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Unread 09-21-2009   #1 (permalink)
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Default We took in a stray -- huge concerns

Hello everyone. This is my first post here. I HAD to come and talk to people who might have some advice or comfort for me. I tend to get a little overly anxious about things and I wanted to see if my concerns have merit or not, and what to do!

I have sort of a story to tell...hope you don't mind. Please read it if you can. I'd like your advice.

We found a stray cat on Friday a week ago. He was howling outside like he was hungry--so loudly that we could hear him through our closed doors and windows. I went outside and he sort of ran, but I got down and called him and put out my hand. He ran to me and rubbed his head on my hands. He had no collar. Our neighbors, who had noticed the cat appear out of nowhere (some of them had fed him that day too, out of concern) -- that he had no collar, but it looked like he had one before. There was a definite line around his neck where one should be. He also felt a bit bony. Not super malnutritioned, but you could feel his spine and his hip bones pretty well. I still can.

I also had noticed that he seemsed well-groomed, so I was confused. Come to find out I happened to learn what breed he was in a random google search--a Nebelung--and their fur stays groomed pretty well on its own, except for the poofy tail. His tail had some mats in it when we found him. He also seems young. His fur on his body is still pretty short and he looks sort of small and lean.

We fed him a can of tuna on Friday and he came and went all weekend--with or without food. He'd come to our door and try to come in whenever we opened it. He still seemed a bit unsure, but he would follow me around like crazy whenever I was outside, dodging around and throwing himself at my feet. I was wondering if he was going to his real home (if he had one) but I discovered he was sleeping between a tree and a fence corner in a pile of mulch to keep warm. We set out a blanket for him, and he crawled into my lap on our patio and slept there for almost an hour, curled up in a tight ball and purring like mad.

On Monday (a week ago) my husband and I decided to get him a bit of real cat food so he'd at least be fed until we decided what to do. That night we ended up opening our door to see if he wanted in. He didn't act nervous or scared...he was cautious but he didn't dart around or hide. He slept on us and purred like a semi truck all night long, snacked on his bowl of food over and over like he was afraid it would disappear, and he went right to the disposable litter box we set out for him. He had no interest in going outside. He didn't ask to until much later the next day.

So far he hasn't sprayed outside of the box or hissed or scratched any of us intentionally. He hasn't run and hid either. He gets into quiet corners when our kids get loud. They're 4 and 6, so that's understandable. But he comes into our room every night and lays on our bed. He tends to follow me everywhere, especially at night time, and lays next to us especially after the kids go to bed.

The first day after he spend the whole night with us, he acted like he wanted to go outside. When I opened the door, he didn't bolt and he stepped out and sat on our patio, looking back at me and meowing like he was asking if he could come back. A few times he acted like he was afraid we wouldn't be there for his return. He always came back though and he'd dart back into the house when we'd open the door. He'd stay inside for HOURS before asking to go out again. I followed him a few times and he never went far. One night he was gone for a few hours and it was early and dark so I went to find him. He was under a car in our parking lot and followed me back into the house with no problem.

He doesn't like being held too much, though my husband can hold him on his back and scratch his tummy. He plays fetch with us and begs to be pet all of the time. Lately though, he's been acting like he really wants to go outside--understandably so. My husband decided on Tue (also a week ago) after he had been gone too long into the early morning that he needed to be an indoor cat. Especially with our neighborhood and us living on a busy street corner, and the fact that he is a rare cat. So poor Rex (that's what we named him) meows every night and sometimes during the day to be let out. It's been especially hard if he sees a squirrel or one of the cats living in a complex behind us. I'm pretty sure he's not fixed, so I'm sure he can smell any of those cats if they're girls. It looked like he was trying to follow one of them one of the nights we let him out.

We feel that training him to be indoors isn't a bad thing, but I feel so horrible. Sort of like I'm endlessly punishing a child. The nights have been increasingly more stressful. He meows off and on and jumps in and out of our bedroom window, and then walks all over us like he wants our attention. He eventually gives up after about an hour or two though. Last night his cry was so sad. He's so quiet and softspoken, but he howled once or twice.

I am wondering if us taking him in was the right thing to do, and if he perhaps only came around because he was looking for a girl cat. My husband and our neighbors (and even our complex manager) wanted us to take him in and thought he was abandoned. Our manager didn't even charge us a deposit to keep him. He urged us to take care of him. I'm just worried that maybe he was confused and really belongs to someone else. But I would think that he would have acted more scared if that was the case, not warmed up to us so quickly like he's now our pet.

Also, I am wondering if training a cat to be indoors is this rough. I feel so horrible and I'm not sure what to do. He has a little kitty house and lots of balls and a squeaky mouse. Some of them have catnip in them. We try to feed him and play with him just before bed so he'll be tired. He acts very interested in food and he still uses his litter box like a champ, though I'm pretty sure he sprayed in it this morning. It smelled HORRID.

