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Pet Behavior => Feral Cats and Dogs => Topic started by: catmom5 on December 10, 2012, 10:17:50 AM



Title: need some brainstorming from you all
Post by: catmom5 on December 10, 2012, 10:17:50 AM
Okay, I have a crazy idea. I live in a city neighborhood and need to replace the fencing around my house. The house sits on a corner lot with the garage off of the side street. Right now the feral house is set up beside my garage (away from the house) and the feeding station is in the backyard behind the garage (so I can see it from my house). I wonder about building in some feral friendly features when I have the yard fenced. I wonder if it would be possible to create little hidey holes or platforms or areas where the ferals could feel comfortable and safe. I also have raccoons and possums, plus plenty of birds and squirrels. Any ideas? Think outside the box here . . .

And maybe if there was more for the ferals, Lucy would come back, too. I fear that Tommy has chased her off.

Thanks!


Title: Re: need some brainstorming from you all
Post by: mikken on December 10, 2012, 04:08:00 PM
Levels is an excellent idea.  Cats do like to be able to get up high (quickly, if need be).

What kind of fence are you installing?



Title: Re: need some brainstorming from you all
Post by: lesliek on December 10, 2012, 04:28:24 PM
Maybe some 3 sided corners between the fence & house & between the fence & garage ? If they are above ground level that would be a plus. If you can set them up far enough apart, Lucy & Tommy might coexist better.


Title: Re: need some brainstorming from you all
Post by: catmom5 on December 10, 2012, 05:09:02 PM
Okay, I'd like to hear more. Love your ideas so far . . .
I don't know what kind of fencing - definitely wood, though (I think). The house next door is a rental and so far the renters have been nice folks, but not interested in any kind of yard work, so I want some privacy. I wish there was a way to do a sketch.
Still haven't seen Lucy, but I'm hoping with colder weather that she will be back. AND no one is sleeping in the insulated shelter. They both must have someplace they can hunker down in.
Tommy waited in the ornamental grasses for me to bring him his food tonight - he is most definitely getting comfortable here again. Then he finished and ran across the road (as I watched and held my breath) safely.

I'm open to any suggestions at all. This is a work in progress . . .

catmom5


Title: Re: need some brainstorming from you all
Post by: caylee on December 10, 2012, 05:58:56 PM
As for posting a sketch - you could draw one and then take a picture of your drawing and post as you would a photo.

Sorry I don't have any other ideas at this time.

Hugs


Title: Re: need some brainstorming from you all
Post by: petslave on December 10, 2012, 08:02:53 PM
Sounds like a fun project!  You could just have a wood fence put in, then build in all kinds of additions to it over time.  Maybe take a look at websites of cat enclosures - they usually have some interesting structures you might get ideas from.  Here's one:

http://www.catsofaustralia.com/cat-enclosures.htm


(or you could fence in 2/3 of your yard, then catch the ferals & start an outdoor safe cat colony!)


Title: Re: need some brainstorming from you all
Post by: bug on December 14, 2012, 04:38:55 PM
I was thinking about a cat enclosure as well. It can be made of wood, like the fence, but be attached to it on the inside of your yard. Inside there, you can insulate it all with styrofoam insulation and have different levels with straw in all of them. They could be connected by holes or you could have them completely separate. I don't know if you have a tree in the back, but you could also build something around a tree - kind of like a tree-house. You could also dig a hole and put an igloo-like dome (coming from the Canadian, of course, lol!) over it and fill the whole thing with straw. Cats like to hide. You have to give them hidey spots.


Title: Re: need some brainstorming from you all
Post by: GKit on December 14, 2012, 05:32:45 PM
Maybe some plants that provide summer shade but shed their leaves so you get winter sun?  And a spot of loose dirt/sand mix; for, you know.   :)


Title: Re: need some brainstorming from you all
Post by: catmom5 on December 15, 2012, 02:05:23 PM
Thanks so much everyone. I don't want to provide an enclosure - I want them to come and go freely, but just to provide some comfortable places, safe spots for them in my yard.

Another question, though . . .
I ordered a rather nice feeding station for Tommy and it arrived today. It's on legs, enclosed on three sides and open in the front. I put it out in exactly the same place I've been feeding him BUT he wouldn't even get in it! I watched him walk around it and look at it and then go into the grasses to hide. I decided to go out and put the dishes down in front of the shelter (but protected, sort of, by a sheet of plywood propped against the garage) to see if he would come back and eat. He did. I wonder now, if I just continue to feed him in front of the shelter for a bit if he will eventually be willing to go into it. He's one I've never been able to trap because he is so cautious/saavy.  Any thoughts?

