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Took In Two 1 Yr Old Ferals

MikeAW2010

TCS Member
Thread starter
Adult Cat
Apr 25, 2018
104
98
I understand that taking in Ferals after their socialization period is typically not a good idea.

These two kittens were apart of a litter that frequently visited my office. Generally we left food for them on the patio. They at first would not eat when we were around, eventually they would eat so long as we kept our distance, and finally they even came inside the office to eat so long as we didn't try to approach them, if we did they would dart.

Their mother went missing and the neighboring offices started having alot of complaints about the cats (there were more than just these two) and we were off a busy street that claimed the life of one cat. The neighbors called the humane society who attempted to trap them and failed on the first attempt.

My time at that office came to an end and those cats were used to coming there to eat, except noone would be there after I left, or worse someone would end up calling the humane society on them again...so I managed to trap them inside the office while they were eating and caught them both.

Of course, not having any real human exposure, they were NOT happy to see me...and I knew I was taking a huge risk attempting to handle them as despite their small size, they could really hurt me if they tried to. Usually my getting close to either of them results in a hiss or a batting paw of which I back off. I normally don't go near them unless I need to.

Its only been maybe 4 days at most since Ive caught them so I dont expect them to turn around very quickly, for the most part even in that short time I they learned how to use the litter box and as long as I approach very slow and cautiously, with food... they typically won't hiss. I guess in a way Im just hoping that there is hope in still socializing them even if it takes some time and patience. Anything you can recommend would be greatly appreciated.
 

Maria Bayote

Mama of 4 Cats, 3 Dogs , 2 Budgies & 2 Humans
Top Cat
Jan 15, 2018
1,581
3,187
I had a case of a feral kitty which we rescued from a tree and I decided to take her in. At first she would hiss and growl and hide. What I did is I contained her in my bedroom, put a bowl of food and a separate bowl for her water, plus litter boxes, and pretended she does not exist. During the first several weeks I never saw her, but I could feel her somewhere in the room. And everytime I came home from work her food bowl would be empty, and her litterboxes used. Still I continued to pretend she was not there.

After several more weeks she started to come around. I could see her looking at me out of the corner of my eye, then went back to her hiding spot when I even moved an inch. Long story short, she slowly inched her way to me and just after a few short months she became the sweetest cat I had known in my entire life. I regretted having her adopted out. I still miss her to this day and brings tears to my eyes when I think of her.

My advice: pretend that your cats are not there. Just make sure they have enough to eat and drink, leave toys for them, litter boxes always cleaned. They will come around. They will come to you when they are ready. And when it happens, it is the most magical thing you will ever experience. Believe me. I had been there. :)

Goodluck. Keep us informed.
 

di and bob

TCS Member
Top Cat
Dec 12, 2012
9,694
9,995
Nebraska, USA
It just takes time and familiarity for them to come around. You are fortunate that they are young, that helps. I have had ferals outside that took a year to let me even approach, and I did end up petting and stroking them. There will be set backs, there always are, so try not to get discouraged. A step on the tail, your cell phone going off right when you are touching them, a knock on the door, all can take away weeks of work. But somehow theyy still come around and learn to love the touch of human hands. There are MANY threads here on how people handled taming ferals, researching them would help. The first step is sitting quietly in the same room, reading or being on your cell phone, (turn volume down, remember those annoying sudden explosion of noises on facebook) and letting them get used to you. Always leave something good to eat or treats when you leave, it leaves them with good feelings. bring a cat wand when tehy finally come out and let you see them, try to engage them in play (more good feelings). It WILL happen it just tales time.
Bless you for taking them in, your soul will be enriched for it. Thank you.......
 

rosegold

TCS Member
Super Cat
Feb 1, 2018
851
3,610
Food, love, and patience work wonders! After they’ve had time to calm down and get used to you, you can try petting them gently with a long wand toy or some other kind of “petting stick.” Keep offering food with your hand too, or a long spoon. Progress will be slow and there will be setbacks, but I believe they will come around.

