Stray cat

newhomeseekerAugust 10, 2009

I am trying to deal with the fact that my parents are about to lose another dog that I grew up with (I picked her out as a puppy and they call her my other sister) In April their dog that they adopted at the same time passed away and it was very hard on my parents.

In May, a stray cat had 2 kittens in my garage and I decided to take care of them and I've put them in an adoption program and am fostering them. While I was doing this, another stray cat had 5 kittens in our woods. I took them in as well as there are several stray dogs that roam the neighborhood. I'm going to foster them as soon as they are old enough. I've been keeping mama #1 in the basement with her weaned kittens (they are about 13 weeks). I thought I brought her inside early enough (the kittens were about 6-7 weeks old) but evidently not because she looks like she is pregnant. I can NOT have more kittens! (I have four inside-only cats of my own, 6 cats (mama and kittens) in my spare bedroom, and 3 cats in my basement. So I have to find somewhere for mama #1 to go.

I can not put her in the adoption program because they want me to foster her and I don't have enough room to keep her inside. I would have to separate her from her first two male kittens (they are all in the basement) because I'm afraid mama would harm the kittens (which do not belong to me but to the adoption program) or the older kittens would harm the new kittens she appears about to have. I have called animal shelters, humane societies etc in my area and all refuse to take any more cats. The humane society (no kill) said they have an eight month waiting list to take in new cats!!! The cat rescue will not take any cats unless you agree to foster them. They advised me they do have a 24 hour drop off for strays but that 99% of them are euthanized because they do not have the resources to take care of them. They do not accept any kittens less than 4 weeks of age, so any young kittens are euthanized as well. There is NO possible way I could wait for her to have kittens and then take them all knowing they will be put down.

I'm trying to tell myself that this cat is better off being put down vs. living outside, not spayed, having litter after litter of kittens. Even if I had her spayed after this litter (what I'd planned to do after the first litter we found) she would still be an outdoor cat, scrounging for food and shelter and that is not much of a life. She is a semi friendly cat, she "talks" a lot and likes to rub on your legs. I'm not really attached to her or anything but I love animals and I just dont' know how I can take her to her death. I know I need to take her to the rescue even knowing what will become of her but I feel terrible about it. SHe is terrified of being in a cage so the drive there will traumatize her. Plus being stuck in a cage there (have no idea if they feed or water them).

Please tell me what the right thing to do is... This morning I was afraid she was going to have her kittens in my basement so I let her outside (she's been attacking her two older kittens and since they are not mine, I can't have her injuring them) and hoped she'd run off somewhere and have her kittens. But when I came home, she ran up to my car. I know I need to take her... I just need a push and to know I am doing the right thing..

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As you are quickly discovering, there just are not enough homes for all the stray cats, and their kittens. Its a sad reality.

You are not doing anything wrong. The wrong thing was done by someone else, who left their stray, un-neutered cat wander...

You are already fostering what, 8?, cats. You are doing more than your fair share.

You will be saving the life of many other critters, (birds, chipmunks, etc.) when you turn that stray mama into the animal shelter.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2009 at 4:30PM
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In a previous post you said you were in Ohio. If the local shelter is full, have you tried to contact others throughout the state? A quick search on the internet showed dozens of facilities, many no kill, throughout Ohio. Have you been pro active in contacting other people--friends, family, fliers at your work or grocery store--who might want a cat? I've picked up several strays throughout the years and always managed to place them with people at work, eventually if not immediately. And I could ensure that they went to good families. It really sounds like you are getting over your head in taking in all these strays. I applaud your compassion, but something has got to give. . .

    Bookmark   August 10, 2009 at 4:43PM
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TNR her. Get her fixed and let her be.

    Bookmark   August 10, 2009 at 5:34PM
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Even if I had her spayed after this litter (what I'd planned to do after the first litter we found) she would still be an outdoor cat, scrounging for food and shelter and that is not much of a life.

PETA agrees with you.

You may be surprised to know that PETA is generally opposed to "releasing" cats outdoors to roam freely. Our extensive experience with TNR programs and "managed" feral cat colonies have made clear that these programs - unless they comply with stringent guidelines that protect the cats and the animals whom the cats hunt - are simply not in animals best interests. Having witnessed firsthand the gruesome things that can happen to feral cats, we cannot in good conscience oppose euthanasia as a humane alternative for dealing with overpopulation. We donÂt take this position lightly, and we realize itÂs considered controversial.

