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Le Taz Hot

(22,271 posts)
Sun Dec 22, 2013, 10:56 AM Dec 2013

Need help with a feral kitten I'm fostering.

So, we're having Thanksgiving dinner and I look out on the patio and there's this white, long-hair furball, maybe about 7 or 8 weeks old, GORGING herself on my outside cats' cat food. This tells me she's starving. I tried to go out to the patio to ascertain if she was wild or not, she is. Since I can't bring her in without trapping her (something I never do unless there's a medical emergency) but I'm watching her in the back yard for a couple of days and notice she's made friends with one of my 6 cats -- Erica. At one point, Erica sort of goes and gets her and leads her to the sliding glass door which leads into our family room. I opened the door and in she comes. I closed the door and have had her in ever since.

After 2 or 3 days she sees we're not going to reach for her or try to coerce her so she's comfortable sleeping on the futon and the chair and the table and on my desk -- out in the open. She's still following Erica around like they are Besties. Erica is tolerating her, even bathing her, but Alaska (we named her) is FULL of fleas and too young to treat yet (she's getting there) so it's understandable that Erica is not wanting to be too close to her.

ANYWAY . . . anytime I try to come up to her, including on her level, and very gently, she dives under something. I've been able to pick her up a few times but only when she was unsuspecting and she doesn't seem to want to stay in my lap even though she purrs loudly when I actually get her there.

I know her instinct is to dive under something when she's afraid but I need to be able to touch her at will so she doesn't freak out every time. As I said, I'm FOSTERING her (I already have 6 cats) and it's important that she be able to be handled in order to be adoptable.

I'm taking her to the vet on Tuesday to get her shots, an estimate of how old she is and maybe get her de-flead if she's old enough. I'll get her spayed as soon as it's medically possible.

This is my question: How do I get her to allow me to pet her/touch her/hold her without her freaking out?

Btw, she's solid white except for a black "skid mark" on her head and she's got one green eye and one blue eye. Cutest damned thing I ever saw.

27 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
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Need help with a feral kitten I'm fostering. (Original Post) Le Taz Hot Dec 2013 OP
It takes time and patience. Some take longer than others. Arkansas Granny Dec 2013 #1
That's what I was hoping. Le Taz Hot Dec 2013 #2
That's a promising sign. It sounds like she wants you, on her terms, but doesn't winter is coming Dec 2013 #18
Time and patience. MuseRider Dec 2013 #3
Well, that gives me hope Le Taz Hot Dec 2013 #5
just sit near her and let her come to you magical thyme Dec 2013 #4
I think that's the answer. Le Taz Hot Dec 2013 #6
it's how they get the strays and ferals at my shelter used to people magical thyme Dec 2013 #7
That sounds like a great job! MuseRider Dec 2013 #8
Cats + books ... best job ever! Arugula Latte Dec 2013 #9
With patience. dipsydoodle Dec 2013 #10
Hard to resist but don't look her in the eyes. Look askance. Good luck. eom. Festivito Dec 2013 #11
Doesn't sound like a true feral. Mz Pip Dec 2013 #12
sometimes white kitties Oscarmonster13 Dec 2013 #13
She may be deaf in one ear. Brigid Dec 2013 #20
This message was self-deleted by its author elocs Dec 2013 #14
My first was also a kitten found when working at the zoo MuseRider Dec 2013 #15
This message was self-deleted by its author elocs Dec 2013 #16
We still have ours however it has been in some trouble MuseRider Dec 2013 #19
How much do you object to smelling like fish? jmowreader Dec 2013 #17
I do hope you will post a picture of her. Raine1967 Dec 2013 #21
I wish I knew how. Le Taz Hot Dec 2013 #22
Regarding posting a picture here... pengillian101 Dec 2013 #24
Get down on your knees, quietly and calmly call her over. LeftyMom Dec 2013 #23
Get cat treats and hand feed her. applegrove Dec 2013 #25
I want to thank everyone for their response on this thread. Le Taz Hot Dec 2013 #26
I just want to thank you for what you're doing CrawlingChaos Dec 2013 #27

Arkansas Granny

(31,584 posts)
1. It takes time and patience. Some take longer than others.
Sun Dec 22, 2013, 11:13 AM
Dec 2013

My old kitty was a feral and it took several weeks before I could approach her without her running away. I had to wait and let her come to me. Even then, if I entered the room where she was or stood up too fast, she would scoot away and hide. Those were the instincts that kept her alive when she was on her own. It's just takes time to establish that trust. Hang in there, you've done a good thing.

