The Accidental Smallholder Forum

Pets & Working Animals => Cats => Topic started by: Womble on December 26, 2017, 09:48:57 pm

Title: Feral cat - advice needed
Post by: Womble on December 26, 2017, 09:48:57 pm
Hi folks,

I need your help!

A feral cat moved into our hayshed a few weeks ago, and has been fighting (and threatening to) on and off with our own cat ever since. From the attached trailcam pictures I think the new cat is an entire male, and our own cat is a neutered male. I've asked around the neighbouring farms, and none of them are missing a cat. I actually think this one has been hanging around our land since the Autumn, but has moved inside now the weather has turned cold.

Our local Cats' Protection have said they can't take feral cats, and the best they can offer is to neuter and return him to us. I'd be ok with that if it meant the two cats got on, or at least agreed to keep away from each other. However, we can't go on as we have been, or I'm going to end up with a vet bill for stitches sooner or later, and it's just not fair on either of them.

I reckon I can humanely trap him if required (hold my beer Gromit - this needs a real engineer!  ;D ), but the question is, what next?

Any ideas folks?  (Or does anybody in Central Scotland want a handsome black barn cat?)
Title: Re: Feral cat - advice needed
Post by: Anke on December 27, 2017, 07:15:11 am

Speak to your vet -- some of them have lists of people wanting farm cats (esp if neutered). That's where mine came from - a neutered male.


I don't know enough about tom cats after neutering, as if he will calm down and agree to live with another neutered male, but would think if he is an adult that has always been his own man so to speak it may be difficult to get either of them to submit to each other.
Title: Re: Feral cat - advice needed
Post by: YorkshireLass on December 27, 2017, 09:32:55 am
I'd go for trap and vet visit - at the very least to check for a microchip in case he's not feral. Then, snip snip...
Title: Re: Feral cat - advice needed
Post by: bj_cardiff on December 27, 2017, 12:47:53 pm
Cats protection should of explained that they will also trap the cat, take to vets, neuter and return to you. I'd go for that option, you can also put him in a barn or shed and try and get him a bit tamer. If after all that he still hates your existing cat it'd be much easier to rehome a neutered cat that isn't totally wild
Title: Re: Feral cat - advice needed
Post by: Womble on December 27, 2017, 12:59:42 pm
Hi BJ,  Yes, CP did explain that, but also that they're really busy at this time of year, so they don't know when they'd be able to get out to us. Also we're around over the holiday to try and tame him up a little, which we won't be after the New Year.

Edit: You don't know how much they'd charge us for neutering, do you?
Title: Re: Feral cat - advice needed
Post by: bj_cardiff on December 27, 2017, 03:46:04 pm
They don't charge for neutering feral/farm cats, its worth double checking with your local branch tho, just in case that's a policy decided at local levels :)
Title: Re: Feral cat - advice needed
Post by: doganjo on December 28, 2017, 12:51:11 pm
Roughly 50 to 70 to neuter an adult cat
Title: Re: Feral cat - advice needed
Post by: Rosemary on December 28, 2017, 02:54:05 pm
If they are both neutered, they'll get along better. We've had eight neutered toms, mostly rescue cats of various ages, in various groups and they've all got along OK. Some better than others - Felix loved everyone and everyone loved Felix; Penfold is grumpy but likes Bertie best; Diesel seems to like everyone. Tom, our new boy, is quite timid still.

As long as there is no competition for food, it's a lot easier. Ours spat a bit from time to time but it's mostly handbags at dawn, rather than real tomcat fighting.

But snip, snip, vaccinations and let him go. CP also test cats for FIV. I don't know what they do if they test positive but I'd do this before the snip or vaccinations, just in case euthanasing is the route for FIV cats.
Title: Re: Feral cat - advice needed
Post by: Steph Hen on December 28, 2017, 06:12:16 pm
I don't think you should feel any obligation to keep this cat.  cpl have trapped and neutered cats for us and it's been fine, but don't feel obliged to be stuck with it just because it turned up in your shed.
trap and sspca or vet. Most of the ones that turn up here are fairly wild and no problem, but had one in the past that was lots of vet bills with fighting even after snip. The best cat I ever had was the mangeyist stray tom that wandered in, returned to us by cpl after snipped and treated and was a great cat... so could strike gold, but I don't think you should have to do what the cpl say  :cat:
Title: Re: Feral cat - advice needed
Post by: Womble on December 29, 2017, 09:56:24 am
Thanks everybody,

I don't feel any obligation to this cat, but since the CPL don't have room to take him for rehoming, I'm happy for him to stay as long as it doesn't upset things with our existing pet cat.

