Originally Posted by LDG
- there is a HUGE difference between socializing feral kittens and socializing older feral cats. The most experienced cat rescuer I know (probably the most experienced rescuer most of us at TCS know) is "Hissy." She's been rescuing for 12 or 14 years. Her experience? If they are truly feral and older than 3 years old, they cannot be socialized to an indoor only life.
...if you suspect this cat was born feral, and your vet believes he is older than three years, do NOT feel guilty for releasing him. It's probably best.
Otherwise? It can just be a long process and you simply have to turn off your clock and your expectations.
Yeah. Sure. But still, there IS hope also for the older ferals to be fostered:
Skimble has mentioned there is a natural variety also amongs ferales. Some are easier to foster, some are more difficult - perhaps even practically impossible yes.
My contribution is: What fosters always want and hope for is the rescued cat will be a homecat, a pet. We do gladely accept an ex-feral will remain shy to strangers, but we want himher to become a loving pet with Mom or Dad. This is the great wonder we all work for.
However. There is a step before. The feral not achieving pet-phase, but becoming tame. Tame as say goats, chickens etc. Ie accepting to live with humans, being friendly with them, cooperating - but normally not petting, and even somewhat shy.
Sometimes this is enough!!!(Variation here: These cats can often get a good job being a stable cat or such...)
I have heard of one wonderful example. A rescuer adopted a grown up ferale she-cat. Age about 6-7 years. She get "tame" but not more. Lived as a semiferale indoor the house. Accepted and accepting the other cats although not real friend with them. Accepting vicinity of the humans, but never allowing petting nor hardly touching. Mostly active at nights. Not very shy to them though and moderately happy.
But this was still a saved life, and a live worth living (we dont have much TNR in Sweden, so if not rescued they get often killed off). And this good woman had other cats to pet and be petted by, so she accepted gladely this extra inhabitant.
Six years did it took. 6 long years. But on the late autumn of her live, our ex-feral did at last come forward, seeking pet and giving pet, and now sleeping together with the other cats in Moms bed.