Like others said, there is tons of good advice here and I was helped SO much by the members here when I adopted my feral girl Chai. She was a year or so when she was picked up off the street due to a broken leg, and was terrified and didn’t allow any human contact for over a year while living at the rescue... I wasn’t planning on getting a cat like that, but it was love at first sight and I adopted her. I spent many long hours over the next few months with her. She slowly came around and became the most affectionate, sweet, lovely cat I’ve ever met. I sadly lost her to FIP in December :( but I miss her every day and will never forget the life lessons she taught me. Earning her trust and love was one of the most rewarding experiences of my life, and I’ll be sending lots of positive vibes for you and your babies to experience the same thing. :) Keep us updated and do share some pictures! I'm by no means an expert but I did pick up a lot of tips and tricks through my experience with Chai last year.

To give you some hope...

This was Chai when she first came home, and how she was for the year spent at the shelter... terrified and would hiss and shrink away if you looked at her or tried to approach at all. I could not touch her or get close, even if I had food, and she was just a shell of herself.
6042FC3B-DACD-489B-93AF-AC1CBD847854.jpeg


Then... One of my favorite videos, after she learned to trust: :)
 

Talien

TCS Member
Super Cat
Oct 10, 2018
901
2,202
Michigan
If they are out in the open with you in the room and let you feed them without running away or attacking you then you're already made a huge amount of progress. Just take things slow and let them set the pace, they will let you know when they're ready for attention.

Good things to do would be give them their own room (preferably one with a window they can reach) and some toys so they can entertain themselves. A tower would also be good, even better if there's more than one, better still if one of them is infront of a window.

Putting a couple carriers in there with blankets in them to sleep in would also be very good. If you can get them used to a carrier so they think of it as a safe place it will make vet visits so much easier for you and them.
 

Elphaba09

TCS Member
Super Cat
Sep 6, 2018
769
1,461
NE Ohio
It can be difficult to tame a true feral over the age of one, but it can happen, especially if they have had human interaction from a young age. I have several feral kitten stories with happy endings! Patience and love will take you far. Your two have had interaction some interaction with you, so they are, at the very least, used to you and your smell. Give it time. Give them the space they need while still interacting with them.

Three of our nine were once true feral kittens. We were able to tame them. We have a feral from the local colony that has claimed our front porch. We named him Linden. Because of our situation and his temperament. It would not be safe to bring him inside with our other cats, so he has a cute home on our front porch. I have never gotten near him other than when we did the TNR.

When you are near the cats, use a long wooden spoon or scratcher to touch and pet them. It will keep your hands safe and get them used to being touched by humans. After a while, you can switch to a heavy glove. Always try to give them treats or something they like when you interact with them. That way, they will associate you with good things, making the transition easier.
 

RTR

TCS Member
Kitten
Apr 25, 2019
5
9
New Jersey
I have a (formal feral cat) I captured her when she was about five weeks old. She was part of a litter behind my place of business where I left food and water out. She was about half the size of her siblings, he back legs were stiff as if she had splints on them. She was filthy from living in some old tires. I originally took her to the Vet thinking he would recommend to put her down. Well he told me she had worms, fleas, ear mites, and was malnourished, and he said what do you want me to do with her. Wow, with that question I knew I was in trouble, because I could never put down an animal that can be helped. He wormed her, and took care of the fleas and mites, and gave her a kitten vaccination and said feed her a good food and bring her in next week. Well that was ten years ago. For eighteen months she was a terror giving me many scratches and bites. Rescue people told me to find a feral colony and release her into the colony. They said don't feel bad you did everything you could and that she is probably an alpha female and will not be tamed! Not long after that a nice woman told me she had a feral kitten just like that, and advised me to not make any attempt to make her do anything. just keep feeding her, and ignore her, and let her come to you. Best advice I ever got! One day i was laying on the couch watching tv ,and up climbed my formal feral cat and began kneading on my back. Ha! good thing I had a sweatshirt on. She fell asleep on my back for a couple of hours, and now she is my buddy! My advice is give them as much time as they need and don't make them do anything (you want!) Remember cats rule the house! Ha! good luck!
I understand that taking in Ferals after their socialization period is typically not a good idea.

