Thursday, July 9, 2009

Ask Noodles: The Stray

Note from Max: Wow two Ask Noodles columns in one week. This is a special edition of Ask Noodles because the letter seems particularly urgent. We'll return to our regularly scheduled columns next Tuesday. For this week, here's an extra edition of our favorite advice columnist.........

Hi Regal Kitty

My Mum has been feeding a beautiful orange cat for about 4 weeks now and she would like to entice him into the house to stay. How can she do this? She's worried that when she goes on holiday the GingerBinger will starve.

We live in the city, on a busy road but we have a garden at the back of the house.

I think the GingerBinger is a young cat - not sure if he has recently lost his home as he looks well but that could be down to the 3 meals a day he gets from me!

He is very nervous and won't come anywhere near us but is quite happy to play with Rosie (MedusaJ).

We'll be away for 2 weeks, Rosie will be staying at home and my Dad will be feeding her but there is no chance that he will feed Ginger tho - he's not a cat lover.

I'm sure Ginger will be ok but I'd love to entice him into the house.
Please help she's fretting badly about it.

Thank u MedusaJ

Oooh thank *you* MedusaJ! I’m flattered – compliments will get you everywhere with me. Now, to this pretty boy orange tabby stray…

You have a bit of a sticky situation on your hands. A feral or stray cat is not likely to be immediately comfortable indoors with your food humans, and to be honest, the cat may never truly acclimate to the indoors. I’m thinking he may in fact be feral (but getting by on his devastating good looks) due to how nervous he is around food humans.

Adding to the complexity of your issue is the fact that you want to bring this handsome feline into the home to stay while you will be away on vacation (so he can be cared for and fed). I’d be more comfortable with the experiment if the following steps were taken first:

1. GingerBinger was brought to a veterinary clinic (I know it sounds awful even to me) to be checked out for all things ick. Make sure he hasn’t got pests like fleas, worms, ringworm, etc. The vet should also get Ginger checked out for Fiv and Distemper (two contagious diseases, the first being fatal if caught). Just get him a full check-up and blood work to make sure he’s healthy and won’t be a danger to you, my lovely MedusaJ. Good luck getting his poop for a stool sample test!

2. Also have the vet check for a computer chip. Maybe this boy already has a home! My great uncle was taken in TWICE by people in his neighborhood who figured his daily visits indicated he was homeless! (this was long before computer chips)

3. You have at least 1 full week to work with him indoors while you’re home so that you can observe his comfort level, his behavior and keep a watchful eye that you aren’t getting manhandled by him when the Food Humans aren’t looking. This way if things go south… say, he sprays all over your walls, trashes your carpets & couches, stalks the family as prey, pees and poos outside the box… etc., you can save your home and yourself before it gets too out of control.

4. You put up signs outside that you’ve found, and taken in this lovely boy. Just in case his family has been looking for him. It’s possible he became disoriented outside and has been living on the streets for several weeks and this will give his human family a chance to find him if he does have one.

Something to consider: Us cats are crazy resourceful, and one with such handsome stripes as his, likely has a few homes he goes to for snacks. I believe he’ll be ok if you can’t bring him inside – and if you’re really worried, perhaps there’s a neighbor who would be willing to put out some snacks while you’re away (since your pop is not interested).

Good luck! And if you decide to give this a try, keep us posted on his progress!

Warmest purrs,


For more information check out these links:

Taming a Stray:


Keisha said...

I am so glad u have this advice. Helpin the nice cat is very kind of u. :)

MedusaJ said...

Well GingerBinger still hasn't let Mum near but he is coming closer to the house. Mum has resigned herself to the fact that this will be a long job and he may never come in but she continues to try.