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Sorta feral kitty ... handling suggestions???

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  • Sorta feral kitty ... handling suggestions???

    Some asshole decided to "dump" their young cat off during the pouring rain last week. He looks to be about 6-10 months old as near as I can tell

    He is absolutely not totally feral - just very wary and suspicious and shy.

    He has taken up residence in my barn which is just fine with me, and now knows that is his food source and where he can come in and stay warm and dry. Sometimes he is there throughout the day and other times when I come in in the morning he had hopped over the open dutch door sometime during the night and is asleep on the hay

    I talk to him endlessly and will get up close and personal (less than 1 foot away) and he will stay curled up and look totally relaxed. I can put my hands out to within 6 inches or so and he will initially look like he wants to leave, but will then totally relax and stay put. My girlfriend was over a few days ago and reached out to pet him and he was clearly not comfortable with that and left the hay bale

    He wont play with strings or feathers - he seems to have missed out on the kitty play stage somewhere along the way ...

    What is the protocol for acclimatizing a kitty like this one? Eventually I wont mind if he becomes a house kitty instead of a barn kitty but I would like to be able to touch and handle him before doing so. Do I push the point of touching him or do I just stand there and wait it out and see if he will eventually approach me?

    There is no meowing, no purring, no sound coming from him at all. He hasnt clued in yet that its me that brings him his food, so he doesnt appear to associate me with food at all. yet anyhow ...

    Any/all suggestions would be very much appreciated!

    Thanks
    www.TrueColoursFarm.com
    www.truecoloursproducts.com

    True Colours Farm on Facebook

  • #2
    Put some canned food on a spoon. Use a long handled one, the kind you get with a malt at the Ice Cream shop. Get kitty eating from the spoon, then slowly try to pet his forehead with a finger. If he doesn't bolt, keep feeding and try to progress to more petting. Use a shorter spoon as he gets tamer. I have a house cat that was a true feral. He was so wild that he bloodied himself badly when I live trapped him. (I still feel badly about that). After neutering he was still wild, but over time, with the food in the spoon trick, he gradually got tamer. He now sits on my lap every chance he gets.
    Patty
    www.rivervalefarm.com
    Follow us on facebook - https://www.facebook.com/pages/River...ref=ts&fref=ts

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    • #3
      I also find it helps with ferals/semi-ferals to interact with them in a smaller enclosed space. Can you put him in the tack room? And feed him there? And go in every day, sit on the ground while he eats, and read a book. Every day but the food a little closer and closer and closer to you. When he approaches, do nothing. Don't pet. Just stay still. Eventually he will get comfortable with that and you can progress to feeding and then petting him. With the exception of TRULY feral adults, they will come around.

      You need to get him speutered quick though, don't you? So frankly, if inside kitty is an okay solution for you, I'd trap him, do the deed, and then keep him in the house in a bathroom/spare room and do the above desensitization.
      Last edited by vxf111; Nov. 4, 2012, 03:54 PM.
      ~Veronica
      "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
      http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/

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      • Original Poster

        #4
        Great suggestions! Thank you!

        I think he will become an inside kitty but right now we have a 15-16 year old kitty inside that isnt doing well. he's been on and off antibiotics for what appears to be a blocked or semi blocked bladder, he's not eating hardly anything at all, very little in his litter box, but then 2 minutes later I see him spinning around and chasing his tail! He would be incredibly put out if I brought another almost mature kitty inside right now

        I dont want to introduce a new kitty in the house right now, so that part is going to have to wait. But I agree - neutering, shots, once over very much in the plans for this fellow - it just may have to wait for a little bit

        Thanks again. he's a cute fellow - Im glad he decided to call our place "home"
        www.TrueColoursFarm.com
        www.truecoloursproducts.com

        True Colours Farm on Facebook

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        • Original Poster

          #5
          Update on kitty and need some more suggestions please ...

          He now allows me to approach him without cringing and running away. He gets free choice kibble and 1/2 can of moist food at night. he now knows when the moist food is coming and waits for his dinner

          While he is eating I can now stroke him up and down his back and tell him what a good brave kitty he is. Once he is done eating though, thats it - he wont allow any more contact which is fine with me. Baby steps and all that ...

          If I extend my hand, he will sniff it and the other day, started to lick it - possibly because there was still some kitty food residue on it

          BUT ... if I extend my hand now he will lick it and then try and bite it and swat at me with his paw with his nails out. Not cool ... but I am not 100% sure what reprimand to give (if any???) or just forget about extending my hand for the time being until we progress a little more

          He is a cute fellow for sure and will follow me around the barn from hay bale to hay bale and just watch me - totally relaxed and content, so I know we are making great progress from a week or so ago, just not sure if I should be doing something at this point in time about him swatting at me, or simply avoid doing anything to evoke that behaviour from him?

