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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-03-2010, 01:43 AM Thread Starter
 
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First time kitty owner- taming feral cat.

Hi! I have many questions and I would really love to get them answered......


I had a feral cat come and find a home in our barn (yes I do live in a city but it's older houses with... well barns) and it's in close proximity to our house. Long story short- she started out a kitten grew older and had kittens- I ALWAYS fed her on my porch which eventually got her to sort of trust me. The kittens are now older and I've gotten them tamed a lot easier and it has been successful for them. However, since the kittens have become mostly inside kittens she has started to come in as well to be fed. She is now fixed after having to trap her, but, things have made a drastic change I find rather surprising. She has started to become A LOT more trusting then she has ever been. She sort of allowed me to touch her head when I had her in her recovery cage for 24 hours. She no longer scampers quite as bad as she used to and even has gotten to the point where she comes in and watches me while I prepare the food(and yes, eats in the house!). Also, astonishingly she has begun to roll over on her back, exposing her stomach and do cute little movements on the rug and look at me while she does so. I read that that is the ultimate sign of comfort and trust - but this is where I get confused. She is still afraid if I approach her too closely, but only if I'm standing she'll sort of jump back or scamper a very short distance- if I sit or lay down on the floor she's perfectly calm and even look at me. However, on 'good' days when she feels playful she'll start to bat the toys I have around and even allow me to pet her paws.. or she'll touch and sniff me herself... but she'll still become frightened if I try to touch her anywhere else.

Should I just be patient since I've made such great progress? OR will this just remain the only amount of attention she will allow period?


On the other hand with her kittens-she sees me petting and holding them all the time and it seems to be opening her up more- and they love it now. Also, their at that age I need to spay/neuter them - but I'm a soft heart and worry that taking them to be fixed will be very traumatic and I will loose all the trust I've gained with them(I'll do it regardless because it's important tho...). Am I worrying over nothing? Since the mother seems to have forgotten her ordeal and has become more loving....


Didn't mean to spout so much for my first post! But, I really need some expert advice as this is my very first time even owning kitties. (I've known only dogs) It seems i've done pretty good so far though... ... any guidance will help.

Thank you so much!
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-03-2010, 02:10 AM
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Re: First time kitty owner- taming feral cat.

Awesome! I think I you!
Oh, my manners! Welcome to CatForum and thank you for bettering the lives of these kitties. I foster, tame and socialize feral, semi-feral and poorly socialized kittens and cats for a local rescue. Most of mine and my husband's personal cats are former ferals who were tamed as adults outside before they came inside our home.
It sounds like you have made remarkable progress with your girl! (what is her name?)
First, you are right ... her showing you her belly IS the ultimate sign of trust. I would just keep working slowly and steadily towards being able to handle her. It will take time, but it can be done. One feral (Pretty) took 4yrs to go from completely feral to a relaxed and confident housecat. In fact, it took me 14mo between TNR and the first time I was able to barely touch her fur at the food dish. My previous 'tough feral case' (Malibu) was 5mo from TNR to first touch.

As for the kittens and spay/neuter ... do it ... and I bet you will be AMAZED!
I have found with my fosters, especially the ones who weren't too sure of me by the time they had to go for the s/n, the time they spent in The Scary Place was a learning experience because *I* returned and brought them back to my familiar home. *I* was their rescuer who brought them back to where they had been feeling very welcomed and comfortable ....and after they returned to my home.... those last walls of reserve came CRASHING down and they accepted me FULLY and our socialization work moved forward by leaps and bounds. Because of the s/n experience and especially ... coming back to familiar me. Chances are high that it can be the same experience for them and you, too.

Best of luck with your crew! Piccies and names for all?
heidi =^..^=



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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-05-2010, 07:53 PM
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Re: First time kitty owner- taming feral cat.

I think you're making great progress. Some quiet time alone with her, some treats, a lot of patience, and some interactive toys will help immensely. It's best to allow a feral cat make the first moves. Just move the food closer and closer to you. When she rubs her head against your hand, she is telling you she is ready for more contact. Don't rush things, however; encourage her and build trust. Food, treats, and toys are very helpful.




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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-07-2010, 05:14 PM
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Re: First time kitty owner- taming feral cat.

She doesnt sound totally feral. Maybe semi feral. You are so kind to take on the care of she and her kittens. I have a cat which was dumped and became feral. He lived in my sisters neighborhood till I TNRed him. Its taken him 4 years to totally come around. Now he is 95% indoors and makes noises for us to come give him belly rubs and lovin'. But he still to this day flinches when I first make the move to love on him.

Its all about coaxing with touches, rubs, to gentlely push their limits to natural defensive behavior. I can tell she has decided to trust you esp since she has observed you with her kittens and your interaction. Its about moving slowly and gentlely, touching and eventually picking them up and letting them go so they can see you arent there to capture them. Talking to them as they eat, sending loving energy to communicate to them you will not hurt them.

