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Help PLEASE!!!

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone,

I'm completely new to this forum and have taken in such an information overload in the last 24 hours about re-homing kittens and ferals that I really haven't a clue what I'm doing anymore, I'm hearing alot of different information from different websites and would just like to know what I'm doing so your help would be greatfully appreciated!

It was my birthday yesterday, and my partner finally agreed to let me have a kitten, I grew up with 2 domesticated cats who have been nothing like my new little baby and want to make this transition as easy as possible for him.

Anyway, when my partner agreed to let me have a kitten, the first advert I saw, woman I spoke to and kitten I saw, well I completely fell in love with my new little tabby. He was actually bought from a farm, one of 5 kittens. All of the kittens were kept in a static caravan, just a few metres away from the farm house, there were a few older and domesticated cats in the caravan, but kept in other rooms. The lady I bought the kitten off advised me that he was 10 weeks old, eating solid foods, litter trained, de flead and wormed, but then said due to the work required on the farm then she hadn't had any time at all to handle any of the kittens - She also told me that their mother hadn't really been domesticated either but I was so over whelmed that I never thought for a moment he would be a feral (stupid I know). When I choose my kitty, then I did so for his boystrous attitude and the fact that over all of the other kittens then he liked to play the most.

I knew that bringing him home and having him adjust to a new home would be difficult anyway as he is away from his brothers and sisters, but I was so thrilled when I had him and also gullable enough to believe that within a day or two he would of adjusted and come around, however obviously now I know this is a different story.

I've taken him to the vets since bringing him home and ensured everything is ok health wise, but I just want him to adjust nicely, and would one day like him to be a happy playfull cat.

I'm not sure if he would be classed as feral or not, he has had some althogh very limited contact with humans.

He won't eat food, I've tried him with numerous dry (what I was advised he was eating) tinned food and biscuits, and the only thing that he seems to eat is chicken paste or chicken baby food, he won't eat this from his bowl though, only from my finger, but he seems very scared when my hand goes near him and most of the time will hiss and cower - I don't want to cause him any un necessary stress.

I hear a lot of conflicting information about keeping him in a cage in a room that's used quite often or a quiet room for him to become accustomed to it alone - So if somebody (who now knows the situation could advise me which would be better)

We put him in our bedroom last night to sleep in a box, with a towel we had him wrapped up in when we brought him home, and left him wander while we were asleep, we were up with him this morning, he was just looking at us and meowing but his food was down, and litter tray at the end of the room and he was warm so I didn't know what he wanted, whenever we went near him he would run away into the corner and hide.

Today we have bought him a mesh cage, and he is now in that, in the living room, and we're trying to be as quiet as possible, we've also placed his towel in there - My partner left him out earlier and tried to pet him, but the little dear was very scared and slowly but surely crouched away and run and hid behind the washing machine in the kitchen - We finally managed to coax him out with a toy - Do I leave him in the cage and bring him out to feed him - Do I move the cage somewhere else?

My little baby seems so nervous and scared, I know he's just moved homes and is away from his play friends but as long as I can be reassured that whatever I'm doing is the right thing then I'll have the patience of a saint, aslong as I know It's the right way which will have a positive outcome, then I'll put my everything into it and however long it takes.

What would be the best way for me to get my boy used to his new home and socialised at the same time?

All of your input would be greatly appreciated.

Very sorry for the long winded tale, but I thought if I explained the whole situation and you had a full idea then you would be able to help me better and hopefully make my boy at ease as quickly and easily as possible for him - As I said I know this will take a while but I'm more than willing to wait and do whatever it takes.

Thanks
post #2 of 23
No, your tale is not too long. The more information people have, the better they can help you.

First of all, welcome to this site.

It sounds like your kitten is under-socialized, which may limit his willingness to be any sort of a lap cat, but with some care, he should get over it.

Keep in mind that to him, you are a predator who has separated him from his family, the only beings he has known for his whole life, and you may well intend to eat him, as soon as you can get a good hold on him. That fear will diminish over time, of course.

