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View Full Version : There are wild cats on campus. Is there any way to help them?



BlueLucario
01-06-2009, 09:21 PM
There's this black kitten, who meows like all the time. For several weeks, I've been feeding him and his siblings. I didn't want to see these animals starve, I had to spend almost $20 helping them. I really want to take the kitten home with me, but my mother disapproves of them. Before christmas break I noticed that the kitten had a bald spot on the back of his right ear. I've been trying to call someone about this. I want to take him to the vet, but I'm broke. And I refused to call the Humane Society, because I know they're going to kill the poor thing, and I do not support that.

Today's my first day of class, and I wanted to visit the cat again, but I noticed that he was even worse than before. He wouldn't approach me anymore. His ear was like whitish, and there are spots all over him. I tried calling animal control, no one will pick up. (I had no choice, it was all I could do for him.) I tried calling the campus security, and he explained to me that I'm not allowed to feed the cat. For some reason, I couldn't find it cruel. I have to feed him or he'll die. He's a very sweet cat who'd curl up to me and meows when he's hungry. It's hard not to ignore his cries, and if I let the humane society kill him, I'll never forgive myself. And I can't leave him to die.

Is there anything I can do for him?

If anyone is an expert at cats, I'd like to know if there's an illness involving the balding ear.

Yeshanu
01-06-2009, 09:24 PM
Hugs, Blue.

Are there any rescues around other than the Humane Society? Or simply call up some vets and ask them what you've asked us--they'd know better what to do with a stray in your area.

Remember, vets are vets because they love animals too.

BlueLucario
01-06-2009, 09:26 PM
Hugs, Blue.

Are there any rescues around other than the Humane Society? Or simply call up some vets and ask them what you've asked us--they'd know better what to do with a stray in your area.

Remember, vets are vets because they love animals too.
None. Not all of the shelters here have animal control. :( And I don't have any money for the vet.

Feiss
01-06-2009, 09:30 PM
I hate to tell you this, but I think you're setting yourself up for heartbreak. If you can't give this kitty a home, and he's feral I don't think the Humane Society will take him, especially if he's got some kind of disease. I looked online, and balding spots can be caused by parasites, or fungus (aka ringworm). If it is ringworm, you should try to avoid direct contact, b'c you will get it yourself. I'd look into animal shelters in your area, and see if you can talk to someone there and find out if they'll kill him or keep him. Sorry I can't be of more help :(

Nakhlasmoke
01-06-2009, 09:38 PM
There are sometimes private groups that will come in catch all the feral cats, spay and neuter them and release them back. You can try look and see if there are any local groups like that and tell them about the feral cats.

Also, there are shelters that have a no kill policy.

TerzaRima
01-06-2009, 10:37 PM
And I refused to call the Humane Society, because I know they're going to kill the poor thing, and I do not support that.


Um, I'm confused. How do you know that?

BlueLucario
01-06-2009, 11:01 PM
Um, I'm confused. How do you know that?
They don't have the resources to help the animal, if no one owns that animal, they'll euthanize it.

That's what an animal control officer told me. All they care about is money these days.

dpaterso
01-06-2009, 11:04 PM
Sometimes there's nothing you can do except step back and let Nature run its course. Cats, once they live wild, do not make good house pets. Truthfully, I wouldn't even go near them.

-Derek

BlueLucario
01-06-2009, 11:11 PM
I actually befriended the cat. Which what I wanted from the cat in the first place. It took a month for him to trust me, and let me pet him. (Only when he wants to.)

heyjude
01-06-2009, 11:17 PM
Blue, please get in touch with Alley Cat Allies. www.alleycat.org They will be able to help you, or get you the resources you need. Bless you for wanting to help the poor little guys.

TerzaRima
01-06-2009, 11:19 PM
That's what an animal control officer told me.

I think you may be conflating Animal Control with your local Humane Society, and unless you live in a very small town they are usually not the same thing. Go on Petfinder, type in your zipcode to the search function, and a number of local shelters and rescues will come up.


All they care about is money these days.


I know it's discouraging to see how stray animals are treated, Blue, but I don't think that's fair to most animal control personnel, who are IME typically compassionate (and not well paid) individuals who are doing a thankless job. The money problem comes from your city budget, and animal control is generally one of the first line items to be slashed.

