Feral cat not eating

Coveredwithcatfur

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I’m looking for some advice. I trapped a feral mother two weeks ago. She’s roughly 2-3 years old. She can’t go back due to risk so I’m trying to socialize her. It’s progressing very slowly. She is now not eating. What should I do? I’ve also heard different advice on slow blinking her versus no eye contact. Which do you do?
 

Furballsmom

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Hi!
Can you try leaving her alone a bit more so she can acclimate with less emotional pressure?
Cats find direct eye contact to be aggressive, so no eye contact is much better.

On the flip side, does she seem sick such that she might need a vet appointment?

There are smelly foods and other things that you could try, but without being there, I think she may need to feel more relaxed before she'll consider eating. Is she drinking water? Unflavored Pedialyte?

Any Good Tips To Get Your Cats To Eat? Share Them Here!
 
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Coveredwithcatfur

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She’s not eating or drinking anything. It’s like she’s shutting off the world. She ate yesterday and I added her second round of dewormer in case it was that.
 

Furballsmom

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What happened to her kittens?
If she doesn't improve you may need to get her to the vet, poor sweetie.
 

Swttea

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I rescued a cat almost a month ago now. I don’t believe he was feral but a stray. He would not eat for several days. The vet told me to make the room completely dark (I had been having the lamp on). I put out a can of salmon and made sure the house was very quiet, and the room was very dark, no lamp or nightlight. He did finally eat, and from there would eat at night, and we slowly worked up to eating whenever with me there. The salmon was just because I knew it was enticing, after that one can I switched to wet cat food. I also put water in the food for a few days because he hasn’t been drinking either. Do you have her in her own space/room? Have you tried leaving food out, right beside her, when you go to bed and it’s completely dark?

I also can’t tell you how helpful I have found this camera from Walmart:
Merkury Innovations Smart WiFi 720P Camera with Voice Control, Requires 2.4GHz WiFi, White - Walmart.com

It has night vision, motion detection and it can stick high up on the wall to get a good view of the room. It allows me to watch him without being present to scare him. If it wasn’t for this I would think he never came out. In fact he would come out at night to look at the windows and even play with toys. It also lets me see when he might think about eating but doesn’t seem to like the food. I also got a Feliway diffuser, and while results can vary I can say it also seems to be helping tons. If you are visiting the room a lot for right now it might be helpful to only bring in the food and leave her.

Of course take furballsmoms advice! If she seems ill and not just scared she may need to be checked up on. I also know momma cats can get depressed if separated from their kittens, is that what happened here? I’m not sure how to help in that case. Maybe she would like one of those toys that purr?
 

shadowsrescue

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I have heard that dewormers can make a cat not want to eat. I would set out the stinkiest food you can find. Think tuna fish, mackeral, or really stinky wet food. When I have had a cat that didn't want to eat, I offered tuna in water ( oil is fine for now too). I would offer one bowl of tuna only and a second bowl with just the tuna water or oil and a few flecks of tuna. A cat might often lap up the tuna water or oil before wanting to eat.

I second getting a camera for the room. I have several wireless ip cameras that I have used for outside and inside cats. This way you can watch her to see if she even attempts to eat.

If by Monday she is not eating or drinking, a vet visit is a must.
 

Jcatbird

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Yes. What happened with the kittens? Lost or fostered/adopted? That has some bearing on the advice you get. If they are still outside, please try to reunite them with mom cat. I have seen and done reunions like that and it snapped the mom out of her shock immediately. It worked wonders for mom and kittens. Did she have a vet check yet? All the previous advice is very good! Follow it! You mentioned her being at risk. Was she abused or traumatized? By traumatized, I mean besides being separated from kittens as in, hurt, pursued a lot/chased, in great and constant fear. If so, there are some more avenues you can try. It’s still a matter of trust and letting the cat adjust but I might suggest a little different way to help her than I usually take with most ferals.
The heartbeat and purr toys do seem to give some comfort. I have used them for some cats here. A ticking clock has a similar effect. It is calming to some. Thank you for rescuing her! She needs time to adjust and investigate her new world.
 
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Coveredwithcatfur

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Thanks for the advice. I know nothing of her history. She’s been spayed and they thought she was just over a year? She had two kittens that are in foster. All our rescues are full so when someone offered space and time to socialize, I took it. The kittens were about 9 wks and weaned so time was of the essence. She was living in a water runoff basin next to a freeway. I don’t know where she got food. She was a bit underweight. I’ve had her just over two weeks.
I believe she is stressed and responding by not eating. I resorted to putting on a glove and syringing baby purée in her mouth last night. She then ate the rest. Then today she wouldn’t take it, but hubby was cooking bacon and I had the wild idea to give her a piece. And she ate it. At least she’s had a few calories.
I have her in a long dog kennel which is challenging to access her unless I get in but I’m willing. I hope she turns around soon. I’m not sure the best way to socialize her. I did put a camera on her. I didn’t think to make the room dark because I thought the infrared would bother her? I like the idea of Feliway, and the heartbeat!
I don’t want to rejoin her with the kittens as there are just too many challenges with that. I was actually told by the rescue to separate them to socialize the kittens better, otherwise mom would protect them and they would follow her lead of being feral. I honestly don’t know.
I’m going to buy Feliway and the heartbeat thing. Thank you for the advice!! Please keep it coming!!!
 

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You need to give her time and patience. She’s had a huge change in her entire world but she will come to understand that she is safe and food will come.Socializing is a process. Sometimes it seems like two steps forward and one back but other times you may see forward leaps of progress. Every cat is different and faced different challenges in trying to survive. Bacon was a fantastic idea. I crumble tiny pieces and use it for may things. If you must give a pill, if it is slightly crunchy bacon you can put a tiny pile of crumbles around the pill and it does a good job of disguises the taste and smell of the pill. You can try using bacon as a food topper too. A little crumbled over food may leave enough of the scent to get her interest. Did she eat the bacon from your hand? Food is a wonderful bonding method. Gerber 2nd foods all meat baby food can be slightly warmed and given. The scent and protein in it is enticing for her. Goats milk might be a nutrition boost for her too. She shouldn’t need a lot at once but it might get her interested in the things you offer. I like to lay on my back without moving while ferals eat. It shows them that I have made myself completely vulnerable and offering them my trust. If they will eat while you lay there, big plus. After a bit you can put the food closer to you. Eventually, when she is more settled, you can do hand feeding and try moving her food into your lap or even on your stomach where you lay. She would them be coming into physical contact with you and she will see that she can safely eat without pursuit. Always attempt to lead her to you rather than going after her. Pursuit , to her, would be like being chased by a predator.
After she is more trusting, I also let cats sleep in the room with me. Once they can be released from their crate, they will use the time I am asleep to fully investigate me in safety. I often wake to find a kitty on thebed with me.
It’s all a process and I don’t want to jump too far ahead but wanted you to get an idea about ways you will bring this forward over time. There are other tools like a hairbrush, comb or wand toy but right now, just work on getting her used to being safe and loved. Great job with getting that food in her! Every calorie is a step forward.
 
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Coveredwithcatfur

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She’s back to not eating. 😞 Today she’s had one piece of bacon and nothing else. I don’t know how long a cat can last without hardly any food. I’m at a loss.
 

Furballsmom

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Have you tried the food suggestions in @jcatbirds post above?
 
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Coveredwithcatfur

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Have you tried the food suggestions in @jcatbirds post above?
Yes. I can try to hand feed her but she attacked my gloved hand last time. She’s way inside a carrier. This makes me nervous.
 
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