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Socializing a feral: The story of Lucky - Page 6

post #151 of 369
Boy - every time I'm gone from TCS for more than a day, I miss something! What a good thing to miss though -wait a sec - that didn't sound right! I guess I just mean YAY! Your hearts must have leapt for joy.

Shelly only recently started laying on Gary - and not on his lap. Gar stretches out his legs and sets them on the couch. Shelly jumps up on the arm of his chair, walks around the back (Curling his tail around Gary's head as he walks around - it's so cute!), comes down the other arm of the chair - and then steps down onto his lap and starts to walk across his legs. Gary is also one of those impatient males - and one day just pushed Shelly down on his legs and started petting him. He purred up a storm - and didn't run away. Now, on occassion, Shelly does it on his own.

Sometime last week Lazlo started walking across my lap. He does come up and bump my legs for pets. And when he's sleeping next to me on his sheepskin or in his tube, I'll reach over (or in) and pet him. He looks like he smiles - and starts purring. But he's never been on my lap. But - like I said - just last week he started walking across it. And occasionally he'll lie down next to me on the corner of the couch. The most touching thing, for me, was when he was sick. Once he started getting better - but wasn't all better, he wanted pets almost constantly. It made me feel so good that he wanted to be near me.

Oh, Sandi, little by little, right? I'm so happy for you!

And Jeanie - you're so right. Despite their walnut sized brains, they're amazing creatures, so full of soul and personality. And the size of their hearts more than makes up for the size of their brains!!!!!!

post #152 of 369
Sandi, This is so great! Maybe she's saving the lap sitting for a Christmas surprise! You've made wonderful progress. I'm sure you're overjoyed.
post #153 of 369
Not last night but the night before (let's see, that would've been Sunday night, right?) Lucky laid right up against me - she also licked my leg (I had pajama's on). I don't know if she was grooming me or what. I wondered what the heck she was up to and she just started licking my pants leg. Then, she looked up at me - stretched out against my hip and side and went to sleep. She actually must've fallen asleep as when she woke up a bit later, she seemed kind of startled. No hissing, but just like a little jerk. Then, I had my arm stretched out and she went over to my hand and sniffed it and laid down there. She didn't actually bump it, so I didn't pet her. I thought Hissy is right, Lucky could be testing me and I want her to trust me completely - so I'm backing off a bit. Just knowing she's going to be a fairly sweet cat someday soon is good enough for me.

Unfortunately with the holidays around the corner, I wasn't able to spend as much time as I'd have liked to with her yesterday, but hubby went in and spent lots of time with her. I still go in for an hour in the daytime and and hour to an hour and a half to play and stuff, but yesterday I only got to go in for about an hour.

Well, I'll be in touch again soon,
post #154 of 369

And you thought it would only happen when pigs fly!

Don't yell at hubby for trying to pet Lucky. Sometimes the men break through the trust barrier before us women do.
post #155 of 369
Mary Anne - it IS the weirdest thing. Gary doesn't play by ANY of the "rules." His theory is that HE's the alpha cat, and he'll get them all in line. Go figure. We have friendly bumping love starved human friendly feral cats outside, and Munchkin kneading with all four paws her first hour inside. (Gary's theory on this is that they don't perceive him as a human, because he knows he's just an animal. :tounge2: )

post #156 of 369
Just to let you all know...tonight Lucky wanted to be petted on the head and behind her ears. She absolutely seems to LOVE it. And boy, does she have a purring mechanism in that little body of hers. She does the funniest thing...when she wants us to pet her, first she'll roll around a bit and then get real close to your hand. Then, we just started petting her (one at a time, of course). I don't know who was more thrilled, me or Lucky! Later on, when my hubby was petting her - she turned and LIGHTLY put her teeth on his thumb as if to gently let him know - that's enough now. She always cranes her neck around and looks at me and then does that rolling around thing (maybe to get closer or something???) and then she'll turn her head the other way and that's my cue to start the petting. Yep, I'm pretty darn happy!

