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Thread: 3 cats from the shelter - entry level cat owner. Tips, advice etc

  1. #1
    Master thieuster's Avatar
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    3 cats from the shelter - entry level cat owner. Tips, advice etc

    We moved to a house in the forest. There are badgers, foxes, (pine) marten and 3 buzzard on our grounds but everybody living next to us and/or across the road, comes up with the advice: get a cat (or two, three). We're not 'cat persons' but we see the advantage of owning cats. So we decided to contact the local rescue shelter for cats, specifically for cats that don't want to come into the house; cats 'on a mission': catching mice!

    Earlier today, a nice lady from the shelter called us, offering us the adoption of three cats: one (app 3 y/o) was found tangled in fish lines and with two hooks in his skin. The other two -siblings- were rescued when walking on the hard shoulder of the motorway. Apparently, all three get along really well, so that's no problem. All are neutered and chipped. Plan is to pick them up on Monday. That gives us today and tomorrow to get all sorts of cat-related items. Knowing my wife, she'll go overboard on this sort of things...

    From what we've learned: it's a good idea to put the cats in a locked room for two weeks, to make sure they get used to the new situation. We have an abandoned 13x4m chicken barn behind the house, where they can stay. That box is ticked.
    But, what's next, after those two weeks? Keeping them in the barn isn't the problem. Ultimately, I want them to live all year long under a carport in 3 separate 'cat houses' like this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZLeiTl9jxiQ (Although I've now found out that a 'back door' is also a good idea: as an escape route). How can I get them to move from the chicken barn to the carport 100m down the path? Why the carport? Well, I hope that the cats will act as a physical obstacle for martens to chew the car's wiring!

    I'm sure there's a lot to tell us, total novices, what the do's and don'ts are!

    Menno

  2. #2
    Keeping them outside in a barn seems a little cruel to be honest. You are effectively making them feral cats.

    Does the cat shelter know this is how you are proposing to keep them? You would struggle to find any cat shelter in the UK who would allow you to adopt cats for this purpose.

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    Master Onelasttime's Avatar
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    So these won't be pet cats?

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    Grand Master Mr Curta's Avatar
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    I think that the resident expert is currently bánned.
    मैत्री

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    Make it known that you want them neutered and if they arrive and haven't been done, they need to do them at their expense.
    we rescued two sisters, both had been done on the paperwork, we found out the first month they had missed doing one on the table!! Apparently it's common, quite a few opened up to be done at same time and one gets sewn up without the works.

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    The barn does seem a little extreme. Buy a couple of litter trays, a sack or two of litter, a sack of quality dry food (ask what they have had at the shelter and get that), some wet food and some feeding bowls. Choose a room in the house where you will start and put the litter trays and bowls in there, away from each other if possible. Bring the cats in, show them the litter trays and food bowls, and leave them get used to the room for a few hours, ideally it will be one with patio doors or similar as this will make an easy transition to outside for them after a week or so. In the meantime let them gradually explore the house if they want to, get to know them and enjoy.

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    Master thieuster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by j0hnbarker View Post
    Keeping them outside in a barn seems a little cruel to be honest. You are effectively making them feral cats.

    Does the cat shelter know this is how you are proposing to keep them? You would struggle to find any cat shelter in the UK who would allow you to adopt cats for this purpose.
    The shelter specifically states that these are feral cats that need a proper place to sleep, food and water. They're cats that don't want to be touched by humans. It's saving these three cats and giving them a purposeful life or leading a life in a shelter where no-one adopts them because you can't keep 'm indoors. What would you do?

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    Quote Originally Posted by thieuster View Post
    The shelter specifically states that these are feral cats that need a proper place to sleep, food and water. They're cats that don't want to be touched by humans. It's saving these three cats and giving them a purposeful life or leading a life in a shelter where no-one adopts them because you can't keep 'm indoors. What would you do?
    Aah, ignore my previous post then. I'm not experienced with feral moggies but now the barn does make sense.

  9. #9
    i feed a few feral cats that come into my garden, generally just put food where you want them to go and most times they will be there waiting the next day.

    .... that said if the sole purpose is just to try and stop something chewing car wiring there has to be a better method.

    *if they really are feral already and you might need to handle them at some point i'd get a big pair of welding gloves, if you manage to catch a feral cat that doesnt want to be handled its gonna shred you.
    Last edited by pugster; 23rd December 2020 at 17:37.

