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Normal Topic Need proven ways to get once feral cat in box to vet (Read 5,315 times)
stray_adopter
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Need proven ways to get once feral cat in box to vet
Apr 28th, 2012 at 9:55am
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Hi all,  Briefly: Very large female cat always been very, very skittish and once was feral. After many attempts, I was able to close her into an indoor area of my place when she was pregnant about 5 years ago. Kept her indoors since then after adopting out all of her kittens.  It took me a very long time to catch her even in the house to get her spayed  because she would run and find every nook and cranny and even then  I had to use the Have a Heart wire trap to do so. She was terrified and has not been in a cage or carrier since that time. Needless to say, she would in no way allow me to even give her the post spaying antibiotics either. She can be very sweet and allows me to pet her, feed her, groom her as long as I do not pick her up.
        Update to the present:     I tried recently to get her in a carrier because she has some issues that I believe require a vet.  I tried to pick her up in a quick moment when she was relaxed to get her in a carrier and now look like someone attacked me with a rake (my chest)  and a pitchfork ( my back).  I didn't feel  the pain of her claws since I was just as nervous as she.  This is not a simple case of using catnip or a food treat. This cat lived on city streets probably a few years before I had to methodically catch her and I believe I only succeeded because she was pregnant.  Now, I need a proven method that will get the cat in the carrier and calm her before, during and after the vet visit. I do not want her to tear at the vet people either.  Any and all suggestions no matter how over the top they may sound would be very much appreciated.
  
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Tempest
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Re: Need proven ways to get once feral cat in box to vet
Reply #1 - Apr 29th, 2012 at 12:09pm
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I have an ex-feral who can be problematic to catch and get into a crate, as well. He's fine once I get him in the crate and get the door closed, and he'll sleep in the open crates that I always have set around my house with fluffy towels in them to keep all of the cats comfortable with them. But if he thinks I am going to try to "capture" him, either by picking him up or by closing a crate door while he's in one, he'll take off like a shot. And when I do get my hands on him and stuff him in a crate, he'll sometimes manage to shoot out before I can get the door shut.

The last time I had to get him to a vet, it took five days before I managed to close him in my office where I finally cornered him on top of one of my file cabinets. That little adventure involved lots of sweeping him out from under large pieces of furniture. Not an easy catch, but one of those situations where I just had to do what needed to be done to get him to the vet.

OTOH, that same cat can be an extraordinarily demanding and demonstrative cat when he wants attention. He'll get on my lap, knead, purr, and DROOL ... and he will NOT get off until he's good and ready, even if I try to push him off to go do something else. He LOVES affection, but ONLY when he initiates it.

So, you may never get your girl to crate or transport easily. You may have to do the "slow speed chase with a broom" technique that I had to resort to with Phantom. If it comes down to that, though, it's important to remain as relaxed and  matter-of-fact about it as possible. Your girl will definitely pick up and respond anxiously to your own nervousness, which will make things MUCH more difficult for both of you. Just approach it like any other chore that you have to get done. Oh, and I also recommend you wear a winter parka, tall boots, long pants, and welding gloves (no kidding). Cuts down substantially on the blood loss.

That said, I do recommend leaving your crate open, positioned somewhere your girl likes to hang out, with a nice, inviting towel in it at all times. You can also sprinkle the towel with catnip leaves and toss a few cat treats into the back of the crate every now and then. Chances are that your girl will eventually start going into the crate on her own to enjoy the goodies inside. That may not make it any easier to catch her and put her in the crate, when necessary, but it should help minimize or eliminate her panicking once you get her in the crate. You can also spray the crate with a little Feliway and cover it with a light blanket or towel to help keep her calm while inside it.

As far as her behavior at the vet's is concerned, if she seems overly aggressive, your vet will probably sedate her in the crate before he even takes her out. But that may not be necessary at all. In Phantom's case, once I get him to the vet, he's a perfect gentleman. He's scared, of course, but he's always easy for the vet to handle, and he can't wait to run back into his crate because its familiar smell makes him feel safer in the clinic environment.

