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Adopted A Feral Cat From A Shelter, Need Help.

Discussion in 'Caring for Strays and Ferals' started by AntonioFlower, Feb 11, 2018.

  1. di and bob

    di and bob TCS Member Top Cat

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    I rehomed a little female that was loving and confident and went up to the people who came to see her. They took her home and never saw her for literally weeks! They kept calling wanting to return her and I kept telling them to give her more time, and she became their best little friend. It took over a month before they even saw her! They still have her ten years later.
    Cats take a LONG time to adjust to change. She is scared witless. The fact that she lets you touch her at all, points that she will settle down, she is not a true feral. She would bite and hiss, and try to climb the walls if you came into the room. Try her food on a flat plate, not a bowl. Leave it for several hours and see if she will eat. Leave hard food overnight. Don't stare at her, that is a threat to a cat. Just sit in the room, be on the internet or read, etc. and talk softly to her once in a while. It will take at least a week for her to even start to feel comfortable and have her true personality emerge. Be patient, keep petting amd encouraging her all you can, try to get her to play and it WILL happen. Cats are not like dogs, falling all over themselves to please a human, having a pack mentality. They are noble, beautiful creatures that need to have you EARN their love and respect. But once you do, it is beyond anything you have ever experienced!
     
    rubysmama purraised this.

  2. Furballsmom

    Furballsmom TCS Member Top Cat

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    What exactly is it that makes you feel ....overwhelmed? not confident? Why do you not want to continue to give her your love and care? You aren't doing anything wrong, and are doing a TON of things right due to her purring, letting you pet her, allowing you to feed her. Is there something else going on that we here aren't aware of?
     
    rubysmama purraised this.

  3. AntonioFlower

    AntonioFlower Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Feb 11, 2018
    I just feel like I could be doing a lot of things better. I knew she was a really shy cat but I guess I wasn't prepared for it to be this strong. I do want to continue giving her a home and giving her love, but I just get scared that I'm doing something wrong and not providing the best home. Thank you, you and everyone else made me realize that adopting a shy cat is not any easy thing and even if you think you are prepared, you're not. I want to continue loving her with all my heart.
     

  4. walli

    walli TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    I have had my Feral in the house 1 month, she does not let me pet her yet.
    You being able to pet her just 3 days in says a lot, she is going to come around pretty fast.
    I don't think now is the time, but you can eventually block underneath the bed so she can't hide
    I think she may need the hiding for awhile tho, let her get comfortable, petting her so fast is amazing!!!!
     
    rubysmama, maggiedemi and Furballsmom purraised this.

  5. Furballsmom

    Furballsmom TCS Member Top Cat

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    You know, I think we all feel like you are at some point, maybe for different reasons but it comes down to the same thing--we love them to pieces and want the best for them. I know that I was having some major guilt a while back because the Big Guy was wearing out a specific toy that was the main one which would get him really active, and I'd been trying for a couple-three YEARS to find a replacement he liked. Thanks to my partner knowing I was getting upset over the lack of physical exercise and mental fun for a 13-year old cat, he also spent some time and found a website that sells real fur mice - and thankfully that worked and the household is back in action again.
    Your baby is becoming more and more familiar with you, your house, your routines, smells, sounds. You are SO on the right track - don't deviate, and also try and allow yourself to relax a little bit - seriously, because she's UBER sensitive to your emotions.
    She needs you, and she is very lucky to have you. Stay the course, you're really truly doing fabulously!!
     
    rubysmama and houseofnine purraised this.

  6. houseofnine

    houseofnine TCS Member Adult Cat

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    Oct 22, 2013
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    Hi Antonio!
    I'm going to try to sell you on keeping this kitty and domesticating her . I'll keep this post short as possible (ha). We live in suburban Connecticut and have TWELVE indoor cats. We have 4 totally domestic residents, and 3 semiferal adults and some of their offspring. First Feral, Hanna, showed up with her 4 kittens July 2013. We'd seen this cat off and on for 2-3 years--assumed she was a neighbor's cat. With help, everyone was trapped. Kits were 4 wks old..Hanna we guessed was 3 years old. Kittens warmed up to us right away--we kept them with mom til they were weaned. She was cool about our holding them, and babies were friendly from Day One. Kept everybody--massive Foster Fail. =)
    Hanna was a tough one..never mean, but just scared. Would hiss or swat if we tried to pet her. The vet dismissed her as totally feral. We ignored them and kept her indoors. She got used to it and she was able to see her babies grow up. It took 2 years, but my husband can pet her--I can't, but that's okay. She is a really sweet cat and gets along fine with everyone (I've heard that is true of ferals--not so great with people, but usually fine with other cats as long as all are neutered).
    Next batch of cats June 2017: small calico Marlee showed up with 3 kittens and her baby daddy. (Daddy has Highlander "lynx" ears, and one kitten does too--see my avatar). These kittens were 8-10 weeks old. Initially we brought everyone in except feral Daddy--who got fixed & now lives indoor-outdoor at rescue lady's house since we've had a coyote visitor. The kittens were kinda hissy initially, but once weaned/separated from mom, they were friendly within a couple of days. Mama got spayed. Kept her separate in a bedroom for a while but she wanted to see what was going on in the household..so we let her out of the room and she's been really playful and fun with the group. Can pet her if careful. Two kits went to a good friend of mine.
    Latest challenge is feral female #3--just captured on 1/2/18. She is scared and not too happy, but hasn't tried to kill us yet. It will be slow going.
    I guess my point is that they are all different and their social development can vary based on personality and how they were raised--when taken from mom, etc.
    You've done a great thing so keep the faith. Three cheers for you!
     
    rubysmama, maggiedemi and Furballsmom purraised this.