Laying on her belly and playing are huge stride forward. I think she is coming around beautifully with you. Any pictures of your kitties?
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-11-2010, 05:30 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: First time kitty owner- taming feral cat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Heidi n Q
Awesome! I think I you!
Oh, my manners! Welcome to CatForum and thank you for bettering the lives of these kitties. I foster, tame and socialize feral, semi-feral and poorly socialized kittens and cats for a local rescue. Most of mine and my husband's personal cats are former ferals who were tamed as adults outside before they came inside our home.
It sounds like you have made remarkable progress with your girl! (what is her name?)
First, you are right ... her showing you her belly IS the ultimate sign of trust. I would just keep working slowly and steadily towards being able to handle her. It will take time, but it can be done. One feral (Pretty) took 4yrs to go from completely feral to a relaxed and confident housecat. In fact, it took me 14mo between TNR and the first time I was able to barely touch her fur at the food dish. My previous 'tough feral case' (Malibu) was 5mo from TNR to first touch.

As for the kittens and spay/neuter ... do it ... and I bet you will be AMAZED!
I have found with my fosters, especially the ones who weren't too sure of me by the time they had to go for the s/n, the time they spent in The Scary Place was a learning experience because *I* returned and brought them back to my familiar home. *I* was their rescuer who brought them back to where they had been feeling very welcomed and comfortable ....and after they returned to my home.... those last walls of reserve came CRASHING down and they accepted me FULLY and our socialization work moved forward by leaps and bounds. Because of the s/n experience and especially ... coming back to familiar me. Chances are high that it can be the same experience for them and you, too.

Best of luck with your crew! Piccies and names for all?
heidi =^..^=

That's good to know! Yeah I'm making a bit of progress every day she comes in to eat- the other day she touched me with her paws and I can kneel down infront of her when I play with her. 83 She's getting cuter about it too - still afraid to be touched but I try not to do it to much. Thanks for the reassuring words for the kittens- it'll help me relax at least.

I don't have pictures yet! Though i've tried- those buggers are hard to get clear pictures of when I thin of getting the camera.. but I'll keep trying. XD

The Names:

Mom: Started out calling her scooter (it was just kind of a joke) since she scooted every time I came out- but that's changing now- so I'm trying to think up a better name for her. She's a grey torbie. ^^

First Boy: Binkx. A black... I think part bombay. He's a small little playful guy that's fiesty.

Second Boy: Mortimer. Mink coat? I think- Tonkenese. BLUE EYE lovey cuddler. 83 He's the biggest cat though.. their only 8 months and he's twice the size of his mom. (though I think I've seen his daddy and his daddy is pretty big).

The only girly: Patches. Tortiseshell (black, red, gold, white) she's very sweet but can handle her brothers rough play. Pink nose and lips.. and the only one that knows how to vocal for the things she wants.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-11-2010, 05:34 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: First time kitty owner- taming feral cat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jeanie
I think you're making great progress. Some quiet time alone with her, some treats, a lot of patience, and some interactive toys will help immensely. It's best to allow a feral cat make the first moves. Just move the food closer and closer to you. When she rubs her head against your hand, she is telling you she is ready for more contact. Don't rush things, however; encourage her and build trust. Food, treats, and toys are very helpful.

Thank you for the advice. ^^
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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-11-2010, 05:39 PM Thread Starter
 
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Re: First time kitty owner- taming feral cat.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mitts & Tess
She doesnt sound totally feral. Maybe semi feral. You are so kind to take on the care of she and her kittens. I have a cat which was dumped and became feral. He lived in my sisters neighborhood till I TNRed him. Its taken him 4 years to totally come around. Now he is 95% indoors and makes noises for us to come give him belly rubs and lovin'. But he still to this day flinches when I first make the move to love on him.

Its all about coaxing with touches, rubs, to gentlely push their limits to natural defensive behavior. I can tell she has decided to trust you esp since she has observed you with her kittens and your interaction. Its about moving slowly and gentlely, touching and eventually picking them up and letting them go so they can see you arent there to capture them. Talking to them as they eat, sending loving energy to communicate to them you will not hurt them.

Laying on her belly and playing are huge stride forward. I think she is coming around beautifully with you. Any pictures of your kitties?
That's what I thought myself- the adoption center told me feral but since she was around us a lot I thought otherwise. Mine is that way too- it's so sad that's happened. I wasn't really expecting to become a kitty owner- but I couldn't bring myself to take them to the shelters since in my city they're all full and they would have been.... you know. SO I took them in- they were already at home in my barn. Four years? Wow, well I imagine that's how long it'll take with her but that's ok- i'm patient 83. I'll keep your tips in mind.
Thank you!
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-11-2010, 06:32 PM
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Re: First time kitty owner- taming feral cat.

Keep us posted, please!




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