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Could my calico go feral?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Someone suggested I read somethings about ferals. And I must admit, I don't know that much about them. I'm wondering if there is a chance that my new calico persian, Missy Hissy, will turn to more feral behavior. Or maybe that is what she already is having?? Right now she is isolated from resident kitty, Peaches. Henrietta was with her until 3 days ago and still goes in there a couple times a day to hang out and play.

I'm just worried because somebody at work told me the other day that once a cat goes feral that's it. YIKES!
post #2 of 15
don't worry your cat isn't going to go feral. You are still spending time with her right?

Feral cats are wild and only act the way they do because they need to act that way to survive. A cat that is being feed and loved isn't going to turn feral. A kitty that is abanndoned and joins a group of feral cats won't even turn feral. It's kittens will be because they will be raise wild. But that cat will tame back up pretty easily. Kittens of a feral, i just learned, are feral too wiether they are hand raised or not. They will always have feral insticks. But the chance of a pure breed being a feral I would say are slim to none.
post #3 of 15
Well, that somebody at work was obviously not a person experienced with feral cats. You can read story after story here about feral cats very successfully socialized. So they still have some feral characteristics, but make wonderful appreciative loving pets.

If you are feeding, and playing with, and nurturing your Missy Hissy, she will come around. Feral means wild, and refers to cats that live outdoors and have to protect themselves and fend for themselves and hunt for food. You are providing all of these things for her, what would possibly make her turn wild? She will eventually learn that the food will be there, that you will be there, that you are not a threat, and that she can be comforted by you, the person providing all of that stuff.

So, the short answer is, no, she will not "become" feral as long as you are looking after her indoors.

Just be patient, she will come around in time.


edited to add:: obviously we were both saying the same thing at the same time. And just as an example, my Bailey was a stray cat, rescued and adopted out after she had her kittens. And it is clear that she is a pet that got away, from the first minute I held her, you could tell that she was comfortable with people. So she had developed some stray cat characteristics, but is slowly coming around to be a completely socialized cat. So they can and do learn.
post #4 of 15
and ferals can make great pets, they just need to be treated with respect. i think all of my cats are ferals, except for maybe sebastian, but he acts feral too sometimes.
post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by Princess Purr
don't worry your cat isn't going to go feral. You are still spending time with her right?

Feral cats are wild and only act the way they do because they need to act that way to survive. A cat that is being feed and loved isn't going to turn feral. A kitty that is abanndoned and joins a group of feral cats won't even turn feral. It's kittens will be because they will be raise wild. But that cat will tame back up pretty easily. Kittens of a feral, i just learned, are feral too wiether they are hand raised or not. They will always have feral insticks. But the chance of a pure breed being a feral I would say are slim to none.
Yes I still spend time with her. I go in there many times a day and talk to her and try to pet her. I want to let her out but need to make sure she is using the litter box ok. She's had watery stools for a couple of days (I think it was a change in food) but that seems to be better today. She didn't seem to tolerate wet food very well. She's got a lot of caked on stool on her butt and tail but I can't get close enough to her to clean it off. Poor beautiful kitty stinketh! I just feel bad I can't do any more for her. I do get much needed advice from Hissy and she's been great!
post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally posted by Sammie5
Well, that somebody at work was obviously not a person experienced with feral cats. You can read story after story here about feral cats very successfully socialized. So they still have some feral characteristics, but make wonderful appreciative loving pets.
I think you're right. And I was a little offended when the girl at work said that. Especially after reading some stories on the boards here.
post #7 of 15
Hmmmm...I have a true feral cat, Lucky, that was actually born outside and had never been handled as a kitten. She is now a little over 1 year old and I will tell you...with tons of patience and love, our Lucky girl has turned into the most lovable cat in the world. I still can't believe it. She kneads on us now and gives us so many head-butts per day, it's unbelievable. I had been told early on that a feral cat would never be a good pet, but experience with our only feral has proved that person wrong.

I'm sure your cat will be fine and you don't need to worry. Just keep giving her all that love and attention and all will be well. I didn't think a cat could "go feral", though.

Best of luck to you.
post #8 of 15
The only way a cat goes truly feral, is when it is kicked outside, not fed or cared for and forced to fend for iteself. Pure breed or domestic, it doesn't matter, the will to survive kicks in and the cat becomes feral. There has never been in my experience a cat that has been received from a home, going into another loving home and "turning feral," while in that home. Unless there is abuse happening and the cat has to turn on its survival mechanism just to get by.

I would suggest that you just spend time quietly with your new cat, and I would also suggest that you do rename her into something less "feral-like" and more befitting a cat of her nature, so she can settle in and so can you. I suspect she is hissing, and hiding and growling because she does not feel good, and she has not adjusted to life again in your home. I would strongly recommend you contacting a good health food store near you and seeing if they carry Grapefruit Seed Extract, if they do, get a bottle of the liquid, and start putting a couple of drops into her wet food several times a day.

Also start introducing her to fiber, either with adding mashed cooked green beans to her food, or canned pumpkin. Just take it easy with her, don't pursue her or crowd her and she will come around soon.
post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks again Mary Ann. I'm just here learning! Like I said, I don't know much about ferals and somebody made a remark on the board that it sounded like she might be feral. I kind of felt like maybe that meant I was doing something wrong. But they probably didn't mean it the way I took it. I'm going to go to the health food store now. We have a chain here called Wild Oats. I bet they have it.

