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post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
My feral I have had for 6 mos is still very leery of me. I often wonder if she gets lonely for other cats, and would getting a tame cat or kitten help to socialize her. I want her to be happy, plus I want one cat that I can pick up and cuddle. What do you think? This is my first experience with trying to tame a feral cat. Thanks
post #2 of 12
I think that you will get lots of ideas here....
read the sticky threads at the top of the Forum.
You can also use the "search" tool in this thread tool bar.
Try using different key words that describe your issue.
That will bring up different threads about socializing ferals.
I have no doubt that in time, your kitty will learn to trust you and you will share a wonderful bond together.
post #3 of 12
I think this is a good idea. A friendly homecat is often/usually a good help in socialising and fostering of shy ferals/semiferals.

Ensure the tame cat IS friendly and social to other cats. Shehe coming new may see the old semiferal as competitor for the revire... Shy semiferals usually dont compete with homecats, are submissive for them. But here it is the semiferal who lives here... It MAY be complications.
Try with a friendly, cat-social, neutered male. The risk for competition is smallest here. Besides, such cats are also often the mostly cuddle-friendly ones.

You can also try with a Feliway diffuser! Cant do any harm, but may be precisely what the doctor prescribed.

Good luck!
post #4 of 12
My completely tame Shin-Shin was a tremendous help when I was first trying to get Apple (my feral rescue) to trust me (Shin-Shin is so friendly that I even let her sit with baby chinchillas when I have to hand-feed them). First she sat with him constantly and gave him attention, but my real plan was based on the theory that a cat can't see another cat get something too many times without wanting it themselves, even if they don't really want it. =P

After a few months of watching Shin-Shin get treats and pettings Apple eventually had to have some, even though I'm pretty sure they horrified him at first.

Now, that being said... I've had Apple over a year and he still lives under the bed. These things take time.
post #5 of 12
Welcome to TCS and thank you for rescuing this kitty!!!!

How old your feral is will affect the amount of time it takes for her to trust. Her background with people will also affect the amount of time it takes for her to trust. If people threw things at her, kicked her, squirted things at her - whatever - that is affecting her.

The most important thing in building trust is time, plain and simple. For an older feral (meaning a feral that was rescued that was older than maybe 4 months), six months is not a long time.

I don't know what things you've done to help her learn that you want nothing from her, but that is the first and most important lesson. Don't reach after her, don't chase after her, don't force anything. Just being around - ignoring her - is really the best thing to do.

After that, knowing that cats learn by association can really help. Helping her to associate you with good things can help turn the corner. If you haven't already, get a t-shirt really sweaty. Leave treats out on it for her. Get another t-shirt really sweaty - leave it under her food dish.

As to a pal? It is so hard to know in advance how the resident kitty is going to respond. We now know that Lazlo (our first rescue) would have been perfectly happy to be an only cat. He's a good big brother to the rest of the crew, and bringing in new kitties wasn't too traumatic for him. But for our Spooky, it takes her at least six months to adjust to new additions. She hisses, spits, bats at new kitties.

If you want another kitty to have and to cuddle (remember - there are NO guarantees that any kitty is going to be cuddly!), it would be best to get a neutered male that is younger than your current kitty.

DO keep them separated for some time - there's no actual rule, but a few days to a month. It depends upon the reaction of your feral girl. Again - let her get used to the idea that she'll be sharing her territory. Swap smells - rub new kitty with a towel, and put treats out on it for her. Do the same thing with her for him. Get a catnip toy - if he's a young kitten, the "catnip" thing may not be activated yet - but if it is, he'll rub and drool all over it. Then give it to her to play with. (Remember - don't leave catnip toys out, the kitties get "immune" to them. Pick them up at the next morning, and don't put them out again for a week or so). Again, do this with her for him.

Getting them to associate each other's smells with good things will help smooth the actual meeting. And if her hidey places are in your bedroom, unfortunately that will not be a good room to separate him in.

We had to keep Ming Loy in a separate room when we brought her home. It broke our hearts not to have her in our bedroom, but it was everyone's safe space. We'd wake up in the middle of the night and go to check on her. She was always sleeping squeezed underneath a blanket chest we had in there, and it would take her a few minutes to wiggle out. So we'd open the door and say "Where's Ming Loy?" Turns out - she came to answer to "Where's Ming Loy?" and not "Ming Loy." For a while there she thought her name was "Where's Ming Loy." Silly little girl.

BTW - we ended up leaving the door open and putting up a child gate. Our other ferals were scared enough they didn't jump into the room. That worked for two days until she figured out she could climb over it. So we put one on top of the other, and that worked. And it let them smell each other and get used to seeing each other before we let her out. Some people go so far as to put up a screen door. That works really well if you're willing to do it.

Here are a few links you may find helpful:

On socializing:

On introducing a new kitty:

...and remember - we're here for any questions along the way.

post #6 of 12
Your above post should be a sticky thread in this forum Laurie.
post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thank you all so much for the great advice. A companion for Mariah kind of showed up on my door. An acquaintance of mine, had a 3 mo. old kitten that someone had abandoned. The kitten took to hanging on her window and crying to get in every night. She has two cats and tried to ignore its cries but in the end she let it in. She had been feeding the kitten on her porch for awhile but I guess it was lonely (poor little thing) Anyway, I now have that kitten and Mariah seems to really enjoy having her around. They run around the apartment having cat parties when they think I'm sleeping. It does my heart good to see the formerly hissing and spitting Mariah running around and playing with that kitten like she doesn't have a care in the world
I will continue to work on gaining her trust; I am so glad I decided not to release her because in the last two weeks most of the feral cats in my neighbourhood have disappeared Once again thank you all so much. It is beyond comprehension how people can treat these little beings like they little more than garbage when they ask so little and give us so much.
post #8 of 12
Maybe that little kitten is just what Mariah needed.

You have a big heart to take in these 2 innocent sweeties.
Keep us posted and when you name the new one...
please share it with us.

Sending trust vibes to Mariah & the little kitten & big hugs to you.
post #9 of 12
Originally Posted by helpferal View Post
It is beyond comprehension how people can treat these little beings like they little more than garbage when they ask so little and give us so much.

I'm glad things are working out.
post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
I have named my new little orphan "Marley". She is just a little sweetheart. She is very attached to my tough girl, Mariah. Mariah sleeps up inside my boxspring and Marley just hangs out below her on the rug. My grandson is visiting. He is 4 yrs old and mildly autistic. He presently has a comfort thing going with string. He carries two shoe laces around with him. Anyway, Marley decided that his comfort laces were pretty cool, and decided to grab one when he walked by dragging them on the rug. She ran off with this shoelace, with my, usually withdrawn, grandson in hot pursuit saying, "no, no!!!..." to Marley. It was very cute. He did get his lace back but this didn't stop her from trying again. It's amazing how well animals can communicate with small children. For the first time since I have had her Mariah sat in the doorway of my bedroom and cleaned herself and laid down there for awhile even though she knew I was awake and had the light on...Yaaayyy!! She's progressing.
post #11 of 12
It is lovely to read about a happy situation - thank you for taking Marley in!
post #12 of 12
That's fabulous! Cute story about Marley and your grandson.
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