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Behaviour in Feral Cats

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

We are looking to adopt a second cat into our home, and I have been doing the "shelter-circuit" trying to find the perfect little guy.

Going by some advice on this site, we are looking for a young male as he would be a good match for our 4 year old spayed female. Since it's not kitten season right now, and most of the younger cats have already been adopted, we are having a hard time finding that perfect cat!

We met one last night who was an absolute sweetie. My boyfriend fell instantly in love with him! He was born to a feral mother and found as a tiny baby with his siblings somewhere in the city. The couple that is fostering him and his remaining sister (all the others were adopted), are fantastic people and have given them tons of love and attention. Both cats are extremely shy and nervous, and hid behind the toilet the whole time we were there. They told us that the cats are shy, but once the little boy warms up, he's very outgoing.

I'm worried about taking this little boy in (he's 7 months old), as I do not want to have a cat that just hides under the bed all the time. And I don't want my current cat to pick on him! If he is going to have a nervous and stressful life with us, I'd rather see him go to a quiet home with a single person who can devote all their time to him.

Do feral cats generally change as they grow older if they are provided with lots of love and attention? I want to see this little guy get the best chance he can get, but I'm worried that our noisy home may be too much for him...

Thank you for any suggestions!
post #2 of 9
I have a feral who is about 9 mo. old, I've had her since Sept. She is extremely shy around outsiders, but tolerates me. When someone comes to the door she runs and hides. She will let me pet her but only in the bathroom. If she is in the hall its like I'm a stranger. But I love her. She plays well with my other cat and I see that as time goes by she is becoming more attached to me and I'm so happy that I could give her a home and love. Just be patient and your kitty will love you in time.
post #3 of 9
Putting conditions on cats only leads to disappointment. I have yet to meet the "perfect cat" though I consider all my cats here at home (they were all feral at one point) to be perfect in their own way. If you want a kitty that is socialized you do not want a feral cat or a stray. Instead, look for someone with a litter of kittens that have been handled from day one. These kittens will be socialized, they will be able to be introduced to your resident cat easier.

I have cats here that routinely hide when someone comes to the door, if I drop something on the floor, then there is a mad scramble by everybody to get out into the tunnels into safety. If they are on our lap and something startles them, they launch off, claws out leaving wonderful scratch marks behind.

My group easily acclimates to other strays and ferals. But, they are used to new cats coming and going. My suggestion is instead of looking in the shelters, take a look on petfinders.com or in your local paper. Find someone with a litter of kittens that have been handling the kitten. Then you will find what you want.

Or, take this unfortunate creature that didn't ask to be in the shelter. Bring her into your home, let her hide, get used to her surroundings and work with her gradually. Lower your expectations and I think you will be pleasantly surprised.
post #4 of 9
Every cat in my household was born feral. You can't tell it by their behavior. I do have some that are just naturally shy and hide when other people come over and I have others that jump into anyone's lap. But you have those extremes with any cat, not just ferals.

You stated that he was such a sweetie. If you see that sign in them now, he's not going to be a problem. Even though he hid behind the toilet, I wouldn't be concerned - a lot of cats are shy of strangers.

A cat will be who he/she wants to be. If this boy was pulled as young as you state, there isn't any feral left in him at 7 months old. Get that label out of your head and look at him as if you would view any cat. My large crew will second that.
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Thank you everyone for your kind replies!

Please know that when I say "perfect" what I mean is a cat that would be a good fit for our household! Our resident cat is high-energy psychotic (a trait I'm sure many of you are familiar with!) and I would not want a new arrival to be miserable in our noisy home.

Mostly I am concerned for the cat we adopt as I do not want to have him be upset with us here. Or feel as though he needs to hide all the time to be safe. We will of course do everything in our power to make him comfortable, but I just hope it will be enough!

It's comforting to hear that others have adopted feral cats and had them be quite happy in their home! Naturally all cats are different, but I want to give him a good chance to be at home here too.

Thanks again.
post #6 of 9
Any time you change a cat's routine, they become upset. That is just their nature. Most new cats in a home will hide, they may not eat right away (usually 24 hours) they may miss their litter pan and you will have to clean up a few messes but eventually they start to understand that their world has changed and they start to relax.
post #7 of 9
Whatever kitty you decide to bring home, these tips on introducing cats will be very helpful and should ease the transition for the new cat and for your resident kitty. The most important thing to do is to have one room set aside for the newby. The new kitty should be confined to one room for a few days to a few weeks (or more) depending upon how things are going:


...and if you do bring home a formerly feral kitty, these tips on socializing are great. These are designed for a feral rescue, not one that has been fostered and socialized, but reading this through will be of tremendous value, even if for just a few good ideas on making any new kitty more comfortable with you and its new surroundings:


post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
Great! Thanks for the links. I'd seen the Introducing one already, but the Feral one will be a great help if we do choose one of those kitties!
post #9 of 9
I hope you take one of the ferals, most people would be turned off by a kitty hiding from them. If your current kitty accepts the kitten she may really help in teaching him/her that people are ok and that they have yummy treats.
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