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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-08-2017, 05:02 PM Thread Starter
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Over Stimulated

I posted over a year ago about two ferals I had been trying to care for. I apologize greatly for the long delay! I completely ADHD'd out and forgot about this forum completely! Hopefully that won't happen again!

Here's the link for the original post about them. https://www.catforum.com/forum/56-fer...-2-ferals.html

So here's a very long update with some questions:

Maura disappeared. Every once in a while I'll see him back for a few days and then he's gone again. He's really feral, which is a bit sad as he was the one I could pet most easily when I first started feeding them.

Smoke, on the other hand, is still around. I was able to successfully trap and have her spayed at an organization about 30 miles from my house for only $20. This included pain meds for her, antibiotics for her, and a 2 year rabies vaccine. Right as I was saying "yeah we need to get her fixed soon" suddenly it turned in to a CAT PARTY at my house. There were at LEAST 10 male cats hanging around, and fighting, it was kind of scary and fascinating to watch. There was this one beautiful Maine Coon boy that was around and part of me was like "hey if they had kittens they'd be gorgeous. And he was running all the other cats off, except he had a friend he let stay around. One huge orange cat came around and they were butting heads and yowling at each other and then flying a good six feet in the air, slapping each other, landing, then back to head butting and yowling. So I just ran and bought a trap myself the next morning. The Animal Control kept saying they were going to loan me one, but after almost a month of waiting and then all the males hanging out I decided I'd better take matters in to my own hands!

So I caught her and took her in, when I went to pick her up that afternoon the attendant looked at me and said "The vet needs to talk to you before you can take her home." My heart sunk.. 'oh God what's wrong with her'

The vet said she had absolutely -NO- idea why the male cats were all at my house as Smoke was not going in to heat at all, she saw zero signs of that. What she did see was that Smoke had a massive infection in her uterus. She warned me that she may not recover from the surgery. She had to make a much larger incision to do the spay and she said that her uterus was literally falling apart when she touched it, any touch and it caused massive bleeding. She said normally she only says to keep a feral inside for a day or two, to make sure they can fend for themselves. She wanted Smoke inside for two weeks. Okay that was duable, she was set up in my garage with four comfy beds, a litter box, and food and water.

Before all of this I had been bringing her inside when it got really cold, and I had been to the ER three times for pretty bad bites from her. The attendant told me that she may stop doing that, that spaying tends to alter them some and she may have just been really cranky from being so sick.

I asked how old she was and the vet said she was probably "middle-aged" I am not sure what exactly that is for a cat, but I'm slightly skeptical as she has easily doubled in size since I started feeding her. The vet was really really nice though. She gave me her private cell phone number and told me to call day or night, if I needed anything while Smoke was recovering, and again warned me that she may -not- recover from this.

She called me every day for a week to check on Smoke. The biggest concern was her not using the litter box, she was eating and drinking, but after 48 hours she finally did so yay. After two weeks she was allowed to go back outside and she's gone in and out of the garage, weather depending ever since.

She has also become INSANELY what I'll call affectionate! She rubs against you, like insane amounts, constantly. She rubs against doors and the wall, the stove, even one of my labs. She does it to our housecat, Bobbi. At least until Bobbi gets ticked off and smacks her about it. Yes.. the feral is the annoying affectionate one out of the two...

The only problem we have is she still bites. And she doesn't bite like Bobbi will. Bobbi will just grab your finger and hold on lightly. No, Smoke will sink her teeth in to you. After some reading and observations I -think- what is happening is Smoke is getting over stimulated. So I had started only petting her a little bit, and then stopping, problem solved, right? Nope. I went outside a few months ago and was reading something on my phone. She ran up and started rubbing against my leg. I was in a bad mood so I said "Okay you just do that, I'm not petting you right now."

30 seconds later she suddenly just clamps on to my calf! I jump and yelled!" She jumps back, looks up at me, purrs, and starts rubbing against me again!!

I want to let her be a house cat, she -wants- to be a house cat. But I don't think we can let that happen until that problem is solved. I can't keep having her draw blood on me, and right now she runs from my 4 year old twins.. but that might not always be the case and I don't want them to get bit either! Any advice?

Here's some new pictures, by the way!

When I first started feeding her.

This winter.

Today. She doesn't even look like the same cat!

