A little something to encourage those with wild cats, feral and semi-feral
Hissy came inside a couple of years ago with a belly full of kittens. She ran in the door as I was going out, shot down to the basement at warp speed and finally came up to eat and find a hiding place. She lived behind the fridge for a few weeks, coming out to use the litter box and eat. One day, i heard a little eee sound then she came out of one of her hiding spots dragging a huge kitten, only one.
She moved to under the TV, coming out to eat and use the box, but I couldn't touch her. Another move to the back bedroom and when the kitten came out, I left food in there for her. It took months for her to let me touch her and she was as afraid of touch as she was when outside.
Then she discovered the cat throne, aka the stepladder I use to change light bulbs, and decided to live there and then she started letting me touch her.
The next improvement was following me to the feeding station and she would eat with the rest of the cats if I stood there. She then discovered the dry food and now no longer needs separate feeding at all.
Hissy then took up residence on the monitor and spent hours sitting there watching me play games, etc. Things progressed rapidly from there, although this took over a year and a half to accomplish.
This winter, she ventured into the living room and parked herself on me when Jack and Tippy did. Then, a couple of weeks ago, she came on her own and had a nap on my hip.
This past weekend, she started sitting on my knee for a short bit, and yesterday, spent most of her time sitting quietly. Today, she learned how to be a PITA cat who stands on a lap, puts paws on my shoulder and stares at me if I quit petting. She did learn a new command this morning - sit. And sitting she is, right beside me.
Was a long long time but she did come around. I never forced, just let her be as she is an older cat and was very very wild. She earned the name Hissy because that was the only sound she would make for years.
So, if you have a wild one, just association will eventually get through, particularly if the cat realises you are the source of food. Just time and patience are all that's required. I could have rushed it a bit but she is so timid, I just left her be.
Founder of the Dyslexic Clique. Dyslexics of the world - UNTIE!!
I have a former feral tom next to me right now. He was trapped about 6 weeks ago. You seriously would never know he was wild. He is so loving, a purr machine and loves attention. He is actually an attention whore.
We have a feral cat project here on the island and we have rehabbed quite a few of them. I am very happy my guy was friendly as it saved his life since he is FIV + and wouldn't of been able to be released. He is just a foster, but I love him.
I saved a kitten of a barn at about 3 months old. She is friendly on her own terms, but I still joke she is "wild" as she is little miss independent.
I love the story; it is nice to know that patience will win in the end. I'm curious; what about the kitten? Was being in the house enough to socialize him, or did he need to be socialized as well, since his mother was so timid?
In addition to having a collection of ferals of my own, I foster feral litters for the local shelter. The trick with kittens is to just force them to be near you. Not holding and squeezing, but just being in the room with them.
The adults can take a while to come around, but every cat in my house is a feral and you wouldn't know it from the five of them curled on my bed right now.
My barn cat is the only one I've never been able to tame. He was dumped as an adult tom, and I trapped him and got him neutered. Two weeks in the spare bathroom and he was still a wild animal, so I put him back out in the barn. A year later he still hisses at me, but he doesn't run off anymore, just waits for his food to be delivered. I feel awful for him on a regular basis because I live on a busy road and just KNOW he's going to get hit one day, but he did NOT want to be in the house. Oh well. He's fat and well-fed for as long as he's around.
Thanks, guys, just hoping that it will encourage people not to give up on those timid, wild ones. She used to run from me when she was a barn cat and after many years, i could almost touch her....nice turnaround. She is also the only cat I have ever known to escape into a house and the closest she goes to the outside door is to the food dish.
As to the kitten, she is a lovely lilac point who, while a little different, is pretty good to deal with. She attached herself to Louie Da Lip and learned from him. He's a pretty neat cat although he is slowing down a touch at almost 13.
Founder of the Dyslexic Clique. Dyslexics of the world - UNTIE!!
The barn where I board adopts feral kittens/cats from time to time when they are available. The local humane society contacts the barn owner and lets her know when feral cats are available. If the barn owner doesn't take them, they are usually euthanized.
I'll tell you, some of these "feral" barn cats are about as sweet and personable as could be. One of them has semi-adopted me as her person. She was very timid when I first started boarding at the barn, but we bonded because she enjoyed watching me mix my horse's supplements at night. Now she follows me everywhere, I can hold her like a baby, and kiss her little paws and ears. The barn owner recently saw her (the cat) following me from one barn to another and said it almost looks like I have the cat on a leash, lol.
I have aWork In Progress tomcat who apparently decided he lives in my barn around July.
He followed right on the tail of a little black cat I dubbed Black Betty (& posted the story here) who visited regularly for a year before I could so much as pet while eating - turned out to be an intact male, a fact I sadly found when I had to take him/her to the emergency vet for a saddle thrombosis that proved fatal.
This one is marked like a snowshoe and has the blue eyes...sunk into his big,fat tomcat head.
I called him Stash as a gender-neutral name before he showed me he is very definitely a He.
As soon as I can pick him up and cage him he will get to visit my vet and be "tutored".
I have a suspicion he shares another home too, but if they won't get him neutered I'll be glad to take care of it and no problem since "they" let him roam complete with his cocoa puffs.
He's earned the right to stay since my little (neutered) female Verminator has not hissed at him and has even touched noses.
I swear she even leaves some of her precious canned food uneaten for him.
*friend of bar.ka*RIP all my lovely boys, gone too soon: Steppin' Out 1988-2004 Hey Vern! 1982-2009 Cash's Bay Threat 1994-2009