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View Full Version : Stray cat I want to bring in - best procedure?


April 18th 08, 02:50 PM
Hi guys -
I currently own a cat who I've had for a little under 2 years. To the
best of my knowledge she's about 3 years old now. I live in a pretty
small apartment, 6-700 sq. feet and I work 9-5 so I try to leave lots
of toys around for kitty to play with and make sure the windows are
open so she can sit on the sills and bask in the sunlight and survey
her domain.
She really doesn't play with the toys, and I am beginning to feel that
she is very bored in her surroundings.

Recently, there's been a stray coming around that is very sweet. He
seems to have been someone's cat as he understands indoors and it
appears he knows how to use a litter box. I don't plan on bringing him
in until I could take him to the vet and get him thoroughly checked
out though.

Problem is, whenever there's another cat outside, my cat goes wild.
She seems to have calmed down a slight bit with this cat hanging
around quite often, but they still hiss and moan at each other through
the screen door. I want to do this stray a favor and give him a home,
but I don't want to inadvertently stress my cat out MORE by trying to
get her a playmate.

I've read up on acclimating cats to each other, and there are two
"rooms" in my apartment that I could use to keep them separated for a
week or so and while I'm at work until I'm home to supervise
encounters.. but this might make my current cat freak out.

I'm also worried about the smallness of my apartment. What should I
do? Take him to the vet, check him out and then make a decision? Or
should I just take him to the pound so he at least has a chance that
someone will find him a loving home?

cybercat
April 18th 08, 07:18 PM
> wrote in message
...
> Hi guys -
> I currently own a cat who I've had for a little under 2 years. To the
> best of my knowledge she's about 3 years old now. I live in a pretty
> small apartment, 6-700 sq. feet

Are you happy living in a place this size? I would love to offer advice, but
I cannot imagine living in anything this small myself, with one cat, let
alone
two. I am wondering if perhaps this apartment is not temporary for you,
if you might not envision moving to something larger some time soon.

My instinct is, that given your cat's aggression toward other cats and the
size of your place, and that you work 9-5 and will not be home to supervise,
taking the stray is not the best idea. But please don't take him anywhere
but
to a "no kill" shelter, or to a friend who might want him. I don't know for
sure
but it looks like you are in Lake Mary, FL? They must have no-kill shelters
there, it is near Orlando, isn't it?

April 18th 08, 07:32 PM
There's no way to predict whether they'll get along. I've had a lot
of cats and it seems like the ones I think will accept a new cat
usually have a harder time than the ones I thought would hate it.

Obviously you've thought it over and are willing to make the
commitment. If you can handle the cats in your apartment size then
give it a try. If it doesn't work out, you can always try and find a
home for the new one, but at least you tried and she's better off in
your small apartment than trying to fend for herself outside.

Good luck, I hope it works out!

On Apr 18, 9:50*am, wrote:
> Hi guys -
> I currently own a cat who I've had for a little under 2 years. To the
> best of my knowledge she's about 3 years old now. I live in a pretty
> small apartment, 6-700 sq. feet and I work 9-5 so I try to leave lots
> of toys around for kitty to play with and make sure the windows are
> open so she can sit on the sills and bask in the sunlight and survey
> her domain.
> She really doesn't play with the toys, and I am beginning to feel that
> she is very bored in her surroundings.
>
> Recently, there's been a stray coming around that is very sweet. He
> seems to have been someone's cat as he understands indoors and it
> appears he knows how to use a litter box. I don't plan on bringing him
> in until I could take him to the vet and get him thoroughly checked
> out though.
>
> Problem is, whenever there's another cat outside, my cat goes wild.
> She seems to have calmed down a slight bit with this cat hanging
> around quite often, but they still hiss and moan at each other through
> the screen door. I want to do this stray a favor and give him a home,
> but I don't want to inadvertently stress my cat out MORE by trying to
> get her a playmate.
>
> I've read up on acclimating cats to each other, and there are two
> "rooms" in my apartment that I could use to keep them separated for a
> week or so and while I'm at work until I'm home to supervise
> encounters.. but this might make my current cat freak out.
>
> I'm also worried about the smallness of my apartment. What should I
> do? Take him to the vet, check him out and then make a decision? Or
> should I just take him to the pound so he at least has a chance that
> someone will find him a loving home?

Cat Guy
April 19th 08, 03:19 AM
wrote:

> Recently, there's been a stray coming around that is very sweet.

