Looking for support/ adopted semi-feral cat

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H&Alina

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Hi! I am going through the same thing. In fact I joined this site to seek help. My boyfriend and I adopted a young cat who is apparently semi or full feral. We just passed the 3-month mark with her (her pic is my avatar) and while she is comfortable in her safe room and will let us pet her when she is in certain spots in the room and will also play in those in those same spots, her first reaction when she sees us is still to shrink down and put her ears down. And if we catch her out and about in her room she will run to hide. (We try to be very careful to not surprise her that way.) We have found great advice on this site and others about how to socialize a scared cat, and we’re now like you, just trying to remain patient and not get discouraged. We keep reminding ourselves to trust the process!
A few things we have tried that seem to have some positive effect: 1) She loves the Gerber baby chicken/gravy food and will lick that off of our fingers; we use that to encourage her to move toward us and to associate us with good things; 2) She is also mesmerized by movement, so I placed a battery operated Hexbug (you can buy these online) on the floor in the middle of a mat where she could see it. It really got her attention! I stayed on the other side of the room, and she slowly crept toward it while also keeping her eye on me. She didn’t pounce on it, but she did roll over on her back very playfully, something she hadn’t done when on the floor at the same time someone was in the room, so that was some progress! Baby steps. 😊 I know we will both get there with our kitties….in time!
Awww, Thank you so much for sharing your story . It does sound similar. Yes, baby steps and positive thinking . Looking forward to sharing and hearing about the progress both of our girls make 😊
 

fionasmom

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D Daru Welcome to The Cat Site and thank you for posting your story of your new baby.

The idea of ignoring Alina is odd, but sometimes it helps. At least avoid eye contact, especially anything like staring into her eyes, even if it is loving and friendly to you. She may investigate the fact that you are not as attentive to her. She certainly may respond to treats, Gerbers, anything lickable where she might have to interact a little bit.

I still think that she is essentially feral, and then was unfortunately crated when she should have had socialization work. As I said before, they were doing the best they could but she came to you pretty much as she was the day she was rescued.
 
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H&Alina

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D Daru Welcome to The Cat Site and thank you for posting your story of your new baby.

The idea of ignoring Alina is odd, but sometimes it helps. At least avoid eye contact, especially anything like staring into her eyes, even if it is loving and friendly to you. She may investigate the fact that you are not as attentive to her. She certainly may respond to treats, Gerbers, anything lickable where she might have to interact a little bit.

I still think that she is essentially feral, and then was unfortunately crated when she should have had socialization work. As I said before, they were doing the best they could but she came to you pretty much as she was the day she was rescued.
I guess you are right . This is now her socialization work . Clearly it’s new for me and I keep second guessing everything I am doing 😢

I have used treats, various types of treats and she will briefly eat and then turn away or leave . I’m going to keep trying with the treats .
 

fionasmom

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Will she eat the wet treats like the stews and mousses? Gerber's baby food meats?
 
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H&Alina

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Will she eat the wet treats like the stews and mousses? Gerber's baby food meats?
Yes, sometimes . She has eaten the gerber baby food from a spoon, but seems to prefer temptations mouse treat in a long pouch . I need to move slow and go to her. I can’t seem to get her to come out , even just a little to reach it, but she will eat it if close to her and again I’m very slow . The funny thing is sometimes she just stops , turns away from me and is suddenly done eating, even though there is more. Other times I can get her to finish the package. I have tried putting it on my fingers and she has licked it carefully but when she is done she leaves the room 🤷🏻‍♀️ 😊
 

fionasmom

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That is actually cute, in a way, but I know that you would like her to start to come around. Licking your fingers is certainly trusting you enough for contact. She may not finish the packet sometimes because she is not hungry enough...not necessarily becuase she is done with you.
 
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H&Alina

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That is actually cute, in a way, but I know that you would like her to start to come around. Licking your fingers is certainly trusting you enough for contact. She may not finish the packet sometimes because she is not hungry enough...not necessarily becuase she is done with you.
I hope so 🤞It is kind of funny when I’m sitting on the floor alone in her room and she is out the door 😆 I do hope she comes around eventually 💕
 

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I have had that happen so many times with cats I was socializing. They are marching to a different drummer. I am trying to socialize a TNRed feral who lives in some apartments nearby. No one owns her, but people have fed her and someone even made a bed. We are to the point of her eating and walking away leaving me in an alley with a dish of cat food.
 
