Anicee, may I ask you a cat question?

marti8aDecember 2, 2009

I am trying to tame a stray cat. He will now come to me, let me pet him, (all for food), and he really seems to like having his ears and chin rubbed. But when I stop and begin to walk away, he will try to scratch. I guess that is his way of saying 'please don't stop' but since he has has no shots, it scares me, as well as being unpleasant. Is there a way to stop that behavior?

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marti8a

Oops, this should have been on the conversations side. Sorry.

    Bookmark   December 2, 2009 at 1:39PM
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emagineer

Don't worry about the conversation side. Most have forgotten it is there and rarely post. You may not hear from anyone for a year if posted there. A while back we discussed possibly having conversations changed to a gallary. Post away on discussions.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2009 at 6:11AM
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marti8a

Yes, I remember that discussion, probably why I didn't think about the conversations forum.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2009 at 1:19PM
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lavender_lass

Marti8a- While I have many barn kitties myself, I recommend you do not try to tame them unless you plan to get their shots. An outdoor cat rarely ends up with rabies, but if you get bitten, you'll have to get the shots, unless you can catch the cat and bring it to be watched by a vet for 10 days to make sure it's not rabid. If you can catch the cat, you might as well take it in and have it's shots done and maybe spay or neuter it.

It's fine to feed them, since most outdoor kitties will hunt more if they're well-fed. If you want to start socializing, again, I would recommend a trip to the vet with kitty.

Hope this helps. I'm sure Anicee will have even more advice on this subject :)

    Bookmark   December 3, 2009 at 6:47PM
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anicee

First I would like to say that I share Lavender's opinion about the spay/neuter and the shots. I have a stray cat, a male, and it took me months to be able to approach him. Just seeing me behind the window he ran away. At first he was not with the other cats (I always isolate them before they are seen by a vet) so he was sleeping in my mini-barn and I was able to pet him, and scratch his chin and as soon as I was leaving he was attacking my leg rather furiously. He has stopped doing this. Now he is with the "gang". He has become very friendly and I can pick him up. You must have heard of cats' love bites....some cats bite when you stop petting them.

You shouldn't take a chance or push your luck with this cat. A cat scratch can lead to what they call cat scratch fever or a cat bite can lead to a swollen hand and you would require to take antibiotics. But if you intend to bring him to the vet, you will have to put him in a pet carrier and it's tricky with a stray. My trick is to feed the cat I will be bringing to the vet in a pet carrier. You live the door open and put the food at the very end. At fitst he might not want to go in but when he realizes that he can go in and out all the time, you will have no problem. One day...you just close the door on him for the trip to the vet.

Hope this helps,

Anicée

    Bookmark   December 3, 2009 at 8:19PM
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marti8a

Thanks anicee, that's exactly the way I was thinking of doing it. I tried a live trap and he wouldn't' go near it. It's kind of a weird thing with this cat. Back when we had a dog, I knew he was around but he made himself very scarce and I just got a few glimpses of him. He was marking my boxwood foundation shrubs and seemed to hang around there. After I couldn't catch him, I finally cut the boxwoods down, hoping he would just go away. He was pretty ragged looking at that time, with scabs and sometimes a swollen eye. I guess he either learned to fight better or stay away from those situations because after our dog died, I noticed he was looking a bit better and didn't always run away when I spotted him in the bushes. Then one day he meowed at me but kept his distance. I guess I missed having a pet to talk to all day, but I started feeding him and talking to him, and he began warming to me. But he wasn't here all the time. Then new neighbors moved in and one day I went to meet them and there he was on their porch! They have an indoor cat and had been feeding this stray too.

So she feeds him in the morning and I feed him in the evening, or whenever he shows up. I told her I would catch him & take him to the vet but like you said, there is no way he is going in a carrier he's never seen before.

Then it started raining and it got cold and I haven't seen him. He has chosen to stay at the other house, and she told me she made him a bed in the garage, so I guess he is her cat now. If she can get him in a carrier, I'll take him to get his shots and if she can get him to stay in the garage with the door shut without freaking out, she'll get him fixed.

So as it stands, I guess my neighbor is in control of his capture. She just had a baby and has an older child so I hope she is concerned about his shot status, but she doesn't seem to be. I wouldn't want my kids around a cat that lashes out unexpectedly. Anyway, if he can be trained not to scratch, I'll keep feeding him, but if he can't, I'll stop feeding him and hope he stays over there.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2009 at 10:48PM
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