If you can handle the cat, then pick it up and put it in a cat-carrier
and take it to your vet.

Tell your vet you don't know this cat's history, age, sex, etc, but
you want it spayed or neutered (if it isn't already - it can be hard
to tell) and you want to give it the normal set of vaccines
(rhinotracheitus, calici, panleukopenia, leukemia, and rabies) as well
as a Revolution treatment. If you want to be really complete, have
the vet shove a drontal or milbemax pill down it's throat during
recovery. You will want to do ALL those things if you even remotely
think you'll adopt it yourself.

You'll probably pay $200 for all that, maybe $250 if it's a female.
Can you afford it?

If it's a female, she'll probably spend the night at the vets - if
male then you'll pick him up at the end of the day before the vet
closes.

You'll take a GOOD digital picture of the cat (either before or after
you take it to the vet, before is better) and you'll go to
www.kijiji.com and find your city (or closest city) and post a message
in the community lost-and-found section. You'll post that you found a
cat and you'll include the picture.

When you bring the cat home, keep it confined / isolated for a week in
a conveient room. See if anyone replies to your Kijiji ad. If you
live near appartment buildings or other high-density residences, then
post a "cat found" note near the mailboxes.

If no-one responds, then either keep the cat, or let it go.

If you let it go, then at least it will (a) not procreate, and (b)
will not resonably become infected with anything nasty and will have a
fair chance of living long enough to be found by someone who can give
it a proper home, and (c) because you've neutered/spayed it, it will
have a better chance of becoming a non-terratorial, non-spraying pet
for someone.

Besides preventing procreation, getting a cat spayed or neutered is
practically the same as saving it's life. Why? Because a spayed or
neutered cat is MUCH more adoptible, and MUCH less prone to fighting
issues with other cats, and will have a greater ability to be
integrated into someone's home without any social, personality, or
behavioral issues. The younger you get a cat spayed / neutered, the
better (at least no later than 6 -8 months of age anyways) but in your
case the cat is almost certainly a year old at least, so time is of
the essence.

Does all this help?

MaryL
April 19th 08, 04:27 AM
> wrote in message
...
> Hi guys -
> I currently own a cat who I've had for a little under 2 years. To the
> best of my knowledge she's about 3 years old now. I live in a pretty
> small apartment, 6-700 sq. feet and I work 9-5 so I try to leave lots
> of toys around for kitty to play with and make sure the windows are
> open so she can sit on the sills and bask in the sunlight and survey
> her domain.
> She really doesn't play with the toys, and I am beginning to feel that
> she is very bored in her surroundings.
>
> Recently, there's been a stray coming around that is very sweet. He
> seems to have been someone's cat as he understands indoors and it
> appears he knows how to use a litter box. I don't plan on bringing him
> in until I could take him to the vet and get him thoroughly checked
> out though.
>
> Problem is, whenever there's another cat outside, my cat goes wild.
> She seems to have calmed down a slight bit with this cat hanging
> around quite often, but they still hiss and moan at each other through
> the screen door. I want to do this stray a favor and give him a home,
> but I don't want to inadvertently stress my cat out MORE by trying to
> get her a playmate.
>
> I've read up on acclimating cats to each other, and there are two
> "rooms" in my apartment that I could use to keep them separated for a
> week or so and while I'm at work until I'm home to supervise
> encounters.. but this might make my current cat freak out.
>
> I'm also worried about the smallness of my apartment. What should I
> do? Take him to the vet, check him out and then make a decision? Or
> should I just take him to the pound so he at least has a chance that
> someone will find him a loving home?

I would try to adopt the cat. He may be a good companion for your current
cat, and the size of your apartment is not a concern to me. Cats can be
happy in even tiny spaces -- notice how they curl up in incredibly small
places. The primary things are good care, lots of toys to play with, sturdy
scratching posts, and places to climb. I have two cat trees, which my cats
love. It only takes about 24" square of floor space for a good cat tree.
On the other hand, I adopted my first cat when I was a graduate student. My
apartment was no larger than what you described, and I did not even know
about luxuries like cat trees at that time. My cat climbed furniture,
jumped to the top of the book cases, and I loved it.


