First Time Trying To Tame A Feral/stray

WonderY

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Hello everyone! I've been reading all the wonderful help, advice and love from everyone on this forum for days now and have to decided to join in hopes of obtaining some guidance and emotional relief. First off, I've had cats/kittens all through my life, all taken from shelters but this past Sunday was the page turner. I noticed a stray/feral cat strolling about in our front and backyard and didn't bother it. One day in early November, I went onto my our enclosed porch and saw him strolling by our steps. I tapped the window, bent down and opened the mail box slot which made this curious kitty could me up the front steps and investigate. I was hooked. Instantly named him Silo. I began to put out food in the back. Initially his presence was sporadic, especially once the weather turned colder but then, he began to appear, regularly actually. He would hang out, waiting for food and not really letting me get close. When I stepped back he would then approach and eat. I would speak to him softly, sometimes ignored him while I walked around, threw out the trash. In December, I got braver and attempted to get closer, cause he's so darn cute and special, I came within an arm to lay down food before he would move a foot or so, and when I stepped back, he would come and eat. At end of December, I was able to almost sit next to him while he ate, but never petted him, I felt he would've ran. This past Sunday, he didn't show up for breakfast but did show up later for lunch and he was bloody. And I was done. No more cold, no more chances. I called up a local animal shelter and rented a humane trap. He didn't go in that night but next morning when I put it out, there he was...hanging out and curled in the cage. I totally freaked out, "now what do I do??". He was calm as can be when I approached the cage and brought him into our basement. I contacted our local shelter which does TNR and brought him in after half a day (they were closed for Holiday). He got neutered, vacinnated, ear tipped and flea mess. I didn't have him checked for diseases because it would have been instant euthanasia if it came out positive. So, here I am, picked up a super smart cat, currently stinking up my home (basement), loving and fearing every minute, and not knowing what I'm doing. Today is the end of day two after neuter and release. He has a safe room (basement), he has been eating and today he pooped on my old stinky shirt I left.????? Why? Yesterday he pooped on the floor? I have a mixture of garden soil and kitty litter in 2 boxes and he's not interested. I put a Feliway plug in (after reading nearly all the threads). So today, I came home from work and went downstairs, and he's curled up, comfy in my children's little kitchen set. Not interested in the boxes/caves I've provided. I laid down, like a crazy person and started jibbering about my day. He looks at me, I look away and then I noticed he is startled to fall asleep!? I left him be today, it's only day 2 of confinement. So, after my little no intro, comes the questions and begging for help. What do I do? I've never taken in a stray/feral before. Is he a stray or a feral? He is not a kitten, maybe 1 or 2 years old? I don't want to stress him for now by trapping him and bringing him to the vet for further check up. His poops look okay ( a novice estimate, lol). How can I figure if he's tameable? Or should I just release him rather than make him miserable? Did I do ok? Or should we just let Silo be Silo in the wild? Any thoughts would be more than appreciated. Thanks for reading my thoughts....
 

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Me, I'm just a rescuer of strays that were former pets. I live in a suburban area and stray pet cats are not uncommon. Many of them are abandoned when the owners move. But I have no experience with feral. If he lets you pet him and get close, he is more likely a stray.

But I think you are doing a good job. Try replacing the litter with a litter called "Cat Attract". It will attract cats in many cases to get them started using a litter box. I think it is used on top of regular litter. I'm sure members with more specific experience with feral cats will be posting to your thread. Good luck. You might consider taking him to a vet for blood tests for the basic problems (FELV, etc.) and deworming.
 
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WonderY

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Me, I'm just a rescuer of strays that were former pets. I live in a suburban area and stray pet cats are not uncommon. Many of them are abandoned when the owners move. But I have no experience with feral. If he lets you pet him and get close, he is more likely a stray.

But I think you are doing a good job. Try replacing the litter with a litter called "Cat Attract". It will attract cats in many cases to get them started using a litter box. I think it is used on top of regular litter. I'm sure members with more specific experience with feral cats will be posting to your thread. Good luck. You might consider taking him to a vet for blood tests for the basic problems (FELV, etc.) and deworming.[/QUOTE
Hi Archy, thank you for listening and responding. I'm not sure if he's feral or stray...I'm not sure I know the difference. He's calm and just watches me and today he fell asleep when I was talking to him. I plan on taking him to the vet for a full work up, I have 2 little children and an old, sweet doggie who was raised by cats before they passed. Just want to let him ease in before I catch him again and maybe re traumatize him again. Litter attract you say? I will try to find it tomorrow and see how it goes. I haven't tried to pet him, even though I'm dying to. I played with a cat fishing pole in front of him as he was curled in the kitchen set and he just calmly watched me and followed with his eyes. How did your strays behave in the early days?
 
