Indoor Ferral? - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-01-2008, 05:20 PM Thread Starter
Kitten
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 10
Indoor Ferral?

We trapped Molly about 3 months ago and immediately had her spayed. The vet says she healthy. We've had a great time trying to integrate her into the household. She's now about 5 - 7 months old.

We're almost sure that Molly's father is a ferral that has roamed
the neighborhood for 2 or 3 years.

We had adopted a shelter kitty at about the same time and they get along great.

Molly and Jess (The Shelter Kitty) have stayed in my office since Molly first came home. Its a big spacious area and it seems like a perfect place to let Molly get used to her new surroundings.

When we let Jess out into the house she usually wants to get back in the office to see Molly. When Jess comes back in the office, Molly runs up to her and checks her out. Molly & Jess are like sisters.

My question to - Is having Jess around retarding Mollys getting used to humans and becoming a house kitty?

More info about Molly: She will not come out and see us when we come in the room but we can pick her up, put her between our legs and she likes to be petted - a lot! She'll purr, roll over and look at us, slowly and open and close her eyes. We can handle her paws and sometimes rub her tummy.

If shes sitting by the printer when I come in the office, she'll not run and will sit there (at least for a while). If I pet her she'll stay there as long as I pet her.

I'm very hesitant to let her out into the house as she could well find lots of hiding spots and rarely be seen.

There are 3 other kitty's (in addition to Jess and Molly) in the house. They are all older but they do tolerate Jess when she comes out of the office and roams.

Any input would be appreciated!
valvesource is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-01-2008, 05:25 PM
Premier Cat
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Monroe, GA
Posts: 13,491
Re: Indoor Ferral?

I would prefer for Molly to be more tolerant of me (people) before I let her out of the office and into the rest of the house, but if she will come to you when you call or offer food/treats, you could let her explore with Jess.



Heidi n Q is offline  
post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-01-2008, 05:37 PM
Premier Cat

 
Jeanie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 30,251
Send a message via MSN to Jeanie
Re: Indoor Ferral?

I think Molly is a kitty who likes people, but on her own terms. I believe that's her personality. I would introduce her to other parts of the house gradually, after making sure none of the other kitties is chasing her. She will know who feeds her and come out for her feedings. Good luck!




Jeanie

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


A dog, I have always said, is prose; a cat is a poem. ~Jean Burden
Jeanie is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-01-2008, 06:09 PM Thread Starter
Kitten
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 10
Re: Indoor Ferral?

Thanks for the input!

It really does seem like shes come a long way in a relatively short period of time. Shes a sweet little creature and we are so glad to have her part of the family.

I also have wondered if keeping Jess in the office part of the time is fair to her as she loves to explore, hang out with us etc etc.

Any guesses as to whether Molly would get more people friendly if Jess wasn't in the office ??

Should I give that a try or continue on as we've done?

Thanks again.
valvesource is offline  
post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-01-2008, 06:14 PM
Premier Cat

 
Jeanie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 30,251
Send a message via MSN to Jeanie
Re: Indoor Ferral?

You could give it a try, to make sure she depends on you for loving attention, but I would let Jeff in part of the time. It's nice for both of them to have a bond with another cat.




Jeanie

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


A dog, I have always said, is prose; a cat is a poem. ~Jean Burden
Jeanie is offline  
post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 11-02-2008, 07:38 AM Thread Starter
Kitten
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 10
Re: Indoor Ferral?

My thoughts exactly on the needing me for the "loving attention."

We'll continue to be patient with her.

If the vet was correct and she was 4 -6 months old when she joined us, shes got a lot of ferral instincts to forget about.

Thanks so much for your help.
valvesource is offline  
post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-03-2009, 06:54 PM Thread Starter
Kitten
 
Join Date: Nov 2008
Posts: 10
Re: Indoor Ferral?

More advice would be appreciated........

Formerly Ferral Molly and Jess have the run of the house and they love it. Molly is friends with all of our cats and they have a great time playing as a group or even one on one.

She sees my wife and I, rubs her face against whatever is handy, does the eye shutting trick and its clear she likes and is comfortable around us humans

BUT-------

When we try to approach her she takes off. Its usually only a few steps and then she'll turn around and watch us. She plays with us with all of her toys and is definitely not afraid of us at all.

Any ideas or techniques we can use to maybe get her to let us approach her?
valvesource is offline  
post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-03-2009, 07:43 PM
Premier Cat
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Monroe, GA
Posts: 13,491
Re: Indoor Ferral?

Quote:
Originally Posted by valvesource
More advice would be appreciated........
Any ideas or techniques we can use to maybe get her to let us approach her?
Boy, do I have some ideas for you.

