Feral rescue

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Julest

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He/ she hasn't been thrashing around. It seems very scared and unfriendly but seems really quite timid in nature.
I will look forward to the day it meows then 💕
 

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He/ she hasn't been thrashing around. It seems very scared and unfriendly but seems really quite timid in nature.
I will look forward to the day it meows then 💕
Thats good-the smaller space does help with preventing or lessening thrashing and banging around.....thst difficult to wait out,in bigger space a feral can really hurt themselves badly

It's heartwarmimg the first time they do meow - I know all my cats voices and one day I heard an unfamiliar tiny little mew not very long ago ,I turned around and there was my boy wanting me to notice him as he came in from the patio and I was reading- I melted❤
 
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Hi again
I am getting more stressed as Billie has been displaying more aggressive behaviour over the last 2 days. Her hissing and spitting are louder and more violent and I am genuinely really quite afraid of her/ him at the moment. Is this normal? I feel that she should be getting used to me as it has been 2 weeks now but instead I feel as if she really hates me and wants to kill me. I have done nothing but be calm and feed her but there is no way I could get close to her unless I am prepared for an attack. What can I do to try to settle her/ him down? I am sure she hates being trapped in a cage. Part of me wants to release her but I have been told I have to keep her quarantined for the 6 months because of these bites just in case there is a chance that she has contracted rabies
 
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Thats good-the smaller space does help with preventing or lessening thrashing and banging around.....thst difficult to wait out,in bigger space a feral can really hurt themselves badly

It's heartwarmimg the first time they do meow - I know all my cats voices and one day I heard an unfamiliar tiny little mew not very long ago ,I turned around and there was my boy wanting me to notice him as he came in from the patio and I was reading- I melted❤
over the last two days he/ she has started trying to get out. Pulling the cover off the cage and moving the cat basket over. Also hissing and spitting more violently and aggressively- so much so that I am really scared to get close to the cage and get really nervous trying to get her into her cat basket to put the food out and clean the litter. If I got close enough I feel she/ he would attack me. I worked in a wildlife rescue centre and the raccoons, eagles and foxes were much gentler and less scary than this cat.
 

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over the last two days he/ she has started trying to get out. Pulling the cover off the cage and moving the cat basket over. Also hissing and spitting more violently and aggressively- so much so that I am really scared to get close to the cage and get really nervous trying to get her into her cat basket to put the food out and clean the litter. If I got close enough I feel she/ he would attack me. I worked in a wildlife rescue centre and the raccoons, eagles and foxes were much gentler and less scary than this cat.
This is not unusual- the good thing is that she is eating.....

At first ,terrified ( & in her case also injured) they will often shut down,this can be very problematic as many ferals will stop eating and stop drinking .... and then of course it becomes life threatening ,so far she is not showing signs of depression but that doesn't mean that won't happen after she is resolved to the fact there is no escape

Crates are fine,many many suggest these as a starting point for semi- ferals and strays ..... for ferals I prefer larger enclosures because typically they will be in there for 90 days or longer depending on the cat( I believe I mentioned this early on ?)The reason is not only for the cats comfortability but for the safety and convenience of the caretaker/handler.Billie has no place to retreat/hide except the carrier which is ground level and not an option a feral would choose when it perceives an approaching threat so Billie has no choice( in her mind) but to be confrontational- I can assure you,she does not hate you nor does she want to kill you - she is terrified

In 14 days this has not become her established territory so she's not being territorial,she fears for her life and is being defensive.... if I could compare this to what a human thinks you could say she " feels" exactly as you do,you hate her and are trying to kill her

So if you make a loud noise or use a stick or other suggested methods thst many use to get her into the carrier while you feed,clean etc then eventually she's likely to behave like many shelter cats-shut down ,unresponsive and difficult to socialize ,if adopted they hide or show aggression and take a very very long time to trust anyone.... the carrier is not being associated with safety,it's a forced retreat ( like being cornered with nowhere else to go)

I'm going to suggest a cage with vertical space- (this also poses a problem though if Billie needed to go into a carrier for medical attention it's a little tricky to do and not as simple as in a small crate with a carrier)

Right away Billie preferred to be ontop of the carrier and not on the ground - I'm confident Billie would feel less threatened and retreat to a high cubby on a shelf .....you being 60 or 70 inches away she'd feel much less threatened being above..... these portable cages take up no more room than a crate,only in height
... cats prefer to rest and sleep away from their litter,food and water source so she would not be hanging around on that level and where you work for a couple of minutes..... upper and lower doors give you options of where you are sticking your arms in.....

