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Poor Mr. Mush

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
I work at a shelter and we're always getting in wild/feral cats. After some time at the shelter and getting used to people, most become wonderful cats and find great homes. Some take longer than others, but they usually come around. I've seen some pretty bad cases, where I've thought there's no home for a certain cat, but I've even seen them come around and become great companions.

Now my question is, we've recently taken in a feral kitten about 6 months old named Mr. Mush by one of the volunteers. He is located in the lobby in a cat condo. We put the most scared kitties up front as they become socialized and used to people faster. Sounds cruel but actually works. We have signs on their cages that say "look but don't touch... I'm very scared." This has worked very well. But Mr. Mush is one of the worst cases I've ever seen. We can pet him, but he just hunches in the farthest corner of his condo and practically withdraws from his body until it's over. If we walk by and act like we're going to open his cage, he hisses and spits and just puts up a fight. I have not attempted to pick him up, but they were telling me that when he came it, he was just throwing himself against the side in order to try and escape. Poor little guy. We're currently looking for a foster home for him.

I've tried everything that has worked in the past, but nothing seems to be working for Mr. Mush. He needs to learn that it's okay to trust and be petted, but he's just so far gone. I'm worried they're thinking of putting him down. I'd take him if I could but I cannot. Any advice?
post #2 of 19
try when going in to pet him, give him treats. even if you have to buy them yourself, its worth it so he knows that touch and you being near is a GOOD thing, and not to be afriad.

talk to him soothingly when near, and no sudden movements.

thats all i can think of right now. Good Luck with the lil guy!!!
post #3 of 19
I hope you find him a home....... and I hope it is a permanent home...... He will bond with his foster mother and it would be so hard to move him after that...

It needs to be a patient person up to a challenge.....
post #4 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by Liza24 View Post
try when going in to pet him, give him treats. even if you have to buy them yourself, its worth it so he knows that touch and you being near is a GOOD thing, and not to be afriad.

talk to him soothingly when near, and no sudden movements.

thats all i can think of right now. Good Luck with the lil guy!!!


I'd also suggest that Mr. Mush may soften up better by not being in the middle of the activity since he is such a hard feral. It sounds like he needs more individual attention at a slower pace and hopefully is placed with someone used to dealing with ferals where he will not have to leave, like Jenn said.

In my experience, most hard ferals will eventually accept one or two humans in their life, with their trust really only placed with one person. Mr. Mush just needs that one person to step up and help him learn to accept love.
post #5 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by TickyTat View Post
I work at a shelter and we're always getting in wild/feral cats. After some time at the shelter and getting used to people, most become wonderful cats and find great homes. Some take longer than others, but they usually come around. I've seen some pretty bad cases, where I've thought there's no home for a certain cat, but I've even seen them come around and become great companions.

Now my question is, we've recently taken in a feral kitten about 6 months old named Mr. Mush by one of the volunteers. He is located in the lobby in a cat condo. We put the most scared kitties up front as they become socialized and used to people faster. Sounds cruel but actually works. We have signs on their cages that say "look but don't touch... I'm very scared." This has worked very well. But Mr. Mush is one of the worst cases I've ever seen. We can pet him, but he just hunches in the farthest corner of his condo and practically withdraws from his body until it's over. If we walk by and act like we're going to open his cage, he hisses and spits and just puts up a fight. I have not attempted to pick him up, but they were telling me that when he came it, he was just throwing himself against the side in order to try and escape. Poor little guy. We're currently looking for a foster home for him.

I've tried everything that has worked in the past, but nothing seems to be working for Mr. Mush. He needs to learn that it's okay to trust and be petted, but he's just so far gone. I'm worried they're thinking of putting him down. I'd take him if I could but I cannot. Any advice?
TickyTat, I adopted my last cat from a major pet store that routinely takes animals from a local shelter and puts them on display in hopes of giving them more exposure and therefore a better chance of finding a home. I am not against this. However, one day I visited such a pet store just to buy fish food and couldn't help but notice a particular cat that was being displayed right up front. She looked terrified and desperate. I can't explain it, but I just knew she was "feral". I left the store, but came back later and "adopted" her. I just recognized something about her due to my previous experiences before with feral cats. To make a long story short, the cat really was feral and extremely aggressive. If a family with children had adopted this cat, I hate to think of what could have happened. I was right. She injured me quite severely in the beginning. Now, she is fine, but still never a cat you'd want around young children.
post #6 of 19
I would give him an upside down box with a hole cut into it so he can huddle in there inside his condo. I know it is counter productive but it sounds like he is indeed more scared and so his socialization should be more gradual. That is standard at many shelters for initial intake, especially scaredy kitties. And it is recommended by the HSUS.

