Adopted a feral momma cat and her kitten - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-10-2013, 04:34 PM Thread Starter
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Adopted a feral momma cat and her kitten

So 2 days ago I adopted 2 outdoor kitties (they were indoor outdoor previously but due to parental rules at my house no more pets are allowed inside). Bailey is around 1 (my guess is just turned 1) and she came with her 9 week old kitten, Hallie. Bailey is quite feral. I currently have them both in a 400 foot empty turkey house, just until they are bonded to me and until Hallie gets a little bit bigger. Hallie does get supervised time playing in the grass and exploring. Bailey would too but she won't come near me. Whenever Bailey sees me she hides inside the engine of my truck. There's only been 2 brief occasions when she has been visible when I am around. And even then she sits right by the truck and if I move or talk to her she hides. She was eating treats yesterday if I tossed them to her but today she won't.
She wasn't a valued pet where she came from so I'm sure she doesn't know how to interpret my behavior. Before I got her she was called "the cat", kept mostly outside while her kittens were mostly inside, there were small children around her as well as 2 big dogs (and the dogs killed 2 of her kittens). And she was super young when she had her litter.
The first time I saw her picture I loved her and named her. Even though they are outdoor cats they will get a lot of attention, as we (me, my parents, and my fiancÚ) are outside a lot. Hallie doesn't need any work, she just needs to grow a bit before I'll let her roam unsupervised. Hallie loves people and playing. I do have 4 big outdoor dogs but they are good with cats (my puppy hasn't been around cats but she is super sweet and gentle and I know she'll do fine). When it gets colder my puppy is going to share the turkey house with them. We are going to divide it so that the cats don't have to be around my puppy if they don't want to be, and we're going to put a cat door in it so they can come and go.

I think I've rambled enough, lol. Any input would be greatly appreciated!
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-10-2013, 05:00 PM
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Wow, how sweet of you to take in this little cat family and take care of them. I also have a girl who was completely feral and over the past (almost) two years, she has blossomed into something I never imagined she would. The main thing is PATIENCE with her. Never make a move toward her, always let her approach you at her terms. That is what I did with Arwen. She was a cat that lived in my neighborhood for years, the neighbors guess she has been here for over 5 years, mostly eating from trash cans on garbage days, otherwise you did not see her, and if she did see a human, she ran. She finally worked up the nerve to eat some food I left her one day, and it turned into her returning daily for her food, and after months, she brushed up against my leg, but she would hiss if I made a move to pet her. After almost 6-8 months, I could pet her head a bit. Now two years later......I can pet her all over, and she even now allows my husband to pet her the same as me, and one neighbor lady that lives near me, she will also allow to pet her. It is amazing. She is already fixed, so she can't have kittens, and her ear is tipped....something that was already done when I found her.

I would highly recommend you finding a way to trap this cat and get her spayed, otherwise you are going to end up with a continuing pet population that will grow and grow. Maybe you can befriend someone at a cat rescue group, who can help you trap her? If you are successful in trapping her, have her ear tipped, so all will know that she is spayed.

I think you are doing a great thing. You have a nice outside place that you can make a place for her to get shelter. I'm not sure where you are, but if it is very cold, people here can tell you how to make a feral shelter with some hay and a rubbermaid container, or it sounds like you may have a nice place she can have shelter in during the winter. She will come around, I promise you, but it takes so much time and patience, and never, ever rush it. Even now, I can pick Arwen's front legs up, but I cannot lift her up off the ground, she will freak and run, so there is only so much she will allow. Your feral kitty may never allow you to touch her, or she could come around to where you can pick her up, but just don't try that or rush it with her, you could end up VERY hurt. Just be patient and she will come around, and she will love you for taking care of her.
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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-10-2013, 11:08 PM
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AWW, thanks for helping them!
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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-11-2013, 09:22 AM Thread Starter
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Thanks for the advice!
I have been just sitting close to the truck and focusing on Hallie so that Bailey will see that I'm not the enemy. I bought a few cans of wet food that I'm going to set halfway between me and the truck and see if that entices her.
As soon as i have the funds (1-3 weeks) I am going to get her spayed (and Hallie if she is old enough) as well as getting them examined, tested, and have their shots done, as well as microchipping.
Even though Bailey is feral and outside she will never be treated like "the cat" again. She is a much loved pet and I'm committed to working with her and getting her as comfortable with people as possible.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-11-2013, 10:03 AM
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It's wonderful that you've decided to take in these 2 girls!