These two kittens were apart of a litter that frequently visited my office. Generally we left food for them on the patio. They at first would not eat when we were around, eventually they would eat so long as we kept our distance, and finally they even came inside the office to eat so long as we didn't try to approach them, if we did they would dart.

Their mother went missing and the neighboring offices started having alot of complaints about the cats (there were more than just these two) and we were off a busy street that claimed the life of one cat. The neighbors called the humane society who attempted to trap them and failed on the first attempt.

My time at that office came to an end and those cats were used to coming there to eat, except noone would be there after I left, or worse someone would end up calling the humane society on them again...so I managed to trap them inside the office while they were eating and caught them both.

Of course, not having any real human exposure, they were NOT happy to see me...and I knew I was taking a huge risk attempting to handle them as despite their small size, they could really hurt me if they tried to. Usually my getting close to either of them results in a hiss or a batting paw of which I back off. I normally don't go near them unless I need to.

Its only been maybe 4 days at most since Ive caught them so I dont expect them to turn around very quickly, for the most part even in that short time I they learned how to use the litter box and as long as I approach very slow and cautiously, with food... they typically won't hiss. I guess in a way Im just hoping that there is hope in still socializing them even if it takes some time and patience. Anything you can recommend would be greatly appreciated.
 

tnrmakessense

TCS Member
Adult Cat
Sep 22, 2015
247
454
Central Florida
I was in a nearly identical situation job wise and ended up bringing home four, but they were socialized. The babies will be fine. Let them come to you on their own terms. I'm in the process myself with two ferals that are a bit older than yours. The first milestone is hearing the paws in the litter box. You might have to put it somewhere they'll feel safe, like under the dresser or a chair. Same with their food and bed. Then, just let them come out on their own terms and come to you when they are ready. It could take days or weeks or longer. I've found that play is a great ice breaker. Once they start playing in front of you, you're halfway there. You can tentatively waggle a string when they're close by and see if you can engage them. My two are out and playing and I can now walk by the male without his bolting, but I can see in his eyes that the rule is still that I not try to touch him which is SO hard because he's so darn cute.
 

MJO12

TCS Member
Young Cat
Jun 28, 2017
48
51
My experience with two ferals is that they come around, but on their own terms. So relax, because the ball is in their court. I now have two indoor cats who don't want to go outside, who love and appreciate beds, and who are my buddies -- still on their own terms.
 

calicosrspecial

TCS Member
Top Cat
Mar 14, 2016
1,922
610
Well done!! Thank you for caring and saving their lives!!

All my cats have been and are ferals. To me, a feral cat is just a normal cat that started life without human interaction. They still want love, food, etc and thgouh some will never be cuddly I believe they respond to being loved and can live great lives inside a home with humans.

When I deal with a feral cat I do a few things. Cats take on our emotions so I always act calm and confident. Just normal. Not move too slowly or too fast. Just normal. Also, I never reach to them or stand over them. Cats like to be on the "same level" if at all possible. Also, I never stare at them. I keep an eye on them so something strange doesn't happen but in my experience cats really only attack when they feel threatened. So I try not to ever make them feel threatened or cornered.

FOOD is the biggest love maker and trust builder. When a cat gets something good they tend to trust. It does take time but a positive association starts to happen where they think "that person brings me food, good stuff, they are ok". SO bringing them food and then letting them eat is very good. Then at some point I will just sit on the floor several feet away and just look forward (not at them) and let them eat. Showing them I am not a threat but something positive. I never try to pet them and eventually let them initiate contact. And on and on. It is a process but it is wonderful to see them build trust and confidence and to see them find a home.

There is a lot of hope and there are great people on this thread to help you through this. We can help you through every aspect of the process as we all have done this may times before.

