Taming Ferals - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
post #1 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-23-2012, 11:33 AM Thread Starter
Jr. Cat
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 65
Taming Ferals

Two days ago we trapped two feral kittens from our backyard. They are on the older side for taming, but we've decided to give it a shot. My best guess on age is 7-10 weeks. Most groups say its difficult or impossible after 8 weeks. I'm encouraged that we are able to touch them and pick them up. There's still a little hissing, but not a lot. I can pet both of them, but one of them I can pet a lot and he seems comfortable. I won't say they're happy, but they're not going crazy either. Any thoughts?
Skater is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-23-2012, 11:58 AM
Cat Addict
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Middle East
Posts: 2,657
Those aren't ferals but strays if they let you anywhere near.

I'll speak only for myself, but there are no words to express the immense satisfaction of rescuing strays.

Good for you to do this for them!

The Royal von Meouw Dynasty: His Royal Highness the late Prince von Meouw,
Her Royal Highness Princess Gatita von Meouw, Nikita Duchess of Meouw and
His Highness Cuchi-Cuchi, next in line for the throne of Prince von Meouw.
Straysmommy is offline  
post #3 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-23-2012, 12:09 PM Thread Starter
Jr. Cat
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 65
I'm feeling nervous because there are some opinions out there that they are not tameable and that we are being cruel to bring them in to try it. I figure if there is no progress in a couple weeks, we'll re-evaluate, but its worth a try. We were able to feed and pet them this morning. They were a little hissy, but they're not jumping around or biting us.
Skater is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #4 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-23-2012, 12:28 PM
Senior Cat
 
minikin44's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 812
I don't think you're being cruel at all! Even if they're never lap kitties they have a safer, better life inside and will adjust to your presence.
minikin44 is offline  
post #5 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-23-2012, 12:44 PM
Cool Cat
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Posts: 1,378
Quote:
Originally Posted by Straysmommy View Post
Those aren't ferals but strays if they let you anywhere near.
But surely cats were originally feral before (as one show put it) they domesticated themselves. I suspect they know cat people when they meet them. I think they also watch humans carefully and notice how other cats respond to kindness.

JusJim
jusjim is offline  
post #6 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-23-2012, 01:32 PM
Cat Addict
 
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Middle East
Posts: 2,657
With all due respect, what utter BS!!!! I adopted 3 adult strays, well beyond 2-3 years of age, and they're lap cats. And all the other adults, if I adopted them, would be in bliss, poor things. Ferals are cats that don't let you even see them, let alone pet them. I bet yours were born in a home and dumped.

Jusjim, yes of course, but I'm going by the American definition, ferals = born from stray/feral mother (you don't see them, even. They come feed when you're gone.), stray = dumped or born from stray mother (they usually play hard to get for some time and often end up as lap cats).

The Royal von Meouw Dynasty: His Royal Highness the late Prince von Meouw,
Her Royal Highness Princess Gatita von Meouw, Nikita Duchess of Meouw and
His Highness Cuchi-Cuchi, next in line for the throne of Prince von Meouw.
Straysmommy is offline  
post #7 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-23-2012, 02:16 PM Thread Starter
Jr. Cat
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Posts: 65
Well, these are definitely feral kittens born to a feral mother. I don't want to sugarcoat the fact that we're doing something hard (and hopefully not foolish). There are so many opinions out there, but I have a friend who has successfully tamed feral kittens (even older ones) with lots of time and patience. I am also currently fostering a litter and their Mom through a rescue group. The two feral babies are in a separate room in a big cage.

I'm feeding them periodically and keeping my hand in the cage very close to them while they're eating. I'm also petting them. One is more skittish than the other one, but like I said, we are able to pet both of them. There is some hissing, but no biting or scratching yet. (Sorry I'm being redundant - I think it makes me feel better to write this all down). They have also both been held on a lap a few times. They don't love it though. I'm also leaving a radio on all the time in their room, so they can get used to voices.
Skater is offline  
post #8 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-23-2012, 03:48 PM
Cat Addict
 
Carmel's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: BC, Canada
Posts: 2,944
Quote:
Originally Posted by Skater View Post
I'm feeling nervous because there are some opinions out there that they are not tameable and that we are being cruel to bring them in to try it. I figure if there is no progress in a couple weeks, we'll re-evaluate, but its worth a try. We were able to feed and pet them this morning. They were a little hissy, but they're not jumping around or biting us.
Not at all. Cats have been tamed at far older ages than this!! My cat Blaze was a feral kitten, he became the biggest lap cat around with a little effort. He's not without his issues, but he's very loving to the people he knows. Blacky was a semi-feral (used to be owned by someone, as she's spayed, but reverted to a feral state)... she took a year to let me even pet her. Currently, she's sleeping on my lap, and sleeps on my legs at night, and follows us around on walks. And in general is awesome and laid back although 100% indifferent to strangers (or even people she knows, besides my father and me).