She still does hiss from time to time, though. I guess that will go away in time.

That's it for now. I guess the next hurdle will be when to introduce her to our other furry friends. Yikes! I'm sure that will be a while yet. You'll all know as I'm going to be asking for suggestions when that time comes. We're thinking about putting up that latticework type door so they can sniff each other and there will be a barrier so nobody gets hurt.

post #157 of 369

I'm so happy for you and Lucky! I knew it was close, I just knew it, but to hear you say that she WANTED pets and PURRED so big....well, it put a big smile on my face. You and hubby have done everything right by this little furry angel, and she will show you her love and appreciation 10 fold for her entire life.

Really, you just made my night. I was just about to sign off for the night when I saw that you posted and after the last post I KNEW it had to something spectacular. And it WAS!!!
post #158 of 369
Merry Christmas Early Sandi!!!!!!!!!!!!Outstanding!!!

Laurie- I don't know if there are any rules. I just have a routine I follow that I share that works everytime. As with everything, there are also those blessed shortcuts!
post #159 of 369
Sandi, That is GRRRRRRRRRRRRRREAT! I'm so happy for you. Give her an extra pet from me.
post #160 of 369
Will do Jeanie! Thanks for the tree, Hissy! I couldn't believe she'd allow us to pet her head, neck and ears already. I must admit, I did flinch occasionally when she'd whip her head around to double check who was touching her, but it was like she'd try to guide me where to pet her. I do believe those nights while in there watching TV when she'd lay right up against me and look up at me - she was getting impatient and wondering why I wasn't petting her. Hindsight is 20/20, right? Also, when she was rolling around toward me on the bed last night - my hubby was telling me to pet her - and I was telling him, when she was ready, she'd let me know. Well, she was almost in my lap and he was so funny because hubby was like,"pretty soon she'll be in your lap, if that's what you're waiting for". Too funny!

Happy Holidays to all of you!


PS - each and every one of you who've posted or pm'd me can pat yourselves on the back and consider yourselves HUGGED! You all had a part in getting us to this point with Lucky! I appreciate each and every one of you! VERY MUCH!
post #161 of 369
Sandi, I LOVE hearing the stories, so keep 'em coming!

And I think the lattice work or screen door is a great idea. You guys are so terrific - it's so wonderful and heartwarming. Thank you Thank you Thank you!!!!

post #162 of 369
I cannot believe what is happening in our household. Lucky is addicted to being petted. For each minute we're in that room, she wants to be petted almost constantly. I am not complaining - I'm just stunned! What a transformation. Don't get me wrong, she will still hiss occasionally - and sometimes she'll just open her mouth like she's going to hiss when we first enter the room, but sometimes you don't hear any hissing noise coming out. She also enjoys testing my hubby by biting him (very lightly & only once in a great while) and he'll say "no" and she looks up at him and then just rubs against him to be petted again. She came right up to my face and was sniffing my nose and my eyelid (as obviously my eye had to be closed) - then I got licks on my face and hands. Then, she'll roll over so her back is touching my chest and purr away. She really has a loud motor, too. And she's SOOOOO Soft!!!

I'm in heaven! I had to share! There is no way I can express all the joy I am feeling! It's amazing!

post #163 of 369
And see you never thought it would happen!!!

One thing about the biting, a big no-no even it is a little soft bite. When she goes to bite, stop petting her as you are over-stimulating her. Remove your hand from anywhere around her until she settles down then resume petting her!

post #164 of 369
You got yourself a love bug!!!! Wait until she has free roam of the home - you may never be left alone again!!!


You guys are soooo terrific!!!!!

post #165 of 369
I can't even imagine how happy you must be! What a happy Christmas for you. If Lucky wasn't named, you could call her Noel! I envy you your absolute joy! And here's a hug back to you! You have given us all so much happiness by sharing this experience.
post #166 of 369
Thread Starter 
I am so happy for you!!! What a great Christmas present this is!!!! *HUGS* You have done such a wonderful job with her!
post #167 of 369
Hissy, that's exactly what we've been doing when she goes to bite and it's funny, I must really be learning something from this site and all the reading I'm doing because that's exactly what I told hubby - about being overstimulated - and we have to stop petting as soon as she goes to bite. He said he thought she was testing us to see how far she can go. Silly little girl. You're right, I was getting worried that she'd never come around, you were right on that account too.