PLEASE HELP ME. I want to make sure we've done the right thing--and are DOING the right thing. We love him so much but I am so worried!

-Melissa

Ps--sorry for such a long story. I really hope someone is willing to read through it. It would be easier to talk about it on the phone with someone, but I have no one to talk to besides my hubby, and he knows less about cats than I do.
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Unread 09-21-2009   #2 (permalink)
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Hi Melissa and Rex - don't apologise, it was a really interesting post, to hear the whole story of how Rex came to you.

It does seem strange that if he is a Nebelung he should be a stray, unless he somehow escaped from his previous home. It sounds like he is a cat who likes and is used to love and attention. Have you contacted any vets to find out if anyone has reported him missing?

I have to admit my two girls are indoor/outdoor cats - they go out in the day and come in in the evening until morning, so I have no experience in indoor cat training. But many forum members have - and ensuring that they have enough to occupy them seems to be the key. Having said that it's not easy when you are in bed trying to sleep and you have a restless cat!

I would definitely get him to the vets for a thorough check over and to see how soon you can have him neutered. That alone will be a huge help in settling him down.

I hope that you get some good tips from other indoor cat members, but best of luck and well done for taking him in
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Unread 09-21-2009   #3 (permalink)
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Hey there! Thanks for the reply.

I have to admit that we didn't really do any checking around before deciding to take him in. We went with our hearts and signs as to whether or not he would accept us as his new owners. Now I don't think I can stand the thought of him being taken away by someone else! I know that sounds horrible. I won't say I don't have a conscience though. I spent all morning combing various lost pet pages on the internet for our area and the entire state and I found nothing that remotely describes him so far.

I also looked up information regarding neutering and found out that a PAWS shelter is close by our home, so I'm going to try to apply for low-income neutering assistance as soon as possible. They offer cat vaccinations for FIV and whatnot as well. I hope we will be approved for that. I want him to be healthy and happy.

The more I've watched him today, the more he simply seems restless. I'm positive he's not fixed, not with the smell he left in his litterbox this morning. The only time so far that he's actively tried to run out our door was when the lady behind us had her cats outside. Silly little guy. I know he's in the mood for love, lol. ^^

Anyway I hope you don't think any less of me for wanting to keep him so badly. I am very scared of losing him now. He's been a god-send to us and our children (especially our little boy) and we just love him so much.

Again thanks for the reply.

(hugs)

Melissa
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Unread 09-21-2009   #4 (permalink)
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PS-- one reason why I think he might have willingly escaped is because there are a LOT of people in this neighborhood who are neglectful pet owners and parents. It wouldn't surprise me if he ran away to find more affection. He seems to be the kind of cat that constantly wants to play and be loved.
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I don't blame you in the least for wanting to keep him Melissa, I'd be the
same If someone in the area had lost him and was trying to find him I'm sure you would have seen or heard something.

I hope you are able to get the veterinary assistance - it's so important that he gets a check up plus neutering and shots

He sounds like a little gift who has come to you so love and enjoy each other! Do you have any pics of him you can post, Nebelungs are very pretty cats.
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Hello and Welcome! thank you for rescuing this cat! It sounds to me like he was dumped.

One he is neutered he will settle down and be a happy house cat. A cat that friendly is at risk for being picked up by sickos, so he is way better off staying inside. You can get some feliway plug in diffusers to help him adjust, but I bet with the neuter (takes a few weeks for the hormones to leave after the surgery), judging by happy he is to be with you, he will be fine.

Get or build him a cat tree for climbing and jumping, give him plenty of interactive Game time, and congratulations on your new Cat!

(What's his name?)


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Unread 09-21-2009   #7 (permalink)
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Yeah that's what our neighbors were thinking...that they wanted to move or whatever and just left him behind. It breaks my heart to think about it.

He already has a corner of a 'kitty city' that you can get at Petsmart, and a kitty 'rocker' toy. He takes some time to warm up to toys. I hope to get more of the kitty city or a kitty tree from Petsmart after Christmas...hopefully sooner. We've already spoiled him with canned friskies and a mouse toy on a wand that squeaks like a real mouse. He loves that thing. I hope to go back to the store and get him a few more things, more catnip stuff and some kitty treats. He's already so spoiled.

I'm going to upload some pictures today off of our digital camera and I'll share them here.

His name is Rex. Our son (he's 4) wanted to name him 'Poofy'.

Thanks for all of the encouragement!
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Unread 09-21-2009   #8 (permalink)
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I just uploaded some pictures of Rex to the cat picture albums. They're awaiting approval...but keep your eyes peeled for them.
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Approved - - Rex is a beauty! Hehe I like that name "Poofy"
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Unread 09-22-2009   #10 (permalink)
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Thanks. I did too, but hubby wouldn't have it. ^^ So now I nicknamed him 'Rexy'. He's cuddled next to my laptop now.
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