Anyway, I'd say the kittens have a great chance to become tame with enough effort. Even adults can be tamed, but you'd have to give it more time the older they are; and those ones may only be friendly around the people that have tamed them.


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

Along with the dogs
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
and
To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
.
Carmel is offline  
post #9 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-23-2012, 04:23 PM
Cat Addict
 
librarychick's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2008
Location: St. Albert, AB, Canada
Posts: 3,223
Quote:
Originally Posted by Straysmommy View Post
With all due respect, what utter BS!!!! I adopted 3 adult strays, well beyond 2-3 years of age, and they're lap cats. And all the other adults, if I adopted them, would be in bliss, poor things. Ferals are cats that don't let you even see them, let alone pet them. I bet yours were born in a home and dumped.

Jusjim, yes of course, but I'm going by the American definition, ferals = born from stray/feral mother (you don't see them, even. They come feed when you're gone.), stray = dumped or born from stray mother (they usually play hard to get for some time and often end up as lap cats).
Straysmommy, sorry but it's you that's wrong. Feral KITTENS are different, and feral adults can become accustomed to people over time. An adult feral might never be 'domesticated' the way that people normally think about it, but they can build trust and relationships over time.

The fact that the OP stated in his first post that he trapped the kittens is a fairly good indicator that they were feral. If they were dumped you'd be able to catch them, feral kittens mean traps usually.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Skater View Post
I'm feeding them periodically and keeping my hand in the cage very close to them while they're eating. I'm also petting them. One is more skittish than the other one, but like I said, we are able to pet both of them. There is some hissing, but no biting or scratching yet. (Sorry I'm being redundant - I think it makes me feel better to write this all down). They have also both been held on a lap a few times. They don't love it though. I'm also leaving a radio on all the time in their room, so they can get used to voices.
OP, at the age you caught those babies if you put a lot of work and time into it you could easily get them to the point where they'd be considered adoptable by anyone.

You're already on the right track for sure, but I have a few tips that might help out.

You said you were holding them on your lap every day, that's perfect. While you hold the kitten gentle scratch behind their ears and rub them all over. If you have to forcibly hold them still then do that with one hand, while petting and caressing with the other. Pay close attention and when the kitten starts to relax relax your hold as well, but don't let the kitten jump away. I like to hold them either by the scruff (which is still safe at this age as long as you're careful), or if you're not worried about biting, with your thumb and fore finger around their neck and the rest of your fingers wrapping around their chest. This prevents them from escaping and they should learn to relax and lean in for cuddles quickly. If you can get them to purr and snuggle let them go and choose to stay or leave on their own terms. I never put a kitten down until it purrs though.

The other thing that will help the most is play time. Ideally you want something where you can sit in one place, move minimally, and have them playing around you to the point that they forget you're there. Laser pointers and wand toys work best. Either way this is something that should only happen when you're around. You want them to see you as the bringer of all things fun.

Once they will come up to you if you sit down on the floor you add more people. Take them into a room like a bathroom, or somewhere else with no places you can't reach them if you need to, and just sit or lie on the floor and let them explore you. Introduce them at first to one new person at a time, and have that person just sit calmly while you play with the kittens. As the kittens get more comfortable with that you can bring in two people at a time and give them toys. Make sure your helpers understand they have to speak calmly and not get excited or move quickly.

Good luck...and post pictures!
librarychick is offline  
post #10 of 18 (permalink) Old 10-23-2012, 04:50 PM
Cat Addict
 
Arianwen's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: South Wales, UK
Posts: 3,021
Sounds as if you are doing well and please don't think it's impossible. We have had ferals older than this that we have gradually won around and while they may always keep a feral streak, they can bond with a particular persone (or people) even if they remain elusive in the extreme with the wold in general.
Arianwen 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