I'm hoping against hope that he's old enough not to be shedding toxoplasmosis oocysts all over the hay too  (https://www.accidentalsmallholder.net/forum/Smileys/default/shocked.gif) . Does anybody know how long they shed for once they've been initially infected?
Title: Re: Feral cat - advice needed
Post by: ellied on December 29, 2017, 10:32:19 am
I had a feral tomcat turn up a few years ago, mainly ok as mine are all females, but an occasional territorial challenge around the back door - he got confident enough to sneak into the back lobby and sprayed everywhere..

Local charity loaned a trap and came to collect it when I called to say he was inside.  Local vet snipped at no fee to me, and they returned him later that day.  He had to stay in the cage in the garage for the first night for safely but then I released him and returned the trap.

For some reason he decided not to stay around after that..  Never saw (or heard!) him again.  Like you I wouldn't have minded if he did as long as he got on better with my lot, but I think he was traumatised and found a less scary farm to live on!
Title: Re: Feral cat - advice needed
Post by: Anke on December 29, 2017, 02:38:25 pm


I'm hoping against hope that he's old enough not to be shedding toxoplasmosis oocysts all over the hay too  (https://www.accidentalsmallholder.net/forum/Smileys/default/shocked.gif) . Does anybody know how long they shed for once they've been initially infected?


Adults don't shed oocysts anymore, kittens are the culprits.
Title: Re: Feral cat - advice needed
Post by: Womble on December 29, 2017, 02:47:12 pm
So I dreamed last night that I had made a super duper whizz bang cat trap to catch Mr Bond (that's his name now), but when I went to check on it, I had instead caught a vervet monkey and two marmosets.

I think may have eaten too much cheese before going to bed!  :o

Adults don't shed oocysts anymore, kittens are the culprits.

But surely after initial infection, they shed for a certain time period before developing their own immunity, at which point they are no longer infectious. So it would depend on if/when this guy was initially infected, and how much time has passed? 

I think he's at least a year old, so if he's been fending for himself all that time, is it true that he should no longer pose a threat?
 
Title: Re: Feral cat - advice needed
Post by: in the hills on December 29, 2017, 03:16:45 pm
CP usually advise trap, neuter, release for ferals.


We trapped one and the local RSPCA branch paid for neuter, worming and flea treatment. My neighbour had a go at taming him but he decided that the indoor life wasn't for him and he did a runner. We still spot him occasionally and that's after about four years.


A couple of small  cat charities that are local to us will also neuter ferals for free or for a small amount, about a fiver. Worth ringing around locally to see who might be able to help.


Remember that ferals can do some damage when cornered!!!!! Our small local rescue will let you borrow traps and crush cages. You prod the trapped cat out of the large trap and into the crush cage. Apparently the vets prefer ferals to be in the crush cage so that they keep their fingers!!!!!
Title: Re: Feral cat - advice needed
Post by: in the hills on December 29, 2017, 03:38:53 pm
Neutering will really help with them learning to tolerate each other. As Rosemary says it's often just hisses and a bit of spitting at the most once those hormones settle, especially if they have plenty of space, food and comfy spots.


Might be good to keep him locked in a smallish space after his done and try to tame him a little.


Good luck  :fc:
Title: Re: Feral cat - advice needed
Post by: SallyintNorth on December 30, 2017, 01:00:23 am
So I dreamed last night that I had made a super duper whizz bang cat trap to catch Mr Bond (that's his name now), but when I went to check on it, I had instead caught a vervet monkey and two marmosets.

I think may have eaten too much cheese before going to bed!  :o

Adults don't shed oocysts anymore, kittens are the culprits.

But surely after initial infection, they shed for a certain time period before developing their own immunity, at which point they are no longer infectious. So it would depend on if/when this guy was initially infected, and how much time has passed? 



I think that the assumption is that all cats are born infected.  So any adult cat carries the infection but won't be shedding oocysts.

Except maybe pregnant / lactating mothers? 
Title: Re: Feral cat - advice needed
Post by: Womble on December 30, 2017, 05:36:24 pm
A little research can be a dangerous thing!  :o
Title: Re: Feral cat - advice needed
Post by: doganjo on December 30, 2017, 09:17:21 pm
A little research can be a dangerous thing!  :o
So which human do you think you'd like to trap?  :innocent: :roflanim:
Title: Re: Feral cat - advice needed
Post by: Womble on December 30, 2017, 09:36:15 pm
Oh, plenty.  I wouldn't worry about doing it humanely though Annie  ;) .
Title: Re: Feral cat - advice needed
Post by: Womble on February 02, 2018, 09:20:20 pm
OK, I think it's time I gave you all an update!

So I spent a few happy wombly hours in the workshop melting bits of metal together and generally creating mayhem, and then set up the trail-cam and waited......