If you feel strongly about this issue, it may help to advocate for animals by joining a local advocacy program or volunteering at a shelter.

dpaterso
01-06-2009, 11:25 PM
I actually befriended the cat. Which what I wanted from the cat in the first place. It took a month for him to trust me, and let me pet him. (Only when he wants to.)
That cat sounds as if it's ill, stop petting it.

What are your choices here? Do you have any? You've fed them for a month -- maybe you've already done all you can do?

If animal organizations can't help -- and who can blame them for not wanting to waste resources helping sick cats who can't be homed? -- then the answer to your "Is there any way to help them?" question would seem to be, "No." Sorry, I don't mean to be cruel.

-Derek

Medievalist
01-06-2009, 11:28 PM
I would be willing to bet that there already is a group on the campus that collects and neuters the cats and feeds them. I've never been on a campus that didn't have one. You need to post a question about it on the campus paper or it's Web site, or the campus discussion forum, if there is one; they're pretty common these days.

BlueLucario
01-06-2009, 11:32 PM
That cat sounds as if it's ill, stop petting it.

What are your choices here? Do you have any? You've fed them for a month -- maybe you've already done all you can do?

If animal organizations can't help -- and who can blame them for not wanting to waste resources helping sick cats who can't be homed? -- then the answer to your "Is there any way to help them?" question would seem to be, "No." Sorry, I don't mean to be cruel.

-Derek
...I tried. I did my best to help it. Admitting it now is really sad.

And medievalist, no. They don't have those kind of groups. I don't think the campus security really care, they just want them out of here. They yell at people for feeding them. I tried calling a dean, who talks to the humane society. There's nothing he could do either.

Kitty Pryde
01-06-2009, 11:37 PM
When you get ringworm from cuddling stray cats, here's what it looks like (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ringworm). And here's how it's treated (http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/tc/ringworm-of-the-skin-topic-overview). I'm not trying to scare you, it's not deadly or anything, but you can get it from sick animals.

veinglory
01-06-2009, 11:42 PM
If you contact a nation 'no kill' group they may be able to find someone local to help. A feral kitten can be rehomed if gentled early enough. The momma might be a candidate for spay and release.

Clair Dickson
01-06-2009, 11:43 PM
Around here, our Humane Society (and similar groups) will try to help animals that have appropriate temperment for adoption. My family has gotten several cats from the Humane Society, two of which were on death's door when we took them home.

Don't think that these cats will necessarily starve to death on a college campus (or any where there are trash bins). Think of all the hamburgers, tacos, and other things thrown away. While some feral cats starve, most live reasonably well (for wild cats). They like to come to you-- or anyone who will feed them-- because it's easier. Just like going to McD's is easier than cooking for oneself.

Some feral cats are adoptable. But they're less likely to be adopted when they're roaming around a college campus (where pets are surely not allowed in the dorms) than if they're with a place that does animal adoptions, like the Humane Society. Also, if the cats are suffering-- which is worse: a long painful death by starvation or quietly going to sleep one last time?

selkn.asrai
01-06-2009, 11:51 PM
...I tried. I did my best to help it. Admitting it now is really sad.

And medievalist, no. They don't have those kind of groups. I don't think the campus security really care, they just want them out of here. They yell at people for feeding them. I tried calling a dean, who talks to the humane society. There's nothing he could do either.

The hair loss is a bad sign; it's true; parasites can be lethal. And without vet intervention, it may be too late. These kittens are likely feral, and in these cases, nature will prevail. You have been kind to feed them.

I just came back from a trip to FL, where I found an abandoned kitten starving, waiting for a family that wasn't coming home in front of an empty condo's door--she was two steps away from death. I fed her twice a day, and after several dozen places telling me, "Sorry, we're full," I found a home for the cat on the last day. When the people refused, they said, "Take her to a vet; not a kill shelter. A vet is more likely to take care, and be kind if the animal is terminally ill." So if you can, gather up the kittens and bring them to a vet. So sometimes, things work out.

You don't have to give up if you think there's a chance for these cats. But if the worse should happen, you have helped and you have cared. And that is an admirable thing.

heyjude
01-07-2009, 03:14 AM
If you contact a nation 'no kill' group they may be able to find someone local to help. A feral kitten can be rehomed if gentled early enough. The momma might be a candidate for spay and release.

