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what do you think this mean?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I'm socializing a feral female about 6-7mos old. She has lived most of her life in a very large cat condo crate. Aside from being spayed when she was first trapped several months ago she hasn't been handles. I have her in a very big 3 level cat crate. I've had her a few weeks, and she has yet to come out of the crate for any reason. She panics if you try to get her out. I can now pet her, and she doesn't looks like she's going to die of fright anymore when I'm around. She does purr when I pet her, and this evening she was scared and jumped to the 3rd level. I had my arm in the crate petting her hip when she llfted her back leg so I could scratch her then rolled the upper part of herself over so I could scratch her full belly. Then she decided to lick my fingers. Then she put her claws out (they have never been trimmed) into my hand and opened her mouth and put it one me. I didn't move, then slowly started to remove my hand. At that point she tried to use her claws and mouth, but not really in an aggressive manner, more like she didn't want me to bother her anymore and didn't have the social graces to know how to get me to stop. I hope that I can eventually get her out of the crate. As I said she has lived almost her whole life since TNRd in a crate.
any suggestions.

post #2 of 11
First of all, she may be an over stimulation biter. Take a look at this thread for ideas on that topic:

I relocated feral cats to my home a few years back and had them in a HUGE cage in my garage, with tunnels leading out to another huge cage in my yard. After a 4 week acclimation, I opened up the door to the cage to release them. One of them hopped out within a few minutes of me leaving them. The other remained in that crate for at least another month before she ventured out, then returned to the crate for another month.

You may just have a cat that is so acclimated to living in a cage that it has become her safe zone. Give it more time, and if you get concerned, you will have to take her cage away from her. But if you do that, make sure she has alternative hiding spots in your home. A big box with the opening facing a wall works very well.
post #3 of 11
Was she possibly trying to hold your hand there for grooming? My Mitty's first act upon accepting me was to lay down on my arm and groom my fingers. Very thorough job, she left tooth marks on my wedding band trying to remove it. Sometimes I agree with her that it's a foreign object that has no place on my hand.

That was two years ago, but she will occasionally still do it, and if I try to move my hand away before she is finished she will gently pin it with her claws.
post #4 of 11
When she mouthed your hand, then grabbed you, was this inside her crate?
It's not that she doesn't "have the social graces", you can't apply human characteristic, emotions, feelings, onto a cat. Why, because she's a cat...If she came from an abusive situation, raised in a crate, no human positive contact, of course she is going to be terrified of people. You can't force her to understand that you are trying to help her, they don't think this way! You have to gain her trust, let her open up to you, give her time and space so that when she does open up, explore, it's because she wanted to. This is the only way to work with cats, especially feral ones
post #5 of 11
Originally Posted by cheylink View Post
It's not that she doesn't "have the social graces", you can't apply human characteristic, emotions, feelings, onto a cat. Why, because she's a cat..
She wasn't necessarily anthropomorphizing. Cats do learn some manners on how to behave with each other and towards humans through interaction when very young (this is why we all, even you, suggest kittens stay with their mothers till 12+weeks) and over time. Such learned behaviors in a cat are not human characteristics at all.
So yes, the OP was correct in phrasing it the way she did, the kitty simply hasn't learned how to behave like a more socialized cat has.

To the OP. She let you touch her belly? That's wonderful. That's a major sign of trust coming from a kitty that way and you did respond correctly to keep from riling her up more. She didn't break the skin, which means she's learning already. And I also agree that she may be an over stimulation biter. I have one, though she's far from feral, that never really learned that biting a person (hard) is a bad way to get more pettings. As she settles in more she's learning that she should not do this. I hope your kitty relaxes more, too. And remember that a lot of kitties, feral and tame, have that habit to bite or kick when their bellies are rubbed... even if they ask for belly rubs. So you may want to keep your hands away from there for now.
post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
thank you for the advice. I think you are right, she liked getting her belly touched, but it may have been too much physical touch for her to handle. She gives me mixed signals, and I sometimes just need reinforcements to what I think is going on. She now offers her chin to be rubbed and purrs like there is no tomorrow. But if I come on to her too strong, she panics and tries to get away. not just moving away, but panic behavior. She is sooo beautiful. She is a young girl who I don't think will every want to be what I call a mush bunny. Her eyes don't show anything but interest, and she LOVES toys. I have left the crate door open and closed the room door so she could come out on her own, and she doesn't even attempt to. My other two girls love getting in the crate with her, and she plays with them in the crate, but still will not come out. I think she will before long. Her couriousity is getting the best of her, I can see it. She is so pretty and I feel so sorry for her that she was TNRd but kept in the crate without much human interaction. I hope I can get her over it. She will make someone the most wonderful pet.

PS> the last kitten I socialized, before Bella, is now the most loving, social, sweeet little girl. She will be adopted before long.
post #7 of 11
The sheer fact that she partially rolled over and showed you her belly means you're making progress!! Then, for her to actually allow you to rub her belly, is just icing on the cake! I think that if you continue to allow your other kitties to socialize with her, they'll probably convince her to come out, but as you know, it'll be a long, slow process.

I was going to agree with the person who posted earlier about biting when overstimulated. I have a kitty who does that and I have to really pay attention not to pet her or groom her too much. Sometimes finding the "just right" amount of petting and grooming is a very delicate balance.

Keep up the good work!!
post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 
Yeah, she finally came out of the crate. I can't tell you how happy I am. It's just a beginning. I opened the crate door and left the room closing the door behind me.(i've done this a couple of times every day for the last week or so).
I came back into the room about 10 min later and she was on the top of the cat condo. she went to run back but for some reason stopped. I greeted my other two with loud kisses and love words.(no laughing), then went over to Bella and started petting her telling her how good she was. Then I left. I cam back about 10 min later and she had moved down to the cubby area. again same thing. greeted the other 2 then her and she let me put my hand inside the cubby and pet her. then I left again. When I came in a little bit later she was back in the litter box and hasn't tried to come out since. zbut that is OK..I'm just happy she finally stretched her legs. I hope she used the scratching post for a good time. Yeah.......
such little things make me happy
post #9 of 11
I have an idea you might want to try. Visit with her in the evening, if you can have the room dimmer that may help, too.

Cats are more nocturnal (unless they're mine, then they're on the bed all night crowding me ) and she may become a little more active towards or after dusk.
You could also try leaving a radio on low in the room to get her adjusted to human noises. Just pick an easy station for her.
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
Update on Bella, my beautiful girl...(I must give her back, I must give her back)lol She came out of the crate this evening to eat out of the dish the other 2 girls were using, then she stayed out, away from me but out. then I got the laser out and before long she couldn't resisst. She started playing. I don't think she has every played in her life. She was jumping up the wall for the light, jumping on my other cats, jumping into water...surprise on her....and having a good time. I could still pet her while she was out. She had nothing but joy in her eyes doing this. I am so happy. I know it will be a step back tomorrow, but every once in a while, it's good to have a step forward. yeah.
post #11 of 11
That's awesome! I know it must warm your heart to see this step in the right direction. I have no doubt that with time and patience, she'll blossom into a "normal" kitty!!
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