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Socializing a feral: The story of Lucky - Page 3

post #61 of 369
Sandi, if you were the one who brought her to the vet and handled her then, that could be why she is a little more comfortable with hubby than you right now. Also, they are very keen to our feelings, so if you are nervous with her at night she senses that. In her mind she knows when she gets nervous she gets defensive and may attack to protect herself and she doesn't want you to do that to her. Sounds silly, but you have to try to think like a cat. (Highly recommended book by that name, BTW, "Think Like A Cat".) She may have bitten when you first caught her, but now as long as you don't push her too far (trying to pet before she is ready, etc.) and let her do things on her terms she won't. Obviously you are giving her her space, so there really isn't any reason to be nervous around her. Try to think happy, relaxing thoughts. The more relaxed you are, the more relaxed she will be.

I know how frustrating it can be when you want a kitty to love you so much and they choose another. Ophelia is definitely Daddy's girl, and sometimes it breaks my heart. But we did have a breakthrough in our relationship this weekend. She actually has given me love-fests like she does Daddy, with the prancing and rubbing. Before, she would let me pet her a little, and she loved sleeping on me but she wouldn't give me affection like she did to him. There is hope!

She may be coming up on the bed while you are sleeping and you just don't know it. My Ophelia is very light on her feet and sometimes I don't even know she's there when I'm awake, let alone asleep.

Hubby probably didn't set her back, per se. He just pushed it too far, which she told him in no uncertain terms by swatting him. She's showing him her boundaries.

With her meowing, she could be going into heat. It does show she is getting more comfortable with her environment. I'm sure she didn't make a peep the first few days, trying to hide and make you think she wasn't really there.

Keep working on her. It takes unlimited patience, but she will come around. (Wow, this turned into a really long post! Oops! )
post #62 of 369
Sandi - first of all, you guys are doing great. Second of all, I LOVE hearing about all the little details - and it doesn't sound crazy!

Heidi has given you great advice and encouragement - there's not much more I can add.

Personally, I feel that it is a GREAT sign that she swatted your hubby. She's getting comfortable with her environment and showing you her boundaries.

I've been thinking about our kittens outside - about the same age as your Lucky. If we hadn't been feeding them from 8 - 10 weeks old until now, and then we trapped them, took them to the Vet and then brought them inside - well - they're such scardy cats after knowing us for months, I think it would take some incredible patience on our part.

And about the meowing... This, I'm sure, is normal. Unfortunately, there is no way to know how long it will continue. The advice I've seen from Mary Anne (Hissy), who I presume has the most experience with ferals, is to get ear plugs. That's about all you can do, I'm sorry to say. But the good news is, she's comfortable enough to communicate! To complain, to ask to go back outside, to say "I'm scared," to say "what is happening to me?" "Why am I here?"

It may still take more time, but you two angels are going to make this happen for her!

post #63 of 369
Nope, I wasn't the one to take her to the vet - hubby was. I wanted to, but had a class. I was kind of glad as I'm sure I would've felt protective of her and been worried to the hilt.

HEAT??? Gosh, I hope she's not going into heat already. I never thought of that. Well, she's due to be spayed in another 2 weeks, but we may postpone that if she's not feeling comfortable by that time. It looks as though we may be putting it off. I'll have to check the other areas for info about heat. Our other female was spayed before she ever went into heat, so I'm not sure what we need to do about that, if anything.

So, by her meowing, that's a sign she feels comfortable? It's funny she doesn't really do it during the day or early evening, just at night (or 3 in the morning).

I was so bummed today. I had so much to do that I didn't get a chance to spend any quality time in the room with her today. I did go in to feed her and give her fresh water. I also stopped in a couple times just to peek under the bed briefly to say "hi" to her.

