Aggressive Cat Trying to Get Into My House 24/7
August 9, 2007 3:43 PM   Subscribe

Just moved into a house. Previous owner apparently fed, and let into the house, a neighborhoood feral cat. The cat mews all night outside, trying to get in.

Last night, while I was out, it busted through a screen, went through an open window, and created mayhem in my house. Defecated all over everything, got into my food, and, as a bonus, left dander everywhere...and I'm deathly allergic to cats. I've been in a state of serious asthma all day.

Today I left my car window open 1/4 way last night, and it got into the car, devoured a candy on the dashboard, and danderized the interior. I have nowhere to go at this point where I can breathe. This is really really not good.

When I work at night in my office on the second floor, he climbs up the roof and stares at me through the window, mewing loudly.

I must admit to murderous thoughts, but would like to find a nonviolent solution. I'm in a small town with no animal control office. Research indicates that valium is the only drug that assuredly tranquilizes a cat (other drugs such as acepromezine may make them more aggressive rather than sedate). I understand that cats can detect drugs less skillfully when they're embedded in cream cheese. So....I'm thinking of getting my hands on some valium, dosing cream cheese with it, feeding it to the cat, donning plastic gloves, putting it in a box in my trunk, and driving it 10 miles and letting it out. I realize this won't make for a happy cat, but it's more humane than killing it. And I just can't live with this aggressive asthma-inducing machine constantly angling to enter my living space. I know there are cat lovers out there, but hopefully some of you are human lovers as well, and if you could hear me gasping for breath, you'd hopefully take sympathy on my situation.

Are there other solutions? I don't love this one, I must confess.
posted by jimmyjimjim to Home & Garden (62 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
dude, squirt it in the face with a water bottle or hose whenever it's around and it'll learn real quick. no need to get all taxi driver on the kitty, although i certainly sympathize with the hell it is putting you through.

There's also that cat-b-gone stuff, which is cheaper than valium, unless you work in a pharmacy.
posted by luriete at 3:45 PM on August 9, 2007 [2 favorites]

I have an outdoor fish pond at home and about a year ago, I had a stray cat eating all my poor goldfish. A friend told me to crush up mothballs and put it around the fish pond (cats apparently don't like the smell) to keep them away. My fish have been swimming without fear ever since. So perhaps do the same, but maybe put it on your window sills, etc.?
posted by blueorchids at 3:48 PM on August 9, 2007

If you're willing to go to this level of effort, go a little further, contact a cat rescue nearby, get some traps and turn over animal+ traps to the rescue...
posted by iamabot at 3:51 PM on August 9, 2007 [3 favorites]

Call the SPCA or animal control, they may be able to come out and set up a cage to catch the cat overnight. Whatever happens, the cat needs to end up in a shelter where they can evaluate it and hopefully put it up for adoption.
posted by Sufi at 3:51 PM on August 9, 2007 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Luriete, I've been doing various things to convince the cat that this is not a friendly place. They aren't working. Spraying it in the face may stop the mewing, but won't stop the attempts to get in.

blueorchids, I have a lot of windows, and would rather not create an overall environmental stench of mothballs. Also, I live in fear of leaving the door open for 30 could dash through. Same for furniture left on porch, cat will claim it instantly. Mothballs won't help for either. Any avenue, any opening, is instantly exploited. Not a good lifestyle.

As for my hysteria level, I should point out that I have skunks routinely passing by, and wasps in my kitchen with stingers measuring multiple inches. Neither bothers me much. I do, however, really like to breathe. So this is a real problem.
posted by jimmyjimjim at 3:53 PM on August 9, 2007

Response by poster: There are a number of neighborhood cats, plus skunks and squirrels, none of which bug me in the least (they're not scheming 24/7 to get into my living space). So traps are likely not an answer.
posted by jimmyjimjim at 3:54 PM on August 9, 2007

Driving a cat away in your car is not going to make the slightest bit of difference. It will likely be back on your doorstep the next morning.

Spray it with water, leave orange peel and other acidic chopped fruit around the garden and if the cat is trying to force doors or is scrabbling on them stick double sided sticky tape on the area the cat is touching - it is a very effective deterrent because they hate the sensation of having their paws stuck, even momentarily.
posted by fire&wings at 3:58 PM on August 9, 2007

I had this problem once - I set up the door to open inwards, but to close afterwards. Then I cornered the beast on the kitchen stairs (a tale for another day), jammed a milk crate over it, and then ziptied another milk crate to that one to create a makeshift cage.

