First Time Taming 2 Ferals!

Discussion in 'Caring for Strays and Ferals' started by DeniseK27, Oct 8, 2017.

  1. DeniseK27

    DeniseK27 TCS Member Kitten

    15
    9
    Oct 8, 2017
    Good day, cat lovers! This is my very first time taming/socializing ferals. A family friend goes to a nearby reservoir daily and feeds the ferals. She has TNR'd so many and in doing so, has saved so many kitties. She recently brought home two females approximately 5 months old. She had plans of bringing them to the vet for the spay, vaccines, and tests and then releasing them, but they were so pretty that I decided to take them. They were in a large dog crate at her house for 2 weeks before they went to the vet. In that time we made progress as far as pets during feeding into eventually little pets even without food. I had one of them playing pretty good too. Of course the vet visit must have been traumatic and then bringing them home to a new home as well. Unfortunately, I misjudged that they seemed pretty comfortable on the 2nd night, and my apartment isn't too big, so I let them roam seeing as though we made decent progress before the vet and they just seemed curious. Well, at 5am they were still trying to get behind things and knocking things over due to trying to find a way out. One went back in the cage to sniff so I closed the door behind her. The other one was hiding behind the couch for two nights only coming out to eat or use the litter box when she is absolutely sure we aren't around. I was able to reach into her hiding spot now, which is inside a wooden magazine table next to the couch, and feed her some food on a spoon. The one in the cage will eat in front of us no problem and we can pet while she's eating but that's as far as it goes. I just want to be hopeful that in time, they will both be comfortable here together. They have only been here since Tuesday so I know this is early on. I guess I'm just looking for some tips to use along the road. The dog crate is large and is in our living room with us (my boyfriend and I.) We watch tv on a low volume and i constantly talk to them in a sweet voice not making eye contact. They are both so adorable, neither has hissed or meowed. Thanks for reading and any feedback would be much appreciated!!
     
    rubysmama and maggiedemi purraised this.
  2. krisrath11

    krisrath11 TCS Member Alpha Cat

    399
    136
    Jan 1, 2017
    Kcmo
    Very curious as to all the advice u get as u currently have 4 babies that I am taming myself. Mine aren't but maybe 3 months old though and their mom is here and not feral thankfully.

    In the time I have had them I only let them out in 1 room. The only way I let them out is to make them come by me, and now go under my hand. They r significantly smaller though I'm sure so idk how well that would work. Mine now associate me with food as they get fed twice or 3 times a day (depends on how much they eat). I only feed once all food is gone which makes them more apt to come. I can typically pet 3 of them while they eat but 1 is still very feral.

    I leave them out only with the light on for some exercise and they have toys to play with too. A room with no furniture would be ideal so there is no place to hide at all but I unfortunately do have some things in there for my incontinent kitty. I found leaving them out to much was bad so they only get out about 4 hrs at a time. I was told towel holding them and petting them works (as small as mine are I just scruff pick up and hold tight to pet). They get rewards for all types of petting and touch. Canned food they can eat after a pet, and I put them in or out of the cage that way as well.

    I had lots of success with string toy play. Just to get them close to me. Stirring by their food bowl works well it seems as they are hungry little fellows and they really like the canned food so they find me less of a threat bcz they want to eat (the most feral is very food driven so he will come as long as I do this and do not try and touch him before)

    Maybe some of this will help u as I'm pretty new to this as well and have gotten lots of help on here since I trapped the family.
     
    DeniseK27 purraised this.
  3. DeniseK27

    DeniseK27 TCS Member Kitten

    15
    9
    Oct 8, 2017
    Thank you so much for your response! And 4 kitties, that's awesome! I love the idea of letting them out only for a little bit, and I would copy that idea if mine were a little younger. At this point, they seem to know their mission which is to stay away, farrrr away lol so having one in the cage is helping me socialize just for the sheer fact that she's closer and knows she is visible to us at all times. The other hides close by the cage in the magazine table. It's almost feeding time so we'll try for some more light petting :)
     
  4. krisrath11

    krisrath11 TCS Member Alpha Cat

    399
    136
    Jan 1, 2017
    Kcmo
    I do know it sounds terribly mean to keep kitties locked up but they do way better that way. If u can get Mr magazine back into a cage it would probably help. I kept the crate covered mostly for the first couple days and then I uncovered half and then took the whole thing. They can now been seen playing in there even while I'm around. I also hate the idea of them locked up and mom is the reason they get out because she will start yelling. I have them in a large wire kennel that was for my dogs but is now theirs. The less space they have it seems the better. I do hope u have luck! Can u post pics?
     