Last edited by marie73; 03-08-2017 at 07:19 PM.
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-10-2017, 02:50 PM
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With biters, it's often that the cat never learned to control its bite. They learn to do this and not scratch each other with their claws from 5-6 weeks of age to 12 weeks by wrestling and biting their litter mates and their mom cat who will often bop them on the head and then walk away, and ignore the kitten. This is a crucial socialization period for cats, which they learn good cat manners, body language. Gradually they learn that they have to play nice or no one will play with them. She may have missed out on this because she was taken away from her cat family too early.
You could try this the next time she bites, a firm "No Biting!" and then walk away, and shut yourself in the bathroom if you think she's going to come after you. When she is behaving well, always praise her with your voice and occasionally a treat, and hopefully she will make the connection that good things happen with gentle stroking (yes, don't overstimulate her) and being ignored isn't going to get her what she wants----which is attention! Never play with her with your hands. She could benefit from twice a day exercising with a fishing want toy like "Da Bird"---flick it around like a bird, drag it on the ground and let her catch it from time to time.....give her a treat after her exercise session. Good luck! Hope she figures it out.

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Last edited by catloverami; 03-10-2017 at 02:53 PM.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-11-2017, 03:33 AM
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Aw, I'm sorry to hear that Maura retained his feral ways, but what a great turnaround for Smoke! She looks terrific, and it's wonderful that you're willing to work with her to turn her into a house kitty.

I hope catloverami's suggestions work and that she learns to play nicely. At least you know that she's not doing it aggressively; she just doesn't know any better. If you decide to try petting again, in case of overstimulation, or her just having had enough petting, you might want to keep a toy close at hand so you can distract her if she starts giving signs that she's had enough. Some cats also just don't enjoy petting, or like to be pet only in certain places.

She's a beauty with that gray fur and green eyes!
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-12-2017, 11:32 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you so much. When she runs up for pets outside, I just give her a few and then tell her "Okay I'm done now! I don't want to be bit!" I've got a cat toy for her that's.. like a stick with a string with a feather and a ball attached to it? (I'm still learning to be a cat person). She has ZERO interest in the thing. I cannot get her to give it the time of day. When she's in the garage when the weather is bad she does have a mouse that I can put catnip inside of it. I haven't -seen- her play with it, but I know she must because I find it in different places than where I tossed it for her.

I can kind of pick her up as well. If she's rubbing up against me I'll gently put a hand beneath her and just lift up slowly. I don't pick her up all the way and just let her slide out of my hand, but she doesn't seem to mind it. I haven't been hissed at or biten for it.

My son and I end up doing like a dance around her when she keeps rubbing up against us as we know eventually it leads to a bite. I wouldn't mind so bad if she bit like the house cat does, but nooo she CLAMPS down. Everytime she's grabbed my hand she grabs and then shakes her head like I'm a mouse. At least with my calf it was just a quick bite. I'll see if I can find the video I took of us dancing around her.

I honestly don't understand the constant rubbing against us and everything else.
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-12-2017, 04:49 PM
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Maybe you need something stronger than "no" when the cat bites. Something like a squirt gun or cup of water. It doesn't hurt them any and generally gets the message across, although some cats mind a squirt gun a lot less then others. After all, you can't have your kid getting a bit that requires an ER visit, so you really need to get on top of it.

Possibly you could try teaching him that rough play is ok only when you are wearing an oven mitt. Might get the urge out of him. That definitely isn't something that people normally recommend, usually people recommend the opposite, better they not play that roughly with you at all, but it might work for you.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-15-2017, 02:39 AM
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By rubbing, she's leaving her scent on you - and on whatever else she rubs against. She's marked you as hers. She just needs to be taught kitty manners. I think some forum members have said they yell/meow loudly, like a kitten might, if another cat was biting too hard. Now if you do that, make sure you get a video, with audio!
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 03-18-2017, 07:46 AM
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She wants to be lovey, but has never learned to temper the amount of force used when she bites. This happens when kittens are not raised by momma or other siblings. They bite too hard. Smokey is not a true feral, she is most likely a stray. Maybe her inappropriate biting got her tossed onto the streets to fend for herself. Inappropriate biting can happen with kittens that are taken from a litter too soon. People always want to "raise" a tiny kitten themselves but few know how to be a cat momma or kitty sibling that teaches lessons. You need to squeal like a stuck pig when bit - I mean a really loud high pitched "OOOWWWWW!", just like another cat or kitten would do. Then remove affection for awhile. That more than anything will teach her that it HURTS! She may make a fine indoor only cat, but it may take awhile at her middle age (probably about 6-7) to learn these lessons. In the meantime treat any bite that breaks the skin seriously! SCRUB, SCRUB, SCRUB any wound with soap and water for 10 minutes and if necessary get antibiotics within 12 hours of a bite. Cat bites are serious when they are deep.

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