It was a mad cat. I took it to the animal shelter and waved bye bye. Feral cats are not good neighbors.
posted by Aquaman at 4:00 PM on August 9, 2007

Not a "solution," but are you sure it's feral, and has not been abandoned by the person that lived there before you? Perhaps it really considers your place its legitimate home. I feel for you on this, but even taking him 10 miles away may be just a short reprieve before he finds his way back. (Ok, great, now I have that "And the cat came back, the very next day" song in my head. Thanks, ZOOM!)
posted by thebrokedown at 4:00 PM on August 9, 2007 [1 favorite]

What a horrible situation! I don't like the idea of you touching this cat or even putting it in your trunk if you have such a severe allergy.

Do you have a friend who can help you? If you do:
--they drive over in their car
--you have a cage/crate ready for the cat
--your friend lures the cat into the cage (not sure how people do this, I'm sure the internets could help)
--your friend drives the cat (and you) to the nearest shelter, where the cat will not be able to escape and come get you again
--if your friend is really nice, they help you vacuum/dust away the cat dander remaining in your house

Good luck. Please let us know what you end up doing.
posted by tk at 4:04 PM on August 9, 2007

Look, you're clearly willing to go to some extreme measures to get rid of the cat. Great. How about something simpler. Follow the original suggestions, get a trap or two, trap the cat, turn the cat over to the SPCA or a rescue organization.

Any of the other crap you've tried or are thinking of trying is unlikely to work and will either cause you or the cat injury.

You've not owned cats, nothing you do is going to stop a determined cat from getting where it believes it belongs. Nothing. Accept and embrace this, the cat wants in. It's not going to stop.

Either adopt the critter for your own or get it to an organization that will insure it has a good home.
posted by iamabot at 4:07 PM on August 9, 2007 [3 favorites]

The OP lives in a town too small to have animal control, so SPCA might be quite far away as well.
posted by dcjd at 4:22 PM on August 9, 2007

Easy. Trap the cat in a crate and bring it to the nearest decent-sized city's animal shelter. I've done this with 3 shelters at 3 different places we lived with wild dogs/cats that showed up on our rural property. The thing is nobody checks where you live; if anything they'll ask where it was found and you can just make up something. It's not very honest, but it's far better than what most people out in the sticks tend to recommend (i.e. shooting it).

The alternative, if it's truly feral, is to crate it and move it elsewhere. I like cats, but this is a feral one. It's not really your responsibility unless you want that, and it will do fine on its own.
posted by zek at 4:42 PM on August 9, 2007

Driving a cat away in your car is not going to make the slightest bit of difference. It will likely be back on your doorstep the next morning.

I call BS. The cat will not come back if it's 10 miles away, regardless of what those Readers Digest stories say.
posted by zek at 4:44 PM on August 9, 2007

These guys are interesting:

They seem to be mostly for people driven by an intense love of cats who want to become the Jane Goodall for a neighborhood cat colony, but they have a whole section on trapping that might be useful.

Trapping and handing off to a shelter, even if it's a trek, is the best method. It gets rid of the cat for good, it's the approved, legal route, and it's the method that involves the smallest potential for cat-on-allergic-person mayhem. If you drive it off and release it somewhere it could come back. Plus you have to pick it up and put it in the car. Plus it's clearly starving, or it wouldn't break into a car just to eat a candy, and you don't want to drive it off somewhere to starve to death. If it O.D.s, then you have to deal with its ball-of-dander, guilt-inducing corpse.

Get a generous and game friend who's not allergic to drive over some weekend. Put the trap in the friend's car and let the cat break in, where of course it will find nothing to eat but the bait in the trap. (Decent, law-abiding neighborhood animals won't get caught because they're not a bunch of carjackers.) When the cat is nabbed, the friend drives it to the faraway animal shelter and hands it over and comes back, where you shower him/her with praise and snacks. I can't find it now, but somebody described a really innovative cream cheese snack that sounded just prime. I know someone who'd be willing to drive several feral animals for several hundred miles for that kind of nosh.
posted by Don Pepino at 5:06 PM on August 9, 2007 [1 favorite]

Borrow a dog for a couple of days?
posted by MCTDavid at 5:26 PM on August 9, 2007

You don't even need a trap, next time it mews at you just pick it up and (swiftly!) stuff it into a box. Then take it to the pound.
posted by fshgrl at 5:29 PM on August 9, 2007

I'd skip the 'Throw a crate over cat' solutions - If you're that allergic, I doubt scratches would bring you any joy.

Havahart is a good company for unattended capture traps. If you're so far out in the boonies that there's no Animal Control (note: There's no location in your profile, or I could help more.), you might have access to a farm supply store which sells or loans them.
posted by Orb2069 at 5:47 PM on August 9, 2007

I read this in one of the other cat threads today (or yesterday.) Buy some Tiger/Large Cat poo. Yup. The feral cat will smell the larger animal and scurry for the hills.
posted by filmgeek at 6:35 PM on August 9, 2007

Response by poster: I need to learn to use ask.metafilter better. I keep forgetting that caveats in follow-ups never get read. You gotta put them in the OP.

