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Placing a semi-feral cat into new home. Need input!

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
I'd like to get some input about a potential adoption that is in the works. Our rescue has a cat, Annie, who is borderline semi-feral. She doesn't want to come within 2-3 feet of a human and can't be touched except for on rare occasions when you catch her at the right time. It's not often, just maybe once ever other month. She didn't have contact with humans the first few months of her life so she has a very deep set fear.
We've posted her on the internet for adoption although getting her adopted is a long shot. But a few days ago we actually got an email from a girl who is interested in adopting her as a companion for her current cat. That's really great news but I am a bit worried. Annie currently lives with seven other cats and has for over two years. There are only two humans in her foster home and she has a lot of space where she doesn't have to be with the people. The potential adoptive home has three pre-teen kids and three adults and only one other cat. Since she prefers to hang out with other cats and are only comfortable among them I'm a bit worried that there is only one other cat in the home and a lot of humans to get used to. She's mainly going to be cared for by one of the adults and will have safe space in the bedroom but it's still a big change for her.
Ideally I would like to see her going to a sanctuary and live with many other cats but finding a sanctuary spot for a cat is extremely difficult. Making her a barn cat is not an option since she has lived inside since she was a kitten. Because of that I'm leaning towards approving the adoption as long as everything checks out. I'd just like to get some input from others that have experience with semi-feral cats on whether or not this would be a good choice for a cat like Annie.
post #2 of 24
Gosh, I wouldn't want to tell you to turn away the potential adopters. My concern is the amount of people in the house too. Annie probably won't do so well with pre-teen kids. Alot of noise and I am sure they will have friends over alot too. The other concern with the kids and friends coming in and out, is the potential for the door to be left open on accident and Annie getting out. I don't want to put a damper on the possible adoption but just some of my thoughts. If they were to keep her confined in a room for quite a long while, then it might work. Annie will also regress alot being placed in a new situation and home and will be hiding out for awhile until she starts to feel safe. She sounds very timid and shy still. Just having the one cat in the new home shouldn't be an issue as long as the other cat likes cats I know it is so hard to place these types of kitties so when a home comes along we want to just go with it, but I would really consider the pre-teen kids as a possible problem for Annie. I sure hope I am wrong though and you have to go with your gut feeling on this. It would be great if it could work out for Annie
post #3 of 24
Another thing to consider - what if it doesn't work out & she ends up returned? Will that do more harm than good to her, long-term, in terms of ever socializing any?

I have a few kitties indoors who sound like that. Gumby I took home from the shelter @ 6 weeks, she's now 1.5 y/o. I can pet her at night when she comes to me, but otherwise can only see her from a distance. Tabitha is like 10ish (?) y/o & I pretty much never pet/touch her at all. Slinky is 13ish (?) y/o & I can pet her & she'll sit in my lap, but she's quick to hand out slaps when enough is enough! I don't mind, but realize most people do mind the lack of contact.

I guess I'd talk to the people. Tell them you'd love to find her a home, are willing to approve their app to adopt (if it's good), but discuss your concerns.
post #4 of 24
Agreeing with those collegues above, Especielly Feralvr puts it very nicely.
I like this idea for adopting out as a companion cat. To people who do already have a lap cat and dont demand another lap cat, but who do wants to give a pal for their resident. Not a very big nische, but clearly bigger than nil.

It should be a good nische for our shy inside semiferales.

Had you tried with a Feliway - diffuser? if not, any new owner should try with this.




This means also - lets support at every opportunity the idea almost every cat does need a companion.
This way, we do create more potential places for adopted ex-homeless and even ex-ferales.
post #5 of 24
Said this, some kids do have a natural hand with cats. For example, our son had always good contact with our shy resident, our first cat. Even although he very seldom did anything with him like giving food, water, or cleaning litter.
Also our other younger residend did liked our son a lot.