Thanks - he takes more time and energy than my 4 indoor girls!!!

catmom5


Title: Re: need some brainstorming from you all
Post by: caylee on December 15, 2012, 02:41:49 PM
Maybe you  could put some extra dry food just inside the shelter, continuing to feed him his regular meals outside of the shelter. When he eats the dry food inside, then move it into the shelter a little further. That way he will not be missing any food, but yet maybe it would help him trust the shelter better.

Hugs


Title: Re: need some brainstorming from you all
Post by: lesliek on December 15, 2012, 05:02:42 PM
I think caylee's idea is good. Leave the regular dishes & add some just inside the shelter. Move the outside dishes a tiny bit closer to the shelter each day and hopefully Tommy will go in !


Title: Re: need some brainstorming from you all
Post by: Mandycat on December 15, 2012, 08:00:36 PM
I think he is probably just a little spooked and wary of the new structure. Caylee and Leslie had some good ideas for you.  Good luck!  At least he wasn't totally scared away and will still come and eat. He should eventually trust the new, scary (to him) place


Title: Re: need some brainstorming from you all
Post by: JustMe on December 16, 2012, 06:10:51 AM
I agree with Caylee, Leslie, and Mandycat.  Yes, it is only natural that Tommy would be wary of something new. We know how smart cats are, especially ferals, semi-ferals.


Title: Re: need some brainstorming from you all
Post by: catmom5 on December 16, 2012, 10:57:13 AM
The interesting thing is that he is eating directly in front of the feeding station - it's set up on a couple of layers of patio blocks. He just won't get up in it - yet. And, for a feral he is very fussy about what he likes and doesn't like. It has to be Friskies pate and the only kitten kibble he really likes is the Purina (I've tried the better ones and he's not interested). So I give him what he will eat and hope it gives him enough calories to survive our Michigan winter. He does look good, though, and is sitting close by (out of sight) at feeding time, waiting for his dinner to be served! Silly boy!!!


Title: Re: need some brainstorming from you all
Post by: catwoods on December 16, 2012, 01:42:51 PM
Sorry I missed this the other day! I agree that Tommy is just being cautious because the feeding station is just something new, and he will likely get used to it. Something I thought of, if it hasn't been mentioned already, is a separate feeding station, although I know it's more trouble. Lucy might be encouraged by this, since ferals like their own space. Separating the feeding dishes within my house helps keep things peaceful between former feral or semi-feral Anna, her son Bud who does not please her, and feisty little Stinkpot.

But of course, Tommy may decide to dine in both locations... :)


Title: Re: need some brainstorming from you all
Post by: catmom5 on December 18, 2012, 02:39:04 PM
Okay, another complication. I have an apartment building right behind me and a couple who lives there has two cats. One will go out on the balcony, but other than making the squirrels nervous, she's not a problem. The other cat, Miss Kitty, is a beautiful orange and white girl who is left out all the time (at least during the day). When I mentioned that she was hanging out in my yard, bothering my indoor cats, the owner told me to throw a rock at her. I tried chasing her away when I saw her (often) but she would just run off and come back when I left the area. On a rather cold day, she was out - no food or water left out for her ever - in Tommy's shelter. At that point, I allowed her to sniff me and put food and kibble out, but away from the feeding area.

Well, tonight she chased Tommy away from his food twice! She ate the first bowl, so I chased her off and put a fresh bowl out for him. He had just started eating again and she came back. The owner came out on his balcony and I explained that I was feeding a feral cat, always at 5:00 and would he please take his cat in when he got home from work because she was eating his food. The guy just shrugged his shoulders, asked what I expected him to do and seemed rather annoyed that I would even say anything. So, I took that as a big NO!

So, what can I do to ensure that Tommy gets his food every night? If I go out to chase her off, he runs away, too. I'm so angry because he needs the food and nourishment.  >:( >:( >:( And I really don't want to take on the expense of putting out two cans of food every night in different areas, but if that's the only way I can make sure he eats, I will do that.

Does anyone have any ideas? The owners are apparently not going to cooperate. And any kind of barriers for her would be barriers for him, too. My only hope is that since they are renting, that they will move on very soon, but probably not.

Thanks for any help here . . .
catmom5


Title: Re: need some brainstorming from you all
Post by: GKit on December 18, 2012, 06:29:28 PM
Ai, outside feeding wars.  At one point we had four on the porch vying for The Bowl, and unfortunately, to make sure the ones we were trying to feed got theirs, that meant four bowls and sitting out there hall monitoring.  :o  It was a zoo, and there was much chasing.  I would suggest taking down or moving the shelter for a few days, because if she is attracted to the shelter because she is left out,  she'll want to claim it and that spot, and the food might just be a bonus to her.  I would really try and keep her from getting any food though, if possible, since she already has a home.  Is Tommy adaptable to having where you put the food move around a little bit while you're discouraging Ms Kitty from taking up residence?  Maybe if the food gets put out closer to where he hangs out when he's waiting for it would help him get the idea that the food is for him.  Sometimes, they will be intrigued if you toss them one kibble at a time, making a trail to the plate,  although it might be too cold outside to do this now?