  10. #10
    I think if you keep them within hailing distance of the house you’ll be fine

    I’d deffo have them “done” so no breeding of you’ll be over run

    You’ll be surprised how they may in Ferrell as time goes by

    No harm in putting out meat for them etc - I personally wouldn’t lock them in anywhere - but I’d take advice from the shelter on that one - as they may stray - but plenty of food on tap will ensure they stay close so keep the left overs at hand

    Post up some pics - and good for you - they’ll be foood to see around if they take up a little even better


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by thieuster View Post
    The shelter specifically states that these are feral cats that need a proper place to sleep, food and water. They're cats that don't want to be touched by humans. It's saving these three cats and giving them a purposeful life or leading a life in a shelter where no-one adopts them because you can't keep 'm indoors. What would you do?
    My 20 year+ experience of owning cats tells me that these three will turn up, take one look at your proposed living arrangements, then bugger off to either find somewhere they can mind their own business, or a neighbour who will let them sleep by the fire.

    I stand by the point that no cat shelter here in the UK would let you rehome if your proposition was to keep them in a barn. They’d be looking to find an experienced owner who could care for them indoors as no animal is beyond redemption.

  12. #12
    We got a rescue cat two weeks ago, we don’t know it’s history or how old it is, it is very timid, so far we have treated it like it’s made of glass and let it do pretty much what it likes to settle in, it only goes in two rooms, after a couple of months we plan to start leaving Outside doors open, we have a fair sized garden.

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    Master Lampoc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by j0hnbarker View Post
    I stand by the point that no cat shelter here in the UK would let you rehome if your proposition was to keep them in a barn. They’d be looking to find an experienced owner who could care for them indoors as no animal is beyond redemption.
    I've rehomed a few cats from shelters and the barn/shed thing definitely does happen. Here's a link to my local shelter - near the bottom of the page you can see they have various semi-feral and farm cats for adoption: https://granthamrock.co.uk/homeless-cats-july-2020/

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    Grand Master oldoakknives's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by j0hnbarker View Post
    My 20 year+ experience of owning cats tells me that these three will turn up, take one look at your proposed living arrangements, then bugger off to either find somewhere they can mind their own business, or a neighbour who will let them sleep by the fire.

    I stand by the point that no cat shelter here in the UK would let you rehome if your proposition was to keep them in a barn. They’d be looking to find an experienced owner who could care for them indoors as no animal is beyond redemption.
    This. I don't think they'll stay. Not enough food or comforts.
    “The more I learn about people, the more I like my dog.”

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    If it were to be in a house you'd keep them in 4-6 weeks so they know where home is. A male will have a larger territory and roam more than a female. I guess if they are working cats then they presumably need less food from a human to encourage more hunting?

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Lampoc View Post
    I've rehomed a few cats from shelters and the barn/shed thing definitely does happen. Here's a link to my local shelter - near the bottom of the page you can see they have various semi-feral and farm cats for adoption: https://granthamrock.co.uk/homeless-cats-july-2020/
    Fair play, I stand corrected.

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    Grand Master PickleB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by thieuster View Post
    The shelter specifically states that these are feral cats that need a proper place to sleep, food and water. They're cats that don't want to be touched by humans. It's saving these three cats and giving them a purposeful life or leading a life in a shelter where no-one adopts them because you can't keep 'm indoors. What would you do?
    I cannot think other than you need to introduce them to their 'shelters', ie sleeping boxes, while they're in the barn and hope that you can move the boxes (maybe a week after opening the barn) to where you'd prefer them to stay. Where the comfort goes the cats may follow. I'd also be interested to know how many of the (3?) boxes they choose to use...especially as two of them are siblings.

    My guess would be that they'll live wherever they choose to. You can only temp them with nice accommodation. However, if you're providing food and sustenance they may well stick around the property and do the necessary of deterring other critters. And, who knows, if there's not a better place...warm hideaway under barn, house etc...they may even take up residence in your boxes.

  18. #18
    Craftsman
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    I can think of nothing worse than owning a cat..............Maybe catching Covid19.
    Don't do it.

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    never use dreamies as a reward to get your cat in etc...or they will train you! and make sure they don't see where you hide them....
    anything and everything you own will be shabby and tattered in weeks!
    this will be your view if you get up a nanosecond later than normal. all new things have to pass inspection, and squabbling with the neighbours is inevitable.


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    marchingontogether!