Le Taz Hot

(22,271 posts)
2. That's what I was hoping.
Sun Dec 22, 2013, 11:27 AM
Dec 2013

She has settled in on the table next to my desk in my studio before. It's like she wants to be around me (if Erica isn't in the house) but she's still a little skiddish if I even look at her. If I can just get her to touchable stage she'll be very adoptable.

winter is coming

(11,785 posts)
18. That's a promising sign. It sounds like she wants you, on her terms, but doesn't
Sun Dec 22, 2013, 07:13 PM
Dec 2013

trust you enough yet for it to be on your terms. The vet trip may set you back some, so don't be surprised if she goes invisible for a while after you've got her home again.

MuseRider

(34,218 posts)
3. Time and patience.
Sun Dec 22, 2013, 11:30 AM
Dec 2013

I had a feral that lived in my hay barn for 6 years. He was, of course, not neutered nor had he apparently had any shots. Once I knew, about a year after he came, that he was staying I started to feed him in hopes of making friends. I could not trap him, he was too smart. Over the years he got more beat up, probably made hundreds of kittens, got sick and seemed to be dying several times. I still fed him but he would not let me near him.

2 years ago I started trying again to get closer. I would do my chores with the horses and just walk around him but not changing where I was going. I guess at that point he figured out I was just going to walk by him so he stopped running off when I got close. One day while walking by I stopped and bent over and held my hand out about 3 feet from him. He rolled over and I knew I had him. It took a year after that. He made the moves, I just squatted down and put out my hand and he eventually learned that head rubs were his favorite thing. He is on the couch next to me now. Still very odd, my other cats are not crazy about him but they tolerate each other.

I have had much easier times, usually with kittens, but have learned over the years with all the odd assortment of cats that show up here on the farm that none of them are remotely the same. Your situation sounds like it will resolve fairly quickly since you have a cat who is attentive enough to have gotten her in the house.

Time and patience. I would get so tired of squatting and holding out my hand that I thought I would pass out but it worked. The fact that you get her into your lap is really good. She will learn quickly I bet.

Bless you for tolerating the fleas. That is rough. Have fun, sounds like you are totally in love with her already

Le Taz Hot

(22,271 posts)
5. Well, that gives me hope
Sun Dec 22, 2013, 11:46 AM
Dec 2013

if you can turn an feral adult into a domestic kitty. I've taken in 2 other feral kittens about 10 years ago. One was fairly easy to domesticate but the other took what seemed like forever. To this day she still doesn't want to be in the house but she's completely domesticated.

Yeah, the fleas are now pretty much all over the house. But having 6 cats this is not the first flea infestation I've had and it won't be the last. When she goes to get fixed I'll bomb the house and de-flea the rest of the cats (Erica has now spread the love to the other 5 cats).

Thanks for your response.

 

magical thyme

(14,881 posts)
4. just sit near her and let her come to you
Sun Dec 22, 2013, 11:35 AM
Dec 2013

let it be her choice, but be there. You can be reading or just sitting quietly.

It takes time, but as the others have already written, it seems like she's very open to the idea of contact.

And thank you and bless you for taking her in, fleas and all.

Le Taz Hot

(22,271 posts)
6. I think that's the answer.
Sun Dec 22, 2013, 11:47 AM
Dec 2013

She's just so damned cute it's frustrating that I can't touch her at will.

Thanks for responding.

 

magical thyme

(14,881 posts)
7. it's how they get the strays and ferals at my shelter used to people
Sun Dec 22, 2013, 11:52 AM
Dec 2013

They have a volunteer job there that consists of sitting in the cat room and reading Some day if I'm ever able to retire, I plan to volunteer for it

MuseRider

(34,218 posts)
8. That sounds like a great job!
Sun Dec 22, 2013, 11:59 AM
Dec 2013

You get to read and help cats to be adoptable in places where they will have love! What a great thing that is

Mz Pip

(27,502 posts)
12. Doesn't sound like a true feral.
Sun Dec 22, 2013, 01:20 PM
Dec 2013

You'd never be able to touch her if she were. She may be lost or dumped.