We usually advise putting him in a small room, preferable one without places where he can hide completely out of your reach. Maybe a bathroom or a large closet, a utility room, something like that. Feed him soft kitten food, if that's what he seems to like. It's better for him, and he may not recognize dry food as food. After all, nothing about it is anything like anything he would normally eat.

Keep water and his litter box readily available. Limiting him to the one area for a while will help avoid "accidents" that can lead to more problems.

Sit in the room and talk gently to him. Even reading aloud might help him adjust to you. Avoid looking him directly in the eyes; for a cat, that is a sign of aggression.

He sounds young enough to come around pretty quickly.
post #3 of 23
Cats are all about territory, and this little baby has just been removed from his - and from his family.

Imagine you are two years old, and all of a sudden, you are taken away from your mom and four brothers and sisters - transported to China, and put in a new home. Everything smells different, looks different, sounds different - and you are scared and confused.

This is exactly what your little baby is going through right now.

What you would want, is to be given your own room. It should be safe for you. You wouldn't want your new family to keep trying to brush your hair, massage your back or hug you - you'd want some time to adjust.

If they fed you food you loved very regularly, that would go a long way to helping you feel like you were going to be taken care of.

If your new mom just spent time in the room with you - not looking at you, not trying to interact with you - but doing what she does - talking on the phone, maybe reading stories out loud to you, sewing, folding laundry - just letting you get used to her presence and her voice, it would be very calming for you.

This is what you need to do for your kitty. Personally, we like the bedroom as the introduction room, because there is nothing less threatening than a sleeping human.

We bought an oyster-shell type bed (enclosed on the sides, top and back) for our babies, cleared off a bedside table - and put a bunch of boxes on their sides with the top flap hanging down around the room with kitty beds in them. We also bought two plastic storage boxes that stack up to the exact height of the bed, and we put a one-level kitty condo on it - another hidey place near us (this worked particularly well).

We let our cats free feed. They're bodies are designed to eat many small meals a day, so this is healthy for them. But we like the social bonding of meals, but didn't want to get trapped into having to get up every morning (like to sleep in on weekends) - so we feed them a wet meal of food at "dinner time."

Doing as much as you can on a schedule REALLY helps. Scoop the litter at a certain time every day. Put down new food at the same time every day. Wash the water bowl out and put fresh water in it at the same time every day.

Have a set time that you play with him every day (of course you can slowly introduce interactive play with wand toys any time, but having one set time when for sure you're wiggling a feather on a string helps).

The first few days, even if it's your bedroom - gently knock on the door first and say "I'm coming in" before you enter helps.

Dont' look him in the eyes - this is a sign of aggression.

Basically - just reassure him that you are there to take care of all of his needs. When he understands that, the trust starts to build, and that is what this is all about. Breaking the trust barrier.

Spend as much time in the room as you can - doing anything! - but ignore him. Let him check you out.

It helps to sit on the floor - down at his level. You are less threatening this way. And don't sit facing him - sit sideways to him. Again - less threatening.

When he decides to come check you out - do NOT immediately reach out to him. Remain non-threatening - let him come check you out. When you do feel that he's comfortable enough and you decide to reach out to him - do it slowly, and palm down (opposite of dogs).

FOOD goes a LONG way to helping! Most kitties are food motivated. Use that baby food!

And his crying now is most likely because he misses his family and doesn't understand what's happened to him.

The most important thing is to just give him time to adjust. Let him know his needs will be taken care of - and let him make whatever room you choose "his" room. When he's safe in his space, he'll get curious about his new people - especially if they're non-threatening and always providing for him (and the regularity of a schedule helps cement that in his head a lot faster).

You can consider some aids.

Feliway - a synthetic hormone that mimics the friendly markers' in cats' cheeks. Don't spray it near scratching posts or litter boxes - wrong smell, and don't want to discourage that. But it will help calm him and reduce his stress at all the change in his life.

