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I Failed

Discussion in 'Cats S.O.S' started by 6kittymama, Dec 4, 2018.

  1. 6kittymama

    6kittymama Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    Aug 17, 2018
    Hi I am nor sure if this qualifies as an SOS or not but it feels like one to me. I was supposed to take my 4 semiferal rescue babies to the shelter today. I could not get them in the carrier by myself. I have posted about them in several other threads on the stray feral cat board section. I have had the open carrier in the bathroom with them for several days and sprayed feliway in it. They had been in and out of it and on it but when I tried to get them in they totally flipped out. They had been coming along nicely too. After crying (and I'm sure that didn't help any) and trying for about 45 min I gave up. The super shy one even hissed at me when I tried to get it and swiped at me through the work gloves I had on. After I gave up and was putting the bathroom together again the 3 more social ones came back out and let me pet them and were purring again. Course the shy one is probably ruined but I was able to place 2 treats right in front of its nose at his place behind the toilet and it didn't hiss or try and bite me so there's that. I called the shelter crying and she told me I should have been feeding them in the carrier all this time so I could just casually close the door. Why didn't she tell me that before?? She said the carrier should be large enough that they can all fit comfortably in and eat in. They are going to loan me a bigger one. Of course the shelter is a no kill except for extreme circumstances. The manager made sure to throw in that once they had them if they were not handable euthanasia was a possibility for them. What the heck was that??? And really now was not the time to say that too me. I have made so much progress with them and she is acting like they are not sociable
     
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  2. m3rma1d

    m3rma1d NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Alpha Cat

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    You didn't fail. Undersocialized cats always regress some. One step forward two steps back. If the shelter doesn't know that, THEY failed. Is there another shelter you could take them to maybe?
     

  3. Furballsmom

    Furballsmom TCS Member Top Cat

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    I completely agree with @m3rma1d --and it sounds to me that even the shy one is ok with you :)
     

  4. 6kittymama

    6kittymama Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    Aug 17, 2018
    I have only had them 2 and a half weeks to 3 weeks or so depending on when trapped. Bottom line is it was too soon! I let the shelter bully me into rushing them in fear of loosing their spots. I don’t think I have any other shelter options. Most seem to have their hands full with their own area rescues. I am going to give them more time. At least a couple more weeks.
     
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  5. Furballsmom

    Furballsmom TCS Member Top Cat

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    :cloud9: hang in there!
     
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  6. 8kitties

    8kitties TCS Member Young Cat

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    May 4, 2018
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    Even totally domestic kitties will do that when they see a carrier. ;) We had to build a contraption out of a dog crate covered in sheets and feed our sweet (outdoor) cat Fluffy in it for WEEKS before she trusted it enough to let us slam the door. And then explain to the vet why we were taking our cat in a giant dog crate filled with shredded newspaper and blankets in the back of a truck.....:biggrin:

    But then some of our other cats will just let you plop them in a carrier. So it really depends on the cat.
     

  7. catsknowme

    catsknowme TCS Member Top Cat

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    :alright: Getting a cat, pretty much any cat, let alone a feral/semi-feral, into the crate for vet appointment is always a challenge! Look at how hard it is to get a guy to go to the doctor! I feel like the shelter personnel are frustrated with the situation of "losing their spot" at the vet's so consider their comments more like "misplaced aggression"; I have tame cats that sleep in the carriers but Heaven help me when I close the door, even when I am only trying to acclimate them to being crated! I am very careful to cover the crate with a towel or sheet so the cat will calm down but even then there are sometimes growls that suggest dire threats :bat:or protest meows that promise irate kitty feelings for hours,if not for days :censored:.
    I have been very,very blessed with a vet who keeps their practice flexible for ferals. If the ferals are brought in too late in the afternoon,they are kept overnight in the trap and neutered the next day. I certainly wish that all vets were able to maintain such flexibility as it would go a long way toward easing the excess cat population.
    Please keep us updated with what the next step is. And remember that you have stepped in to save kitty lives when nobody else was able & willing to do it!! :clap::rock:
     
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  8. di and bob

    di and bob TCS Member Top Cat

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    I have found it is easier for one person to load a carrier by standing it on it's end with the door open and lowering the cat down into it. You really should have more carriers, I wouldn't think of putting 4 cats in one carrier, they can panic and tear each other up. I have carriers that have very large print on them saying "NOT SOCIALIZED-FERAL CAT!" There have been cases of poor cats quarantined for weeks or even put down because they bit a ignorant employee.
    The shelter should provide you with more carriers. If the three let you pet them that quick, they are well on their way to being socialized, the shy one may need a little more concentrated work. Your cats are strays/ferals, the shelter is aware of this and euthanasia should have NEVER been brought up as a possibility. His attitude is not very encouraging. Some managers should not have a job that needs empathy towards feral cats. I would make them sign something that says they would contact me for return if euthanasia is considered. iI euthanization is then still used you can turn them into a state agency or the Humane Society.
    You did NOT fail, the shelter failed you by not offering advise and help, you have your hands full enough as it is. Your heart is in the right place, God bless you for your efforts! My prayers are with you, PLEASE keep us notified on what happens.
     