While spaying and neutering feral cats prevents the suffering of future generations (our mobile spay/neuter clinic provides low-cost surgeries to thousands of cats every year, including feral ones), it does nothing to protect homeless cats from the litany of other painful accidents, afflictions and hardships that they endure. Contagious diseases such as herpes viral conjunctivitis, feline AIDS, leukemia and infectious peritonitis are common in cats left outdoors, and even easily treatable conditions can become deadly for cats who are not seen by veterinarians and are not routinely handled and examined. Minor cuts or puncture wounds can turn into raging infections and abscesses. Untreated upper-respiratory infections cause cats eyes and noses to become so caked with mucus that animals can barely see or breathe. Ferals often scratch their ears until they bleed, because they are driven mad by the pain and itching of ear mites and related infections. Others die from blood loss or anemia because of worms, fleas and untreated injuries. Urinary-tract infections, which frequently lead to urinary blockages in male cats, cause slow and excruciating deaths if they go untreated.

If cats miraculously escape these perils, they may still fall prey to agonizing deaths at the hands of cruel people. Our office is flooded with calls about cruelty to animals every day. Across the United States, free-roaming cats are mutilated, shot, drowned, poisoned, beaten, set on fire, sacrificed, stolen by butchers for medical experimentation or used by dogfighters for target practice or as "bait."

Finally, compassionate people canÂt ignore the fact that sterilizing cats - who are not native wildlife and do not fit into the predator-prey ecosystem - doesnÂt change their instinct to hunt, no matter how well fed they are! Cats allowed outdoors terrorize, maim and kill countless native birds and other small wild animals who struggle to survive existing challenges such as development in their habitat, and who arenÂt equipped to deal with such predators. These small animals die from repeated puncture wounds and by being crushed by cats jaws. As you probably know, many cats spend a great deal of time playing with their dying, convulsing prey, whose suffering is intense. Many of these animals are then left to die slowly when they stop struggling but remain alive.

While the idea may sound appealing, in reality, TNR programs sanction the abandonment of cats in parking lots, warehouse districts, fields and barns (where they are pushed as cheap rodent control). We contend that no cat, whether social or not, should be abandoned and forced to endure the harsh conditions of homelessness. The "humane community" sends to the public a clear message when it endorses TNR programs - that cats can survive and thrive living outdoors behind dumpsters and in barns. ItÂs not only the wrong message - itÂs absolutely untrue.

I hope you will consider printing an article that examines the dangers of TNR, both to the cats themselves and the animals they prey upon.

Thank you for your compassion for animals and for covering this important issue.

Teresa Lynn Chagrin, PETA

Norfolk, VA

    Bookmark   August 10, 2009 at 5:44PM
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I am convinced that life is life, and "sparing someone" by killing them is not the "humane" option. Sure, a homeless man would like a tasty meal, but to euthanize him because he is "scrounging for food and shelter and that is not much of a life" - I think he would disagree
I choose not to be judge and executioner (joepyeweed , you may proceed with your anti-feral rant right after my post, I know you will..heheh!)

newhomeseeker, none of us here are experts and are not well familiar with your situation..Why not look for options beyond your area and, if need arises, read up on TNR - it has BOTH pros and cons. But read it for yourself - do not rush to a conclusion based on two posts that would highlight the two opposite views on it....

ASOCA, Humane Society of the USA, Alley Cat Allies are good resources

joepyeweed, the above poster, I am sure will fill you in on the sources highlighting the negative side of TNR

Good luck, and thanks for what you do. It is a tough battle, but has some rewarding moments in it

    Bookmark   August 11, 2009 at 8:52AM
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personally i couldnt do it, she sounds like a beautiful animal and really deserves a chance at a good home. I agree with marita though, I have taken in 4 pets over the years, 3 dogs and two cats and none of them were through shelters they were just people looking to rehome them so try some other avenues apart from the shelters.

I would also try putting up flyers at local vets explaining her sad story, you could even make it a condition that she must be sterilised before they take her and if you explain what you are doing then maybe one of the vets will offer to help out with special pricing on the sterilising. I have a friend who runs a small dog rescue and she rehomes at least some of the dogs through local vets this way, and I think youll have a good chance of finding a responsible and caring person through places like that.

good luck, you are doing a tremendous job and I think trying other avenues is definitely worth looking into, just do up your flyers and drop into some vet practices, talk to them about it and they'll often get involved and help out. If you can rehome that beautiful girl it will be so rewarding for you.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2009 at 9:29AM
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What about your parents? Are they already maxxed out in the pet department, or could they possibly adopt some of your kitties? And if the cat is pregnant, can she be spayed and have the pregnancy terminated?