If this was a typical TNR or a temporary confinement then yes,48" crates are always used .Socializing ferals for domestication is a little different and the majority of so called experts say it cannot be done,hogwash - there is a process,preparingc the environment is the first part of setting the stage for a successful production

I truly hope I can help you to feel encouraged and not fearful,fear has no place in the equation so you have to set the conditions where you feel safe and confident from start to finish

Let me say I admire your perseverance despite your fear and your willingness to help an animal in desperate need- that's truly kind and compassionate

Understand I'm not criticizing you or knocking anyone who has advised you thus far,they are only trying to help - I wasn't sure about Billie being a "true feral" everyone labels unsocialized outdoor or aggressive cats as " feral".... realistically they've probably never met an F1---- Billie just might be one and I'm still not convinced but she's starting to sound like one,lol

Ferals are my passion- I started out from various species on to big cats decades ago so naturally I was motivated to study ferals,true ferals which are hard to find- they are the night creatures thst live in shadows,they have no real interest in food from humans but will investigate feeding colonies,eat and run when the humans not watching....they're all cats,they're all deserving of a chance,they're all worth saving in my eyes- thank you,Billie has had a rough start but can have a " happily ever after " ❤
 

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over the last two days he/ she has started trying to get out. Pulling the cover off the cage and moving the cat basket over. Also hissing and spitting more violently and aggressively- so much so that I am really scared to get close to the cage and get really nervous trying to get her into her cat basket to put the food out and clean the litter. If I got close enough I feel she/ he would attack me. I worked in a wildlife rescue centre and the raccoons, eagles and foxes were much gentler and less scary than this cat.
BTW- Florida panthers and cougars are less reactive than Lil ole feral cats,lol There small size has alot to do with it,they must put on quite a show of aggression to ward off or defend themselves against most predators...this too is a conditioned behavior and means of survival.....

Many " wild " predators are not also prey depending on where they are so there's a huge difference right there - unless there are cougars,,bobcats and large domestic dogs around a full grown racoon doesn't have a worry- eagles are ontop of the food chain and generally not prey and unless foxes are food competition they are usually left alone and are not on anyones menu......most of these animals ,though cautious ,are not really threatened by humans until they've learned to be( sigh)

So I do understand why you might feel as you do and although wild animals are always " wild" they might be tame ( until hungry,lol) So if it helps you to feel any better ,feral cats have " domestic " dna,there behavior is wild,they are not- thst should encourage you to know this FACT❤
 
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This is not unusual- the good thing is that she is eating.....

At first ,terrified ( & in her case also injured) they will often shut down,this can be very problematic as many ferals will stop eating and stop drinking .... and then of course it becomes life threatening ,so far she is not showing signs of depression but that doesn't mean that won't happen after she is resolved to the fact there is no escape

Crates are fine,many many suggest these as a starting point for semi- ferals and strays ..... for ferals I prefer larger enclosures because typically they will be in there for 90 days or longer depending on the cat( I believe I mentioned this early on ?)The reason is not only for the cats comfortability but for the safety and convenience of the caretaker/handler.Billie has no place to retreat/hide except the carrier which is ground level and not an option a feral would choose when it perceives an approaching threat so Billie has no choice( in her mind) but to be confrontational- I can assure you,she does not hate you nor does she want to kill you - she is terrified

In 14 days this has not become her established territory so she's not being territorial,she fears for her life and is being defensive.... if I could compare this to what a human thinks you could say she " feels" exactly as you do,you hate her and are trying to kill her

So if you make a loud noise or use a stick or other suggested methods thst many use to get her into the carrier while you feed,clean etc then eventually she's likely to behave like many shelter cats-shut down ,unresponsive and difficult to socialize ,if adopted they hide or show aggression and take a very very long time to trust anyone.... the carrier is not being associated with safety,it's a forced retreat ( like being cornered with nowhere else to go)

I'm going to suggest a cage with vertical space- (this also poses a problem though if Billie needed to go into a carrier for medical attention it's a little tricky to do and not as simple as in a small crate with a carrier)

Right away Billie preferred to be ontop of the carrier and not on the ground - I'm confident Billie would feel less threatened and retreat to a high cubby on a shelf .....you being 60 or 70 inches away she'd feel much less threatened being above..... these portable cages take up no more room than a crate,only in height
... cats prefer to rest and sleep away from their litter,food and water source so she would not be hanging around on that level and where you work for a couple of minutes..... upper and lower doors give you options of where you are sticking your arms in.....

