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Stray tomcat and advice needed pls

Discussion in 'Cat Training and Behaviour' started by Helen Urie, Dec 17, 2020.


  1. Helen Urie

    Helen Urie PetForums Member

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    Hi All,
    Need some help / advice. I am the owner of two lovely kitties, and I have a cat proofed garden for them to play in. Until a few of months ago, I kept my door open daytime so my kittens could run in and out. One evening in July I was watching tv and realised there were three cats in my living room. This little scamp had managed to circumvent my cat proof fencing.

    I spoke to the "feeders" on my street and they believe him to be stray and around two years old. I posted him on Nextdoor and someone said it was their cat but after three months of back and forth with this person, we realised it was not her cat but they just looked alike.

    After this realisation I sent his photo to local vets, again posted him on Nextdoor, posted him on lost pet sites, checked for a chip, etc. No results found.

    At this time I should mention he is not neutered, I had to treat him for a very severe case of fleas and he was very underweight when he started to visit. I have spoken to a local cat charity who have told me I should get him neutered and chipped to them.

    He is incredibly jumpy and timid but over the months he has started to visit more and more, and I was feeding him three solid meals a day. He was coming up to me for pets and was even playing with wand toys. As it started to get colder I installed a cat flap as keeping my door open wasn't an option. He would turn up at midnight crying and then again cry at 6am to be let out. I've taken to taping the catflap open so he can get in and out as he pleases (as i was also becoming super sleep deprived existing on his sleep schedule).

    I had a neutering appointment scheduled for him just over a week ago but unfortunately he decided not to appear at my home. I have another one booked in 5 days but in the last week or so, he seems to have become really scared of me. Last night he came into my house at 1am and then wandered around my house crying (he regularly cries for attention). I got up to see him and that terrified him even more and he ran away again.

    He turned up for breakfast this morning but then freaked out and ran away again today.

    Anyone got any idea why he has changed all of a sudden and what I should do?

    Thanks
    Helen
     

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  2. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    @Helen Urie - it may be that he is unwell or has an injury from fighting. Un-neutered male cats do fight a lot with other males and often incur nasty injuries such as bites which get infected and turn to abscesses.

    If he is ill he will be feeling very vulnerable and that would make him wary of any human.

    Another possibility is that someone has been chasing him away by throwing stones at him. I have known people do that with strays, and it can cause bad injuries if they hit the cat. We had a cat in the Shelter once who had a badly bruised and broken back leg which the vet reckoned had been caused by something heavy being thrown at the cat.as he was running away.

    I would suggest borrowing a humane trap from the Shelter who are going to take him in. But if he is really wary of you he may not be tempted into the trap no matter how much tasty food you put in. You could end up trapping other local cats instead.

    If he is not coming to you for food now every day he will be getting fed elsewhere. Can you ask all your neighbours if they are feeding him? Stray cats often have several different feeding stations at different houses, as they don't like to 'put all their eggs in one basket.' when it comes to getting a meal.
     
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  3. Helen Urie

    Helen Urie PetForums Member

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    Weirdly he is very good around other cats, but have seen him bullied by bigger cats (even though they are neutered and he isnt).

    I haven't been able to get help from my local charity, she's very much of the view that I can handle this myself. It's pretty disappointing if I'm honest but thats another story.

    I have been able to pick him up before. When it was fireworks season he would be hiding in my garden and I would pick him up and bring him indoors. He would let me pet him for ages and he would stay for hours.

    He just came by for food now. So if he does the same on the 21st, I will keep him in overnight and take him to the appointment I have booked on the 22nd. My fear is that he won't trust me ever again after that but I still think overall better if he's neutered as I think he might end up making a good pet for someone.

    Thanks for the advice and explanation x
     
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  4. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    @Helen Urie - I am sorry your local Rescue has not been of more help. You could try other Rescues outside your immediate area. Bear in mind that many are closed to the public right now because of COVID. But most are still carrying out Rescues.

