Have you ever taken in a feral? - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-06-2014, 03:46 PM Thread Starter
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Have you ever taken in a feral?

I am curious if anyone ever has. I have in the past, but I didn't end up keeping him. I couldn't afford to. He was very hungry so I would offer him food on the porch. He would run and wait to come back to eat it. Eventually he started staying on the porch when I was.

One day he walked right in my house and was rubbing on my legs! Not sure what that was about. My friend ended up taking him in. She always says how hard it is to believe he was once so aggressive and scared of humans. He sits with her every morning when she drinks her coffee.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-06-2014, 05:47 PM
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I have a feral that I have cared for for almost 4 years. She was terrified of people for a long, long time. Eventually she would eat near my porch and then bolt. I would sit very still in a chair about 10 feet from her, she would hiss at me and belly crawl away after gulping her food in 4 bites. When I got close enough I could see that she was ear tipped and assumed she was spayed and had shots at one point. She was so terrified of people though.

Fast forward (almost) four years. My girl, Arwen, after much, much patience and earning her trust, she sleeps in my garage during the winter. She now loves my husband, almost as much as me, and my neighbors and their yellow lab. She follows them on their evening walk every night and rubs up against the dog as they walk. She likes no other dog besides this one. She will not let us pick her up, she will squirm away and bat at us if we try, but we can pet her, scratch her chin and ears. I adore her. She does not want to be inside, other than the garage, but she loves us and we just adore her.
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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-06-2014, 05:54 PM
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I meant to say also that I would love to take her in, however, I have 4 inside cats, all strays that have found me over the years. One of my males would dominate her and torment her, I know he would, she is very timid with other cats. I don't think she would want to stay inside, but I am not sure of her health. She gets colds and has times she won't eat well, and I have pondered with taking her in to see a vet, but I think it would kill her for me to put her in a cage and take her in. If she sees any truck that resembles the dog catcher, she belly crawls and hides and shakes all over. I can imagine how she would act if I trapped her. So I feed her twice a day, and offer my garage to her. I live in FL, so we have mild winters compared to what most people in other states have. She loves being outside. When it's nice, she has no desire to be inside the garage at all, she loves being outside. Still, I would love to have her inside safe with me.
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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-07-2014, 10:42 AM
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4 weeks ago I moved a feral inside. I have been caring for her and a colony of 8 the past 3 years. The owner of the property they lived on began trapping and removing them about a year ago and she was the only one left of the group. We had them all tnr'd, built shelters, and fed them twice daily. With winter coming and her being the only kitty still there I decided to bring her inside. Although I was able to pet and handle her for the past 2 years outside it seems I will have to re-build the trust she showed outside. She seems content to be inside however stays in a bathroom and spends a lot of time in the cat carrier I brought her in with. If I try to pet her she swipes at me and has scratched me a few times. I can see this is going to be a long process and require much patience so I am hoping for the best.
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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-08-2014, 10:45 AM
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I took in a feral that I had been feeding for a year. We have very cold winters with alot of snow, so after a year I decided to take her in. We trapped her, took her to the vet in the trap, had her all checked out, and brought her home to a room we had already made for her. It took a long time for me to even be able to pet her, this after sitting on the floor for about 4 months just talking to her. Previously she had no contact with people. I now can pet her all over while sitting on the floor, she has the run of the house now, but still prefers her room. I can't pick her up, but she is getting more and more comfortable with us. It will be 3 years this coming August that we took her in. It is a very long, time consuming process, but it is worth it to see how far she comes. I am hoping in time (maybe years), that she will be comfortable with people. I am just happy now that she is safe, and warm inside. I still sit with her in her room about 5-6 times a day, continually working with her. I did not push her, I let her go at her own pace. I didn't want to do anything that would ruin her trust.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-08-2014, 04:47 PM
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3 of my 6 cats are feral colony ex-pats, and I've taken in quite a few others that I've socialized and then found homes for. It comes with the territory when you're involved in TNR and cat rescue. I enjoy socializing adult cats, despite the fact that it's often a very slow and time-consuming process. A lot of cats seem to respond quite well to my energy, and I have a lot of patience for fearful, distrustful kitties. It's not something that everyone is good at, and tough love and sticking to your guns is as important as patience and understanding--you have to know when to push a cat out of their comfort zone and when to back off, and that can be kind of a fine line. I generally don't recommend that people take in a feral with the intention of socializing and adopting it out, unless they are 100% aware of the fact that there is a very real possibility that they may end up with a cat for life--and potentially a cat that isn't especially friendly--and are well equipped and prepared to deal with that. Luckily for me, the kitties I've socialized have all adjusted really well--even the ones I've ended up keeping.

Proud people-mommy of Galileo, Dante, Cosette, Autumn,
Ramona & Choco-cat (and foster kitty, Poe).

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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-08-2014, 07:17 PM
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try to pet her back while she's eating. That is how I train the ferals that comes to eat after I TNR them. The females takes a bit longer to earn your trust then the males. But when she's eating, pet her back but watch to make sure she doesn't turn around and try to bite you. Once she's accustomed to that then try the head. Best of luck to you.

Last edited by marie73; 12-28-2014 at 07:03 PM.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-20-2014, 02:32 PM
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We took in our female "Shadow" a bit over a year ago, after she had a litter in our garage. Like others here, took her in the live trap to the vet, spayed & released. We fed her out back for a little while, then when the cold weather hit, gradually got her inside thinking she would've survive the cold & the busy road. Couldn't get near her for quite a while, but now she's very affectionate & loves being petted by me. She's extremely timid, and is learning to tolerate my husband, especially for food
She's not good about being picked up, I'm working on that one. And carriers are a challenge -- I have a thread in the Behavior section titled "Cat Carrier Disaster". She's worth it though, I love my girl!
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-20-2014, 09:53 PM
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I took a 6 mo old feral in (given to me by a TNR gal, 3 days after trapping...another story). I've had him about 6 years now. This year he has finally begun sleeping in our bed between us most nights. So he was doing everything except lap sitting! For a longa time now he would let me pick him up & put him on my lap but he would remain sitting upright in " stiff cat" posture, and now him stay long, only while I scratching him. Had to have dental procedure...cleaning plus pulling 7 teeth recently. When he got home he was of course very anxious and constantly looking around. He let me pick him up & put him in my lap, and let me lay him down, and he stayed that way for a long time while I petted & talked to him. He has done this a couple of times now. He also for the first time came out & really circulated with guests we had the other night, even getting up on a table beside one & peering at him closely. I sort of wonder if he saw other cats at the vet the other day, during his recovery, being petted and held or something. Such a sudden change I can't figure it out.
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 12-28-2014, 10:35 AM
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Janis, this change also happened with my little feral also after coming home from the vets. She had dental work done also, and when she came home while I was sitting on the floor she immediately climbed into my lap. She had never done this before. Well, she has now been in my lap (while sitting on the floor) ever since. I think she was sooo scared at the vets that she welcomed coming home!!, and felt safe with me at home!!
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