Consider purchasing flower essences - Bach's Rescue Remedy. Dab a little behind his ears, at the base of his neck, at the base of his tail - and a good dab under his chin. Let it waft up into his nose. Put a few drops into his water every day when you change it. Both can be purchased here: http://www.catfaeries.com You can probably find both cheaper - but this explains them.

Consider music to help calm him down! Harp music is great! http://www.musicmypet.com/ Oh - and I think there's a link to classical music designed for stressed pets on the cat faeries site too - take a look at that.

He'll come around pretty quickly - he's young enough. Once he does, and you get his purr motor going, and he decides pets are good - do make sure you pick him up frequently. One of our cats HATED to be picked up - so we didn't. It's a real pain in the butt now when we need to get him into a carrier. We're working on it now (now that he's seven years old ) - and we can hold him for a good minute now before he starts to try to scramble out of our arms... so don't ever try to constrain him - just pick him up and put him down at first. Every few days, just make it a little and a little bit longer. Of course - he may love being held once he's comfortable there and with you.

Remember - cats are contrarians. The more you completely ignore him but provide for him and be around him ignoring him - the faster he'll want the attention.

So.... was my answer longer than your question?
post #4 of 23
Oh sorry - I just realized you're in the UK. I think you can pick up flower essences at health food stores - just ask for a rescue or calming remedy. And Feliway is available - just take a quick search for it.

As to the music - I don't know if it's worth purchasing to have shipped overseas? He'll probably have come around by the time it gets there. But if there's a store that sells classical music, ask for harp music.
post #5 of 23
Hi! Welcome to The Cat Site!

Your kitty will adjust, but it will take some time and patience.
mrblanche and LDG gave you some great advice, so some of what I say may be a repeat.

I would keep kitty in a small, quiet room, and provide places for him/her to hide.
I would go in there and sit with him, maybe read, sew, do some work, whatever. I wouldn't pet him or pick him up, I'd just let him be and let him get used to seeing you around.

Eventually, your kitten will learn that you aren't going to eat him! One of the boys we have now hissed at me for 2 months before he realized that I wasn't going to hurt him. It's good to sit on the floor, if you can, so that you're less scary!

You could get some cat toys and try playing with your kitten... but your kitten might not know how to play with toys. We took in our boys when they were 3-4 months old, and when we first brought them in, they would just stare at the toys.

As for food, maybe try different things? Stage 1 baby food in meat flavors is alright. When we brought ours in, they would not eat in front of us. We had to leave the room so they would feel comfortable enough to eat or use the box. Your kitten might be the same way.

Don't worry, socializing your kitten is not mission impossible, though it probably feels like it!
post #6 of 23
I can't add to what the others have said, but I do want to congratulate you on your new kitten!

All of my cats were born feral. People who visit my house tell me they are amazed at how friendly they are. Once they are socialized, they are just normal cats. Some are friendly, some are shy, some are loving, some are playful, and all have their unique personalities (which is why I love them). Give him time and he will come around in his own way.
post #7 of 23
Thread Starter 
Thanks very much for all of your help everyone! I've just logged in to see all of your great replies - I think I should let you know of the most fantastic latest update though!

We bribed kitty last night with some paste, he freely came onto our laps and didn't shy away when we were petting him, so I began tickling him behind his ears, and straight away it was as if some well, what can only be described as magical switch flipped and he began purring, pawing us and becoming very playfull! Rubbing his face into our hands freely and seeming suddenly very confident climbing onto us and rubbing his face into ours, rolling onto his back to pet his belly while on our laps and became instantly the most loving cat I've ever known!

We then made a bit of an error though and felt a bit too over confident so let just him to wander between the kitchen and the living room and although he was happy he seemed he wanted to play we couldn't get near him to pick him back up and take him into our bedroom for some sleep - He just hissed and crawled back into the corner or under sofas somewhere we couldn't reach him.

We then (after about an hour of bribary) managed to pick him back up and took him to sleep.

