What to do about cat / stray and the kitten we'd like(16 Posts)
I'm after a bit of advice. Long story...
We were a two cat family, but the oldest/most dominant cat had to be PTS last summer. Situation was pretty happy, both cats got on, were happy in and out of the house and the eldest cat (the one we lost) maintained the territory for the nervy cat (who is a delight, but frankly, a wuss).
About two years ago, a feckless neighbour got two male kittens. Failed to do anything with them, they weren't neutered, vaccinated and then she moved around the corner without taking the proper measures to ensure that they stayed. Of course they ended up hanging around ours, and after countless conversations with her it became apparent she didn't want them back. One was friendly, engratiated himself upon us and our cats and we eventually rehomed him with my parents (and he's now the apple of their eye).
The other, however, was the most timid cat I've ever come across. It's taken me 18 months of feeding and coaxing to get near to him, and we made great progress (he even lets me pick him up and tickle his tummy). He won't come in however, and I've made a nest for him in our side return.
Meanwhile, our own cat, after losing his buddy, has lost all confidence and won't go outside. He follows me around constantly and seems to be really missing his friend and outside life. The stray attacks him whenever I can get him to go outside.
I wanted to include this stray in our family, but it's not working. I've really grown to love the scruffy old tom, but my boy's happiness has really suffered due to his presence.
If the stray hadn't been in the picture, we'd have got a kitten to keep our older cat company (he's a proper mother hen) and the kids would love one too.
I want this stray to have a good life, and it depresses me to see him outside in all weathers.
I've got to say, I'm considering handing him over to a cat rescue, though it would break my heart, I'd hope he'd be a lovely pet for someone very patient.
Advice, thoughts welcome. I hope this all makes sense...
Is it the stray stopping your boy from going outside?
Yep, basically. He's lord of the side return, which means my boy can't get from the back garden to his cat flap. He's all but given up, and we're now a litter tray household with a cat that looks wistfully outside.
I mean this stray no ill will, I love him quite a bit, but this can't really go on.
I think you have done your best, and the time has come to ask for the help of a cat rescue in finding the stray a home. What you've got at the moment isn't a solution given the distress it's causing your own cat.
IsItMeOr - yeah I think you're right. Proper heavy heart time, but I've been feeding him for nearly two years and my own cat is now neurotic.
He's a lovely, incredibly handsome boy and he'd make someone a lovely pet.
If you got the stray neutered he might become a lovely pet or at least less aggressive to your cat. In my area the local Cats Protection people help with trapping and neutering strays who are then rehomed if possible. I'd recommend you try getting in touch with them or other rescues in your area who can possibly help.
Flower - I had considered that, and I may seek some advice as you suggest, thank you.
I've been treading such a fine line of gaining his trust by tiny, tiny increments that I've been reluctant to ruin all progress by shoving him in a box and taking him to the vets. I hope that neutering might change his aggressive behaviour towards other cats, but I fear my own cat may just be too far gone in his fear of him to get them to get on in the future (no matter how much Feliway we used!).
You sound lovely but I agree with others that you have done your best and it is now time to put your own cat first. My guess is that even if the stray is neutered, your boy is going to remain afraid of him.
It's so kind of you to have stepped in OP. I would agree with PP that neutering the abandoned cat is worth a last shot, but if that fails then you really have tried your best at making things work.
We have one particularly damaged cat who we could hardly get near to. We moved house and unexpectedly had to change all our cats to indoor only with safe access to the outdoors rather than free roaming. Since then, she's come on leaps and bounds and will approach us purring a couple of times a week now. It's huge progress so maybe if your abandoned cat didn't have the option to run off he would develop a bond too. He needs someone who is willing to provide a home with no more expectations than that to avoid being bounced back to rescue. But it's great progress you've made with him and he may surpass all expectations.
Do contact Cats Protection. I'm not sure you are helping the stray's chances of finding the right home by keeping this up for any longer. I'm sure if the CP think that you can accommodate him successfully in your family with some advice from them, that will be what they do, as they have plenty of cats to help already.
Phone call to CP tomorrow then I think. There's a couple of other rescues locally too (rural area, lots of feral cats), so can try them too if I don't have luck with CP.
I appreciate all the advice I've had - sometimes, another perspective is needed and I knew this was the right place to come for that.
Good luck - it's great you are helping this stray, hopefully he can be rehomed with you or in another loving home. Even if he is eventually returned to being stray, it will greatly benefit his health to be neutered and looked over by a vet.
I think neutering will calm him right down, my cat was a right little sod before the chop.
It's good of you to care about him but the current situation doesn't sound great. I would definitely see about getting him neutered, as an unneutered tom is very unlikely to be a popular choice for rehoming. If you are in a position to give him a few more weeks after that, his hormones may settle down & it might still be possible for you to introduce him into your household.
I would get him neutered and give it a couple of months after that to see if things change. They probably will. If not then at least you know you've tried everything.
The problem is that he doesn't sound very homeable. Timid cats are the most difficult of all to home. If it's a no kill shelter he could be there literally for years. We have cats that sound like him waiting for homes for sometimes nearly two years. All other sorts of cats can be homed. Ones with health problems/missing limbs/ugly you name it - as long as they are friendly. It's that that wins people over.
Catneuterer - thanks. I'm willing to give him a while after getting him neutered, if I can manage to get him to the vets. There's a nearby vet that does it for free, so I've got nothing to lose. Good to hear that sometimes it can change behaviour drastically. I'm not keen on him spending years in a shelter, poor guy - thanks for the dose of reality 😣
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