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Is this a major set-back?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
A neighbor of mine has been trapping as many of the ferals in our neighborhood as she can and bringing them to work with her (she works at Treehouse foundation) to be spayed/neutered. I set up a trap to catch a particular one that we've both been worried about, and ended up catching one that she had already brought in, altered and released in September or October.
I took the cat in and I'm working on socializing. Things have been going well, the cat has a really even temperament, pretty calm, obviously a little frightened, but does not exhibit any of the "typical" feral behaviors. After only a few days, I've been able to start petting and there was even purring involved (on the cat's part, not mine), but now I think I might have caused a major set-back and possibly damaged any hope to building trust:
The cat has been hiding in a closet behind a set of shelves, since the petting has gone really well, and the cat seemed to be looking for a way around the shelves to get closer, I thought I would move them. First things started to fall. But there wasn't any huge reaction. Then I kept moving the shelves and the cat BOLTED towards the window, jumping and scratching trying to get out. I let it calm down and then left the room after a few minutes.
When I returned, the cat was hiding in a different place and seemed pull away into the corner when I came near.
Is there any hope that we can recover from this stupid mistake I made? Or will the cat never trust me after this?
post #2 of 6
First..it's great to read that you are wanting to socialize this cat....just remember that TIME is your friend. There are some really good ideas from LDG in this post that you may want to try. I wouldn't say it was a major set back...just a minor bump in the road.

post #3 of 6
This may be your first setback with this kitty, but it won't be the last. Socializing ferals is usually two steps forward, three steps back, two steps forward, one baby step forward, two steps back... It's all about building trust. You've done really great at doing that so far, but a scare like that will be a setback. It won't be the end of the trust, though. You just have to show him/her that you are the same person that they trusted a little bit earlier. Stick to the same schedule (ferals LOVE schedules!), do the same thing. Act like the shelf incident never happened. Just go along with what the cat decides is OK. You'll work back to that level of trust before you know it.
post #4 of 6
Actually, it's more like 1 step forward, 3/4 step backward, then repeat. If you stepped back further than you came forward, they would never socialize!!

As others have said, let the cat come around in his/her own time. Never make direct eye contact and if you do, slowly blink your eyes. Never tower over the cat - sit on the floor and read to it. Get a fixed feeding schedule that you can set your watch by.

You referred to this baby as "the cat" throughout your post. Is it a male or female?
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
Things have been going pretty well since the scare. There has been a lot of squinty-eye stares at me from the new hiding space, which I know is a good thing. Also, there has been more discovery around the room and looking curiously at all the objects there. I put a radio is the room, set to NPR, which hindered feeding time. I recognize that there is still a big problem with being comfortable eating around "people", even if they are only on the radio, but we're working on that.

Originally Posted by Momofmany View Post
You referred to this baby as "the cat" throughout your post. Is it a male or female?
I am not actaully sure what the gender is since this is just one of 15 or so cats my neighbor has brought into work to be spayed/neutered and tested. So I know that there is a clean bill of health, but since there are also so many orange tabbies in the colony, she's not sure which one it is. She thought that this one was the female from the litter, but then we saw another one the same night we trapped, so we're not sure. And I can't really get close enough just yet without causing a major scare, and I'm willing to wait to find out.
post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 
so I've had this feral cat in my house for a little over a month (oh, a boy by the way, we went to vet to get all sorts of shots and treated for round worms) and now i've been trying to introducing him to my cat, Nutmeg. So far there has been little interaction between the two of them, mostly hissing, a little bit of "bark-is-worse-than-their-bite" swatting, but they don't really engage one another. I've tried initiating play with them, but only Nutmeg is interested, Gatto seems too afraid to get involved with or without Nutmeg in the room.
I've tried to have them eat their meals together, but Nutmeg turns her nose up at the idea and Gatto just tries to eat both their portions. I don't know how else to initiate interaction between the two of them.
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