    Bookmark   August 11, 2009 at 9:32AM
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trancegemini_wa brought up putting up fliers at vet offices- this is a wonderful idea, and has worked well in the past for me. I print fliers in color, with a nice, sad story, and a lot of vet clinics have no problem with fliers - and in fact have a board for that. It is a high traffic area - people bring their animals, some lose their pets, some find out their pet needs a companion, and some people are just ready to add one more cat to their household...

My Humane Society (of Tampa Bay) I foster for adopted 400 animals in one month (Pet telephon on TV certainly helped)- because they have exposure and because people come to them (it is a no kill shelter) I never would have done 1/40 of that on my own in a month - but it does mean, there are people out there willing to adopt and looking!

Good luck!

    Bookmark   August 11, 2009 at 9:39AM
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So which cats should she advertise on the flyer? She has 8 right now that need homes and she will soon have 5 or 6 more.

I choose not to be judge and executioner I choose the same thing. Whenever a cat is left as a stray it kills hundreds of creatures who have no natural defenses against them. Life is important for ALL creatures, not just cats. One of the many reasons PETA takes the position that they do.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2009 at 10:38AM
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Thank you for all of the ideas. I have called every rescue and shelter within an hour drive of where I live. No one has room. Within a mile of where I live you can probably find at least 20 stray cats running around. THey are everywhere. I just happened to have these two have kittens on my property. Kittens are not easy to find homes for where I live. And the ones that do find homes are probably these same strays that are running around everywhere. Once they stopped being cute they weren't wanted anymore and just let outside to roam. The problem is I dont' think I could find her a home (even by putting up flyers at the vet's office) before she has her kittens. And once she has them (probably on my property) I will feel responsible for those kittens as well and right now I have 7 that don't have homes yet. The animal rescue right now has over 100 kittens! (not adult cats) THey have over 200 adult cats waiting for homes. And they said on any given day 5-10 are dropped off. My parents can not have inside cats as my dad is allergic and they have about 5 barn cats (drop offs) I considered taking the cat to their barn but my mother said no because she is pregnant and she had a cat have kittens two years ago and they were very difficult to trap to spay and neuter. Also her cats are very teritorial and would probably kill this cat. Plus my parents are heartbroken and worried about their 12 year old dog right not and dont' need the stress of kittens.

She would be difficult to adopt because she isn't cute (she is skinny (except for her pregnant belly) with this long thin tail and looks sickly (she's not as her kittens were tested for everything and were negative) Her eyes are kind of sunken in so its not like I can put up this cute picture of her and someone will take pity.

I thought about having her spayed and just letting her back outdoors but already the neighbors complain that a cat is getting into their garbage and threatening to shoot it. (don't know if it was this cat or not) Also there are many stray dogs in the neighborhood that could kill the cat.

I just don't know what to do.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2009 at 10:41AM
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newhomeseeker how pregnant is she? is it possible to have her pregnancey terminated as someone suggested? I wouldnt discount her just because she isnt cute, Ive seen some of the weirdest looking dogs get adopted through my friend, some of them were downright ugly LOL, so there are many people that can look beyond the surface and see the animal inside those little eyes. I think if you could get the pregnancy ended now and feed her up she will look a lot healthier too. If kittens aren't sought after where you are then I dont see much point in letting her have the kittens.

    Bookmark   August 11, 2009 at 10:52AM
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This is how one of my fosters looked when I found him, soon after his leg was amputated
Not exactly cute, skinny, with a huge abscess on his head and an ear hematoma that permanently affected his ear. Not all that cute From Bruno

Got him fixed, dewormed, and on good food, he looked like this in a matter of months...In a flier, putting a before and after picture helps a lot! From Bruno living the life

This cat could not stand on her feet, they were so raw from scabies...she was a mess, skinny mess, with scabies all over her face. From Little Sonia

A course of treatment, good diet and a spay surgery..I made a poster for her to go with her to Humane Society - the sad before and happy after picture - she found a home within a day or two! That was fast ..(Sonia in the "after" photo, with two other fosters - she is in the center)
From Foster kitties October 2008

