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Help - how do i catch a lovely but frightened stray cat

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  • Help - how do i catch a lovely but frightened stray cat

    I've been feeding a stray cat for 2 years now and want to take him to the vet to get "done" and to treat him for all fleas and injuries etc. He also has clumps of fur on his back and now a circle of hair missing on his head which bleeds in parts.
    He is a lovley looking big male, very quiet and seems passive. He has gotten a bit used to me feeding him and will sniff my hand and has on occasion let me stroke him but he swats down still in fear. I have wanted to take him to my vets to get checked and Done before now but am worried he wont come back to feed and i feed him at least 4 times a day!
    I am very worried about him and today tried to catch him with my own cat basket. I actually got him to eat some chicken ( his fav meat) from the back of the basket and i used a rope to shut the door so he would see me doing it. Unfortunately he pushed at the door and i wasn't quick enough to hold it shut and he got out.
    He hasnt been back yet.
    I could get a trap from the cat proection but i have got one of those before and he didn't go in it they also seem so harsh!
    does anyone have any advice on how to get him causing him as less stress as possible?
    I thought of get a sedative drug and but the vets do not advise this!
    Help - He needs to get medical treatments for his wounds asap!!

  • #2
    First of all take a deep breath and relax. Cats will sense a change in you.

    If you've been feeding him this long, he has to have some level of trust in you or he wouldn't be coming back. This will work to your favor.

    Put your cat carrier close to where you feed him everytime you feed him. Slowly move the food closer to the carrier each day. Start feeding him in the carrier but don't try to close the door.

    Sit on the ground close to the carrier as you do this. If you are standing and looming over his head, he will be more scared of you. Talk quietly to him to calm him.

    When you see that he is calmer about eating in the carrier, simply push the door closed then cover the carrier with a towel. This will relax them immediately (if they can't see you, they don't think you can see them).

    If you think his medical condition is too serious to wait on this technique (it could take you a week to do this), then suggest you go borrow or rent a humane live trap. I trap feral cats all the time and while it may look harsh, putting a towel over the top of it will sooth them. If he is that ill, a few hours in a trap will be far less harmful than dieing a slow death from infection.

    When you transport him in your car (assume you will do this), cover your upholster in plastic. Once in a while you will get a fear pee-er or sprayer and you don't want this in your car. And if he starts banging against the cage, don't give in to the temptation to set him free. Sometimes they will injure themselves in the cage, but again, it is better than the alternative for this boy.

    Last tip: on the day you plan to trap him in your carrier or use the live trap, get the stinkiest canned cat food you can find - preferably something with salmon or tuna. If that doesn't lure him in and he likes chicken, give him that. Do NOT put the can in the carrier, if you don't want to just place it on the floor of the carrier, use a small paper plate.

    If you bring him in, please spend the little extra on him and get him neutered. If his injuries are caused by fighting, neutering will stop him from the urge to mate and fight in the future.

    Good luck! Please tell us if you are able to catch him!


    • #3
      Hi Amy Thanks for the great advice.

      Your definately right i need to relax! Hes back for his food and he does sence somethings up! . He seems more wiery. I must admit i am very nervous about catching him i hate causing him any fear esp if he wont come back for his food.

      Do you think he wold go in the carrier again? I think his injuries are not that bad to take a few days to catch him(i Hope!). I will try that again.
      He has come in our cat flap at night before and may still when were asleep. I have fed him in the hall just by the door when its been raining badly so my next plan was to feed him all the time in the hall one day close the door keeping him in the house and try and get a seditive from the vet - he goes to sleep in the house - i take him to the vet. sounds easy but !!!!! Do you think a vet would let me have a seditive?

      I would definately get him neutered and treated for everything. The cat protection legue will help with the costs but i will pay as much as i can to save them money.

      I would like to give him a home with my cat who actually gets on with him(they rub noses etc). I dont know if he is a feral cat or a stray ie if he can be homed? I see him in the day and sometimes at night. He has never made a sound. How can ya tell the difference?


      • #4
        When strays have been outside on their own for a while, it is sometimes difficult to tell if they are just scared out of their wits or truly feral. You can gain the trust of a feral and have them live with you - ask the 9 of them that live with me!

        As far as luring him into your home to catch him there. I've had a few wander inside and if given free reign of the house, it's sometimes very difficult to catch them. They get inside, stress out and often won't eat there. I can't catch them, but simply chase them to our porch that has an exterior door. I close them in the porch then open the back door and leave them alone to find their way out. But if this boy has come in before, you might be OK with it.

        As far as a sedative goes - I understand that temptation. My single experience with giving a wild cat a sedative was that they were so disoriented by it, they actually panicked more on it, but had limited body control so couldn't do much about it. If you chose to do it, make sure he cannot get outside - if he gets out sedated, he is easy prey to a wandering dog. Crush the pill (I have a morter/pestle) and put it in a SMALL amount of canned food. You want him to eat the entire thing.

        I think you can get him in a carrier. I trap about 1/2 of the ferals that way, once they are used to me and eating regularly. You have to just set the routine that it is normal to eat inside a carrier with you sitting close by. I have had them push the door open and escape, and I have also lifted the carrier on end (with the door skyward), then closed the door on them.

        Last thought - on the day you catch him don't give him a lot of food that day. My vet will neuter the day that I catch them (I do this in the morning), and if they have eaten too much, the anesthesia will make them sick.


        • #5
          Thanks Amy

          Will start feeding him in the carrier without shutting the door. it's just a shame he got out the 1st time as he went straight in it no fear at all!

