or Connect
TheCatSite.com › Forums › Feral Cats and Rescue › Caring for Strays and Ferals › Socializing a feral: The story of Lucky
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Socializing a feral: The story of Lucky - Page 5

post #121 of 369
No hissing for 2 whole days. AND...tonight I feel we had a real breakthrough. My hubby and I went to play with Lucky and Kevin took the feather toy and started playing with it under his legs (which were bare as we're keeping it fairly warm in the house for the hedgehog and because Lucky has a shaved belly from her spay surgery and the vet said no drafts permitted)...anyhow...Lucky was very receptive to this type of play. She chased the feather under and over his legs and then, she actually hugged his calf with her front paws and also licked his leg 3 different times (all separate occasions). Then, she'd come and lay by me right up against my thigh. I, however, had long pants on so didn't get to actually feel her soft fur. I could feel the warmth from her, though. Then, she looked right up in my face with the most angelic expression. I still didn't pet her. Gosh, I'm a stickler for the rules with this. My husband had strict orders not to pet her either until she gives the okay. She really got wound up tonight playing. Later on, when I was rubbing hubby's back she jumped right up on the bed with us. Then, it was onto the window perch. When I left the room (to come on the computer) she stayed right where she was.

I truly feel like things are going so much better than I ever expected at this point. I'm really feeling it could be any day now (when she gives us the go ahead to touch her). I can almost see the trust developing day by day. That alone is a fantastic feeling.

Had to share some happy news with you all!!!

Thanks for listening,

PS - I forgot the camera again tonight, but I will definitely be getting some updated photos for you all very soon!!!:tounge2:
post #122 of 369
She is ready to be stroked now Sandie. You have done a magnificent job with her. Next time you are interacting with her, lay your hand down palm flat next to her gently. Place the toy near your hand- but not close enough to get scratched. She should come up to your hand and sniff it and nudge it. If she does, raise it very slowly (pretend you are in a slow motion film) Don't look into her eyes, but talk to her gently and when it is to her face level, leave it there then start petting her. I cannot tell you how you will know when to do this, just that you will know. You are doing a wonderful job with her! She is lucky to be in your life and aptly named!
post #123 of 369
Sandi - YAY! I'm all smiles. What a great way to "start" my day!

post #124 of 369
Sandi that is so fantastic!! It sure sounds like a pet or two is in your near future.
post #125 of 369
I'm almost afraid to pet her now. She does seem like she's ready, though, as she more and more comes and plops down right next to me and then leans against me for a while. I am just wondering...do I pet her head, her back, what??? I realize that sounds so strange, but I know there's a right and wrong thing to do with a feral. When I was sitting on my recliner tonight with my other cat (Kitty) it's so natural to touch her anywhere as she's so used to us (should be after 17 years, right?). But I know there's a difference with feral kitties. I must say, I'm extremely excited, but don't want to "freak her out" or anything. We have been occasionally "petting" her with the feather toy. Sometimes she's okay with it, other times she turns and either bites it or claws at it - but I'm thinking it's because she knows it's her toy. I'm not bragging as I know ALL cats are extremely smart, but I really do think Lucky is an extremely intelligent cat. I don't know how to explain why I KNOW this, but some of the things she does - or doesn't do...it's spooky. I wonder if she'll ever be naughty. She hasn't jumped up on anyplace unless we say "it's okay, Luck". She's got such good kitty etiquette it's bizarre. I suppose once she's got the run of the whole house and is totally comfy here - that may change. So be it...I know I'm lucky, too.

I must admit, I couldn't have gotten this far without each and every one of you. Your advice was followed to the letter and you have all been so patient with my questions and complaints.

I'll keep you posted - just hope that my little Lucky doesn't turn into a lion the night I do pet her. Yikes!!! She seems pretty gentle so all should proceed nicely.

I'll let you know...
post #126 of 369
Have you approached her with a hand yet? My thought, and Hissy or Laurie please correct me if I'm wrong, would be to let her get used to your hand being close to her and moving toward her. Let her sniff you so she knows that this thing moving toward her is part of you. When you touch her for the first time she may be very receptive, like "What took you so long? I've been waiting for AGES!" But if you feel her tense up, stop and let her be.

