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Ferris goes FERAL and gets INTIMIDATING!

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
So last night I am playing with the kitties after getting home from work. I decided to play with Da Bird, which they all love.

Normally they are cooperative, and every kitty gets some time with getting to play with it, but last night was very different.

Ferris has been getting better and better at catching Da Bird in mid-air in his mouth, and last night he was spot-on, catching it almost immediately.

His little routine is normally to catch it, start growling at me and the other kits as he tries to back out of the room with his "prey." Then he'll let go because he realizes that I'm not letting him budge, and the whole time I'm talking to him (and giggling) telling him he doesn't get to keep it and he needs to let the others play, too.

But last night, he caught it in his mouth right away, and stayed put, growling up a storm, flattening his ears back, his pupils huge pools of black, his tail swishing madly back and forth, back and forth. He absolutely refused to let go, and growled louder if I came near him - I was actually a little tiny bit scared of him!

Knowing he was feral born, and seeing this instinct come out in him made me a little bit afraid that he might lash out at me, so I wisely kept my distance.

Unsure how to handle this without causing him to attack, I lowered the point of the wand to the floor so that the string went slack. That seemed to be what he wanted, because THAT is when he started to back out of the room with the feathers in his mouth, and then we reverted to what normally happens, and I was able to get it away from him.

Thing is, I got Da Bird first and foremost to play with the bengals with, to get them leaping and jumping and burning off that ton of energy they have - yet here is little (well, ok, HUGE) Ferris going all crazy territorial over the feathers!

So the rest of the time playing, I actually played more "keep-away" with Ferris than I normally would, and as long as another cat had "custody" of the feathers, he was ok - would watch, but wasn't getting cazy.

This was the first time I ever saw Ferris become truly aggressive, and it really WAS intimidating to me! I gave him lots of praise and told him what a big scary lion he is, and later on last night he came in for a cuddle, his personality back to the sweet, gentle lovebug that he is.

So from now on, I really have to watch how we play!

Does anyone else have a former feral that exhibits this type of play aggression? Anything I should be watching out for, specifically? I don't want playtime to turn into something dangerous for any of them!
post #2 of 15
You were wise. Ophelia does a similar thing. I once (unwisely) tried to get it from her. I had 3 stitches.

What I do is toss another toy near her to startle her so she drops Da Bird. Otherwise she goes into full on attack mode. Might not work for Ferris, Ophelia is flighty in a different way-because she can't hear.
post #3 of 15
YES!

Kit was born feral, and we took him in pretty early (7wks), but he does that exact sort of thing. It's hard to predict which sort of toys will trigger that response in him, and it's really sort of "trial and error," so to speak.

The first time he did it, I did the same thing Nat did and tried to take it from him. Well, I was successful, but came away pretty bloody.

I've since learned that if I ignore him, shut the door, and let him "play it out," he'll eventually drop it and find something better (and less aggressive!) to do. It's mellowed a bit as he's gotten older, but it does happen occasionally. If he does it again, I'd just get the other kits somewhere else if you think it might turn ugly, and ignore him til he tires of it.
post #4 of 15
My Levi tends to try to run away growling with Da'Bird, or other toys he really likes, but never anything agressive. The truth is that part of what makes cats wonderful is their natural instincts, but it gets scarry when they turn them on us.
post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kaete View Post
YES!

Kit was born feral, and we took him in pretty early (7wks), but he does that exact sort of thing. It's hard to predict which sort of toys will trigger that response in him, and it's really sort of "trial and error," so to speak.

The first time he did it, I did the same thing Nat did and tried to take it from him. Well, I was successful, but came away pretty bloody.

I've since learned that if I ignore him, shut the door, and let him "play it out," he'll eventually drop it and find something better (and less aggressive!) to do. It's mellowed a bit as he's gotten older, but it does happen occasionally. If he does it again, I'd just get the other kits somewhere else if you think it might turn ugly, and ignore him til he tires of it.
I adopted Ferris at about 12 weeks old, so pretty close.

Problem is, we had JUST started to play, and while Ferris was standing his ground and getting all mean, I had two bengals looking up at me and chirping, "Eh, eh, eh, eh?"

I have a small place and can't close doors without Ferris getting panicky, so when we play, we ALL have to play. And I can't NOT play with the bengals just because of one greeeeedy little boy!

Tossing another toy to distract him sounds like a good idea - I'll try that next time, see how it works.

