Help with catching a stray cat (14 replies)
We need help catching a stray male cat. When our new neighbors moved here several years ago a female cat found them. She eventually had kittens (a few times) and between both of us, we've gotten them adopted out and/or caught them and took them to a shelter. However, one larger white male is still hanging around and is often mean. He fights with the others that are still around. He comes up on our deck and swipes at our indoor cats through the screen door. I feel so sorry for him, as he has many battle scars, but can be charming, too. We've been feeding him so he will begin to trust us, but he still will not come close enough to pet. He's very skittish. My husband and neighbor think we should try to trap him and take him to a shelter, but we may inadvertantly trap other innocent feline victims and scare them. And, what will the shelter staff do with him should we be able to capture him since he has a history of violence? It truly breaks my heart 🙁 Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for your help.
Hi Karen! If you have an animal control officer in your area or with your local police department, that may be the way to go. They do indeed make traps, which is another option even though other cats might get caught in there. Otherwise, unless you can lure him into an enclosed area somehow, it's going to be tricky to get him captured.
Have you called your local shelter? Sometimes they have some ideas that we laypeople don't think of! You can also ask them what might happen to this cat were he brought in to them, and what factors they would consider when deciding whether or not he was adoptable.
Thanks, Melissa. It's a touchy situation. I'm going to try to take a picture of him...I call him E.B. White or Mr. White. Our neighbor says he's less mean since he's the only male hanging around. When he's on our deck he's unpredictable though. One minute he's rolling around, meowing, looking cute, then the next he's sitting close to the screen door just watching our cats watch him and without warning, he'll swipe his paw at them. I don't want them to get scratched. Our cats are very used to strays coming and going for the last several years, especially one very lovely, very sweet male, whom we called Pink or Mr. Pink because he had a pink nose. He died in April--from what we don't know. All the strays were nice until now. So, I spend my days worrying and wondering if I remembered to close the kitchen door when I'm upstairs in my home office. So, up and down I go all day. Down for breakfast, up to work, down to check the door, up to work, down for lunch, and back up again, most times opening the back door while I'm downstairs for the air movement if we don't have the AC on. He gets tics on him regularly and it breaks my heart that he won't let me get close enough to remove them. He always has fresh new cuts and bald spots. He wakes us up at night sometimes with his fighting or howling. I really don't think he'd be adoptable, but do wonder if he'd eventually adapt to being a single indoor cat--no other pets. I think if he were able to adapt, he'd be a lovebug.
We do have a local SPCA, but I've volunteered there for years, and my guess is that they'd put him down. The animal control officer works out of that office.
The other thing is, with him around, there's the possibility of more kittens--our poor neighbor has been desperately trying to keep up with controlling the cat population, but the ones that need catching are difficult. We live out in the country with lots of farms, fields, woods, etc.--our backyards are bordered by reservoir property and cats just seem to appear. How they stay alive and well is a puzzle sometimes, because having chickens really opened our eyes to the fact that we have predators we hadn't seen previously such as rather large Red Fox and hawk populations.
I'm going to keep thinking.
It sounds like Mr. White might not be adoptable, but slow and steady interactions may help. Just as you stated, I would be concerned about the ongoing "kitten creation" going on and would want to get that halted as soon as possible. Have you talked to a local shelter and/or your neighbor about a TNR plan? Sometimes local rescues will help out, too, since it reduces the number of intakes they get around kitten season.
Thanks, Kristine 🙂
I think that TNR may be our best option--it will cut down on the kitten population and return him to a familiar environment. It's the catching that could pose difficult. He's so skittish and sporadic in his visits--I haven't seen him up close in days, but saw him in the way back of our yard, howling and walking back and forth a few times. I think our local SPCA has a TNR program, but if not, I believe there are other nearby organizations that do.
Each of us has a slightly different picture of Mr. White in our heads, but we all want to do what's best for him. I just pray that we're able to catch him before predators do or before his fighting ends in tragedy.
It's almost unbelievable to me how quickly a stray cat and a single litter can become a cat colony. Although, we don't have a colony, the handful of strays are a big problem because between the two of us, we just can't seem to curb it.
Thanks for your help 🙂 I'll keep you posted.
So...we have kittens! There are 5 babies--2 all white with a tiny patch of gray on the top of their heads, 2 mostly white with grayish splotches, and 1 mostly black with some white (like its mama) Saw them Monday in the bushes. Mom moved them into the flower garden next to our deck. They look to be about 4 weeks old and ate from a bowl of gruel this morning. Mom is still nursing, but we hope to catch them eventually, foster them and take them to the shelter to get spayed/neutered, shots, etc. Our neighbor already has an adopter lined up for the two white ones. Yay! Well, I suppose we all know who the father is. He still remains aloof and skittish and only comes around periodically. Oi!!!
UPDATE on Mr. White!!
We caught the infamous Mr. White 🙂 Yay! My amazing husband, David, has been putting traps out on our deck and we've caught five strays in the last few weeks--our kittens' mama, two other females, Mr. White, and a big red male that I've seen occasionally. We eventually found someone to take our kittens into rescue, vet them, and adopt them out. This woman also traps and does TNR. She's amazing and we're planning to donate to her ongoing effort. Caught: Oct. 16th. Neutered: Oct. 17. Released back into our neighborhood: Oct. 18. After much discussion and thought, we decided it would be best to release him into a familiar territory. Even though he can be a threat to my cats through the back screen door, I would have lost sleep wondering where he was, if he was OK, and if he was adapting to his new environment. Thankfully, our neighbors are working with us to chisel away at the stray cat population.
Aw I am so glad to hear this! I have to admit I did giggle a little, thinking of all those other cats. You know, you get up in the morning and you see that the trap is occupied and you're like "GOTCHA!" but then you go out and nope. LOL. But perseverance paid off - you're a rock star!
Awww, gee thanks, Melissa 🙂 I think I'm still in shock that we actually got him. Haven't seen him since, but I'm sure when his belly grumbles, he'll be gracing us with his presence--don't know why, but I have a soft spot for him. Maybe because he's a bit of an undercat, always being chased away by other cats, continually facing other nocturnal predators (from what I hear), and mostly, because he's vocal and charming (his eyes just melt my heart and he looks as if he just wants to be loved). I'll keep you posted on the current count 🙂 Giggle away...
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