Also, I KNOW she's been on the bed when I've been in there sleeping - as I had woken up while she was investigating me. I guess that's why I get freaked out at that point. Maybe that's why she does come out pretty much when I'm in the room doing stuff - she knows I'm nervous and figures she has the upper hand? I know I'm sounding like a broken record (forgive me ), but I just love her so darn much already (without even holding her or anything) that I just want that reciprocated eventually.

Well, I appreciated reading the info from you Heidi and Laurie. Believe me, I don't mind the long posts as I seem to be the queen of them lately. I just need so much information. Funny how a tame cat can be so different from a feral cat, you know?

post #64 of 369
Sandi, I don't have much to say except that you guys ARE doing it right. With Ophelia, who was just a kitten, it took a good month or so for her to get the courage up to let me touch her. The best thing I did with her, though, was play with her a lot. Of course, being a kitten she was quite ready to play. :tounge2:

Do you have fishing pole type toys? That may be a good thing for a next step, since she may play with you/hubby as long as your hands aren't too close.

If she is in heat it will be a real mournful, loud cry. After all, she's trying to call every male in hearing distance! She may also wiggle around on the floor (the Sexy Kitty Wiggle Dance ) and keep her backside raised. Of course, I don't know if she would let you guys see her doing it. (The up side could be that some females seek out attention from ANYONE when they are in heat.) She probably wouldn't have much interest in playing since she is so preoccupied with mating, but you never know. There isn't anything you can do except wait it out, unfortunately. Since she is so young it would probably be a pretty short heat. They can go into heat as young as 4-6 months old, so it is a possibility, although Ophelia didn't get her first heat until she was almost two. (Bad mommy me, she still isn't spayed, but it is in the plans. I'm always ashamed to admit that.)

Gosh, I didn't mean to post much, just some words of encouragement for you, and it still turned into a long post.
post #65 of 369
I like the fishing pole toy suggestion, too. At 5 - 6 months, she should still be real playful - well, tempered by her fear and "survival mode." Our cats' favorite is one we made. We used thick elastic taped to a dowel rod. At the end is one of those play mice - sounds like the one you got for a doorknob - but the mice have something inside that rattles a little bit. Ours really prefer the ones that make some noise as opposed to the ones that don't. We just tie the elastic in a loop and knot it around the little mouse. That way they can "win" by pulling the mouse out, but when they first grab it and try to run with it, there's some give in the elastic that let's them go a bit - then they have to fight for it as it pulls them back.

You poor thing! I can't imagine having to be so patient. You know what I'm willing to bet? As soon as something "snaps" inside you, and you decide that just loving her and taking care of her is enough and you don't care if she loves you back - the next day she'll come "bump" you. Maybe it's a kind of "a watched pot never boils" kind of a thing. Who knows? You and hubby have tremendously large hearts - that's what counts!

post #66 of 369
Thread Starter 
Well I don't have much advice to add, but wanted to say you are doing a great job, Sandi!!!! I think the girls are right, her meowing is a sign she is more comfortable there, and not as afraid to let her voice be heard!! That is a good sign!!!!
post #67 of 369
Thank you ladies, so much!!!

Okay, first off, Heidi, I LOVE the long posts - they're chock full of info and I'm using as much of it as possible. Also, I've ordered that book,"Think Like a Cat". I know our other cat enjoyed the fishing pole toy way back when she was a hyper-kitty I will either go and purchase one or make one like Laurie suggested.

We do have the mouse on the elastic cord, as you stated, Laurie. And we know she plays with it A LOT as my hubby had to fix it already. We also find it on the window ledge where her perch is. Also, I believe you're accurate in saying - when I'm satisfied just feeding her and loving her from afar - that will be when the magic happens. I'm almost to that point now. Don't get me wrong - I'm still keeping my patience - but whenever it happens is okay now. I'm just SOOOO happy she is inside a warm home - it's getting really cold outside and it has been so damp and dreary the last couple days. She truly is LUCKY. :tounge2:

One thing I find absolutely amazing...Lucky seems to know that the toys we give her are hers. In other words, she hasn't bothered anything else (yet). She seems to just know which ones are her toys. She's got tennis balls - regular size and also a smaller one. She loves playing with the empty toilet paper tube - it's always in a different place each day - and I hear her during the day playing with it. She's also got several cat toys.

