Author Topic: Should I adopt the ex-feral rescues who've been with me 18mths? Am I hoarding?  (Read 6478 times)

Offline Fire Fox

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I should update this thread.

Unfortunately I've had to make the painful decision to rehome the four rescues. I've had my head buried in the sand about how difficult it is for me to cope with six cats when the four are integrated into the household. I realise that other peeps cope perfectly well with more than this, but I know that I can't.

I'm lousey at housework at the best of times, with two cats this is manageable. Also, when I'm ill with a cluster of seizures, the most I can do for the cats is feed them. With two cats, this is fine. I shut them in the lounge and go to bed. Fred and Vic amiably keep each other company. But six would run riot and need litter changing etc.

I can imagine the headlines in five years: that a crazy cat woman is being prosecuted for neglect and that investigators found the house knee deep in cat poo.

Unlike other peeps who probably work, I'm at home lots which means that the cats are around me alot. I'll feel swamped with six cats around me. Honestly, two is all I can manage.

This isn't a decision I've come to lightly. I'm doing the best for all the cats, including Fred and Victoria, and for me. I'll feel sad, but know I'm doing the right thing.

Initially, I'll try to rehome them on CatChat and take it from there.

 :hug: The only part of this that I find sad is that it reads as almost apologetic. We encouraged you because you felt you could cope at the time; furballs are supposed to enhance your life not make you feel stressed. :hug: At every stage you have done what is right for these cats and you have made them homeable, like any foster mum you should feel proud of all you have achieved.  :hug:
:'( My beautiful Noah rescued 13/02/09, adopted 11/10/09, taken 11/02/11 :'( You deserved so much more.
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Offline JackSpratt

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HK, you know what's best and how much you can cope with. You've done an amazing job so far and have no doubt you'll find them wonderful homes. :hug:




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Offline Dawn F

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good luck hk, at least you are realistic about what you can do for them  :hug:

Offline Hippykitty

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I think trying to rehome them as a group would restrict the possible homes too much. Pairs would be ideal, though I'd be prepared to let them go singly if the right home came along. They'll need experienced slaves to get them over the shock of moving and finish socialising them. I've done three quarters of their socialising, they just need "finishing school"  :innocent:

They are extremely lively cats and would probably prefer access to a garden.

Will be taking lots of pics over the next few days, will try to post some in the homing section here.
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Offline Steff - Petsearch Bedford HQ

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At least you gave it a go plus you have been looking after them for all this time :)

It must be really hard for you because you must have got pretty attached to them but you have to do the best for you and all the cats (including your two existing).

We have to know our limits I guess...otherwise we would all be over run because we want to help all the needy cats. I know I for one have to say to myself no, no more when I think surely one more won't even make a difference!!

I think your being very sensible and I hope they get new homes soon. Will you try to rehome as a four or in pairs?
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Offline Hippykitty

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I should update this thread.

Unfortunately I've had to make the painful decision to rehome the four rescues. I've had my head buried in the sand about how difficult it is for me to cope with six cats when the four are integrated into the household. I realise that other peeps cope perfectly well with more than this, but I know that I can't.

I'm lousey at housework at the best of times, with two cats this is manageable. Also, when I'm ill with a cluster of seizures, the most I can do for the cats is feed them. With two cats, this is fine. I shut them in the lounge and go to bed. Fred and Vic amiably keep each other company. But six would run riot and need litter changing etc.

I can imagine the headlines in five years: that a crazy cat woman is being prosecuted for neglect and that investigators found the house knee deep in cat poo.

Unlike other peeps who probably work, I'm at home lots which means that the cats are around me alot. I'll feel swamped with six cats around me. Honestly, two is all I can manage.

This isn't a decision I've come to lightly. I'm doing the best for all the cats, including Fred and Victoria, and for me. I'll feel sad, but know I'm doing the right thing.

Initially, I'll try to rehome them on CatChat and take it from there.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2010, 06:01:35 AM by Hippykitty »
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Offline Dawn F

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lol wonder what they'd make of my bengal, she is all teeth and claws at the vets!  glad you got there in the end hope your little family settles down together

Offline Hippykitty

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After my experience, I don't recommend Value Vets. During the first vacc visit, the vet nurse handled them very badly whilst "dragging" them out of the carriers. She got badly scratched, but deserved it.  :duel: The vet seemed terrified of them, didn't examine them, just gave them a jab. The cats obviously hated him and behaved like wild beasts.

