Socializing Heck - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-15-2015, 01:54 PM Thread Starter
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Socializing Heck

A quick follow up: Almost two years later, Heck is now a sweetie.

It took months of resisting making eye contact. Every morning I'd spend fifteen minutes letting her see me play with Heaven in front of her. After a couple months, she began to inch down the cat tower and take tentative swipes when the toy on a string would pass near her. Eventually she got brave enough to hop down from the tower to pounce the toy before rushing back up the tower to hide again. A few more months, and she now comes down and plays freely and doesn't mind eye contact.

After about a full year, she began to accept being picked up for petting and brushing. After enough of that, she decided I wasn't a threat as long as I'm sitting at my desk. She even jumps up on the desk on her own if she needs some attention. Coworkers have gotten used to hearing her purring through my headset microphone during conference calls. She seems to have figured out that when I put the headset on for a meeting, my hands are about to be free for petting.

Previously, I had put the cat food in my office. Now I put it in the kitchen so Heck has to venture out of the room in order to eat. I have to be sitting in the kitchen in order for her to come out and eat, but it's an improvement. Previously she wouldn't venture out of the office at all while I was awake.

Almost every morning for the past few weeks, she now brings me a toy mouse when I go into my office after breakfast. She makes soft chirping mews until I brush her out and give her a few treats, which is incredibly cute.

Both cats still scatter whenever I stand up. They're terrified of being on the ground when I'm standing. But they join me when I'm sitting at the computer or on the living room couch. And when Heck scatters, if it's evening she goes up the cat tower to the post nearest the door. She's figured out that she can usually get a few extra caresses from me when I pass by on my way to bed, which always elicits a strong purring.
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-15-2015, 02:12 PM
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I think you're doing a great job. You've only had days, not years. Look at the progress - Heaven is social!

I like the idea of the safe kitty-bed - and no looking. I think Heck's watching your face - watching for the next move, the next big threat, she's trying to read you. The fact that you work at home is a great thing, you're there and fairly still a lot of the time.

I also am working on a feral, only mine's an outdoor adult neutered male. It's been a few years, and he's very shy, but I can pet him when it's dinner time and even pick him up, but not hold him for long. He does purr now. I'm the first person he's allowed to touch him. He's afraid of my wristwatch - it's metal and if he catches sight of it he's gone. Does it remind him of the trap??? So I remove it before trying to pet him.
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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-15-2015, 02:59 PM Thread Starter
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For context, I think a mod moved this. The first post here was originally a (admittedly very late) follow up on this thread from 2014:
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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-15-2015, 07:50 PM
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I have no clue how I managed to respond to a 2014 post, the original came up as "new" when I searched for New Posts. Glad that things worked out. Delighted to read the update.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-25-2015, 12:48 AM
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I read your original post about Heaven and Heck. Wow, this is a testament to your patience and perseverance! It has to be so rewarding to hear her purring and to see her asking for pettings and bringing you toy mice.

They may never get over their skittishness though, and it won't have anything to do with you. I adopted my Celia in Jan 2002 when she was approximately 1.5 years old. As far as anyone could tell, she was never abused, and she has to be one of the most spoiled kitties in the universe. And yet...she still runs from me if I walk towards her too quickly, if my step is too heavy, if I raise my voice...We have been together for FOURTEEN years, for crying out loud, and still, if I make a sudden movement, she's gone. She even bolts off my lap if I sneeze.

Some of them are just like that...
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 10-25-2015, 04:53 AM
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Its so lovely to see this update. That is has taken a lot of work and patience and love to get to this but it must feel so rewarding. This is thread that could give lots of people so much hope that time and patience can get results.
I need to look back now for any photos of them both
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