Again: I can't use a trap, because there is a huge amount of animal life here, and I don't want to trap other animals. The neighbors would likely be peeved if their pets got trapped, and the local skunks would likely waft their displeasure. If I want to trap this one specific cat, I think I need to go the route of offering dosed-up food. No freakin' way I'm going to try to box up this critter while it's wide awake. That's insanity, especially given my allergy.

As for animal shelters, there are none around here. There may be some far away, but I'm not willing to drive, or ask others to drive, several hours to accomplish this. I'm working hard enough as-is. And I don't believe a cat dropped 10,20,30 miles away would find its way back, and I doubt a feral cat would have huge problems surviving in a new nabe. And I can adjust valium dose to minimize chance of O.D.

So so far I haven't heard anything that beats my original plan...which I, again, don't love. Any creative stragglers out there?
posted by jimmyjimjim at 6:35 PM on August 9, 2007

You can't just plop a cat down anywhere and expect it to live. Cats are territorial, they have regular places they look for food. There could be dogs who roam in the area where you drop it off. It could be near a highway.

What makes you think "dosing" a cat won't cause it to go fall asleep in the middle of a road?

Be responsible.

As Don Pepino pointed out, your cat is a carjacker The other critters haven't done that. Trap the cat in your car. Bite the bullet and drive it to a shelter or have a friend do it.

You have gone through all the trouble of posting this, planning how to drug the cat, etc. why haven't you checked out where the nearest shelter is? Abandoning the cat in the woods isn't the right thing to do.
posted by turbojav at 6:54 PM on August 9, 2007 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Nearby shelters are full. Their suggestion is that I feed and shelter the animal and to pay a small charge to have it neutered.

If I didn't want to "be responsible" I'd pour the thing a tasty bowl of antifreeze.

And maybe you missed this: the cat's dander makes me STOP BREATHING. I do NOT want this thing in my car compartment for any length of time. I'm just not THAT responsible. If I was THAT responsible, I'd spend my time castigating posters on ask.metafilter. Me? I'm not so special.

posted by jimmyjimjim at 7:04 PM on August 9, 2007

Do you have neighbors who would want to follow the shelter's directions and adopt it? That would be the best choice, of course, but I get the distinct impression that the answer is no.

One thing you might consider is wolf/dog urine, which might well keep it away. I think you can buy bottled wolf urine (or something similar) at livestock/feed stores.

Alternatively, at any hardware store, you ought to be able to buy an inexpensive respirator/dust mask that will let your survive the capture process. I think your best bet might be to put a trap just inside your front door and leave it open for 5 minutes. Most other animals won't come in, but if this cat is as aggressive as you think, he certainly will. I think the drugging it approach might not work terribly well. Of course, if you have Valium on hand, the worst you have to fear is some cat blood on your hands, and let's face it- feral cats are, to be frank, not a rarefied commodity.

If I were you, I'd trap it (while wearing a respirator), d drive it the 10+ miles, maybe leave some food with it, and try and put it someplace that will seem attractive to a feral cat.

If it does somehow come back, don't do the antifreeze outdoors; you don't want to kill another animal (neighbor's pet, skunk, etc).
posted by JMOZ at 7:24 PM on August 9, 2007

Your dosed up food plan is just as likely or more likely to affect neighbor's pets as a humane trap, and possibly kill them. Set up a trap somewhere high (like the roof outside your office window?)
posted by BrotherCaine at 7:30 PM on August 9, 2007

First, let me say that you can totally solve this problem, but repelling the cat will not work.

If the cat is willing to wander into the house, you have a stray rather than a feral cat on your hands. Feral cats are not socialized to humans and will not approach them.

turbojav is right about cats being territorial and dropping him off far away being a recipe for further suffering that will just happen to be out of your sight. The cat has a home now; it just happens to be an outdoor home, and unfortunately, it happens to be a home that is no longer a good long-term place for him. He was getting food from where you are, so he's looking to you for food.

I'm sorry the person before you left you with this problem, and I appreciate that you're really, really allergic to him. Here's what I'd suggest:

You don't have to solve this problem all at once. Cat repellents are not going to work. He has all day and night to try to get to the food he's looking for.

First, the way to stop him from coming in to your house and your car right now is to feed him - outside. This might sound counterintuitive, as it'll cause him to hang around (since you'd really just like him to go away, I'm sure), but feeding him will keep him from trying to get in the house or your car, where you really need him not to be for your own well-being.

Second, a shelter is probably not the best place for him anyway if he's not housebroken. At a kill shelter he'll just be euthanized, and at a no-kill shelter, he'll spend a long time taking up a space that could be occupied by a more easily adoptable cat.