When I went in for their second doses, I was told that they might have to be sedated if they were as awkward. The vet was really scared. I think they picked this up and behaved badly. Cats know who doesn't like them.  :P

Cydric was particularly defensive. The vet refused to vaccinate him without a sedative (personally, I think the vet needed one, not the cat  :evillaugh: ).  I wanted them chipped, but they were adamant that the cats would have to be sedated for this.

I left, having made an appointment for Cydric to go in on 23rd Aug, but had a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach. I cancelled the appointment and took him to my previous, more expensive vet, having explained the situation to them.

He was a dream  :hug:  The vet handled him with gentle confidence, examined him thoroughly, even shining a light in his eyes and looking at his teeth. You wouldn't believe he was the same cat as the clawing beast who was terrified of the other vet.  :Luv:

He jumped off the table at one point, but let the vet catch him without too much of a fight.

Just goes to show that cats know a good vet when they see one. 
« Last Edit: August 24, 2010, 17:38:20 PM by Hippykitty »
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Offline Hippykitty

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You have some lovely cats Ellen, I might pop round and walk off with the little black and white one.  :Luv2: I have a weakness for black and black and white cats. Of my six, only one is black and white:Fred; the others are tortie and white or tabby and white.

I agree with your vet about the sunscreen. I really don't know where the Australian vet trained, but he must be aware of the campaigns in Australia about shielding yourself from the sun etc.

After the "new" ones have had their second dose of vaccine and been microchipped, I'm not going back to that vet. Their hours are very short and inconvenient. There's one not far from them called the White Cross which is open all day till 7pm.

I'll be so glad when the cats can mix properly. Won't allow them outside until winter, when coming home to warmth and food seems like a good idea to them.  ;)
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Offline Ellen2010

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I have never heard of the chain you have mentioned but yes I am in agreement with you using sunblock for the cats especially if they are white.  I had a foster who lost both his outer ears due to cancer on them and he was white.  I was even advised by a vet as I had a black cat (my own) which had a bald patch from a scab he had had there when I adopted him to put sunblock on that even though with him being long haired it was covered just in the off chance the wind blew his fur and exposed the bald patch.

18 months is a long time to a cat and the kittens have only known you.  As for not managing with them all in at the same time I am sure you will manage as you have been doing it for the last 18 months.  I have 7 cats that are completely indoor cats and are quite often found in the same room as myself and that is through their choice as they have access to all areas except the toilet within the house.  The only time that they are not allowed this is if one of the rooms is being used for a foster.  Also on top of that I have 2 dogs and you can find pictures of my clan in the Welcome section under "A Quick Hi"
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Offline Hippykitty

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They had their first round of vaccinations today. They go back in three weeks for the second lot and microchipping. It was murder to get them in their carriers (then out again!). I've got some wonderful scratches!  :scared:

I just checked that they're okay after their jabs and not reacting badly. Fred came with me and gave them a sniff. I know they're not protected fully yet, but I thought the risk worth it. The little ones love Fred, though I'm not too sure about Lucy, their mum.

So far so good.

Off topic: has anyone tried Value Vets, the chain of vets? They're springing up round the midlands. That's where I've been taking them for the jabs; they're very cheap, but not sure about the quality of service. For example, the cats weren't given a proper check-up, just injected, and they hadn't heard of sunblock for cats. The vet (an Aussie who should know better) even said that it didn't really matter if they got sunburnt, and that cancer of the ear was rare.  :censored:  I pointed out that I'd had a cat, Polly, who had her ear removed due to cancerous changes.

Vets!!!  :P
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Offline Dawn F

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well done HK!!!

Offline Susan + 8

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I suppose I'm doubting my ability to be responsible for 6 furry souls.

You've been responsible for 6 furry souls for the past 18 months, and by the sound of things you have been doing a wonderful job  :)  They're all well fed and cared for and have all been neutered and are booked in for their jabs - sounds like you're responsible towards them to me  :)

FANTASTIC news that Fred and Vic are coming around to having 4 new brothers and sisters - that's really great, and testament to how secure and happy they all are  ;D

The 6 cat club  :Hello:

 :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap: :1st place:

Offline Hippykitty

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I suppose I'm doubting my ability to be responsible for 6 furry souls. I'm worried that I'll let them down. I imagine it's a bit how a new mother feels (I've never had children).  On the other hand they are getting used to me and have started to be loving while I'm feeding them. They don't trust anyone else: when a friend goes into their room to see them, they all hide!