Debby - what can I say - you are such a great friend!!! If it wasn't for you and suggesting I join this site - who knows where little Lucky would be now?! Thank you - thank you - THANK YOU!!!

I'll let you guys know when we have anymore breakthroughs worth talking about.

post #68 of 369
Sandi, I really can imagine how hard it must be. But you're so right - Lucky is inside and cared for.

Our kitties also LOVE playing with paper bags. Every time we come home from the supermarket it's like Christmas around here! The play in, jump on it, and shred it.

And I just thought of something else. They're a little expensive, but what about a laser toy? Our kitties get frustrated with them pretty quickly because there's nothing to catch - but for that first few minutes they get lots of exercise chasing it around. I suggest this, only because you two spend nights in there with her sometimes - it might be a way to help draw her out of her shell. I don't know if it will make her scared or if it's a way to play with her. But you point that little red dot near the entrance of her hiding place and make it dance. It could make her come "out of her shell." They figure out pretty quickly that you're making the dot move and dance, and maybe it would be another way to be playful yet non-threatening with her.

Just a thought!

And I gotta say, we share your frustration! But you're just so wonderful about it DESPITE the frustration, this thread is a joy! You and hubby truly are angels.

post #69 of 369
Ding, dong, the worms are dead, the wicked worms are dead... and gone! I took a stool sample in this morning and found out that Lucky is negative for any internal parasites! Great news!:tounge2:

Tonight,she decided to stay on the bed a bit longer. I'm sorry to admit, I still get a little freaked out at times (when it seems like she's going to come 'attack' me), but try to relax myself and calm down. I layed on the floor and played with her with her feather toy. She really watches it and one time I believe her paw even moved - just a little.

I did get some books today - one seems especially good, "The Stray Cat Workbook". I just started it, but will most likely finish it in a day. I also got the "Think Like A Cat" book Heidi recommended and one other one about cat behavior. So, those should all help.

One other thing that's different. Tonight when I was opening the door to the room she's staying in, she actually stopped and looked at the door instead of scampering off underneath the bed right away. I didn't end up opening the door all the way as the dog was right by my legs and I didn't need a scene or anything freaking Lucky out. I believe Laurie stated earlier in the thread, it'll be one step forward and two steps back and that has thus far proven to be true. I'm hoping it keeps moving forward from here on, though. For both myself and Lucky. I truly believe I took that "think like a frightened kitty" to heart. Excuses, excuses. I just don't want to get bitten.

post #70 of 369

I know it doesn't seem like it, but you are doing really well with her. It just takes time....time...time...and more time. But one day, when that breakthrought occurs, you will feel like you hit the lottery. That first head-bump is magic!
post #71 of 369
Yay!!!!!! Sandi - I've been dying to ask how things have been going, but figured you've been busy or things were status quo.

She didn't run away!

YOU GUYS ARE DOING GREAT, and we will help you all we can to have the patience you need. Maybe we're moving into a new mode - three steps forward and one step back?

GO SANDI GO! GO! GO! GO! Yaaaaay Sandi!
post #72 of 369

(OK Laurie, now you've got ME cheering! And rhyming! )