Since the nearest shelters are full anyway and you say you're in a small town, perhaps your area is rural or semi-rural. While you're feeding him, start looking for someone who can give him a new outside home - perhaps a farm where he can be a barn cat. Lots of people keep barn cats. Call friends, neighbors, vets, pet stores, feed or farm equipment stores, local agricultural organizations. Make some connections. Take some flattering pictures of him and email or share them around to show how cute he is. Let everybody you can know he's looking for a new home, and ask them to also tell people and let you know what responses they get.

In the meantime, look for a sympathetic friend who can help with the capture and transport to the vet and to his eventual new home.

If you can at all manage it, pay for the little guy to be neutered and vaccinated. Call around to see if any of the local vets give low-cost deals on neutering strays or ferals. Some do. Take the long view on this: It will prevent more people from having to face the unenviable situation you're currently in. On vet day, have your faithful friend get him there and bring him back.

If he's tame enough to pick up, borrow a carrier (have a friend pick it up and store it) or buy an inexpensive one. If he's not tame enough, call around to vets' offices and ask about borrowing a trap. Local vets will not necessarily have traps, but they will know who in your community does, especially in a small community. Once he's trapped, you (your friend) can transport him to the vet right in the trap.

The person who has the traps, if a cat person, may be a great source of help in the trapping process. If not, consult the resource page of Alley Cat Allies. They have much information on feeding, trapping and rehoming cats, as well as a list of feral cat organizations by state, which could be another helpful resource for you. They even have a handy Barn Cat Flyer (PDF file). While they focus on ferals, much of it is applicable to strays in the situation you're dealing with, too.

When he's ready to be re-homed somewhere more appropriate, call on the faithful friend again to do the trapping (if necessary) and transport.

I have two domesticated former ferals (their mother, a stray who was sheltering them in a storm drain in the dead of winter when I found them ten years ago, passed away this spring) and am currently fostering one that wandered up to our door recently, full-grown, half-starved and unneutered. Many others have made their way through my life, with stories much like the one you find yourself in.

I know he's bothering you, but he's only doing so because he's helpless. He's lost his reliable source of food and he's desperate to eat. For now, get a bag of kibble, a plastic tub for food and another for water. You can take care of this in a humane way, and trust me, you'll feel like a better person by helping this little guy find a good resolution.
posted by jocelmeow at 8:08 PM on August 9, 2007 [8 favorites]

I don't know if you're special but you're darn right I'm castigating you. I've had cats who peed all over my apartment, so I actually do sympathize, I just don't think it's OK to dump a cat in the wilderness just because it's more convenient. What if you had a pet that got lost, lost it's collar, and someone found it and did that?
posted by turbojav at 8:12 PM on August 9, 2007

Somehow, I doubt that this cat is truly feral because feral cats are usually scared of people. Perhaps it was the previous owner's indoor pet and he/she simply abandoned him, which is really sad. I am sorry that the previous owner left you with this problem.

If you DO live in a rural area, there may be locals who would appreciate a barn/farm cat. My grandparents always had barn cats and they appreciated the help with the mice. You could place an ad in the paper seeking such a home for the cat with the requirement that they be able to capture the cat. My grandparents always fed the barn cats dry cat food and milk, and vaccinated them, so life as a barn cat is not necessarily bad.

If that's not an option, and calling a shelter is not an option, I think that ending it's life in a humane manner would be less cruel than dumping it off in a strange environment (and possibly creating a cat problem for someone else in the process). Do you have vets in your area? Rural areas are actually more likely to have vets that do housecalls -- Maybe you could ask the vet to handle trapping and euthanasia. It won't be free, of course, but you could just consider it part of the cost of making your new house yours.
posted by Ostara at 8:23 PM on August 9, 2007

Sorry for posting again, but I just ran across your worry about trapping other animals. That can easily be avoided by withdrawing food the day before you want to trap the cat, and by placing the trap in the cat's normal orbit of activity.

You may need to monitor the trap for an hour or two, but having done so plenty of times, it's really not hard to trap a cat, and it doesn't take long at all if the animal is hungry and it's a time when the animal is active (dawn and dusk are prime cat time).

Actually, it's not even terribly hard to trap multiple cats in succession, even when they can see the other cats have gone after the food and have ended up sitting there stuck in the little wire box. The others still go right into the other empty traps.

I can only conclude that there is no word in Cat for "Don't do it, man, it's a trap!"
posted by jocelmeow at 8:24 PM on August 9, 2007 [2 favorites]

Will try to be more constructive in my comments, thanks to jocelmeow for showing me.
posted by turbojav at 8:24 PM on August 9, 2007

There may be people in the area who could help you, but being new in town, you wouldn't know them yet. Maybe start by calling the local police station, library, and/or veterinarian and asking around for anyone who might be interested in "saving" the cat. Explain that you just can't live near it, etc., everything you've said here. It sounds like what you need is a new home for the cat PLUS someone to help capture it.