Sandi, you don't know how much Lucky sounds like Ophelia with being so smart! I remember one time she was playing with a mouse hanging on elastic from the top of the door. She played a bit too hard and mouse got stuck on top of the bookshelf headboard we have. We watched her and she had the route all planned out in her little mind as to how she could get up there to get it. She would look at the top of the TV, then to a standing floor lamp, then the headboard, over and over. They were incremental in height, so she had hte right idea. She just couldn't figure out how to get to the top of the TV because she was only about 3-4 months old! Very smart baby. If Lucky is like Ophelia, she won't hardly be naughty at all. Ophelia hates doing something bad and getting scolded. We will tell Trent No! about something and she will never even try it. She doesn't want to get it trouble.
post #127 of 369
Heidi, that is so cute about Ophelia and the bookshelf (to get to her toy mouse). Yep, sounds like Ophelia and Lucky are a lot alike in many ways. That's great to hear! I think Lucky wants to be good all the time as well - she'll look at us before going onto a new piece of furniture as if silently asking for permission. I remember the first time she looked up at the bed and we told her it was okay and then she went up. It was the same thing tonight with the cedar chest - her toy went on there and she looked at it, then at me and as soon as I told her it was okay - up she went. Too cute! I've got to get some more recent photos of her to post for you guys before she gets too big, which I find hard to believe she'll get much bigger with all her playful energy, but our Kitty was that way once, too, and now she's a bigger girl. But still beautiful all the same.

post #128 of 369
Thread Starter 
Sandi!!! I just read through all these last posts and I am getting as excited about this as you are!!!!!!! I can't wait to hear that you have been able to pet her!!!!! You have been so patient, and so good to her!!! You are an angel, and so is you hubby!!! **HUGS**
I am so glad I posted this thread when you first e-mailed me about this, because I wasn't real sure what to tell you to do...I have many cats, but I'm not experienced about what to do with ferals like many of the people here...so I thought coming here and asking their advice would be best...and I am so glad you came here and not only got such wonderful advice, but also have made many friends here who are all as excited about Lucky as I am!!!!

I think the time is very near.....I can just feel it from your posts, that you will be able to pet Lucky and she will enjoy it SO much!!!!!!

I can't wait to hear more!!!!!!!!
post #129 of 369
Heidi's suggestion to get her used to your hand coming toward (or near) her first is great. Unlike dogs (palm up) do it palm down. For some reason this is less threatening to cats. If she doesn't hiss, growl or get scared - it's up to you. The first place we pet the kitties is either on the back of the neck (like where mom would have picked them up) or on the side of the neck - kind of under the back of the ear and down toward under the chin. Our guys ALL love having their cheecks rubbed, but I think that'd be later - when she knows what she wants.

...and about the "good" cat "bad" cat - it's just so hard to tell! Lazlo and Shelly both seemed like they were going to be soooo good. Got the scratching post - that's the only place Lazlo scratched. Shelly saw Laz scratching there - that's where Shelly scratched. ...but once they got comfortable with us and the house - all heck broke loose. Lazlo is still a "good" kitty and only wants to do what's right. Shelly, on the other hand, KNOWS what is right and wrong, and, just like a kid, he tries to see what he can get away with. He has an incredibly expressive face (much more so than the other two), and as soon as he's "caught" he immediately stops - if he's someplace he shouldn't be, he relocates and gives us the - "who me? I've been here all the time!" kind of look. It's just so darn cute! Imp!

post #130 of 369
Well, I'm still holding back a little. I did the palm on the floor thing (palm down) and then in slow motion raised it up. She looked at it and then VERY GENTLY took her paw and kind of pushed it back down. Now, I thought this might be a message from her "not yet" or something - so I backed off and just kept playing with her. However, now when we play with the feather teaser - we bring it under our legs while sitting on the floor or bed with our legs out in front of us - and she LOVES to dive underneath and get the feather. She had her head on one side of my legs and her tail was out the other side. Too funny. She seems to be getting used to being on us or under our legs. She still will run over to me and sit/lay down touching my leg or hip or whatever when she wants to rest, but I just kind of sneak a light pet on her when she doesn't really know it. I took the camera in there the other night and when I got it up to my face, she hissed, so obviously that's not okay yet. I did manage to get a picture or two, but I'll have to size them down and then I'll post them.

Anyhow...I'll let you all know how she's progressing. She also is getting more curious when we open the door to the room as to what might be on the other side. The other night, I had one cat on one side and the other one on the other side. I guess they both know something's up. I'm figuring that will be a while yet (before we introduce them). Hubby is going to put another door on that bedroom so when we're home we can let them sniff each other through it and get used to each other. Eventually. Don't want to rush anything.