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WonderY

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so its day 3. Just came up from sitting and talking. He left his hideout in our kids kitchen set and made himself a little burrow in the pillows of the couch. Last night he was falling asleep when I was talking and now I feel like he's hiding further away. At least he didn't poop on my shirt again but did remove the wooden dowels from the windows. Makes me feel that I made a mistake and all he wants is to escape and be free. I'm feeling pretty faint of heart....any support would be appreciated
 

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Can you pet him at all? Maybe try petting him with something on a long handle, like a backscratcher, duster, or sock taped to a stick.
 
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WonderY

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Hi Maggie, thank you! I haven't tried to pet him, I'm not sure how he would react or then I think maybe I should keep waiting. I just came up and was trying the cat fishing pole as he is in the pillows of the couch. The pillow flinched caus perhaps I startled him so I stopped. I talk as much as I can, very sweetly but he doesn't budge. He seemed more comfortable with me when it was outside. I'm tempted to lift the pillow off him but everywhere I read, all say to leave the cat alone and not disturb. I don't think he is a true feral because it appears he tolerates my presence (at least last night he did), I'm just not sure??? I'm going to get litter attract today and an enzyme spray for the urine smell....will the spray freak him out more???
 

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I took two feral cats for TNR in 2017. One is living in my house now and is pretty much domesticated. She was only 4 months old when I trapped her. She was very fearful of humans, but not at all aggressive so I started picking her up briefly several times a day but without restraining her. I socialized her the first nine days in my master bathroom with an open-door kennel, litter and water, and several meals per day. After nine days she was playing and trusting me, so she got access to the bedroom and bath. I kept her separated for several months because of some problems introducing her to the dog. I left a radio on either talk or classic music 24/7 so she'd get used to human voices.

The second one was much wilder and more aggressive. She was also pregnant when I trapped her and had kittens at the shelter 4 days after I dropped her off. She was just a kitten herself. They kept her 2 months while she nursed, then her milk dried enough to spay her. They assessed her as too feral to be socialized. I released her back outside and worked with her there. She comes in and out of the house now and I can pet her and pick her up. She took more time, but we've bonded through regular meals, playing, and finally I could touch her and lift her. She did swat at me a lot with her claws out early on, but she hasn't done that in a few months.

You can build your kitty's trust with time and patience. Sounds like Silo's a pretty calm cat. Trust your instincts on whether to be more forward with him or to let him decide to come to you. I was forward with Farrell, but let Misfit make the first moves to get close to me. Maggie's advice on trying to pet with a long-handled scratcher or duster is a good idea if you are afraid he will lash out or bite. He sounds pretty laid back and mellow though. Just spend as much time in the basement with him as you've been doing as much as your schedule allows and he'll come around. Usually getting them to play is one of the first early breakthroughs. Neither of mine knew what toys were at first, but they decided humans are pretty fun once they figured it out.

I would get a broad-spectrum wormer from your vet, or buy Panacur OTC. That may or may not be the litter box issue, but most outdoor cats will have worms and a wormer may solve the problem. I didn't take Farrell to the vet for testing and vaccines until she was close to her first birthday because I didn't want to stress her. She behaved surprisingly well and tested clear for FIV and FeLV. The wilder kitty, Misfit, still needs to go for tests and vaccines. Both of them were vaccinated for rabies at the shelter when they went for TNR.

Bless you for rescuing Silo. Working with ferals and/or strays is quite rewarding. :catlove:
 

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What is the enzyme spray, is it Nature's Miracle? It shouldn't bother him, if it's safe to use around cats. It doesn't have much of a smell to me. I use it to clean up hairballs. I used a long handled duster to pet Demi and he let me pet him with my hands after 3 days. I also used pole toys to play with him. Just watch out for the claws, if he's a true feral, he might like to knife people like my two.
 