If this was a typical TNR or a temporary confinement then yes,48" crates are always used .Socializing ferals for domestication is a little different and the majority of so called experts say it cannot be done,hogwash - there is a process,preparingc the environment is the first part of setting the stage for a successful production

I truly hope I can help you to feel encouraged and not fearful,fear has no place in the equation so you have to set the conditions where you feel safe and confident from start to finish

Let me say I admire your perseverance despite your fear and your willingness to help an animal in desperate need- that's truly kind and compassionate

Understand I'm not criticizing you or knocking anyone who has advised you thus far,they are only trying to help - I wasn't sure about Billie being a "true feral" everyone labels unsocialized outdoor or aggressive cats as " feral".... realistically they've probably never met an F1---- Billie just might be one and I'm still not convinced but she's starting to sound like one,lol

Ferals are my passion- I started out from various species on to big cats decades ago so naturally I was motivated to study ferals,true ferals which are hard to find- they are the night creatures thst live in shadows,they have no real interest in food from humans but will investigate feeding colonies,eat and run when the humans not watching....they're all cats,they're all deserving of a chance,they're all worth saving in my eyes- thank you,Billie has had a rough start but can have a " happily ever after " ❤
thank you Kwik. You are great and I really value your support and advice. I will look at vertical options as I hate the thought of her being in a tiny cage for months on end. It seems so cruel when he/ she was used to the great outdoors.
I am hoping she will settle down again over the coming months when she recognises that I am not hurting her. I think I also may have got into her space too much at the beginning as I was worried about her being lonely/ bored and wanted her to get used to me so was talking to her and generally hanging around. I recognise now that I would have been causing stress and it was better to be much more invisible until he/ she had settled in.
It's weird how I don't like not knowing what sex she is - I feel I need to be able to call her a he or she but it really doesn't matter. I am going to work with they for the time being and Billie can be gender neutral.
I don't make noise or poke her with a stick for exactly the reasons you have mentioned- I don't want to cause any more anxiety or stress. As a result there have been times where I have delayed the feeding and cleaning until Billie is inside the carrier even though I am conscious of the litter being dirty and smelly. I don't like doing this but feel it is a preferable option at this stage.
Thank you again. I will keep you posted and will look through old posts you have made on this site to get a better idea of timelines and progress of feral socialisation.
 
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BTW- Florida panthers and cougars are less reactive than Lil ole feral cats,lol There small size has alot to do with it,they must put on quite a show of aggression to ward off or defend themselves against most predators...this too is a conditioned behavior and means of survival.....

Many " wild " predators are not also prey depending on where they are so there's a huge difference right there - unless there are cougars,,bobcats and large domestic dogs around a full grown racoon doesn't have a worry- eagles are ontop of the food chain and generally not prey and unless foxes are food competition they are usually left alone and are not on anyones menu......most of these animals ,though cautious ,are not really threatened by humans until they've learned to be( sigh)

So I do understand why you might feel as you do and although wild animals are always " wild" they might be tame ( until hungry,lol) So if it helps you to feel any better ,feral cats have " domestic " dna,there behavior is wild,they are not- thst should encourage you to know this FACT❤
thank you! Once again you have reassured me ❤ it's crazy how scared I am around Billie. I am typically overly comfortable around all animals and need to remind myself that I should exercise caution. In this instance I am truly scared and have to take deep breaths to convince myself I shouldn't be so afraid. I think the rabies risk has thrown me too to be honest. I worry that the increased aggression could be early rabies symptoms even though Billy is eating and drinking and I know that the rabies risk is very slim.
I will keep going and I am sure that we will both start to develop a mutual, wary respect for each other over the coming weeks.
 

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thank you! Once again you have reassured me ❤ it's crazy how scared I am around Billie. I am typically overly comfortable around all animals and need to remind myself that I should exercise caution. In this instance I am truly scared and have to take deep breaths to convince myself I shouldn't be so afraid. I think the rabies risk has thrown me too to be honest. I worry that the increased aggression could be early rabies symptoms even though Billy is eating and drinking and I know that the rabies risk is very slim.
I will keep going and I am sure that we will both start to develop a mutual, wary respect for each other over the coming weeks.
As you should be careful of even the slightest potentisl for risks of rabies virus- J Julest I can't tell you how many times I've had rabies shots,from way back when they used to be a long series of injections into the naval and very painful....it's fatal,no cure,no joke.... so we MUST take every precaution to ensure your safety