Talk soothingly to him without making any motion to touch him or engage in any way. Do it every day a few times a day. Don't make eye contact or anything like that. And let him hide under the box.

If it were me I'd look for a foster home that might take him and keep him. My hubby and I did that for a kitten who was especially scared. We knew she would never love people as much as other cats. She has gotten used to us but she is calmest around our other kitties.
post #7 of 19
Thread Starter 
I was just sent an adoption update from the shelter crew and Mr. Mush has found a home! A very nice single lady who is familiar with feral cats has decided to adopt him and work with him. We told her it would be a challenge and she knows that and is totally up for it. Cross your fingers for Mr. Mush! Hopefully he will learn to trust and will bond with her. Yay! I love success stories!
post #8 of 19
Congrats to Mr. Mush and cudo's to the woman that adopted him.
Thanks for posting the pic, he is a very handsome cat!
post #9 of 19
Yah! I love happy beginnings! Positive thoughts for his new life.
post #10 of 19
That is SUCH good news! I was really worried when you described him that way. I am so glad to hear he has a good home!
post #11 of 19
Yea!!! That is wonderfull news!!!

And he is georgeous.......... And you can see that feral look in his eye... He is hunched back and scared. Thank god for kind people.......

I hope she updates you on his progress so you can keep posting on his progress.......

You can also give her this site address so she can get suggestions if she need it and we could see him blossom before our eyes....... She might not know about TCS....

Jenn
post #12 of 19
Thread Starter 
UPDATE ON MR. MUSH:

Well, It didn't work out with his adopter. He had his own room, but wouldn't stop hurling himself at the window or around the room, and wanted NOTHING to do with her. They gave it a go for a few days but I guess they couldn't handle him. It makes me so sad. So, he's currently back at the shelter in his own, quiet room and we're exploring options for him. I'll let you know what they decide, but I know don't think they're considering euthanasia for him... yet.
post #13 of 19
It seems to me that poor Mr. Mush needs a cage wherever he goes to help in his adjustment. Perhaps the room was too big of space and I've had more than one feral cat throw themselves against a window trying to escape if they got loose from me in first house introductions. Not unusual at all.

Any chance the unsucessful adopter would be willing to try it again with a cage like he is used to at the shelter?
post #14 of 19
Thread Starter 
They had a cage, and even when they managed to get him into it, he was flinging himself against the side of the cage. He was beginning to hurt himself. We'll see what happens. It's very depressing.
post #15 of 19
Thread Starter 
Well, he was adopted out again tonight, along with another cat who is extremely shy but not nearly as feral has Mr. Mush. Here we go again... and this time I won't get my hopes up too much. He's just too sweet and I'd hate to see him euthanized because he's deemed "unadoptable." Again, let's cross our fingers for Mr. Mush!
post #16 of 19
I am so glad he got adopted again but I might add.......... all the change will add to his confusion. I sure hope they give it more than a few days. I have had my feral for over a year and I am just now petting him.

Patience is the key...

I have my fingers crossed it works out for Mr Mush......
post #17 of 19
Thread Starter 
Yeah, I certainly hope this person has more patience. The other person was experienced in ferals but some come around faster than others. I totally understand what it takes to get a feral to trust you, and believe me, it does not happen overnight. I'd take him in a heartbeat if I was allowed more than one cat in my apartment. I may be giving her a call and giving her some advice and encouragement. Again, I'll keep you posted on this great little guy.
post #18 of 19
Sending hugs and prayers from Mississippi for Mr. Mush, I do hope that everything works out for him.

He sounds like he is just very scared.
post #19 of 19
I'm so sorry to hear about Mr. Mush!! Based on what you said happened with his first home, in the new home he should be confined to a very small dark area at first, increasing his space minutely over time, as trust is built and as he can tolerate it. Ideally it should be a bathroom with a night light or a very small darkened room (blinds closed) with soft music and an open closet where he can burrow.

I know this will make it harder to get him to come out over time, but if he was scared to the point of injuring himself, then this is a cat who will only adjust on his own terms.

It is good he is going with another kitty to help him along his way. I think that will make it easier for him. If kitty #2 adjusts faster, then kitty #2 can still spend time between Mr. Mush's hidey-home and the rest of the house. I have a kitty who does this when I am fostering cats. We let her in to spend time with them and it helps them to adjust. I hope this will work for Mr. Mush.

I am rooting for Mr. Mush. Thanks for keeping us posted! I do hope his new parents are understanding. He will really need it.
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