Talk to you all soon & have a great Thanksgiving!!!

post #131 of 369

Sandi -

You sound happy, Lucky sounds happy - and I LOVE hearing about it!!!!!!! I so look forward to pics. What a sweetie. Well - I was going to say what a sweetie Lucky is - but you and hubby too!

post #132 of 369
It sounds like you and Lucky are really starting to communicate. It is very good that she wants to be touching you. She's really starting to bond, isn't she? I know the bond was there for you and hubby before she even came inside.

Happy Thanksgiving, Sandi! Don't forget to share your feast with Lucky and Kitty too! LOL
post #133 of 369
Of course, we shared our turkey with all our girls. Kitty isn't really crazy about it, but our dog is more than happy to finish what Kitty leaves. Also, Lucky LOVES turkey. And our hedgehog loves it, too. Everybody got to share a wonderful holiday together. Actually, Lucky was on the bed when I brought her dish with her turkey - she just looked at me and I said, "Happy Thanksgiving, Lucky" and she just looked at me and stayed right where she was. No hissing or anything. She did hiss at hubby last night when he petted her tail - she was walking away and he tried pulling a fast one. She seems to always want to be rubbing against me, but I'm not pushing it yet. If, by chance she brushes against me or her attention is busy with her toy, I'll stroke her lightly, but she seems to be more trusting of me, so I don't want to spoil anything yet. Gosh, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE her SOOOO Much!!!

Here's a new photo - she doesn't like it when I have the camera in front of my face...

post #134 of 369
Here's a photo of our other cat: Kitty (I realize I should probably post this someplace else, but thought those of you who know my story about Lucky - would enjoy seeing our other stray from 17 years ago who I don't believe was feral as she was very friendly from the get-go).
post #135 of 369
Thread Starter 
Oh I LOVE the pics of Lucky and Kitty!!!! They are both so beautiful!!!! I thought of you today and wondered how things were going!!! Glad to hear everything is going well!!!!!
post #136 of 369
Sandi, This is so heartwarming, I am so glad Lucky enjoyed her first Thanksgiving dinner indoors and warm with loving people like you!
post #137 of 369

I'm so glad Lucky is a part of our family as well. She actually appears a lot larger on the photo's. She's really quite small. I will have to get a photo of her when she's all stretched out (when she gets used to the camera). Her little belly is still bare (from when she had her spay surgery). I know it will grow back before you know it, but it seems to be taking a looooong time.

Tonight, I was sitting indian style on the floor and she came and sat right up against where your legs cross together (shins/calves). Then, she just looks up at me. Just melts my heart! I'm sure she's wanting me to pet her, but sometimes she just seems so skittish when my hand moves out to pet her - I guess I'll just know when the RIGHT time comes along. When we're playing she doesn't seem bothered by hand movements from me.

Anyhow...things are progressing nicely.

Gosh, I was online shopping for all our pets for Xmas (and also St. Nick). All of our girls are spoiled rotten...as I'm sure all of yours are as well. I couldn't believe how the amount rose so high (:tounge2: ). Have to make sure they have one of everything! As if they don't have enough toys already.

Lucky is pretty leary of a new toy at first, but the next night - she's raring to go. It's so fun to watch every new experience she has. It really helps me to respect my older feline as well.

Talk to you all soon,
post #138 of 369

It sounds like it was a GREAT Thanksgiving!!!!

...and I almost missed the pics! She really is beautiful...and we love black and white kitties, so of course we think Kitty is gorgeous, too! :tounge2: I'm so glad you shared them with us - another smile for me today!
post #139 of 369
Sandi, both of your girls are beautiful!!! I'm glad Lucky liked her turkey (and all the other critters, too). It sounds like the time for pets is very, very near. I can't wait to hear all about it!

Then, of course, the next challenge of introducing her to the rest of the family comes...
post #140 of 369
Hi All,

Well, lately Lucky has been back to her hissing mode. I don't know what triggered it. She'll hiss once, then if you enter the room, hiss again, then jump off the bed and go underneath. Strange. I took some chicken in tonight and just sat there reading (out loud) my book with the dish right in front of me. She sat on the side of the bed - just her head peeking out for a little while. Then, under the bed she went. Next, (after what seemed like forever, but was only about 6 minutes or maybe more) she came out to eat the chicken. She'll still play very near us, but if she bumps into us - as soon as she realizes it, off she goes (to about 2 feet away). Nothing has changed - so I'm stumped as to why she's regressed a bit.

