Tips for socialising feral cats in a shelter environment?/ongoing news and issues

dahlia

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I am sorry to hear about mom cat. That would break my heart as well.
 
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HeyKat

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GG is becoming SO confident! Since yesterday, she's been willing to eat out in the open. When I come into the room, she doesn't automatically run and hide, but watches me carefully. Right now she's showing the mat who's boss.

They're all getting more rambunctious during the night, even with me in the room. Someone has even taking to pouncing on my toes every night when I'm in bed 😆
 
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HeyKat

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More good news! Although their mom was put on the list to be PTS, turns out it hadn't actually been done yet. So I asked the staff to contact her owner, since he didn't know she'd be euthanised when he surrendered her. And he took her back home!

Hopefully she'll learn to get on with his other cats. I feel a little guilty for putting him in a difficult position, and I hope he doesn't regret taking her back, but for now I'm just so relieved she's alive and safe.
 

Seymour

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You are doing a fabulous job! And I know how hard it can be. But this is some of the most rewarding hard work you can do in the feline world.

I am going to suggest playing with them. Get them some balls and a package of those little plastic springs they sell on Chewy and a fishing pole with a dangly toy on it. Don't leave the fishing pole in their room or anywhere they can access it by themselves. Dedicate some time to play with them and the fishing pole. Cats—especially ferals—are used to hunting their prey. Chasing a toy stimulates that instinct and it's a great way for them to get used to you. When they are out playing, you can also sneak in a little petting. That's how I have been working with my band of six older feral kittens. Four of them will climb in my lap and the other two will play with me. They're coming along, though.

They really look forward to the play sessions and when I bring the toy in, they all perk up. The playing also allows them to exercise. I also use a fishing pole toy with some of my older cats when they are looking a bit bored. They love to catch and bunny kick it.

I'm so glad the mama cat is still alive.
 

Furballsmom

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Although their mom was put on the list to be PTS, turns out it hadn't actually been done yet. So I asked the staff to contact her owner, since he didn't know she'd be euthanised when he surrendered her. And he took her back home!
Wow!!
Would any of the feline introduction articles on this site help, or would he be willing to join so as to access the members who can provide help integrating them?
 
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HeyKat

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How do I give medicine to a semi feral cat??

Kits have diarrheoa and vomiting. Vet did a faecal float. Result: worms. Lots and lots of worms.

Vet recommended crushing the deworming tablet and mixing it with sardines. Kits said no thx. Then I tried making little balls of wet food & sardines with deworming powder inside. Kits ate all around the centres. Left dewormer behind.

Now they're full of worms AND food. But still no dewormer in them.

Ideas?? I really don't want to force it down their throats and undo the progress I've made socialising them.
 

theyremine

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Is Revolution available in your country? It treats for hook worm and round worm and you just apply it on the back of the kitten's neck. the kitten must be at least 2.8 lbs. It is rather expensive.
 
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HeyKat

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I can't believe it's been 2 whole months since my feral kids were trapped.

I see a little bit of progress every day. They're now comfortable being in the same room as me, as long as I'm not walking around or trying to touch them. They love playing with a wand toy and all 3 will jump up on the bed where I'm sitting to catch it.

Boyo will come sniff my hand and prod at it with his paw, but he'll back away if I try touch him. He and GG even slept on my bed next to me the other day!

The main issue though is that they still don't want to be touched. Tabby won't approach me even if I have a treat or chicken. Any tips for getting them used to touch? Is there any way without using food? I can't really afford to give them daily treats.

Also, how do I edit my title? The cats moved to my home quite early on, so the bit about socialising in a shelter environment isn't useful to anyone.
 

theyremine

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Getting kitten ferals used to feet, I feel is the last step in socialization. Looking at it from their perspective, it must be terrifying seeing this huge creature moving toward you. But they will realize over time that feet are no threat. Just move slowly around them. Do you have another cat (friendly)? that could help bring them along.
 
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HeyKat

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Getting kitten ferals used to feet, I feel is the last step in socialization. Looking at it from their perspective, it must be terrifying seeing this huge creature moving toward you. But they will realize over time that feet are no threat. Just move slowly around them. Do you have another cat (friendly)? that could help bring them along.
Yeah I'm more concerned about getting them used to my hands than my feet 😅

I have one resident cat, but he has zero interest in being friends with any of my fosters. My 7-week-old foster kittens have barged in on the ferals a couple of times when I go through the door, but their presence just stresses the ferals out.

The ferals do get to see me interact with all the others through the window. Hopefully they're taking notes 🤞
 

Kristin_Happy Texan

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Sorry in advance for the long post.

Two weeks ago I helped trap 3 young semi-feral cats, about 5-6 months old. They were living in an alleyway next to a flat complex and being fed by kind people, so they've had positive interactions with humans, but they'd never allowed the people to come near them and would just run off.

Unfortunately, I couldn't bring them to my home (for various reasons), so they're now at the shelter where I volunteer. They've got their own little room where I visit them every day for an hour or two. It's not ideal, I know, and it doesn't help that it's always noisy with dogs barking and people working and shouting.

They come out of hiding to play and chat with the neighbouring cats across the hall through the gate, but if anyone goes in, they hide in their igloos. With a bit of bribery (wet food), I've gotten them to allow me to give head rubs. I can see they're not as terrified as they were at first, and they mostly tolerate the touch, even if they obviously don't enjoy it. They also will absolutely not come out of their safe spaces. I give them the wet food on a spoon and try to very slowly draw them out, but any further than the doorway of the igloo and they just back off and huddle at the back again.