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    Dreamies are like crack for cats !

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    Quote Originally Posted by j0hnbarker View Post
    My 20 year+ experience of owning cats tells me that these three will turn up, take one look at your proposed living arrangements, then bugger off to either find somewhere they can mind their own business, or a neighbour who will let them sleep by the fire.

    I stand by the point that no cat shelter here in the UK would let you rehome if your proposition was to keep them in a barn. They’d be looking to find an experienced owner who could care for them indoors as no animal is beyond redemption.
    Definitely a thing, see Bowie 1 & 2 from the shelter we got our new cat from

    https://crrc.co.uk/adopt-a-pet/adopt-a-cat/

  22. #22
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    If you want them to stay around, then feed them, and make sure they have somewhere dry and warmish to sleep in.
    If you don’t, they will go and find someone else.

    Pete

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    Master PhilipK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve27752 View Post
    I can think of nothing worse than owning a cat
    Dogs have owners. Cats have servants.

  24. #24
    I have had many cats over the years, and if they want to be domesticated they will, if not they will be feral.
    But then you always get the inbetweeners, stalk all day for days on end, but every now and then come back for a bit of raw steak.

    In my next life I'm coming back as a cat, a pampered one, in a warm house with loving owners.

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    Grand Master Andyg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Curta View Post
    I think that the resident expert is currently bánned.
    Oh the shame, because that made me laugh

    Whoever does not know how to hit the nail on the head should be asked not to hit it at all.
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    Master Kirk280's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve27752 View Post
    I can think of nothing worse than owning a cat..............Maybe catching Covid19.
    Don't do it.
    Cats are great. Looking after them gives you a nice feline.

  27. #27
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    At home we have an adopted feral cat who over years became friendly and will now come in the house to eat.

    However the barn is used by a pair of a feral cats obtained by a neighbour from a local rescue. They spend their time sleeping on the hay bales and although our neighbour feeds them we also put out dry food and water. They won’t come within 5 yards despite seeing us daily over a number of years.

    They don’t seem to have much impact on the local rats.

  28. #28
    Grand Master PickleB's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MonkeyBoy View Post
    At home we have an adopted feral cat who over years became friendly and will now come in the house to eat.

    However the barn is used by a pair of a feral cats obtained by a neighbour from a local rescue. They spend their time sleeping on the hay bales and although our neighbour feeds them we also put out dry food and water. They won’t come within 5 yards despite seeing us daily over a number of years.

    They don’t seem to have much impact on the local rats.
    Maybe they're too well fed?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve27752 View Post
    I can think of nothing worse than owning a cat..............Maybe catching Covid19.
    Don't do it.
    We've got a dog. The kids wanted him. I've got used to him & quite like him now. But I'd much rather have a cat. I guess we're either dog people or cat people.

  30. #30
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    Hi, i think a few guys on this post need visit from tac cat!

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    Quote Originally Posted by jimp View Post
    Hi, i think a few guys on this post need visit from tac cat!
    We all love tac cat!

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    Master thieuster's Avatar
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    I've used Christmas Day for the build of three cat shelters à la the ones featured on YT; my wife and youngest have been busy turning the shed into a 'cat palace' with various shelfs, corners to hide, toys and more. A Christmas Day well spent. As my son put it after a day of hard work and cleaning: "...this stable looks better than the one Baby Jesus had 2000 yrs ago!"

    (Building those shelters gave me the excuse of buying a new tool... A Metabo Multitool! I didn't want to spend a morning cutting through good quality plastics with a Stanley knife/box cutter. I should have bought that tool ages ago. Brilliant!)

    Menno

  33. #33
    Master thieuster's Avatar
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    When I was building 3 cat shelters, my wife and youngest were busy turning an old holiday home in our back garden into a Cat Paradise. Hiding spots, high spots to overlook the garden (from behind the windows) etc. And today she went to the shelter and returned with 3 cats (only one person allowed at the shelter - Covid related rules).

    Two sisters and one neutered male cat (not related to the others). The male was totally relaxed and found one of my shelters the best spot in the house. He immidately went inside, curled up and was happy. One sister was very timed and hid herself in the darkest corner. Her sister (missing a part of her ear) went crazy when we opened the travel cage: jumped sky-high, tried to jump through the window, crawled her way up the wall etc. Total panic. Later today, we found her and her sister curled in a corner of the house and when we entered, they rushed to an even darker spot.

