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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Hi, I'm a somewhat experienced TNR'er and have a big feral Tom that I can't trap no matter what I do. He usually eats just a few inches beyond my reach, so I can get close to him, and my thought is (based on past experience with taming Ferals) if I can get him to accept being petted, after a little time I might be able to place him in a carrier for neutering. A different tactic, for sure.

I usually average a couple years before a feral will let me pet them though, anybody know any tricks to shorten the process?
 

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I know nothing about trapping ferals....but if he comes close enough for food...maybe try and play with him??? Maybe a long wand toy and some treats? That's what I would try :)
 

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Well, he's still pretty "business like", but I have one of those Da Bird games - can't hurt to try.

I thought about sitting with him, withhold dinner for 10 minutes while feeding him treats - maybe making eating more personal for him
 

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No two ferals are going to be identical in how long they take to come around. Some a few months others a few years, others if they're truly feral could never come around. If you could get the cat inside to work with him the process might be dramatically shorter, but that's also more stressful for him.

The general rules you probably already know from taming other cats: keep low to the ground/sit on the ground, don't move quickly/at all, let the cat come up to you, don't make eye contact, speak low and softly, throw him treats or hold them in your hand to encourage him closer (real meat working best) and spend as much time with him as you can.

Some people have success with first reaching out to a cat with an elongated handle of some kind... which is better than using a hand if they decided to chomp on you. If you're making progress remember to wear leather gloves or something because ferals are unpredictable... especially when/if you plan to pick them up and place them in a cage.

I'd personally try different sorts of traps. Maybe some sort of drop trap. You already tried a humane springloaded trap? How long did you try for? Since if the cat gets used to it during your visits and you slowly move the food towards the trap he may eventually go in. But it could potentially be a very long process.

The first time I pet Blacky I was on my stomach with my hand outstretched as far as I could and I managed to brush a whisker. Something clicked after the first touch and she would let me approach much easier from then on, but that was after a year of working outdoors with her, however she was already spayed.
 

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I thought wand toys were more for feral kittens, but it couldn't hurt to try. I know with Jasper he thought it was prey and be became violent and broke the toys repeatedly, growling like he wanted to kill me for being in the room while he had his catch. Once when I removed a toy and came back in the room a little later he sunk his teeth in me, probably payback for stealing his "food". He was food obsess. Other cats might be afraid of the hand movement or the toy itself.
 

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Yeah hadn't thought of laying down, and the no eye contact thing. I do sit and I give him slow blinks at every opportunity, but he has never returned them. Good ideas, I will try them.

I have experienced the "Click" that occurs in a feral cats head when I touch them for the first time in their lives - they can instantly fall in love with you, and so many behaviors can rapidly change for the friendlier after that. Wouldn't want it to go the other way though, this boy has to be pushing 20 pounds of lean and mean.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Contact! - I touched Jimmy on the head last night while he had his face down in his food dish. He jumped back about three feet right away looking at me like "What the heck do you think you're doing!" But immediately returned to his dish and finished his dinner with my hand about 6 inches from his dish. I don't think he's ready for contact yet, but he is very even tempered. I'm going to just sit next to him during his dinner every night maybe with my hand close but hold off on touching him. He seems cool with my hand no closer than 6 inches and that is progress. I'm gonna wait for him to make the next move.
 

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Have you wired open a covered havaheart trap and fed him there. Slowly moving the food into the trap each time you feed him? You can go as fast at this or slow as you like with this process. Once he is use to eating in the trap, set it, and bingo you have 'em!!!
 
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