Cute is subjective :) Someone out there will think she is cute

    Bookmark   August 11, 2009 at 11:04AM
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Well finally made a decision. I took the cat to the rescue last night to have her spayed. The woman I talked to said she doesn't care how far along they are they will spay them. And I guess "cute" is subjective because last night when I was waiting for my appt. there was a little girl there who looked in my cat carrier and kept saying how cute the cat was. I found someone who owns a dairy farm who said I can drop her off there. As long as she stays out of the way of vehicles and machinery she will be fine. He feeds them once a day. I'm sure she is good about watching for vehicles because she wouldn't have lasted this long outside if she wasn't. It is not the best life (an indoor home) but it is better than the alternative and she will have food and shelter. And no more kittens! I'm just so glad I didn't have to have her put down.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2009 at 11:16AM
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Newhomeseeker , thank you for a great update!!! Thank you for helping out the kitty, and YEY to no more kittens


    Bookmark   August 12, 2009 at 12:02PM
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What a fantastic resolution. Thank heavens.

    Bookmark   August 12, 2009 at 12:30PM
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that's great news! you did the right thing imo ending the pregnancy and getting her spayed, the kittens didnt have a bright future anyway but I know it must have been hard to do. she will be fine, no it's not ideal but with someone around to feed her she will be ok, and much less pressure on you now that there isnt another impending litter on the way. :)

    Bookmark   August 13, 2009 at 4:22AM
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ps. olygrove those pictures you posted are so uplifting, it's amazing how you transformed those cats they're glowing with health. :)

I love the one of brutus slumped in his bean bag LOL

    Bookmark   August 13, 2009 at 4:27AM
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Good news ending for Ms Kitty.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2009 at 1:59AM
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Count me among those who is very happy that you've found a solution. I've been thinking about you. And olyagrove, I love the before-and-afters! Did the three legged guy get adopted? What was his story?

    Bookmark   August 14, 2009 at 6:02PM
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Do you have a Craig's List in your area? See below for link.
You can post an ad for free to find good homes for the kittens. If you use it, I recommend you ask for a small adoption fee so they go to good homes.

Bless your heart for you taking care of them. You certainly have your hands full.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2009 at 6:16PM
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Craig's List - not trying to be mean and contradict - just be careful with it. A girl volunteering with us took it upon herself to adopt two kittens out to some guy through Craig's list. The next day, the kittens were gone - the kittens were too young to be adopted and were not S/N, so we went to get them back!- and the guy would not say what happened to them (he said they both escaped overnight). Animal Services investigators came out to talk to him but there was not much that could be done...

People also get small kittens through Craig List as snake food
Ward of caution

But there are just as many happy stories, and plenty of wonderful people adopting through CL...Two of my good friends, who adore their cats and take such good care of them, got their kittens through CL...

Marita, thank you...The tripod, Bruno, never left :] I could not let him go. After getting him through recovery, I knew he found a home

A friend of mine and I were trapping feral cats for Spay/Neuter in one apartment complex...And here was Bruno, feral cat, limping.
We trapped him and the next day the vet at the Spay Clinic called me and asked me what to do with him. Once under anesthesia, the doctor examined the leg - Bruno's leg was broken in a few places beyond repair, and the injury was old. The vet also believed the cat was in pain. Since he was feral, living outside was not an option on three legs...

When I was trapping him, I felt so bad for him all scared in the cage, and obviously in pain. I kept telling him he would be alright...
And that is what I told the vet. I could not bring myself to authorize euthanasia after telling the poor thing - I know he would not know - that he would be Ok.

So, I told the vet I would figure something out...We scheduled the surgery, the word got out, and a very wonderful person donated towards his surgery...

After the surgery, Bruno was recovering in a boarding cage...And he started talking to me, and would get so excited over wet food (he still does!) The first few days he cried from pain and I would have to give him pain meds every 6 hours - but as time passed, I was realizing that he was not feral, but rather a stray that lived long enough on the streets to start fearing humans (there is no socializing a feral cat born in the wild at that age)
There is no telling what happened -he might have been hit by a car, or hurt by a human:[

Bruno healed up - he was still a bit shy of humans he did not know...but those he knew - he loved them! Belly rubs, please - he wanted them! Lap cat, purr machine - what a change!

That is his story - I trapped myself the best cat I could ask for :) He gets around on his three legs just fine - I think he spent a lot of time hopping around, so adjusting to not having a leg seemed quite easy ...

Bruno recently saw the Humane Society vet who operated on him - she was quite impressed and took pictures of him for herself...She did say he needs to slow down on eating!

    Bookmark   August 14, 2009 at 7:00PM
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