Elvis my foster kitten.. - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
 
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post #1 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-16-2014, 10:16 AM Thread Starter
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Elvis my foster kitten..

Elvis was approximately 8 to 10 weeks when captured outside on his own with the rescue I foster for - he was captured the DAY I called the rescue telling them I would be willing to take one more cat in. Fate? Maybe.. but who knows. I think he's trying to teach me something here...

I don't have much experience with trying to 'tame' feral cats, or however you'd call it. I would say he's 'semi-feral' since he does come out and about.

Let me just explain - I know I had kind of introduced him prior to this when I was last on here (I've been so busy and MIA - I apologize! and miss you girls!!)

Elvis was being kept downstairs in my 'foster room' with Thomas Omalley and Pookie, [Pookie has finally been adopted after having her since the end of June. I am SO happy for her!] Thomas and Elvis hit it off right away and they have kind of bonded together. Thomas is also a shy cat, he's a little skittish. Anyways - knowing that they are both nervous I moved them upstairs in my living room in a cage, so that they could get used to everyday sounds.

While Elvis was downstairs I could pick him up and hold him close to me, and love on him, and he was content and even purred, and he'd never fight me. Now that he is upstairs he won't allow me to really do this without a struggle. - When he was downstairs he only got out of the cage when he was in my arms, now that he's upstairs I block off my living room and dining room and let him hang in these two rooms with whatever ones of my kitties will want to hangout with them.. mostly it's my pumpkin Sampson who wants to play with Elvis and Thomas just kind of does his own thing. [I just recently even have left the gate down because they've been figuring out how to jump over it] They do pretty good. Our nightly routine consists of putting wet food in their cage and they end up going right in and eating/pigging out, and I lock them back out.

My main concern here is... I want to work with Elvis so he isn't so afraid of ME. I want him to not run away from me when he's out and about. I want him to feel comfortable to stay where he is, or to let me come over to him and pet him. OR better yet for him to come to ME! HOW HOW HOW?

I have no idea. I fed him wet food with my hands when he's in the cage, and he'll come up to me there.. when he's in the cage he doesn't run to the back of the cage when I open it or away from me. It's when he's out and about.

(Now - keep in mind; it's hard for me to do too much singularly when he's out and about because of my dogs & my other cats; but if I have to I can lock the cats up for a little bit of time in the bedroom while I work with these two)

I really also would love for him to not fight me tooth and nail when I pick him up and cuddle him (I know he likes it as I had previously gotten purrs out of him for this.)

I want to make him better & am hoping if Thomas ever gets some bites then I could persuade the person into taking his buddy Elvis. But Elvis needs to better himself for this, as well.

Danielle & the seven meowzers.
Eechy, Boogeyman, Sophie, Ramona, Luigi, Sampson & Henry.
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post #2 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-16-2014, 10:40 AM
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It sounds like he's still adjusting to the move upstairs. Do you have a small room you can confine him in just temporarily instead of the cage while feeding? If so, I'd try feeding him in there while you're sitting with him. Talk to him in a calm, soothing voice the entire time you're with him so he gets used to your voice. And just gradually get closer to him while he's eating. HE needs to be the one to make the move though. If you force it, you'll just scare him off. I swear with skittish cats, it's like a switch gets flipped one day and they trust you 100%. You just have to earn that trust and be patient!
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post #3 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-16-2014, 02:54 PM Thread Starter
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I've had him upstairs for awhile now, it's not exactly NEW to him, but he's I think really excited to hang out with his new friends and have some "freedom"..

I can feed him in the bathroom, though. How long do I do this before I should see him being more comfortable around me in the house?

I will start working on feeding him morning and night some yummy wet food in the bathroom, should I NOT make him eat from my hand in that case? Because he usually (when in cage) will gladly lick the food off of my fingers (maybe nom nom a little bit, too) -- would it be okay if I do this at night instead of both morning and night?

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post #4 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-16-2014, 04:04 PM
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I personally wouldn't make him eat from your hand. You could create a monster doing that and he may not eat any other way. Maybe just give him treats from your hand? Scout has never eaten anything from my hand, but most of my other cats have.

