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post #1 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-20-2015, 12:16 PM Thread Starter
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Yet another feral

It seems my fish pond attracts ferals simply as a source of fresh water. There is a new orange feral/stray coming around. The other ferals that come at night all run at the hint of a human, this guy comes to the door and looks in. (much like the feral I could not trap 2 years ago) I started feeding him and he lets me leave my hand next to the bowl while he eats. We never see him much, only at night and he never stays longer than it takes to finish the food. We know he is there because our 2 indoor cats want to kill him and will make sure we know something that doesn't belong is in the yard. I want to try a touch but am unsure what will happen. The goal would be to TNR or if he is calm, attempt to tame. Suggestions welcome?
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post #2 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-20-2015, 01:41 PM
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Fanwoodguy,
This is how Mr. Jazzy started out!
He just started showing up to eat, late at night, and at first he was very wary, and would back away a good distance from me, as I filled the dish, then I'd go into the house, and he'd come right in and eat...
This went on for a while...then I just started backing away from the dish, but not into the house, he still came in to eat, so I would just talk softly to him...
This went on for a while...
Then he started making appearances during the day! I'd put some food in the dish, back away, talking to him, he'd eat and leave...
Then we progressed to him sitting on one of my outdoor chairs, and spending the night curled up on it!
Then we had a late, nasty cold spell, so I turned 'his' chair into a cat house/bed setup, he was a little wary, but checked it out, and decided it met with his approval! So about another three weeks go by, and he's staying pretty close now...
The breakthrough came, when I was sitting in the other chair, one night, I'd filled his dish...here he came sauntering in, and greeted me with the raspiest meow I'd ever heard! AND...instead of heading for the food, came straight to me, and jumped up in my lap!! And he was purring up a storm!!
He was fully intact, and had been in fights...
However...it was also apparent, that at one time, he was owned...before he had to fend for himself, for who knows, how long...
He's my Black ghost tabby house cat, and he was so happy to be in by the fire, instead of only looking at it through the sliding door...
He and I have a Special bond, he's my head butt'er, curl up in my lap boy, and when he looks at me, he softens his eyes somehow...and transmits his love and contentment to me...I'm so happy he found me 'Cat Worthy'!
♡♡♡♡
In your situation, see how this boy does with just you talking to him, as you rest your hand on the dish....
If he doesn't spook, just try covering a little more of the dish with your hand, so he knows your hand is there, but it's not a threat to him, it will also tie your scent into a good thing, getting fed!
Kneeling or sitting will make you look smaller, and not so threatening...
If he's remaining calm, after a few nights of this, try moving your fingers, on the food dish, to give him a chin rub...
I think you have a very good chance with this one!
Wishing you all the best!
Sharon

"A Cat must have three different names:
An everyday family name; A particular name;
And the name but the Cat Himself Knows, and will never confess." T.S. Eliot

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post #3 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-20-2015, 03:58 PM Thread Starter
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Sharon, thanks for the response. One time he let me touch the back of his head with the spoon, the second time he tried to bite the spoon in half. I suppose whatever is going on before he gets to me sets the table for the response. He is sniffing my hand when I offer him treats so he knows the hand brings good things. My single clue is he has what I call "soft eyes". Very fearful cats always present with dilated pupils and the area around the eyes seem to stiffen. This guy never presents that way even in the face of the two hissing demons that hide behind me. I am just not certain I want to place the fingers near the teeth just yet. His body language is also not quite in the fight or flight mode. He is clearly nervous but not so much that he runs far. There is never a sound however, no purr, no rrorr, and the tail remains motionless, straight and low. So far with ferals in my lifetime I am 4 for 5. The last one was disappointing because I never caught or turned him. The others converted quickly and either ended up in nice homes or sleeping on my chest. If anyone else has anything I am more than willing to listen and learn.
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post #4 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-21-2015, 01:51 AM
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Fanwoodguy,
Just keep presenting your hand, with the treats, like you're already doing.
From what I've seen with ferals or just plain scared cats, any movement of a hand over them is a threat...
I've found that a hand offered lower than their head, is accepted much easier, that's why I suggested a chin rub with a finger to start...
As for being fine, one time with the spoon touching him, then not so much, the next time, it probably is because of whatever has transpired before getting to the food dish! Maybe he was extra hungry, and just didn't want to be bothered, or felt he had to guard the food...
It does sound like you have a good understanding of Cat Body language!
I'm Keeping All Paws Crossed for you and him!
Sharon

"A Cat must have three different names:
An everyday family name; A particular name;
And the name but the Cat Himself Knows, and will never confess." T.S. Eliot

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post #5 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-22-2015, 10:24 AM Thread Starter
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Well last night he was fairly calm except for wanting to taste my hand. Wasn't a bite so much as a nip, not sure what that was all about but we both scared each other when I pulled my hand back.
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post #6 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-22-2015, 11:16 PM
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Well, I've got All Paws Crossed for you and him!
I'll be following with interest, to see how you guys progress!
Sharon

"A Cat must have three different names:
An everyday family name; A particular name;
And the name but the Cat Himself Knows, and will never confess." T.S. Eliot

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post #7 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-24-2015, 11:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 10cats2dogs View Post
He and I have a Special bond, he's my head butt'er, curl up in my lap boy, and when he looks at me, he softens his eyes somehow...and transmits his love and contentment to me...I'm so happy he found me 'Cat Worthy'!
Sharon
That's so sweet. I know that look.
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post #8 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-26-2015, 08:33 AM
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Great adventure! I'm looking forward to "that look"! I have a long ways to go tho!
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post #9 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-26-2015, 08:43 AM
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Sounds brilliant progress!! Only aside is to ask if you are sure that he isn't just a nervous kitty who may have a local home? If you are sure, please try to get him. You sound a lovely match.
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post #10 of 25 (permalink) Old 04-27-2015, 01:01 PM Thread Starter
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Well he continues to show up around 10-1030 pm for a meal and again at 1 AM according to the critter cam. He and I are a bit wary of each other. Saturday he pawed my hand but kept the claws fully retracted. He apparently was very hungry and could not wait. Last night he was skittish, looking over his shoulder with every bite, not a good night to interact. He apparently returned much later because Buddy our indoor male was expressing his unhappiness with the presence of another male. This orange guy had a fairly large gash on his neck, with a large swath of fur missing. He seems to be healing. As far as being owned, I doubt it. He is an intact male for one and he is never out and about during the day. I would think an owned cat would have had that injury taken care of. That to me is the sign of a feral. Anyway I am reducing the food he receives for the next few days so that he is a bit hungry, then I will try feeding him in the trap with the door jammed open. If he falls for that, the trap will be set by the end of the week. Then it is off to the vet and into a very nice habitat I built. He will either warm up to people or be TNR'ed.
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