If the cat is willing to go into your car, it will probably be willing to go into someone else's car.

This is kind of heart breaking. That cat really wants a home, but it clearly can't be with you. It shouldn't be that hard to find a solution if you reach out to your local community, even if there's no formal animal control facility.

All this is predicated, of course, on the idea that the cat isn't really feral.

Is it possible that it's just desperate for food? You might try leaving some food a good distance from the house as an interim solution.
posted by amtho at 8:31 PM on August 9, 2007

Your dosed up food plan is just as likely or more likely to affect neighbor's pets as a humane trap, and possibly kill them.

Just thought you might want to see that again. You have no idea how to dose a cat, and shouldn't try with all those other animals around. And really, trapping the wrong animal isn't a big deal; you just let it out and try again. I get the feeling you're frustrated, sure, but you're being *very* quick to dismiss solutions here.

How hard have you really tried to talk to someone at a local shelter? Or local vets? I find it hard to believe someone there won't at least help talk you through your problem. Just start calling local vets for help and be persistent until you get someone who is equipped to give you good advice.
posted by mediareport at 8:53 PM on August 9, 2007

jimmyjimjim: "If I didn't want to "be responsible" I'd pour the thing a tasty bowl of antifreeze. "

You are scaring me. You've repeatedly made reference to drugging or otherwise injuring the cat. Please, please don't punish this animal. It is helpless.

So-called "feral" cats do not repeatedly attempt to get into a home. A feral cat would be more likely to refuse to enter a home. This is either an abandoned or lost house pet.

Put up some posters around your area, and check lost pet ads. Ask the neighbours or the realtors for contact info for the last owners of the house and whether or not they had a cat. In the meantime, give the poor thing some food and clean water outside and don't leave your windows open.
posted by loiseau at 9:07 PM on August 9, 2007

Please don't try to harm the cat.

My suggestions: 1. Put food and water out every day, but far away from your place. Not miles and miles away, but not right by your door, either.

2. Call your local vets - they may be able to help you place the cat, or take it off of your hands. Emphasize the you=deathly allergic aspect, and that it seems to have been abandoned.

3. See if a friend can foster it for a little while until space at a shelter opens up. It will have *some* sort of home, albeit temporary, and it won't be bugging you and making you sick in the process.
posted by spinifex23 at 10:06 PM on August 9, 2007

Response by poster: Some good ideas, thanks, I'll mull them over.

Fwiw, I can definitely dose him and only him...he's right here all the time. The plan was never to leave a dish of valium cheese out there randomly, I'm not looking to open a Gallery of Slumbering Wildlife in my driveway.

I'm not sure how valium would draw blood, but kudos for the dramatic image. Trapping would be more random, though, and, if you've missed it (though i've said it twice) there are tons of skunks passing through here. You wanna come let skunks out of traps, come on over and enjoy.

However, I do like the idea of trapping him on the second story roof, where he hangs out. That's probably what I'll do. I have to think about it.

I'm not going to risk scratches. I'm not going to fool with skunks. I'm not going to bribe it with food to leave me alone. I'm not going to take flattering photos to entice prospective foster homes, nor am I going to beg vets to help. Not sure why some have mistaken me for a cat lover who deeply cares and wants to dedicate his life to this dear, dear little critter. I'm just looking for a sane practical alternative to poison, and will invest an hour or two into the solution (including creating a thread on Metafilter) I deem that more than reasonable. I'm not willing to invest heroic effort into getting this relentlessly aggressive bag of dander out of my life.

And I certainly don't give a crap how nurtured he is in his new locale. He's thus far shown the survival instincts of Rasputin, and I hope he enjoys the new challenge in a place where he's not conditioned to one single house being the answer to all his problems.
posted by jimmyjimjim at 2:28 AM on August 10, 2007

I'm just looking for a sane practical alternative to poison, and will invest an hour or two into the solution...

Post the first part of that in a plea for a crazy cat lady to come out and trap and take kitty on whatever Craigslist is nearest where you live. I can't see why you wouldn't get a volunteer.

It sure sounds like the previous tenant abandoned his cat. That's no feral cat, and probably not even a stray. I really think you're dealing with somebody's confused ex-pet.

"I'm not going to take flattering photos to entice prospective foster homes, nor am I going to beg vets to help."

Okay, okay. Post to CL or similar, mentioning the antifreeze.

