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First time feral

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I'm sure this topic has been posted before, but please forgive my ignorance.

I just took in a little feral cat from the neighborhood. I'm sure she's ready to be domesticated, as she absolutely loves attention. In fact, she's hyper-affectionate. She will take attention over food, and she cries if she's not being held constantly.

The lady who was keeping her said she won't use a litterbox indoors, and that she doesn't like to stay indoors. If anyone has any tips on working with these issues, I'd appreciate it.

Also, I'm not sure what to do on days when I have to go to work, and she'll be alone. I can leave windows open for her to look outside, but with her constant cravings for attention, I'm worried I'll come home to a very upset cat.

She also doesn't play at all, and she doesn't seem to have a clue what to do with a scratching post. I'm wondering if there are ways to introduce her to play to improve her quality of life a bit.

She really doesn't seem like a "typical" feral cat to me - but this is my first time trying to rehabilitate any kind of feral cat, so any suggestions would be much appreciated.
post #2 of 12
Thats not a feral. Feral means wild, and even though a lot of them can be tamed well - I've never had them become loud and clingy (generally they turn out more moderate).

It sounds like you have someone's lost or tossed pet, who at one point must have been really loved on as a kitten. This makes it a lot easier for you.
First you need to get her to the vet to make sure there's not another reason for her litter box issues. Then I suggest you look in the behavior section on this forum as there are more suggestions there about retraining a cat to use a litter box and what to do about peeing out of box.

As for you being away, she'll adjust. Cats tend to sleep a lot and once she knows your schedule she'll probably spend most of that time sleeping. If she's cat friendly you could later look into adopting another cat to keep her company. Put cat nip on and around the scratching post - and offer her other types of scratchers. Some cats prefer the cardboard ones that lay on the floor.
She'll adjust to being inside, too, but it'll take time. All of the strays I've taken in take a week or two to adjust and decide to play. I have one that never touched a single toy for over two weeks, now she's playing all the time (when she's not sleeping).

Good luck with your little girl. I hope she's healthy and learns with a little time. for plenty of patience. Any chance you'll share her name and some pictures of her soon?
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
I'm thinking you're spot on here. The lady I got her from told me she was feral - and she does act really skittish around humans she doesn't know - but I think you're right. She's not wild. That's apparent within the first few hours of having her here. I had jumped online preemptively to try to be ready for her when she got here, but this is definitely not a wild animal.

The litterbox problem doesn't seem to be a problem here. While I was googling for solutions to it, I heard scratching behind me - she was using her box. The lady I got her from had another cat, so I wonder if her litterbox issues may have actually been issues with the lady's other cat.

The lady also said she was constantly trying to get outside. She hasn't done that once here so far - but of course, this is her first night at my place.

She's a bit scared. She's not hiding, but she's walking around yelling a lot. She took to her food and water bowl eagerly. She also seems to have found a comfy spot in my papisan chair. As I type this, she's now running around and hopping up on the windowsill. I think she's figuring out that this place is all hers, and she's happy about that. :-)

Oh - her name is Shadow. My digital camera isn't working, but she's a tiny little all-black short hair with big green eyes.
post #4 of 12
Lots of cats are skittish, it's fairly normal. When my doorbells rings I have a stampede of cats running to the bedroom to hide.

Keep any eye on her and keep any soft stuff picked up off the floor - like towels or dirty clothes. It may be that she pees outside of the box occasionally. In a healthy cat, it's part habit and part from stress - which like you concluded could be from living with another cat that she may not have liked.

I hope she loves her new home and the two of you get along great. She sounds like a sweet, if loud, little girl.
post #5 of 12
It sounds to me like you have rescued a lost soul. If you believe in karma, you are certainly building some now!

Just be sure she knows where the litter box is. Don't move it, and don't hide it. Keep it very clean.

Love on her all you want to (and all she wants). You can't "overlove" a kitten, so far as I can tell.
post #6 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrblanche View Post
You can't "overlove" a kitten, so far as I can tell.
My semi-feral kittens would tell you otherwise - especially when I'm cleaning out their ears or washing their faces.
post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by surprise_cat View Post
she doesn't seem to have a clue what to do with a scratching post.
You can probably show her! Do it when she looks on you. Take action at the scratching post and do scratch... Encourage her to do the same...

It works if she sees you as a friendly person, worth to take example and advices from.


Good luck!
post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
Well - the litterbox issue definitely seems to have only been a problem at the other place. I got up this morning to clean out one very full litterbox.

As soon as she gets settled in here and a little less scared, miss Shadow is going to the vet. I grew up with cats, so I'm accustomed to what cat poo is supposed to smell like. Her little deposits will actually send me running to the other side of the apartment! I'm wondering if she has parasites or something to make it that extraordinarily foul.

Yes, she is very sweet, and yes, she is very loud. She has been "singing" to me all morning. I have to do some work from home today, so I think she's going to have to learn that sometimes I have to be at the computer, whether she likes it or not.
post #9 of 12
So, in the litter box, is she producing tootsie rolls or cow pies? If the latter, I would be afraid of the intestinal parasites. When you go to the vet, take a fairly fresh sample in with you so they can test it.
post #10 of 12
Thread Starter 
The appearance is normal - she doesn't seem to be leaving any "cow pies." But she is leaving some of the most foul-smelling poo I've ever come across. Maybe it's due to a change in her diet. I don't know what kind of cat food she ate before.

She seems otherwise healthy. She's got some fleas, so I'll be getting her some medicine for that. Her breath was a little rank last night, but after a night of dry cat food, it seems to be improving. I'm guessing her teeth will need to be cleaned. The razor sharp daggers on the end of her paws are definitely in need of trimming, but I'm going to be letting the vet do that!

She has settled on to the electric blanket on my bed, and seems happy there.

After I treat her for fleas, I'm going to have to treat my entire apartment for them. I've been getting eaten alive since last night.
post #11 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by surprise_cat View Post
After I treat her for fleas, I'm going to have to treat my entire apartment for them. I've been getting eaten alive since last night.
Yeah, this is yet another reason why most rescuers use their bathroom as the quarantene. Not only because for many it is the only extra room accessible, but also - the easiest to desinfect / clean.


Fleas are an in-between host for tapeworm. Thus, chances is thus rather big she may have tapeworm. (also known as "broad-worm").

But you are going to the vet, shehe will surely look at this.
post #12 of 12
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by StefanZ View Post
Yeah, this is yet another reason why most rescuers use their bathroom as the quarantene. Not only because for many it is the only extra room accessible, but also - the easiest to desinfect / clean.
No such chance in this place - my bathroom is about the size of a shoebox. I couldn't fit her litter box in there, much less her. My apartment is all hardwood except for linoleum in the kitchen, and I don't have a lot of furniture, so I think after a thorough cleaning and spraying, and washing my bedclothes, the place will be flea free.

I'm anticipating that the vet will have some fixer-upping to do on her. So far my guesses are de-flea-ing, de-worming, cleaning teeth, cleaning ears, grooming, and a checkup.
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