As always veinglory is right. One of mine is a former feral. He never looked back. :)

This is why groups like Alley Cat Allies exist.

Appalachian Writer
01-07-2009, 04:05 AM
The odds are that the kitten either is so covered in fleas that he's literally digging his fur out or that he has mange. Although both conditions are usually treatable in pets, feral cats are a very different story. Depending on the age (and sometimes that's difficult to judge as feral cats are usually much smaller than the average pet due to nutrition) a feral cat may not be able to be put up for adoption (what the Humane Society does. Animal Control officers usually put cats down rather than try to find them a home). If the animal has a certain type of mange, even if a pet, it might not be treatable. The best thing to do is to call the Humane Society if one is available. If not, then Animal Control will take care of the situation. As hard as it is to do, sometimes Animal Control is the best alternative to weeks of suffering and an inevitable death from exposure, disease, or a careless driver. You make the decision. (Also whoever advised you to stop touching the animal is absolutely correct! Some diseases are transferable to humans. Fleas, mites, and other parasites (including round worms) are also transferable. Think about that before you reach to touch the cat.)

truelyana
01-07-2009, 05:15 AM
Your doing an excellent job by feeding them as it is. Eventually they will grow, and be at one with the wilderness of their own hearts. Are you happy to let them be?

We have squirrels living in our roof. We had a cherry picker(no idea what it was-i thought it was a person with a cherry on a stick, to come and get squirrels out) come and exterminate them. :( Tough luck, they are still running around pooping everywhere, and making noise.:hooray:(Well not for long anyway, not until the flies come out again) We have had a swarm of big flies buzzing around our office, because they were attracted to the squirrels poopings. They all seem to have shifted for the while, well until the next batch of poop comes out.

ErylRavenwell
01-07-2009, 05:20 AM
I'd suggest you don't feed them. Cats have awesome survival skills. Feeding them may set a bad precedence by pushing them towards dependence.

truelyana
01-07-2009, 05:22 AM
I'd suggest you don't feed them. Cats have awesome survival skills.

Well said! :) Even more reason, to let the cats go altogether.

KTC
01-07-2009, 05:23 AM
I'd suggest you don't feed them. Cats have awesome survival skills.

That was my first thought too. Interfering with them may throw them off course. They're feral...leave them be.

truelyana
01-07-2009, 05:28 AM
That was my first thought too. Interfering with them may throw them off course. They're feral...leave them be.

Yes, otherwise they'll turn into a robo pet just like our dependant older cat. He no longer fends for himself, and brings pigeons home. :( He is so obsessed with cat food, that he has lost himself completetly, as a cat.

selkn.asrai
01-07-2009, 06:40 PM
I'd suggest you don't feed them. Cats have awesome survival skills. Feeding them may set a bad precedence by pushing them towards dependence.


Yeah, the kitten I found would not leave her door, and would not hunt, though there was an abundance of birds and lizards about. She was totally dependent on human interaction. But then, all evidence points to her having been a housecat. And it's possible that her former owners thought she'd be ok for the exact reason you said. And they were wrong.

We have a large feral cat colony next to our apartments, and there's a lady that feeds them; they've also been trapped and fixed. It hasn't hindered their hunting at all. A source of food is a source of food to the surviving cat, be it a carcass or a can of food. Any healthy feral cat I've ever seen will take what it can get, human intervention or no. My parents' cats were never feral, and they hunt as much as they take the food they're given.

BlueLucario
01-07-2009, 08:21 PM
I'd suggest you don't feed them. Cats have awesome survival skills. Feeding them may set a bad precedence by pushing them towards dependence.
Aren't they domestic animals, like dogs? Don't they naturally depend on humans to help them?

I really love that cat. When he meows, he's like a baby crying. I really don't want to want anything bad to happen to him.

Stlight
01-08-2009, 05:21 AM
Cats only know how to hunt if hteir mother taught them and she only knows if her mother taught her. It is possible that someone droppedoff a pregnant housecat at the school hopping someone would take care of her and the kittens.

Have you checked through alley cats for feral rescue in your area? If there they need to be told where to find the cats to help them. They might be able to catch the kittens for adoption. The mother might turn out to be gentle too, once she recovers from being dumped.