"Begging a vet" (who could easily steer you to the right sort of crazy cat lady, for chrissakes) would be easier than mucking with Valium and cream cheese and just hoping kitty falls asleep in the right place rather than under your porch (and hoping that he actually eats cream cheese), but.
posted by kmennie at 3:12 AM on August 10, 2007

Here is a solution that will take very little of your time and will solve the problem humanely.

Find the nearest local cat rescue--a local vet clinic should be able to refer you to one. I do not mean the SPCA, I mean a volunteer group that rescues/fosters/finds homes for cats. Tell the person at the cat rescue that the previous owner of your new house abandoned this cat and now it is starving and desperate. Tell them that you are extremely allergic to cats, so you can't keep it. Ask someone there to catch the cat and find a good home for it. A cat rescue place is likely to have people with the know-how and willingness to do this--this is what they're for. If they try to get you to keep the cat or feed it, remind them of your allergies and asthma. As a last resort, tell them about your alternate plan to give the cat Valium-laced food and then release it in the woods--this will most likely motivate them to get over and rescue the cat on the double.

I truly do think this is better than your original plan, both for you and the cat. You won't have to handle an animal you're allergic to, that is driving you to the kind of anger and frustration you're expressing here, and the cat will have a chance of being taken in by people who can find it a home. The people above who say the cat isn't feral are right--feral cats stay away from people. This cat is most likely an abandoned stray, with a good chance of being adopted. Just not by you.

You don't have to catch the cat yourself, get it spayed, feed it, or love it. But please don't drug it and release it in the woods. There ARE other people who will handle this for you.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 3:32 AM on August 10, 2007

Jimmyjimjim, there have been some excellent practical and humane solutions to your problem suggested here, particularly the one by jocelmeow. You seem resistant to nearly all of them.

I understand you are distressed and dealing with severe allergic reactions. There is nothing worse than being unable to breathe easily. This in itself is enough to cause you to forget the fact that it isn't the cat's fault it's been abandoned and that it's a living creature who doesn't deserve being poisoned with vallium or exposed to further distress. Before you jump on me, no, neither do you need any further distress. But, overwhelmingly, you aren't getting any approval for your own inhumane idea of using vallium on the cat. Nor are you getting much support for driving the cat elsewhere and dumping it.

Take some time out and have another look at the humane suggestions. Making a few local enquiries will, I guarantee put you in contact with local, if very small groups or individuals who will be willing to help you resolve this problem humanely.

Don't dump the cat.
Don't use vallium on it.

A few phonecalls and this problem could be solved.

Good luck.
posted by Arqa at 3:44 AM on August 10, 2007

Good god. Reading your post and reaction to other people's advice is incredibly depressing.

Look, you're either going to reject all of the reasonable advice given to you - most of which boil down to spending 20 minutes on the phone - or you're going to indulge your fantasy of giving the cat drugs.

Given that you're rejecting the advice of the community here, make a decision and go for it: you either want to be a compassionate being and not inflict harm or the sake of convenience, or you want to dope an innocent feline with your Valium supply and drive it someplace else, likely to die. Either way, stop wasting everyone's time, because there's no magical solution that hasn't been mentioned.
posted by ellF at 4:10 AM on August 10, 2007

Even though this is probably not a feral cat, look into whether there is a chapter of Friends of Feral Felines in your area. They have much expertise in cat-trapping.

Please don't harm the cat. He or she has been abandoned and is confused, and doesn't mean any harm to you.
posted by miss tea at 5:05 AM on August 10, 2007

Not sure why some have mistaken me for a cat lover who deeply cares and wants to dedicate his life to this dear, dear little critter.

Trust me, no one's mistaking you for someone who cares; you've done a fine job making sure of that. But I'm not sure why you can't see that getting help from someone who *does* care about the cat is your best bet for solving this problem.
posted by mediareport at 6:27 AM on August 10, 2007

Response by poster: If I don't care as much as you do, that means I don't care at spite of obvious research having been done plus my taking time to discuss here. Interesting logic.

By that token, it's clear that YOU don't care enough, mediareport. You're not getting a judge to subpoena metafilter to give up my IP so you can track me down and have the authorities prevent this POTENTIAL MURDER (or have ellF drive over and wrestle me to the ground until I give up the cat who I fantasize about drugging in my sick, sick, sick, twisted imagination). WTF is *WRONG* with you people?? Is just typing the best you can do? Will you permit this unpardonable action to occur?? Will you permit this cat to be made egregiously drowsy (wait, no, I said above, which nobody read, that I'm proceeding with the trapping advice, but, what the hell, I'm in a froth, let's continue) and to be driven to another town to DIE A POSSIBLE HORRIBLE DEATH (as opposed to the superb life of starvation and criminal activity it currently enjoys)? Jesus CHRIST!!