Bless you for looking out for him!


Title: Re: need some brainstorming from you all
Post by: catmom5 on December 18, 2012, 06:41:01 PM
There is a feeding station and a shelter. I feel bad if she is hungry, but I am more worried about Tommy not getting fed. The feeding station is very close to where he waits - he hides in the ornamental grasses. If I stay outside, he won't come out and eat.

Miss Kitty basically has the run of the block. I think she thinks every place is hers. I wondered if I stopped feeding her at all whether she would just stop expecting food. Or maybe I could put the food out by her owner's garage door.

My big concern is that Tommy have a safe place for food and shelter if he needs it. I also wonder if MK is another reason Lucy has not come back.

Thanks for the ideas. I'm open to anything anyone might suggest.


Title: Re: need some brainstorming from you all
Post by: lesliek on December 18, 2012, 07:38:52 PM
If they are leaving her out in the bad weather with no food & water, she will come to your yard no matter what you do. Maybe a shelter & feeding area for her near their garage would keep her out of Tommy & Lucy's ? I don't see any way to keep her out of theirs unless she has her own. It stinks that you have to provide for her instead of her owner, but it doesn't sound like he is willing to change anything.


Title: Re: need some brainstorming from you all
Post by: caylee on December 18, 2012, 07:46:53 PM
If they are not feeding her and giving her proper care, in my opinion - they don't own the cat either. Maybe trap her and find her a good home is the answer.

Just my humble opinion.



Title: Re: need some brainstorming from you all
Post by: macush on December 18, 2012, 08:40:50 PM
I second what Caylee says. :-[  They don't deserve her.


Title: Re: need some brainstorming from you all
Post by: JustMe on December 19, 2012, 04:19:23 AM
Leslie's idea sounds good.  Would suggest being careful what you say to this guy unless you know you can talk to him.  He might decide to get rid of his cat.  People are strange, you know.


Title: Re: need some brainstorming from you all
Post by: catmom5 on December 19, 2012, 04:53:16 AM
Other than being unhappy that I have to be the one to worry about this guy's cat, I don't know whether I can set something up on the apartment complex's property. But I agree that as long as I'm providing for her needs and the owner isn't, she will probably come around. I feel bad for her, but she at least has an owner (of sorts). I have thought about contacting the owner of the apartment building (it's a small 4 unit building), but I think this guy has the potential to be nasty and I hate to start trouble with him.

I'll check out today and see if I can figure out a place for her to eat, and may move Tommy's actual shelter farther away from his feeding area (since he seems to sleep somewhere else). We have rain and snow in the forecast, so I need to get this sorted out soon.

Thanks for all of your ideas.
catmom5


Title: Re: need some brainstorming from you all
Post by: mikken on December 19, 2012, 06:04:48 AM
Yeah, it's sad.  But providing her shelter closer to her "home" and feeding her well away from Tommy may be what you need to do.

You can try cutting expenses by feeding her dry in the mornings and leaving it out all day.  Pick up the dish in the evening or you'll be attracting critters.


Title: Re: need some brainstorming from you all
Post by: catmom5 on December 19, 2012, 11:48:22 AM
Okay, I just redid all of the outside cat areas. I moved Tommy's feeding station to the far back corner of the yard, away from the garage. Then I set up the other area on the side of the garage closest to the apartments with straw bales enclosing a shelter and board propped against the garage for the food. I'm running out of places (and my back hurts from hauling patio blocks around) so this better help. MK is not out today - her owner is home today and I've not seen her anywhere so maybe Tommy will actually get some dinner tonight. I bought some basic Purina Cat Chow for her (he gets kitten kibble and wet) and will put wet out for her, too, when I know she's out.

Thanks, everyone. Most people would think I'm totally nutso, but somehow I think you all understand!

I will let you know what happens . . .
catmom5


Title: Re: need some brainstorming from you all
Post by: macush on December 19, 2012, 02:47:55 PM
Catmom5 -- you are NOT a nutso -- you are a kind and generous person.  If there were more people like you, the world would be a better place.  And I know how it is -- I have a really nasty guys across the street -- I've been feeding his beautiful cat for years.  I can't call animal control because of her advanced age I know they would put her to sleep.  And he really hates me for feeding his cat.  There are times you just gotta do what you gotta do.  Bless you for your kindness.


Title: Re: need some brainstorming from you all
Post by: catmom5 on December 19, 2012, 04:05:41 PM
Thanks - glad to know another person who cares too much to stand by and not do the right thing.