I currently have two cats, Holly and Duffy. Holly had been my "only child"
for seven years and was used to being spoiled and pampered. She also had
shown a real dislike for other cats - so much so that we called her the
"black tornado" because she would immediately attack any cat on sight. She
became especially aggressive if another cat was anywhere close to me. I did
not plan on adopting another cat, so Holly only came into contact with
others when we visited my sister in another state. Then I saw Duffy's
picture on Petfinder. He is blind and his picture just tore at my heart.
He had been at the shelter for several months, and I knew that he probably
would not survive once kitten season arrives and the shelter becomes
overcrowded. So, I decided to adopt Duffy and do whatever I could to bring
the two cats together. My two cats now get along beautifully, but they were
brought together *very slowly and cautiously.*

It is important to take things very slow and proceed with caution - do not
try to "rush" anything. In my case, this meant that it took a full 6 weeks
from the day I adopted Duffy until both cats had the full use of the house
and were "together" throughout the day. I set up a bedroom just for Duffy,
partly to give him time to learn his way around and partly to give Holly
time to adjust. I also set up three plug-in Feliway diffusers (one in the
room that would be "Duffy's room" for awhile, one in the hallway outside
Duffy's room where Holly would walk by the door to Duffy's room, and one in
the living area where Holly spends a large part of the day). If you don't
have a Feliway diffuser, it would be money well spent to get a couple of
them. Feliway is used for behavior modification and can be very useful in
reducing stress. Do not get the one that says "with D.A.P." because that
formulation is for dogs.

Duffy learned his way around his new room very quickly. Holly did a bit of
hissing and growling outside his door, but it was pretty mild - none of the
"vicious" sounds she made in the past, and this was really pretty normal for
an "only child" who suddenly has a sibling in her home. I spent a great
deal of time with Duffy, and I alternated nights so that one night I would
sleep in my regular bed where Holly could join me and the next night I would
sleep in Duffy's room. I also left a radio in Duffy's room, tuned to a
station with classical or "soft" (soothing) music when he was left alone.
I made sure that Holly got lots and lots of love and attention through all
of this. Every time I left Duffy's room, I gave Holly an excessive amount
of love and attention. I wanted her to know that she was not going to be
displaced in my affections. You may not be able to alternate bedrooms as I
described with your limited space, but everything else can be accomplished
even in the smallest of apartments as long as you have an extra room you can
use (as you described).

After a week, a friend located a damaged unfinished door. He cut a large
square out of the bottom of the door and covered it with metal mesh
(actually, the type of grill that is often mounted on the bottom of screen
doors to protect them from damage - sturdy and smooth, with no rough edges).
He temporarily replaced the bedroom door with the new screened door so that
Holly and Duffy could get up-close without any danger to either of them. He
removed the hardware (hinges and doorknob) from the permanent door and
mounted them on the temporary door, a process that was later reversed when
we replaced the permanent door. This worked well, but an inexpensive screen
door could be used for this same purpose.

Duffy was eager to get together with Holly, but Holly wasn't at all sure
about the situation. She gradually began to show some interest and would
often rest outside the door; but she did not seem to be at all upset - very
different from previous attempts to introduce Holly to other cats. A couple
of days after the door was installed, I began to leave the door open for a
short time each evening, and gradually increased it to 2-3 hours each
evening. During this period, I kept Holly in a separate room - I still had
not brought them together in the same room. Duffy was quite adventuresome
and quickly learned his way around the house. This also distributed his
scent, which gave Holly time to become adjusted to the scent before I tried
to bring them together. Next, I placed tuna on two ends of a long platter
and slipped it under the door so the two cats could eat "together." The
idea was to place a plate with special-treat food under the door (with food
on each side of the door) so the cats would learn to associate something
"good" with being in close proximity when they ate the treats. Be sure to
keep this in mind when you install the screen door because you should cut
enough off the bottom (about 2 inches or a little more) so the platter can
be slipped underneath - and also so the two cat can eventually play
"pawsies" together under the door, as mine did.

Eventually, I began to give Duffy the run of the house along with Holly,
but only under close supervision. I gradually increased the amount of time
the two were together, and soon didn't need to supervise them. However, I
did not leave them alone in the house. I was careful to give Holly lots of
extra love and attention any time I had been playing with Duffy - I didn't
want to cause feelings of sibling rivalry.

