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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 09-04-2018, 03:53 PM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2018
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Foster cats

Hi there,

I'm looking to see if anyone can give me some advice.

I foster for a rescue in my city. I'm currently fostering an absolutely wonderful semi-feral bonded pair named George and Ruby.

George (orange) is about 1-2 years old and is the biggest sweetheart. It took a while but he has completely warmed up to me. He loves cuddles and being held for comfort, loves treats and will eat them out of my hand. We think he used to be a pet, so he's much more trusting.

Ruby is about 6-12 months old. She's a tiny little girl who loves her George and follows me and him around.

The issue I'm having is with Ruby. She was born outside during last years kitten season but they weren't able to rescue her. She is definitely on the more severe side of semi-feral.

She will let me pet her from head to tail while she's eating, she follows me around and will eat treats out of my hands but she is still so very timid. She still spooks at the slightest noise or quick movement. I have to buritto wrap her to cut her nails and can't pick her up in any way even to get her into a carrier for vet trips.

She's such a sweet girl and you can tell she wants to be loved.. I just feel like I'm missing something. Like i could be doing one extra thing to make her more comfortable. I'm worried we'll have a hard time finding a forever home for her if she can't even stay still and not hide if a potential adopter comes to visit.

Any advice?Click image for larger version

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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 09-05-2018, 11:34 AM
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If kittens during their first 3 mos. of life, do not experience gentle handling, being picked up often, cuddled, groomed, nails clipped, and played with they have missed out on a crucial period of development of socialization skills. Very difficult to overcome this if ever. Also some traits such as nervousness, skittishness are genetic and if they inherited these, it may be impossible to overcome during the life of the cat. This is the unfortunate result of cats born feral that don't receive proper socialization with people, and many do not make good pets. At our local humane societies such cats are adopted out as "barn cats" to farmers.

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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 09-07-2018, 07:47 PM
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Location: Roanoke, Va
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Hi Bree,

Gah, they're so cute!!

It's so great that you're fostering and so concerned about socializing Ruby - who reminds me a lot of one of my kitties who was also a brown tabby with reddish highlights in her fur.

I don't have any experience with ferals, but I can confirm what catloverami said about kitty personalities. I adopted my Celia when she was about 1.5 years old; apparently she kept getting passed by at the shelter because she was so timid. I thought her cage was empty the first time I walked by it, until I saw her tiny self all scrunched up way in the back of the cage. She lived with me for over 16 years and still flinched every time I tried to pet her without giving her a chance to thoroughly sniff my hand. She hid under the loveseat every time the doorbell rang. Some of my friends didn't believe I had two cats, because they never saw her.

Once she trusted someone though, she was the sweetest velcro kitty you can imagine. I don't know that this will ever happen for Ruby, but for skittish cats, the best approach is probably no approach - literally. The more you try to engage, the more wary she'll be. I would just try to be very quiet around her, spend time in the same room without touching her. You could talking to her softly but without even looking at her, almost pretending that she's not there.

I'm hoping that one day, you'll tell us that she gave you the head bump of approval, or that she suddenly jumped into your lap!
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