Feel free to ask anything anytime and we'll be here for you. And thank you so much for caring and saving their lives!! You rock!! :lolup::yess::hyper::rock:
 

purrs123

TCS Member
Young Cat
Apr 30, 2018
24
47
Yes, I echo what the others have already said. First, THANK YOU for caring about them and saving them and going through all this trouble for them! Second, yes it will take time so be patient. They've had a hard life and don't understand what is happening now. But, ferals are generally smart cats. Less-than-sharp cats probably don't last long living outside on their own. So, just have faith that they will learn over time that you are not a threat. One person's advice was to behave as if they are not there. I agree with that. Eye contact and approaching a cat can be seen as threatening to a feral cat. Just go about your business and let them observe you and get used to your sounds, smells, actions, habits. When you catch them looking at you, briefly make eye contact and do the "slow blink". Then look away. The slow blink is like smiling for cats.
Best of luck to you and don't worry too much. It will all work out. :)
 
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  • #14

MikeAW2010

TCS Member
Thread starter
Adult Cat
Apr 25, 2018
104
98
Thanks for all the sound advice.

Yeah, the slow blink and looking away seems to really ease tension when they do come out and I'm around.

This is Panda:
20190630_231237.jpg


20190630_231237.jpg

He and his mother were the first ones we noticed. His mother was beautiful and we discovered them last year around summer to fall. His mother seemed semi-feral as she did meow and communicate and generally didn't immediately bolt away when I got close to her but didn't exactly let me get too close either. Panda often followed her everywhere and at that time was MUCH more shy. Couldn't even be seen by him or he would dart across the parking lot. My mom started leaving food for him and he would come by and eat and then he became smart enough to know when we were and were not in the office by the closing and opening of the doors. So when the front door shut or opened he would come seemingly out of nowhere waiting to get fed. Eventually he became bold enough to enter the building as long as noone was watching him, but if he felt someone spotted him he would bolt. This is how I caught him. I left food deep into the building. I then hid behind the entrance door and waited until I knew he was eating then slammed the door when I knew he was eating ... he was too far from the entrance to make it back in time. He jumped higher than my head trying to get out of there. After he realized he was trapped he immediately hid.

The photo I have of him there was taken tonight .. he was just standing at the bathroom door way looking at me for a few minutes.

This is Sandy which I believe is a girl but dont know for sure:
20190630_233903.jpg


She's much more shy than Panda is and didn't start appearing until much later after we found Panda. Appears to be similar in age but she was alot more cautious than Panda and generally did not eat our food unless she knew noone was around. I caught her using the same means as Panda.

Meanwhile she's also currently ontop of my cabinet near the ceiling. I'm currently concerned about that. Can she get down safely? I fear my head would be torn to shreds if I try to go up there after her.
20190630_233916.jpg
 

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purrs123

TCS Member
Young Cat
Apr 30, 2018
24
47
Look at that! That is some major progress with Panda already! And I think Sandy can come down from there OK. I can see by her eyes and ears she is not a happy camper right now. I would expect her to eventually come down on her own to get food and water and use the litter box. They are both cute cats.
 

Maria Bayote

Mama of 4 Cats, 3 Dogs , 2 Budgies & 2 Humans
Top Cat
Jan 15, 2018
1,581
3,187
Thanks for all the sound advice.

Yeah, the slow blink and looking away seems to really ease tension when they do come out and I'm around.

This is Panda:
View attachment 290762

View attachment 290762
He and his mother were the first ones we noticed. His mother was beautiful and we discovered them last year around summer to fall. His mother seemed semi-feral as she did meow and communicate and generally didn't immediately bolt away when I got close to her but didn't exactly let me get too close either. Panda often followed her everywhere and at that time was MUCH more shy. Couldn't even be seen by him or he would dart across the parking lot. My mom started leaving food for him and he would come by and eat and then he became smart enough to know when we were and were not in the office by the closing and opening of the doors. So when the front door shut or opened he would come seemingly out of nowhere waiting to get fed. Eventually he became bold enough to enter the building as long as noone was watching him, but if he felt someone spotted him he would bolt. This is how I caught him. I left food deep into the building. I then hid behind the entrance door and waited until I knew he was eating then slammed the door when I knew he was eating ... he was too far from the entrance to make it back in time. He jumped higher than my head trying to get out of there. After he realized he was trapped he immediately hid.