I'm sure your right about her adjusting. In less then a week she went from her original home, to the humane society, to Liz's rescue, to my house. I imagine that's a lot for a kitty.
post #10 of 15
It is an awful lot for a kitty. You need to give her a scheduled routine and stick to it. Feed at certain times, visit at certain times, feed always in the same place, litter pans (give her two right now) in the same place, always use the same food bowl, same litter pan (washed out of course) When you visit, sit flat on the floor and get comfortable, sing to her softly, or read to her from a book. Read softly don't look in her direction, really just ignore her and see to her creature comforts. That is the quickest way to make headway with a shy kitty is just to ignore them. They hate to be ignored! LOL

Lots of people are misinformed about ferals, so don't ever be surprised what you might hear when that word pops up.

Remember if you can find the GSE buy the liquid only.
post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 
I've been free feeding her. So she always has a bowl of dry food sitting there and of course, water. And I supplement it with wet food once a day. Should I not do that? She does have 2 litter boxes so I did good there!

If she hisses at me should i just back off or should I leave?
post #12 of 15
Free-feeding her dry food should be just fine. Read the directions on the food you're giving her. If you're supplementing the dry food with wet, then measure out the recommended amount of dry food minus a little. Try to monitor for a day or two how much she's eating. True feral cats will eat as much as they can and make themselves sick when they come in from the wild - but even our feral kittens didn't act that way when they came in becase we'd been feeding them outside since they were babies. They were fine free-feeding right off. Your Miss Hiss should be, too. But it's best to keep an eye on it.

There's a "sticky" up at the top of this forum (Feral Colonies) that you might want to take the time to read. Socialization of a feral: The Story of Lucky. This is Sandi's cat that she referred to in her earlier post. It documents the process of socializing a truly feral cat from day one. But it has a lot of tips in it that might help you gain the trust of your "new" kitty.

I agree with MA - I think you might want to rename your kitty to something a little friendlier! I'm a big believer that names affect us....

Also, you may want to take her to the Vet. When the stool is caked on like that, it's best just to shave it off. Also, especially if she has diarrhea, it'll be easier for both you and her to keep herself clean. It can be difficult and traumatic for both you and the cat for you to try to clean off caked-on stool. Not that a trip to the vet and shaving isn't traumatic... just it's over with a lot quicker, somebody else did it, not you, and she will thank you later for it. Cats do not like being dirty, and it is obviously well past the point of her being able to clean herself. We had a kitty that had been abused, and though he skulked for a few hours after returning from the vet for a shave for the same reason, he was one happy kitty after that.

Your poor kitty doesn't feel well, doesn't smell well - and is in physical discomfort like that. Believe me, you'll be doing her a big favor.

And as to the hissing... hissing is the only way she has to communicate to you that she needs space or that's she's scared. Don't jerk or quickly move away - just slowly back off. You don't need to leave the room. I don't know under what circumstances she's hissing - is it when you go to touch her? When you get too near? Or just when you walk into the room?

Either way, reading Lucky's story will really, really help. It's worth the time. It's long, but it's wonderful, and it'll not only help you learn a lot of things that will be so helpful to you in gaining your new kitty's trust, it's just such a happy story!!!!!

I'm sure your story will have a wonderful happy ending too. It takes a lot of time to work with special needs cats - and if your new cat has caked-on stool, she's been in a situation that has made her a special needs cat. Thank you for caring for her! Once you've earned her trust, she will be a loving, devoted friend.

The most important thing to remember is to work on her time, not yours, and it sounds to me like you've got both the desire and the patience to make this work.

BTW - all our cats are feral rescues, and though they're scared of other people and run when the door gets opened or closed - they are the most wonderful, loving, fun & playful cats anyone could ever want.


Keep us posted!!!!! You're doing a wonderful, wonderful thing.


post #13 of 15
Just another thought... you might want to get a stool sample to the vet. It's ok if it's from the litter box. Was she in a situation where she could have gotten parasites? Might want to have the vet check for that if you haven't already. She might need a de-wormer? (Of course it could EASILY be just the change of diet).
post #14 of 15
My cat Max (a feral) had some separation anxiety issues. I would go downstairs to do laundry and I would hear the very pitiful meows coming from upstairs. I started playing him a CD of soft music. The CD was actually made for cats with high anxiety. Gradually he has improved. I really think the music helped him. That might be something you would want to try with her.

Also, he is very shy around stangers. When my friend Robyn came to kitty sit she said on the first day he would just peak around the corner and on the second day she decided to ignore him and he came and sat right next to her. After that they were fast friends and took a nap together on the third day. I agree with Laurie and Hissy about being near her, but ignoring her.

She is frightened and in someplace totally new. She isn't sure what is going to happen to her. Poor little fur baby.
post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thank you everyone! I apprciate you patience with me in my hour of panic! I was so afraid I wasn't doing something right and was going to mess the kitty up for life! LOL I'm going to post a kitty update in the lounge.
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