Does he play with toys? I know most ferals don't really seem to understand them, but that's something else you could try just to get some one-on-one time with you. It sounds like he's comfortable with you, just trying to figure out where he fits in? So I'd just work on trying to rebuild that bond you had with him.

Hopefully someone else will have some suggestions!
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post #5 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-16-2014, 04:16 PM Thread Starter
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Yeah - I'm really looking forward to hearing everyone elses opinions and advice too (no offense to you)

He hasn't really been a huge fan of treats so far.
He does play - but its mostly with his (now)kitten friend Sampson (MY kitten - and last foster failure for awhile) he doesn't exactly play with toys with me or anything, I try to play string toys with him but he just won't do it, and I think it's because he doesn't want to get that close. I can play with the laser with him though, that's about it.

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post #6 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-16-2014, 04:30 PM
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Maybe get some of the flying cat teasers? The ones I have have a 3' claion (pole) & a 2' string (they are made for savannah cats, so they are longer than most).

I use the Hyflyer teaser attachment (it replicates a real bird flying) and my cats go BONKERS over it. I tried the "neked" variety of this particular teaser and for whatever reason it doesn't fly as well as the blue feathered one, I won't get anything but the blue ones again.

We also got one of the sherpa and the rabbit ones too .. those tore up WAY too easy though lol.

Here's the Kittens 3 playing with it .. as you can see, it's like kitty crack!

If I get this out (I have to hide it, or they will tear apart whatever it's on/in to get at it) it gets EVERYONE's attention lol. They know where it is too (in my coat closet) and if I head towards the door, they're all hot on my heels. It's hilarious!
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post #7 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-19-2014, 01:47 PM
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If I suggested this before forgive me ahead of time. But these tips have worked for me!

https://www.catforum.com/forum/56-fer...boot-camp.html
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post #8 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-19-2014, 03:47 PM
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Ferals or semi-ferals are so rewarding to work with once the switch flips, as emilyatl said. If Elvis is getting along well with Thomas, try working with them together. Sometimes a shy cat seeing that another cat is okay with something is enough to convince them too. I've got 4 in my garage right now, two who are very friendly and the other two who are more shy. The friendly ones run right up to me and after a few weeks now, once the friendly ones start purring, the shy ones know it's "safe" to come out and be friendly also.

I also agree that he's still unsettled from the move upstairs. It takes cats a while to adjust to things and forcing them doesn't work. As far as he's concerned, he may as well be in a whole new house when you moved him upstairs and essentially you need to start over as though you were a new owner. (It's not a bad thing at all that you moved him, as that will happen anyway once he's adopted, I'm just trying to put you in his mindset.) It could be a few days for him to calm down again or it could be weeks...it's up to him, and you'll just have to read his body language to tell where he's at. Can you try to make the new (even though it's been a while) upstairs space more familiar? Did he have a favorite toy when he was downstairs? Or a special sound you made for him, or a certain blanket he always slept on? Anything you could bring to him that would make upstairs feel more like the downstairs space he was comfortable in?

Also work him up to being picked up gradually. Can you cuddle with him while he's on the ground? Does he tolerate that at all? How about having his ears scratched? If he's liking those things, perhaps then pick him up and put him in your lap while you're sitting on the ground, so he's only a few inches from the floor and still standing on his own. After that, can you pick him up and cuddle him while you're sitting down (so he's 2 feet off the floor instead of 5). Baby steps Good luck! He'll get there.


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post #9 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-21-2014, 07:43 PM Thread Starter
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When he is out and about there is no even getting NEAR him. He's been upstairs longer than he was downstairs at this point. :\ He didn't really have much freedom while downstairs and he has a lot more freedom up here which I know he is enjoying. I am just unsure on how to get him to be okay with coming up to me or even letting me come to him.

Danielle & the seven meowzers.
Eechy, Boogeyman, Sophie, Ramona, Luigi, Sampson & Henry.
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post #10 of 10 (permalink) Old 01-23-2014, 01:44 AM
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Him coming up to you is less threatening than you walking up to him, so start with getting him to come to you. Treats? Baby food? Favorite toy? Something to make him come to you, but which he still initiates. If he's that nervous upstairs, I'd say consider it like you're starting completely over with him, from the beginning and just work back up to the bigger things like cuddles.


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