The photo I have of him there was taken tonight .. he was just standing at the bathroom door way looking at me for a few minutes.

This is Sandy which I believe is a girl but dont know for sure:View attachment 290764

She's much more shy than Panda is and didn't start appearing until much later after we found Panda. Appears to be similar in age but she was alot more cautious than Panda and generally did not eat our food unless she knew noone was around. I caught her using the same means as Panda.

Meanwhile she's also currently ontop of my cabinet near the ceiling. I'm currently concerned about that. Can she get down safely? I fear my head would be torn to shreds if I try to go up there after her.View attachment 290765
Panda is seemingly "getting there". He seems to be a bit relaxed in this photo. Just continue with your usual routine as if they were not there. They will come to you in their own time and in their own terms.

Just ignore that Sandy is on top of that cabinet and looking so feisty. LOL. She sure does look so unhappy. :) But no worries, one of these days she will come around. She will get to realize that she is finally safe and loved, and with easy access to food.

Once they both finally come to you, it would be a feeling like no other.
Keep us informed. BTW, those are gorgeous cats!
 

Talien

TCS Member
Super Cat
Oct 10, 2018
901
2,202
Michigan
One thing that has helped me socialize Cats is to lay on the floor near them on my back and take a nap. That's Cat speak for "I'm totally fine with you and I don't have a care in the world." I wouldn't try it with a Cat that is so scared it will attack on sight though.
 
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  • #18

MikeAW2010

TCS Member
Thread starter
Adult Cat
Apr 25, 2018
104
98
Sandy is still up there, she stayed up there all night it seems. I have to go to work and have no way of knowing if she came down. Panda also went up there while I was getting ready this morning. I guess i will see if Panda comes down by the time I come back to see if Sandy is capable of coming down... if she isnt down by the time I come from work, should I do anything?
 

Talien

TCS Member
Super Cat
Oct 10, 2018
901
2,202
Michigan
Sandy is still up there, she stayed up there all night it seems. I have to go to work and have no way of knowing if she came down. Panda also went up there while I was getting ready this morning. I guess i will see if Panda comes down by the time I come back to see if Sandy is capable of coming down... if she isnt down by the time I come from work, should I do anything?
Nope. I guarantee you she is not staying up there while you are gone, she will come down to eat, drink, and (hopefully) use the litterbox. She might stay up there for a while when you're at home but eventually she'll realize she doesn't need to be afraid of you and will stop hiding.
 

calicosrspecial

TCS Member
Top Cat
Mar 14, 2016
1,922
610
Panda is adorable and seems to be doing really well.

Sandy's behavior is totally normal. It just takes time.

So a few questions.

Do you have any other animals?

Are the cats isolated in one room or a "suite" area or do they have access to the whole house?

How do Panda and Sandy get along? Or do you know?

Do you have any cat trees? It looks like Sandy would benefit from very tall cat trees as she seems to like being high (which provides security and confidence).

Please do not confront Sandy when she is up there. Cornering a cat can be traumatic and dangerous. If you feel like she hasn't come down then maneuver a cat tree near there and leave to provide the opportunity for her to use the cat tree to come down safely. If not a cat tree you may want to put some pillows or something soft around so that she can safely jump down. I am guessing she has probably been up there before (and if so has gotten down as well) but it is possible this is her first time up there. So if possible we want to make it possible for her to come down as safely as possible but on her terms.

Don't worry, Sandy's behavior is normal and understandable. We can get through this. I am not worried at all. Cats will respond to being loved and cared for in time. Some will be more cuddly then others but our goal is really to give them the best life we can and to let them be as happy as possible. Some of my ferals will not come on my lap while others are totally cuddly cats. I accept whatever they choose. And they all are happy cats. That is the main goal.

Please update us on how things are and we'll help you through it. Just stay calm and confident around them and if possible if you can use another bathroom (if there is another one) that would be a good idea so as not to spook Sandy.
 
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