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Discussion Starter #1
I have posted in the "introduce yourself" forum about a kitty I have been feeding for the past 8 months. She comes now to within 4 ft. of me when I feed her. I know she is a fixed female, her ear is tipped. I made a little house for her for the winter, but it broke my heart, sometimes she stayed outside with snow falling on her. I have a havaheart trap which I am going to use to try and bring her in, in about 4 - 5 weeks. When I talk to her, she rolls around on the ground and rubs her head on everything. I think I am slowly gaining her trust. Will that trust be lost when I have to trap her to bring her in? I have another inside cat, but I have made a room for the outside cat, with a screen door and plexi glass, bought a big cat tree, and a few smaller cat trees. I cannot go another winter watching her outside in 10 degree weather. Is there a difference between "barn" cat and feral?, we believe that is what she was - barn cat. Please, any encouragement, advice, would be greatly appreciated. I am praying I can get her in!
Sally
 

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The others here have a lot more experience than me, but I caught my Josie using a trap. I thought she was feral and wanted to get her spayed, so I borrowed a trap and put it on the porch for a week or so to get her used to it. When it was time to trap, she went right in within minutes. As it turned out, she was already spayed and therefore had been someone's pet at one time. No one was looking for her, no one responded to my found report, and no microchip. She did not hold the trapping against me at all. I think she was so relieved to be in from the elements and very grateful. My only regret is that I waited so long.

Good luck! Thank you for caring for this little one!
 

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Will that trust be lost when I have to trap her to bring her in?
I wouldn't say it would be lost, but there may be a long adjusting period if the cat has never been indoors, or even if it has, it will be a new scary environment. Even cats that aren't on the streets can have long adjustment times to a new location. The good news is, that once she's inside you'll be able to spend way more time with her and she'll likely come around to the idea of being petted sooner than she would if left outdoors.

I wouldn't let this stop you at all! It's the correct step in taming her.

Is there a difference between "barn" cat and feral?, we believe that is what she was - barn cat. Please, any encouragement, advice, would be greatly appreciated. I am praying I can get her in!
Sally
The way I see it... a barn cat is a cat that is used in and around a barn to hunt mice, that's its meaning it in the purest forum. A lot of people care for their barn cats to different degrees from there. A barn cat should be but all too often is not spayed/neutered and also have an alternative food source, as cats aren't going to live off of mice alone. They can be very friendly cats, running right up to you, they just are not a cat you bring into your home, as they're used as working animals. My uncle has barn cats, they have kibble, they sleep in the large hay bundles inside the barn, they're shut inside the barn at night to avoid wild animals, they're neutered, and one of the two is extremely friendly even to strangers.

A feral cat is born in the wild and has not had any - or very little - contact with humans. They're afraid of people and avoid them, and it takes a great deal of effort to win their trust. Usually months or years, if ever, and even then usually only to the people that have tamed it.

A semi-feral cat is one that used to live with people in some capacity but had become lost/abandoned and had to learn to fend for its self. They are slowly reverting to a feral state, and it can take these cats a long time to warm up to people as well, depending on their past experiences with people and on their length of time outdoors.

I think your cat falls into the last category, she's warmed up to you very quickly for a truly feral cat; 8 months isn't that long. At one point she was TNR'ed (trapped, neutered, returned) if you go by the eat tipping - but that just means that the people she initially had grown up around her had never spayed her before she ended up on the street and eventually caught.

My cat was somewhat like that, she took a year outdoors until she left me get close enough pet her, she had been spayed in the past (no ear tipping). When I first carried her inside (after a few months of petting her outdoors she was terrified of the entire house, she went wild inside the first time we closed the door on her, like we'd just given her a death sentence or something; she jumped out a broken window! We continued to bring her inside and we opened an old unused dog door that's built into the side of the house from the backyard. At first she'd just run out the dog door when we put her in the house but eventually she started to come inside as well since we'd put her food indoors and shown her where it was. I suppose that back room with the dog door and her food became her 'safe room' for many months. She started coming in on her own just for food but eventually over another year became relaxed in the entire house, she's somewhat aloof to strangers in the home, but not afraid at all. She's the most well rounded cat I've met.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Thank you!