Sandi you are doing great! She is getting more and more comfortable with you and her new home. She is beginning to realize that everything that moves won't hurt her. Keep doing what you're doing. If she's watching the feather, she'll be overcome with the pounce reflex soon. Just don't jump out of your skin when she all of a sudden starts playing with you!
post #73 of 369
While my hubby was supposed to be in bed sleeping - what do you think he was doing??? You guessed it - trying to engage Lucky in some play. And apparently it worked because he had to come out and tell me about it. (Which I was so happy about). He took that mouse on the elastic and was kind of bouncing it around on the side of the bed, and suddenly she just attacked it. Of course, the room was dark (except for the light from the nightlight). So, naturally, I went in there and laid down with him and we waited for our little feral gal to do her thing. She did jump up on the bed and just sat on the side of the body pillow watching us while we talked to her. Sometimes it feels like a judge sitting over there contemplating our fate or something - it's kinda funny how she just sits there and watches us. (I know she's trying to gauge whether we're able to be trusted or not). I almost thought she had a look like - hey, maybe these people aren't so bad - they play with me and feed me...hmmmmmeowwwww. See, just little stuff like that makes me so happy. Ah, well...

Question: We started to move some of the stuff from under the bed. Now, Lucky still has places to "hide" (even though if we look under - she pokes her head out - probably to see if we have a treat for her like usual). Is this wise, to move the stuff out from under there or should we move some stuff out and then maybe a week later move a little more out? I know it sounds like we have tons of stuff under there - not really just the way the boxes were positioned gave her 2 different places to hide - one where we can see her (which she does still go to - I almost believe when she wants us to see her) and one where we can't really see anything but her ears poking up - and then her face - when she pokes it out to see what we're up to.

Also - I've been reading and hearing a lot about some ferals just being plain unhappy indoors - is there a way you can tell? If they're very unhappy? I think Lucky must kind of like it inside - as she doesn't really try to paw her way out of the window anymore. (Maybe she's just waiting for a perfect opportunity to escape???). Anyhow...I'd hate for any cat to be seriously unhappy (but safety comes first) - so I was just curious.

Once again - THANK YOU ALL - so very much,
post #74 of 369
Oh, no....today Lucky hissed at me twice. She hasn't hissed at either one of us since the day she was trapped 3 weeks ago. I was going to put a treat under the bed (like I always do) and she looked right at me and hissed. Then, when I told her it was okay, I was just giving her a treat, she hissed at me again. I decided to leave well enough alone. But now I really believe it's me she doesn't care for. She's never hissed at my husband before. So...now what? I'm at my wits end. My husband thinks maybe she was just sound asleep under there and maybe I startled her or something. I don't know.

Any ideas? I'm still stuck on that fact that I'm the one who had to go out and cover the trap the day we trapped her. Of course, she had hissed at me that day - which is totally understandable. But, I'm afraid she's going to always associate me with that experience. Plus, the vet and tech that gave her the shots and all were women - so I was wondering if she may just not trust women? I know it's still early on in the game, but it is a bit of a bummer. Now I'm really going to be :chicken: - you know? Suggestions - please.

post #75 of 369
I haven't heard of ferals being unhappy indoors. I've definitely heard of people who think their cats are unhappy indoors. And many ferals are certainly unhappy at first at being indoors. And cats who have been indoor/outdoor cats for many years are definitely unhappy when first made to stay in. I don't know how long it lasts, though. After some period of time of being made to stay only indoors though, I would think the biggest problem is that they're bored.

Lazlo cried to go outside - until we took him out on a leash, he got loose and ran away. When I got him back, he didn't cry to go out again. Shelly never cried to go out.

We live in a VERY small space, so what we do to keep them from getting bored is CONSTANTLY changing their environment. They each have a bed and their own box (they love sleeping in boxes) that we don't move. Otherwise we constantly change the toys available to them in their toy box. We rotate toys. We put out paper bags in various places for a day every couple of days. Gary makes "condos" out of boxes - constantly changing the shape of the maze and where we place it. We play with them a lot. We hide treats around the house for them to find sometimes. We swap out hanging toys and where they hand frequently. We rotate the "fishing pole toys" we play with them frequently.

They love that "ball in the ring" toy - we shove different things in the ring with the ball sometimes, and they have great fun actually getting stuff out of there (because the ball is too big to get out!).

They LOVE the little plastic ring that pulls off when you open the bottle. We hide it in different places, so they have to find it first.