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WonderY

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Hi all, well I nearly drowned my basement in natures miracle, severe mess and I believe I found the culprit of the urine smell. Seems like he was using one of the cardboard caves I made for him as a urinal. That's out. I placed litter attract in the litter boxes and will hope for the best. So I did it, I tried....had no back scratcher or duster, so a sock at the end of a stick was it. He was not a fan. He hissed as I gently touched his back and lowly growled so I stopped. Again I continued to talk to him after and his eyes kept blinking and it appeared he feel asleep again. What a whirlwind in my heart...I can't thank you all enough for your support. I will go down and see him a bit later, but I'll try with the petting tomorrow. He did leave his pillow burrow, moved behind the toilet and finally ended up in the window place. I hope he doesn't remove the window dowels again....really pulls at my heart when I see them on the floor
 

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The first few times I touched Misfit, she was eating and totally focused on her saucer of food. I always sat out on the patio when I fed her meals, and slowly moved the saucer closer and closer to my chair, until she was eating right a my feet. After she was comfortable eating there, I just reached down and petted the back of her head a neck a couple times. I stopped before she had any negative reaction, other than her moving a few feet away at first, but quickly coming back to her food.
 
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WonderY

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Holy Toledo world!!! He peed in the litter box! ❤. I can't stop smiling over finding clumped pee. When I was going downstairs, I forgot to knock and the door seemed heavy...yep, he was my doorstop. He hissed, I apologized and he hissed some more from the bottom step, and I apologized again like any crazy person would. Then I discovered the litter box and it was as though I had a party in my heart. He hid under the small table afterwards. I lied down and began chatting. My husband came down and we both chatted together for a few minutes on floor where he could see us, maybe 5ft away. He was starting to fall asleep, maybe out of boredom. My husband left and I stayed in the floor and began singing "you are my sunshine" (perhaps I'm certifiable). I watched his body ease and he officially fell asleep..so I left. Wow. I feel stronger for tomorrow now, but I'll see what tomorrow brings.....all I know is that I'm thrilled he peed. Never thought I would be this happy about urine. Thank you all for being you, you lovely and amazing people. I will try to pet him again, hopefully when he trusts me enough to eat near me again like he did when he was outside. Goodnight for now all.
 
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WonderY

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I took two feral cats for TNR in 2017. One is living in my house now and is pretty much domesticated. She was only 4 months old when I trapped her. She was very fearful of humans, but not at all aggressive so I started picking her up briefly several times a day but without restraining her. I socialized her the first nine days in my master bathroom with an open-door kennel, litter and water, and several meals per day. After nine days she was playing and trusting me, so she got access to the bedroom and bath. I kept her separated for several months because of some problems introducing her to the dog. I left a radio on either talk or classic music 24/7 so she'd get used to human voices.

The second one was much wilder and more aggressive. She was also pregnant when I trapped her and had kittens at the shelter 4 days after I dropped her off. She was just a kitten herself. They kept her 2 months while she nursed, then her milk dried enough to spay her. They assessed her as too feral to be socialized. I released her back outside and worked with her there. She comes in and out of the house now and I can pet her and pick her up. She took more time, but we've bonded through regular meals, playing, and finally I could touch her and lift her. She did swat at me a lot with her claws out early on, but she hasn't done that in a few months.

You can build your kitty's trust with time and patience. Sounds like Silo's a pretty calm cat. Trust your instincts on whether to be more forward with him or to let him decide to come to you. I was forward with Farrell, but let Misfit make the first moves to get close to me. Maggie's advice on trying to pet with a long-handled scratcher or duster is a good idea if you are afraid he will lash out or bite. He sounds pretty laid back and mellow though. Just spend as much time in the basement with him as you've been doing as much as your schedule allows and he'll come around. Usually getting them to play is one of the first early breakthroughs. Neither of mine knew what toys were at first, but they decided humans are pretty fun once they figured it out.

I would get a broad-spectrum wormer from your vet, or buy Panacur OTC. That may or may not be the litter box issue, but most outdoor cats will have worms and a wormer may solve the problem. I didn't take Farrell to the vet for testing and vaccines until she was close to her first birthday because I didn't want to stress her. She behaved surprisingly well and tested clear for FIV and FeLV. The wilder kitty, Misfit, still needs to go for tests and vaccines. Both of them were vaccinated for rabies at the shelter when they went for TNR.

Bless you for rescuing Silo. Working with ferals and/or strays is quite rewarding. :catlove:
Thank you Orange, for your words...I read your answer many times and am going to stick with the guidelines. I went to my local pet store and they didn't have the otc Panacur only the homeopath dewormer. I didn't get it, I was worried that it only expels the worms rather than kills them. Not too keen on searching for worms in the basement...I'll see if I can it online. You're a blessing thank you!
 

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I loved your post, it was very funny and sweet. I can tell you really care about him. You can buy the Panacur de-wormer online at Chewy. Orange uses it, so maybe she can help you find the right one and how to use it. Chewy has everything you can think of for cats. I hope it goes better with the petting today. It took me 3 days, so I know how you feel.
 