          Thanks so much!
          www.TrueColoursFarm.com
          www.truecoloursproducts.com

          True Colours Farm on Facebook

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          • #6
            I would just keep doing what you are doing and don't give him the chance to swat at you. He will get over that eventually. It sounds to me like you are making great progress!!
            Patty
            www.rivervalefarm.com
            Follow us on facebook - https://www.facebook.com/pages/River...ref=ts&fref=ts

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            • #7
              Don't give him your hand, with food on it or otherwise. Hands aren't bowls or toys. Hands are for gentle petting and that's it. If he bites/swats just take the hand away. No noise, no freak out, don't yank it. Just remove it from the scenario. He doesn't have normal manners yet because it's all new. Wait until he's tamer to teach him what we do/don't do with hands. For now, just remove it from the equation.
              ~Veronica
              "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
              http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/

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              • Original Poster

                #8
                ^ Thank you. Thats what I figured as well. Dont put myself in a position where he feels he has to swat at me for some reason

                He's as cute as a button. Knows when I rustle the bag to get the can out and get his little plate out, its dinner time and he's waiting in his designated spot

                Tonight was terrific. He allowed me to rub just in behind his ears and up and down his back. For the first time as well, he gave himself a good washing after dinner too. Up til now Ive never seen him groom himself

                No meowing yet and no purring but Im sure that will come in time. Tonight was the first time he peeked around the corner from the hay bale, waiting to see if I was coming out with his dinner and what was taking so long!

                Its been a gratifying couple of weeks with him. We had to put our old kitty to sleep a week ago which broke my heart and this kitty looks identical to him. You really wonder how they just know there is going to be a vacancy shortly, they show up on your doorstep and dont leave and make you smile and laugh along the way ...

                Thank you again for the input
                www.TrueColoursFarm.com
                www.truecoloursproducts.com

                True Colours Farm on Facebook

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                • #9
                  Aww...sorry about your old kitty, but bless you for taking on the new one. Sounds like you are making progress. Since he is getting friendlier, you might try introducing a feather on a stick, by putting the feather behind something and wiggling it, and then pull away along the ground when he attacks. Eventually you'll be able to sit on teh ground and have him follow into your lap after it. So he'll get comfortable in your lap. One thing I also do with ferals, is set up 2 plates of food about 3 feet apart, and while they are eating from one, pick them up from underneath their body and plop them in front of the other plate. Don't lift them up high...just about 6 inches off the ground. It's quick enough that they don't have time to react, but soon learn that being picked up is no reason to freak out.

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                  • Original Poster

                    #10
                    jetsmom - he still doesnt want to play yet. Ive tried a variety of things hanging, and peeking up from the hay bales and wiggling, and dragging across the bales and he just stares at them and wont participate in my silly little game

                    I'll try the dual food plates - thank you!

                    And Im waiting for my first "meow" from him which Im sure means that he LOVES me, when in reality all it will mean is that I am late with his supper tonight ...

                    Thanks again!
                    www.TrueColoursFarm.com
                    www.truecoloursproducts.com

                    True Colours Farm on Facebook

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                    • #11
                      awwwww.............good for you and good for kitty.........and sorry to hear about the loss of your house kitty......

                      i am all too familiar with ferals.........last winter while taking care of my mom and pretty much leaving everything else in a state of neglect,feral cats moved into the barn.......this summer, i had an EXPLOSION of kittens.........now,i love cats, but am at my limit with about 35 here......lol.......
                      luckily, a really good rescue helped me trap and fix the crew recently,so all but about 4 are done.........

                      several of my ferals had the hit/swat thing too......and it is quite startling when you are petting them and suddenly WHAM!.....i found that if i keep the scratching close to the shoulder blades, they don't see my hand, and are okay with touching.....also, because there are soooooo many of them, the really tame ones getting lovies and climbing all over me helped bolster the courage of those who watch from a distance................
                      the most unique one is a big male......VERY vocal with a high girlie meow (even before he was fixed) and would stand outside the dooryard and yell for food, rub on my legs, stand on hind legs and touch me as i was putting food down.......but don't dare extend anything towards him or you get a spitting hitting hissing tiger ............

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Sorry about your kitty TC
                        ~Veronica
                        "The Son Dee Times" "Sustained" "Somerset" "Franklin Square"
                        http://photobucket.com/albums/y192/vxf111/

                        Comment

                        • Original Poster

                          #13
                          Thanks everyone (on old kitty ...)

                          We knew it was time. His litter box was virtually empty for the last 10 days or so, he was barely eating (even when we bought his favorite - Swiss Chalet chicken and sat and tried to hand feed him something that he'd gobble up til he burst in the past). He wasnt moving - where we placed him in front of the wood stove (his absolute favorite place in the whole world) he would lay in the same position all day and all night long. We knew it was time ...

                          I think the hardest though was getting his little box and blanket ready for him and digging his grave. I was bawling my eyes out the whole time and was a total mess that day. When the vet had left and I had to bury him, the tears of course started again and I felt so awful about the thought of dirt going on top of him I had to go and get a clean towel to tuck in around him so he'd stay clean, Crazy, I know, the things you think of and do ...

                          And then when the temperatures dropped that night all I kept thinking about was how much he loved when we cranked up the wood stove. He was alsways sprawled out in front of or beside it and he was so hot to the touch - we thought he'd cook

                          RIP kitty - I hope your "replacement" is even half the kitty you were ...
                          www.TrueColoursFarm.com
                          www.truecoloursproducts.com

                          True Colours Farm on Facebook

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                          • #14
                            So sorry about your old one. It's tough burying them--mine got put in their favorite bed or basket and wall wrapped up. Since we can't dig deep enough to bury them here, I've been
                            having them cremated and ashes in a little box with a name plate on it. Kinda of like that idea as we no longer live where the other ones are buried.

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