    DeniseK27 purraised this.
  5. DeniseK27

    DeniseK27 TCS Member Kitten

    15
    9
    Oct 8, 2017
    20171008_191412.jpg
     
    rubysmama purraised this.
  6. DeniseK27

    DeniseK27 TCS Member Kitten

    15
    9
    Oct 8, 2017
    That's Graycie on the left in the cage and Patches came out of her hiding spot (the red magazine table to the right) to eat. But ONLY if we stay very still and totally ignore her lol I quietly held my phone up and took a picture in selfie mode without turning toward her. Success! They are so adorable.
     
    rubysmama purraised this.
  7. krisrath11

    krisrath11 TCS Member Alpha Cat

    399
    136
    Jan 1, 2017
    Kcmo
    O they are lovely! The one outside looks like it's so curious, and the white face on the other is adorable.
     
    DeniseK27 purraised this.
  8. DeniseK27

    DeniseK27 TCS Member Kitten

    15
    9
    Oct 8, 2017
    Thank you so much! Patches is very curious I'm sure, but she's more scared than curious right now. Just hope I'm doing everything right. I always make sure we're present and low to the ground while they're eating. I just took that picture a few minutes ago. I was surprised to see her come out and eat in front of us. I don't force myself on them but I do lay near the cage and talk to Graycie and talk in Patches' direction so they'll both get used to my voice. Ugh we're trying lol just hope they'll be happy kitties with us someday!
     
  9. krisrath11

    krisrath11 TCS Member Alpha Cat

    399
    136
    Jan 1, 2017
    Kcmo
    It'll take lots of time and effort but I'm sure it can be done. They may never be full on lap cats but can certainly be good house cats. Keep updating your progress. O, I am going to start trying temptations treats out of my hand. My personal cats act like it's crack so I am hoping that they will take them from me as I hear hand feeding is a good idea.
     
    DeniseK27 purraised this.
  10. DeniseK27

    DeniseK27 TCS Member Kitten

    15
    9
    Oct 8, 2017
    So now the past two nights have been great. Patches comes out when I lure her with a shoelace and we have playtime for an hour or so. I get Graycie involved by draping the shoelace into the cage but she's not very into playing it seems. She actually seems sad in the cage and that makes me sad. I have her in there because when the two of them are out together, they retreat back to feral life and immediately search for an escape together. When she's in there, Patches stays close to the cage and doesn't cause trouble at night. When I get near the cage, Graycie still seems scared and when I open it, she backs up a little. We feed in the morning and in the evening half a can of patè and i leave a small bowl of dry mix in the cage. When she's eating, I bring the bowl close to me and I pet her. Even if there's no food around and I'm halfway in the cage, she'll accept pets from me all around the neck, chin, back. It seems like she enjoys it but, she still just seems sad. I don't know the right time to let her out or feel comfortable that the two of them won't run rampid all night. I want them to feel comfortable.
     
  11. Sarthur2

    Sarthur2 Cat lady extraordinaire Staff Member Advisor

    23,732
    4,253
    Mar 8, 2015
    Sunny Florida
    Do you have a spare room that you could put them in together but not in the cage?

    This way they would have some freedom, be together, but not be able to leave the room until they have grown more comfortable inside your home.
     
    DeniseK27, rubysmama and msaimee purraised this.
  12. krisrath11

    krisrath11 TCS Member Alpha Cat

    399
    136
    Jan 1, 2017
    Kcmo
    Mine seem scared just like that, but some days r better than others with certain ones. Over time it will get better. Sounds like they r getting more comfortable for sure. People do tend to forget cats are nocturnal animals which is why they make a ruckus at night and sleep most of the day. I got these tiny mice at a garage sale mine love because I just left them all over the room. It makes a terrible mess, but they really love rolls of toilet paper and somehow moved the whole roll lol.

    If u don't have a spare room have u thought of switching every now and then? Perhaps u have a kennel for transport or even a trap and u can put one in while u get the other in the cage and let the opposite out? Do also remember wherever they r there is potential for going potty. I believe i scared the pee out if one and luckily everything in that room belongs to an animal so it doesn't matter, and my floors are hard wood so they clean easily. Keep up the playing! I found that tapping my fingers on the floor in a calm almost playful manner gets their attention really well not that they come touch me but they come within inches staring. Whatever works keep doing it as it seems they are doing great.
     
    DeniseK27 purraised this.
  13. msaimee

    msaimee TCS Member Top Cat

    1,218
    439
    Jul 21, 2013
    Western PA
    It's probably best to avoid putting them in a trap because they will panic. Pet carriers are less stressful for transport. A spare room is the ideal, this is how I've socialized my ferals. It's much more natural for cars, especially kittens, to be able to have space to play. Cats who are caged become depressed and stressed. If you left them in a room together with some catnip toys, they would likely get socialized to each other and to you more quickly. Also play with interactive toys with them such as a wand toy and laser pointer toy. They will bond to you very quickly thru play. If expenses and space would allow, you could purchase a cat tree on Amazon or ebay. Cats love having height and also cubby holes to hide in.
     