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H&Alina

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I have had that happen so many times with cats I was socializing. They are marching to a different drummer. I am trying to socialize a TNRed feral who lives in some apartments nearby. No one owns her, but people have fed her and someone even made a bed. We are to the point of her eating and walking away leaving me in an alley with a dish of cat food.
Happy update I wanted to share . Almost 3 months in and still much more work to do …but…..Alina is regularly taking a treat from me by hand and when she is in her room and in a safe spot she will let me pet her with a brush and tonight I actually pet her with my hand and she purred !!! Best feeling ever!!! I’m taking this win and hoping for more to come 😊
 

fionasmom

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Thank you for posting this great news! She is definitely going to come around. If she were not, none of that would be happening. Please keep us posted.
 
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H&Alina

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Thank you for posting this great news! She is definitely going to come around. If she were not, none of that would be happening. Please keep us posted.
Just another Alina update . It’s been another month since my last post . Next Friday will be 4 month for our bonding/kitty journey. She continues to make slow progress, but I’ll take anything , day by day . She continues to explore more, play and getting a bit better with me petting her . Tonight she actually rubbed against my hand !! That’s a win .
I have 2 questions for you guys :
1) Alina has recently taken to hiding under my comforter on my bed . She stays there all day and into the evening. I can lure her out to eat , but she often returns. She has had other hiding spots , but seems to enjoy this one . But I’m wondering if it’s too much . Should I deter her in some way or just let her stay there for the time being?
2) she still hisses at me often when I stand or walk toward her in any way. I may be walking in the kitchen or need to go down the hallway, not to see her . I honestly get a bit nervous. I try to calm her/talk reassuring , walk slow or sometimes squat or sit down . She persists and hisses and then often runs away. I’m not sure how to reduce this . I can’t always stop/sit down , but I find I am to reduce her stress. Should I just keep going / act normal or continue to sit etc… I’m hoping this will get better with more time , but any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
thank you !
by the way here are a few pictures of Alina 🥰
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fionasmom

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Well, she looks pretty darn happy and very healthy. While you want her to come out, cats absolutely have to have a hiding place or places. Even friendly pets would become spooked in an empty room with no place to go but the middle of the floor. Since she is making progress, I might let her have the comforter. You know where she is. If you stop that, she will look for another place, maybe more hidden.

I think that her reaction when you move around is probably fear and not aggression. Keep going about your business, unless you want to try to interact with her, as she needs to know that this is how your life is and that it is not dangerous to her. If you had treats with you, would she come for one if you presented them when she goes into her fear behavior?


I don't know if the person in this video is having the same issues as you are with Alina, but there might be some points which are similar.
 
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H&Alina

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Well, she looks pretty darn happy and very healthy. While you want her to come out, cats absolutely have to have a hiding place or places. Even friendly pets would become spooked in an empty room with no place to go but the middle of the floor. Since she is making progress, I might let her have the comforter. You know where she is. If you stop that, she will look for another place, maybe more hidden.

I think that her reaction when you move around is probably fear and not aggression. Keep going about your business, unless you want to try to interact with her, as she needs to know that this is how your life is and that it is not dangerous to her. If you had treats with you, would she come for one if you presented them when she goes into her fear behavior?


I don't know if the person in this video is having the same issues as you are with Alina, but there might be some points which are similar.
Thank you as always for the feedback! I am happy that she is making progress and I can share that with you 😊
She has recently started to actually approach me When I offer a treat IF I am sitting down. (It’s a quick grab and go 😆) She will not come near me at all , even if I have a treat if I am standing yet . I will definitely start working on that . I’ll keep you posted on our progress.
 

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Featured - Afraid of hands: what to do!

New thread just started yesterday about a cat who is afraid of hands. I don't know if anything here might help, but they do bring up the unknown history of the cat as a factor.

