Advice needed on making my semi feral girl more comfortable

MindyStClairesMom

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A lap cat does not mean having a cat sitting on your lap to be considered a lap cat. They can be just like what your cat is doing, watching you and sitting nearby.
I sincerely love this -- it is reframing things in these ways that really helps me stick with the project: MSC sits on the floor next to my mattress (which I took off the frame) and I can go ahead and call that "lap cat" and be pleased with her progress (rather than boo hoo that she won't get IN the bed with me, LOL). The other re-frame I like is that she REALLY is a "special needs cat" in the sense that her brain processes stimuli differently to a well-socialized cat . . . and this may always be true. Remembering to respect the cat she is (rather than the one I might want her to be) is a humbling meditation for me.
 

tabbytom

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The other re-frame I like is that she REALLY is a "special needs cat" in the sense that her brain processes stimuli differently to a well-socialized cat . . . and this may always be true. Remembering to respect the cat she is (rather than the one I might want her to be) is a humbling meditation for me.
This is true. Rescued cats whether off the streets or shelters have lived a life no one knows about. They still memories of their past and therefore many times and many things reminds them of the unpleasant past and therefore they are special needs cats and we have to understand them and love them and help them live a normal happy life.

Many hoomans don't understand this and compare their cats with other cats just like we like to compare our kids with other kids. No one is perfect.

So a lap cat comes in many forms and all we need to do is to discover their characteristics and understand them. My boy is a rescue off the streets and was abused and he's a lap cat and hang around us but not on our laps. And the most wonderful lap time I get from him is when he jumps up on me and snuggle his head below my chin and let me pet him, only for a limited time. I never force him to hang on for a longer time. Everything done is to his liking and timing.
 

MindyStClairesMom

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Many hoomans don't understand this and compare their cats with other cats just like we like to compare our kids with other kids. No one is perfect.
The other thing I catch myself with is that, when she was trapped, the volunteers took her to a private vet for her spay (rather than the ASPCA / TNR clinic) and her ear wasn't clipped. When I asked why her ear wasn't clipped (I'm sure a private vet does this?), there was some mumbling about "how PRETTY she is . . ." and I didn't ever really get a straight answer beyond that. Um, yeah, she's a stunner, but she is HELLA feral, y'all. I actually think clipped ears are adorbs so I certainly wouldn't have considered NOT clipping her ear given her situation (an entire group of neighbors surrounding the edges of Golden Gate Park worked for WEEKS to trap her and she moved ten blocks in the span of time they were staking her out -- she's semi-famous on NextDoor).

But I have to catch myself thinking "oooh, she's SO pretty, so she should be _________ [sitting on my lap / getting in the bed / letting me pet her]." But that's what the seasoned veteran TNR folks kind of did, I guess, if subconsciously (and I may not have the whole story). They weren't really ever considering that she might be best suited to being a community cat -- she couldn't be released back to Golden Gate Park as it is infested with hungry coyotes, but it would be pretty awkward if she needed to go to a tended colony with both her ears. :) But getting lulled in by *anyone's* external presentation and making *any* conclusions about what's up in their little brains is, of course, silly. And I try to catch myself if my thoughts stray in that direction. <3
 

tabbytom

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the volunteers took her to a private vet for her spay (rather than the ASPCA / TNR clinic) and her ear wasn't clipped. When I asked why her ear wasn't clipped (I'm sure a private vet does this?),
Think all TNR/ASPCA clinics and Private clinic vets will clip ears of strays and feral brought in for spay and neuter, unless instructions were given not to clip the ear.

I brought my boy for neuter at a private clinic and they knew he was a rescue and asked me if I want his ear clipped and I told them no as I'll be keeping him indoors.
 

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Mindy; that sounds perfect.
Today I had my first real reactive purr from my most damaged stray. I stroked his head then gently hand under his chin and rubbed under it and the purr was immediate. WOW/.. proper chuffed I am... If you think about it strays have no cause to purr.... Awesome day.. He really looks at me now too. Maybe he is not lost mentally?
 
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DB89014

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I would say we are making slow progress. We are veryyyyy slowly getting somewhat back to where we were prior to my dogs surgery. She no longer is hiding from me and is starting to approach me again although she's still startled easily. She sleeps for a good portion of the day in her bed in the window which I guess is normal? But at night she will play with me again with her favorite stick toy so I guess we are getting there. She interacts with my other cats through a gate. Sometimes they get into little slap fights through the gate but I have no idea if they're fighting or playing to be honest
 

tabbytom

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I would say we are making slow progress. We are veryyyyy slowly getting somewhat back to where we were prior to my dogs surgery. She no longer is hiding from me and is starting to approach me again although she's still startled easily. She sleeps for a good portion of the day in her bed in the window which I guess is normal? But at night she will play with me again with her favorite stick toy so I guess we are getting there. She interacts with my other cats through a gate. Sometimes they get into little slap fights through the gate but I have no idea if they're fighting or playing to be honest
That's good Slow progress is better than not progress.
Great that she's no longer hiding and is out playing and approaching you. If she's startled easily, any movements or actions, make it slower and quieter. Sleeping a good portion of the day is normal and playing with you with her favorite stick toy is a good sign.

