
Date: March 21, 2022 07:15PM
If anyone's still reading this thread, I think I found a solution to the seed spillage problem ... kinda ugly, but it should work: [www.amazon.com] (I had no idea that such a thing even existed!)




Freya says, 'Hello from NOLA, baby!' (Laissez bon temps rouler!)
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Re: Questions for the cat folks here
Posted by: Racer X
Date: March 21, 2022 08:09PM
I'm reading. What's the baking soda thing? We have a mice/rat problem, now that Ash is ancient. He's over 20 now.



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Re: Questions for the cat folks here
Posted by: ArtP
Date: March 22, 2022 01:13AM
A couple of those cats look like the ferrals I feed. One similar to the first pic you posted is super friendly, hops on my car sometimes when i come home, follows me to the door and even tries to follow me in the House. I will let him in the foyer, but I'm afraid my cat will not allow a "visitor".

In summer Ieave my front door open, screen door lower panel is glass, I hear a hiss and a THUMP as my girl tries to get at a ferral.

Funny thing is I have two orange Tabbys and one seems to be missing a foot.

I guess I should take some pics of them to keep track. Usually I count 5 during the course of the evening but over the years, some have dissapeared and new ones pop up.
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Re: Questions for the cat folks here
Posted by: PeterB
Date: March 22, 2022 09:40AM
Quote
Racer X
I'm reading. What's the baking soda thing? We have a mice/rat problem, now that Ash is ancient. He's over 20 now.

It's in a link I posted above. Basically mixing baking soda with either sugar or peanut butter as bait for rats and mice ... apparently they cannot pass gas, so when the baking soda mixes with their stomach acids and produces CO2... death by flatulence. Supposedly it can take days to happen though.

The orange and white one, that's really a mystery. The photo seems to indicate that he DOES have all his back legs, yet the video shows he clearly doesn't, and the time between was such that there's no way he could have lost his leg in between (and I have video of him limping well before the photo). So maybe it's actually two different cats, I'm not sure.




Freya says, 'Hello from NOLA, baby!' (Laissez bon temps rouler!)
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Re: Questions for the cat folks here
Posted by: Randalls
Date: March 22, 2022 01:53PM
Here is a local link that has some good stray/feral info if you read through it. Also, Alley Cat Allies seems to be the top site for info on the inter web and they are highly rated as a resource and charity.

[lowcostspayneuterindiana.org]

[www.alleycat.org]
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Re: Questions for the cat folks here
Posted by: PeterB
Date: March 22, 2022 07:37PM
UPDATE: the black and white (who is super-friendly) sure enough showed up at my door when I came home from work today, ate up everything I gave him, but clearly wanted in... we're about to get hit with major weather (thunderstorms/tornadoes), and so I wonder if he sensed this, and I also wonder what the cats do when such weather conditions hit.

I did NOT let him in... but of course I felt terrible about this. The problem is that, once his foot (paw) is in the door, it'd probably be impossible for him to leave. I don't want to become staff of Cat, Inc. ... as I mentioned, I already have too many mouths to feed. emoticon-animal-004 emoticon-animal-022




Freya says, 'Hello from NOLA, baby!' (Laissez bon temps rouler!)



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 03/22/2022 07:37PM by PeterB.
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