They both LOVE hiding under things when playing, or when playing with each other. We bought a bunch of small carpet remnants, and scattered them about the house. We often "plump" them up so there's a lump in the middle - easier for them to "dive" under.

Lazlo loves getting things out of things. I constantly tuck his toys places - inbetween the cushion and the arm of the chair. Under the small piece of carpet. Under the flap of a box. Inbetween books on the shelf - so that just a mouse-tail is sticking out.

But we have fun doing this! But it really just takes us a few minutes to provide them with hours of fun.

That kind of stuff.!

Oh - and, of course, there's always the "Cat T.V." We have a suction-cup birdfeeder attached to the window. They go into "hunt and kill" mode. They have banged their heads on the window a few times trying to get at the birds, but they LOVE watching them! (And some of the birds are into teasing them!)

...sounds to me like you guys continue to do really great. And it does sound like you've just moved into moving ahead - not even three steps forward, one step back anymore!

Oh...about the moving stuff out from under the bed. I'd probably do it slowly. Just because she's still kind of scared. Unlike our guys, whom I'm worried about being bored and who are comfortable here, I think Lucky wouldn't like much change - just yet, anyway. But I'm really not sure. That's just what I'd do.

Go Lucky Go! You're At Home! Yaaaay Lucky!

(guess I'm not good at the rhyming part!)
post #76 of 369
Oh Sandi, I was writing while you posted the next post! I'm so sorry!

I think it likely you startled her in some way. I doubt it's because you covered the trap, and I really don't know if they like or dislike "women" or "men". But that's just it - I really don't know. I guess all there is to do is to respect her wishes (you're probably getting sick of hearing this!).

Although I believe it is most likely you startled her in some way, I do think it's possible that picks up on your nervousness. I believe they're very sensitive - and they ARE smell driven, and who knows what we emit when we're nervous or scared? Not to say that's what happened this afternoon, but I think it should be considered as a possibility.
post #77 of 369
Thread Starter 
I'm sure it isn't because she doesn't like you....she may have been having an "off" day...maybe she wasn't feeling well, or like your husband said, was sleeping and was a bit startled. Please don't take it to heart, you are making such progress with her! You are doing a great job!!!!!!!!!!!
post #78 of 369
What Laurie and Debby said. Don't take it personally. You did probably startle her in her "safe place" and she didn't recognize you right then. If nothing else, take this as a good sign that she will NOT bite you! You startled her/scared her and the worst she did was hiss. I don't even want to tell you how many times Ophelia hissed and growled at me. Just go back in there like usual, and try to play with her. She's probably already forgotten about the incident this afternoon.

I wouldn't say that she won't ever like women, no matter how bad of an experience she's had with them. If she does remember the vet's and you trapping her, the worst would be that she will take a little longer to warm up to you and trust you. It can be done. If Hissy's cat (at the Rainbow Bridge now) Dunkin can come to trust Mike after the horrible abuse she suffered at the hands of a man, Lucky can overcome what happened at the vet.
post #79 of 369
Okay - I'll try very hard not to take the hissing personally. It's not easy. You know...I'm trying to read past posts (especially in the Feral section of the forum) so I get used to more of what to expect from Lucky and all. It's funny...when she hissed, she didn't put her ears back or anything...usually when my brother's cat hisses at us her ears go back (flat) and her pupils get all dilated. I didn't see any of this in Lucky - just the hissing - however, I couldn't really see her pupils as it is a tad dark under the bed and I don't like to shine the light directly on her - usually just on the treat so she sees what's coming.

