The experience that I would like to share with you today is taking in a stray cat. My adorable and mischievous girl, Manna, was once a stray! There were several health concerns that we had to face in the beginning. With a lot of love and some smart moves, my husband and I were able to successfully integrate Manna into our little family and have 2 healthy cats.
When my Dad called me and said that he found “an alien” I knew I had to check it out. My Dad lived in a run-down trailer park on the outskirts of Detroit at the time. The trailer park was full of stray and feral cats which my Dad let freely walk in and out of his trailer. He has always had a heart for stray cats.
As I had suspected, the “alien” was really a small kitten with huge bulging blue eyes. My Dad didn’t know where she had come from, she was just sitting on his front porch in the morning when he opened the door. The mother was nowhere to be found and no other kittens were in sight. My Dad tried to get a mother kitten who had recently given birth to a litter of kittens in one of his kitchen cabinets to take the new kitten in, but the mother was having nothing to do with that.
The little kitten was super friendly and relished my Dad’s attention. She loved to play, cuddle, and purr. She had a huge deep voice for such a tiny creature. Already she was showing her dominant, bossy nature.
I fell in love with the kitten immediately and I named her Manna. My Dad was glad that I wanted to take her in because he didn’t quite know how to care for her. Luckily, I was able to make an appointment to visit the veterinarian on the way home. We already had Cinco, so I had to verify that the introduction would be safe.
The veterinarian estimated that Manna was 3 weeks old. He was very surprised to see such a young kitty! Manna appeared to be a healthy kitty, but she was too young to have any tests done to prove she didn’t have a serious disease. She did have fleas. It was decided that we would keep her separate from Cinco for a few weeks while we waited for her to be old enough for the testing she needed. We were also instructed on how and what to feed her.
We chose to keep her in the bathroom where there was no carpet or upholstery for the fleas to live in. Cinco was very curious about the beast behind the door and they frequently meowed at each other through the door. Manna’s early days were filled with messy feedings, gentle baths with baby shampoo, and tons of attention.
Time flew by and Manna tested negative for any diseases. The fleas went away too. She and Cinco hit it off. Manna the stray cat was a stray cat no more.
Things to Consider When Taking in a Stray Cat
Taking in a stray cat should be viewed as seriously as when you are going out to adopt a cat. These cats are as valuable as any other cat. Before you bring the cat into your home, think about what the cat’s needs might be, how it will affect your current pets, and how the other humans in your home will react too. Consider these points:
- This may be a lost cat.
It is a smart idea to have the cat checked for a microchip and/or put up some Found Cat signs in your neighborhood. There may be another owner out there who is desperately searching for their lost furbaby.
- Stray cats can carry diseases and parasites.
This is an important consideration if you have other pets (especially other cats). Diseases like FIV, FeLV, and Feline Distemper (FIP) are very serious and contagious. There are stages in these diseases where a cat can spread the infection without expressing symptoms. Have your veterinarian run tests on the stray cat before your other cats are exposed to them. Be ready to have to keep the stray cat separate from your other cats for a while as some tests must be repeated over the course of a few weeks in order to be conclusive.
- Little kittens can be a lot of work.
If the stray cat you found is a very young kitten like Manna was, then be prepared to take over the role as mother. You will need to feed the kitten some kitten milk every few hours or as directed by your veterinarian. It is likely that you will also have “kitten proof” your house so that the kitten can’t get hurt easily. This is something you should also keep in mind if the stray cat you take in turns out to be a pregnant female.
- Don’t return the stray cat to the outdoors.
If for some reason things do not work out for you to be able to keep the stray cat as your pet, don’t just abandon it again. Surrender the cat to a rescue or a shelter so that it can be adopted out to someone else. Even cats that turn out to have FIV or FeLV can make good pets for someone.
Have you ever taken in a stray cat?
This post is a part of the Caring for Critters Round Robin hosted by Heart Like A Dog. Throughout this round robin, pet bloggers have been sharing their personal stories of illness, injury, and other pet health concerns. To view a list of these posts, visit http://www.heartlikeadog/community-page . The post previous to this one was from Let’s Go Dog on the topic of Canine Epilepsy. If you have a dog, you will not want to miss the next post in the Caring for Critter’s Round Robin. Kol’s Notes will be bringing you some great information about caring for a dog after an ACL injury. Take some time to check it out!