Taking on a stray cat. Any advice?

(56 Posts)
ShadowsCollideCantLogInToMN Sat 21-Jun-14 00:38:38

A lovely little stray started hanging around our front garden. She looked so sad and hungry that we started leaving food out for her. She's very anxious and jumpy, but has begun to get used to us, and if we sit on the doorstep she will cuddle up to us and loves being stroked. She's very sweet. We want to take her in, have done lots of research as to what we need to do. Contacted our local vet's surgery to find out what she'll need in terms of shots etc. Our local animal rescue will give us a voucher for shots, worming and neutering because we're willing to take her as opposed to dumping her on them, which is wonderful of them.

Just wondering if a stray can become a house cat? Not sure how old she is, hoping that the vet will be able to help us out there. She's fairly little, and has short little legs and tiny paws, so I'm guessing she's a bit stunted. I'd prefer to keep her in the house so she's safe, and when we bring her in she seems to like wandering around, and scratching on the armchair smile. We're trying to let her get used to the house gradually. I'm worried that being in the house full time might distress her though? Any of you cat experts reckon that we could successfully transition her to being a house cat? She currently sleeps on our doormat, and will happily potter around the house, but as soon as she hears a noise she flees for the door (though just stays on the doormat, she doesn't run away completely). Also, if any cat owners could offer any advice as to what else we should do with her that would be brilliant. Thanks so much.

It's lovely that you want to take her in and to generally get her sorted out. I think all cats except perhaps the very, very elderly do like to have some access to the outdoors. If she's already been living on the street then she'll be more street-wise than your average cat, so probably less likely to come to harm.

It's always a good idea to keep cats in at night, but can't you give her access to the outside during the day? What is it specifically that you're worried about? Are you right on a busy road for example?

ShadowsCollideCantLogInToMN Sat 21-Jun-14 02:27:43

Thanks, thecat. I'm worried because we are close to a very busy road. There's a huge row of trees across the road from our house, and beyond that a field, then the road. Also, one of our neighbours is a menace on the road, tears into our little cul de sac like they are in a race. I'm frightened that she will be hit by a car. Though she hasn't been yet, so I suppose she can take care of herself. She's just so little and frightened of everything, I want to take care of her.

If you've got a cul de sac, trees and a field between your house and the busy road then you probably don't have too much to worry about, though it's always recommended to keep cats in at night. Once a cat gets settled in their home (and providing they're neutered) they tend not to stray very far away. The vast majority of mine go no further than my back garden for example.

If you have an enclosed back garden, and you are prepared to spend some money, you can get special netting stuff that fits along the top of the fences which stops cats getting out, so effectively only giving her access to your garden.

She will need to kept in for at least a week after she's been neutered anyway, so then you should be able to get a feel for how she reacts to it. It's very difficult to keep a cat in who really doesn't want to be in though and will mean never being able to leave any windows (even upstairs ones) open for example.

Fluffycloudland77 Sat 21-Jun-14 08:30:14

As soon as she discovers central heating, duvets and sofas she will become a rug-slug like the rest of them.

It's so kind of you to take her in. What's her name? Do we get a photo?

ShadowsCollideCantLogInToMN Wed 25-Jun-14 00:33:19

Thanks again, thecat. You have given me lots of great advice. I'd hate to trap her in the house or garden, she does seem to like a wander, but will always come back and sit on our doorstep.
She is scheduled with our vet for neutering this Fri, so I guess we'll take it from there. Thanks again, and sorry for not responding to your helpful post until now. Had a very hectic weekend planning and catering for a family party.

She has gotten very used to the house and loves running up and down the stairs grin

ShadowsCollideCantLogInToMN Wed 25-Jun-14 00:55:36

Flufflcloud, she has definite potential to become a rug slug (love that expression,btw). She loves snuggling up on the carpet covered stairs. Actually, she loves climbing up and down the stairs. Then rubbing up against DP or I. When you stroke her head her whole body vibrates with the purrs. She's a gorgeous, lazy little dote.

ShadowsCollideCantLogInToMN Wed 25-Jun-14 04:03:01

Flufflcloud, she has definite potential to become a rug slug (love that expression,btw). She loves snuggling up on the carpet covered stairs. Actually, she loves climbing up and down the stairs. Then rubbing up against DP or I. When you stroke her head her whole body vibrates with the purrs. She's a gorgeous, lazy little dote.

ShadowsCollideCantLogInToMN Wed 25-Jun-14 04:36:26

Flufflcloud, she has definite potential to become a rug slug (love that expression,btw). She loves snuggling up on the carpet covered stairs. Actually, she loves climbing up and down the stairs. Then rubbing up against DP or I. When you stroke her head her whole body vibrates with the purrs. She's a gorgeous, lazy little dote.

cozietoesie Wed 25-Jun-14 06:53:58

It sounds like you're doing all the right things so I'd just keep on as you're going. Give it another few weeks, neutering, becoming more used to you all and - maybe - some worsening weather a little later and who knows how she'll end up. (When The Lodger came to us from the streets, he started off as a little stand-offish and within a fairly short time, was happily bedding down all afternoon/night in the nearest cosy chair. By his own choice.)

