Pet Rescue/Adoption/outdoor cats

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Question
Hello and God bless you for what you do for the animals. To make a very long and complicate story as short as possiable, a neighbor moved and left behind 3 brothers.He told us he was leaving them, we told him we were taking care of my grandmother who at the time was bedridden with alzhimers disease and taking on these cats would be very hard for us, he could care less and left.  We stared feeding them, we always planned on taking them to the vet to get them checked out and them bringing them inside. Anyway, one stopped eating and to make another long story short he had a gallbladder infection that spread to his liver, you can only imange how much the vet charged us, my mom put it on her charge card and by God's grace he survied. His two brothers are still outside, he is now indoors,he tested negative for aids and leukemia, we want to bring his two brothers in but thier is a coulple of problems with that, a cat we feed showed up with a massive wound on his neck, we tried to catch him,even bought a trap, be he has not come by anymore. The two brothers have ate after him, so did out little cat with liver failure, but that was before he got this big wound. Our plan is to lock the two brothers in our florida room and take their stool to the vet to  check for worms, and them bring them in, but these cats have been outside all their lives, I am worried if we lock them in they will get stress out and get sick if they don't eat because of fear from being locked in, my mom is on a fixed income and already has a huge credit card bill from the cat with live failure and from another rescue we did when a male cat got blocked, my point is we can't afford and more huge vet bills if these two cat get sick, if we leave them out they could get sick but I am afraid they could get sick if we lock them in. I guess my question is can a cat who has been outside their whole lives be happy locked inside, we had to bring in their brother because he was sick and to tell you the truth I don't think he liked the outdoors but I can tell his two brother do. Sorry if this was a long story but me and my mom are very stressed out about all this and any advise whould be gettly appericated.
Thanks

Answer
---  I'm sorry for the delay in getting back to you.   Yes, a many years 'outdoor' cat CAN get used to being indoor only and often end up happier

The most common statement we hear about why people continue to let their cats out is “they were born to be free”.  We’ve heard some very blunt professionals ask, “then why do you have them?”.  We’d rather remind the best intentioned owners that a natural environment for a wild cat (which should only be lions, tigers and their immediate relatives) does not include cars, mean-spirited people, dogs, anti-freeze and other poisons, threats or two and four legged predators.  Also, catching rodents and lizards, toads and whatever - may be asking for major health problems, not just with the cat, but with diseases that could be spread to the humans in the house.

Disease such as Feline Leukemia and Feline AIDS wasn’t nearly as rampant (or even in existence).

It was a different world when cats were born to be wild.

These days, if someone is going to own a cat, they must commit to being responsible companions.  Neutering/spaying is still important. It helps prevent quite a few diseases and disorders (including cancer) and studies in veterinary universities are repeatedly showing that the earlier they are done, the better their lifelong prospects.


As a cat rescue organization our vet network regularly performs the surgery with cats over 2 lbs; however, check with your local vet or clinic first (if a spay/neuter is necessary).

Indoor activities that provide endless amusement for felines include sitting in front of a window that overlooks anything going on outside. Watching traffic or birds in a bird feeder, squirrels in a bird feeder too, people walking by or just the wind blowing a leaf and the sun moving across the sky - can be fascinating to a cat.

A couple of those little balls with bells are usually big hits, but so is a sock or thick rubber band (make sure your kitty isn’t a rubber band eater - this wouldn’t be good).  For exercise, fill an old sock with a handful of dry beans (like kidney beans) or even rice - and sprinkle in some catnip. Then, knot up the end, tie a piece of twine securely around that knot and hang it from a door handle or just toss it on the floor.  
Provide a proper scratching surface by just stapling a sample piece of carpet to a wall, a block of wood or post.  Some people designate an old chair in a spare room for their cat’s scratching pleasure.  

If kitty begins to inappropriately scratch something, just quickly, quietly and gently pick him up, carry him to the appropriate place and put his two paws on it like he would hold them to scratch.  Don’t worry that he might not get it at first, he will. Eventually.  Be persistent.

Ohio State University offers this  http://vet.osu.edu/indoorcat  and

http://home.hiwaay.net/~keiper/indoors.htm

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Reverend S. Abbott

Expertise

I am the owner of 4AnimalCare.org, a rescue, rehab and behavior modification network with volunteers across the country ready to help contribute time, effort and knowledge for animal welfare. We have re-homed dogs, countless cats and are growing our activities in exotic bird care. I’d like to provide the answers to your questions and concerns about how to recognize animals in need, what you can do in your area and contribute to supporting you through the initial adjustment time after adopting a previously neglected animal. If I don’t have the answers, I’ll do whatever I can to find someone who does!

Experience

Endangered/Protected species caretaker working with state veterinarians more than 25 years. Exotic bird care, macaws a specialty, working with breeders, researchers and veterinarians (ongoing) Cats (40 years), rodents and marsupials

Publications
United Media Syndicate (weekly column); United Press International/Associated Press (daily); Bird Talk Magazine; various others

Education/Credentials
Certified Avian Specialist; Certified Opossum Expert; State Licensed Animal Rescue & Consults

Awards and Honors
Listed in 3 Who's Who publications for outstanding accomplishment in field

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