After about five weeks into this process, I had a week of vacation. This
was the ideal time to let them really get to know each other. Throughout
the week, I gave them more and more time together - first all day, then both
day and night. By the time we approached the sixth week, both cats had the
full run of the house at all times, and then I began to leave the house for
short periods of time (first only an hour at a time, then would go back to
check on them). By the end of that week, they were together at all times.
This very slow, gradual transition has really paid off. My two furbabies
are now very comfortable together. They are usually both in the same room,
they frequently play together, and there is a real sense of companionship
between the two of them. They always eat together with no problems and
sometimes even share the same bowl. It took several months before they
reached this truly companionable stage, but they got along well enough for
me to call it a "success" after 6 or 8 weeks.

I hope this might give you a few ideas for your cats. Please let me
re-emphasize this point: take it very slow, and don't try to rush things.
Whenever you think it's time to move to the next step, you should probably
stop and wait it out for another week. It took about 6 weeks for us to work
through the entire process. I "thought" I going slow when I tried to
introduce Holly to my sister's cats some time ago (we took about two weeks),
but that was a disaster and led to the "black tornado" references. The
difference this time has been remarkable. Friends who knew how Holly had
reacted in the past really could hardly believe it. They were sure that it
was never going to be possible to place Holly with any other cat.

I have posted a "pictorial history"on a friend's web site showing our
progress, including pictures of the temporary door that helped so much. If
you would like to see it, go to the links under my sig.

I hope this helps! This could be a very happy decision for both cats, and
for you.

MaryL

Photos of Duffy and Holly: >'o'<
http://tinyurl.com/8y54 (Introducing Duffy and Holly)
http://tinyurl.com/8y56 (Duffy and Holly "settle in")

blkcatgal
April 19th 08, 04:51 AM
I think you should try to adopt the cat. I lived in a small apartment the
same as yours with 2 cats and it worked out fine; later moved to a 900 sq ft
house with the 2 cats and it still was okay. You'll want to keep the
newcomer separated from your resident cat and slowly introduce them. This
may take a week, a few weeks, maybe even a month or more. But I think your
resident cat will eventually come around. Definitely take the newcomer to
the vet and have him checked out before starting any introductions. Good
luck. I really hope it works out.

S.
--
**Visit me and my cats at http://www.island-cats.com/ **
---
> wrote in message
...
> Hi guys -
> I currently own a cat who I've had for a little under 2 years. To the
> best of my knowledge she's about 3 years old now. I live in a pretty
> small apartment, 6-700 sq. feet and I work 9-5 so I try to leave lots
> of toys around for kitty to play with and make sure the windows are
> open so she can sit on the sills and bask in the sunlight and survey
> her domain.
> She really doesn't play with the toys, and I am beginning to feel that
> she is very bored in her surroundings.
>
> Recently, there's been a stray coming around that is very sweet. He
> seems to have been someone's cat as he understands indoors and it
> appears he knows how to use a litter box. I don't plan on bringing him
> in until I could take him to the vet and get him thoroughly checked
> out though.
>
> Problem is, whenever there's another cat outside, my cat goes wild.
> She seems to have calmed down a slight bit with this cat hanging
> around quite often, but they still hiss and moan at each other through
> the screen door. I want to do this stray a favor and give him a home,
> but I don't want to inadvertently stress my cat out MORE by trying to
> get her a playmate.
>
> I've read up on acclimating cats to each other, and there are two
> "rooms" in my apartment that I could use to keep them separated for a
> week or so and while I'm at work until I'm home to supervise
> encounters.. but this might make my current cat freak out.
>
> I'm also worried about the smallness of my apartment. What should I
> do? Take him to the vet, check him out and then make a decision? Or
> should I just take him to the pound so he at least has a chance that
> someone will find him a loving home?

Rhonda[_3_]
April 20th 08, 03:05 AM
I think you should give the cat a chance with you. Cats don't need much
space, they make good use of the space they have! They love vertical
niches, so add a cat tree or so, make some cubby holes on shelves and
things for them to climb up onto. They'll be fine. We had more than one
cat in a house as small as your apartment. I think we Americans are
spoiled with the idea of having so much space to ourselves.

Take it slow with the introductions and see how it goes. If it
absolutely doesn't work out, I hope you can find him a good home.

Thanks for looking after him!

Rhonda


wrote:
> Hi guys -
> I currently own a cat who I've had for a little under 2 years. To the
> best of my knowledge she's about 3 years old now. I live in a pretty
> small apartment, 6-700 sq. feet and I work 9-5 so I try to leave lots
> of toys around for kitty to play with and make sure the windows are
> open so she can sit on the sills and bask in the sunlight and survey
> her domain.