Laurie, I am so excited for the day Lucky can have free roam, but a little anxious as well, not knowing what it's like to have a youngster around. I'm looking forward to that day, though.

Jeanie G., I'm so happy to be able to share this whole experience with all of you and am so glad that you enjoyed hearing about it. Sometimes I was a bit worried I might be boring everyone with the same old fears and worries, but you've all been such a great help to us! Hugs back at you!!!:tounge2:

Debby, You got the ball rolling for me and as I stated above, without all of the encouragement from all of you at this site - we wouldn't have been able to accomplish what we have so quickly (even though sometimes it seemed like it was taking forever).

I'm very happy to report all is well in our little corner of the world and I'm wishing the same for you and all the kitties you share your lives with. I will keep you all posted on Lucky's progress!

post #168 of 369
Gosh I keep missing all the good stuff! Sandi, you've got a little lover on your hands! You will never again have a free moment without little Lucky being all over you. Which is certainly a good thing.

We kept telling you that the breakthrough would happen, and it certainly has. You've never bored us with your worries and fears. In fact, I have been looking to this forum everyday since you started your quest with Lucky to see how you and she were doing!

HUGS!!! I'm so glad it has turned out this way.
post #169 of 369
Sandi, I just started to read your post. I'm so happy things with Lucky are going so well! I have a feral named Sarah. She was born on the streets to a tame mother who was very friendly. I would feed her every night and Sarah would just stand there and wait till I backed off. Every night I would talk to her. It was a slow process, but after a few weeks she finally let me pet her. She disappeared for a while. I wished I had grabbed her when I had the chance. She showed up at my door one day, soaked to the bone,thin, and scraggly. I picked her up and took her in (with a lot of resistance). She would always hiss at me.She liked to hide under a dresser.I would put my hand under it try to pet her. She would hiss and spit.But I found her weakness though. She loved to have her belly rubbed. Which is really odd because cats don't normally like thier bellies touched. They won't even expose thier bellies if they don't trust you. Instead of trying to pet her head I would put my hand on her belly and started to stroke it, she would flop over and start to roll around.I've had Sarah for over a year now. She loves to be petted and loved. She will lay on me while I'm sleeping. She likes to sit on my lap and be petted.Just patience and love is all she needs. I'm glad you have shared your story. There are alot of things that I've learned from all the discussions in this post. Thank you again!
post #170 of 369
Hugs to you too, Heidi!

And Nenners, I'm so glad you joined in on the discussion. Sounds like exactly the same things your Sarah was doing Lucky was doing as well. It also sounds like the same experience with the rolling around business. Although Lucky doesn't really seem to like her belly rubbed (it happened on accident and she let us know - there is no way she wants that). Hey, how were we to know? She kept rolling on her back to expose her tummy - what else would you think she wanted? I know our other cat doesn't like her belly rubbed either - she'll tolerate her chest being scratched from time to time, but not the belly. Ah, these cute little lovable creatures. Whatever would we do without them? I'm so glad you learned from this post as well as myself. I learned so much!!! It's amazing how different a feral cat is from a tame cat. It's worth the patience and effort though - just like everyone kept telling me. If I ever get the opportunity to do it again - I wouldn't hesitate, but would be so much better informed and know what to expect.

Have a great day!
post #171 of 369

Well, I wasn't sure if I should start a new thread or not, since it's a continuation of Lucky's story.

