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Possible stray?

Posted: Wed Jun 25, 2014 9:43 am
by DollyB
There has been a visitor to our garden for a while. When we first noticed him he had a nasty burst abcess on his head, the gunk was there for ages, we were obviously concerned for him but we couldn't even get close. ( picture me creeping up the garden path doing the 'blink', he blinked back but would run off) Difficult to say if he is neutered because his tail is always down but pretty sure he isn't by the smell. Recently my cats have been actively bringing him in the house so I've been able to have as closer look. He has a very battle scarred face and only one or two eyebrow whiskers. His coat looks quite good but his white feet are always grubby. I'm trying to gain his trust to be able to put a paper collar on him - could be a while.

This morning I saw his spray up the shed but it didn't smell, it usually reeks where he sprays so now I'm thinking that maybe someone is looking after him and he has now been neutered. He has got a 'package' under his tail (got a good view this morning) but so has my cat be it a very small one. When an older male cat is neutered would the remaining 'furry bits' be as visible? I really don't know what to do now, I don't want to kidnap somebody cat!

All advice welcome.

Re: Possible stray?

Posted: Wed Jun 25, 2014 10:33 am
by Jacks
Hi DollyB,

I have had similar dilemmas myself and my current no 4 cat was a probably un-neutered Tom who was spraying and chasing my other cats - again too scared to be touched - until after 5 months I trapped him successfully with the help of an RSPCA trap. The RSPCA (my local branch, lovely lady) offered to pay if he was unneutered, which he was - they can be really small and not easy to spot of the cat has a lot of hair or carries his tail low. Now 9 months on he wants to be a house cat and although still a bit ferally obviously loves his mum and home comforts and loves his fusses. He also grooms much better since neutering and no longer sprays AT ALL.

Now he's acting scared as a new semi-feral has arrived - like yours - desperate for food, scared of humans, and very persistently camping out in or close to our garden. I can see I'm going to have to trap him too - he has a very fluffy tail and I can't see if he's intact, and he doesn't spray, but he's definitely lost at the very least, and probably under a year old. I think the way to tell if they are genuinely lost or stray is the behaviour once they've nicked some food. A chancer (we have two local neutered boys who also come begging out of greediness) will have some grub and then go on their way, perhaps appearing at the same time the next day when there might be the chance of a meal. A happy housecat will also quickly accustom themselves to someone who feeds them - so not hissy on approach, and fairly quickly (if not immediately) let you pet them and put a paper collar on.

The behaviour of this new cat (and my ex-wild boy) was completely different - a desperation for food, even though hissing and evidently terrified of being too close to a human, and hanging around thereafter - all day never far, in the evening camped out watching the back door. I think this is indicative of a cat who has no-where else to go and is desperate enough not to miss any chance of more food.

If you can get a paper collar on your visitor, great - if there's no reponse I'd talk to your local vet, Cat's Protection (CP) and RSPCA branch if they're friendly about trapping and getting to the vet for a check. At the very least the vet will be able to tell if he is chipped and has a home - and you might just save the streets from another unneutered male... They will be able to do TNR (trap neuter release) particularly for a male cat. IF it is owned (it sounds unlikely) the cat will be healthier in the long run for being neutered anyway. From the sound of the 'package' I would say he's probably intact and from his scared behaviour probably has been lost some time ago and has lost his trust in humans.

Good luck!

Re: Possible stray?

Posted: Wed Jun 25, 2014 4:01 pm
by DollyB
Hi Jacks, thank you for your reply I will carry on trying to win his trust with the hope of getting a paper collar on him unless any more injuries become apparent (big cat fight a few gardens away this afternoon). If this occurs I'll try CP or maybe a local rescue might TNR? (Nottingham)

Although he's a daily visitor he doesn't hang around often, there are a couple of unkempt/wild gardens a few doors away which must have good hunting in.

When he comes into the house he creeps low down and is very 'blinky' with my two cats, I think he is a nice cat, such a shame.

Re: Possible stray? - Update.

Posted: Sun Jul 06, 2014 5:22 pm
by DollyB
I managed to put a paper collar on him but with no response. I have been in touch with a very nice kind lady from a local rescue and now have a cat trap in the greenhouse and a tentative appointment at the vets for Thursday 17th.

Re: Possible stray?

Posted: Sun Jul 06, 2014 5:29 pm
by KittyWitty
I hope you can catch him Dolly! Poor boy! Any idea whether you'll keep him afterwards or not?

Re: Possible stray?

Posted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 11:57 am
by DollyB
Hi KittyWitty, that is the million dollar question isn't it. At the moment we are both working albeit part time so technically could afford to take on another cat (already got 2) but if OH's job finishes then we would be in trouble. My master plan is to TNR but still feed if he comes looking and allow him in if he wants seeing as my cats accept him. Maybe when the weather gets colder and we light the stove he might just decide to move in - just see how it goes really. He totally ignores us as if we're not there even when I've put the paper collars on him, after an initial little hiss he now just lets me put them on.

I have seen him in the trap of an evening also another suspected un-neutered stray that we have seen around for a few months so one or the other will be caught next weds - the lady at the rescue said it wouldn't matter which one first. The 'other' cat is ginger and looks really beaten up around the ears. They probably fight each other.

Re: Possible stray?

Posted: Thu Jul 17, 2014 7:21 pm
by DollyB
The 'other' cat was caught in the trap last night and went off to the vets today. He is now back, well most of him is! and outside after eating 2 pouches. We will persevere with trying to get the first one.