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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-03-2013, 05:29 AM Thread Starter
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Feral frightened kitten

Hi all!

4 days ago I adopted a 6mo feral main coon mix kitten from someone on Craigslist. When I went to pick him up he seemed frightened and didn't trust his people. He lived with 5 other cats and a dog in a small garage.

I brought him home and when I let him loose he ran under my bed and won't come out.

I have 2 other kittens and at first they would hiss at him but now they are both really sweet to him.

I felt obligated to take him out of his hiding place to feed, bathe and groom him but I can tell he still doesn't trust me. He attacked me twice already so I'm hesitant to take him out again.

He doesn't respond to toys at all and he only eats when I stick food in his face; but even then, in the middle of his meal **** remember that I'm there and he'll try to flee. I tried to give him the food and walk away so that he eats I his own but as soon as I'm away he just runs and hides. What's strange is that when I finally do get him comfortable he purrs, stretches and relaxes but as soon as I let my guard down he is gone.

My question: what can I do to earn his trust? It seems as though I've only been making matters worse although today for the first time he didn't hiss at me when I approached. I just want to speed up the socialization process to the best of my ability. How do I do this?

Thanx!


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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-03-2013, 05:35 AM
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I'm not sure if you understand that "feral" means unsocialized. Not used to people and/or other animals. He's behaving perfectly normal for a feral cat. It's going to take time to earn his trust, and you should let him move at his own pace. Has he been checked out by a vet and had his shots? I would definitely get him in asap, especially since you're already letting him be around your other cats.

Also, unless he's really dirty, there's no need to bathe him. That's not helping the situation. I think it's great that you took this little guy in, but this is going to take time and patience.

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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-03-2013, 07:06 AM Thread Starter
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Feral frightened kitten

Thanx for the swift reply. Yes I'm aware of what feral means, just trying to give some background about the kitten.

You say I should not take him out to feed him. Should I put some food under the bed for him? My main concern is that he eats. What should I do? I did put food under the bed once but he didn't even get close to it.


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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-03-2013, 07:13 AM
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I felt obligated to take him out of his hiding place to feed, bathe and groom him but I can tell he still doesn't trust me. He attacked me twice already so I'm hesitant to take him out again.
WAIT!! Don't do this so soon! Let him come to you - it may take days, it may take weeks! He is SO scared and timid right now, any overt gestures you might make to him may cement in his mind that people cannot be trusted and that is the last thing you want! Even a socialized kitten from a shelter may act like this for a little while. Since he has been unsocialized, it will take longer - maybe alot longer!

Let him stay in his room - provide water but offer him food at regular intervals (maybe leave a tiny bit in place). You will want to have him associate yummies with people. When you offer it, place it on the floor half way between you and him, but give him space and quiet to eat it. Don't touch him. You don't need to groom him yet, if he is ragged then just ignore it for awhile. Let him come to you - he will in time, but it may take a good bit of time - meaning weeks or months. Once he realizes that you are not going to hurt him, he will start coming around more and more.

If he leaves the room, great, but let him explore on his own. Don't press the point that you would like to touch him. Offer your hand and see if he will offer his cheek or head for scratching. If not just let it go until tomorrow or later. This is going to be a lesson in patience and may take months before he is fully socialized, but with your patience and love and understanding you will have a wonderful pet. He is still young so it may not take long at all but let it be on HIS terms - that will deliver the best outcome. It sounds as though he may already be coming out of his scared shell, but it is is better if you don't try and speed it up.

I adopted an 11 year old Himalayan that took MONTHS - almost a full year before she fully trusted me, but it was SO worth it in the end. Best wishes!!

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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-03-2013, 07:20 AM Thread Starter
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Feral frightened kitten

Thank for your help! I will try my best to keep my distance. I just don't like knowing that he's hungry and scared but I guess this is where my practice in patience comes into play...


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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-03-2013, 07:38 AM
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Cats can go a long time without eating. If stressed they just won't eat. Leave a teeny bit of dry out, but offer the really yummy stuff when you visit. Don't leave so much food that he is full when you visit, just enough so his organs won't shut down if this turns into a seige. This will take time, but like I said he is young and may come around quickly. I hate this process, personally, but it is rewarding once it is over! I know how hard it is to feel rejected - and I am pretty experienced at this so I should know better sometimes. Even I tend to rush things then have to step back and regroup.

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Last edited by marie73; 02-05-2013 at 02:29 AM.
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-03-2013, 08:01 AM Thread Starter
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Feral frightened kitten

I definitely rushed things as he's already attacked me twice! But ill take your advice and back off till he is ready to socialize with me. Thanx again!


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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-03-2013, 08:06 AM
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time heals all wounds....keep that in mind. Be patient.

Marcia gave good advice...Our almost feral little girl accepted us but not right away...we had to develop trust over a period of months...during that time her way of telling me (I like hugs and to have our cats lay on or beside me and sleep on our bed). Marble was probably a year old when we took her in from outside before winter...she is now almost three. Now if I cross some threshhold of HERS, she will only nibble on my hand instead of what once were bites....this took time and we think she has adjusted but will always retain some of the feral behavior she was learning.

good luck.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-03-2013, 10:00 AM
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I definitely rushed things as he's already attacked me twice! But ill take your advice and back off till he is ready to socialize with me. Thanx again!


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It's two steps forward, one step back. Don't fret, it's gonna happen, just best if it's on his terms. Best wishes! Looking forward to a great report!

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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 02-05-2013, 02:25 AM Thread Starter
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Feral frightened kitten

Russell is doing much better! He comes out from under the bed to eat and cuddle but he doesn't stay out too long. It's progress though!


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