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Delighted to read that Silo used the litter box! Something about owning cats turns us into pee and poop fanatics. :yess:

Sorry the first attempt at touching him didn't draw a good reaction. When you attempt to pet, don't look him directly in the eye, but you can focus anywhere peripherally so that you can still judge his body language.

Try to engage him in play. A kitty fishing toy is a good choice where you can sit still but control the toy movement. Also, all my cats seem to love ping pong balls. It took Misfit a long time to play with them, but once she got started she enjoyed them. I bought the 6-packs so I could toss them without having to get up and move around to retrieve them. I got Misfit playing before I ever tried touching her.
I love that you sang to him, and it's funny that "You Are My Sunshine" is a song I sing to Farrell. :sunshine: I'm always singing and making up silly poems with my pets' names to recite to them. If you're certifiable for singing to your cat, we both are. :)

Here's "The Name Game" for Silo...

Silo Silo bo-bilo
Banana fanna fo-filo
Fee, fy, mo-milo.
Silo!

Looking forward to further updates. :dancingblackcat:
 
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WonderY

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I loved your post, it was very funny and sweet. I can tell you really care about him. You can buy the Panacur de-wormer online at Chewy. Orange uses it, so maybe she can help you find the right one and how to use it. Chewy has everything you can think of for cats. I hope it goes better with the petting today. It took me 3 days, so I know how you feel.
Hi Maggie, ❤, well you have to have humor to keep sanity. I have a lot of both, i think, hope..just not sure the percentage values.? As for the OTC Panacur, all I found on chewy was Panacur for dogs. Can I use that for cats? I read one review where it indicated the person used it for rescue cats? I haven't ordered it yet....I'll touch base with Orange as you mentioned and I'll see...today was a real whirlwind, I'll post when I can put my brain together.
 

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Yes, that's the right Panacur, maybe orange&white can help you with the details by private message. Looking forward to hearing how your day went with Silo!
 
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WonderY

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Delighted to read that Silo used the litter box! Something about owning cats turns us into pee and poop fanatics. :yess:

Sorry the first attempt at touching him didn't draw a good reaction. When you attempt to pet, don't look him directly in the eye, but you can focus anywhere peripherally so that you can still judge his body language.

Try to engage him in play. A kitty fishing toy is a good choice where you can sit still but control the toy movement. Also, all my cats seem to love ping pong balls. It took Misfit a long time to play with them, but once she got started she enjoyed them. I bought the 6-packs so I could toss them without having to get up and move around to retrieve them. I got Misfit playing before I ever tried touching her.
I love that you sang to him, and it's funny that "You Are My Sunshine" is a song I sing to Farrell. :sunshine: I'm always singing and making up silly poems with my pets' names to recite to them. If you're certifiable for singing to your cat, we both are. :)

Here's "The Name Game" for Silo...

Silo Silo bo-bilo
Banana fanna fo-filo
Fee, fy, mo-milo.
Silo!

Looking forward to further updates. :dancingblackcat:
Silo-bilo, it is....❤. Found myself calling him that today. My kids love it. I actually brought my children, one by one downstairs to say hello today, even though he has seen them when he was outside....they were happy and he was wide eyed, then sleepy. Only a few minutes at a time. Orange, Maggie said you have experience with Panacur? I checked it out online on chewy but it appears it's for dogs? He's been good with pee/poop in the litter box when I came downstairs this morning. Is there another way of phrasing it or should I get the canine one and adjust the dose?

Ps. I'm so glad I'm not the only one with the "sunshine song" or singing in general, it got me further today....at least someone likes my singing. Thank you for your time and heart.
 

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I have been searching for advice on what I should do with my two feral cats. I trapped them, spayed them, kept them warm while they recovered from surgery. THEN I couldn’t release them back outside into the cold.

Lilly and Blackie are both female. They are about 8-9 months old and live in my spare bedroom for about 6 weeks. Liter trained instantly. Never had an accident. They have never been hostile but hide when we enter the room. We put up a screen door which helps them get used to our two cats (all female oh boy) without any confrontation. It’s working well. They Will come up to the screen and play with the laser beam. We have touched them when they were in the pet carrier. My husband opened the door and pet both of them and actually put them to sleep. But in the open room, no luck. I work from home and I work in the “cat room”. They sleep the entire time I’m in the room. One in her cardboard safe box and the other on a chair.

I my question is what’s my next step to allow me to touch them? They really need nails trimmed. i guess I will try to get them to come to me with pieces of turkey or chicken. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
 
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