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help with feral characteristics

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hello there! I'm new to this forum, so if this question has been asked before, I apologize.

About a year ago, I adopted this beautiful little girl, Kairi, a semi-feral tabby. Her mother was feral and volunteers cornered their little family for shots and made sure the mom was fixed before sending her back out (I don't think they could make her comfortable around people). Her kittens were adopted out and that's how I came to find my girl.

Getting her out of her shell hasn't exactly been easy, but she tries very hard to trust people and she makes some amazing efforts. But lately she has started doing something new. Every night at bedtime, I close her and my other cat into the bedroom with me. They have access to food/water and litter box. Some nights, I will hear Kairi dragging something around on the floor. At first, I thought it was just one of her toys. But in the morning, I found that she had dragged my shirt to cover her food. She does this now about once or twice a week, and it's when the food bowl is either full or half full. If it's close to empty, she'll jump on my stomach until I wake up :P If she can't find something to cover the bowl with, she'll scratch the wall behind them.

Is this common with semi-feral cats? Is there something I can do to help her? I feel like such a horrible mom, I just don't know how she's feeling right now, so I don't know how I can help.
post #2 of 6
I'm sorry to laugh, because I know how much a pain in the butt a cat can be when you're trying to sleep.

A lot of cats - even non-ferals, try to cover their food. Many just paw in the air over it or around it - many tip their bowls over trying to "bury" their food.

Does she try to bury it? Often using a large handkerchief under the bowl will help - they paw, flip up the light weight of the handkerchief over the bowl, and that does the trick. It's also still easy to access the food. Make sure you place it on a small corner, leaving most of the handkerchief exposed so most of it is available to "bury" the food with.


Worth a try!

for adopting your baby-in-need!

post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Oh thanks! Always learning new things

I'll try the handkerchief idea tonight and see how she likes that. Thanks a ton!
post #4 of 6
If it doesn't work, hopefully we'll come up with some more ideas for you.

post #5 of 6
Feral cats tend to be nocturnal, and will hunt throughout the night. The final kill of the night is often buried; the next evening the cat will dig it up and eat it. Think of it as a "kitty fridge".

That said, I'm not sure your cat is displaying that kind of behavior. She may simply be pulling your clothes over her bowl, or she could be trying to "bury" it for her next feeding. Try just giving her water at night and feeding her in the morning and see if this continues....
post #6 of 6
I think Laurie gave you some excellent advice - I'd love to hear if that does the trick for you!

It's funny because my former feral, Ferris, doesn't do this at all.

Instead, Max, a purebred bengal, is the only one of my four that exhibit the food burying behavior.

He'll eat some kibble, then turn his back on the dish while scratching at the floor and/or the air immediately around "his" bowl.

Max likes to save his food for later.
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