Imagine our shock when 4 times through the night we were woken up by kitty coming onto the bed and meowing between us just for some love and attention (he really seems to enjoy the ear thing).

He's now being a little nightmare again though and hissing when we approach him, but after reading all of your responses then maybe last night he really really tried, we made some great progress so I'll just be a bit more patient with him and let him come around to me when he's ready (with a lot of bribary). I'm still so absolutely shocked though at his confidence level and approaching us just for some love - Even my previous domesticated cats while growing up always got a bit nervouswhen approaching a face, but my new kitty doesn't seem at all bothered and will easily approach a human for affection

Oh and there were also no accidents at all either last night - He immediately goes straight for his litter tray

I really do believe I'm well on the way to having the most perfect kitten ever I'll just continue to let him come to me and gradually begin picking him up low and rewarding him as I've read elsewhere :-)

Thank you so much everyone
post #8 of 23
Good Job!

Our kitty was also a little shy and hissy when we first got her as a kitten, but she quickly came round, just as yours is doing. By the sounds of it you will soon have a real little love-bug on ur hands
post #9 of 23
I did notice in passing your reference to baby food. Just check the ingredients to be sure there is no onion or garlic in them. That can cause anemia in cats.

It sounds like you're making progress. Remember he's just a baby, with all the child-like habits of having to investigate everything, try crawling into any little openings, test the limits of your schedule, taste things, etc.
post #10 of 23
I'm surprised none of us mentioned that it goes like that - three steps forward, one step back - sometimes one step forward, two steps back!

But he's doing great - and so are you. !! You just never know when that "switch" is going to flip - and it's so wonderful when it does! You've got his purr motor going, so while he'll still be a little confused about his feelings (want love, want to trust - don't trust, big person coming at me - but they feed me and I like this petting thing... ) - you've crossed the "hump."

How about some pictures of your little guy?
post #11 of 23
Thread Starter 
Wow thanks MrBlanche, I never knew that! I've double checked though and none of the ingredients listed are included in the food, but thanks for warning me last thing I want to do is make him sick already.

His 'switch' is currently on too LDG and yeah here's some pics of the little monster which he is shortly becoming.

Today he has discovered a fetish for bobbles and clawing his way up bathroom robes and curtains along with chewing his way through a pair of laces on my partners shoes but how could I get mad at this ....



This was him the first day we got him, bringing him home in a blanket, we'd been driving for a little while and he was dropping off a bit after a very long fight ...




Thanks for all of your help and support everyone, It's great knowing that It's there readily available
post #12 of 23
Aw - look at the little muffin! No wonder he captured your heart!

And yeah - garlic and onion are not good for cats. Onion, in particular, can make them anemic. We use Gerber's meat baby foods - all but ham. Cats have trouble digesting ham. For our kitties it's a special treat - and when they're ill or out of sorts, its almost always what gets them eating again.

If he's still being picky about eating, you can try just boiling some chicken with nothing but water. It's bland and easy on the tummy, and most cats love it when it's warm.
post #13 of 23
I'm so happy for you. It sounds like you are doing great. Don't worry about the one step back problem. I socialize kittens and young cats for a TNR group,(those that they think can be adopted) and sometimes, just when you think you've got it going, it all goes back again. I'm send my latest one back this week and taking another one to socialize. For me that is so much fun. It sounds like you would enjoy it also..
post #14 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by LDG View Post
If he's still being picky about eating, you can try just boiling some chicken with nothing but water. It's bland and easy on the tummy, and most cats love it when it's warm.
And you can use the rest of it to make some enchiladas for yourself!