Maybe since she progressed so rapidly in the beginning, we're expecting it to continue on that way. I don't know. Or do you think she could be bored? She's getting new toys tomorrow - so we'll see what happens with that. Then, we'll be alternating all the ones she has. She's taken to sleeping on the bed most of the time and seems to favor the mint green blanket. It's really very cute, but it's a bummer that she sometimes stays put, and other times hisses and jumps off. Silly girl.

I know she doesn't hate me, but gosh, at times it's hard to remind yourself of that...

post #141 of 369

This is typical behavior for a feral kitty. Two steps forward then 5 steps back. It is frustrating at times, actually more than frustrating. You cannot react on your emotions, you must just maintain the routine that she is used to seeing. Keep it consistently the same whether she comes out from under the bed or not. Cats do not like change, they like to change things on us though. I sometimes look at it as a test. The cat wants to see what type of emotion it will elicit, then the cat will act accordingly.

You have made great strides with her. Do not give up on her now and you will be rewarded. It may not be tomorrow or next week, but you are building a foundation of trust that this kitty needs to have.

Good luck!
post #142 of 369
It IS hard not to take it personally. Gary does all the time. Who knows why, but every so often Lazlo gets "freaked out" and runs away from us to hide in his crate. Munchie does it all the time. Even right in the middle of play. If she didn't realize my hand was behind her and I accidentally bump her - she's off to HER crate in the bedroom. I don't think you've EVER seen anything fly so fast!

We, of course, are lucky enough to generally have them want to be around us, so it's easy for me to sit here and tell you to just go at her pace. You guys are so wonderful with her - and she is REALLY lucky to have you as her parents!!!

That day will come when she wants pets. She'll eventually have run of the house, and she'll become friends with Kitty. But she'll STILL have those days when she bolts to her safe place, when she hisses because she was startled - and it'll puzzle you to no end.

All you can do is your BEST not to take it personally. They are wonderful, magical creatures - but if it gets really tough for you, just remind yourself that their brains are the size of a Walnut.
post #143 of 369
OH! Laurie!! That walnut does a whole lot of conniving! I know, because I am a conniv-ee. Yes, I am a victim of these clever, proud, independent, and beautiful creatures. Oh, dear. It's a good thing I'm sitting down! (Don't worry; I covered the screen so that Precious and Blueberry can't read what you wrote.) I'll bet you can't get fed on demand and hear a can opener no matter how far away you are! And do you always get what you want from Gary? Hah! Got you, didn't I? Did anyone clean off an entire shelf in your bathroom so that you could sleep on it? I rest my case! Well, we'll forgive you this one time.

Now you're expecting an LOL, aren't you? Well, you're right. :laughing2

Sandi, Don't be discouraged. You're doing so well. Be proud of yourself. Lucky needs more time to figure out what you strange creatures really are, and if you can be trusted. I'm sure you didn't do anything wrong. On the contrary, bravo to both of you!
post #144 of 369
Thanks Hissy, Laurie and Jeanie,

You cannot know how much it meant to me to check the site today and find your posts of encouragement and words of wisdom for us with Lucky. It means a great deal. We won't ever give up, but I must admit I was becoming a bit discouraged and wracking my brain as to what I could've done to set her back. Now that I know it is normal and expected behavior from a feral kitty (thanks so much Hissy) I feel a lot better. We will continue with her routine and wait for her approval of us again. She does curl up with hubby at night. I believe she goes up on the bed when he's already asleep and if he happens to move his legs (where she normally sleeps) she may hiss, but doesn't move or bite or scratch. Just letting him know she's there, I guess. I think she's taken over that green blanket. Funny!

Thanks again so much you guys!
post #145 of 369
Sandi I just saw this, but wanted to send HUGS across the miles. They really are like small children, pushing the limits to see what the reaction will be. I would imagine that working with a feral would be like working with an abused child. Just when you think you've gotten through, something in their brain kicks in back to what they learned before and their experiences with adults. With patience and love Lucky will see again that you only mean to love her. She'll come back around. Those old, ingrained habits of not trusting people are hard to get through.
post #146 of 369
Thanks so much for the Hugs Heidi! You are so right about Lucky. She is so sweet (you can see it in her eyes), but so afraid as well. I only wish she knew we mean her no harm and just want to give her all the love in our hearts! Maybe someday she will realize that, but until then, we'll keep pluggin' along. I can't help but want to cuddle her and tell her she'll be alright now for the rest of her life, but she isn't ready for that (yet). I only hope she someday will be.