One of them, Tabby (girl), isn't motivated by the food at all. When I reach out to touch her she cringes and turns her face away, like she's in freeze mode. I can stroke her, but I feel like I'm just stressing her out and I'm not making progress.

GG (Good Girl) is the most food motivated and the most tolerant of my touch. Today she even closed her eyes and looked like she was falling asleep while I was petting her. Her pupils are still huge every time my hand moves, and the one time she got "caught" out of her hidey hole, she just trembled and refused to touch the food, no matter how long I waited or how still I lay.

Last one, Boyo, tends to hide behind his sisters in the igloos. He was a little growly and hissy at first, and he still flinches away when I first try touch him while he's eating, but then he accepts the touch. He even fell asleep behind GG while I was petting them yesterday.

I've never worked with feral cats before, so I don't really know what I'm doing. I've read articles and watched videos, but everything is either geared for bringing a feral into your house, or keeping them in a cage in your home where they can see you all the time. I feel like I'm stuck in a limbo of "okay, so they let me touch them, now what?"

1. Do you think I'm making progress? What signs should I look for to know if I'm succeeding?
2. Should I continue what I'm doing? Do they just need time? Should I do more? Something different?

If you've read my whole post, thank you for making it so far XD Any advice or encouragement is greatly appreciated.
Have you ever seen this video of how they tamed a Feral?

Stray Mama Cat Was So Feral That Rescuer Had To Wear Gloves Around Her | The Dodo Faith = Restored - YouTube

Of course, not all Ferals can be tamed. I think it depends on many factors. I think ANY progress with a feral cat is really good news. (Ours we can never hope to tame because of the circumstances, but goodness do I wish I could!)

Around here there are A LOT of barn cats at the shelters being adopted out. (And even for free at times, from overcrowding. Our very small shelter has taken in over 700 cats so far this year).

I wish I had advice for you, but I'm still working on getting my dog to let me touch her back feet and cut her nails! Lol!
 
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Meowmee

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Seems like you’re making good progress. I have two outdoors who have been inside over a year who still run away and who aren’t touchable.
They were part of my colony outside for nine years. Fred once sniffed my finger when I put food out the door but never after that. Cinnamon will come downstairs to eat and also sit in the tv room with me and my other cats but he runs if I get too close or evem move! Fred used to come into my room with me and Zena there and sit etc. but runs if I move etc. I don’t think they will ever be touchable.
They are not true ferals either. You would think after 9 years they would trust me more but they still fear me. My other cats don’t get it. Quinn is still mildly agressive to them, but that’s meezer ways and Merlin still chases them a bit, mostly play, and food domination, but they all eat together at times too.
 

kittychick

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You ARE making good progress in an actually VERY short time - altho sometimes it make you want to scream "TRUST ME ALREADY! I'M GOOD PEOPLE!" Too bad cats' don't understand english.

So glad to hear mama cat wasn't euthanized after all. I definitely agree with Furballsmom Furballsmom - -it'd be great if you could get him to join this site so he can at least check out the articles in the "Cat Article" portion of this site - and find the "Ferals" sections, and interact with the many of us who've been there with feral/semi-feral (and just plain shy and cranky!).

Another resource (altho catsite.com itself has so many people included plus great info in the articles) going to this site is a bit more of "back up/additioal info" - they're primarily a feral TNR group - - one of the first, tho they stress only trying to to 8 months tops and prefer 4 months or below to social - the group's site is alleycat.org . We've personally socialized several adults -- one of our TNRs wouldn't "R" so we worked with her - and even though she was 2 when she was trapped and 3 yrs old when we brought her in, she's become the love and lap cat of our lives! So I don't subscribe by the "it's not possible" since living and breathing proof is right behind me!

Don't know if I mentioned this (or anyone else did) - we start earning all of our feral's trust by using "kitty crack" (Gerbers Stage 2 canned human baby food - most of the other flavors have onion or garlic - a no-no - - and this is also the flavor we have the most luck with). We purchased an extendable spoon - - it extends to about a foot or so out and allows us to put "kitty crack" (or a treat food they go nuts over) and give it to our ones we socialize that way. We don't push handling until they're really comfortable. You can cover a wooden spoon with yard on the spoon end (longer handle the better), and slowly stroke the kitties under their chin, and down their backs. They don't realize we're behind the spoon -- and it helps them learn all touch isn't bad! Also - do be careful with your resident kitty. Can't remember if you said all your new babies have their tests and shots - but if not I'd hold off too much interaction till they do. A good ways we've had good luck (mostly) giving ferals/semi-ferals meds is to do one of these (and vet DEFINITELY said it was ok to cash - bc some have a HUGELY nasty taste when crushed): (1) place whole wormer in a Greenie pill pocket or even less so they are more likely to take it all down in one big gulp, (2) put a blob of Churu (or equivalent - or the "kitty crack") on a towel & place pill on top and cover with more Churu - - - often they'll take it in one bite without realizing it (the towel helps keep them from pushing the pill out of a bowl while they lick), (3) we haven't had great luck with sardines OR tuna - obv someone forgot to tell ours they're supposed to love that stuff - -but canned mackerel works better for us, as does stuffing it inside a small piece of cooked shrimp or hot dog, or cheese wadded around it. ANything's worth a try!

Keep us posted!!!!!
 

steve0

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Why is my short hair male beating the dickins out of my long hair male? Shorty eats his food as well
The Domainance word comes to mind, or Birthing order perhaps? @ any rate, I get tired of witnessing
these events! My two are from same litter & are 11yo feral TNR rescues...any advice welcomed/ty
 
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