Ma´was of course nr 1. The son come in fact as nr 2! Humble me come as only nr 3... It changed some over time as they got older, they becoming better and better friends of me.
post #6 of 24
I have 3 ferals that live inside now and while they love my husband and I their terrified of other people. It took alot of hard work just to get them to trust us. Our house is usually nice and quiet but if we have a dinner party or even just another couple over they hide under my bed on top of each other like they did in the wild. Im worried about all the humans as well. Does the family know she's not gonna be the lapcat of their dreams? Unfortunatley I know way too many people who have gotten rid of unsocialized animals. On the other hand she might bond to one person and find a safe haven with that person. When I was younger I had a cat that never left my room b/c I was the only one he felt safe with. Maybe a trial run is necessary. Whatever happens I hope it works out! Its always great to place any animal into a safe and loving environment! Good luck! Keep us posted!
post #7 of 24
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the great input! My worries were mostly that there is only one cat in the home which wouldn't leave Annie with much company that she's comfortable with. But I hadn't thought much about the kids being a potential problem. They only live there 50% of the time and according to the adopter they are respectful of the cats but of course the number of them and them bringing a bunch of friends over can be a problem. I want Annie to live in a home where she will be relaxed and comfortable and not have to be cooped up in a room terrified.
I still haven't ruled it out though. The adopter is coming to visit Annie this weekend and I'll pay a visit to her home too so we'll see if it will be a situation that may work. Opportunities to place a semi-feral cat in a good, indoor home doesn't come across often. I'm not going to send her somewhere just to get her adopted if it's not the right place for her. But I really hope that it is.
post #8 of 24
I really do hope this works out for Annie too. Maybe if the kids are only over about 50% of the time, then Annie could just be in her room when they are over. I know that is not ideal, but it could work out just fine that way. Here is what I think, Annie would be so scared with the kids coming to stay that she would hide somewhere anyway, right? So if she has a "safe" room, she could just stay in there when the kids are at the house. She would be safe there. And who knows, eventually in time, she would come around to accept the kids, especially if they are kind and gentle (and quiet) with her. I know it is VERY difficult to find a home for a socialized feral, so I am wishing for this to work out
post #9 of 24
Thread Starter 
The girl came to visit us today to see Annie. It actually worked out worse than I expected but the girl is still interested. I invited her into the cat room where Annie was and before we even got there she must have heard a strange voice and went to hide behind a chair. I pulled the chair out a bit so she could see Annie and poor Annie got so freaked out that she darted past us and ran out of the room. She was probably heading to the bedroom but I had put the dogs in there and closed the door so she ended up sitting in the stairs looking terrified. Poor thing.

I am going to try the placement even though it's not ideal. It's going to be very tough for her but any movement of her would be tough no matter where she's going. A sanctuary with many other cats and minimal human interaction would be best but those are extremely hard to come by. Annie needs a permanent home and people willing to adopt a semi-feral cat don't come around very often. This girl is okay with the possibility that Annie will never interact with her. She just wants a buddy for her cat and that's something she can do.
She will be staying in the one bedroom with the other cat for the first few weeks and I think that with a good plan she will be okay after a few days. I have to say that I am worried for her sake though. She is so scared, poor baby.
post #10 of 24
Actually, it was good it happened what happened, and the coming owner saw what she saw. And is STILL interested.
It is the only chance for a good outcome.

Big miracles happens so seldom, so lets us hope for small, everyday, workable miracles. These can happen, and here IS the chance to happen.

How was it, do you use Feliway diffuser? Ie, is it a point to recomemnd a Feliway diffuser to this new owner?



Good luck!
post #11 of 24
Thread Starter 
I forgot to recommend a feliway diffuser to the adopter but I'll send her an email about it. I've actually never used it myself. Does it really work? I've heard from some people who swear on it while others don't think it does anything. In Annie's case it definitely couldn't hurt. Maybe I should put one in my cat room to see if it helps my other two scaredy cats.

