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Advice Needed! Feral Cat Coming Inside?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I've been feeding a little longhaired tortoiseshell gal for a couple years now. She lives in a shelter I built for her on my patio, and she knows me. She isn't strictly feral, but she won't let me touch her. I can get really close, but not quite. She'll come in my door, if I don't pay much attention, and she's wandered around my living room. My landlady tells me she's been around the area for almost a decade!
Here's where I need the advice. I have two middle-aged gentleman cats. I really want to take in this little girl, as she seems open to taming. It's also very cold out right now, and I worry about her. How do I best go about bringing her to the vet for tests if I can't touch her? Or, since she seems to be getting by, should I even bring her in at all?
Has anyone else done this? I'm hoping not to trap her, if I can help it. I don't want to lose the ground I've gained with her, trust-wise.
Also, has anyone tried to do this and found it didn't work out?
post #2 of 8
All of the cats that I've lived with for the last 15 years were ferals that I've brought inside. Most were very young and the adjustment was easy. For those that came in at an older age (6 months to 2 years), the adjustment did take a little bit longer, and one of those still goes in and out. In all of those years, there was only 1 that couldn't adjust to living indoors, but the rest of them (probably more than 20) did. The odds are in your favor that she will adjust.

For the older ones, I simply encouraged them to stay indoors, rather than forcing it on them. Without the fear that they were stuck inside, they made their own decision to spend more time in the house than out of it, particularly in the winter. My Lucky now spends about 80% of his time inside the house, and has reached a point that he sleeps in my bed in a cat pile with the other cats.

As far as seeing the vet? I moved him about 3 years ago and had to trap him at the time to do so. I brought him to the vet for his shots while in the trap. Since we've moved, I've built enough of a bond with him to get him into a carrier and to the vets once a year. He is still wild enough that the exam is a quick once over, but long enough to weigh him, check his heart, eyes, ears (never his mouth), give him shots and back into the carrier. Lucky is about 5-1/2 years old now.

The one that wouldn't adjust? She fought with all the cats in the house, staked out litter boxes and refused to let cats go in there, wouldn't let me touch her, and made a bee line to the door every time it was opened. She is happier outdoors. I have a shelter for her with a heated bed and water bowl. I've tried to coax her inside but she won't go thru the door.

All you can do is try.
post #3 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Momofmany View Post
The odds are in your favor that she will adjust.

For the older ones, I simply encouraged them to stay indoors, rather than forcing it on them. Without the fear that they were stuck inside, they made their own decision to spend more time in the house than out of it, particularly in the winter.

All you can do is try.

I agree with this!!! Just encourage her to stay indoors and make it more attractive inside than outside without forcing it. They will (almost always) soon discover that inside is much more attractive than outside - safer, warmer, plentiful food and water, etc.

I've brought in 2 strays and adopted them. The first one was about 6 months old and I really loved on her alot before she came in. She really wanted to be where it is warm and safe and gradually she has stayed inside more and more - now about 98% of the time. By the time she wanted to come inside I could pick her up so getting her to the vet was not a problem even tho she was terrified. She is a great cat and a great pet.

The second one we think is a littermate to the first one. I didn't see her until she was a bit older and because she got injured I had to trap her inside. It was a bit challenging to get her in the carrier but I took her to the vet and got her all fixed up. She's a good cat too but to this day doesn't much like to be picked up.

I have been feeding a third cat for about 2 years. He is more feral and won't let me touch him. I also knew alot less about all of this when I started feeding him and didn't know the importance of trying to socialize him more when he was younger.

He now comes inside usually about 3 times each evening for about 10 minutes each to eat his food. He is still very afraid. I'm trying to get him to stay inside overnight as it will soon be very cold here. I made a bed outside on the patio last winter and he wouldn't have anything to do with it. I can only guess he had a better place to stay at night. But I'm still trying to get him to stay in my house at night when it's so cold.

Good luck. Let us know what happens.
post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 
I can't resist posting one little pic of my girl. If I leave the door open, she'll come in and sit, so here she is!
LL
post #5 of 8
Ooooh, she's a beauty!!
post #6 of 8
What a striking cat!

I don't have a lot of experience with ferals, but I wanted to wish you luck with transitioning her to the indoors. Good on you for taking care of her.
post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bubbles View Post
I can't resist posting one little pic of my girl. If I leave the door open, she'll come in and sit, so here she is!
I can see her blinking her eyes at you in greeting. Do you know about the eye blink greeting in feral cats? They do not like to be stared down, and if you catch her eye, slowly blink at her and see if she does it in return. If she does, she has accepted you as part of her "colony".

She is a beauty!
post #8 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Momofmany View Post
I can see her blinking her eyes at you in greeting. Do you know about the eye blink greeting in feral cats? They do not like to be stared down, and if you catch her eye, slowly blink at her and see if she does it in return. If she does, she has accepted you as part of her "colony".

She is a beauty!
I have used the blinkies with my rescue kitties.. when they get to the store and they are sooooo fearful... I have a handful of times gotten them to blink back and sometimes - come over and say hello!

ETA: yes, she is stunning!
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