    Have a look at the Cat Rescue & Adoption website, it lists most of the UK Cat Rescues according to county.

    https://www.catchat.org/index.php/cat-rescue-centres-uk-ireland

    It may be diplomatic not to mention to the Rescue that you're bringing him into your house, because if a Rescue knows the cat has shelter indoors they will tend to treat the case as "non-urgent" and as a result you may wait a long time for a space in a Shelter for him, because there is so much pressure for places.

    If you are going to have him neutered, I suggest doing what I did when I last rescued a stray male cat. I arranged with the vet that the cat would spend the night before the neuter operation at the vets in one of their recovery pens. This ensured (a) that the cat was there in time for the op next morning and (b) that he could be fasted as required before the G.A. with no risk he could get hold of any food. So the cat arrived for his evening meal (which I fed him as usual on the patio), then I put him in a carrier and took him to the vet just before they closed at 7 pm.

    After the op next day the vet kept him until about 6 pm as I wanted to be sure the cat was over the effects of the GA, because I knew I would have to let him out (he had never been into my house at that stage)
     
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  5. Helen Urie

    Helen Urie PetForums Member

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    I have called so many vets and none seem willing to keep him in overnight, as that is exactly what I need. All vets insist I make a specific appointment first thing in the morning, which is really hard as they show up sporadically.

    This was what I wanted help from the rescue with as I expect they have a relationship with a number of vets. I was happy to cover all costs as well. Its been a frustrating process.

    He hasn't been by today either so I think he may have moved onto another neighbour.

    I won't give up but think my appointment on the 22nd is looking unlikely.
     
  6. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    I would look for help from another Rescue if I were you. As soon as he comes back (if he does come back).
     
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  7. Helen Urie

    Helen Urie PetForums Member

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    He has come back the last two days and been himself. In that he knocks my hands for pets and plays with toys. Yesterday he slept in the living room for a bit while I was there. I think you are right, he was in a fight or was attacked as I could feel scratches on his head. Feeling hopeful I can get him to the vet on the 22nd
     
  8. lorilu

    lorilu PetForums VIP

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    I love this bit. Made me laugh out loud. So glad you are helping him out. He sounds lovely.
     
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  9. Helen Urie

    Helen Urie PetForums Member

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    He's neutered and chipped, no diseases, but very small (less than 4kg). He is two years old as I thought. Really pleased I managed this before Xmas.

    So advice needed now. My street has a real problem with feeders and that's not going to stop, so I suspect he will never fully settle in my house, as he has so many other places he can visit. Should I let him continue this lifestyle of visiting various homes, or give him time to see if it's stops once his hormone levels decrease or should I rehome him to another home away from his temptations?
     
  10. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    I don't think a decrease in his hormone levels (post-neutering) will stop him visiting his various feeding stations in your street. It will be a matter of time more than anything else, i..e once he is sure he has a permanent "forever" home with you, he will gradually stop looking for food elsewhere.

    When I adopted a stray cat (whom I'd had neutered) it took at least a year before he stopped disappearing almost every day to visit his old feeding stations. He had food allergies, which I addressed with special diet, and him going off and getting food elsewhere was undermining his diet. I bought a collar which had printed on it "Please do not feed me" - he wore it for a while then I found it left in the garden. I put leaflets through all the doors in the road, and in the adjacent roads asking folk not to feed him. I would say it was about 2 yrs after I'd adopted him that I was sure he was no longer getting food elsewhere. That was years ago, he is now aged 11 and rarely goes far from home, usually stays in the garden.

    But with cats being great opportunists, if there are folk on your street who put out food daily for strays then your stray cat may well go and help himself.

    It would be nice for him to stay with you if your other cats don't mind him. He sounds like a nice cat, and he deserves stability in his life. With most Rescues being closed to the public atm (although many are doing online adoptions) you might wait a long time for a space for him in a Shelter. By which time he will be well settled with you and it would be a shame to uproot him again. I'd give him a chance and see how things go. :)
     
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  11. Helen Urie

    Helen Urie PetForums Member

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    Thanks. I actually went and had a long chat with the feeders. They really love him and are pleased about what I've done and want me to take him in too. So I feel alot more relieved knowing I have their support.
     
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