It was a joy to watch Tommy tonight. He was waiting for his dinner, but a bit confused when it wasn't in the usual spot. However, he found it quickly and ate very well. Then he stretched and sat on a patio stone nearby to take a long, relaxing bath. I was able to just watch and enjoy a happy cat. He did go back into the grasses, unusual for him. After hearing about the winter storm that's on its way, I went right out and bought him an extra-small cedar dog house so he'd have a spot to snuggle in IF he decides he wants to. Since it's supposed to start raining tomorrow, I'm going to put his food into the feeding station and he just might have to get himself into it. Hope he's hungry enough and feels safe enough to do that. Otherwise, he is not going to be as dry as he might be. At least the food will be protected.

So - at least for today, Tommy has a full tummy and a safe home. I guess that's the way you have to take loving these ferals - one day at a time.

And I so hope that MK's owner is rethinking just turning her loose. But if not, there will be food and shelter for her, too.

Thanks, macush, for taking care of your neighbor's cat. Bless your heart for doing that. I'm sure the cat would thank you, too.
catmom5



Title: Re: need some brainstorming from you all
Post by: catmom5 on February 01, 2013, 05:59:02 AM
Okay, another Tommy question for those of you who are familiar with ferals . . .

Because of the warm weather and very heavy rains this week, Tommy's feeding station (the very back of the yard) was basically "lake-front" and I had a hard time getting to it. I decided to move it to an area, very close to the house, next to the garage. He found it okay, but clearly is very nervous about having it so close to the house. Last night he was sitting where it used to be, and then I took the food out. He spent the whole time with his head in, body outside and looking around constantly to see if he was safe. My question is whether it would be smarter for me to buy some rubber boots and put the food back where it was (my yard will flood again when the spring rains come) or allow him to get used to having it where it is. I had considered creating an area with straw bales that I will be fencing in as soon as possible, but that leaves him very vulnerable to the house next door, the sidewalk and street and really calls attention to that area (when I get the fence in, it will be hidden more). So - boots or just letting Tommy cope?

THANKS!


Title: Re: need some brainstorming from you all
Post by: lesliek on February 01, 2013, 06:02:23 AM
I think since he went to the new spot to eat, I would leave it there. Hopefully he will realize it's still safe soon & being closer to the house may get him more used to you.


Title: Re: need some brainstorming from you all
Post by: catmom5 on February 01, 2013, 08:02:38 AM
Thanks, Leslie. I saw footprints by the feeding station when I went to work this morning, too. Do you think it would be safe to put kibble out late at night since he's coming so early to eat? I am not getting up to put food out so early in the morning.
catmom5


Title: Re: need some brainstorming from you all
Post by: Spartycats on February 01, 2013, 08:29:46 AM
CM5,

Overnight kibble will generally be feeding opossums, or raccoons.

 



Title: Re: need some brainstorming from you all
Post by: catmom5 on February 01, 2013, 12:42:48 PM
Yep, I'm sure you're right. I just feel so bad that he's obviously here looking for food and there's none for him. Maybe I will put out kibble as soon as I get up and he'll check back. It's so cold and blustery, I feel bad for all of the outside creatures.
cm5


Title: Re: need some brainstorming from you all
Post by: GKit on February 01, 2013, 03:38:47 PM
I agree with lesliek; if he's been to the new spot, it is a good sign and hopefully he will continue to do that.  Sorry if you have said before, but how big is the feeding station? 


Title: Re: need some brainstorming from you all
Post by: catmom5 on February 01, 2013, 03:58:56 PM
He came tonight and ate - it's a large 3 sided rectangle, with opening in front. I don't know the exact dimensions, but the man who built it made it a little taller than the model and it's long enough for Tommy to be all the way inside of it to eat. I put a piece of plywood to give him protection and keep the weather out and he can get all the way behind the plywood. He's still very nervous about going to it - sat in the old place for 5 minutes tonight (-2 wind chills   :-\) and then I went out to pretend to put the food in (and call him - I had put the food out earlier) and then he ventured out after watching to see if there was anyone around, giving me plenty of time to go inside. I hope we get a warm spell so I can have the fence put in sooner than later. He eats well, though, so that makes me feel better. I wish he would take advantage of the shelter for sleeping, but obviously has somewhere else he feels safer. Maybe with time . . .

Thanks for your responses.
catmom5


Title: Re: need some brainstorming from you all
Post by: lesliek on February 02, 2013, 07:06:41 AM
My friend Nancy found something really helpful for her feeding station. Its an outdoor mat that plugs & stays warm. It keeps the food & water from freezing. She is away right now, but when she gets back I'll ask where she got it. It would work if Tommy's feeding station is near an outlet. I would not leave food out overnight, it will definitely attract raccoons !


Title: Re: need some brainstorming from you all
Post by: catwoods on February 12, 2013, 01:58:41 PM
I'm glad Tommy ate a good meal! Maybe he will soon come and stay in the place you've made for him.