Good that she's interacting with your other cats.Here are some articles for you to read :-

introducing-cats-to-cats
how-to-successfully-introduce-cats-the-ultimate-guide
how-to-fix-an-unsuccessful-cat-introduction
are-my-cats-fighting-or-playing
how-to-safely-break-up-a-cat-fight

Do keep us updated.
 

hexiesfriend

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Lay on the floor fully so you’re smaller than her you will find that’s when the big steps will happen. I’ve adopted a few ferals and that seems to work well. It’s uncomfortable but it’s all about making yourself small.
 

MindyStClairesMom

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I would say sleeping in the window is pretty brave of her. Mindy St Claire is ONLY JUST venturing outside my bedroom / sitting in a window and she's almost a full 3 months into her Feline Finishing School.
259547421_912766946072087_4251905167670666680_n.jpg

She's the one on the table. This was so startling to us that my daughter got a photo of it in case I didn't believe her!

I would lie down on the floor a lot -- and turn over onto my back -- and I think it helped some . . . but I'm not sure that was the thing that cracked the code or anything.

Interestingly, I found the thread on Next Door where volunteers had spotted her just before she was trapped. She looks SO BAD A*SED and confident that it makes her incredibly slow progress with me kind of hard to understand:
MSC 1.jpg

She is a GIRL ON A MISSION.

It sounds like you are inching forward. ((hugs))
 
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DB89014

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Thank you for the resources! Mindy certainly looks brave sitting there on the table it must feel great to see her out like that! She did have quite the strut while she was outside.

I believe we've had a small breakthrough. I have been laying on the floor the past couple days during feeding time and trying to feed my other cats into meal time without the gate separating them. They all ate with no hissing or swatting which was a first. My semi feral girl didn't hide at all and she seemed relatively calm. Later that night she came into the kitchen with me which she hasn't done in quite a while. I had been feeling so guilty about this regression due to my lack of spending as much time with her so I was so happy to see her coming into the same room as me again. I was trying to talk sweetly to her and she ended up flopping onto her back and stretching her arms out in front of me while rolling on her back. A little while later I made the mistake of trying to put a treat on the windowsill next to where she was sitting and she gave me a good smack to remind me not to get too excited lol
 

tabbytom

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Thank you for the resources! Mindy certainly looks brave sitting there on the table it must feel great to see her out like that! She did have quite the strut while she was outside.

I believe we've had a small breakthrough. I have been laying on the floor the past couple days during feeding time and trying to feed my other cats into meal time without the gate separating them. They all ate with no hissing or swatting which was a first. My semi feral girl didn't hide at all and she seemed relatively calm. Later that night she came into the kitchen with me which she hasn't done in quite a while. I had been feeling so guilty about this regression due to my lack of spending as much time with her so I was so happy to see her coming into the same room as me again. I was trying to talk sweetly to her and she ended up flopping onto her back and stretching her arms out in front of me while rolling on her back. A little while later I made the mistake of trying to put a treat on the windowsill next to where she was sitting and she gave me a good smack to remind me not to get too excited lol
688E0FFB-3ACD-4695-BA19-F99B9A8A9A50$L0$001~photo.JPG
 
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DB89014

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We have been moving forward very slowly however today my girl was acting completely out of character for her. Usually when we spend time together its later at night since shes sleeping for most of the day. However when i got home from work this afternoon she usually scurries downstairs to her room when i come in the front door with all my bags and junk. Today she has been out for hours staying in the room with me, i have been leaning over her, stretching my arm out in front of her and shes not running away. Normally those things or any kind of sudden movement would scare her off. shes hanging out in the middle of the floor, not hiding, she suddenly seems like she's not scared of anything? i would be happy but it's such a drastic change in how she normally acts. I expected to make progress but not necessarily all in one day. Has anyone else had an experience like this?
 

tabbytom

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Normally those things or any kind of sudden movement would scare her off. shes hanging out in the middle of the floor, not hiding, she suddenly seems like she's not scared of anything? i would be happy but it's such a drastic change in how she normally acts. I expected to make progress but not necessarily all in one day. Has anyone else had an experience like this?
That's good progress. Looks like she's getting more comfortable and confident. Let her be as cats are strange, they change over time. One day they may be doing this and another day something else. Just as long as she's comfortable, feeing safe and loved. It could be that she missed you too as lately you are very closed to her.
 

MindyStClairesMom

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I expected to make progress but not necessarily all in one day. Has anyone else had an experience like this?
YAY! Yes, we had a moment when she sort of "figured it out." I read on a post here that some cats sort of go "Oh, I GET IT!" I only really can see "plateaus of improvement" when I look back over our blog. She's sitting on my bed with me now as I work and watch tv -- and she was marking this bed at 3 a.m. (while I was sleeping in it) only 12 weeks ago . . .
 
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DB89014

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That certainly is a big difference lol im sure you are glad to have conquered that problem. Thats exactly how it seemed like she woke up yesterday and decided she wasn't afraid anymore. My other 3 cats were all out with here as well and there was no hiding or fighting which is also a big improvement. They've tolerated each other before but shes never stayed out or seemed interested in them for such a long period of time. I will just go with it I hope its the same story today.
 
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