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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-31-2009, 01:52 PM Thread Starter
 
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Silent Feral Cat, Now Meowing

About five years ago we started trapping and spay/neutering all the stray cats on our urban block. "Spot" was a large, mature and totally untouchable tom at that time. He was neutered about 3.5 years ago, but remained impossible to touch or handle. He is estimated at 7 to 8 years of age.

When we moved to a new state this past winter, we brought our two remaining TNR cats along, trapping Spot for the trip. They've adjusted to suburban life just fine, and Spot seems to have gotten less scared of us--he is almost always on the porch or in the yard, and he can be petted while he is eating, but not at other times.

In all the years we've known Spot, during which we've fed him 3 to 5 times per day, trapped him three times, and driven him for several hundred miles, the only sounds we've heard him make are hissing (at us) and yowling (at other cats he wanted off his turf).

Last week, I thought I heard him meow at me when I was in the front yard. But, I didn't see him do it, so I thought it might be some other cat I could not see. But this morning, he was alone on the back steps looking in at me in the kitchen, and he very clearly meowed.

Has anyone had a formerly silent feral start meowing after years of silence? Is it possible he just finally came around to seeing us as friends, after 5 years of 3 to 5 meals a day?

Thanks!

Mia
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-31-2009, 03:32 PM
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Re: Silent Feral Cat, Now Meowing

Welcome Mia, and a big "Thank You" for doing what you can for the ferals. I also trap, tame and socialize cats and kittens for adoption. I've only had one adult go through the adoption center, the other adults remained our own house cats.
Pretty was my most challenging cat to tame from completely feral. I TNR'd her in late 2004 and it took *years* of working with her to get her to the points of me touching her (14mo from TNR to 1st faint touch of her fur by my fingers), petting her, putting her on my lap, lifting her to set on chairs, letting her indoors, indoors overnight, picking her up and holding her and in the last 6+mo or so, my husband has been working on socializing her to men and doing a great job. She was silent for a very long time, and I'd say that since my husband began working with her, her eyes have gone from 'wide' to 'relaxed', will remain sleeping when we walk in/through a room and she will play and meow to us for attention, even jumping ON us and walking all over us, even the husband.
...so, yes, I do think that when ferals finally decide that we are "okay", they give themselves to us with all they have... Sounds to me like your Spot has decided you're finally "his" and he is meowing to let you know. Good job!
heidi =^..^=



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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-31-2009, 05:55 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Silent Feral Cat, Now Meowing

Thanks, Heidi!
I'm glad to hear it's happened with others. I've seen younger feral cats progress toward becoming friendly pets, and we've turned around many a hissy kitten, but I guess because of his age and the determined way he avoided everyone for years, I just never thought he would change so much.
About doing TNR, I was so happy to do it. I was really sad about the constant kitten production, and it turned out that fixing two boys and four girls made our block kitten-free for the rest of the time that we lived there.
Bringing our two TNR cats with us when we moved was very rewarding. They were used to nothing but concrete, and now have a huge, tree-filled yard to call home. Every time I see one of them lazing in the sun instead of dodging traffic, I feel really happy for them.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 08-31-2009, 07:25 PM
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Re: Silent Feral Cat, Now Meowing

Quote:
Originally Posted by MiaP
Every time I see one of them lazing in the sun instead of dodging traffic, I feel really happy for them.
This made me smile so big! You're awesome!
I should point out that I feel one of the mitigating factors in The Taming of the Pretty Green Eyed Kitty, was we lost her constant companion (Dusty) just after the 1st of the year. Pretty was never far from him and wasn't much interested in us or the other cats, only Dusty. After we lost him so suddenly, Pretty was all-of-a-sudden alone AND two tomcats took over Dusty's territory and I couldn't allow her or my other former feral back outside, so they've been home-bound for the last 6mo. This is also the time my husband began to 'work' with Pretty, trying to gain her confidence and he is now one of her favorite things. We both feel, that without the loss of Dusty, that Pretty probably would have always remained an 'aloof' cat.



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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-01-2009, 02:29 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: Silent Feral Cat, Now Meowing

Hmmm. Losing part of his colony may have been part of it for Spot, too. They were originally a group of three, but the female in the group, who had kittens with Spot once, died (or was killed) a few days before we moved. Maybe between that loss and the total displacement of his physical world, he started to re-evaluate.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-01-2009, 03:16 PM
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Re: Silent Feral Cat, Now Meowing

I think that could be it. I mean, it certainly sounds reasonable. Part of my working with socializing cats is just showing them consistently that I can be trusted and counted on to be there for them, every day. With my last two ferals I trapped and worked with for adoption, they were *very* difficult because I think they were around 5mo old when trapped, and not the young/easy 3mo old I had first been led to believe. I didn't really gain their full trust until I took them to the vet for spaying and they stayed there for 3 days. When I brought them home, it was like the last of the walls came crashing down; I had cared for them and then they were at that 'scary place' and then *I* brought them back to where I had been caring for them for so long and it was like they finally realized I was "the good guy" and the transformation of their attitude was complete and we moved forward smoothly after that.
Sort of similar to Pretty and her Dusty. She wasn't interested in anything else, until we lost Dusty and then she *had* to take us and the other cats into account.



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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-04-2009, 03:43 AM
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Re: Silent Feral Cat, Now Meowing

What inspiring story of Spot. My admiration goes out to you for all you done for the feral kitties and mr Spot. I love hearing feel good stories. It inspires me to keep up the efforts for all the feral kitties out there who need our help and devotion.
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