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I've been feeding a female and male ferals for three years. The male talks to me and lets me pet him but the female has never shown any trust at all. She does sleep during the day on my porch which shows some trust but that's as far as it goes. When I put down her dinner she often bats at my hand with her claws out. I know she's been badly mistreated because she watches my feet all the time so I know she's been kicked. I don't know what to do about her striking out at me. I wouldn't care but her claws are out and I don't want to wind up with a scratch from her that might get infected. Any ideas?
 

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Hi Zcb, I'm in central FL too. I have a feral I've been feeding for over 3 years now. It took a very long time to gain her trust. She used to hiss at me at first when I would put her food down. It took months before she would sit near me after she ate her food. Now I can pet her, but she will not let me pick her up. And she bats at me, but she does it when we are trying to walk away from her, and she doesn't want us to go. Just understand that your feral may never completely gain the trust of humans enough for her to be touched by one. And that is normal. I know people who have had ferals for years that they feed and never touched them. I only gained the trust of mine when I completely let go of the idea of ever being able to pet her. I just acted like it was the furthest thing from my mind, and I sat near her while she ate, read a book or used my laptop, and eventually she started to rub up against the chair I was sitting in and then finally me. It took a long time. Just don't push it with yours, because she could give really hurt you.
 

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Thanks howsefrau32 I never had any illusions of actually touching her but I will continue to keep working to gain her trust. I have sat by her during the day when she's lying on the porch and she has no problem with that. She's a pretty little girl and who knows what mistreatment she has experienced. I volunteer at a horse rescue and we have had horses that were horribly mistreated so I can only imagine why she is so wary of people. We have one sweet horse that has been with us for years and he's still very afraid of people. Thanks, I'll keep you posted if she shows any progress.
 

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I have a stray who swats at me when I'm putting food in her plate. I've been feeding her daily for 4 years and spending lots of time with her. Right now we're at the stage where she lets me sneak a hand down her back and tail. This is great progress. I don't think she was abused, a lot depends on genetics, some cats are naturally more relaxed / trusting than others.
 

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For a second, I thought this thread was about female feral bats....
 
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