Fred and Vic are developing an acceptance of them. Vic is just tolerating them, but Fred is very intrigued and wants to get to know them.

Thanks for all the support. I'll make the transition from them being "rescues" to being kittypets very slowly. This will help the cats and myself to adjust.

They have their first jabs on 28th.

The 6 cat club  :Hello:
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Offline Michelle (furbabystar)

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HK, there is no huge leap - as much as you're trying to resist, you already have 6 cats!  ;D You've had 6 cats for 18 months now  :Luv2:



I was just going to say that above !!

Stop panicing, You can do this because you are already doing it  :evillaugh:

And being able to use PDSA is a huge bonus


So as Susan Says .....Welcome to the 6 cats club ! (Although I have 11)

Offline Susan + 8

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HK, there is no huge leap - as much as you're trying to resist, you already have 6 cats!  ;D You've had 6 cats for 18 months now  :Luv2:

I think if you and all your kitties are happy then you should continue as you are and maybe put a litte aside each month just in case you need any unexpected trips to the vets. I have 6 cats and to be honest it's very rare when they're all in the same room - it's only when they're all together that it seems like a lot  :wow:  :rofl:

What would you do with the cats if you chose not to keep them? Rescues are over-run with kittens at the moment so getting them somewhere safe might be quite difficult, and of course upsetting to the cats because they're settled with you and I'm sure upsetting to you too because I can tell from your posts just how much you love them  :Luv2:

If all you're worried about is seeming like a bit of a crazy cat lady then welcome to the club! As long as they're all looked after then you're a CARING cat lady, which to me is a wonderful thing to be  :)

Start the introductions - your cats will soon tell you if they're happy to make it permament. By the sound of things it will all go pretty smoothly  :Luv:

And welcome officially to the 6 cats club!  :welcome: :evillaugh: :rofl:


Offline Hippykitty

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Sorry if my last post seemed a but curt: unintended.

I took Fred and Vic to the cheaper vets on saturday and they were revaccinated (it's been 2yrs since they were last done). They have been booked in for their second dose in 3wks. I've also booked the four in on the same day, so I have 3wks to make a definite decision about this.

I really am struggling with the decision.

I'm on benefit due to having poorly controlled epilepsy, so finances are limited. I qualify for pdsa treatment if I can't afford the new, much cheaper vets (Value Vets). But two cats to six is a huge leap. Am I being silly and ruled by the "ah" factor, rather than thinking clearly?

HELP!
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Offline Hippykitty

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They got over the cat flu fairly quickly considering they were so young. I kept them warm, put synulox drops in their food and generally kept a close watch on them. It took them about a week to get over it. One of them has a slightly runny eye, but not as bad as Polly's was (she lived to be 22).

They were local ferals. Fred and Victoria were also local ferals and share many of the same physical characteristics as Lucy's family. I'm having F and V boostered on saturday. I suspect that they're distant cousins.

They will be indoor/outdoor, but the vast majority of cats they'll be in touch with will possibly be relatives as this was not by any means Lucy's first litter. There are very few true domestics living in my area anymore: it's a student area now.

Thanks for the opinions. All input is welcome. Let me know if you disagree with this.

Pinkbear, the house is hardly cramped. I live in a three-bedroom, two-reception victorian terrace house which I originally bought to let rooms in, but stopped taking in lodgers so now many of the rooms are unused. (Only just noticed this part of your post.)
« Last Edit: July 01, 2010, 03:49:33 AM by Hippykitty »
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Offline Pinkbear (Julie)

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What kind of cat flu did they have? Was it a mild strain or did they suffer mouth ulcers as well? They could still be carriers and could possibly shed the virus again if they feel stressed. They could become sick repeatedly or make other cats they live with sick as well. Especially if they are sharing a cramped living situation.  :innocent:

Sorry to be the one fly in the ointment. Cat flu can be really nasty and vaccination can only provide limited protection.  :doh: I'd be trying to secure them a living environment where the risks where minimised and they weren't forced to come into contact with cats from a different background.  :hug:

Offline CC & The Pussycat Guys & Dolls

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Yes I was talking to a neighbour who has 4 cats and she asked me how many I had, when I said 6 she was shocked even tho she has 4 herself  :shy:

At the end of the day if your cats are all happy and healthy, I dont see a problem  :)
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Offline Fire Fox

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There are several members of Purrs who have more cats than is 'normal' (in the eyes of the general public) yet it is abundantly clear that these cats are loved, that they are VERY well cared for, that they are comfortable living in a multi-cat household, that their slaves are emotionally and financially stable. To me hoarding is a problem if the cats suffer in any way or are at risk of suffering.

52 is barely middle aged these days! My parents are in their sixties and currently in the midst of a 20 year world tour in their souped up motorhome! My cat-mad aunt is in her seventies and keeps busy teaching genealogy and leading nature walks; I have (gym) clients in their fifties who are stronger, slimmer and healthier than their own children. Only you know your own finances - could you perhaps keep a couple and rehome a couple so you could afford insurance or are you eligible for PDSA care?
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Offline Liz

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HK that post makes me smile all the little things that theya re doing to capture your heart, the huggie one and the others still in training and Fred being the Minder for his new little brothers and sisters

I think in your heart they are already staying and the mind is now leaning that way - so from the Clan Cats and their Parents welcome to your forever home and your very special Mum :Luv2:
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Offline Hippykitty

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CC, I have coped fine so far, with just a little noticeable extra financial drain, because the little 'uns seem to need lots of extra food due to being very active. However, apart from the initial flu, which was the reason for the rescue, their health has been fine (touch wood).

When they are part of the general household - so far they've lived in the back room with little playtimes up and down the stairs - I'll feel overwhelm by 6 indoor cats, so I'll let them be indoor/outdoor. This will expose them to more health risks. Fred is petrified of traffic, and I'm hoping he'll teach them this; I know the kittens and Fred will get on really well because he LOVES kittens  :Luv2:  He looked after the kittens in "his" colony.

I know what you mean about the unpredictability of life, but assuming the best, I'll have six cats till I'm in my seventies! Actually, this thought is rather wonderful.  :Luv:

Thank you for your kind comments about Polly and Samantha. I still miss them both, especially as Fred and Vic aren't cuddly, even though they like fuss.

I think George, one of the little cats, will be cuddly. The other week he got a can stuck on his head and was totally relaxed when I picked him up, cradled him on my lap and gently prized the can off. He let me cuddle him for about five mins afterwards. The first cuddle I've had from a cat since Samantha died. When I go to feed them, George and Cydric, one of his brothers, both head butt and fuss me while I dish the food up. Pebbles is a mummy's boy, so stays close to Lucy, who is still wary of humans.

You can probably tell that I love them and want to keep them. I've just been wrestling with whether I SHOULD.
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Offline CC & The Pussycat Guys & Dolls

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Aww HK I didn't know about Polly and Samantha, so sorry  :hug:

Right firstly, you have had these cats for a good amount of time now, how have you coped with them for this time, costs ect? Im assuming you have done well upto now  :)

Secondly, with the cats being at your home already, Im assuming Fred and Victoria already know they are there  :innocent: just need to do propper intro's but I dont think that would be as bad as bring a strange cat into the house as they would of smelt them there.

Thirdly, I think you have been kind to them for what you have already done  :)

Fourth, your life Vs theirs, well we all know anything can happen day to day, I think we just have to get on with that and live a happy and full life  :hug:


And lastly, I cant call anyone a hoarder as I have 6 cats myself  :evillaugh:

Im sure you have done well and coped so far, so really it's how you feel about the situation  :)
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Offline Hippykitty

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Considerations about finance should one or more need expensive treatment, is one aspect I'm carefully trying to decide about. I've managed to find a local-ish vet whose consultation fees are much lower than my regular vet: £19 against £28. My regular vet offered a 10% discount on the microchipping and vaccinations, but this would be a one-off deal, so I'm thinking of moving vets, especially as I didn't like the way Sam was treated by them.

Even if I wanted to, I couldn't afford the insurance for 6 cats; the only other option would be to put some money away each month to ease the impact.