Also - a strange thing. I'm wondering if she is okay. She isn't gobbling up her wet food like she usually does. It was a different flavor - so maybe she doesn't care for it as much as the others. But...after that hissing incident when I came to let you all know about it - I could hear her meowing in that room and I felt so bad. I just hope she's well. My hubby checked on her when he came home - looked under the bed and all and he seemed to think she was okay. I probably just woke her from a sound sleep. (Why me? I want her to associate me with "nice" things). I think I may give her the kitty grass I've been growing tomorrow. It's about ready and I know my other cat, Kitty (I know, real original, but it's the only name she would come to when we called her), has been waiting impatiently for the darn kitty grass to grow. She looks up at the windowsill longing for that wonderful tasting grass. I'm hoping Lucky enjoys it as much as Kitty does. I got one for each of them :tounge2:

Anyhow...no, I'm definitely not getting sick of hearing any of the repeated advice. Every bit of it has helped along the way. Sometimes it takes a while for it to sink in I guess.

Well, I'll let you all know what transpires in the next few days. We'll keep plugging away. Things can only get better, right?!

post #80 of 369
I would watch her a few days and see if the hissing stops. She could just be telling you in her feral way that she doesn't feel good right now, or she could be reacting to the change in her enviornment. I would leave what is under the bed under there for now unless you really need the stuff in your life. She has been in that place with you, she knows where everything is, is even comfortable enough with you to leap on the bed a BIG step and now her world is rocked again by you rearranging things. Taking the stuff out from under the bed will only serve to make her stay under there longer Sandi. If you can, just leave it be, and let her relax and just come out on her own.

You can also make her a planter of cat grass. Once it starts coming up, she can lay in it or play in it, whatever she likes. Since my kids go in and out at will all their grass is outside for them, but if for some reason I had to keep all these ferals inside, I would provide them with grass of their own.

Good luck Sandi and take it slow. You need to be on her timetable, not yours.
post #81 of 369
Thanks so much Mary Ann. I had just sent you a PM to ask about a few things and checked back here and you posted. We will leave the stuff under the bed the way it is. I do understand that - maybe she feels rushed. I think because she has been making such quick progress - we felt the need to help it along. We need to slow down a bit. It makes sense to me. Duly noted. Thank you!

If any of you have any suggestions on more info on ferals (books, articles, etc.) let me know. I'm currently reading the Stray Cat Handbook and it is very interesting. Some stuff I already knew (about cats in general), but our stray was definitely much different than our feral. You can tell that Kitty was handled by humans at a young age because she was very friendly when she wandered into our lives. That's why Lucky has thrown us for a bit of a loop. It's so very different than any of the other felines that have lived with us before.

Also, I finally got a chance to read the story of Samoa (aka/Osama) and was so touched by the whole thing. The tears were streaming down my face...just unbelievable. You ladies are anything but loony. If having such a large, caring heart is loony - I'm ready to join the group!!! It also gave me more determination when it comes to feral cats. Lucky doesn't know it yet, but she truly deserves that name. I don't know how to express how thankful I am to have found such wonderful and knowledgable people. I thank Debby for directing me to this site - you are a lifesaver. It is truly helping us with Lucky! Knowledge is the key! And I'm trying to learn as much as I can about ferals. You are all giving us advice you've used through your experiences with ferals and that's exactly what we need to know.

post #82 of 369

You asked if I remembered my first feral. I do, and it was many years and over 500 ferals ago. There were actually two of them, just kittens. I spotted them one night outside my kitchen window out in a field across the way a bit. They were just tiny specks in the distance, hard to distinguish exactly what they were. When I finally saw they were kittens I went outside with some food and as I approached, they scattered. I lugged a rock out from behind a tree, and used that as a plate for their food. I began to feed them every day three times a day at scheduled times. Sundance was an orange male and Cassidy was a female. The big movie box office hit at the time was Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, so that is how they got their names. I left water and food for them as they looked like they had just left mom not to recently. Never did see another cat around them, so chances were good that mom was dead.

When the rains started, I piled a bunch of rocks together and made them a makeshift cave to sleep in and get out of the wet. Over time, and I know you want to know how long- but honestly, I cannot remember, it was months though. I gradually moved their food rock closer and closer to my kitchen window. When I got them so close I could reach my arm out the window to touch them. I removed the screen from the window and started leaving it open so they could come inside. I put dishes of tasty food on the counter at night, and when I woke up in the mornings the food was always gone.