    Last edited: Oct 11, 2017
    DeniseK27 and Sarthur2 purraised this.
  14. DeniseK27

    DeniseK27 TCS Member Kitten

    15
    9
    Oct 8, 2017
    Thanks for your responses!! Unfortunately, we live on Long Island and I do not have a huge apartment. I have a living room and kitchen that are kind of attached, a bathroom off the kitchen, and a seperate bedroom and that's really it. I have the cage in the living room with us so that we're always together. Even though Patches is outside the cage, she doesn't seem to explore too much at night. I don't mind if she does, but Graycie seems to be the more mischievous one. We keep the bathroom and bedroom doors shut so that the living room/kitchen can kind of act as a small space. I was thinking of trying to swap them out but I don't want Patches to feel like I'm punishing her. And I'm not exactly sure how to get her in there and Graycie out lol. They are sisters so I thought maybe I could just get Patches in there with her and Graycie wouldn't seem so upset. But again, I don't want Patches to feel like she's being punished or anything.
     
  15. Sarthur2

    Sarthur2 Cat lady extraordinaire Staff Member Advisor

    23,732
    4,253
    Mar 8, 2015
    Sunny Florida
    How about leaving the cage door open at night so the two can check out the apartment?

    If neither goes back in the cage you've got your answer - they no longer need to be caged.

    Just be careful coming and going from your apartment door so no one gets out.
     
    DeniseK27 and msaimee purraised this.
  16. rubysmama

    rubysmama TCS Member Top Cat

    1,491
    582
    Nov 25, 2013
    Canada
    Welcome to The Cat Site. :wave2: I have no experience with ferals, so can't help there, but did want to wish you luck with Graycie and Patches. They are adorable. :catrub:
     
  17. msaimee

    msaimee TCS Member Top Cat

    1,218
    439
    Jul 21, 2013
    Western PA
    I completely agree with sArthur. Please don't put Patches Inside the Cage, that would only produce anxiety and distrust in him. Since your apartment is small, leave the cage open. Cat proof your house the best you can, and let them have the run of the house. They will likely fuss with each other for a few weeks, but this is normal and nothing to be concerned about as long as their fussing doesn't result in serious injury. I have five cats inside my house, and the two alpha males frequently fuss with each other including the occasional smack downs, and two others are frenemies and play horseplay quite roughly at times. No one gets hurt. I suppose they behave like normal healthy siblings. Your two already know each other, and my guess would be that within a week or two they will both be settled in side your apartment with no cage. Just provide two bowls of food, toys, and a few scratching posts for them and they should be fine.
     
  18. DeniseK27

    DeniseK27 TCS Member Kitten

    15
    9
    Oct 8, 2017
    I agree 100% on not putting Patches back in. She seems comfortable outside the cage anyway. She hasn't done much exploring while we're awake, but she does hang out in the living room for the most part unless we get up, then she runs right back to the side of the couch lol my guess is that this won't last forever, and if it does, that's okay because I know she has fun when she's hanging in the living room. We are going to leave the cage door open in a day or two. I want to kind of observe the two together for a few hours before they have full run while we're sleeping. Incase they do try to get territorial or anything. That night that I let Graycie out was just a terror I think because they were both still so scared and just felt they NEEDED to get away, and fast. Now that they both know the scent of the apartment, where my boyfriend and I hang on the couch, and they've gotten a pretty decent routine as far as feeding and playtimes go, they're probably ready to roam together. Like I said, they still seem pretty fearful of us but I'm sure in time this will ease. Thank you, guys for all your support!! I'll keep you all updated =]
     
  19. DeniseK27

    DeniseK27 TCS Member Kitten

    15
    9
    Oct 8, 2017
    So here's a question.. Do you guys think, even though these two are sisters, that when I let Graycie out, they might have a bone to pick with each other as far as territory goes? Patches seems like the easy going one but she'll hiss a tiny bit if we try and give her a treat in her hiding spot. Kinda saying "this is my area don't intrude.." So do you think she'll give Graycie a problem when Graycie can roam?
     
  20. Sarthur2

    Sarthur2 Cat lady extraordinaire Staff Member Advisor

    23,732
    4,253
    Mar 8, 2015
    Sunny Florida
    They will need to work out their issues if they have any. Right now they sound like good buddies.

    Do you plan to let them both out together? I think you should.
     

Share This Page