  9. 6kittymama

    6kittymama Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    Aug 17, 2018
    Thank you all so much for your support and advice. The manager has now told me that the kittens will have a spot when ready and has also offered to loan me a big carrier that is large enough for them all to eat in so I can start feeding them in there. I am wondering if I should do it that way though based on some of your comments about the kittens tearing each other up when they are all finally confined in there. That thought had actually already crossed my mind too. With my 3 previous semiferal rescue kittens ( that I ended up keeping) i had trapped them the end of June and it wasn't until the second week of August that I was able to place all 3 of them in the carrier and take them to the vet. Bottom line is I should not have rushed these babies. They were not ready. The good news is that 3 of the 4 don't seem to hold yesterday's trauma against me. They readily came out when I entered the bathroom and let me pet them and purred. Of course shy kitty resumed his spot behind the toilet but did take some treats from me. Course then i tried to pet his head with one finger and he swatted at me but didn't hiss. I am just so afraid I am going to end up with 10 kitty'( already have 6) when this is all said and done. I can not afford that many nor is my house big enough.
     
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  10. Furballsmom

    Furballsmom TCS Member Top Cat

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    Colorado USA
    :vibes::crossfingers: :redheartpump:
     
    Jcatbird, catsknowme and 6kittymama purraised this.

  11. 8kitties

    8kitties TCS Member Young Cat

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    May 4, 2018
    Southeastern US
    I would say get separate carriers! You could use the one they loan you as one. Then have daily cat parties (with lots of treats and catnip) in the 4 carriers. That was something we did with our cat Fluffy, while she was eating treats we would dump catnip on her head and then she would start partying and relax. You can hold the doors open with a bungee cord or a zip tie.
     

  12. 6kittymama

    6kittymama Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    Aug 17, 2018
    Thank you I actually have 3 small carriers that each hold 1 cat so just need one more. I am going to continue to socialize them for a couple more weeks. Even shy boy is now already coming out from his refuge behind the toilet. He stays a but further away and watches a lot but that's still progress. I will keep you guys posted!
     
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  13. 8kitties

    8kitties TCS Member Young Cat

    89
    103
    May 4, 2018
    Southeastern US
    :bliss:
     
    Jcatbird, catsknowme and 6kittymama purraised this.

  14. Furballsmom

    Furballsmom TCS Member Top Cat

    11,325
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    Jan 9, 2018
    Colorado USA
    :rock:
     
    Jcatbird, catsknowme and 6kittymama purraised this.

  15. catsknowme

    catsknowme TCS Member Top Cat

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    :clap: I am happy to read that all the kitties are doing better. Is ShyBoy going into the small carriers as well? Often, ferals like to have a small "cave" to establish as base camp. They slowly expand territory from their base camp. I use a small carrier or a box, often between the toilet and the bathtub, in the bathroom with the door kept closed at first-I think ShyBoy is using the area behind the toilet for his "cave". I don't open the door until the kitty is comfortable with my holding it & even then they can turn skittish once they are outside the bathroom.
     
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  16. 6kittymama

    6kittymama Thread Starter TCS Member Young Cat

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    Aug 17, 2018
    Actually only have the big carrier in there right now. Shy boy does go in there sometimes. I also have a little stool in a corner with a towel over it and that's another one of his cave spots plus a couple cat beds that are hooded. It's a pretty good sized bathroom but getting a bit crowded :) I also have 2 litter boxes plus their food and water in there. His 3 siblings are very social but shy boy is still struggling. He is always the last one to come out and stays more peripherally from me. I have been able to place treats in front of his paws but this morning he nipped at me for some reason and hissed. I am worried he is not going to come around..
     
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  17. Furballsmom

    Furballsmom TCS Member Top Cat

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    Colorado USA
    C'mon shy boy baby, you can do it, we're rooting for you :vibes::cheerleader:
     

  18. catsknowme

    catsknowme TCS Member Top Cat

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    Eastern California,USA
    :think: Hmmmm....the ol' nip & hiss...:headscratch:... :idea:.....Have you tried getting ahold of JCatbird? She is VERY fluent in 'cat speak' and I think that she holds the record here for taming adult ferals. Of course, she deals with lots of kittens at all ages and stages. I would love to see her input!:agree:
    You could also try reaching out to Hissy on her webpage/blog at www.kitten-rescue.com; she has her hands full with her husband at home in hospice but her page has lots of great advice.
     