I think it's pretty amazing that this girl is willing to take a cat as antisocial as Annie. Very few people would be willing to do that. She mainly wants a friend for her cat and not really another pet for herself and that's something Annie can provide. She was also looking for a hard to place cat. I wish more people were like that.
I have explained to her at length what Annie is like and the challenges she has. I want to make sure that she truly understands that this is not the run-of-the-mill shy cat. It's quite likely that she will never want to interact with humans. She is much better now then she was when she came though so I know she is capable of making progress.

I just feel a bit bad for Annie because I know she will have a very, very hard time when she moves. She's going to be completely fear stricken at first, maybe for weeks. I'm going to recommend that the adopter spends as little time as possible in the room with her at first so that she can relax some and get to know the new environment and the new cat before scary humans come into the picture. She's still probably going to literally fear for her life though and it pains me to know that. Unfortunately it's something she has to go through to get a permanent home. I just wish that it wasn't.
post #12 of 24
That is actually great news that she still wants Annie after seeing how freaked out she was. One of my cats, Perla, who was not feral, is terrified of strangers. Don't know why and she just freaks out like that if she is trapped when someone comes in the house. She hides the whole time they are over too. So some cats just have that type of personality, feral or not. I am sure over time Annie will adjust just fine. These cats are very resilient and if given alot of kindness and patience, they accept change rather quickly. As long as she feels safe and learns to trust her new routine and schedule, all will be well!!!! Of course, she won't think that way in the first day or so.... I am glad for you that you have found this person, and you are right, we need more people like that . Good luck and keep updating about Annie
post #13 of 24
It does sound like it'll be a good placement for Annie in the long run though.

Many vibes for her!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Will her new mom be providing you with updates?

for Annie!
post #14 of 24
Thread Starter 
Bad news. The adopter backed out. She said that she didn't feel that her home was right for Annie. She's probably right. Although Annie could have lived okay in the one room it's far from an ideal situation and I can understand why someone is reluctant to adopt a cat with these types of problems.
I'm a bit bummed about it but at the same time it was probably for the better for Annie. She really does need a sanctuary or a multicat home where she can be part of a cat family.
post #15 of 24
I'm so sorry. But at least she didn't have to go through the trauma of going and then getting returned.

post #16 of 24
I am bummed for you too . But... as Laurie said, better that she backed out ahead of Annie having to be stressed by the move, back and forth... . Keeping my fingers crossed that the right adopter comes along for Annie soon.
post #17 of 24
Right, I agree with these voices above.

I think this process was not in wain. Some thoughts and insight did surely matured with us all. You got a little more experience too...

One point is probably, not seek after an adoption home for her, but "selling" her as a companion cat to a resident cat. And this can be achieved. IF this works out - voilá, she does simultaneously probably have a good adoption home...

As you write a multicat household I understand she is cat sociale? Write it down clear and loud. THIS is her strengh. Not all cats do have it.

IF you are planning on a multicat household:
The problem is, someone who do have several cats may show pity and take in one more, it surely happens, but she is not hot desire. She is not a fresh rescuee. Fresh rescuees warming the heart are easier.

Idea?? It may even be idea to tell a white lie, and tell she was freshly rescued. You had some fostering progress, but understand as she is grown up, she will not be home loving bug for years, perhaps never,
Something like that. Could work.
The risk is the adopter gives up and releases her "back to freedom". A terrible crime dumping a home raised cat, but not big deal with a cat who is supposed to being born ferale and surviving there a couple of years... Even rescuers do so sometimes.
So a contract will be necessary, they shall contact you before they do anything desperate.


Good luck!
post #18 of 24
Thread Starter 
You're all right. It probably saved Annie from a lot of trauma. I do think this was for the better but I also know that the chance that someone else is going to want to adopt Annie is not very high. I have been advertising her as a companion cat and she would be good as that. But it still takes a very special person to be willing to take on the challenge.
Unfortunately I don't think I can claim that she is a recent rescue. Her spay and blood test records are from 2009 and those have to be turned over to the adopter.