I've begun introductions. I have a cat flap in my bedroom door. With Fred in my bedroom and the little cats playing up and down the stairs, which are enclosed, with a door into the lounge at the bottom; they've made friendly chirrups at Fred and vice versa, through the locked transparent flap.

I want to keep them. But should I? Do cats miss each other? They've been together since the kittens were born, I'm not sure how they'd react to being separated, even though I'd try to home them in pairs.

Thanks for the input so far.
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Offline Desley (booktigger)

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IT will be harder to rehome them, I have a 2yo very shy cat who has been on the rehoming page since just before Christmas, and despite changing the picture and text, no one has shown any interest, and I know that we have suddenly slowed down on rehoming everything - it is holiday season, so people don't want to commit to animals. There is also how they will cope with being rehomed after such a long time with you - I have homed more confident cats after 12 months and they have been fine. The other thing is the money if one became really ill. It might be worth putting the feelers out to see what response you would get for rehoming, but doing gradual introductions at the same time.
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Offline Liz

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Hk you have put a lot of tiome, effort and a lot of love in to this 4 and with the right introductions I would say you have a wonderful family :Luv2:

As the mother of 30ish ex ferals some nice, some nasty and the one nobody wants I would say if you can afford it keep them - if you are worried about your age - whicj is only 4 years older than me then make provision for them in your will - wehave for all of ours as our youngest 4 ex ferals are only 10 months old and our oldest of the other members of the Clan is 18  - my nephew wants to move here so he can look after them once we have popped our clogs - he gets the lot and the cats and knows I will come back to haunt him if he doesn't abide by the rules :evillaugh:
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Offline Dawn F

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if you can afford them and introduce them I'd keep them

Offline Hippykitty

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I'm putting this on this board because I might get a straight, no-nonsense reply from the blunt side of the cat world. If mods want to move it, do so.

About 18mths ago, a feral mum brought her kittens to nest in a lean to attached to my kitchen. I fed them and noticed signs of flu; so I trapped them, using feral trap, and took a "sample" kit to vet. He confirmed diagnosis and gave antibiotics to put into food. It was a cold winter, but they survived in my warm, unused, back bedroom. I intended to rehome them after the Christmas of 08, but broke my arm, which made simple things like changing cat litter etc difficult. I managed with help from a friend.

Shortly after my arm healed, Polly became ill and died (a 22yr old), which put me into a slump of grief. Then Samantha became ill and died.

Consequently, the little cats and their mother have been here for a long time and we've bonded. Friends think I should keep them. I've been asking myself the following:

Can I afford them?

Can I cope with 6 cats?

Am I being kind/cruel to them?

Their versus my longevity. I'm 52.


Am I becoming a hoarder?

Will Fred and Vic accept them?

If I went for the rehoming option, how hard would it be for them to find homes?

Also, I have a problem with a woman a few houses down the road. She claimed that the mother was her cat, but I know that Lucy, the mother, has been a local feral for some time. If she was her cat, why was she kittening in my lean to? I know that she didn't belong to this woman, but she became very aggressive Dec 08, theatening my own cats, who've been indoors since. If I kept the four cats, I'd want them to be indoor/outdoor. I would have them microchipped (F and V are already) so, if push came to shove, I could prove them to be mind, but would rather it didn't come to this.

I've enquired at several local vets about vaccination and chipping costs - they are already neutered - and I could just about cover this. I've found a vet with low consult fees. I've been feeding 6 cats for quite a while now, and managed.

Maybe I could cope with all 6 around me when they go out to let off energy. If I feel overwhelmed, I can always put them in another room (F and V separately).

I've been reading stuff about introducing cats. Fred and Vic were originally part of a colony, then they lived with Polly and Sam, so they are used to being in a multicat environment. The only problems may be when Fred shows an interest in the kittens (he'd very paternal); Lucy might misunderstand this at first.

I think many people would be interested in them, until they find out that they're ex-feral and not entirely friendly with strangers. I've been looking at the homing pages on Purrs to find out if the economic situation has affected rehoming cats; although I saw nothing about that, I did read about cats needing homes. If I rehomed the four, would they be taking up homes other cats desperately need?

Any input gratefully recieved? Am I becoming one of those crazy ladies you hear about on the news; the ones who have far too many cats which get taken away by youknowwho?

 :thanks:
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