          After the vets i'm not sure what to do. I would like to give him a warm safe home. But how do you get him comfortable in our house so he knows he can come and go as he pleases ie if its raining or hes hungry he's not frightened come in.
          Would i have to lock him in the house for a while? is it best to keep him in one room or let him use the whole house?

          I brought him an outside cat home which is basically like a big rabbit hutch but he rarely uses it! Its so sad to see him soaking wet or out in the cold tring to sleep on the pavement.

          I dont see him much at night so i hope he goes somewhere warm!
          He must of been treated badly as he cowers down when i stroke him as if he hates it.Poor thing how can people treat animals that way.

          I hope to catch him soon - Operation Puddin stage two has began!!


          • #6
            Once you get him back from the vet (notice that I'm assuming you will be succesful?), if he has been neutered, you want to keep him inside at least overnight if not for 2 days to keep an eye on him. Give him his own room and the best way to gain his trust is to simply ignore him for awhile. Sounds counter-intuitive, but he needs to know that he can be totally confident that he has food, fresh water and warmth indoors before he can gain confidence with a human.

            If you spend time with him, grab a book, go into the room and simply read out loud to him. If he is hiding under a bed, don't be tempted to peer under it and lure him out. He will come out when he is ready and on his own terms. The regular sound of your voice will be soothing over time. Many cats are soothed by the sound of classical musical music, particularly music with harps in it (don't ask me why).

            This process can sometimes take days, and sometimes months. You already have quite a good bond with him (if you are petting him), so the time should be on the shorter side rather than longer.

            If you really want to bring this boy around, I really suggest that you don't let him back outside until he has gained some trust with you indoors, then when you let him out, he will be more eager to come back inside.

            Always remember with cats - have patience, patience, patience and wait for things to progress on their schedule, not yours.

            I'd love to hear how things progress. Please keep posting!


            • #7
              What a great and fascinating post this is! Tany, good luck with Operation Puddin stage two! Amy, terrific and sound advice all around!


              • #8
                Thanks so much for all your support. Its very much appreciated.

                Ive put the carrier (which is quite a big one as i used to have 2 burmese boys and a moggie and they all used to fit in there!)
                under my porch which is where he waits for his food.

                The chicken and the iams are in the basket since this morning but he hasnt shown up all day yet! that a bit unsual! It has been raining and quite windy all today so i hope thats the reason!

                I've also put out some posters to get some info on where he goes. ie if anyone else feeds him and where he goes at night.
                Im Very sure noone owns him.
                i first started feeding him 2 years ago whem my own blue bermese cat went missing. He was the same colour and someone telephoned me thinkin it was my missing cat. I never saw my cat again very very sadly. But the woman who rang said she had been feeding the stray one for the last two years and tried to find his owners but heard nothing. The woman who used to feed him hasnt seen him for a long time (prob because i feed him now!!)


                • #9
                  Sounds like he was meant to be your cat (after he showed up right after yours went missing that is)! If you've been feeding him steady for 2 years, it is most likely that no one else will claim him. And even if they do, ask them to neuter him or just do it yourself! My rule: if they come to my house to eat, they are simply neutered.

                  With rain and winds, he may be in deep hiding. It sounds like he'll be back.

                  btw.....he is a beautiful boy - have you named him yet?


                  • #10
                    Operation Puddin stage two continues!!!

                    Weve named him Puddin! Dont know why i just called him that one day and it stuck! Didn't know what else call a big strong but very cute boy!!! When i get him to the vets (adventually) i will say his names Puddin -no G on the end!!! They will think i'm mad!! ha ha.

                    He has eaten twice today. His meat in am and warm chicken for lunch which i put in the carrier half way in. The crafty boy didnt stay in there to eat but picked up the food mouth by mouth and took it outside the carrier to eat it! He remembers the door shutting on him alright!!
                    I hope he will get used to going right in the carrier again or i will have to use the loud trap.

                    I've had 4 calls from the posters and they have all said they have seen him in my road. Thats quite funny cause i know that but the posters were meant to get info on where else he goes!! ha ha oh well.


                    • #11
                      Glad he's back! Don't rush the process. If he eats for a few days in the carrier without you closing the door, he will relax a bit. Just keep pushing the food back a little bit deeper each day (inch by inch, or is that centimeter by centimeter?).

                      I love grey cats, and Puddin is an excellent name!


                      • #12
                        Puddin has started to eat half way in the carrier today without taking the food out beforehand. so progress is being made.
                        Thank god for little miricles!! The hard bit for me is to come yet though!!
                        Sometimes i wish i could just do it and catch him without the emotion involved! It would be easier then!!

                        Thanks so much for your support it really helps. x


                        • #13
                          Great! I'll keep looking forward to your daily progress updates.


                          • #14

                            I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Puddin is a gorgeous boy and I hope it all works out! Keep posting - as Love Bird B says, this is a very interesting thread.


                            • #15
                              Thanks very much for all your support and advice.

                              Puddin is now eating in the carrier again all the way in so i am going to try and shut the door tomorrow without him getting out again ...... Hopefully!

                              Since i put posters up in my neibourhood to try and find out where he goes at night etc, I had a call today from a lady who lives down the next road. She said he has been sleeping on top of her outside kennel where her two females live in the summer and curled up under her fur tree in the winter. She has never fed him.
                              so now i know he is outside at night and we have had snow recently!
                              The poor thing he must of been freezing!!
                              All the more reason to catch him asap!!

                              Will let you know how it goes tomorrow.
                              Luv Tan x