And you'll do well to be around her( she looks female to me,lol)to talk to her and exactly what you were doing but not just yet,not great with an injured animal,animals want to be left alone when they have pain or discomfort- that too is survival mode,hide when unfit to defend themselves and are most vulnerable
Let's give Billie 30 days to settle a bit- start from zero when she's transferred to a larger containment and let her establish that as her territory- you can certainly be in the room,speak softly,sit on the ground ,read or post on TCS( hee hee) but just be part of her new environment- so you don't have to be invisible you just have to be unintrusive...if you've worked with wildlife then you know how to be respectful and non threatening

It'll be okay and I'm here to ask any questions you have ,it's my pleasure .... if I don't answer just tag me

Even I was beside myself taking in my last feral becsuse it was in MY house with my clowder and I was physically debilitated last year needing my knees replaced,could barely walk..... working at facilities with assistants and " controlled " environments" is a bit different - I had to erect a 6 foot wide,6foot high enclosure in the middle of my living room to accommodate this 7yr old F1 !!!! You can read all about it in his thread- after all my years in the business I had zero support from anyone,no help and not becsuse they're not my friends but honestly they just don't know how .... they believe in TNR,I do not

Eh,been rowing against the tide so long and no matter how many true ferals I recondition they're still scared to try or to believe..... kinda like the Israelites witnessing the parting of the Red Sea and still thinking might be best to go back to slavery,rofl

Lighten up friend,stay positive,there's always solutions and ways to make the process go smoothly,not faster but easier on both you and Billie- so we'll figure it out,okay?
 
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As you should be careful of even the slightest potentisl for risks of rabies virus- J Julest I can't tell you how many times I've had rabies shots,from way back when they used to be a long series of injections into the naval and very painful....it's fatal,no cure,no joke.... so we MUST take every precaution to ensure your safety

And you'll do well to be around her( she looks female to me,lol)to talk to her and exactly what you were doing but not just yet,not great with an injured animal,animals want to be left alone when they have pain or discomfort- that too is survival mode,hide when unfit to defend themselves and are most vulnerable
Let's give Billie 30 days to settle a bit- start from zero when she's transferred to a larger containment and let her establish that as her territory- you can certainly be in the room,speak softly,sit on the ground ,read or post on TCS( hee hee) but just be part of her new environment- so you don't have to be invisible you just have to be unintrusive...if you've worked with wildlife then you know how to be respectful and non threatening

It'll be okay and I'm here to ask any questions you have ,it's my pleasure .... if I don't answer just tag me

Even I was beside myself taking in my last feral becsuse it was in MY house with my clowder and I was physically debilitated last year needing my knees replaced,could barely walk..... working at facilities with assistants and " controlled " environments" is a bit different - I had to erect a 6 foot wide,6foot high enclosure in the middle of my living room to accommodate this 7yr old F1 !!!! You can read all about it in his thread- after all my years in the business I had zero support from anyone,no help and not becsuse they're not my friends but honestly they just don't know how .... they believe in TNR,I do not

Eh,been rowing against the tide so long and no matter how many true ferals I recondition they're still scared to try or to believe..... kinda like the Israelites witnessing the parting of the Red Sea and still thinking might be best to go back to slavery,rofl

Lighten up friend,stay positive,there's always solutions and ways to make the process go smoothly,not faster but easier on both you and Billie- so we'll figure it out,okay?
Thank you! ❤❤
 
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I wanted to give you an update on Billie.
I have managed to find a vet who is willing to come out to my house on Wednesday to look at Billie and see if she can determine the sex. She will also check to make sure she/ he hasn't previously been spayed or neutered and advise me on next steps for that and she will look at Billie's wounds to make sure they are healing properly. I want her to give me some advice on how to work with Billie moving forwards as I am still struggling to change the litter due to the hissing, spitting and lunging at me. If I can't close Billie in the cat basket beforehand nothing can get done. I stupidly connected two crates together yesterday and added extra cubby/ hidey spots thinking that it would allow Billie more space to move around and that has actually made her/ him guard the door more aggressively and I haven't been able to access the crate to clean the litter at all today. I had established some sort of routine (albeit a very nerve wracking one) over the last few weeks and now I feel I have taken another step backwards. I should maybe have waited a while.
Nothing has changed as far as the hissing and spitting at me but Billie has eaten a couple of times when I have been in the room which is definitely a step forward.
I will keep you all updated but I still can't imagine that this cat can ever be socialised. I hope I am wrong though.
 
