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2 cats that love each other, but not me

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
I adopted 2 beautiful black cats 6 months ago when they were 7 months old (litter mates) that are extremely affectionate to each other, but see me as nothing more than a servant. Feed them, clean the litter box, but don't come near them. Taking a step towards them brings flight or hisses. They will come close to mooch when I am eating, but always just outside of arms reach. Occasionally, they will sit under my computer desk and "cuddle up" to my foot, but if my hand appears or if they see my face, they look for escape. It is particularly disheartening when I visit a friend with a cat the same age as mine and the cat will immediately shower me with attention whenever I visit. Any advise out there? I work from home and can spend considerable time with them. Thanks in advance!!
post #2 of 9
Sounds to me like the difference is you might have two feral kitties. May I ask where you go these kitties from? Then we can go from there.
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
I got the cats from the shelter at my local PetsMart. They told me that the cats had been there for a month and before that they were taken from the backyard of one of their volunteer handlers. I was told they are a bit "feral" and by taking two of them, they would adjust to domestication and "come around" very quickly like within a month or two. BTW, both cats have been fixed and have all their shots. They still have their claws as well. Thanks for your interest!
post #4 of 9
What an angel you are to take the time with these two babies. Many people would have just returned them and I'm glad to see you are willing to work with them. Hissy is our resident expert on ferals. She has worked with over 500 of them, socializing and placing most of them into good homes. Some of us have limited experience with them, but she is the goddess of ferals.

A thread that should be very helpful to you is in the Feral Colonies Forum, called "A Friend Needs Help..." Sandi captured and brought in a feral about the same age as your two, and has been working on socializing her. There is a TON of good advice about socializing and working with ferals that should be of great help to you.

It's not that they see you as their servant. Their mother cat probably taught them well that humans are not to be trusted. One other thing to consider, as sad as it is, they may have been treated badly by humans before coming to the foster's home, and your home. Black kittens and cats are favorite targets for cat-haters, hooligans and abusers. Also, if the foster wasn't trained in socializing ferals, you are probably the first human who has really tried to gain their trust. It does take time and patience, and obviously you have given them both. That's why I already said, you are an angel for these two kittens.
post #5 of 9
I am interested in finding out how things re going! Updates?
post #6 of 9
thats what i was thinking. sounds like they might have been abused.
post #7 of 9
I'm Sandi, the gal who took in Lucky, the feral cat about a month ago. I totally understand your feelings. I felt the same way until I started asking for advice from the people on this site. I've come to understand that Lucky doesn't hate me, it's just that she's terrified. She was totally feral and never handled by a human hand so this is all new to her. I go in the room where we're keeping her (a bedroom) and read to her for hours at a time - it doesn't matter what I read or say to her - I just wanted her to get used to my voice - as well as my presence. She just recently started to come out from under the bed while I'm in the room and is becoming quite brave, but still hasn't taken the plunge to sniff my hands. She did sniff my knee last night, but looked at my hands and wasn't quite sure about that yet. Every little step is an accomplishment - which puts such joy into my heart. BUT I do know how you feel. I was taking it so personally that she hated me, but it's just going to take some time.

If you have some spare time go to the Feral Colonies section of the site and look at the thread - "A friend needs help..." and that may give you a little pick me up. There's plenty of great advice and it seems to be working out well for us. Give it a little time and they'll come around.

I'm pulling for you - you are an

post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
I really appreciate the kind words of advice from my fellow cat lovers. Here is an update:

The boy is definitely the boldest of the two. A couple times during the course of a week, I will find him creeping about my bed while I am sleeping. This is great! But of course, once I make any movement from me and he runs for the hills! At breakfast he will rub against my legs as I prepare his meal. Throughout the day he may come up to me for a hand out (he loves BBQ ribs!!!) He will still run from me if I ever reach out for him and I find I must avoid eye contact if I ever want to enter the same room he is in so he will not run away.

The girl is considerably more skittish. She gets very nervous with any eye contact and any step towards her results in flight. She likes to hide all day and all night long. The only time she comes near me is at breakfast time. Occassionally, she will touch the back of my legs with her nose and then step away. Now, she is very affectionate with her brother. They chase each other, wrestle each other, and cuddle each other which is extremely cute to watch.

So, should I concentrate on the boy more at the moment to show the girl that I am not a threat? Should I block up the girl's hidding places? Any thoughts?
post #9 of 9
Hey there-

Please don't block up the hidey holes. If you do that it will take your forever to gain her trust. One thing that might help is look at the world from their point of view. Outside, where they are used to being, momcat could easily carry them away where she could easily get away from prey, or bad humans. They could go anywhere, because usually a feral is smart enough to hide in an area where there are escape routes and not someplace where they will be trapped easily. They had mom and siblings, and life was hard but it was good. They were learning to get along. Mom was teaching them to hunt and good potty manners.

Then one day, enters a pair of human feet. Clompy shoes, loud noises- (even if trappers whisper, cats have acute hearing). A trap was probably set down, tempting food put inside of it- (such as what you are feeding them now triggers memories). Mom gets trapped (I am guessing here) first. She goes ballistic, starts screaming, wets herself, freaks her kitties out. Kitties are grabbed, stuffed into a carrier than a moving vehicle, taken away with mom. Pretty soon mom is gone- siblings are in other cages and the family and world has been shattered.

Now from her hiding place, she sees the same kind of "feet" (again her perspective) she smells the same type of food, she is not in a cage in your way of thinking, but in hers she is. She is trapped and she is panicked. She has no way of knowing if this is a "safe" place or not. YOU know it is, and your friends here know it is, but this kitty has had her world rocked now several times and she will not appreciate it if you block off her hidey holes.

I always tell the people who I help to reset your timer inside. You are thinking wonderful lap kitty thoughts and that may very well happen, but it will not happen overnight. The minute you stop expecting her to behave in the way that "normal domesticated kitties" behave, is the day you truly understand that she is a feral. If you work on her timetable, and not yours, and don't expect anything out of her except to eat the food and use the litter boxes (you should have three boxes for these babies) then that is when the magic starts to happen and she will start to relax and come around more often.

On the catsite's homepage under care is an article called Handling Feral Cats. Maybe, if you haven't found it already you could read it and try some of the suggestions there.

Good luck with both of them. I have eleven ferals right now, some come in the house, but they all pretty much scatter when something scares them (like the other day, the sparkletts cooler gurgled and several of my cats sleeping on the window ledge leaped straight up about 5 feet and bolted out the cat door! It is a feral response, they have two options- fight what scares them or flight. Usually the only ones who stay to fight are the ones who were neutered to late in life, or have not been neutered at all. Most of them will choose to flee- it is a safer response for them.

One of our members- Air Princess has two cats that she got when they were fairly wild. To this day, if something scares them, they run away. AP loves those two babies and she does nothing but nice kind wonderful things for them. But they still flee- it is their defense.

Good luck!
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