Let us know how she gets on.

smile

fenneltea Wed 25-Jun-14 08:10:18

I currently have an ex feral cat that is terrified of the great outdoors and who stays as an indoor cat through choice. I've also just taken in a cat that was living as a stray for at least 18 months and in three months he has been outside only a handful of times, he seems to revert to a fearful semi feral when out, but is fussy and as affectionate as anything indoors.
Another I took in as a stray will go in the neighbouring gardens but no further.
I don't know if it's the norm,but out of my six cats the four that were ex strays except one that wanders further, all stay close to home, so hopefully your cat will be the same.
It's lovely that you've taken this little one in, they can have such a hard time as strays.

sashh Thu 26-Jun-14 08:44:24

Mine was a stray.

Start to feed her in the house and get a litter tray.

Shortly after madam arrived at mine she went in to season so she was kept inside for 2 weeks. She liked to look out of the window but accepted captivity very easily.

She is small, I thought she was about 6 months but the vet said a year. I do know that if a cat has kittens young then they stop growing themselves so not sure if that has happened.

Of course we now need pictures

ShadowsCollideCantLogInToMN Thu 26-Jun-14 21:59:51

Thanks for the feedback all. Good to know that she will probably adapt to being in the house. It's actually pissing rain here tonight so she was only gagging to get inside! She's mad for the cuddles tonight too, if I stop stroking her head for even a minute she screams at me. She's going to be a high maintenance little furball, isn't she? grin

Fluffycloudland77 Thu 26-Jun-14 22:07:58

Is she being neutered tomorrow?

ShadowsCollideCantLogInToMN Thu 26-Jun-14 22:17:47

Bugger. I've been trying to post pictures of her, but they aren't uploading, probably due to my pathetic internet connection.

Fluffy, yes, she is being neutered tomorrow. Is that the right thing to do? I grew up in a doggy house, my parents hate cats, and DP never had pets, so we're a bit clueless and paranoid about looking after her properly. DP has been in touch with the vet twice and the animal rescue once over the past week, making sure that we know how to properly care for her.

cozietoesie Thu 26-Jun-14 22:39:50

Absolutely the right thing to do! smile

The rain has maybe made her appreciate being inside. Then again, maybe she's going to turn out to be a real cuddlecat.

Well done so far.

smile

timtam23 Thu 26-Jun-14 22:52:17

That's really kind of you to take her in and it sounds like she appreciates it very much!
Hope all goes well with the neutering tomorrow

ShadowsCollideCantLogInToMN Thu 26-Jun-14 22:58:44

Ah, thank you cozie. I have a feeling that she will be a little cuddle monster. It's good to know that we're doing right by her. DP is completely besotted with her, it's rather sweet really. He's never been great at getting up in the morning, but now he leaps out of bed to check on her and feed her smile

cozietoesie Thu 26-Jun-14 23:03:07

She might well be.

In my own experience, they can often have a sort of lightbulb moment when they think 'This is my home and these are my people' - and then things just progress. Maybe she's had hers?

smile

ShadowsCollideCantLogInToMN Thu 26-Jun-14 23:05:17

Thanks, timtam. In the couple of weeks since she landed on our doorstep, she's gone from being terrified of us and fleeing any time we got close to her, to happily pottering around the house, climbing the stairs and then rolling, yes rolling down them grin, and winding herself around our legs looking for cuddles. She is a little bit bonkers but is fab and so very funny.

ShadowsCollideCantLogInToMN Thu 26-Jun-14 23:09:27

I think that is exactly what has happened, cozie. She is obsessed with DP (he's like Dr Doolittle, animals just love him), is no longer frightened of us, and is very at home in the house. I'm pretty sure that it's her house now, she just deigns to let us live here wink

Fluffycloudland77 Fri 27-Jun-14 18:16:00

Is she home from the vet now? You feel awful when they get operated on even when it's for the best.

I cried all the way home from taking ours in.

ShadowsCollideCantLogInToMN Sun 29-Jun-14 01:16:57

Fluffy, she was bumped to Monday, because they ended up having an emergency surgery on a dog hit by a car on Fri sad. Was a bit disappointed that the surgery was pushed. Mostly worried about the poor little pooch though.

It's such a worry when the pets are being operated on, for sure. Our dog (family dog, he lives with my parents) had to have two surgeries for cartilage eversion earlier this year. The specialist was across the country, DP drove the hound to the specialist Vet, twice. The whole time he was being operated on, I fretted. I dare say that I'll be the same with little Ms Kitty. She is sitting at my feet, alternating between winding herself around my legs, and screaming at me to stroke her grin

ShadowsCollideCantLogInToMN Thu 03-Jul-14 00:05:22

Just to update you all (and thanks so much for all of your advice), she was done on Monday. She was a bit out of sorts, until Tuesday, when she was merrily scampering up and down the stairs grin. She has gotten very accustomed to being in the house (we spent loads of time gradually getting her used to it). She spent most of tonight sleeping on DP's lap, then when he went to bed she cuddled up to my foot and is still wrapped around it. She is a proper rug slug now grin. We're mad about her, she is a gorgeous little rascal. Her tiny paws are ridiculously adorable. We are besotted!

darksideofthemooncup Thu 03-Jul-14 00:15:11

Aww this thread has really cheered me up after a traumatic day saying goodbye to my lovely old rescue cat. He was virtually feral when we took him on 12 years ago and we have moved house 5 times within those years. Despite preferring to be outdoors he always knew where his home was - with us. They really do seem to have a lightbulb moment as said upthread. Enjoy your little lady, she is a lucky girl to have found such lovely slaves to boss around. owners grin

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