In the late afternoon on December 1, 2016, we picked up an about 7- 9 month old female feral cat from the vet. She had been trapped the day before, see the story of how it started here.
I had prepared a large dog kennel for her with a litter box, food and water, a wooden box and a blanket to hide, and a pet bed with a heat mat. The kennel then was surrounded from 3 sides to protection. Once in there…she has been hiding during the day.
Leave her alone…be patient. It will take time.
The first night, she pooped on the heat blanket….lesson: put potting soil (or sand?) into the litter box, not cat litter. Feral cats are used to dirt. In any case, I topped the litter off with organic potting soil. The food didn’t look touched. She had knocked over the water bowl.
Day 1, December 2 with us: I saw her try to hide in 2 spots during the first day, her body was visible, but her head/eyes buried. eventually she went into the wooden box. Night: she ate! , messed around in the litter box, with a lot of dirt ending up in the water bowl.
Day 2: Not to be seen during the daytime – hiding in the wooden box….so this lead to: get a bankers box, cut opening into it, put over the heating blanket. Night: she ate the food, messed with the litter box and bit and scratched the carton by the door…trying to get out I presume. I went out at midnight and YES, she was on the heating blanket inside/under the banker’s box.
Day 3, December 4 – She stayed on the heating blanket under the bankers box all day. I have to get a flashlight to shine it through the handle opening so see her. I realized that it would have been better to set up the environment differently, in such a way that I have access to both kennel doors, but too late now. I moved one of the feed store bins to another area to have more room to open the kennel door.
This was the first evening I offered soft food on a spoon and placed it on the bankers box handle opening. She didn’t touch it.
I knock before I go into the feed storage room, talk to her. Sometimes the stray cat comes by and gets fed there. Neither has acknowledged the other’s existence if one is to go by behavior.
Note: I am a believer in using what you have if possible. This feral cat shelter to tame her is functional, though I think an empty room in a house would work better…but that is not an option. It will take time, maybe more time than I thought.
If trapping is successful, one of the 4 remaining feral cats will join her next week.
Notice the clawed and bitten cardboard. And that piece of cloth, she gets that inside through the kennel bars.
I am happy that she found the heat mat acceptable now that the box is there.
I wish it all looked more elegant …..
December 5, day 4 – it must have been a wildish night, as the bankers box was nowhere on the heating pad any more and more card board torn to pieces. She had eaten during the night.
I had to fix the bankers box to the kennel metal. and also fixed the inner flap so it would stay up. The Kitty was in the wooden box, it was cold, and I was hoping she would find her way back into the heated “cave”. I gave her more food. She looked more relaxed back in the wooden box. Sometime in the afternoon, she ate and went back on the heating blanket and into the “cave” yay. Socks the stray came and for the first time must have realized there was a cat in there somewhere. Could be that the scented cat litter was covering up the cat scent. BTW …do NOT buy scented cat litter…it stinks to high heaven. This one was gotten for me, I forgot to say : “non-scented”. She was peeking through the handle-hole again. I talked to her in images. Anyway, here we are ready for the night again.
December 6, Day 5
This morning they are going to trap again. Talked to the first one in pictures this am, telling her to let the others know to go into the traps…and which one she would like to have come live with her. The image I got was that of the grey one.
A couple of hours later…they had caught 3, the grey one being one of them.
She peek out from the “cave” through the handle hole. The cave=cat bed and heating pad covered with an upside down bankers box.
December 7, Day 6 + Day 0
The girl…took the food from the spoon that i had on the handle hole of the ‘cave’. – Progress
Picked up our second feral willows kitty from the vet today. It is male, probably siblings less than a year old, thinking from a spring litter. He is staying in the dog crate though for the night…facing her kennel. It turns out he has a corneal abrasion….so in case he looks worse for some reason, I can take him in.
He was very demonstrative in making sure he was not facing me….:)
Had to take a picture through the side hole to get his eyes. You can see on his right eye the white….I just hope it will bet better.
December 8, day 7 …1 week for 1, day 1 for the other. Going by what I see this morning, they had a very active night. Boy pooped and ate and tried to rearrange everything in the dog crate. He eye didn’t look worse and I think maybe a little better. So he was let into the large kennel…now they are both in the cave. He still turns his back to me…what a little character. Pictures…they will all look the same for now, they still have to come out into the kennel space when I am around, but food is gone over night
This concludes the report of the first week of the feral kitty adventure….Plan is to create a post in probably increasing intervals for the coming years to let everyone know the progress or what happened in the adjusting of the feral kitties. Thanks for reading.
Check these links to find out what happened