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Oh, another question. I have not been able to access the car carrier for the month that I have had the cat so the towel and the soft toy that I put in has never been cleaned. Billie is great at using the litter tray but has managed to track litter inside the carrier over that time and there is no way I can clean it out. I am beginning to worry that I will never be able to keep this little space clean. How do you all manage to do this?
reading all of your feeds it looks as if most of you had some contact with the ferals you socialised prior to trapping them. This feral was trapped by someone who had no contact with it other than seeing that it was injured and couldn't walk. The day I brought it home in the trap was the first time I head ever set eyes on the cat and the only reason I am involved is because the lady thought it looked like my missing cat. Going from terrified feral to being in my house (a total stranger) not even near the cat's territory must be awful. I guess it's no wonder I am struggling so much 😩
 

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Can I tell you I did not vacuum for 6months when I brought Timmy in!I just let it be until I was able to- it was a mess..... now he watched me vacuum!

I know it all seems impossible to imagine this cats behavior will ever change but it will.... you are in a peculiar situation becsuse of the potential risk added to everything else - still ,I believe vertical space will likely help you to have safe access - the cat would probably feel less threatened from above - on the ground sye feels confronted ( head on- face to face)guarding the door only makes sense

As I mentioned earlier a smaller space it required to socialize but going UP with vertical space can give kitty a place to retreat and avoid- if given thst option when the door is opened she'd go UP

I'm glad you found a Vet to come to you- look forward to your update. Ask the Vet about what I'm suggesting if you need confirmation - the biggest threat to a cat is head on,reaching towards them.... she's so terrified she had not yet realized you are only reaching in to clean and/or feed.....
eventually she will

Yes,most folks develop some type of relationship feeding outside semi ferals /strays before capture and probably 9 out of 10 are not true ferals at all,despite what they think or believe..... it's okay,ferals just take longer and need more time around humans( not even interacting but seeing,hearing,smelling )they've avoided,your girl suddenly cannot AVOID- it's terrifying

Not sure if I mentioned years ago I started a socialization program for ferals? I had volunteers 24/7 in shifts,funny it was the quietest section at the no-kill facility,lol..... ferals don't make a peep except to spit,hiss and growl - these cats came from a life of hiding and avoiding humans to being caged - lots of protective gear,lots of time and patience but a successful program- unfortunately not enough funding because it takes too much time,people and money to keep it going.....
 

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Hi Julest,
Is there any way you can make a divider for the crate? I had to move the litter box to the front of the crate by the door as I was afraid of being attacked by a cat recovering from an injury.Feral or not a scared cat can do a lot of damage to a human if you are attacked, I don't envy the situation you are in ,it must be very stressful for you and the cat.And of course there's the risk of rabies also.
Anyway, I cut wooden planks and slid them down into the crate to create a divider,it was a pain to have to do all that to clean the litter pan but it worked.
Again you are a very kind person for doing all this for a cat you never met before ❤
I wouldn't worry about cleaning the carrier right now,it probably comforts her to have her scent in there.Also those grabby things
are great to use if you have to move things around in the crate from the outside.
 

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Another idea is they make self feeding containers for dry food so at least if you can't get into the crate to refill food for whatever reason she would have something to eat in there.
I used small paper plates that I could slide into the crate without opening the door,use the stick to slide them to the edge so you can remove them once she's finished eating. Water can be poured into the bowl from above the crate.
I know you are hoping to socialize her but
these are just ideas for the time's she's " hissy" and you don't want to take the chance of opening the crate.
I hope this helps.
 

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J Julest , is there any chance you can post a pic or two of how you have the crates tied together? fluffpaws fluffpaws solution to slide wood planks through the crate slots might be an option depending on the type of crates you are using.
 

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J Julest , is there any chance you can post a pic or two of how you have the crates tied together? fluffpaws fluffpaws solution to slide wood planks through the crate slots might be an option depending on the type of crates you are using.
Squeeze forks work with any design welded wire ,they can be used to divide for cleaning purposes as well,a squeeze fork looks like a pitch fork and is made to retain for these purposes or for giving injections etc.....the forks simply slide through the rungs ,of course unless in a transfer cage with " bars" they won't slide to " squeeze "
 

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Hi Kwik, do they make squeeze forks big enough for a large dog crate? I have never seen them that big? That's a great idea if they are available. I have a small divider for traps and transfer cages which I love , but I have never been able to find one big enough for a full size crate.Where can I get one?
 

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My crate has a divider but it has to be installed from the inside.
 
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