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7 wk old feral, not taming- shutting down?

post #1 of 28
Thread Starter 
I believe she'll be 8 wks on thursday, it'll be 2months then when I realized mom-cat gave birth.

I've had her and her sibling for a week now. The male is great. He warmed up immediatly and comes running up to me purring and chirping away when I enter the room.

She hides in a corner hissing and spitting at me. I can't get her to play or take any kind of food from me. I've tried all sorts of different meats and canned food and treats.

She doesn't try attacking but when I hold her she just goes limp and kind of shuts down. like she's pretending she's not in my lap. Every now and then she'll look up, ears back and hiss at me but goes right back to eing limp.

She plays with her sibling. She eats well (as long as I'm on the opposite side of the room).

Trying to find away to get $ for vet bills. This was so spur of the moment. This lady down the street was threatening to trap them and ake them to the shelter and they kill ferals so I caught them. Poor mom cat had an appointment to be spayed but they trapped her and by the time I got there (the very next morning) she was already put down.

Anyway...I'm just concerned that this lil' one isn't showing much improvement. She's cute as a button.
post #2 of 28
Yeah. Cats are individuals. Some feral borne adapt spontaneously and practically without any difficulties. Others are alike yours little girl. Most are somewhere in between.
But there is no glory in easy Victories, so lets "pull up the sleeves" and work on!

One tip is for you to work on through her brother. Cuddle with him so she sees it. Which you already do.
A Feliway diffuser cant hurt. It will get her to feel more comfortable and safe.
This Feliway shouldnt be necessary, but...

About this taking her up. It IS a good sign she lets you take her up, not trying to scratch her down. Although as you say, this is really not her being tame, it is mostly a survival strategy... Still, it is much easier to work with a docile shy feral than an aggressive shy feral...

But. There are two different schools on fostering feral kittens and taking them up.
One school says force cuddle them as much as you can.

The second school - which most fosterers here follow, say: do not force cuddle them. Let them come to you. Or at least: willingly accept you are coming to them. (some cats prefer to accept cuddle when they are comfortably lying down.).

So. Proceed to work with her like as any other shy semiferal cat. There are many threads on it...


Tx a lot for helping these two!
Sad with you you couldnt help theirs mom!


Good luck!
post #3 of 28
A week isn't very long, as long as she is eating she'll be OK. Just give her some time, you'll likely find her coming to you within a few weeks. Curiosity will draw her if you start to ignore her, she's just slower to adjust than he is.

It was the same when I caught Archie and Mehitable, he was cuddly in less than a week, she didn't even come to sniff me until the end of the second week. Two years later she considers me to be her personal property, and demands that any cat on my lap get off should she be in need of ear rubs.

Thanks for taking them in, you'll be rewarded with a bond closer than you would think possible with a cat. Ferals seem to have more of a social structure than cats who were raised in human family's, it's hard to put into words (especially at this hour of the day).
post #4 of 28
Thank you for rescuing these kitties!

Stefan and Bookwarm are both right.

The going limp thing is not her being tame at all - it is her survival instinct. Some cats will fight you about it - others play dead. It is her way of dealing with the situation.

You just have to remind yourself - cats are contrarians. So given that her brother is friendly, focus on him and just TOTALLY and COMPLETELY ignore her.

Moving to doing everything on a schedule will really help her. Scoop litter in whatever room she's in at the same time every day. Clean and change the water bowl at the same time every day. Clean and fill the dry food dish at the same time every day. Maybe start giving them one wet meal of food a day. We do it mid- late-evening. The routine will help her realize a lot faster that all her needs are being taken care of.

And socalizing is all about earning/building trust. And the fastest way to do that with a kitty like her is to just let her watch and make the moves on her own and in her own time. She'll learn from watching your interaction - and the fastest way to become non-threatening to a cat like that is to BE non-threatening by doing absolutely nothing to try to interact with her.

You can also spray the area with Feliway or get a plug-in. You can add a few drops of Bach's Flower Essences (Rescue Remedy) to the water and her wet food. You can also get harp music - this REALLY calms ferals down: http://www.musicmypet.com

But the main ingredient here is time. And one week for a scared hissy little kitty isn't much at all. Spend as much time in the room as you can - but sit on the floor, down at her level. Make sure she's got a hidey "safe" place and that she can see you - but sit sideways to her. Take a nap in there - stretch, yawn, do exercises - read out loud, sing, sew, work on a laptop - fold laundry - whatever.