One thing I had read - feral cats will ALWAYS be timid of humans. Not a very encouraging thought, but whatever she's willing to tolerate from us, we'll take. I wondered too, does that mean some ferals will NEVER come around at all? In other words, is it possible that Lucky will ALWAYS hiss, hide, etc? I guess I just find that hard to believe and don't want to think it's possible. Patience and Love have to break through that barrier. I only wish I knew what happened to her in those 4 - 5 months before she found us. We should've probably tried to get under that boat and rescued those kittens way before, but then who knows if it would've been too early? We do the best we can, right? That's all we can do - our best.

Hopefully, I'll have better news to report next time.

I love all of you guys (not in a weird way)! You are so kind to help us out - we all appreciate your quick responses - and hopefully, in the future, I will be able to help someone out as you have all helped me! You are all s.

post #147 of 369
Hi again-

I don't know where you read that about feral cats, but I would clarify the statement to say they will always be leery (not timid) of strangers in their home. There is nothing timid in a feral cat, they hide for self-preservation a matter of survival. They are not leery of their owners, at least not once the trust has been established.

Lucky will come around, it just takes time. The more you push your wants on her, the quicker you will lose the little ground you gained. Just back off, keep her routine the same and let her tell you when she is ready. I know this is tough, I have lived it many times. Sometimes I would doubt there would be any break-throughs at all. But always there was waiting at the end, a beautiful, loyal kitty who learned through patience and love what trust is all about.
post #148 of 369
Well, it seems whenever I whine and complain to you guys about things going badly, things change right away. Lucky did let us pet her last night while playing with her. She actually seemed to like it. No hissing - she's just look back once in awhile to see who was petting her. We didn't do it too long.

Tonight I didn't pet her at all - I decided to back off and see what she tells me. She did come up and lay her head on my hip (actually right above it) while I was laying on the bed watching TV. She let out this sigh and then after a while, she turned her head and looked at me (for a long time - I didn't look back - just let her really check me out) and after a while longer - she went off the bed to eat her food.

Each of the cats got a Boogie Mat from St. Nick that you put a bit of catnip in - close the zipper - and set it down somewhere for them. Both of them seem to absolutely love the things. I always thought catnip made cats go crazy (it makes our other cat more active - that's for sure), so I had debated about catnip for Lucky for awhile yet, but she almost seems calmer after being subjected to it. Any thoughts or experiences with this - I guess I'm really asking how feral's react to it? Is this possible that it would calm her and make her more relaxed and comfortable with us?

Anyhow...I'm still going to work on building that trust with Lucky and I think she's going to have to crawl on my lap in order for me to feel I should pet her. I kept telling her when she's ready, she'll have to nudge my hand so I'll know for sure and won't miss the signal. My husband on the other hand, doesn't seem to have as much patience as I'm trying to muster and is always trying to pet her. I keep yelling at him telling him he's going to set us back if he keeps it up. I know he means well, but...ugh...sometimes I just don't know.

post #149 of 369
Thread Starter 
OMG!!!!!!!!!!!! I have been just waiting for the day that you told us you were able to pet her!!!!! I just knew you would be able to very soon!!!! I am so excited!!! I wish you were here (or I was there) to give you a huge hug right now!!! That is So cool!!!!!!

And I was actually online at the time to read it first!!! Usually I miss all the good stuff until a few days later.


This is a HUGE step!!!! I am so happy for you!!!!!! I am sure now that she knows how good it feels to be petted, it won't be long till she is wanting it all the time!!!!

The feral I had kept in a big cage when I was pregnant, trying to tame, (he was just a kitten then, and I was going to let him out as soon as I got him used to humans, so he wouldn't run off)and then had to let him out when I went to the hospital to deliver and thought I would never see him again, has been coming back around and is letting me pet him again...I think he missed it! (His name is Shadow, and he is so beautiful!...not very little anymore!)
post #150 of 369
Sandi that is GREAT!!! I'm so excited for you! It sounds like she is asking for more loves, with putting her head on your hip. That's so cute. I wouldn't wait until she gets on your lap, it may take quite a while before she feels comfortable enough to actually put her whole self on you (an in your trust as she sees it). Even though we got Ophelia as a wee kitten, she didn't get on my lap for at least 6 months. Obviously, though, you know your Lucky much better than I do so you have to do what you think she is ready for. IMO, she will let you know when you've pushed too far, and if you try to pet and she doesn't want it she'll definitely let you know. As long as you back off when she tells you, you won't set her back.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Caring for Strays and Ferals
TheCatSite.com › Forums › Feral Cats and Rescue › Caring for Strays and Ferals › Socializing a feral: The story of Lucky