The sitting down approach is significant as she feels you are much more in her comfort zone and not a predator. She is very lucky that you are taking such time with her and she clearly loves your home. Remember, in her mind, this might not be the same "unfriendly" that it would be among humans. She may be trying very hard to completely trust you and just needs her own way to do it.
 
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H&Alina

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Featured - Afraid of hands: what to do!

New thread just started yesterday about a cat who is afraid of hands. I don't know if anything here might help, but they do bring up the unknown history of the cat as a factor.

The sitting down approach is significant as she feels you are much more in her comfort zone and not a predator. She is very lucky that you are taking such time with her and she clearly loves your home. Remember, in her mind, this might not be the same "unfriendly" that it would be among humans. She may be trying very hard to completely trust you and just needs her own way to do it.
Thank you so much ! That means a lot . It is helpful to have reminders to reframe my perspective. I want her to feel safe and loved 🥰
 

fionasmom

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The odd thing about cats like her is that she may already feel extremely safe and loved but is still in that "I can't believe it yet" phase.

I always noticed in his TV show that Jackson Galaxy got on the floor with cats, even laying down with them.
 

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It took 2 months before she'd stick her head out of her hiding place to play with a toy. It was 4 months before she was comfortable moving around her room exploring it (when I wasn't there). She will play out in the open with me now, but only if I sit still and just wave the toy around. She still won't let me touch her.
We are just finishing up month 2 with mine -- really doubtful she was a stray and very likely she was 100% un-hoomaned -- and we are still spending most of the day in the closet, emerging only at night for (increasingly aerobic) wand toy sessions. But I really had to teach her how to play. I look back to the first weeks' notes and see that she would engage with me only for a few minutes then and not even every day. I would suggest leaving yourself some notes about where you are so you can see how far you have come -- a progress blog really helps me to see the HUGE progress from when she would skitter from under a dresser to under the bed. Now she rests comfortably in the middle of the floor, gets up on the window ledge and on her cat tree -- can't really pet her yet -- and if I hadn't heard about others' timelines, I would have thought we were VERY behind . . . and then I would have been very discouraged.
 
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H&Alina

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We are just finishing up month 2 with mine -- really doubtful she was a stray and very likely she was 100% un-hoomaned -- and we are still spending most of the day in the closet, emerging only at night for (increasingly aerobic) wand toy sessions. But I really had to teach her how to play. I look back to the first weeks' notes and see that she would engage with me only for a few minutes then and not even every day. I would suggest leaving yourself some notes about where you are so you can see how far you have come -- a progress blog really helps me to see the HUGE progress from when she would skitter from under a dresser to under the bed. Now she rests comfortably in the middle of the floor, gets up on the window ledge and on her cat tree -- can't really pet her yet -- and if I hadn't heard about others' timelines, I would have thought we were VERY behind . . . and then I would have been very discouraged.
That’s amazing!! It’s so nice to hear others progress and stories. Thank you for sharing. I do think I need to remind myself of how far she has come in four months. I’m beginning to pet her more with my hand when she is in certain locations. 🥰 She is starting to come out of hiding a bit earlier at night and showing some curiosity of what I’m doing. I’m working on her getting used to me standing so Hopefully, I’ll give an update next month that she is not running away so much 🤞🤞🤞🤞
 

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I rescued a feral kitten about 3 mos old. I released her in my spare bedroom & she tore up the blinds I suppose trying to get out. It has been 2 mos now & she is more trusting. She hid under bed for 1 solid month. Now she looks forward to daily visits & petting although she will not be picked up. I recently had her spayed & she did great. Catching her for that was something else. Now just waiting for her to heal up & try to introduce her to my adult female cat. Neither are too happy about this. Any suggestions how to socialize these 2 cats? I really don’t want to release the kitten because I fear she won’t be able too fend for herself after 2 months captivity.
 
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H&Alina

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That’s great! Unfortunately, I do not have experience introducing cats to one another. Someone might respond here , but You may want to repost this in a new thread so that the other experienced cat experts on the site can help with suggestions. Good luck 😊
 
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