  7. Furballsmom

    Furballsmom TCS Member Top Cat

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    Actually, for everybody, including YOU as well :)
     
    houseofnine and rubysmama purraised this.

  8. trudy1

    trudy1 TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    Nov 19, 2011
    I personally don’t think it was any accident or coincidence that you picked her out at the shelter. You are probably thinking why didn’t I get one of those “I want to get in your lap right now and never leave cats”?
    But I will tell you that nothing is an accident. I’ve told this story before but repeating yourself is a privilege of old age: I took one of my many rescues to the vet and was whining “I can’t understand why they always show up on my doorstep...the last thing I needed was another stray ”. The vet, who is kind of sagely, stopped the exam, looked me in the eye and said “but he needed you”! Never forgot that. So when I read threads like yours I’m reminded that this little girl needed you as much or more than you wanted her.
    Keep the faith....it will be alright.
     
    maggiedemi, rubysmama and ArchyCat purraised this.

  9. Furballsmom

    Furballsmom TCS Member Top Cat

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    Colorado USA
    Heh, my Big Guy, who is 13, says there ain't no such thing as old
    LOL, I gotta remember THIS one!
    OK, bizarrities going on with my laptop, but in any case, I am TOTALLY in agreement with @trudy1
     

  10. theyremine

    theyremine TCS Member Adult Cat

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    I'm surprised the shelter didn't try to dissuade you from adopting this shy girl since this is your first cat. But maybe they saw your potential just as I do. You have the must important characteristic: you care. This little kitty is trying her best to learn to trust you. Just give her time and keep being kind. Trust me, each first, the first time she comes to you, the first time she sneaks into your bed, and ultimately, the first time she jumps into your lap, your heart will sing.
     
    houseofnine, rubysmama and Furballsmom purraised this.

  11. kittychick

    kittychick TCS Member Super Cat

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    I think you can tell by all of our answers that we ALL think you're doing well with her (even of it seems slow to you right now). I agree with @trudy1 -- - - cats almost always seem to "pick their person." She saw something in you that, to her, felt kind and loving to her....and I think she's right. :) From everything you're posting - - it doesn't seem like you're doing anything wrong - you're not hurting her mentally or physically. And cats sense so much - - I'm sure she senses you love her. Right now she just needs your patience. And as @theyremine said - - - when she finally truly opens up to you, like the first time she rubs against you, or the first time she comes up to greet you when you enter the room - - -it will feel even MORE sweet because of the work you've done with her. Someone on this site once said something that really stuck with me - - - cats like yours, the ones that take time to earn their trust and love - - they're in your life for a reason. And that reason is usually to learn to be more patient! I know my work with ferals and strays has helped me slow down my "catastrophizing" (where a little thing that's upsetting or frustrating to me spins round and round in my head till it takes over my every thought - - which isn't good for anyone!). If it was easy, it wouldn't be rewarding! :)

    I hope you'll try the spoon and the Gerber's 2nd stage Chicken and Gravy baby food....it really might help lure her out!

    Keep us posted - - -we're all rooting for BOTH of you!
     
    houseofnine, rubysmama and Furballsmom purraised this.

  12. Furballsmom

    Furballsmom TCS Member Top Cat

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    Yes, exactly :thumbsup:
     

  13. AntonioFlower

    AntonioFlower Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Feb 11, 2018
    Thank you all for the love and support. Izzy is doing so much better since yesterday. She has been eating by herself, going to the litter box, has been kind of playing with her toys, and I can get her out from under the bed by talking to her. We've decided to keep her and I can't wait to see how we bond. Once again thank you! From the bottom of my heart :)
     
    Summercats, houseofnine, rubysmama and 3 others purraised this.

  14. Furballsmom

    Furballsmom TCS Member Top Cat

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    !!YES!! :goldstar: :heartshape:
     
    rubysmama purraised this.

  15. trudy1

    trudy1 TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    Nov 19, 2011
    Ya! Good choice for both of you!
     
    rubysmama purraised this.

  16. kittychick

    kittychick TCS Member Super Cat

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    Ohio
    Do you realize this is the first time you used her name? You just kept saying "she" and "it" and "her" - - - - which was, I think (because of course I'm a highly-paid psychiatrist on the side of my graphic design job ;)), your way of emotion ally keeping her a little distant from your heart. So hearing you say her name is BIG - - and now knowing she's made all of these strides SO quickly is FANTASTIC! She wasn't feral, she was just nervous about a new environment. I bet we see Christmas pics next year of you both wearing reindeer antler headbands!!!

    YEAH!!!! You made my night!!!
     
    rubysmama, houseofnine and Furballsmom purraised this.

  17. rubysmama

    rubysmama Forum Helper Staff Member Forum Helper

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    Nov 25, 2013
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    Wonderful news!!!! :cheerleader: :clap2: :petcat:
     

  18. ArchyCat

    ArchyCat TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    Can you update us on Izzie and how ya'll are getting along now?
     
    Furballsmom purraised this.

  19. AntonioFlower

    AntonioFlower Thread Starter TCS Member Kitten

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    Feb 11, 2018
    Sorry, I haven't been going on this site often. Izzy and I have been doing amazing. She's such a funny girl and loves to play on her cat tree. She has been leaving the room we kept her in and now enjoys being in our living room. Just a few days ago she went to the vet because she swallowed string and went under surgery but she is back home now trying to get used to everything again :).
     
    Furballsmom, ArchyCat and walli purraised this.

  20. sweetblackpaws

    sweetblackpaws TCS Member Super Cat

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    Only 3 days and you can already pet her? You are home free. :heartshape:
     
    Furballsmom purraised this.

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