I've done quite a bit of rescue work and some fostering. The most important thing is to handle them as much as possible. Sometimes it's necessary to force the issue. So hold her for as long as you can scratching her and petting her a speaking soothingly. She'll come around.

Oscarmonster13

(209 posts)
13. sometimes white kitties
Sun Dec 22, 2013, 04:35 PM
Dec 2013

with the two color eyes are deaf...could she have some hearing problem and that makes her more skittish?

thank you for caring for her, compassion is a rare thing these days

Brigid

(17,621 posts)
20. She may be deaf in one ear.
Sun Dec 22, 2013, 08:37 PM
Dec 2013

She's what's called "odd-eyed." An odd-eyed white cat will likely be deaf in the ear on the blue-eye side. A blue-eyed white cat is likely to be deaf in both ears.

Response to Le Taz Hot (Original post)

MuseRider

(34,218 posts)
15. My first was also a kitten found when working at the zoo
Sun Dec 22, 2013, 05:40 PM
Dec 2013

in our city! Funny. I caught her using capture gloves, she was awesome in her ability to squirm and fight. She ended up an awesome cat who acclimated fairly quickly. Actually she had little choice.

Response to MuseRider (Reply #15)

MuseRider

(34,218 posts)
19. We still have ours however it has been in some trouble
Sun Dec 22, 2013, 07:26 PM
Dec 2013

the last bunch of years, not enough funding from the city and the excellent management that was there when I worked there has long since retired and moved on. It was an excellent place with lots of education, opportunity to research. Lots of extra land away from the zoo to help with relocation work etc. Don't know what is going on there now. I have very mixed feelings about zoo's, not from the time I worked there but from what I have seen since I left there and other places. My thoughts about zoos have changed a lot.

jmowreader

(50,726 posts)
17. How much do you object to smelling like fish?
Sun Dec 22, 2013, 07:12 PM
Dec 2013

You'll laugh but this works: Get a can of tuna in oil and dip your fingers in the oil. Then lie on your stomach in the room kitteh is in with your hand on the floor palm up. After kitteh removes all the oil, do no more with her today. Do this for a few days. Eventually you can lightly rub kitteh with what's left of your fingers.

Do not try this with an adult cat, but it works on kittens.

Raine1967

(11,590 posts)
21. I do hope you will post a picture of her.
Sun Dec 22, 2013, 09:29 PM
Dec 2013

Sounds like what you are doing is great and much amazing advice here.

Le Taz Hot

(22,271 posts)
22. I wish I knew how.
Sun Dec 22, 2013, 09:32 PM
Dec 2013

I can take a picture with my Iphone and can probably figure out how to get it onto the computer. As to how to get it onto DU has been a mystery now for over 12 years. Something about a hosting somethingerother. No idea wtf they're talking about.

pengillian101

(2,351 posts)
24. Regarding posting a picture here...
Sun Dec 22, 2013, 10:44 PM
Dec 2013

Get an account at a free picture site like ... www.photobucket.com where you can get a free account and upload the photos from your computer. Then copy and paste that photobucket link and upload it here. If that's clear as mud, pm me.

I totally understand how frustrating it is - it took me a very long time to finally get it to work properly. Nice thing here though, is that you can preview it before posting. Good luck and let me know if you need more info.







edit for spelling.

LeftyMom

(49,212 posts)
23. Get down on your knees, quietly and calmly call her over.
Sun Dec 22, 2013, 09:34 PM
Dec 2013

If she isn't interested don't insist, call over another cat and give them some pets and attention and maybe a treat. Do that a lot when she's in view.

Jealousy will do the job for you.

edit: Make sure you're seated or kneeling in a way that you're comfortable and stay still for a while. Don't look like you're about to pounce. Look relaxed. Posture matters enormously in this.

Le Taz Hot

(22,271 posts)
26. I want to thank everyone for their response on this thread.
Mon Dec 23, 2013, 12:01 AM
Dec 2013

I'll be using your suggestions and will give you an update (and pictures if I can manage it) after some progress has been made. AND, I may have found a home for her today -- maybe.

CrawlingChaos

(1,893 posts)
27. I just want to thank you for what you're doing
Mon Dec 23, 2013, 01:28 AM
Dec 2013

It's an act of great kindness. We need more people like you

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