[insert suitably anguished emoticons]
posted by jimmyjimjim at 7:41 AM on August 10, 2007

If you'd rather have less trouble than doing the trapping yourself, let me know where you are (email me at jocelmeow at gmail dot com) and, using the resources that have been mentioned in this thread, I'll try to find you a local person who can take on the problem.
posted by jocelmeow at 7:47 AM on August 10, 2007 [1 favorite]

Jimmyjimjim, there is a world of difference between what mediareport actually said and your hyperbolic reaction. Most of the people in this thread have made very reasonable suggestions that aren't predicated on you caring about the animal, but you aren't willing to accept them. Coming from a family of people allergic to cats, I do sympathize with you. My allergies are significantly less serious than yours, but I know the feeling of having trouble breathing after a cat encounter.

However, you don't have to care deeply about the "dear, dear critter" to feel some empathy for it. It is a living thing that is desperate and starving. It would cost you $10 to buy some dry food to put out for it, which would calm it down and make it less likely to get in your business and exacerbate your allergies. Then, with your immediate and obviously very serious health problems taken care of, you would have the time to take some of the suggestions here.

Every town, no matter how small, must have a crazy cat lady or two who would be willing to help. Or a vet who could put the cat to sleep. You don't care about the cat--that's fine and understandable given your allergies. But why is trapping it and driving it 10 miles away preferable to having it humanely euthanized? People here aren't blowing smoke about the fact that it's not likely to survive in a new location. You don't care--you just want it gone. So get it euthanized. It would be a kinder thing to do.

Or take jocelmeow up on his offer.
posted by Mavri at 8:16 AM on August 10, 2007

Response by poster: As for my failure to accept advice, no, the failure is that nobody reads. They just type.

As I said above, and no one noticed, the advice is appreciated and I'm thinking about it (I hope that helps your depression, ellF...if not, try Valium, which I hear is very relaxing).

I will (again, as I said above) likely place a trap on the 2nd story roof where the cat (and, I think, very few other animals and very likely no skunks) goes, and proceed per trapping advice in this thread.

I will also look into the chance that the previous homeowner abandoned the cat. The owner is a cat lover (in fact she IS the crazy cat lady), so I doubt it, but she was also nuts, so anything's possible. That person is still in the area, and there are cat-loving mutual friends who can look into this. I think it's more likely that it's a longer-term stray who that owner fed.

As I also said above, local shelters are full. Those taking time to think rather than simply rant understood from this that there's a huge cat overpopulation here and so local resources have been begged to death.

As for euthanasia rather than relocation.....if I were a cat, I'd kinda prefer to live. But I'm not a cat, so I'll look into it, and if that is indeed considered the more humane way, hey, dead works fine by me.
posted by jimmyjimjim at 9:20 AM on August 10, 2007

Response by poster: Note that the former house of a cat fancier is habitable by me because the floors were totally redone and everything was painted before I moved in.

Also, for those with allergies, a hot piece of advice: mop floors with water containing enzymatic laundry additive (can find at big supermarkets). The enzyme neutralizes the protein dander. This works better than even HEPA vacuuming.
posted by jimmyjimjim at 9:22 AM on August 10, 2007 [3 favorites]

I know I'm about to incur the wrath of metafilter here, but I think poisoning it (humanely--antifreeze doesn't sound quick enough) is probably the best solution. Take a deep breath everyone (particularly asthmatics)... It. Is. Just. A. Cat. Jimmyjimjim is a human. Asthma is nothing to mess around with. If it were your husband/brother/best friend in this situation, you wouldn't hesitate to choose him over a cat.

If you take it to a shelter, it's almost certain to be euthanized. Even on the off chance someone chooses this crazy non-housebroken cat to adopt instead of the numerous fluffy kittens that will also live at the shelter, it might just find it's way back to jimmyjimjim's house and terrorize him some more.

Good luck with whatever you decide, but most importantly be safe and keep your inhaler handy.
posted by happyturtle at 10:56 AM on August 10, 2007

Thanks for the tip, jimmyjimjim, I'll try to remember that as I slowly replace my carpet (I have a cat, and I'm allergic, though not enough to make it a problem...sorry to hear you're not so lucky!). Good luck in solving your problem.
posted by evening at 11:25 AM on August 10, 2007

Response by poster: Happyturtle,

Euthanization is humane. Poison is not unless you're an expert. My dabs of research on cats and drugs indicates that different cats react differently to the same drugs. Valium seems like one of the few reliable consistent actors. In any case, poisoning is not an option here.

I agree that local adoption is a poor option for the same reason you state.

Thanks for the asthma wishes. I don't have an inhaler (my asthma was getting better), but I find if I just really relax and breathe slow and easy I can get through it. The house is 75% de-dandered now, but the car's a problem. Gonna probably have to spend $50 at a detailer to shampoo the entire interior.

