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Can't pick her up?!

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I have three 13-mo-old litter mates who were born feral. They came to my yard at approx. 6-8 weeks old. Since then, I've had great success taming them. They all come to me when called, all love to be pet, and my two neutered males love to be held and cuddled. However, my spayed female, Faylene, will not let me pick her up. Each time I gently try, she always slips away - purring the entire time (as she does in any situation)! Will she always hold onto this feralness? Any tricks to gain her confidence to pick her up, or is she a cat who just doesn't want to be held?! Another one of her silly traits - she does not meow!! They only time she has ever talked to me is when we trapped her to take her in for spay/shots (a "why are you doing this" voice). Any advice or answers? Thanks!
post #2 of 14
Don't take it personally that she doesn't like to be picked up. Cats are like people and have different personalities. Some people like to be touched and hugged and others don't. My cat was only 6 weeks old when we found him. He will climb in bed and sleep on my husband's chest, but does NOT like to be picked up. He's almost 3 now, so I don't expect that to change. Sounds like you have done a wonderful thing.
post #3 of 14
Some cats just don't like to be held. The only one of my adult cats I've ever had who liked to be held is Gypsy, my now 6 year old former feral. She'll jump up into my lap, purr, make biscuits and drool.

Gracie, who was found stray but not feral, at 6 weeks, will snuggle next to me all night in bed, but hates being picked up or held. Sheba, who was adopted from a shelter at 6 months, treated us as her peers. She'd sit next to us, but didn't like being picked up or held. Dotti, technically my mom's cat, who we had since she was 6 weeks until she died at 18, would squeeze along side you if you were in her favorite chair, but didn't like laps. My first "my cat" (previous ones were family pets and indoor/outdoor pets), Rambo, would shred you to bits if you tried to pick him up. But he'd stand up like a meerkat for shoulder skritchies.

They all have their different threshholds and different ways of showing affection.
post #4 of 14
I second what has already been said - some cats just don't like to be picked up! None of our ferals are too keen on it (we have three sibling kittens). Conor (our girl) will tolerate it if the husband does it, but only for a limited time. I am trying to get them all used to being picked up in case we have to do it sometime (by just gently lifting them off the ground occasionally to build up the trust), but for now, we are content with them just not being those sorts of cats!

As for the mewing thing - from what I have been told by my vet (I asked him about this as our cats were very, very quite for a while there), a lot of feral cats are not taught vocal communication by their mothers because it is one of those things that could potentially attract predators. Our cats are much more talkative now, but even so, only Conor mews (and only rarely) - the other two just grumble a lot. That being said, my husband had a cat when he was growing up who didn't mew - funny, since his brother had the biggest voice ever. But again, it just depends on the cats! Maybe yours will never be really vocal. But don't worry - all this is in the realm of normalcy!
post #5 of 14
Every cat is different. She just may not like that.
Seldon likes to be held if you are moving. If you stop. Out of your arms he goes.
Cleo will tolerate being held if you are kissing him on his head.
Mary likes to be held.
All three are loving in their own way.
She may be a sit beside you cat.
post #6 of 14
My former feral Gypsy has the softest voice I've ever heard on a cat. A lot of the times when she meows, her mouth opens and you hear no sound. It's so cute!

If she's in a really good mood, or wants food, she goes through this series of high pitched mrrrtbrow, meep, meep, meep sounds like Beeker from the Muppet Show.
post #7 of 14
I've got two adopted cats - both picked up as strays, and we're guessing neither were feral. My girl cannot stand being picked up, has never once sat in my lap in over two years, yet sleeps with me, follows me from room to room, and gives me kisses - and she's quite a talker.

My boy always cuddles, sits on my lap, and I can pick him up - yet he rarely talks.

Cats just like to weird us out! But your babies sounds wonderful!
post #8 of 14
Some cats are just not "up kitties."

We can pick up Punkin, but he doesn't like it. However, he DOES purr the whole time!
post #9 of 14
Two of my cats are lap cats but like four feet firmly on the ground, my ragdoll does not sit on your knee but I can pick her up okay, I guess they are just all different.
post #10 of 14
I rescued a feral cat last year and she doesn't like to be picked up either. However, I pick her up everyday and drive her crazy. Over time, she got more comfortable with being picked up. She's okay with it but for a limited amount of time. When she's ready to be put down, she'll let me know by kicking her paws.
post #11 of 14
Not that I am an expert, but I have had a ton of experience with cats. Feral cats have me on their radar and I have taken care of them from the ages of 3 weeks to 20 years old.
I was once told that if you find a feral cat and handle them before they are 8 weeks old, you can tame them and they will love you. If they are older than that, they will learn to respect and tolorate, but most will never be cuddly. I disagreed and spent my life proving this to be wrong. However, I have noticed some common traits.
Males will usually take to cuddling and being picked up, while females don't enjoy it as much. I had a pair of siblings, came to me about 6 wks old, male would knock me out to curl under my chin. female would only come to me and rarely cuddled. when she did it was only till i looked at her and then she took off. I spent 14 years earning her trust and she started cuddling with me at the age of 12, until she died. The male was way more vocal and she rarely made a noise.
People have favorite breeds, mine is feral. I love the challenge and luckily my hubby's bark is worse than his bite when a new one shows up. Daily interaction and socialization is key to these cats. Mylar balls, crazy rings are wonderful tools to taming. They love to fetch the balls and will smack the ball to me if I smack it back to them. Good luck and I promise you that when you tame a feral once, you will be hooked for life.
post #12 of 14
How sweet kat, I am so glad there are people like you in the world.
I rescued my kittens because I knew they would become feral if not rescued. I am also glad to know that you have had success after the age of 8 weeks.
post #13 of 14
Ferals are so rewarding. We took our kittens in when they were about 12-14 weeks, and bucking the 8-week 'rule' they are cuddly, affectionate little things. Steve is the only one who is still hesitant, but Conor (our sole girl) and Paddington are cuddly, vocal, playful, affectionate little things. All the hard work at the beginning is totally worth it to see Conor curled up next to my husband as they both take an afternoon nap.

Everyone who takes in ferals is amazing, in my book!
post #14 of 14
I have to admit that there is something about the challenge of getting affection from a feral cat. Dogs are so easy in comparison lol. I have always been partial to the "heinz 57" breed and it always seems that the best traits of each of their mix breeding comes out. Ferals are hard, but its the hard that makes it great.
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