Anyhow...we've had a new...ah, development??? We installed a screen door (very sturdy) on Lucky's bedroom door so that the dog and our other cat can sit on one side and Lucky can sit on the other (HA!) and they can get acquainted. Well, last night, poor Kitty went on the outside of the screen door to peer in while hubby and me were with Lucky watching TV on the bed. I told my husband that Kitty was looking in - and smart little Lucky must've understood because no sooner did I say that and she was off the bed and checking out the door (from the foot of the bed). Now, I knew there'd be hissing and growling since I've had this experience with "tame" cats in the past when they were introduced, but this was something else. Kitty didn't hiss or make any sound except at one point after being growled at and hissed at by Lucky - Kitty made this pathetic sounding meooooow as if her feelings were hurt that this new addition wasn't accepting her. Then, and I've NEVER actually heard a cat spit before, Lucky made this really high pitched growl, hissed again which ended in a type of spit/hack sound and away she ran under the bed. (Also, her tail was puffed up to three times it's size - I know to make her look bigger, but I couldn't tell if the hair on her back was up or if her back was arched or not from where I was sitting). Well, I must say, my hubby and I were on the bed in absolute shock. Neither one of us wanted to get off the bed too soon. Kitty just walked away from the outside of the door and I wanted to go to her as she is, afterall, our old girl who's been with us forever. After a few minutes, I did leave the room after first attempting to coax Lucky out from underneath the bed with a feather toy. Oh, I also forget to mention the smell after that spit or whatever it was that she did before taking refuge under the bed. It was a pretty unpleasant odor, but didn't last real long. Gosh...I'm thinking Lady Lucky may be living in that bedroom until there are no other pets in the house. That will be quite awhile.

I know it's going to take a long time - especially since Lucky is a feral and used to defending her territory. Do you think she'll ever come around with our other animals? I sure hope so. We want to be one big happy family after all.

Suggestions please??? (See, I told you it wouldn't be long and I'd need your help again... )

Thanks in advance,
post #172 of 369

This is the first time they have met right? It is a perfectly normal reaction. It will probably happen again in the future, and if it does, just leave Lucky alone if she retreats under the bed. That is her safe spot and she will not want to be bothered while she is down there assimilating what has happened. Trying to entice her out with a feather, is really a wasted effort. Once she calms down, she will come out of her own.

Do the towel trick,(where you take one towel and rub down one kitty then rub the other and keep doing that over a period of days) the switched bedding, let the two cats get so used to co-mingled scents that it won't bother them at all after awhile to smell each other. Take a long piece of string and run it under the door. Tie a toy on each side of the string and let the two cats discover the pull toy and play with each other that way.

you just introduced two new things into Lucky's enviornment, the door and the other animals. Lucky will smell both the animals before they even approach, and it is in her genetic code to protect her territory-that is all she was doing. Give it time!
post #173 of 369
Thread Starter 
Wow, Hissy! That is such great advice!!! Sandi I am sure it is going to take time, but I am certain they will eventually be more friendly towards each other...I don't have any good advice to add, but I think Hissy's advice is wonderful and maybe some of the others will have some good suggestions for you too! I have never had to deal with this myself, since Merlin is my only indoor cat and the outdoor cats all get along great.
post #174 of 369
Yes, it is wonderful advice, Hissy. Thank you very much!

It was the first time they'd met. I will definitely leave her be when she goes under the bed next time. The one thing that throws me is - when Lucky has seen the dog at the door, she doesn't do anything but look (from a safe distance). No hissing or anything like that. Strange. Kevin thought maybe it was because of our dogs size that Lucky might feel intimidated. I'm not sure that's the case, but who knows? I've done the towel thing, but am curious as to how often should I be rubbing each cat down? Every day? Several times a day? Lucky didn't seem to be bothered by the towel when we put it on the bed.

Tonight, I fed Lucky a couple treats from my hand. It was so sweet. I held the treat between my thumb and first finger and she smelled the treat, licked it and then ever so gently took it from me.

There haven't been any more encounters at the door. We did notice Lucky doesn't come out as much during the day with the new door on since the Kitty/Lucky meeting. I'm sure that will just take some time for her to get used to it and to feel safe.

Thanks for the great advice and I'll (as always) be keeping all of you informed on the progress.