Your kitten is adorable! The expression in his eyes is pretty soft for a feral-born kitty, I think. He doesn't look too suspicious of you.
post #15 of 23
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the support guys - Although having kittens when I was little (about 20 years ago) I've never actually had a kitten of my own to raise and go through everything else, and it seems that I've pretty much picked the hardest one to try and rear for a first timer, had a massive blow back in the progress today though, kitty was happy and bouncing around the room playing (although he sometimes hid when my partner entered), and because I moved him into the bedroom permanently as it was a bit smaller, when he started sniffing around at the bedroom door I thought again YAY more success, so I walked out of the room, and left it open a little smidgen for him, and then his head started to poke around the corner, I was in the living room pretending not to pay attention, then suddenly he bolted back into the bedroom. He's become completely unapproachable again now and hissing and hiding when I go back to the bedroom. So after some more bribary he finally came back to me - Seems like I may of pushed him a bit hard on that one and maybe he wasn't ready to come out.

On a good note though, he chooses to sleep in the bed either cuddled into the curve in my knees or right next to my face on the pillow.

Just feel a little dis heartened again now though as it feels as if we're back to square one ...
post #16 of 23
The big scary world bit him again, didn't it? But if he had lived his whole life in a small area, as you seemed to indicate, then any large open area might be frightening to him. And cats do love a small hidey place, even in the wild.
post #17 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Going Nova View Post
And you can use the rest of it to make some enchiladas for yourself!

Your kitten is adorable! The expression in his eyes is pretty soft for a feral-born kitty, I think. He doesn't look too suspicious of you.
What a BRILLIANT idea! I'm going to do just that! Yeah I agree with you there, his eyes do seem soft, although when both photos were taking he was feeling his most sociable - There's an awful long way to go, but I need to keep on remembering, It's just been over 2 days really and he's going through a lot ...



Quote:
I'm so happy for you. It sounds like you are doing great. Don't worry about the one step back problem. I socialize kittens and young cats for a TNR group,(those that they think can be adopted) and sometimes, just when you think you've got it going, it all goes back again. I'm send my latest one back this week and taking another one to socialize. For me that is so much fun. It sounds like you would enjoy it also..
I'd absolutely love to do it with more kittys! I just wish I had more time on my hands to let me do it - Unfortunately I work full time, but I'm on a holiday at the moment and have a few more full days to be with kitty before leaving him for a few more hours.

Yes Mrblanche, he was purely kept in a caravan with his brothers and sisters, I know it can be hard for him, but hopefully with some more time and lots of treats he'll come around quick enough, I can't help but feel a little deflated by him getting upset, but it seems he very despeartely wants to love and trust but is just scared, thank you for all of your support It's so comforting to know that help and support is there
post #18 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Feral_Kitty View Post
This was him the first day we got him, bringing him home in a blanket, we'd been driving for a little while and he was dropping off a bit after a very long fight ...