Oh - and don't look her in the eyes. This is aggressive. Try not to look at her at all for the next few days/week - whatever. If she's in your line of sight, look over the top of her head or at her forehead.

But the main thing is to just not be threatening to her in any way at all - from HER eyes, not yours. Right now all she sees is some big thing towering over her, reaching out at her....

Get a t-shirt really good and sweaty. Put it in her hidey-bed safe space. Get another one really good and sweaty. Put it under her food dish. If you want, get a third one really good and sweaty, and put treats down for her at a regular time once or twice a day. Don't insist on being there when she eats them. Walk in, put them down, leave. This will go a long way to helping her start to associate your scent with "good" things, and will help her cross that trust barrier she's got up.

The first thing you need to establish to a cat like that is that you are there to meet their needs. The second thing to establish is that you want absolutely nothing from them. THEN they begin to relax and get curious.

It is just so tough when all we want to do is love them, and we know how happy they can be! But they haven't known love, they don't know it's good, and they don't know that hands mean wonderful things. So you have to take the steps that let them get to the place that they're even open to the exploration of those things before you try to force those things on them.
post #5 of 28
One of my feral rescues is the same as your girl. for her it seemed as if going limp and closing her eyes was better then the pain and teasing that she had at the apt complex where she was trapped. Now she comes over to me and loves to be petter and loved on. She will even lift her head when I'm loving on her and look at me. It is such an improvement, and now she is so trusting to me and is starting to trust others. She hold a special place in my heart that only those that have been abused and feral can fill. She now knows, ( and it taken almost 4 months) that humans aren't all bad. that some of us are ok. Enjoy her
post #6 of 28
Thank you for rescuing these little ones. I have seen both forms of rehab on feral cats/kittens. I think what works best depended on the cat. I tend to prefer the slow gentle process. Another thing that we have used is a stuffed glove on a stick. You stuff a leather glove & tie it to a stick. The stick should allow for some distand between you & the cat, but not be so long it is not easy to use. Then use that to pet the cat, then if the cat bites or scratches you are not getting hurt. Once the cat accepts being petted with that it is often an easy switch to your hand. This is how we rehabed our shelter Mascot Baron. His fear of people made him agressive. He now walks up to total strangers at the shelter & asks them to pay attention to him. In your case it might be good to pet her brother with the glove to get his smell on it. Then slowly introduce it to her, that will give her time to adjust to the gloves smell & presence. With any luck she will allow you to pet her with the glove. She needs to learn to enjoy being petted and this might make her feel safe enough to allow it. Once Baron learned that it felt good to be petted his rehab was fast. Now I give him what I call "Kitty sahges". I really rub his muscles down & he LOVES it.
post #7 of 28
Thread Starter 
Well I had to work a lot the last two days, so I haven't had much time with them.

But this morning before work I was playing with the male (calling him Squeak) and she (Pip) was sitting in a corner watching. She kept bobbing her head around like she was really interested and wanting to come over.

Then...all of a sudden she darted over and started to play.

Still hisses when I pick her up though lol and I got her to eat some chicken heart out of my hand.

Last night before I went to bed, I was holding them and kept yawning and keeping my eyes half closed when I looked at her, she actually feel asleep- not doing the limp thing but got comfy and passed out.

I guess I was just jumping the gun lol This is the 2nd litter of ferals I've had, the first one the kittens were about 4wks old and total push overs, I think some of them warmed up after a couple hours and the lil calico took a day.







Pip (female) is the blue/white bicolor and Squeak is the solid blue.
post #8 of 28
Oh they are soooooooo cute! It's been a while since we fostered - so I forget just HOW difficult it is to ignore those amazing kitten eyes! Great news on little Pip!
post #9 of 28
Thread Starter 
more good news. S.N.A.P. in iowa is going to help out on costs to get them spay/neutered. $10 for neuter, $20 for spay. I don't think I techinally qualified from the way she worded it,said she could help me this one time.