Thank you for your replys! Today she came within a foot and a half!! Please, please keep replying, I need encouragment, I have been watching her for -- so -- long, I just want her in and safe. I would do it sooner, but we are leaving for a vacation the the second week of August for a week, I have someone to feed her outside while we are gone, and my husband is coming back home for 2 days to make sure she is ok, and also my inside cat (who is our baby!), and the day we get back, I will be putting out the trap, that will be made to stay open so she can get used to it (she is very smart), and then after about a week I will set the trap so I can get her in. I must also tell you I have put the trap out for the past few weeks all around the yard - and will contine do to so - not set - so she can get used to seeing it around the yard, as I said she is very smart and I am so afraid she won't go in when it is time. Any success stories are greatly apprecaited, I have never dones this before, Thank YOU!!!!
Sally
 

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great work!

a little story about the first feral that i tried to socialize. even though the vet that altered her was aware that i was going to socialize her he still eartipped her and marked all of her paperwork "VERY AGGRESSIVE - USE EXTREME CAUTION". well, after having her in a dog cage for 5 months and spending countless hours working with her during that time i sent that vet a picture and note mentioning that if he ever needed someone to help deal with any kitties that seemed out of control he could give me a call. the pic i sent -







keep at it, you are doing a great thing!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thank you!

what a great picture! beautiful cat! I am hoping and praying I can get my kitty in, and get her to come around, she came to 1 -1/2 feet yesterday!
When I sit very still and talk to her, she won't run, but any sudden momvement and she moves back, hopefully with all your help and prayers it will get better!
SAlly
 

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I rigged up a shelter for any feral who wants to occupy it. I've got a covered back porch with a wooden picnic table on it. I bought some styrofoam sheets from a Lowes, glued & duct taped two sides and the roof together.

I have an electrical outlet on the porch so I put a pet heated pad on the inside floor. The shelter is pretty long so I also had room to put one of those self-warming pads in back of the heated pad. I bought the heated pad at Menards for about $40, on sale. The self-warming pad cost $20 @ PetsMart.

I had a kingsize comforter in the basement [never used] & threw that over the shelter. On top of the comforter I put a plastic heavy guage tarp. I deliberately left two open ends in case a raccoon might try & investigate & the kitty would have a backway out, if need be.

I pulled the comforter over the "front door" & left only a little area for entry. The "back door" is open but completely covered by the comforter & tarp so kitty can dash out if he wants to.

Oh yeah, I also bought a heated water dish for them also.

Believe me, that contraption gets used, for sure!
 

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You seem to be doing brilliantly.

My oldest cat was in the semi-feral category. She's adorable but still wary of strangers even all these years later although she's a big softie with us.

The only thing I would say is that the fact she's been "fixed" may not mean that she used to be a pet. I kn.ow of several schemes that capture, spay and release
 

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Discussion Starter #9
When I bring Ben in??

I am planning on trapping her in about 4 -5 weeks. Trap is outside, not set, I have been putting it all around the yard and it doesn't bother her at all. She actually rubs her head on it. I am wondering when I do trap her (God willing!!), shoud I bring her to the vets at that time? Will she be too traumatized to also go the vets? I know I wouldn't be able to bring her for months after that until she gets socialized. Anyone have any experience with this? This is all a first for me, any input is greatly appreciated!
Sally
 

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Discussion Starter #10
To the vets??

When I trap my little Ben, should I bring her to the vets right away, or will this traumatize her even more. I know I wouldn't be able to bring her to the vets for quite a while (months), if I didn't do it then. I would like to have her dewormed and deflead, plus the other tests. They might have to sedate her, I don't know! Anyone have experience at this? I am new to all this!!!! And I just want to do the best for her!
Sally
 

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I would take her right away... as soon as she is in the trap, take her then. That way you can get her health issues addressed first. If you cover the cage/carrier with a towel, that should help calm her on the way there and back.
 