Never assume a cat is feral, not in these economic times.

If the first vet you called wouldn't help, call another and another. Keep calling there has to be one decent vet in your area. We have six vets where I live, one won't take late night calls from clients without charging $10 unless pet is dying. The others will do everything possible to help.

As for ringworm, my vet said you are much more likely to catch human ringworm from a human child than the ringworm cats get. He was right. First time I went near a human child - ringworm.

BlueLucario
01-08-2009, 05:54 AM
come to think of it, I had ring worm in the fourth grade. It was not fun to have teachers separate me from the other kids and ban me from touching a board game or a jump rope. i'm not allowed to play with the other children. I didn't even know I had ring worm.

BlueLucario
01-08-2009, 06:05 AM
I can't say if the cat has ring worm. When i got back to school, i noticed a yellowish bald spot on his face. It was pretty small. I can't say mange since he has to be itching a lot and has to be bald pretty much every where. How do I identify ring worm on a cat? I tried google images... Nothing.

ErylRavenwell
01-08-2009, 06:19 AM
Yeah, the kitten I found would not leave her door, and would not hunt, though there was an abundance of birds and lizards about.

A kitten hunting? kittens don't hunt; they feed on their mother's milk.


Aren't they domestic animals, like dogs? Don't they naturally depend on humans to help them?

I really love that cat. When he meows, he's like a baby crying. I really don't want to want anything bad to happen to him.

They are domesticated animals, but their hunting instincts are hard-wired into their genes. A dog is basically a wolf. Here, in Australia, we have a feral dog problem.

There's a campus near where I live, and there, too, there area domestic cats that have turned feral, and they are pretty plump. Again, DON'T FEED WILD ANIMALS. A helpless kitten is another matter.

astonwest
01-08-2009, 07:23 AM
How do I identify ring worm on a cat?
You contact the organizations previously mentioned in this thread, and let them take care of the rest...

heyjude
01-08-2009, 06:02 PM
Cats only know how to hunt if hteir mother taught them and she only knows if her mother taught her. It is possible that someone droppedoff a pregnant housecat at the school hopping someone would take care of her and the kittens.

Never assume a cat is feral, not in these economic times.


Great post!

My first kitten did not have the slightest clue how to fend for himself. I don't know how it happened that he was motherless but when he showed up on my front door he had a whole host of worms, mites, and other fun stuff. I wasn't even sure it was a kitten--and I wasn't especially crazy about cats. Thirteen years later I honestly don't know what I would do without him.

The second, about tough economic times, quoted for truth. Animals are being abandoned in record numbers. It's heartbreaking.

Blue, have you gotten in touch with Alley Cat Allies or someone like them? Someone will help this little one. Wish I were close and could help.

heyjude
01-08-2009, 06:03 PM
You contact the organizations previously mentioned in this thread, and let them take care of the rest...

Yes. Kitty needs a medical exam for a diagnosis, and soon.

BlueLucario
01-13-2009, 02:42 AM
I got in touch with Alley Cat, and hopefully someone would hear me out.

If you want to see how terrible this cat looks, well I uploaded a picture. THe cat I'm talking about is on the left. THe cat on the right is his brother Pinky.

http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa201/romanianditachi/0112091135a1.jpg

Here's another one here.
http://i200.photobucket.com/albums/aa201/romanianditachi/01120911331.jpg

HeronW
01-13-2009, 03:32 AM
I've been feeding street cats here for several years, I've placed a few 6-8 week kittens in good homes, and had a few heartbreaks.

Balding patches in kittens are often from tiny mobile parasites, one of which is ringworm, all of which can be transferred to humans or house pets, are difficult to erradicate and can cause secondary infections, esp. in humans and pets with compromised immune systems.

I've been able to get friendly enough with two females cats, a mother and daughter and was able to catch them and get them both spayed 3 years ago.

Feral kittens over 8 weeks are very wary of humans and can inflict deep bites and scratches.

I buy a 45 lb bag of dry catfood per mo. to feed the outdoor kitties. It takes months for a new cat to trust me, and let me pet them for a little bit. They're not used to long term pets or cuddles and will strike out if they feel threatened or uncomfortable.

I have two cats from the shelter in our 3 room apt. there's not room for any more. They're all good cats and I wish I could find homes for them all.