Happily, by the next morning I had caught myself a feral cat!

(https://anoutdoorlife.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/catcaught.jpg)

Unhappily, once caught, he was the wildest, sharpest ball of hate and muscle I'd ever clapped eyes on!! 

(https://anoutdoorlife.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/merlin2.jpg)

However, he soon calmed down once he realised we weren't going to hurt him, and over the next few days we even got to the stage where he'd take pieces of chicken from my hand (so perhaps not completely feral then?).

(https://anoutdoorlife.files.wordpress.com/2018/02/merlin1.jpg)

He had his balls removed last week (paid for by the Cats Protection League, which was nice). However, although we kept him caged afterwards in an attempt to tame him up, he's actually become far more aggressive and will now go for any hands / spoons etc that are poked through the bars.

So, what do you think folks?  Should we just let him out now and see if he hangs around?  I reckon it's probably futile to keep him caged any longer, since we're clearly not going in the right direction, unless any of you can advise me otherwise. Does anybody know how long it will take after neutering for his hormones to calm down?
Title: Re: Feral cat - advice needed
Post by: doganjo on February 02, 2018, 11:57:24 pm
Hormones could take months.  I'd let him go and if nothing else you've saved the world from a n ever increasing succession of wild black feral monsters  :roflanim:
Title: Re: Feral cat - advice needed
Post by: Steph Hen on February 03, 2018, 07:11:36 am
Great looking cat!

Title: Re: Feral cat - advice needed
Post by: Womble on February 03, 2018, 08:58:35 am
Yeah, whatever he's been eating over the past 6 months or so, he was clearly pretty darn good at catching!
Title: Re: Feral cat - advice needed
Post by: in the hills on February 03, 2018, 05:08:49 pm
Handsome cat!


Can take at least 6 weeks for hormone levels to fall.


I think that the older he is, the longer that he will take to tame.


We took in a little feral kitten in the Autumn and she went from spitting feathers to the biggest purr machine ever in the course of a weekend.


Vet said that we took her in before the fight or flight survival mechanism developed.


Our neighbour has taken several ferals into her home. They all tamed but to different degrees and took different lengths of time to achieve.


Think it depends how much time you have to give him and how determined you are.


You've done him a real favour getting him 'done' whatever you choose to do next. :thumbsup:
Title: Re: Feral cat - advice needed
Post by: Womble on March 03, 2018, 04:11:55 pm
OK, could whoever is dumping starving entire male cats at our farm please stop?  :-\

This one is trying to eat the crusts we've put out for the hens!
 
Title: Re: Feral cat - advice needed
Post by: Steph Hen on March 03, 2018, 10:05:53 pm
How is your big black one doing?

Title: Re: Feral cat - advice needed
Post by: in the hills on March 09, 2018, 09:05:27 pm
Oh well, you are now a skilled trapper!


Yes, is the black one still around?
Title: Re: Feral cat - advice needed
Post by: Womble on March 10, 2018, 12:49:52 am
Hiya,

Our neighbour has taken Merlin (the black cat) on as a bit of a mission, and is coming round slowly but surely. He's blatantly never going to be a lap cat, but he does seem to be gradually losing his fear of people  :thumbsup: .
Title: Re: Feral cat - advice needed
Post by: Womble on March 18, 2018, 08:39:56 pm
Update: The voucher for Houdini's debollockation came through from the Cats' Protection League, so Womble's whizz bang cat trap got it's second outing:

(https://anoutdoorlife.files.wordpress.com/2018/03/houdini1.jpg)

(https://anoutdoorlife.files.wordpress.com/2018/03/houdini2.jpg)

Houdini is much less ferocious than Merlin, and will even eat food when we are nearby. I'll get him booked in for his op tomorrow, and then hopefully he's going to go on to live a lovely outdoor life with a friend of a friend down near Lanark.

Meanwhile, Merlin is slowly coming round to the idea that people are not all completely awful, and has taken up residence under the Molecatcher's bed!:

(https://anoutdoorlife.files.wordpress.com/2018/03/merlin3.jpg)
Title: Re: Feral cat - advice needed
Post by: doganjo on March 19, 2018, 10:12:02 am
I think Houdini should be renamed Smudge  :coat:
Title: Re: Feral cat - advice needed
Post by: oor wullie on March 19, 2018, 01:21:11 pm
Womble there is a gap in the market that you could fill supplying these cats.

