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Socializing a feral cat.

post #1 of 81
Thread Starter 

Hi, I'm new on this site and am not sure how it works. I feed 3 feral cats on the picnic table on my deck. I have been feeding them on and off for 3 years and just started feeding them everyday this past fall.  One of them, (I've named Tiger, he's the picture I use as my avatar) Has had a degloved tail since before Christmas. I found a live trap and caught him and my Vet repaired his tail and neutered him for me. He is now in my spare bedroom and has been for 3 weeks. I'm trying to socialize him but I'm afraid I'm not doing it right. I found an artical that gave me some good info and turned me toward this web site.  I'm just trying to find people that are or have done this before that I can compare notes with and get some help from to socialize Tiger.  Am I in the right place?  Can anyone help me out?  Thanks for listening!

post #2 of 81

Hi and welcome to the TCS site and our Forums!


Oh, yes, you have come to the just right place!  Many of us at this forum, are either active rescuers and or fosterers, or very interested and supportive...


Advices will pour in!


Before we begin, do you have residents? How are they?

Ie is there some for of issue for quarantine.


Dont worry, people comes soon. Otherwise I will return.   :)



Good luck!   *vibes*



ps.  And please do tell more what is going on with Tiger, how does he behaves, what had you tried to do...


ps 2. You wrote your good vet  neutered him.  Swell, but this means he was not neutered before?

So I suspect the others still outside are not neutered yet?

Please begin to plan on neutering them too. Esp now when you do have this live trap, it will be easier.  We do understand if you do have now a lot to think about, and perhaps tight on money, but - still - please plan on neutering them.


post #3 of 81

Hi, bless you for taking this guy in and for feeding and caring for him and the other two cats.  I would absolutely agree with Stephan and have the other two spayed/neutered as soon as you are able.


Please give some more details about your kitty.  Are you able to pet him?  My first advice is to just be patient.  It takes time and every cat is different.  But I will also say it is so worth it!  A feral cat brought inside and given time and patience can become the most loving of cats.


I am anxious to hear your progress, I am currently socializing too!

post #4 of 81
Hi!! My cat Boots is now 7 months old. I socialized him from a feral life at 2 months old.

My main technique was to keep him in my bathroom for 2 weeks, like you've been doing with Tiger. I left a cat carrier in there with a soft fleece blanket inside, and I didn't touch him or bother him while he was inside it. The carrier was his "safe zone" that he could retreat to if he was tired of touching or being around me.

Mainly, I spent as much time with him as I could. I'm a student and this was over the summer, so I had a lot of time on my hands, but whatever you can do is good. If at all possible, spend time with him on a schedule starting ASAP. Cats are huge creatures of habit, and knowing when their person is going to come into the room will reassure them immensely. Give him timed wet meals, as well as leaving kibble out for when you're not there. Most cats love canned wet food, so if you combine the scheduled time with yummy food, he'll warm up quicker.

I mainly laid down on the floor for the first couple of days until he would come out of the carrier. I found that he was a lot less scared of me when I was on "his level," so to speak. If you think about it from a cat's perspective, it makes sense -- a human you don't know, towering over you and reaching down to grab you (and possibly eat you!) is pretty scary. Try laying down on the floor, then progressing slowly to sitting and standing. Also, try to avoid looking at him directly. Cats interpret this as a sign of aggression and dominance.

Play and treat therapy are also great ways to bond with your kitty. Take cat toys with you, especially at first toys that don't require direct interaction with you. Tinkly balls, fuzzy mice, things that skitter across the floor, etc. Boots immediately loved the handheld wand feather toy, although Tiger might not. Play therapy is a great way to distract them from their fear of you while you're in the room, and associate you with something positive, playtime!

Another great tool for socialization is treat therapy. If your boy is food motivated, try bringing in cat treats or pieces of raw chicken to feed him bit by bit while you're there. He'll associate you with the food.

Finally, turn off your "clock" of expectations for his progression in socialization. Every cat is different, and even some people who have non-feral cats find that they never really warm up to their people. He might never be a lap cat or like petting, but eventually he'll most likely want to be around you instead of hiding scared all the time. He might take weeks to be able to come out of his room, so go slowly. Boots is fully socialized now, but he doesn't like strangers (although this is typical for any cat). He has the occasional lap snuggle with me, but mostly just loves to be petted and stroked, and follows me from room to room "helping" with whatever I'm doing.