Still, pretty cool. Normally I'd cover costs myself but things have been so hard lately. I was really worried about getting them fixed.
post #10 of 28
OMG They are soooo cute. Glad they're coming around so fast.
post #11 of 28
They're very cute and you're doing a wonderful job with them.
post #12 of 28
Wow! They are very cute sweetie pie´s! One is even a russian blue alike... (my favvo breed / colour).

I see, what you have got is not only duty and work - however holy.

But it is also both Luxury AND Pleasure!


Thus, you are due to pay a Luxury and Pleasure Tax.

However, you are hereby allowed to pay it in nature. Ie taking care of said Sweetie Pie´s.



Good luck!
post #13 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by StefanZ View Post
...I see, what you have got is not only duty and work - however holy.

But it is also both Luxury AND Pleasure!


Thus, you are due to pay a Luxury and Pleasure Tax....


Stefan - the "tax" could also be that we have to have patience with some of the ferals!
post #14 of 28
They are beautiful! Bless you for saving them!!!
post #15 of 28
They are too cute! Grey is one of my favorite color cats! She is a beauty & she just wanted you to work for her trust.
post #16 of 28
They are adorable! You've actually done really well for such a long time

In my house we employ the forced cuddles, and "take your time" approach. Hubby scruffs the kitten, and takes it into the bathroom and sits it on his lap and has forced cuddles with it, while I do the gentle slow approach with the kitten. We find the two-pronged approach works well as one of the methods is bound to work. So far we've done very well with socialising ferals, but I think the most important thing is to do what you're most comfortable with. I'm not comfortable with force cuddling, so if I did it, the kitten would sense my fear, whereas my husband is incredibly good with them, and his approach has gotten the first purr out of a kitten long before mine has

Good luck with the continued socialisation!
post #17 of 28
Thread Starter 
thanks everyone

I have to work on teaching them manners know. squeak seems to think it's okay to run up and attack everyone/thing. He's torn my hands up pretty good. I know he's just playing but sometimes I have to scruff him and hold him up because he's just going nuts. He's drawn blood a couple of times. Even then he's still swinging his paws around and has his mouth open ready to bite lol He reminds me of that video Peanut butter jelly time with the grey kitten dancing!
post #18 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Khayos View Post
I believe she'll be 8 wks on thursday, it'll be 2months then when I realized mom-cat gave birth.

I've had her and her sibling for a week now. The male is great. He warmed up immediatly and comes running up to me purring and chirping away when I enter the room.

She hides in a corner hissing and spitting at me. I can't get her to play or take any kind of food from me. I've tried all sorts of different meats and canned food and treats.

She doesn't try attacking but when I hold her she just goes limp and kind of shuts down. like she's pretending she's not in my lap. Every now and then she'll look up, ears back and hiss at me but goes right back to eing limp.

She plays with her sibling. She eats well (as long as I'm on the opposite side of the room).



Trying to find away to get $ for vet bills. This was so spur of the moment. This lady down the street was threatening to trap them and ake them to the shelter and they kill ferals so I caught them. Poor mom cat had an appointment to be spayed but they trapped her and by the time I got there (the very next morning) she was already put down.

Anyway...I'm just concerned that this lil' one isn't showing much improvement. She's cute as a button.
What a horrible neighbor! How can people be so evil? Poor mom cat. It sounds like your little girl is traumatized by a new environment, I guess from outdoor to indoor. It took Daisy probably over a month to settle down, she was actually attacking us. I think Feliway did help some. If I still had my dispenser, I'd send it to you, but DH threw it away! I would try to paying lots of attention to the friendly kitten in front of the other one to show your not so bad.
post #19 of 28
Best way to teach little babies "no" is to blow a short, sharp puff of air directly in their face, say "NO" firmly - and redirect them to something that's OK. I'd buy a box of bendy straws and have lots handy. Kitties usually teethe at around 4 months, and the straws are GREAT for that. You may also want to consider a little stuffed toy for him to attack.

Their mom, at this point, would be hissing at them and bopping them in the head to teach them manners. The short, sharp puff of air directly in the face is a good human equivalent to mom - and they learn the word "no," which they'll need. OH - and when you redirect him (them) to what is OK to attack and play with, when they do start playing with it, tell him WHAT a GOOD boy he is. Just like with human children, cats need positive reinforcement too.
post #20 of 28
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the advice LDG! I'll def. use that.
post #21 of 28
Thread Starter 
lol well it backfired.