After our cat disappeared in suspicious circumstances we searched hard for the most savage feline beast we could find that would be willing to go nose to nose with the rats.  Eventually the cat rescue place supplied a cat that had torn up its previous owners house and spat at anyone who went near it.  My wife had to hide our young child when she went to collect it as they thought it too risky to let the cat go to a home with children. 
Said "monster" now lives peacefully in our shed, enjoys human company and thinks he is achieving something useful when he takes an already dead mouse out of a mousetrap.  He wouldn't say boo to a teddy bear never mind a rat.

If you start a business "Wombles untameable, rat hunting, cats" then I might be your first customer.
Title: Re: Feral cat - advice needed
Post by: Womble on March 19, 2018, 01:33:42 pm
Alright Wullie, the next one that turns up here is yours!


If this winter is anything to go by, I'm expecting another delivery in a couple of weeks time!!
Title: Re: Feral cat - advice needed
Post by: doganjo on March 20, 2018, 08:11:46 pm
Where are they all coming from?
Title: Re: Feral cat - advice needed
Post by: Womble on March 20, 2018, 08:21:15 pm
Well @doganjo , our postman says that there's a farm a couple of miles away from here as the crow flies which has at least 30 cats kicking about. My guess is that these boys have been kicked out of the colony, and have been living wild. Then, once the snow and ice took hold, hunger has forced them to seek refuge in our barn.

It's not a great situation, but I reckon we could end up with quite a few in time. The trouble is, the CPL etc won't take on feral cats, and neither will they put down a healthy animal (fair enough). That means that if one decides to move in with you, you're kinda stuck with it!!
Title: Re: Feral cat - advice needed
Post by: Steph Hen on March 21, 2018, 07:44:31 am
Cpl has their own rules, but I think you can trap and hand over cats to vets or rspca instead.
Title: Re: Feral cat - advice needed
Post by: Womble on March 21, 2018, 10:22:13 am
Hi Steph Hen, I didn't confess to this originally, but I nearly landed myself in quite a sticky situation here with the SSPCA. When Merlin first turned up, I spoke to the CPL about trapping, and they told me that whilst they were willing to help, they wouldn't be able to do anything for at least a couple of months. So, because we were genuinely worried that he was going to injure our pet cats, and because he was spraying all over our incredibly precious hay supplies, I decided we didn't have that long to wait. I therefore welded up my own trap, which is of course a triumph of both luck and over-engineering.

Once I had him caught, I then decided also to call the SSPCA to see if they might be able to help with veterinary treatment. However, the lady on the phone got really angry at me for having "trapped a wild animal that was peacefully going about its business, and should have been left alone". (I was honestly made to feel that I might have been prosecuted if I had told them who I was!).

Anyway, Merlin update of the day:  Mrs Womble spent over an hour last night hand feeding him pieces of mackerel and encouraging him to come out of his shell by chasing bits of string and peacock feathers. She even managed to give him a little tickle without losing a hand. Frankly I'm amazed, but also really proud of how patient she's been, and pleased that it's starting to pay off  :thumbsup: .
Title: Re: Feral cat - advice needed
Post by: Womble on March 28, 2018, 11:11:06 am
Remember this guy?

(https://anoutdoorlife.files.wordpress.com/2018/03/merlin4.jpg)

No, I can't quite believe it either!

(https://anoutdoorlife.files.wordpress.com/2018/03/images000011.jpg?w=768)

(https://anoutdoorlife.files.wordpress.com/2018/03/images000031.jpg)

(https://anoutdoorlife.files.wordpress.com/2018/03/images00004.jpg)

(https://anoutdoorlife.files.wordpress.com/2018/03/images00006.jpg)

Can I have a round of applause for Mrs Womble please? I know she's been working hard with Merlin, but to say I'm stunned is a serious understatement.
Title: Re: Feral cat - advice needed
Post by: SallyintNorth on March 28, 2018, 11:27:43 am
Fantastic  :love:  :bouquet:  :notworthy:
Title: Re: Feral cat - advice needed
Post by: Louise Gaunt on March 28, 2018, 03:14:27 pm
Cats will do anything for Dreamies! Well done Mrs Womble! Does he still catch mice in the barns or has he become a total house cat?
Title: Re: Feral cat - advice needed
Post by: Rupert the bear on March 28, 2018, 07:08:53 pm
Well done Mrs Womble
Title: Re: Feral cat - advice needed
Post by: Anke on March 28, 2018, 09:19:40 pm
It just proves that the way to any man's heart is through his stomach.... he is a stunner though!
Title: Re: Feral cat - advice needed
Post by: Ghdp on March 31, 2018, 12:20:22 am
Respect Mrs  (and Mr) W. Beautiful cat
Title: Re: Feral cat - advice needed
Post by: Steph Hen on March 31, 2018, 09:14:25 am
Well done   :trophy:  still think he's a great looking cat.

I have very little time for these animal charities.