I foster ferals. I have fostered both kittens and cats. However, all the kittens were fostered/tamed indoors with a sort of complete immersion bootcamp sort of style that some people don't agree with. All of the feral adult cats were tamed outdoors with no restraints on the cat before they were allowed indoors, and many times I did TNR (trap/neuter/release) with them before I began trying to tame them. To date, every feral cat that I have fostered/tamed has become a calm, confident and loving housecat.

Kittens are the easiest to tame. As they get older, it becomes more difficult. As they reach adulthood, it becomes even more difficult to overcome these behaviors, but it CAN BE DONE.

With kittens and young cats, the oldest of which I began taming at 3mo, I place them in a large bathroom with food/water and a hooded litterbox. I also use a cat carrier lined with fluffy towels for their 'den' so they can 'hide' and feel safe when I am in there. I use my bathroom, shower and blowdry my hair with the kittens huddling in the carrier. This gets them used to louder noises and prepares them a bit for vacuuming. I give the kittens a few days with minimal interaction from me, other than to see to the necessaries.
After a few days, I begin my 'bootcamp'.
I have specific goals in mind and criteria for reaching these goals. I also have to respect the kitten/cat. This involves watching the kittens/cats carefully to see how they are tolerating my advances. I push myself onto them and evaluate how they are handling it, reacting and responding...changing my methods as the cat/kitten dictates, but I always strive to advance forward with accomplishments.
After a few days of them becoming comfortable with the bathroom, I begin to come in with food. My secret weapon is cooked/shredded chicken mixed with Cream of Chicken Soup, so it will stick in bite-size chunks to the ends of my fingers. I put some on the ends of my fingers and will sit and put my hand into the carrier. Of course, they hiss and try to shrink away...but in the end, they cannot resist the smell/taste of the chicken and will eat it off my hands. Eventually (1-3days) they will begin to come out of the carrier to eat what I offer, though I still try to offer it to the more reluctant kittens, too. I would like everyone to progress at close to the same rate.
Next I bring food, either chicken or tasty canned food in and set the plate on the floor near me and begin petting kittens. I don't dab hesitantly, I reach out and pet them firmly. If they dash off, or just move off a step or two, I wait until they come back into reach before I try to pet them again. Eventually, they want to eat more than they care about avoiding my petting hand.
Ater I've reached that stage, then I begin the "complete immersion". This is a technique that requires a bit of finesse. All you have to do, is watch the kitten to see how it is tolerating the method, and keep trying to advance it, little by little. I will pick a kitten up and place it in my lap with its' head facing my knees. I will lightly hold it by the scruff and with the other hand I rub it all over. Again, I am not gently hesitant, I pet and rub the kitten firmly, but not roughly. IF the kitten relaxed, I loosen my hold on their scruff and ruffle the fur at their neck to remove the memory of me holding them. If they want to get down, I let them.
My goal, is I don't want the kitten to run away from me. I want the kitten to know I will hold it, handle it, nothing bad will happen, it may feel good, and I will let it go.
IF the kitten does NOT relax, I will hold/handle it for between 5-15 seconds. Again, you need to watch the kitten to be sure you aren't over-loading them with more sensory input than they can handle. When I am done, I lift the kitten off my lap and set it away from me, close to the cat carrier. Usually, they slink right in, some moving fast, some slow. I would like it to progress from moving quickly away, to moving slower away, to a few steps and looking back at me until eventually they aren't worried at all about getting away.
It is important when handling a fearful kitten to recognize that it is frightened, but you have to push beyond their fright to show them that you can/will handle them without hurting them and they can trust you. Another trick with a fearful kitten, is after handling them I don't look at them to judge their reaction. They view direct looks as aggressive and that is too much attention for them to realize is focused upon them. I set them away from me and ignore them. I want them to know I handled them, and set them away and it was no big deal at all. This helps them to realize there isn't anything to worry about if I don't show any interest in them and eventually they become more and more comfortable with being handled.

With adult ferals, I just keep pushing the handling. I will pick them up and set them onto nearby, low surfaces like couches, chairs and beds. I hold them a little longer and longer each time I lift them. They wriggle and struggle, but I just keep moving inexorably and slowly and eventually they learn I will release them. Again, when I am done lifting them, I don't watch their reaction; it is no big deal. From there, I lift them to my lap to pet and handle them. As they get more comfortable, I will lift them to my chest to get them closer to my body and face. You must be very aware of the cat when progressing in this stage because it puts you face in a dangerous position if you have misjudged the cat, though usually they are only concerned with getting down/away and not with scratching/biting, but it is best to be aware of the possibility. Eventually, I want my cats accustomed to being pet, handled, picked up, hugged and kissed on their shoulders or head. Being allowed to kiss them on the nose is an ultimate expression of their trust in me.

