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Sun Dec 22, 2013, 10:56 AM

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.

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Reply Need help with a feral kitten I'm fostering. (Original post)
Le Taz Hot Dec 2013 OP
Arkansas Granny Dec 2013 #1
Le Taz Hot Dec 2013 #2
winter is coming Dec 2013 #18
MuseRider Dec 2013 #3
Le Taz Hot Dec 2013 #5
magical thyme Dec 2013 #4
Le Taz Hot Dec 2013 #6
magical thyme Dec 2013 #7
MuseRider Dec 2013 #8
Arugula Latte Dec 2013 #9
dipsydoodle Dec 2013 #10
Festivito Dec 2013 #11
Mz Pip Dec 2013 #12
Oscarmonster13 Dec 2013 #13
Brigid Dec 2013 #20
elocs Dec 2013 #14
MuseRider Dec 2013 #15
elocs Dec 2013 #16
MuseRider Dec 2013 #19
jmowreader Dec 2013 #17
Raine1967 Dec 2013 #21
Le Taz Hot Dec 2013 #22
pengillian101 Dec 2013 #24
LeftyMom Dec 2013 #23
applegrove Dec 2013 #25
Le Taz Hot Dec 2013 #26
CrawlingChaos Dec 2013 #27

Response to Le Taz Hot (Original post)

Sun Dec 22, 2013, 11:13 AM

1. It takes time and patience. Some take longer than others.

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.

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Response to Arkansas Granny (Reply #1)

Sun Dec 22, 2013, 11:27 AM

2. That's what I was hoping.

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.

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Reply #2)

Sun Dec 22, 2013, 07:13 PM

18. That's a promising sign. It sounds like she wants you, on her terms, but doesn't

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.

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Original post)

Sun Dec 22, 2013, 11:30 AM

3. Time and patience.

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

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Response to MuseRider (Reply #3)

Sun Dec 22, 2013, 11:46 AM

5. Well, that gives me hope

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.

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Original post)

Sun Dec 22, 2013, 11:35 AM

4. just sit near her and let her come to you

 

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.

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Response to magical thyme (Reply #4)

Sun Dec 22, 2013, 11:47 AM

6. I think that's the answer.

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

Thanks for responding.

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Reply #6)

Sun Dec 22, 2013, 11:52 AM

7. it's how they get the strays and ferals at my shelter used to people

 

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

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Response to magical thyme (Reply #7)

Sun Dec 22, 2013, 11:59 AM

8. That sounds like a great job!

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

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Response to magical thyme (Reply #7)

Sun Dec 22, 2013, 12:43 PM

9. Cats + books ... best job ever!

 

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Original post)

Sun Dec 22, 2013, 12:55 PM

10. With patience.

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Original post)

Sun Dec 22, 2013, 01:16 PM

11. Hard to resist but don't look her in the eyes. Look askance. Good luck. eom.

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Original post)

Sun Dec 22, 2013, 01:20 PM

12. Doesn't sound like a true feral.

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.

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Original post)

Sun Dec 22, 2013, 04:35 PM

13. sometimes white kitties

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

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Response to Oscarmonster13 (Reply #13)

Sun Dec 22, 2013, 08:37 PM

20. She may be deaf in one ear.

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.

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Original post)


Response to elocs (Reply #14)

Sun Dec 22, 2013, 05:40 PM

15. My first was also a kitten found when working at the zoo

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.

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Response to MuseRider (Reply #15)


Response to elocs (Reply #16)

Sun Dec 22, 2013, 07:26 PM

19. We still have ours however it has been in some trouble

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.

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Original post)

Sun Dec 22, 2013, 07:12 PM

17. How much do you object to smelling like fish?

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.

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Original post)

Sun Dec 22, 2013, 09:29 PM

21. I do hope you will post a picture of her.

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

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Response to Raine1967 (Reply #21)

Sun Dec 22, 2013, 09:32 PM

22. I wish I knew how.

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.

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Reply #22)

Sun Dec 22, 2013, 10:44 PM

24. Regarding posting a picture here...

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.

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Original post)

Sun Dec 22, 2013, 09:34 PM

23. Get down on your knees, quietly and calmly call her over.

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.

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Original post)

Sun Dec 22, 2013, 11:12 PM

25. Get cat treats and hand feed her.

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Original post)

Mon Dec 23, 2013, 12:01 AM

26. I want to thank everyone for their response on this thread.

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.

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Original post)

Mon Dec 23, 2013, 01:28 AM

27. I just want to thank you for what you're doing

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

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