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  19. Mamanyt1953

    Mamanyt1953 Rules my home with an iron paw Staff Member Forum Helper

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    Oct 16, 2015
    Havelock, North Carolina
    @Jcatbird, any thoughts?

    You really are doing fine, you know. That's the pattern with ferals...two steps forward, one step back.

    I'm waffling about how many carriers to use. How old/big are the kittens, and are they very attached to each other? If they are small, and very bonded, you might actually do better with one large...but that's iffy, with the strain of moving them.
     

  20. Jcatbird

    Jcatbird TCS Member Top Cat

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    Dec 5, 2017
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    OH my! I just found your update thanks to @Mamanyt1953
    You have had some great people posting to you here! Again...... you did not fail! These little guys were born and raised to be suspect of everything. It’s a survival thing. You’re doing great and your instincts have been leading you well from the start. Being under pressure from the adoption resources interferes with our instincts.( I have had that happen too) You have always been doing a great job.
    Here is my most important and best tip. Use meat babyfood! It’s something that lures the most skittish of babies. I have had my share of shy boys too. Pulled half my hair out! Lol It’s going to be okay. Please try warm meat baby food on a dish for all. Put it down and sit with them while they eat. If shy boy is scared, let him get some without you once or twice to get him hooked. You may have to keep the other three from eating it all by shutting them in the carrier with a plate of it and a second plate for shy boy. Once shy boy is hooked on it you can distract the others by letting them lick some off your fingers while shy boy eats off his plate. If necessary have a plate for the tamer three in your lap. Let them climb all over you and keep them distracted to let shy boy eat. Slowly move the plate for shy boy closer to you but don’t push yourself on him at first. Over time move the plate close to you. Eventually put all food in your lap and let shy boy eat it in peace. Don’t move at all. Once he eats there you can begin to touch him. Get him to eat facing away from your hand and sneak a pet in. Stroke him where he cannot see it is you touching him. He will probably notice at some point it is you and may run away. That’s okay and expected. Just stay still and see if he comes back. If not, let him finish further away but repeat the process at each feeding. I think you will be surprised that he will accept your touch in order to eat the babyfood. He may not love it at first but once they understand you are giving something that feels good, like a mother’s touch, they begin to relax. Remember they are afraid of being attacked in the wild! This may end up being the most adoring kitten of the bunch. My guess is that this is the smartest of the litter. I’d like you to meet Whistle. One of a litter of four, I struggled for weeks to catch them. A feral Mom had abandoned them out of fear of predators. I could not gain the trust of the kittens. I spent many weeks on my knees and even laying down to hide in the grass to try and lure them into a carrier or trap. They were starving but still resisted me. Finally I could get all but one. Whistle. He was the shy boy. Terrified boy. I did eventually catch them and bring them in but Whistle still mistrusted and hissed at or swatted me. Two of the litter tamed fairly quickly. They went for adoption first. Banjo and Whistle were harder. Banjo tamed but Whistle still held out. I did what I just told you to do. He would not come near me at first. He hid. He was one of the most challenging of the kittens I have had. He did not want to trust me. His instincts were fight or flight.
    Look below for the results.

    In my lap!
    7A87D1DD-3AA3-49ED-9420-071DEE57117C.jpeg
    Begging me for babyfood and in my living room with other cats!
    5B19327D-4461-4397-ADDE-F8F26E88BD9F.jpeg
    He took over my spot on the sofa and I could swear he is smiling.
    9D430CAA-5697-4306-954F-795EFCDA7E5F.jpeg
    Sometimes I felt like I was failing the whole litter. Then it was that I was failing Whistle. In the end, they all became loving kittens. Whistle became a total lap kitten! More than the other three put together. He needed a Mom more than the rest did. I even caught his real Mom later on and she is now with me being socialized. I just got her to snuggle me in my lap recently. It takes time and we do have setbacks. Use the babyfood. You can get their trust and use it to get them used to a carrier as well. My personal experience leads me to get them to trust me first, carrier second. A carrier is a good secondary feeding spot ( lap first until tame) and once feeding is finished, a good bed. I make the carriers their safe spot. This makes trips to any place less scary as they take their safe spot with them. If kittens are bonded to each other they make want the comfort of siblings during travel. If they tend to fight, separation during travel may be better. First, just focus on socializing. One thing at a time. If you can handle them, they will trust other things you do with them much more. You will be their second momma. Please stop thinking you have failed them. You’re doing wonderful things with them. We all learn as we go. I learn from every kitty that comes across my path. I don’t think you will end up with any of these kittens. ( Unless Shy boy just won’t get out of your lap!)
    Before you try travel with them I can offer some things that helped me with transporting but right now, please know, you’re making a lot of progress. Feel free to message or tag me anytime for any reason. I know getting the support of the others here has helped me so I would like to do the same. Thank you @catsknowme and Mamanyt1953 for giving me a chance to read this post and offer what the cats have taught me.
     
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