I have two foster kittens right now that I trapped at my Dentist's office. They were considerably older than I was led to believe. They were about 3+mo old. I really had to work hard to bring them around. We reached a great turning point when they spent 2 days at the vet getting spayed and returned home with me. They realized they were somewhere strange and then came home to me, which they were familiar with, and they have progressed forward in such a leap after that experience that I am finally confident they are ready for the adoption process to find their forever homes.

Anyhow, I am sorry this was so long-winded, but I needed to show you a kind of over-view of my intense handling program for getting cats used to being handled.
Heidi



Heidi n Q is offline  
post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-03-2009, 08:05 PM
Premier Cat

 
Jeanie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 30,251
Send a message via MSN to Jeanie
Re: Indoor Ferral?

Valvesource, I would not try to go after Molly, but encourage her to come to you. Feral cats should be allowed to make the first move. She has come a long way, so you have done a great job with her. I would wait until she's really hungry, and then sit on the floor (or the couch, if she gets up there) and put a bowl or dish of her favorite food on your lap. I hope that she will eventually get hungry enough to sit on your lap to eat. Don't touch her, however. Everything has to be her choice. This takes patience, but it is what the experts (professionals) in the field recommend.

Make sure she is the first to touch, to rub up against you, and then still take your time. Make sure she has been rubbing against your hand for days or a week before you initiate contact. And back off, if you have to. Of course, this might not work, but I think that with patience it very well might. Taming a feral does not happen in weeks or months unless you are working with kittens. If you accomplish taming a true feral in a year, you've done very well. Some feral cats will never become house pets, so you can see how well you've done!

I wish you the best. Thank you for caring!




Jeanie

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


A dog, I have always said, is prose; a cat is a poem. ~Jean Burden
Jeanie is offline  
post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 02-03-2009, 10:00 PM
Premier Cat
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Monroe, GA
Posts: 13,491
Re: Indoor Ferral?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Heidi n Q
...[I use a] style that some people don't agree with.
Jeanie is who I meant when I stated that. She and I have previously disagreed about this exact same topic.
I would like to let you know that the experts she cited in that previous discussion absolutely DO use the methods I use. They encourage the use of food to get the felines close enough to touch and they also comment about when it becomes necessary to push the handling issue by forcibly (though gently) placing the cat on your lap and restraining it there for more intense handling sessions when the forward progress has become stagnant.

Certainly, you can use the "let the cat call the shots at every step" method but the results will be a very long time in coming and I doubt the cat would ever become truly comfortable with being handled by people if you go that route, because you would be waiting for the cat to become comfortable. What do you do with a cat who is comfortable keeping its' distance and won't progress forward? I feel there comes a point when we have to show the cat that cat/person relationships can be better. That is the goal I strive towards with my more intense handling methods and is also the time when the experts recommend pushing the handling issue with a feral who has progressed to a certain stage and stalled.

Even using my methods, results can still be a long time in coming. Here are two examples of my taming of completely feral adult cats: Malibu took me 5mo from TNR before she would let me touch her fur for the first time. Pretty took me 14mo from TNR before allowing me to touch her fur. Pretty was TNR'd in the winter of 2004 and she didn't progress to being comfortable spending time in the house until this past year, 2008, though she was coming in for short periods in 2007 and slowly progressed to spending more and more time indoors. So, she took almost 4yrs to turn into a calm and confident housecat.
I can tell you with confidence, if I had strictly used the 'let the cat call the shots at every step' method, Pretty would probably still be a shy, mostly feral outdoor cat not comfortable letting people near her. I think it is crucial for cat husbandry to be able to handle the cat, not just for the sake of handling and the joy of loving on a beloved pet, but to be able to evaluate body condition to spot/feel weight loss in the early stages and get the cat treated quickly, in addition to being able to treat the cat when necessary.

I absolutely agree with letting the cat call the shots at every step for handling a brand-new-to-people feral. However, IMO, once the cat has become tame enough to live in the house and allow interaction and contact (like your cat does) I feel it is time to move forward and the time for letting the cat call the shots is passed and it is now up to you to show her there can be a much more satisfying relationship with being comfortable around, and handled by, people.

Ultimately it is up to you to evaluate your cat, to know what she will and will not tolerate, and use whatever consistent methods work for you and her.
Best of luck,
h



Heidi n Q is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page



Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome