Some cats, especially those that are displaced from their outdoor homes, prefer a free roaming life and have learned necessary survival skills from their moms to thrive in an outdoor environment. Most of these cats have lived the colony life, have formed special bonds with colony mates, and need to be adopted in pairs or more. The majority will not seek attention from their new families and may be stay hidden when humans are about.
Some families who have adopted our colony cats have devoted time to developing a relationship with the cats while they were in their 4-6 week confinement time of acclamation to their new home. They have had success in reducing the cats’ fearfulness of them. This is not always possible, but many cats are receptive to kindness toward them.
The cats we adopt out are spayed or neutered, tested for FeLV/FIV, micro-chipped, vaccinated (FVRCP and rabies), and eartipped.
The relocation of cats is very stressful for the cats and it will take a good amount of time for them to get used to their new location and feel safe around the new people taking care of them.
The cats must be confined to a small room or kennel for 4-6 weeks with food, water, litter box(s) and hiding places (see pictures below). The acclamation time is required in order for the cats to understand that this is their new home.
Many times after the cats are released from their confinement time, the new family rarely sees them. The cats stay hidden as they check out their new home and assess it for danger. Always continue to put food out for the cats even when you do not see them. Feed them and provide shelters and hiding places in the building where you want them to spend the most time.
What you provide during confinement:
- A secure, dry barn or building where the cats are sheltered from extreme weather and protected from other dangers
- The commitment to keep the cats confined to a kennel for 4-6 weeks to acclimate them to their new environment before release
- A litter box that is cleaned daily
- A constant supply of food and fresh water. For the first 6 weeks you will provide the cats canned food daily
- A space that is low stress and with little activity
- Time making verbal contact with the cats so that they become familiar with you
What LFFAC will provide:
- A cat that is spayed or neutered, vaccinated (FVRCP & rabies), FeLV/FIV tested, and micro-chipped
- Loan of a wire kennel, ( 4 ft. long x 4 ft. wide x 3 ft. high ) to use in your building for the cats to become acclimated to your location for the 4-6 weeks needed
- Shelters and litter boxes to put inside the enclosure
Why do the cats have to be confined for up to a month?
Cats need to be confined initially in their new home for 4-6 weeks in order to familiarize the cats with their new environment. This gives them time to calm down and become familiar with the sights, sounds and smells of their new surroundings. The cats are used to a free-roaming lifestyle and if they are simply released into an open building, they are likely to become frightened and disoriented not recognizing it as their home. They will try to return to their previous home.
This short confinement period is a very necessary part of the relocation of cats. Not confining the cats and having them run off could mean a far worse fate for the cats. During the first day or two of confinement, the cats may struggle to find a way out. Most cats settle down in the kennel after a day or two when they realize that they are safe.
How are the cats confined?
LFFAC will loan you a 4’L x 4’W x 3’H exercise pen kennel with a cover if needed. A small crate or box that will be placed inside the kennel enclosure. This provides a hiding place for the cats. Items that are loaned to you will need to be returned to LFFAC at the end of the confinement period and after the cats are released.
The cats need a litter box that is cleaned daily, dry food and fresh water at all times, and canned food every day. It is recommended that a portion of the kennel be covered with a sheet or tarp. This will allow the cats to feel more protected and hidden.
In winter, the small crate or box should be bedded with a blanket or straw. Additionally, you may wish to place straw around the enclosure to help maintain warmth for the confined cats. During spells of freezing weather, check on the cats to ensure they are doing well & that their water is not frozen. In summer, proper ventilation is vital to prevent overheating.
What happens after the confinement period?
It is best to close all doors and windows in the barn or building, open the kennel door in the evening, then leave. The cats will want to explore their new surroundings all night without any people around. By morning they will have found good hiding places, although they may prefer the security of their crate. You can ease the transition by continuing to place their food and water near the kennel for a few days. You will need to continue providing daily food and water after the kennel is removed. Cats are territorial creatures. They will usually maintain a home base once their scent has been established, a continuous food source is provided and they feel safe.
Why do I have to keep feeding the cats after their release?
These cats have lived outdoors their entire lives and most are instinctive hunters; however, they may not be able to find enough to eat to stay healthy. They must be fed daily.
If you are interested in adopting any cats, please email Tonni at email@example.com or call 720-600-2578.