    Let's see how this turns out!

    M

  34. #34
    Master Kirk280's Avatar
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    The sisters were feline nervous.

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    Quote Originally Posted by PhilipK View Post
    Dogs have owners. Cats have servants.
    Dogs give you unconditional love and loyalty. Cats give you permission to feed them.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by PhilipK View Post
    Dogs have owners. Cats have servants.

  36. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by thieuster View Post
    When I was building 3 cat shelters, my wife and youngest were busy turning an old holiday home in our back garden into a Cat Paradise. Hiding spots, high spots to overlook the garden (from behind the windows) etc. And today she went to the shelter and returned with 3 cats (only one person allowed at the shelter - Covid related rules).

    Two sisters and one neutered male cat (not related to the others). The male was totally relaxed and found one of my shelters the best spot in the house. He immidately went inside, curled up and was happy. One sister was very timed and hid herself in the darkest corner. Her sister (missing a part of her ear) went crazy when we opened the travel cage: jumped sky-high, tried to jump through the window, crawled her way up the wall etc. Total panic. Later today, we found her and her sister curled in a corner of the house and when we entered, they rushed to an even darker spot.

    Let's see how this turns out!

    M
    Not in the same league but we got a rescue cat three weeks ago and while not feral was found abandoned and living on the streets, she hid under a radiator for four days before coming out so stick with it, they can take quite some time to acclimatise.

    Best of luck with them

  37. #37
    Master Omegary's Avatar
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    18 years ago we got two rescue cats who had been living on the streets. Both hid behind the washing machine for the the first few days and then they hid under the stairs for a week or so. They eventually got used to their new environment with the aid of lots of enticing with treats and playing with bits of string and tin foil balls. One became a very friendly and affectionate cat who unfortunately passed away a couple of years ago. The other is still partly feral and views me as highly suspicious and not to be trusted (probably a good judge of character tbh). Damn thing is still alive too, currently looking very regal in the middle of a king sized bed!

    Good luck Menno and well done for rescuing them.

    Cheers,
    Gary

  38. #38
    Grand Master oldoakknives's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Morgan View Post
    Not in the same league but we got a rescue cat three weeks ago and while not feral was found abandoned and living on the streets, she hid under a radiator for four days before coming out so stick with it, they can take quite some time to acclimatise.

    Best of luck with them
    Quote Originally Posted by Omegary View Post
    18 years ago we got two rescue cats who had been living on the streets. Both hid behind the washing machine for the the first few days and then they hid under the stairs for a week or so. They eventually got used to their new environment with the aid of lots of enticing with treats and playing with bits of string and tin foil balls. One became a very friendly and affectionate cat who unfortunately passed away a couple of years ago. The other is still partly feral and views me as highly suspicious and not to be trusted (probably a good judge of character tbh). Damn thing is still alive too, currently looking very regal in the middle of a king sized bed!

    Good luck Menno and well done for rescuing them.

    Cheers,
    Gary
    Interesting experiences. I think what we sometimes forget is that animals have no idea of our intentions, and don't understand human speak. Having had to survive alone and fend for themselves they have no idea whether they are captives or pets and for what reason. The fact they can get by and fit in at all is pretty amazing.
    “The more I learn about people, the more I like my dog.”

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimp View Post
    Hi, i think a few guys on this post need visit from tac cat!
    Ginger pussies are my favourite

    This one is trying to help himself to a tasty snack

    Last edited by trident-7; 30th December 2020 at 17:56. Reason: photo added

  40. #40
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    We've got this little chap joining us next week. Our moggy passed away in the summer, it's been too long without hearing a purr.

  41. #41
    Quote Originally Posted by Ruggertech View Post
    We've got this little chap joining us next week. Our moggy passed away in the summer, it's been too long without hearing a purr.




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  42. #42
    Master thieuster's Avatar
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    Three days in and life's a rollercoaster. One cat wasn't chipped (now I know why...) and since that's mandatory here in Holland, we needed to go to the vet with him. I had to catch that cat. So, I put on welding gloves and safety goggles (no kidding). Long story short: the cat's teeth sank into my hand, all the way through the thick leather of the glove! A very firm bite! The cat ended up on the vet's table for a chip and I ended up at the local GP's clinic for a tetanus injection and for 7 days anti-biotic pills...

    I can't blame the cat: he was simply afraid and defended himself!

