How Do I Know If Shes Really Feral - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-04-2010, 07:12 PM Thread Starter
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How Do I Know If Shes Really Feral

About six months ago, in the middle of typcial Arizona heat, a beautiful young black kitty started hanging around the yard. She was very skittish and I assumed she was a feral.

However, in the last 2 months or so, she comes by to be fed, rubs up against me, and I can pick her up and get lots of paw flexors. Shes a sweet cat that will prance her paws when she sees me and will even come running when she hears my voice.

I'm a single guy with 6 kitties (shelter cats and one feral) and hate to take on another kitty, especially if shes feral and will never fully integrate into the general cat population in my house.

How do I know if shes feral or was dumped at some point. It certainly seems likes shes had human contact but I don't know for sure.

What do you all think?

Input very much appreciated!!!


(I trapped and integrated a feral kitty into the house a year or so ago and, although its clear shes very very comfortable around me, she still avoids being touched. If she ever got sick I'm not sure I could snag her to even take her to the vet. I'm very cautious about bringing another feral into my home.)

Last edited by valvesource; 12-04-2010 at 07:14 PM.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-04-2010, 09:08 PM
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If you can catch the new kitty, and take her to a shelter or vet, ask if they would just scan for a microchip (I would assume this would be free, but with some places, ya never know).
Alternatively, if you don't mind taking care of her, just have her be an outside cat? Set up a shelter to be warm at nights (or cool in summer days) and feed her. I take care of a small colony of ferals, and while they're technically "unowned", I consider them mine anyway.

I can understand about not touching a pre-feral. Paizly still doesn't like me handling her. I can pet/stroke her, but that's about it. One feral I recently helped was also like that...perfectly content to lounge around on the couch and watch me, but I could never touch her. Had to set the human trap inside my bedroom, when it came time to take her for spaying. Then when I released her after recovery, I just opened the front door and she went outside on her own. Ironically, now she'll let me pick her up and snuggle sometimes, when I go out to feed! And her sister, who I used to be able to cuddle with, now won't even let me touch her since she got released. Kitties are so strange!
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-04-2010, 09:42 PM Thread Starter
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I don't necessarily mind taking in another one as an inside kitty but if it turned out to be feral and won't fully would be tough.

Its hard to believe shes a life long feral as shes so willing to picked and does the paw flexors.......etc etc.

Also, as long as shes been roaming around, if she hadn't been spayed, I would think she'd have a litter by now.

Thanks for the input.

I'm trying hard to to want to save every cat that needs a home.

BTW - the cat in question is solid black and is a dead ringer for your Nebula!

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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-04-2010, 10:29 PM
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She sounds like a sweetie. I bet she's a stray turned semi-feral... Meaning it might not take much to get her to become a great pet, depending on her previous experiences with people and how long she's been out of contact with people. You've made a lot of great progress in the time you've been feeding her - two months isn't long (took my semi-feral a year to let me touch her, she's the best cat ever now) - it's your call, but I think she's worth a shot indoors if you think you are willing to take on another cat in your house.

Last edited by Carmel; 12-04-2010 at 10:33 PM.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-04-2010, 11:41 PM
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Nebbie actually has a bit of white. Couple spots on her lower chest and belly. Then a white smudge on her hip (you can kind of see it in the picture). That is how she got her name... all black, like outter space, with that little random 'cloud'. Her name was Lily when I adopted her, but she doesn't seem like a Lilly to me (not white, and certainly not lady-like/dainty!)

Another thing you could do, is post a "FOUND" ad in local lost and found resources. Be careful however, as lots of people will take advantage and try to get a free cat. If she will let you hold her, try to look for ANY kind of markings...usually black cats will have some white, even if it's just a few hairs on their neck, or something. Or if her eyes are a certain color (even just "yellow" has traits like bright yellow as to darker gold). Just don't put these details in the ad, only say "black cat, call for identification" and let the people tell you what the features are... if they get them right, they are most likely the true owners.
I don't know a good time to wait... probably no more than 6 months?

The last cat I "found" ended up being my ex-husband's! He lives in North Dakota now. Earlier this summer a tortie came to the door and was begging to be let in! So I knew she was a pet, and let her in. It was a Sunday, so all shelters were closed. That night I posted ads in the local classifieds (also asking for details, as her paws have a certain pattern), and called all the neighbors (of course the ones that didn't answer ended up being the one I needed!). In the morning I loaded her up to go take her to the rescue group I work with to see if there's a microchip. Then I noticed my ex's car in his parent's driveway - they live across the street and down 2 houses. This cat seemed like just the kind he would have, as he likes Torties... so I figured I'd take the chance and ask. Sure enough, it was his. His parents were supposed to take care of her while he's away, but she came over to my house since she recognized it as "home". I dropped her off... but the next day she was back again. I agreed to take care of her, as I didn't want her to keep crossing the street and risk getting hit by a car. I have to keep her outside, as I'm really not allowed to have any more cats. (and now it turns out that my husband's place won't allow cats I guess I'm stuck with her!)
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-05-2010, 12:46 AM
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I TNR and tame/socialize feral, semi-feral and poorly-socialized kittens/cats for public adoption or my own home. IMO, since she appears so comfortable with you and allowed you to pick her up so quickly (<2mo) I wouldn't consider her feral. Lost, confused and defensive at first, but quick to warm up once you gained her trust and she remembered being handled before whatever brought her to this outdoor situation and your notice.
I'd give her a chance.

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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 12-05-2010, 11:43 PM
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This cat is not feral. Most likely it has been dumped & abandoned. Since you & I are from Arizona we both know the odds of this cat surviving outside. If it isn't killed by a coyote or the heat or contracting FIV/FeLv or all the parisites from the soil, it most likely won't survive for very long. I urge you to bring this cat indoors. It will come around with a little work on building trust & with technics to remind it of it's socializing. You sound like a compassionate person with all the rescues you have.
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