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Discussion Starter #1
:cry: I have a feral cat that lives in the house with me. I caught her 5 years ago
as a baby, maybe 4 weeks . Kept her in a carrier for about two months and loved on her lots. She is beautiful. Cinnimon orange long hair with peach underhair and amber eyes. But she is still as wild as the day I found her. I have other cats and she loves to come out and be with them. She will even come out and sit in the den. But the minute I move she runs. It took the three days to catch her to take her to get spayed,a nd declawed. I ended up with punctured fingers giving her her medication for the next week. Once in a while I catch her on the end of the bed when I am asleep. But the second she realizes I am awake she runs.
All my other cats are cuddle babies. And it bothers me that she is so scared. She will always have a home, food, and all the love I can give her. I just wish she could learn to trust just a little.
 

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<<I just wish she could learn to trust just a little.>>

I know what you mean Lynda but if she has been with you since kittenhood for 5 yrs she should be tame by now..I couldn't tell you why she still 'acts out' but my guess is that she never learned to be cuddly and loving. Just to run away and be defensive.
And now that she's declawed I dare say she won't change..see, she ran away from you for whatever reason, you finally caught her and she woke up declawed with sore feet, she'll never get it over..I'm sorry you have this experience when you're doing what you thought was best.
Tell you what, please continue pouring your love on her, now she needs you more than ever. Let her be, have patience with her..
 

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Discussion Starter #3
A little more background. My foster son saw her and the mother and another kitten in the back yard near our storage building. My late husband always said "They are God's creatures and need to be fed" So I started feeding them. Then about three days later they were gone. About three days later only the Bell was there. We never say the mother or other kitten again. She was so scared. Much more than when she was there before. So my guess is that something happened. I talk to her all the time. She will come out and sit in the den not way over in the corner.
SHe loves playing with the other cats and will sit and watch as I bursh and give them massages. But she won't come close. I can read my other babies pretty well. Wish I could get inside her mind. She is so pretty and I would love to bursh her.
 

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She was probably not socialized early enough. However, I had a cat like this once. I would start from scratch, as if she hadn't lived with you all of these years. Keep her indoors, of course, in a room of her own, a bedroom, perhaps, and put a litter box and water in with her.

Sit quietly in the room with some soft music and just read. The room should be quiet and only dimly lit. Put a dish of extra tasty food near the area where she seems to settle. Do this every day, at every meal time, making no attempt to touch her. Let her make all of the decisions.

After she gets braver, gradually, very gradually move the food a bit closer to you. If she doesn't come out to eat, move it back. Continue this activity daily, with the goal being her encouraging you to pet her. If you are patient, she will eventually come very close to you to eat. Do not attempt to pet her. Wait until she decides to sniff your hand. Don't move your hand however. What you hope will happen, and I think it will, eventually, is that she will be willing to eat with the food on your lap, and then with you petting her while she eats. This could take a LONG time, perhaps months, perhaps weeks, but it should work. You will be her only source of nourishment and contact. The keyword is patience.

I was able to do this with my cat who had hidden for five years because of a new cat who bullied her. She finally decided that being around people who gave her love was better than hiding most of the time. People who care for ferals also use this method. I wish you luck. Keep us informed, please. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I have gone through all of this. THere is something in her that is so scared. I have a cat at my shop that was wild. Then on day I was feeding him outside and picked him up. He resisted but I cuddled him. Then put him down. I did this every day for about a week. He has now decided that he prefers to live in the office. He hasn't been outside in nearly 6 months.

As for Bell. She hasn't been outside since she was 4 weeks. All of my babies are inside babies. But there is a terror in her that I have never seen in any other cat I have dealt with. :cry:
 

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Most (not all) ferals/strays have that wary, furtive look and some like your Bell look just terrified even after they live in a home. I think they learn that and once they are tame they don't loose it; they might not feel like it but it's a habit.
I agree that perhaps she wasn't socialized early when she was starting to learn how to react to the outside world..how well she understands it, I don't know. But I think it's difficult to compare her personality to another cat in similar circumstances.. I catch myself thinking "all cats that I've had did..and why she doesn't.." but the more I know about them I see there is much that doesn't fit all cats. I think that Jeannie had something in starting all over again..I didn't think it was possible but I've never tried it.
Good luck with Bell, hope you'll have a more satysfying relationship soon, or sometime :D
 

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Lynda, I was suggesting that you do it all over again. I knew that you had her for years. However, I missed the declawing part. Many cats who are declawed have behavior problems the rest of their lives. The nerves leading to the amputated joints are still intact, and she is probably in pain. It's called phantom pain, because the part that hurts is no longer a part of the body. Some declawed cats refuse to use the litter box because it hurts, and many who develop behavior problems are taken to shelters for that very reason. The vets advise it often, but as Dr. Jean, our veterinarian member, says, their motive is the almighty dollar. I'll get a link for you.

http://www.sniksnak.com/cathealth/declaw.html
 

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<<refuse to use the litter box because it hurts>>

So that's why declawed cats don't use the litterbox sometimes? I had no idea but I see that stepping on gravel would hurt if the cat's declawed..I thought it was a protest; going in the litterbox is something the owner prefers them to do so using any other place would be rebelling? I know it's naive but I didn't know why :oops: My cat sometimes has wet my bed or a corner_ she's OK, has been throughly checked, the vet says 'behavioral'_ I wonder if another litter, hers isn't coarse but still I wonder if something like paper would help?
Back to Bell, would making her surroundings cushier improve her behavior in general?
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I have 7 cats at home and two at my shop that are all declawed and I have had cats for the past 50+ years that were mostly declawed and I have never had one that didn't use the litter box. I think I am going to get her caught and put her in the large carrier. And start holding her again. But at age 5 I don't know if she will ever settle. I do hope so.
The strange thing is that normally if I do get her caught she will lay in my arms and not fight and put and actually relax. But you can still see the fear still in her eyes. I still think that something happened to her in the 3-4 days she was gone. She wasn't as scared when she was there the first time. If fact I could go out and put food out for her, her mother and litter mate and she wouldn't run and hide. When she showed back up about a week later she was in full terror mode.
 

