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Two Feral Fo sters need advice

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
So I got two new fosters yesterday. Firefly is a torbie and Beetle is a red tabby and white. Firefly is IMO totaly feral. She flies at the side of her cage to attack me. Beetle has let me touch him threw the cage and even enjoyed some ear scratches from me.

Back story on these guys. They were trapped along with 10 other kittens for TNR. They turned out to be FIV+ and they thought Firefly might have FIP but she is fine now. So they deemed not realeasable. Normally they would have euthenized right away but Beetle saved them both by acting sweet to the vet. So he called the foster cordinator and asked if we could possibly spare them. She called me.

So they are 5 month old littermates. Very healthy now and very cute. They were trapped about 3 weeks ago and have been boarded at the vets since then. I wasnt sure wether I could take them at first.

I need any advice that can be given. My only experience with ferals were 7 week old kittens and they tamed down really easily. I think mainly because there mom was friendly towards me. I also had some semi ferals fosters that pretty much just tamed down from exposure to people.

I think Beetle will be easy but I need any tips that you give me for Firefly. Thanks!
post #2 of 12
hurray for Beetle!!! Some cats are just friendlier. My former feral Scott was over 7 years old when I decided to tame him (there were rats in our garage & I needed an experienced mouser). It took almost 4 months before he stopped attacking my legs (I had to wear Sorel boots & padded flannel shirts in the summer) but almost overnight became tamed after that. It was a true miracle that he tamed down; his TNR record from 2000 documented him as vicious and aggressive to humans back then. Hissy and Eilcon had really good suggestions such as not making direct eye contact so that the kitties don't perceive you as a predator; doing non threatening behaviors nearby such as reading & listening to soothing music in their vicinity can help soften them up. Beetle hopefully will be a good example and lead the way You can also try a Feliway diffuser. And maybe try using a teaser toy for Beetle to enjoy with you; what kitten can resist a teaser
Sending tons and tons of speedy taming prayers and vibes out to you & your group.
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
I did take out the kitty teaser but Firefly had a fit and started attacking Beetle so I didnt continue with that. Right now they are in a x-large dog crate with tons of toys. Beetle is playing every time I go in there and I think Firefly is playing too but not once she hears the door open. They are really cute little guys. I dont mind if they dont tame down they can just stay here forever. LOL
post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
Heres a pic of them at the house I picked them up from. They were at a vet a couple hours away so they spent the night at a different foster home friday and saturday night. I picked them up yesterday.

post #5 of 12
Beetle is almost the spittin' image of our Dax, The Stray Who Came In From The Cold. Firefly has that "look" about her - just like my older females, very aloof compared to the males; why is that Maybe you could take the crate into a very small room, such as the bathroom, and let Beetle out for pets & play time...just a thought.
post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
Yeah she's definatly aloof. She didnt hiss at me when I fed them this afternoon. Ive decided Im just going to feed her canned from a spoon. That how I gained Calamity's trust. Firefly definatly wants nothing to do with me. But she does seem to be relaxing. Beetle is actually purring and rubbing on the cage. Though he doesnt purr when I actually pet him he doesnt seem to mind to much. He just acts a little scared.

I did try to let Beetle out but he wouldnt come out and got very scared. So I think its to soon for that.

Firefly didnt attack the teaser the last time I tried to play with Beetle. But she didnt play with it. She looked very interested though.
post #7 of 12
They'll first need a bit of time to adjust. For now, I'd sit outside the cage & talk to them. Just slowly, soothing. Try not to make any fast movements. Let me see you put food out for them. Eventually, they will relax even slightly around you. Then you can start to try to pet them.
post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
Beetle is very relaxed with me. Firefly isnt but she is better.
post #9 of 12
What a sweetheart you are for taking in these kitties to foster!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm going to post some links to other threads and an article on socializing ferals, all of which I hope you will find helpful.

The most important thing at first is to just give them time. Let them get used to you, the new surroundings, the new sounds. The idea is to let them learn that you don't want anything from them, and you are there to care for their needs. Play, love - all that will come with time. And their time, not yours!

Also, keeping a regular schedule for when you feed them, clean litterboxes, and just spend time in the room with them will REALLY help. Also, if they're in crates in a separate room, knocking gently on the door before you open it will help them not be scared or surprised when you enter.

To help them come to associate you with good things, get two t-shirts or something you're willing to give up really good and sweaty, and put them under each kitty's food dish.

The more time you can spend around them - not interacting with them, just reading, reading out loud, singing, sewing, working on the laptop, ironing, folding laundry - whatever you do - just to get them used to a human's presence will help. It's all about building trust.

Anyway, here are some links that might be helpful:



....and if you've got the time, this is full of all kinds of info - but it's long!


Hope this helps!

post #10 of 12
In my experience with ferals, the males seem to trust easier than the females. Orange boys seem to be more laid back, too.

Your kitties are just adorable and you are a sweetheart to be taking such good care of them.
post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 
Just a little update on Firefly and Beetle. They are doing awesome. They dont like being picked up but both will come up to me and let me pet them!
post #12 of 12
Originally Posted by Fostermomm View Post
Just a little update on Firefly and Beetle. They are doing awesome. They dont like being picked up but both will come up to me and let me pet them!
Awwwwwwww, great news You are awesome for taking care of them
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