Thanks for all of your help and support everyone, It's great knowing that It's there readily available
OMG!!
Your new baby is adorable!!!
You are doing great, keep it up!
post #19 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trillcat View Post
OMG!!
Your new baby is adorable!!!
You are doing great, keep it up!
Thank you sooo much It's so hard though, I've never been responsible for a kitten before let alone one with a few problems, all the cats I had while growing up were socialised before being brought home, and I was so young that my mum and dad took care of them so this is a challenge to say the least! But I'm loving every minute of it, and the few minutes when he forgets himself and stops worrying are making all the worry worth while I'm completely smitten with him
post #20 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Feral_Kitty View Post
Thank you sooo much It's so hard though, I've never been responsible for a kitten before let alone one with a few problems, all the cats I had while growing up were socialised before being brought home, and I was so young that my mum and dad took care of them so this is a challenge to say the least! But I'm loving every minute of it, and the few minutes when he forgets himself and stops worrying are making all the worry worth while I'm completely smitten with him
It is quite a challenge, but so rewarding!
My cat was not feral when I got her, but completly unsocialized though she lived in a home and might as well have been (long story)
If I reached out to pet her, I would get bitten and scratched (with a vengance, she meant to hurt) I got to the point I thought I could not turn her around (she was 3 when I got her) She never hid, just the opposite and it was a power struggle, a delicate one. I was at my wits end. I found this site, though I just lurked and didn't post then. A world of info!!!
Fast forward to now, she is a lap cat, well, when she decides she wants to be, lol. We have a bond that goes beyond pet and human. I helped her get through tough times, and she helped me get through a tough time in my life, by helping her.
You learn a lot about yourself helping those that need it.
post #21 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trillcat View Post
It is quite a challenge, but so rewarding!
My cat was not feral when I got her, but completly unsocialized though she lived in a home and might as well have been (long story)
If I reached out to pet her, I would get bitten and scratched (with a vengance, she meant to hurt) I got to the point I thought I could not turn her around (she was 3 when I got her) She never hid, just the opposite and it was a power struggle, a delicate one. I was at my wits end. I found this site, though I just lurked and didn't post then. A world of info!!!
Fast forward to now, she is a lap cat, well, when she decides she wants to be, lol. We have a bond that goes beyond pet and human. I helped her get through tough times, and she helped me get through a tough time in my life, by helping her.
You learn a lot about yourself helping those that need it.
Aww that's such a sweet tale! I'm hoping my little man will end up just the same - I love to hear of success stories, gives a lot of hope and confidence that things can change and congratulations to you I'm lucky he doesn't bite at all, even the vet commented on how unconfrontational he was, just a timid little thing, I've every faith he'll become happy and confident I'm so determined to make it work I bet you found it so hard though trying to socialise her 3 years though! Must of been really hard work
post #22 of 23
Feral_Kitty....you have, undeniably, the most sweetest looking kitty that I've seen since my guys were wee kitties...!!

You will have a success story...it just hasn't played out to the end yet. You've made big strides in giving your kitty confidence and now he feels love from his caretakers. Sure, he has times when he unsure of things....that will happen, don't we all have those times? Then we investigate the situation and then figure out....hah...that wasn't anything to be afraid of!!! Then we march right along until the next situation frightens us a bit....your sweety is curious enough and confident enough to explore his territory and conquer his fears.....sweet thing!!

My Samson, now 1 yr, 5 months old had a bit of a rough start....he was only 10 weeks old and I was his fourth home..and final home!! He was very fearful and skittish when I brought him into our lives....I already had a 13-yr old female who wasn't too pleased to see him. But, I put him in my room...with food, litter, water and blankies and toys.....sure enough every time I entered...he'd run under the bed in terror. So I just did what the other 'experts' said.....I'd go in, shut the door, watch tv, read, do puzzles, chat with him.....and just let him know that I'm safe and I only will mean good things to him. Over time, he wouldn't run quite so fast under the bed...then he'd come out and investigate me. Then, he'd sniff at the door when I was in the room...and sort of want out. In about 3 weeks...I put a barrier at the door and left the door open. He was afraid of the smells at the door and hid...then he'd get brave and go to the barrier. One time he knocked the barrier over...ran out into the hall....the stepped on the brakes and went under the bed again. See....every new experience to him was a fearful one...where he regressed back to his safe place under the bed. I again would shut the door..but it wasn't long before he'd want the door open....then he was more curious about the hallway....then one day...out he came, ran down the stairs.....and we've never looked back. Next, he had to convince the 13-yr old cat that he was a good guy...haha...she finally accepted him. And...in the meantime, I brought home Cameo from the Humane Society....Samson wasn't the low man on the totem pole any longer........and Samson and Cameo are best of buddies..almost from the start....Phoebe..the 13-yr old is now left alone...just the way she likes it while the two 'boys' romp around pretending they are Indie 500 cars....

You love your kitty, and that's 90% of what it takes to make a success story. He will come around...he's had a rough start too..give him, and yourself time.....please keep us posted!!!
post #23 of 23
Maxie cat, you are so right. Just loving the little things is 90% of it! The other ingredient is time. Everything else just helps make them more comfortable and hopefully shortens the amount of time they spend living in fear.

Feral Kitty - you ARE doing great! I know it feels like forever when all we want is for them to be happy and just KNOW they're safe - but he'll get there!
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