    Sounds weird that I'm rather happy with the tetanus shot. I'm currently rebuilding a former horse stable. The dirt and grime I remove... one scratch would have sent me to the GP's as well!

    M.

  43. #43
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    As I read that text from the shelter it says aboutr feral/farm cats: "These cats require homes where they can live outside if they choose to. Best suited to farms & stables etc. They may become tamer with time but need shelter. They will likely catch vermin but MUST still be fed daily."

    The important thing is 'if they choose to'. That is something different than forcing them to stay outside and never letting them in. It means 'cat flap' so they can go out when they want to. I too have serious doubts about putting them in a barn far from your house from day one. Indeed they will just vanish as soon as they have found another home where they can be cozier.

    A cat that has lived in difficult conditions at a farm or feral can become a friend to humans who offer it a home, a warm place to sleep (a cardboard box with an old towel in it will do, after a while the cat will be on the couch anyway, and on your lap) and good food. Plus some physical contact when the cat decides the time has come for that. The cat has to decide, not you.

    They are crazy creatures, never boring. Befriending them usually just takes time and patience. If you happen to get the rare one that is just very unsocial you can leave it be, with free access to some dry place with daily meals, and it will catch those rodents. But it's more likely that they will become part of your family.

  44. #44
    Grand Master oldoakknives's Avatar
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    So, what happened to the cats? No news for a while.
    “The more I learn about people, the more I like my dog.”

  45. #45
    Master thieuster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by oldoakknives View Post
    So, what happened to the cats? No news for a while.

    We had them in the barn for 4.5 weeks (nearly 5). During that time we catched them twice for a trip to the vet. Welding gloves were mandatory... After all those weeks, we made a cat hatch in one of the door and that was their ticket for freedom. But they return to the barn. I see the results when they've finished their cat food bowl, I see the result in the cat litter box. And sometimes we see them strolling in the forest around the house. There's always at least 50m between the cats and us. During the cold period, we made sure that they had proper shelter inside the barn. I'd made shelters much like the ones on the internet (Canadian-style and insulated). I cannot find any traces telling us that they'd stayed in that shelter during that period. We're under the impression that their hunting area is huge!

    My wife insisted on having a cat in the house. So #4 is on its way. A Maine Coon X Norwegian Forest Cat.

  46. #46
    Craftsman
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    Quote Originally Posted by thieuster View Post
    A Maine Coon X Norwegian Forest Cat.
    Maine Coons are lovely! I’ve had a few, you need to keep them brushed and fed on big biscuits to keep there jaws working, we used royal canin and were buying 2 big bags at a time!! P5050113.JPG


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  47. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by aa388 View Post
    Maine Coons are lovely! I’ve had a few, you need to keep them brushed and fed on big biscuits to keep there jaws working, we used royal canin and were buying 2 big bags at a time!! P5050113.JPG


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    Please tell me (us) more about the MC's jaws. That's a new one for me!

    Menno

  48. #48
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    They’ve got a big bite and the run of the mill cat food isn’t in big enough chunks for them to bite and crunch on properly. They do well cleaning themselves, just keep an eye on any little knots or matting in the top inside of there legs and they should be fine. Lovely affectionate and great to snuggle up with in winter. This is his half brother. Image1614094736.049841.jpg


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  49. #49
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    I’d love an MC but it will eat our ginger tom no doubt, he’s an utter wuss, but thinks he hard as nails.

    We got him an MC sized cat tree & he looks like a kitten curled up in it as there is so much space!


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  50. #50
    Grand Master oldoakknives's Avatar
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    Sep 2012
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    Quote Originally Posted by thieuster View Post
    We had them in the barn for 4.5 weeks (nearly 5). During that time we catched them twice for a trip to the vet. Welding gloves were mandatory... After all those weeks, we made a cat hatch in one of the door and that was their ticket for freedom. But they return to the barn. I see the results when they've finished their cat food bowl, I see the result in the cat litter box. And sometimes we see them strolling in the forest around the house. There's always at least 50m between the cats and us. During the cold period, we made sure that they had proper shelter inside the barn. I'd made shelters much like the ones on the internet (Canadian-style and insulated). I cannot find any traces telling us that they'd stayed in that shelter during that period. We're under the impression that their hunting area is huge!

    My wife insisted on having a cat in the house. So #4 is on its way. A Maine Coon X Norwegian Forest Cat.
    So basically they left?
    “The more I learn about people, the more I like my dog.”

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