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I want to pick her up...

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
My dad adopted a stray cat a couple of months ago.
I've slowly managed to tame her to the point where I can get near her, pet her and sometimes when I call her she'll come running to me.

Its fun to slowly gain her trust. Last week I even got her to play, that was such a big accomplishment because she never lets her guard down but that day she felt relaxed enough to jump around, act goofy and play with me. She's so sweet!

sooo.. I want to pick her up. I'm desperate to hold her but I can't.
I tried once, her whole body got stiff, she jumped and went to the roof. She was scared out of her mind.

I don't know how to slowly work with her so she won't be afraid of me holding her. The first (and last) time I did it, it took at least a couple of days before I gained her trust again.

any ideas? is it even possible to hold a stray cat without it freaking out?
has anyone here managed to hold a stray cat? or maybe I'm expecting to much?

maybe I'm being impatient.. I'm just desperate to hold her, kiss her and cuddle with her. She's such a lovely kitty!
post #2 of 13
It took me 3 months to finally be able to pick up Joey, but I did not hold him near my face just in case, but he settled right in my arms. Just be careful and patient. Good Luck
post #3 of 13
You are on a good way. Dont rush things... Even some of homecats arent fond of being held up. And not by force...
It is understandably a semiferal is thrice more cautious.

Let it take the time it needs and the victory will be yours. Both of you.

My thanks to you, and also to your dad.
post #4 of 13
Since she's already starting to trust you more and let you pet her, I'd just keep encouraging that, and since you're probably already sitting/laying on the floor to pet and play with her, just keep petting her and encourage her to first move towards your lap, if she starts sitting/cuddling in your lap then she's well on her way! But, since you don't know the history of her, it's possible she's got some things in her past that are going to prevent you from holding her. For example, I know a lot of ferals/strays that have had a litter are still very protective of their stomach, so they run when people try to scoop them up. Good luck and just be patient!
post #5 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by kateyes View Post
My dad adopted a stray cat a couple of months ago.
I've slowly managed to tame her to the point where I can get near her, pet her and sometimes when I call her she'll come running to me.

Its fun to slowly gain her trust. Last week I even got her to play, that was such a big accomplishment because she never lets her guard down but that day she felt relaxed enough to jump around, act goofy and play with me. She's so sweet!

sooo.. I want to pick her up. I'm desperate to hold her but I can't.
I tried once, her whole body got stiff, she jumped and went to the roof. She was scared out of her mind.

I don't know how to slowly work with her so she won't be afraid of me holding her. The first (and last) time I did it, it took at least a couple of days before I gained her trust again.

any ideas? is it even possible to hold a stray cat without it freaking out?
has anyone here managed to hold a stray cat? or maybe I'm expecting to much?

maybe I'm being impatient.. I'm just desperate to hold her, kiss her and cuddle with her. She's such a lovely kitty!
Hey Kat....when you say "adopted" do you mean that she is currently residing inside your home and was from a rescue group? Or did your dad find a stray and has been caring for her?? If it's the second...she really should see a vet before she interacts with your other cats. She will need to receive her shots, be tested for FELV/FIV and she should be spayed.

Katie
post #6 of 13
Katie's right.

But rescue kitties - whether previously feral or stray - can take time.

Our kitties are all feral rescues - none of them was a stray, they were born in the wild by wild parents. We were able to play with them and pet them pretty quickly because they were kittens. But as to holding them? Totally different story.

Four of them have lived with us since about 10 weeks old and are now almost 5 years old. One of them doesn't mind being picked up, but isn't too into it. She will purr while being petted while being held - but it took 2 years to get there.

One is very comfortable in my arms, but she was so ill and so young when we rescued her it's just a different story (She's 3 1/2 years old now).

The last one is handicapped and would meow and struggle the second you picked her up. We've been working on getting her used to it. We can hold her for a few minutes before she struggles - but she clearly doesn't enjoy it. (She's 2 1/2 now).

But what we did is pick them up, hold them a few seconds, then put them right down. The idea was to teach them that we're not trying to do anything to them - and that being picked up does not mean being put in a carrier. They start relaxing about being picked up, and the amount of time they're OK with it starts to stretch out. But we didn't even try to start teaching them they're safe being picked up until they'd lived with us for over a year.