He was biting me, so I blew in his face...He stopped to glare at me (ignoring his toy) and then attacked my face. I like yelped lol because it hurt/surprised me, and then he got upse and started to hiss and try to run away.

He's back to being okay with me. But now when he gets rowdy I say NO and put him in a carrier for 1-2mins. Not sure if t'll work but he doesn't freak out over it lol
post #22 of 28
Wow - that's a new one. Hope you're not scratched up too bad! I think the time outs may be the better option with your little guy.
post #23 of 28
Thread Starter 
lol

They escaped their room(no idea how, it doesn't lock but you have to really push on it to get it open).

Ran up to my cat BeBe who looks like their mom. Oh it was heartbreaking, they looked so happy to see "her".

BeBe was nice, he sniffed and the licked their foreheads.

Then got super freaked out because they started to look for nipples haha

Had it out with MIL. SHe lets her cats outdoors and doesn't treat them well. She wants Pip. Told her no. She said oh well Pip can stay in the bed room blah blah blah.

Told her, Pip isn't ready yet anyway.

She said hold on to her for me.

I said no again lol

Now she's not talking to us. Oh well.

does anyone else have that problem? I always get these irresponsible people begging to have one of my kittens that get mad when I say no or (my fav.) ask for a high adoption fee that I know they won't pay.

bw, they haven't been tested for fiv/felv yet, planning on that when they get fixed (Sept 9th). I know a stray I trapped in Feb had FeLV...should I be concerned about BeBe licking them? I don't allow contact until they're tested.
post #24 of 28
I've lost quite a few possible friendships over things like that. I also have horses, and the minute ppl learn you have horses, they think that they should be allowed to ride them. Of course, everyone of them considered themselves expert riders, i mean, "I used to rent down at the local stable etc blah blah blah. ) When I say no that they are not for riding ppl get upset. My horses weigh in at 1100 lbs and 1500lbs. they are not for others to ride. I would never let anyone inflict physical pain due to not knowing the proper way to ride. same with my cats, and dogs. No body gets them. I don't care how much they claim to love them. It's not going to happen. don't let it get you down. My grandmother had a saying "they will get glad in the same skin they got mad in" and it is so true.
post #25 of 28
Quote:
Originally Posted by Khayos View Post
bw, they haven't been tested for fiv/felv yet, planning on that when they get fixed (Sept 9th). ....should I be concerned about BeBe licking them? I don't allow contact until they're tested.
Of the contagious cat diseases distemper and cat flu are the really contagious. (this is why these vaccines are the most necessary and mostly used). The other diseases arent very contagious, thanks God. They are demanding much contacts /blood contact, AND often also a suppressed immun defence, or high stress in the milieu.

So I do hope, casual licking by a healthy, sound cat shouldnt not caugh these other diseases. Thus, dont worry unless you are fairly safe they ARE sick.

That said, I wholeheartly do recommend strickt quarantene until they have a clean health bill from a good vet, and especielly so if the residents are indoor cats.

Anthing else must be on the rescuers own, calculated risk.
post #26 of 28
Thread Starter 
They're getting adopted together! I was kinda weary because the guy is only 20 but we talked for a couple hours and he was really nice with them and I felt really comfortable about it. I even went to petco with him and he basically bought anything I suggested lol it was awesome.

they're still with me but after their vet appointment they'll be going home.

Just another Q, if you use Rescue remedy do you use the dropper or the spray?
post #27 of 28
What a great thread!

I do have a question though, does this young man understand that he is getting feral kittens that are not quite fully socialized?

perhaps you could give him this website, and suggest he join us here and keep us updated, and get help if needed.....
post #28 of 28
Thread Starter 
Yeah, he had no idea what I was talking about at first. He's got all my contact info and I told him I'll be calling him to check in every so often.

Pip I'm still concerned with. She still gets jumpy and hisses. She did that to him when he reached for her so he just gave her some chicken and let her be. Squeak loved him though - well he loves everyone lol he's so cute. I'm going to miss them so much.

I'm wanting to send them off with some feliway or rescue remedy to help. I've been using feliway but rescue remedy seems to be cheaper and I keep hearing good things about it.
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