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Archive for January 14th, 2012

Adopting a feral cat

Saturday, January 14, 2012
posted by Jim Murphy

As we get into the cold winter months, you may be concerned about the feral cats that are out there trying to “brave the elements.” There’s a cat that has been under your deck that you feed but can’t be sure that it will be safe in the winter. You decide to adopt it and introduce it to the pleasures of indoor living. If the feline is friendly and you’ve already been feeding it, having it move indoors with you may not be as hard as you think.

Litter box training is the biggest concern for most people. Place the box where you want it permanently located. In the past, if you allowed  this cat inside once in awhile, place a transitional litter box near the door where she used to come in and out. As time goes on, slowly move the transitional box closer to the permanent box. Once the boxes are side by side, you can remove one of them.

If the cat was never litter box trained, a confinement method is usually necessary. Set the cat up in a large crate complete with litter box, resting place, food, water and cat toys.When the cat is consistently using the litter box, she can be moved to a small room. After she gets the hang of that, gradually increase her space. If she has a lapse, return to the last place that she kept clean.

Once she’s litter box trained, enrich her new environment. Give her access to a window sill so she can look outside. Give her some catnip or wheat grass so she can nosh on some cat safe greenery. Get her cat toys to keep her occupied.¬† Safeguard your furniture by putting several cat scratching posts throughout the house. Cardboard scratch pads embedded with catnip are inexpensive and can be scattered throughout your home.

Even though your cat is in a safe, comfortable environment, the lure of the great outdoors may still entice them. Make sure screens are tightly secured and make sure that the door is never left open. Distract her from going for the door by rolling a toy across the floor or giving her a treat. Make sure that she is spayed. Eventually, she will be very content staying indoors and will not dash for the door anymore.

Finally, give your cat a good, healthy diet high in protein. Provide treats and lots of love and you new guest will become a beloved family member.

Remember, your pets count!