Happy Holidays,
post #175 of 369
Sandi, people who have experience with dogs and cats together will know better than I, but I can speculate! We have two types of cats. The two inside who never encountered a dog, and don't even turn an earn when one is barking on the television, and little Munchkin, who, along with the other outside cats, was terrorized by a dog late in the summer. She runs to hide when she hears a dog barking on TV.

I think the dog doesn't pose a threat to her territory like a cat does because it is a different species. If she never encountered a dog, she doesn't know what it is, and whether or not it is a threat.

Our kitties sit and stare at strangers who visit. And it's weird - they can sit there for hours, staring unwaveringly. It's kind of un-nerving to the guest! It sounds like that's what she's doing with your dog. My guess is she'd never encountered a dog before.

But like I said, people with experience with cats and dogs will know better!!

This is so exciting Sandi - the next step! Little by little, right?

Merry almost Christmas!!

post #176 of 369
You know...I was wondering, too, if maybe because our dog was out on and off in the backyard (we have to let her out to do her thing ) if maybe Lucky is just used to seeing her since she was living behind the garage before she decided to come live with us. Hard to say I suppose. At any rate, we're willing (once again) to practice patience (why does it have to be so hard sometimes ) until all the furry creatures decide to accept one another. It'll all be well worth it in the long run.

Merry Christmas Eve to all and Happiest of Christmases & New Years!


PS - I wonder how long do cats teeth take to come in. I had read in a previous post that by 6 months they should have all their teeth in. Lucky seems to be chewing voraciously mainly towards the back of her mouth. We thought maybe she was teething. Any ideas?
post #177 of 369
Sandi, Lucky should have all of her second teeth by 4 1/2 to 5 months. Here's a link that might be helpful:

post #178 of 369
Our kids lost their baby teeth between 5 and 5 1/2 months. They definitely teethed! We used hissy's suggestion of straws. Scattered them all over the house and kept them on hand. (We used the bendy straws - they were more fun to play with!) It worked like a charm.

post #179 of 369
You mean the regular sized straws? That doesn't hurt them? I mean, Lucky is chewing (not to make this comparison, but) like a dog would. In fact, we didn't have this much chewing when our lab (which are total chewers) was growing up. It's nuts. I wondered if they made some sort of chew toy for cats. We should've called her Chewy. Her teeth look nice and white but it's too soon for me to go pulling her mouth back to look.

I'm telling you guys, she's getting sweeter by the day. Not going to well with the meeting of our other pets, though; she doesn't come out much from under the bed when the screen door is the only door shut, unless we're in there, then she'll come out on the bed, but as soon as someone or something approaches, she's off the bed and hiding. I know it'll take some time. I just am so worried that she's going to get bored with being in one room. She has the window to look out of which she does in the wee hours. Last night she took some papers and was chewing on them. It wasn't anything important - I think hubby had a bumper sticker or something on the headboard - along with one of those heavier paper recipe cards that come in the mail sometimes. I took them out now and really took a look around. There's this rubber like toy (kind of like Gumby is made of), but it's a giraffe - and she was very sneaky tonight while I was in there. She went into the cubby hole on the headboard and grabbed the thing by the tail and dragged it out onto the bed. I took it away as I didn't think it would be safe and she got angry with me. If you could've seen the look on her face - it was like "what do you think you're doing?" Too funny. Then, off the bed she went and laid down on the floor. She got over it pretty fast. I never yell at her - just say "no" sometimes - in a normal voice, but it's like she understands. I'm soooo glad we have her. I read that post about that lady in Ontario with that stray kitten and wished I lived nearer so I could help that unfortunate feline as well. It would be fantastic if we could help all the needy cats, wouldn't it?

More later,
post #180 of 369
Sandi, It takes time, but you're doing so well- even though you took her "Gumby toy away, you meanie! I feel sure that with gradual(but continued opportunity) exposure to the other animals, she'll come around. I agree with you. It hurts so badly to know that there are thousands of neglected strays and ferals that we don't even know about.
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