Good luck, and please keep us updated!!! vibes.gifvibes.gifvibes.gifvibes.gif
post #5 of 81
Oh, one more thing. If you can manage it, try getting him a cat tree in that bedroom. (The store-bought ones are expensive, but you can make them cheap.) Put it by a window where he can look out and see birds and the outside. Cats think of space vertically, which is why laying down helps, so this might also make him feel more secure.
post #6 of 81
Thread Starter 

Hi! Thanks for all the good advice! It seems I'm doing some things right already although I wasen't at first. No I can't pet him at all. He spits if I get to close. And one bad thing is I think he's about 3 years old so he's already set in his ways. I just started going down to his level and not looking directly into his eyes after I read the article on this web site about feral cats a few days ago.  So for the last 2 weeks I've been doing that wrong.  I also was feeding him tuna from a spoon and from what I understand that was also wrong because they are afraid of hands. Is that correct? He was eating it but he'd spit or knock it off of the spoon before he ate it.  But I do have a tall backless shelve in front of the window that he can use like a cat tree and he does. I give him free feeding hard food along with tuna or something yummy every day.He's got a big quilt he likes to hide under and a cardboard box with a hole in it he can go in if he wants. Oh, and he's in my spare bedroom that I learned the hard way, after I put him in there, I had to remove the bedframe and put the matress and box spring on the floor, move all my plants out and clear off the shelf and dresser!! Now it's Tiger proof!  I tryed to play with him for the first time today. I layed on the floor with him about 4 feet away and had feathers on one of those little poles. He only spit once or twice then he just let me sway the feathers over him and around him. He grabbed them in his mouth a couple times and held them down with his paws but I don't think he was actually playing. One good thing, the iris's in his eyes didn't get big. They stayed small.  And I guess thats a good sign. When they get big it means he's scared, am I right?I only go in the room twice a day.  Once in the morning to clean his cat box and fill his food and water dish, and then again in the afternoon to try to socialize him.  I've read to him to get him used to my voice or just sat and talked to him. But only for about 10 miutes or so. I've got another cat named Miesha.  So if by chance I can socilize him, I hope another cat will not be a problem I'm scared he might hurt her.  But, I don't want to get a head of myself. It may be impossible to socialize him because of his age. Well, I think I've covered just about everything.  Anything more I can do? All the advice I can get will be appreciated!!!    Oh, and I plan on getting the one female for sure spayed. But I've got to wait untill I can fit it into my budget. I can't ask my Vet again. I think that would be taking advantage of him. But there's a mobil spay and neuter unit, that makes appointments and it's at a reduced price.Maybe next month I can catch her.  The other cat doesn't come that often. I don't know if he belongs to someone or not.  Anyway, thanks again!  Can't wait to hear from you again.....,.Cathy  (Mishasmom).

post #7 of 81
Oh, yeah. I couldn't pet Boots at all for the first week or so. It was pretty funny watching a tiny kitten spit at me like some sort of devil. He sure thought he was vicious. laughing02.gif

You're right, since he's an adult it's going to take longer to socialize him. But don't give up! It's really rewarding in the end. smile.gif

The overarching goal with socialization is to get the cat to view you as nonthreatening. Think of it from his point of view -- you're an entirely different species that's suddenly taken him out of his home and everything he knows. Now he's in a weird new place, without his cat friends or the ability to hunt, and he doesn't know if you're going to eat him or not. So getting him to be comfortable around you is the end goal. Anything extra -- liking pets, being a snuggler, whatever -- is just bonus points.

As far as his pupils go, I actually find that when my cats are playing (i.e. in hunting mode, as that's the kitty version of "playing" and why cat toys resemble prey), their pupils get the largest they can possibly get. So I think that he doesn't see the wand feathers as a toy/prey thing yet. My guess is if you keep it up he will, though. Try dragging it across the carpet as well as waving it in the air.

As long as you do introductions properly, when you do eventually introduce him to your other resident kitty there shouldn't be problems. But this is no guarantee.

