I am at my wit's end with a 3 month old kitten. My husband found her in the hay barn at around 5 weeks old so obviously born to a feral cat. I've had feral cats give birth in my hay barn before and successfully socialized and rehomed the kittens. All the new owners rave about what wonderful, sweet cats they are. This one is different. Since day one, she has been, uh, active. She's not a snuggler, which is fine, but sometimes when I pick her up, she'll bite and scratch.
Today, she broke the skin. I don't know that I can adopt her out in good faith. The one potential adopter that met her felt she was way too much for her.
So do I spay her and toss her back out as a barn cat? I'm open to other suggestions.
(and yes, I do trap and neuter/spay the ferals as they show up. Scheduled to take 2 more in tomorrow if I can catch them tonight)
Last edited by rosijet; Sep. 18, 2009 at 06:54 PM.
Some just never tame down a lot and some do a quick change after 'the operation'. I have some here like that - one tom who took SIX years to allow me to touch him, and now he is actively seeking out cat petting time, and another who went kinda wild after neutering, and this year, four years later, is seeking me out for attention but he wasn't wild, just shied away from too much attention and his brother is a pest. Now, these cats were handled from shortly after birth, so it isnt the care they got as babies, just their temperaments. FWIW, these cats have a good shot of Siamese in them, enough that one is a blue colourpoint and he is the one that took years to touch, by the same token, that siamese blood keeps them home and loyal no matter how wild they are.
The short answer to your cat is spay then let her be, but try to pay attention to her as she may come around. Spend time talking to her, make sure you feed her, and see what happens.
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She is just frightened and reacting like her instincts tell her to behave in order to survive in the wild. I have 11 feral cats - all ages and sexes ( all fixed) they make grand barn cats and equally as Grand house cats. Has taken some of my ferals - which are semi-domesticated ( derals) five years to settle in -the only problem I have ever had with mine is vet visits. They stress so badly - so now we have a vet who visits us for vaccinations for my "barn derals" and "house derals".
She may come around yet. Don't force yourself on her but don't pass up an opportunity to pet her either. We have several former ferals here and all are "tame" now. One boy took over a year before I could pet him outside. Now he runs up to me chattering all the way.
Thanks for the advice. Laverne is living in a guest room right now because my "real" cat will absolutely not tolerate another cat in the house. So I can't have her live there too much longer as I do occasionally get house guests.
And some more kitty news - I successfully trapped the two ferals tonight - YEAH! I saw newborn kittens in the hay barn four weeks ago. Now that I have their mama trapped, I grabbed them and brought them in the house. Here are some pictures:
I have two homes lined up so will only need to find homes for the other two when they're old enough.
As for Laverne, sigh, I will give her a little more time to grow up, but will likely need to make her an outside cat after her spay/shots. All the ferals get a big bowl of food each night and stay very warm and dry in the hay barn during the winter. Our biggest threats are the busy road near my house and the occasional coyote/fox. I was hoping for a better life for her but it could be worse.
They are so friggin cute! Even if you spay and put them in the barn - it is a far better life than they would have had. I have several feral cats that a neighbor spayed and released in my barn and they have stuck around. After 3 yrs I can pet the male occasionally, but the female comes inside (the barn) in the winter only. Her choice - I have a cat door for them. They are also black - and it is so difficult to see them inside the barn! I wish I could do more with them, but I do the best I can!
Cats are funny little creatures. Some dont want to be picked up and held and that sometimes never changes. Biting is such a bad habit, though. I have a little black cat who used to be a biter. One good finger thump/flick between the eyes or on her nose after she bit me hard was all it took and she has never bitten since, except play/love bites. I would spay her soon and let her continue to be a barn kitty or place her with a nice family. I wouldn't have high expectations of her becoming a lovey-dovey kitty but I would knock that biting business out of the way while she is young.
I would try crating her for a while so her only interaction with the outside world is with you. Even if that outside world is limited to a bedroom. It doesn't always work but does a great deal of the time. She needs to make the connection between you and positive things like food and freedom.
Honestly, unless there is a real reason she NEEDS to be an indoor, I'd just spay and toss. Some cats just like being outdoor cats and aren't super-friendly. Even one of my two indoors hates being picked up unless HE feels like it. He wont' bite, though, just turns to jelly and melts onto the floor (I don't know how he does it. Even with a vet, a vet tech, me, and a towel, poof, he's suddenly down.)
I am "Queen Feral Cat Rescuer" and it's all about time! Really it is. I have three now 4 year old feral's that became indoor cats at 5 weeks old. They ONLY let me handle them, not my husband, no one that visits, only I can take care of them. I still have to "catch" one of them to hold her or anything. If I don't touch them in a few days they resort completly back to the wild...even though they been in side most all of their lives!
They ARE thankful for their indoor homes though.
In the barn there are a handleful of feral, the kind you really cannot touch, catch nothing. One female I can talk to and she listens but never gets too close. I wish I could catch/spay and release but they are uncatchables.
5 You cannot MAKE a cat come to you, it is their terms only. Cat's own us, we don't own them. It is love and patience with them. Honestly, I would not trade my indoor ferals for any other home rasied cat. They are special in their own ways.
Yes, a good reminder about black cats and Halloween! I don't rehome kittens through craigslist or with complete strangers. Word of mouth with friends and co-workers tends to produce good folks looking for kittens.
Since I was already hauling the two ferals in to be fixed, I took Laverne along to be spayed as well. She has recovered completely already. I was hoping for a little down time.
Keeping her inside the house for much longer is not an option, I'm afraid. I will need that bedroom back sometime soon, and she can't have the run of the house or my cat will have a complete meltdown. So my options are to find her another home or make her an outdoor kitty. I don't think too many people will want her other than as a barn cat. I certainly won't let someone with children adopt her.
I was thinking that it might be better for her to be acclimated before winter sets it. What about giving her another 10 days indoors (to heal from the spay) and let her out on the 13th? Does that sound reasonable?
Update: I just couldn't bring myself to put Laverne out in my barn so found a better arrangement. The gal who runs our local donkey rescue (where I work part-time) was in need of another barn cat as her old guy is probably nearing the end of his life.
Laverne (now named Ninja Kitty ) is in heaven! She has a large heated feed room to hang out in with her own kitty door to the outside. The property sits well off the main road, and we don't have a coyote/fox issue with 20+ donkeys living there.
The interesting thing is her change in behavior. Today I picked her up and she actually purred and snuggled against my neck.
Of course you had to show the black kittens!!! Ugh! My weak spot - I would have "Black Cat Farm" if I could!! So cute!
On the flip side, I caught a brother & sister ferals nine years ago. The little girl, Lizzy Borden was only 6wks old - so sweet, right? The boy I didn't trap until he was 6mos old. Well, you can't keep him off of you & LB lives up to her name! Both neutered - go figure! Good for you for looking out for them - good karma!!
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