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I'm just thinking if that expression you see in her eyes isn't pain; not sure how a cat will react but lets say she was scared once, then got tamer but her expression didn't change because she still has a reason to appear startled/terrified..I saw a photo of a cat in severe pain, he looked scared to me, could it be?
 

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Jeanie. Any information that is shared is useful. She is great with the litter box. Always has been. She her behaviour didn't change after I had her declawed. Which was only about a year ago. And her behaviour didn't change any at all. Last night I came home from a Boy Scout event and was sitting in the den going over papers. I looked up and she was sitting on the back of a chair next to the sofa. She was watching me very close. I talked to her and she just looked. I shifted in my seat and she was gone. I still think that she suffered some kind on major tramma in the sort time she was gone from the house. She was back in the yard one day and we never say the mother or the other kitten again. Kevin went around the neighborhood and ask neighbors if they had seen them and no one had. I wish I could read her mind. At least if I understood more. I have had cats that were not love kitties. Had one that would lay next to you in the bed but if you touched her she would bit and run off. Had her for 11 years and never could pet her. But she slept on my bed most of her life. This baby I just can't read. And I guess that is what bothers me most.
 

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Poor baby. :( My guess might be that whatever happened to mom and the other kitten (maybe they were captured or killed my someone), or whatever trauma she experienced, happened when she was so young and at such a stage in her development, that it actually did scar her young mind. Just like it's harder to treat people who had trauma in their childhood as opposed to later in life, it's really imprinted itself on her brain and may take a lot to erase.
 

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<<This baby I just can't read.And I guess that is what bothers me most.>>

Try not to read her..I agree with that it could be early trauma, if declawing did something I don't know..maybe she's scarred for life. Enjoy her for what she is, I think she's the best she can be.
 

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Lynda; it has been sometime but I just wanted to tell you that former ferals, when declawed they revert to their feral state.
If she was 3 months or so when you met her she had already a vague idea of what the world was like. Just being with a human is a trauma and whatever happened to her in the days she dissapeared is another, then getting declawed is traumatic for any cat so her poor mind couldn't handle
all.
You're wonderful in loving her but I'm afraid she won't lose the terror in her eyes..I know this sounds like another "don't declaw argument" but I'm just saying that's how a socialized feral would turn..how's she doing by the way? You have so many kitties, I didn't check but do you have photos of them someplace? Would love to see them :)
 

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Some never tame

It is a shame that some never tame down to let us love on them. I have a couple like that. One thing I will mention though that I have learned through experience. Some ferals never adjust to being indoors. Of course you keep her indoors because you don't want anything to happen to her, I understand that. I'm able to let mine in the yard as I have a cat fence-in system. I have found that once some of the ferals are let outside to be "free," they then calm down and let me touch them. It's almost like being inside is too confining for them.

I have one inside right now that I need to let outside. I've had him since he's 8 weeks old. His brothers and sisters are very tame and so is mom. He on the other hand is as wild as they come. Don't understand it. Every night he sits on the cat tree facing the front window in the house and looks out with such yearning. So now I'm going to let him in the yard and I think that will make him a bit happier and hopefully he'll calm down. I feel badly for him because of his stress.

The other wild one I have is an adult male that I rescued from a wooded area. I don't know if he was born there are dumped. However, I've had him 3 years and he still doesn't want me to touch him. He knows his name and he comes real close to be fed, but when I touch him (I sneak when he turns his back), he looks at me like I'm crazy and then walks away. This past year we had to wrestle him down to bring him to the vet for a check-up and shave down. He has very long, thick fur and it was matted so badly I had to do something. I knew the westling part would be traumatic, but I also knew the matteed fur was very painful. When I got him to the vet I learned he's quite old. I had the vet do a dental on him and that's how we estimated his age. He looked so beautiful with his new "do." One more thing I will mention about Sylvester, all the other cats adore him. He is the grandfather to a lot of my other cats, males and females. I don't know what it is about him, but the other cats just love him. I look out the door to see him and one of the other cats with their little legs wrapped around each other, sound to sleep. I find this very strange behavior for a big male cat especially when he loves other adults he never met up until he came here.

I've had 2 other old males like him that in time tamed down to the point where I could hold them and cuddle them like babies. I actually had one old male, who one day, after an entire year of me feeding him and him running from me, walked up to me one night and rubbed on my leg. I was sitting outside one night just talking to the cats and up he came. I was so stunned at first I didn't realize it was him. I don't think he was a true feral because he's too much of a big baby now, wanting to be hugged and kissed. Which is a little difficult at times since he weighs 15 lbs.!!
 

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How sweet your stories are - thank you for sharing. I enjoy reading about your babies, and sweet old Sylvester - how unusual, hmm but so so touching nonetheless! :D
 
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