Evening, please pass the tip around. it's a good one. it's saved my a$$ once before when I rented an apartment that had secretly hosted a cat.
posted by jimmyjimjim at 12:32 PM on August 10, 2007

I defer to your superior poison research. If there are no humane poisons, then trapping or dosing it and taking it to a vet to euthanize seems the most sensible idea to me. I love cats, but it seems to me that a quick death will be kinder to the cat than exile or spending its last few weeks in a scary strange shelter.

Unsolicited advice warning: My asthma is extremely mild (I've never had an attack as bad as what you describe) and my asthma nurse tells me to use the rescue inhaler every time I feel any symptom at all, because the spasms can eventually cause permanent lung damage. The idea of being unable to breathe without help when I'm 60 scared me enough to keep my inhaler on me at all times, and use it religiously.
posted by happyturtle at 1:05 PM on August 10, 2007

Response by poster: To clarify, I didn't do poison research, but my research on sedatives showed me that the variation is just totally screwy, much more so than with humans or dogs. I figure poison might be similarly inconsistent. Anyway, I figure it's a good idea to leave murder to the specialists.

I'm surprised people think death preferable to new locale. If that's true (and I'm checking on it), I'll have really learned something about animal nature.
posted by jimmyjimjim at 1:14 PM on August 10, 2007

The idea that death is preferable to a new locale is a controversial one, as I'm sure you would have heard by now if this question was still on the front page and getting traffic.

The best option would be the ones about finding a rescue or a barn cat placing, but you don't want to do those, so I think euthanasia is the best alternative.

The life of a stray cat is not a happy one. While they are descended from wild beasts, they aren't anymore--they're domestic animals. People think a cat is sort of like a tiny lion or tiger and if they dump it somewhere that it will be able to survive, but that's just not true. (Well obviously it's true to a certain extent or there wouldn't be feral cats, but their lives tend to be "nasty, brutish, and short.")

Humane euthanasia will save the cat a lot of suffering if there are truly no other options for you and your little enemy.
posted by Mavri at 1:24 PM on August 10, 2007

Also, if you try to relocate the cat there is a good chance that it will come back to you. Fifty years ago in rural America you probably would have gotten the advice to shoot the cat, but at this point in time I'd have to agree with you about leaving the killing to the experts. Especially since animal cruelty laws may be somewhat arbitrary.

Note that I love cats, but sometimes euthanasia is kinder than the alternative, especially since there will always be more cats than loving homes out there.
posted by BrotherCaine at 3:30 PM on August 10, 2007

Response by poster: This cat was indeed owned by former homeowner. She moved out two days after the cat disappeared, and was very unhappy to go without it.

Naturally, the cat is now nowhere to be seen. I've left some of the valium-intended cream cheese out in the driveway to attract it, but nothing so far. Fingers crossed.
posted by jimmyjimjim at 7:23 PM on August 10, 2007

This cat was indeed owned by former homeowner. She moved out two days after the cat disappeared, and was very unhappy to go without it.

And...what's your reason for not contacting her now? I'm sure you have one, I'm just curious.
posted by mediareport at 9:55 PM on August 10, 2007

I assume you mean you just found this out, JJJ? That's great news. I am sure it will show up soon.
posted by miss tea at 5:25 AM on August 11, 2007

That is great news, for you, the cat, and the owner! I am sure the cat will come back soon. Glad this has had a happy ending.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 4:20 PM on August 11, 2007

Response by poster: Yes, I found out a few mins before posting that. Good news indeed. Problem is we're having trouble luring the cat back. I keep putting out food, and it's being eaten by other strays (I did glimpse this cat for a moment this afternoon, but quickly lost contact). My house is becoming quite the popular cat destination. Sigh...just glad to get this solved, and am glad no harm came to the cat. We'll surely have it back with its owner within a day or two.

mediareport, you're a piece of work. What makes you think I didn't contact her? How do you think I found out it was her cat in the first place?
posted by jimmyjimjim at 6:11 PM on August 11, 2007

Could the cat's owner come over and spend some time outside your house trying to lure the cat? I'm thinking the cat is probably hiding somewhere near your house and can see you but just isn't coming out. It will probably come to her more readily than to you. That way you aren't attracting other strays with food.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 6:40 PM on August 11, 2007

Response by poster: They're reunited.

Now to clear out all the strays that think of my back yard as a soup kitchen...
posted by jimmyjimjim at 10:15 AM on August 15, 2007

Yay, thanks for posting the update.
posted by Mavri at 11:08 AM on August 15, 2007

Thanks for updating us!
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 5:33 PM on August 15, 2007

Thanks, jimmyjimjim, for all you did to help him get home. I bet his owner was elated.
posted by jocelmeow at 7:20 PM on August 16, 2007

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