Quote:
Originally Posted by howsefrau32 View Post
I think you are doing a great thing. You have a nice outside place that you can make a place for her to get shelter. I'm not sure where you are, but if it is very cold, people here can tell you how to make a feral shelter with some hay and a rubbermaid container, or it sounds like you may have a nice place she can have shelter in during the winter.
I agree with everything howsefrau said, except I'm going to point out that it's important to make sure that you use straw, not hay, for the interior of winter cat shelters. The terms Hay and straw often get used interchangeably, but they're different things. Hay is made up of mowed, fresh grasses and legumes, and is produced as animal feed; the Alfalfa that you get at the pet store for small animals, such as rabbits and guinea pigs, is a good example. Straw is composed of the dry, hollow plant stalks of crops that have previously been harvested. Hay will get moldy much more quickly when exposed to moisture and humidity than straw will.

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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-12-2013, 10:30 AM Thread Starter
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Good point about the straw!

Well I haven't seen Bailey for 2 days now. I set wet food by the truck and walked away and sat quietly, no luck. I tried to look and see if I could see her in the truck but I couldn't. I'm going to try and convince my parents to let me bring Hallie inside while I put a live trap in the turkey house with some cat food. Once I trap her I will move the truck into one of the other turkey houses (we have 3). I'm trying not to get frustrated, but it's hard. I'm fairly convinced that Bailey will take off when I let her out to roam, so I am debating getting another kitten, a non feral one, so that Hallie will have a playmate and won't be lonely if and when Bailey takes off. Before I let her roam I will take her to the vet and get the works done. Testing, an exam, shots, spay, microchipped, and her ear tipped.
Of course I hope that Bailey stays, I love her and feel bad for her. She wouldn't be like this if I had her from the get go.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-12-2013, 09:00 PM
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Thanks for setting me straight on the hay and straw, I am a dope, LOL! I actually didn't know the difference, but I think it's straw that I have bought before, and honestly, my feral didn't even go in the house I made for her But I live in FL, and she chooses instead to sleep under my neighbors shed when it's really cold, so that works for her. Otherwise, she sleeps curled up on my doormat.
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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-20-2013, 02:18 PM Thread Starter
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Well Bailey is starting to come around. The poor girl wants attention so badly but she's too afraid to be pet or held. I've managed to pet her once and she did the tail lift like cats do when they are happy but then she got scared and ran away. She follows us around and meows but like I said, she doesn't like to be touched.
I did get 2 more kittens, 2 tame 7-week olds and they all play together. The 3 little ones (the new ones, Lilly and Josie, and Bailey's kitten, Hallie) are all super social and love attention, pets, being held and played with, etc.
I'm hoping Bailey will continue to come around if she sees us interacting with the kittens.
They are all still confined to the turkey house. I dont quite trust the outdoor dogs yet. I think they would just try and play, but they'd probably play too rough.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-20-2013, 05:11 PM Thread Starter
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I just got back inside from spending time with the cats, and I got to pick up Bailey and hold her for about 20 minutes. She resisted at first but then she settled down and seemed to really enjoy being pet. I rubbed her neck and her back and gave her lots of scritches. Whenever I rubbed her neck she would close her eyes and turn her head to give me better access to her neck. She didn't let herself relax completely, and she did eventually jump off my lap and hide, but I could tell she was trying. I really don't think she had ever had any positive human interaction before.
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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 10-22-2013, 08:59 PM Thread Starter
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I've now been able to hold Bailey 3 days in a row now. She kinda freaks out for a second when I first pick her up but then she settles down and lets me pet her. She even purred while I was petting her today. She loves her neck and ears being rubbed. I let her get down whenever she wants. The longest she's stayed was 20 minutes, the shortest she's stayed was 5. She has a really bad case of ear mites so I got some medication today to treat them and I'm going to make an essential oils blend to clean her ears and make them feel better.
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