One day I came home to find both of them exploring the house. I closed the window trapping them inside and thinking "Ah ha now I have two wonderful kitties!" LOL I couldn't of been more wrong! The minute they saw their escape hatch was gone, Cassidy scrambled up the wall and vanished into the rafters and Sundancer slid under the stereo table. We lived uneasily like that for weeks. They would only come out late at night, and not being litterbox trained, they left their piles everywhere. It was a real learning experience for all of us.

Eventually, they came to trust me, though Cass lived up in those rafters so long I was afraid she was going to grow wings and fly off. But with patience and love, they learned they were in a good place and I finally just learned to ignore them, but to see to their creature comforts. It was hard to do, because I wanted lap kitties, but once I started to pretend they were not around- and by that I mean stopped actively looking for them, or trying to coax them out, they relaxed and finally came to me. They were the best kitties after that and they lived a long time in great comfort and helped me with the others that came after them. A real baptism of fire that time was. I made a lot of mistakes and learned from them. They were great teachers.
post #83 of 369

Thank you for that wonderful experience (of your first ferals). You can't know how much that helped me. I've decided I'm going to do just what you mentioned - ignore Lucky and not go looking under the bed anymore and wait for her to eventually learn to trust me. I knew she might never become a lap kitty and I already have one of those anyhow. I truly believe that having Lucky now has brought me closer to our older cat - I can't explain why. She was always partial to my husband (just like Lucky seems to be), but lately Kitty has been my little shadow and wants me to brush her and pet her and just plain love her all the time. It's wonderful!!! We've always gotten along, don't get me wrong, but it seems now I'm more appealing to her than my husband (who kind of rough-houses with the animals - which they love when they're young). I think maybe my older girl (17 now) needs the quieter one on one attention that I give her. I also respect her heirarchy (sp?) and always feed her before the dog, pet her first in the morning, etc. because she was here first and deserves that respect even though she's older now.

I am hoping that Lucky eventually at least starts to accept me a bit more (as I'm sure she will), but it seems like the husband has won this feral cat's heart over already. That's okay - he's a great guy, especially with cats! But sometimes I do get a little bit envious of the bond he seems to be able to create with the cats.

Ah, well, stories of past cats belong in a different section of this site, so I'll close this out now, before I start rambling about my very first cat.

No new accomplishments with Miss Lucky, but we're going to back off a bit and let her come to us - we somehow got a bit antsy and have to calm down for her sake. I'll definitely keep all of you wonderful cat lovers posted, though.

post #84 of 369
Have you seen this site yet?

Amby's Feral Cat Page
post #85 of 369
Thanks Mary Ann,

Looks like I won't be going to bed early tonight - I'll be reading all the info on that site. :tounge2: Don't know why I never thought to use the search engine for "feral cats". I guess it would've been too easy to do that

Thank you so much,
post #86 of 369
Tonight I put the cat grass at the end of the bed on the floor and then sat a few feet away doing this and that. Then, when it looked like it was a bust (after a couple hours), I was going to pick up the cat grass and leave the room for a bit. When I attempted to pick up the container, I heard a hiss from under the bed. I didn't realize Lucky had been so close (as I DO NOT look under the bed anymore). So, I left it there and turned off the overhead light and turned on a dimmer light - went back and sat down. A few minutes (if even) later, here comes Lucky to check out the grass. She ate some and then s-l-o-w-l-y sniffed around at her food dish and some of her toys. Then, she looked at me (while my heart was ready to pound right out of my chest) and proceeds to use her litterbox and afterwards jump up on the bed to get to the window perch. I decided to sing to the radio since I couldn't seem to calm myself down (and Heidi said to think happy thoughts). I figured my off-key singing couldn't make matters worse - and it did manage to get my heart rate back to normal. About 15 minutes later, Lucky jumped off her perch to the bed, to the floor and she sauntered back to munch a little more grass and then it was back to the underworld of the bed.