Laurie
post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
thanks for all the replies and for sharing all your lovely stories with me. Its very appreciated


Katie: she used to hang around our place trying to get food (poor thing was emaciated). Last month my dad decided we should keep her so I trapped her, put her in a cage and we took her to the vet.
The vet spayed her, got her vaccines up to date, made all the tests necesary to see if she was a healthy cat and they gave her a bath (she was filthy).
Trapping her wasn't easy but it was for her own benefit. The vet told us she must be 2 years old.


today she PURRED!!! she started purring like crazy when I was petting her.
Oh God.. I adore her! stray cats are so special!!
my other cats seem ok with her, no one minds except for one that has become extremely jealous but I'm trying to help her out. She'll adjust.
post #8 of 13
Purring My former feral TommyScott couldn't be touched before 3 mos. My vet happened to do his TNR in the year 2000, and he was already an adult then. Anyway, after he gave up the notion of attacking my legs, he tamed pretty quickly. I would stroke behind the ears, and the front base of the tail, then soft strokes on the closed eyes, simulating a mama kitty cleaning her kittens. The first few times that I picked Scott up, he startled, but I gently squeezed the back of his neck, simulating being carried by his mom cat, and that would relax him. Now he is my most cuddly cat; will tire the arms and shoulder out with wanting to be held. Bless you and your dad for rescuing your new girl and giving her what every cat deserves- the love, comfort and joy of a real home
post #9 of 13
Picking up is always the last step and it can take a very long time. In the wild the only time an animal would ever be picked up is by a predator so it's something they're naturally very scared of unless they are handled from a young age. Even if they're not technically feral - for example, if they lived in a house but weren't really handled or picked up as a youngster - the fear of being picked up is likely to be present. Don't push it. Work on the stuff that's more "fun" for her, like pets and lap sitting. Eventually she'll probably trust you enough that she'll let you pick her up but it will take time.
post #10 of 13
You're doing great! I think you already know the answer to your question...you'll be able to hold her when and if she says it's okay. Like you said, when you tried picking her up, it scared the daylights out of her, and I know you don't want to do that.

I trapped my JinJin 17 months ago, and she's nowhere near letting me hold her, or even sit on my lap. We play, I can pet her, give her scritches, she rolls over for belly rubs, and she'll even eat treats out of my hand, but there is no way on God's green earth that she'd allow me to hold her. She might never allow it. It's her choice. Enjoy the great success you've made...it will have to be enough until she says otherwise.

Name? Pictures?
post #11 of 13
Let the cat decide when and IF you ever get to hold her and give her hugs. My feral cat Ted (rescued at 1+ years) is very friendly with me (but no one else). He has to be in the same room with me, or sitting on or by me. At night, we all pile in the bed. Sam (rescued at 4 weeks) and Nick (rescued at 9 weeks) sleep in the bed, but in their own spot. Ted has to be touching me all night.

As much as Ted loves me, I can't hug him or pick him up. It's a rare treat when I get to kiss him. He loves being petted and brushed, but not being touched in a way that confines him.

You may have to change what you expect from your cat. Each step in the socialization process is special. When I first started with Ted, I remember how excited I was when five months later he put his paw on my leg. I never dreamed he'd get to the point where he would sleep in my lap.

Unfortunately, you may never get to pick up your kitty. But she will find other ways to let you know how much she loves you.
post #12 of 13
Two of our four cats were strays.
We've had Annabelle for 4 years now, and she still will not let anyone pick her up.
We can pet her but ONLY if she comes to us...if you walk by her and bend down to pet her she takes off like a shot.

Elliott on the other hand started to allow us to pick him up within days of bringing him in.

Honestly I think it depends on the cat, when the times comes...IF it comes she'll let you know.
post #13 of 13
I agree with the others. It takes TIME and patience. It took me a year to socialize Patches. Now I cant get her away from me She HAS to be in my lap whenever I go outside and sit on the patio and she has to meow like crazy and rub her face all over me. It's so cute. You would never know she was feral for the first 1 or 2 years of her life if you met her. It was SO HARD not to want to pet her, or pick her up but every time I tried she'd freak out. So... I just waited for her to tell me it was ok.

If you can get her to jump in your lap, that's how I was finally able to pick up Patches. Because she would already be 'up' in my lap so I am able to now just scoop her up and kiss her and stuff while holding her.
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