I have an idea that I've been entertaining about getting a permanent home for her and my other two semi-ferals that have to be placed together (they are brothers and very close). There are several really good cat shelters in the Chicago area that are set up to keep their cats forever if they don't get adopted. They are cageless and have very nice set ups for the cats. I was considering approaching these shelters to see if they would consider switching three of their adoptable cats for our three unadoptable cats. That way their cats would get out of the shelter and into foster homes and eventually adopted into good, well screened homes while our cats would get permanent homes in an environment that is right for them. What do you guys think of that idea?
post #19 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ziggy'smom View Post
Unfortunately I don't think I can claim that she is a recent rescue. Her spay and blood test records are from 2009 and those have to be turned over to the adopter.
So she was into a TNR-programme... And now the circumstances altered, you noticed she didnt managed quite to live outside, and you took her in.
A little far-fetched, but perhaps not impossible.
Although it may be necessary to make some new tests...

Your other idea may work out, a win-win situation. Cant hurt to talk with them.

Good luck!
post #20 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ziggy'smom View Post
I have been advertising her as a companion cat and she would be good as that. But it still takes a very special person to be willing to take on the challenge.
Looking at LDG´s signature I got another idea in this thema. The FIV+ cats. The risk for contagion is in practice non existing, as long as they dont fight seriously with each other. Or are stressing into extremis.
But I suspect they are in practice very ice-cold to get companion cats. Who would dare? Not all are like LDG. And yet, also these cats do need a nice pal, a companion. Double so. A pal makes their stresses lesser, and thus - safe guarding a long good life for them.

Two cats with each different special need, both friendly to other cats - could make a wonder team. Win - win again...

Is it possible?


ps. I mean, FIV+ cats are not so unusual. Some are already home pets. Other are waiting for adoption. In both situation it would be good to propose a ready solution. A good pal for this cat who DO need a friendly pal.
post #21 of 24
Thread Starter 
I'm not quite sure I understand what you mean about the FIV cats.
post #22 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ziggy'smom View Post
I'm not quite sure I understand what you mean about the FIV cats.
I am a bit confused too , maybe Stefanz is just making a comparison to a hard to adopt out cat like an FIV cat, kinda like your Annie just as far as her temperament and shyness goes though.

I for one, agree with you wholeheartedly about contacting a few shelters with your suggestion and offer. I think that really could work both ways. And Annie would probably love to be around all of the other cats. But..... you are right, in a shelter free-roam environment, she would probably never get adopted and stay far away from all potential adoptors who came in the free-roam room. We have quite a few cats like that at AHS in Huntley. They are there for life , most likely...... But AHS shelter is a great place for cats with lots of walkways and over-head walkways too. They are given excellent medical care, whatever they need. Good luck with that and let me know if I can be of any help.
post #23 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Feralvr View Post
I am a bit confused too , maybe StefanZ is just making a comparison to a hard to adopt out cat like an FIV cat, kinda like your Annie just as far as her temperament and shyness goes though.
Im not sure what is here not to understand?
Or perhaps, it is a choice here not to understand?? I dont know. But I must respect such a choice.

Let me say, there is a proverb: "Let the lame and the blind help each other".
Or something like that. From two helpless invalids, we do get one functioning duo, who can manage quite well and get after all a decent live - together.
post #24 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by StefanZ View Post
Im not sure what is here not to understand?
Or perhaps, it is a choice here not to understand?? I dont know. But I must respect such a choice.

Let me say, there is a proverb: "Let the lame and the blind help each other".
Or something like that. From two helpless invalids, we do get one functioning duo, who can manage quite well and get after all a decent live - together.
Stefanz, I am sorry, I didn't see you p.s. in the earlier post, and now I understand the analogy you were suggesting. And, very good comparison and point. I did not mean to offend you in anyway. .

I love the proverb, and thanks for sharing it. It holds much truth.
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