More good luck with socialization vibes!! vibes.gifvibes.gif
post #8 of 81
Thread Starter 

Thanks StefanZ!  Hope to hear from you again!

post #9 of 81
Hi Cathy and Welcome clap.gif Thank you for caring for the feral cats. First off, nervousy.gif I don't know if I would wait to get that female trapped and spayed..... she soon will be going into heat and then you might have many more on your hands to care for ohno.gif... Can you try a TNR group in your area. It is extremely inexpensive. ONly about $35.00 for the sterilization, shots, worming, ear tip, microchip and flea product. Then you would just release her back outside after one day of recovery. You would need a large dog crate to place her in for her 24 hour recovery. Let us know if we can help you further with this process. hugs.gif

You are doing a fantastic job with Tiger. Congratulations. It could potentially take a very long time for him to come around, if ever OR..... it could be a fairly easy process. You just will have to give it some time and have much patience to see if he will be willing to accept connection with a human. It is very, very possible and can be done agree.gif!!!!!

You can try the plug-in Feliway diffuser in his room too. Might help him to feel more secure and safe right now. I would spend as much time as you can in that room. Reading quietly outloud, being on your computer (laptop), play some peaceful classical music, put a worn nightshirt of yours in his room, preferable where he hides and sleeps and change it out every other day with your fresh scent. I will try to get some more articles for you to read and will post them for you too. Keep us posted on Tiger rub.gifvibes.gifvibes.gifvibes.gifvibes.gifvibes.gifvibes.gif

Here are a couple:
post #10 of 81
Originally Posted by mieshasmom View Post. I've got another cat named Miesha.  So if by chance I can socilize him, I hope another cat will not be a problem I'm scared he might hurt her.  But, I don't want to get a head of myself. It may be impossible to socialize him because of his age.

Right, taking in an oldie is almost always more difficult than a young. It takes almost always long time, sometimes you dont success...  Althugh you helping him when he was hurt probably does help some. Almost pity he wasnt hurt really hard - helping a severely hurt ferale does open the window wide open again.

But. It doesnt necessirly matter.  What is socializing, what is to get him tame? You hope to get a loving pet bug out of him. But it may be so, you just manage to get him tame.  And this you will surely do however it goes..

Ie, he will not be pet, but he will accept to live inside the house...  We have forumites who had such a tame semiferale at home. Adopted when they were about 5-6 years old. After 5-6 years inside - they at last did become beloved pets, coming to Mom, asking for petting...

If it is important for you to save a life, it can be done, even if you dont get immediate pleasure out of it.


About your other cat, the resident Miesha.  Usually they dont have big troubles with residents, and tries to be pal with them. He is now neutered, so it will be easier. And if he proceeds to be shy of you, he knows he MUST be pal with her if he shall manage...

And later on, you will have some help from this your friendly(?) resident, being the ambassadeur. He will see you are friendly with this other cat, his pal...

Now, some experienced fosterers prefer to foster the ferale themselves, alone. There is some risk the ferale otherwise will be pal with the resident, will feel it is enough, and will not be eager to be pal with the human...    So do proceed with your tries!


But the other way around IS possible, and if you dont manage to do it on your own, dont resign. There is always this other route via Miesha.


You can also make a compromise: set in a net in the doors, and let him see you play and cuddle with Miesha through the net door (or baby gate).


Good luck!



ps last here.  As said, usually you can do it, this way or another. but sometimes you do notice, it doesnt goes forward, you dont have time nor forces any more,   OR the cat is apparently in distress and not feeling any good inside.  Release?  Yes, sometimes it is the lest bad to do.

It is a horrible crime to dump a home kitty, especielly inside only.  But these are ferales / semiferales, survivors, who did survived several years on their own. So they will manage, especially as they are neutered now, and will proceed to get some protecions.

It is nothing fun to do so, but entirely feasible.

But if you DO have time, will and place, and he doesnt seem to suffer being at your place - it is just to proceed.   The victory will be yours, this way or another..   :)

post #11 of 81
Thread Starter 

StefanZ,  Thanks so much for you advice!  Your friends that had the 5-6 year old feral cat...was the cat that old and totally feral when they brought him into their house?  That gives me a little hope if that was the case.  When I went in his room today he was still spitting and stricking out at me.  It gets a little depressing!  I think I have got to try and spend more time in there with him but it's hard to do when there are other things I have to do. I go in for sure everyday and feed him something good like tuna or cooked hamburger.  I would think , knowing good food coming from me would be a good thing in his mind.  I wish I could understand the thinking of a cat.  I don't think he is suffering, as he will eat the  special food I bring in. I put pieces on a long wooden spoon and give it to him. At first he spits and slaps at the spoon but then he eats it off the spoon.  He seems to enjoy sitting on the stand in front of the window. It's about 4 feet off the floor.  Well, I'm gong to keep trying for a while yet.  If anyone else has any good ideas I'd love to hear them.  Thanks again StefanZ!!

post #12 of 81
Originally Posted by mieshasmom View Post

  Your friends that had the 5-6 year old feral cat...was the cat that old and totally feral when they brought him into their house?