Later on, when my hubby went in to go to bed, I went in to rub his back and Miss Lucky sat on the very corner of the bed watching. Now, I never heard her jump up and was astonished she'd come up. I didn't panic or anything, just went back to what I was doing. The reason this is a breakthrough is...she's usually okay when we're laying down, but here I was, sitting on top of hubby's butt and rubbing his back. She was so close, I could've touched her (which I did not). Then, when she jumped off the bed at her own accord, she walked over to the other corner of the bed (on the floor). She just sat there watching us. I am stunned. Maybe she's a bit more comfortable??? I'm doing the ignoring thing as much as possible. Someday - be it months from now or whatever, she'll be ready to come right up to us. I've told my hubby under no uncertain terms is he to touch her until she's ready. So, now that we've both got the rules straight...we'll see what happens. I still don't like that I'm the only one she's hissed at, but I do understand it was because I got too close (twice knowing better, and this last time having no idea how close she was to the end of the bed).

Just thought you'd all like to hear the good stuff (as well as the bad) that's progressing with our little feral. She does look like she's growing a little bit as well.

post #87 of 369

You are doing good. Ignoring is good and it is working. Hissing is her defence mechansim and who knows, perhaps you have a scent about you she doesn't like for some reason? You have to understand that cats, just like people have a private space around them and if you venture to close, they react.

You saw the pictures of the kittens I just posted in the Lounge. If I had a dime for everytime they both had hissed at us when they were babies, I would be able to buy a car! And we had them from their birth- but mom was and is feral and she taught them well. They don't hiss anymore either unless they are truly scared.
post #88 of 369
Thread Starter 
Sandi...I so enjoy checking this thread to see how things are going with little Lucky!!!!!!

Don't thank me for steering you here...I have done nothing to help you...I don't have much experience in this area, or any real good advice... I just knew if you came here, you would get some great advice from Hissy and others who have been through this....but thanks for thanking me anyway!

I am so thrilled to hear Lucky sat on the edge of the bed while you were giving hubby his backrub! That has got to show she is getting more used to you!!!!! I just can't wait for the day I come here and see that she has let you touch her...even if only briefly!!!!

Keep doing what you are doing....the advice Hissy is giving you is the best you can ever get!!!! She has so much experience with ferals!!!!! Everyone should have a heart as golden as hers!

Did you read the story of her Dunkin? It is one I will never forget.
post #89 of 369
Sandi - you are making a LOT of progress!
post #90 of 369
Ignoring her is working! As you know, I'm new to cats - it's just that what experience I've had with cats is all feral cats. But I've noticed that our indoor kitties always come bump up against me - they do to Gary some times, but he always wants to love on them, so he's always trying to pick them up, give them kisses (I know, what a terrible cat-hater ). They find it annoying. I only pet them when they come to me - and as a result, I get most of the attention.

I remember someone posting somewhere that they'd given up on their cat becoming a lap kitty, but they just wanted it to even play with them or something. The advice given was to ignore that cat for two or three days. Come in from work, go about your business. Don't even look for the cat. Just put its food down as usual and otherwise completely ignore it. It worked like a charm. By day three, kitty wanted not just to play, but wanted love!

It appears to be working for you, too! And I agree, don't worry about the hissing. Our outdoor kitties hiss at us a lot if we reach out to them, but they also come up for pets pretty frequently. It's just that we can't reach out for them, they have to come up for it. It's like Hissy said - it works best when you do it on their terms.

So the hissing shouldn't be interpreted as dislike. Think of it as being at an ATM machine, and the person behind you steps up too close - and you pause to turn your head. That's what Lucky's doing. She's not saying "I don't like you!" - she's saying, "hey, I need that space!"

But she clearly isn't as frightened as she was! She's starting to come out of her shell, and it seems like while she still wants her space, she's beginning to believe you're not out to hurt her!

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