I actually gave Feris a chewed up, half destroyed feather refill so he could "claim" his prey, so what did he do? Took it HAPPILY, ran off growling with it, hid it somewhere, then came back for more!
post #6 of 15
That type of response is exactly why Frankie doesn't get toys with rabit fur. She's like a wild woman with them. The first time I was in the basement and could hear her growling through the ceiling/floor as she was on the ground level. I don't think Frankie was feral born... just stray born and I hand raised her so it was such an unusual response.
post #7 of 15
Sonic gets growly with anything furry, we can't leave furry toys lying around, he eats the fur off them too which has resulted in some interesting hairballs

He usually gives up with the growling once he realises that no-one (ie Radar) is actually trying to steal the toy, and starts playing with it normally - so I think it's just a bit of a 'that's mine' reaction to having something 'new' or particularly exciting, which probably could be solved if we were able to leave them lying around without him swallowing clumps of them

Also well he's an Ori, and they do have something to say about most situations, and growling is just a part of his wide vocabulary - when he's growling he doesn't tend to display any aggressive body language, it's just him vocalising his thoughts, same as when he's yowling, howling, waaaing, and oooing his way through the day

To get to the point (finally! I hear you sigh!), I find distracting him with something else that doesn't cause the same reaction is a good way to retrieve the toy in question. Usually I leave him to it, because once the novelty has worn off he stops growling and starts playing with it, and usually then lets Radar have a go - but that's not going to possible with the eyes of 2 young Bengals fixed on the prize!!!

ETA: Sonic of course has never been feral, he is just a spoilt little man!
post #8 of 15
yup Zoey can at times... I got her at about 9 months
post #9 of 15
"xcuse, but I'm kinda new here. You have a pic of Sonic. Is that my imagination, but he looks like a combination of a cat (the ears) and a little pig. Anyway, he's adorable. Tell him that, will you? I send all your kids, pink heartlight.
post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by allat View Post
"xcuse, but I'm kinda new here. You have a pic of Sonic. Is that my imagination, but he looks like a combination of a cat (the ears) and a little pig. Anyway, he's adorable. Tell him that, will you? I send all your kids, pink heartlight.
Are you addressing me or Epona? I don't think Sonic comes anywhere near looking like a pig - he looks like a cat!
post #11 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by allat View Post
"xcuse, but I'm kinda new here. You have a pic of Sonic. Is that my imagination, but he looks like a combination of a cat (the ears) and a little pig. Anyway, he's adorable. Tell him that, will you? I send all your kids, pink heartlight.

I think he is an oriental shorthair (correct me if I'm wrong) and so has a bit of a different head shape than the average cat that you're probably used to seeing.

Anyways, my Milo is feral born and I've seen him "turn it on", never towards me, but a few times towards other cats that snuck into our backyard and he saw them. He puffed out to about double his normal size, and made the craziest vocalizations I've ever heard!

It was kinda neat, seeing that side of him.
post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kiwi Kat View Post
Anyways, my Milo is feral born and I've seen him "turn it on", never towards me, but a few times towards other cats that snuck into our backyard and he saw them. He puffed out to about double his normal size, and made the craziest vocalizations I've ever heard!

It was kinda neat, seeing that side of him.
It does command a bit of respect, though, doesn't it?

I did tell Ferris what a glorious little lion he was.
post #13 of 15
All of mine are feral born. Some of mine do exactly what you are describing with Ferris. The one that does it the worst (Koko) was orphaned at 10 days old and is the least feral, so I wouldn't attribute the behavior to being born feral.

When Koko does this, I tell her "good girl" in a very positive happy voice and scritch her head. It relaxes her enough to allow me to extract it from her mouth. I have to watch that she doesn't reach out her arm to grab it back as I extract it, but otherwise, it goes pretty smoothly.
post #14 of 15
Forrest was feral till he was 12 weeks old. He's almost 9 months now and is such a good and sweet boy EXCEPT.....when he gets catnip. OMG, he never reacted this way until a week or so ago. He becomes a total feral little beast aggressively attacking anything that moves. My husband says that when Forrest has nip he acts like a belligerent drunk.

Lilly likes to eat a little catnip everyday so we leave it out. But now I think my little boy may have a "nip" abuse issue.
post #15 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by allat View Post
"xcuse, but I'm kinda new here. You have a pic of Sonic. Is that my imagination, but he looks like a combination of a cat (the ears) and a little pig. Anyway, he's adorable. Tell him that, will you? I send all your kids, pink heartlight.
Hello! Sonic is the blue one on the left, he's an Oriental Shorthair, and Radar is the black and white one on the right, he's a Cornish Rex x Moggy cross. They are both quite unusual looking cats!
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