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Go up to the stickys at the top of th feral section. Go to taming feral kittens and cats. Read thru Heidi's Kitty Boot Camp for tips on how to bring a cat around. Your doing all the right things so far
 

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The fact that she rolls around and rubs stuff when you talk to her is a great sign.
After your vacation, she may be standoffish for awhile since you were gone. If she is, it might be to your benefit to build up the bond/comfort level again before you trap her, then when you bring her in, the bond is fresh in her mind.
Can you feed her from your hand? That would also be encouraging because then you could do that later on too.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
No she doesn't eat from my hand, if I reach in her direction she will run - not far, but she will move away. I will have to try and create that bond again after vacation. I have already talked to a vet tech, my niece works at the vets, so I will tell them to sedate her while they are doing all this, and to leave her a little sedated so I can bring her home. I don't have any idea how she will react, it's a little bit scary!!!! But at least she will have everything done at once. I tried a worm pill from the vet, crushed in her food, no way - she wouldn't touch it! So we'll have to wait for the vet. I would love to pet her, maybe when she is sedated they will let me touch her, might be my only chance for a while!!! Hope she will be ok until I get back from vacation - Aug. 11th!
Sally
 

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Here's my advice: Assume nothing. I recently brought inside my 2 remaining barn cats, Conrad and Erik. Conrad was not feral but as far as I knew, Erik was. He arrived at age 6 mos or so w/ his sister Julie and their dad, Thomas. NONE of them ever let me put a hand on them. They all panicked and ran when approached. Julie and Erik were the most feral-behaving--Julie was hit by a car :)() at age 3, but for SIX YEARS Erik never let me near him, jumped and ran if I sneezed, etc. It took MONTHS to get him to the point where I could feed them in the tack room and they actually would come in and eat when I was present.

After Julie was killed and then Thomas died from cytauxzoonosis I had had ENOUGH. I don't believe in outdoor cats and while I really didn't want to have 4 cats inside, I didn't have a choice. I trapped Erik and caught Conrad and took them to the vet. They were already neutered, etc. but they needed updated FeLV/FIV tests, vaccinations, tick and ear mite checks, etc., before coming inside. Erik TORE THE VET CLINIC UP--they are probably still talking about him. :oops: I got him home and released him into a large crate in the new cat room--I planned to keep him crated while I worked on taming.

When I brought his food, I put it in there and went to withdraw my hand. He RUBBED ON MY HAND. 8-O Coulda knocked me over w/ a feather. He is still cautious but he lets me pet him (NEVER HAPPENED BEFORE), follows me around, etc. I have NO idea what the deal is. Was he just never truly feral ALL THOSE 6 YEARS?? Had he had previous interactions w/ people that he remembered? Did the 6 years just FINALLY convince him that I was OK?? Or was it all a reward for finally bringing him into the house?? I have no idea. But I can tell you that I would have put down real $$ on his being entirely feral the moment before I reached into that crate.

So you never know how it will go. And as for trapping . . . note that Erik was trapped in a live trap, spent the night in it, drove to the vet in it, then had a HORRIBLE day at the vet's, but that very evening he suddenly decided I was OK. So don't stress overmuch about the trapping. It's gotta be done for her own good--and who knows--maybe she'll have the same kind of reaction Erik did!
 

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Thank you for your post hoofmaiden, I need all the positive reinforcement I can have. She is very smart, I think she might be hard to trap. But this is what I must do, I will not see her outside in the cold, snow and rain again, I must trap her!!!!
Sally
 

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Here's my advice: Assume nothing.
Excellent advice and very true. So many factors involved, that you just can't know what will happen. However, I think it will go well for you and this cat. Sounds like the cat is friendly and that you already care for her a lot.

As for trapping, yes it's nerve wracking. That's one of the scariest parts. So...plan it to the last detail from start to finish. Including alternate plans if some parts go wrong. You won't know exactly when she'll go in the trap, but when she does, that's when the train ride starts.

Just cover the trap well, act as calm as you can, don't talk a lot, and get her to the vet ASAP for sedation. When you get her home, don't hound her, give her a few days to chill out and get used to her new home. As others have told me on here, just act like everything is normal and the cat will take cues from that. Make sure your house is as calm as can be for the first few days.

We failed in our first trapping attempt with our feral, Myul-chee, and we learned a lot from it (at her expense unfortunately). The trap was just a junky cage with no real locking mechanism and she popped out immediately and hurt her leg. After that we ordered a professional trap and I bought two padlocks for each end just to be sure it didn't open again. Locking those locks was a challenge though as I had to avoid her clawing at the doors.

Make sure you have a good trap, Watch some Youtube videos on 'trapping feral cats' and study up. Maybe also have some Feliway spray to spray in the cage after she's trapped, just for the ride to the vets.

I'm sure it will be fine, but planning things out well in advance will certainly help.
 
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