Good luck with your girl. These ex-ferals can require some special handling under certain circumstances.

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stray_adopter
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Re: Need proven ways to get once feral cat in box to vet
Reply #2 - Apr 30th, 2012 at 10:00am
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Thank you Tempest.  Someone mentioned a homeopathic calmative to try that is in an alcohol base for humans and a nonalcohol base specifically for pets.  It is called Rescue Remedy and based on Bach's flower remedies.  I am wondering if you or any of the pet discussion members have tried this with any success before I dress myself as the huntress and stalk my sweet big girl again.  Have a great day and thanks again for all your time and consideration.
  
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Re: Need proven ways to get once feral cat in box to vet
Reply #3 - Apr 30th, 2012 at 1:08pm
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I have tried Rescue Remedy on several of my animals but have never noticed any decrease in their anxiety as a result. OTOH, I have read many reports of great success with Rescue Remedy, so I can only assume that it is quite effective for some animals under some circumstances. In any event, it won't do any harm (except to your pocketbook), so it's certainly worth trying.

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somanykitties
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Re: Need proven ways to get once feral cat in box to vet
Reply #4 - May 14th, 2012 at 10:53am
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Hi there stray_adopter.  I have had my issues with getting kitties into the carrier too, especially the "wild" ones.  However I have found it easy to have the carrier upright where the doorway is facing up and the door is open.  I pet the kitty until I can comfortably grab them gently by the scruff of the neck and then while placing them down into the carrier I have my hand on the door and once I let go of them I immediately close the door and secure it.  Then I can gently lower the carrier back onto it's bottom.  Once inside they usually do calm down a little, although I will say that my mom's cat is able to emit sounds I have never heard come out of a cat before  Grin.  Even with feral cats I needed to catch I have been able to do this with pretty good success.  If they will allow you to pet them it's usually easy to get them by the scruff of the neck, once picked up that way they usually just kind of hang there until you put them down.  Of course, I have had a few "escapees" while doing this but for the most part it has worked out.  And like mentioned, once at the vet they do become calm and managable. I wish you success with what ever method you use.  Of note too, as we all know, they sure can sense when you want to catch them and then become elusive.  So I try to busy myself and hope to throw them off.  It helps to have the carrier not right in their view too.   Smiley
  

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Re: Need proven ways to get once feral cat in box to vet
Reply #5 - May 16th, 2012 at 1:30am
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stray_adopter wrote on Apr 30th, 2012 at 10:00am:
Thank you Tempest.  Someone mentioned a homeopathic calmative to try that is in an alcohol base for humans and a nonalcohol base specifically for pets.  It is called Rescue Remedy and based on Bach's flower remedies.  I am wondering if you or any of the pet discussion members have tried this with any success before I dress myself as the huntress and stalk my sweet big girl again.  Have a great day and thanks again for all your time and consideration.


I have already tried Bach's flower remedies without alcohol for my cat and it worked. She was able to calm down and relay. I even thought about trying to make my own remedy out of Bach flowers. Due to this I already contacted a florist because I wanted to know where I can get the flowers. I am totally convinced of Bach's flower remedies because it really helps.
« Last Edit: May 16th, 2012 at 4:31am by Tempest »  
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Re: Need proven ways to get once feral cat in box to vet
Reply #6 - May 16th, 2012 at 4:37am
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I would NOT recommend trying to create your own version of Rescue Remedy! Too many flowers contain toxic chemicals. You could easily poison your cat unless you know exactly which flowers are safe and in what amounts. Are you a chemist? Have you studied the chemical properties of the flowers you intend to use and their effects on feline physiology? Are you aware that felines are hypersensitive to many chemicals?

There simply isn't any reason to take this sort of risk with your cat's life. If you want to use Rescue Remedy, use Rescue Remedy. Don't make some potentially lethal home brew out of a bunch of flowers purchased at a florist (which have probably been doused in toxic chemicals themselves).

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