Yes, it was so in both cases.  The first one I heard on "my" swedish forum. the second here.

In Sweden we do have seldom outside kities like is common here in USA, so if you want to save them, the only way to do it is by adopting... That is why I wrote this of saving a life, even if you dont get immediate benefits out of it.  They got them house tame, and so they lived semiferal in the house for several years. Become loving pets first as "senior citizens"

In US you often can have them as outside kitty...


Anyway, it does take time, hopefully shorter than this, but you cant count on one or at most three months...


Yes, food is a strong factor. It doesnt every time must be the most good food. As long as he accepts and wants it as food...   So go in to him several times a day, with food.  Preferably at the same time, they will feel safer with a predictable schedule.

But perhaps you have in there dry food all the time for him, so you must come with the goodies?

I wonder if it may be idea to play it dirty, and you come with all the food...  Not nice, Im revolting to the idea, but may be best after all.   Have this in mind.


You had got a lot of good advices from the others, I will mention some of my usual advices - most of them probably already mentioned.


Talk a lot to him in a friendly, low voice. You can sing some.   Mothers talk to their kittens, and friendly toms court to the females with sounds...Often surprising lotsa different sounds


Dont look straight into the eyes... its hostile for cats. Home cats are used to this, of course.

Look on the ears, or a little aside.


You can also semi-close the eyes sometimes, or yawn a little.

If you dare to go on all fours, strech yours hands forward, you backward...  And vice versa.

All three like friendly cats do.   (cats yawning and stretching is not because they are lazy, sleepy or just wakened - it is for greeting a friend; - another cat or their human).


Classical harp music is good.  Any soft, calming music is good, but harp is best, our experienced LDG tells.

A Feliway diffuser may be useful.   IS usually useful, but not necessary: most fosterers manage without.  Besides, its not cheap.  You can get it a little cheaper on postorder, feks from Amazon or Ebay, but still not cheap.



Good luck!   *vibes*

post #13 of 81
Thread Starter 

StefanZ,  Yes someone mentioned that feliway deffuser, so I ordered one online today.  Hoping it helps!  And yes, I will try your tips, yawning and stretching, anything that might help!!!  thanks.gif.

post #14 of 81
Thread Starter 

I think I've had a small breakthrough with Tiger!!  I've taken all the advice that everyone has given me and put it into action. And believe me, getting up and down from the floor isn't a very easy thing for me to do, but he is worth it!  But anyway....I was laying on the floor about 2 feet from him trying to play with him with one of those fishing pole toys with a long fury thing hanging on it and he started playing!!  Not a lot but he played! And then he started bathing himself in front of me, showing his underbelly while bathing!  Then he walked up to the bowl of special food I brought for him and ate the whole bowl!  To me thats a break through!  Am I reading to much into it or is this truly a break through?  I can't wait to hear from some of you!  Thanks for all your good ideas!

post #15 of 81
YAAAAYYYYY! clap.gif

You're right, that's definitely a breakthrough. agree.gif

Just keep going, and it should get easier. Eventually you won't have to lie down with him anymore. If it helps you could try one of those low lawn chairs when you start sitting up. I would try sitting in the next day or two.

Keep up the good work, and he should start coming around.

post #16 of 81
That is a wonderful breakthrough! Showing you his belly! Wow!

Thank you for your kind words about my group. I would love to compare notes on our progress. Every little step forward is so exciting.
post #17 of 81

Yes, I agree, He isnt so anxious and stressed any more, had began to relax.


It should go on better and better now.   Learning dont works well if you are very stressed, not the deep learning. That phase is over now.   :)



Good luck!    *vibes*

post #18 of 81
woohoo.gif It's the small victories that really count in this process. Excellent news about Tiger grooming in front of you..... And then eating happy2.gif. Very good sign. Now things will move a bit quicker for you and Tiger. There may be setbacks so don't get disappointed ..... Just keep on with your gentle patience and you will win his heart forever heartpump.gifrub.gifvibes.gif
post #19 of 81
Thread Starter 

woohoo.gif        banana1.gif   hyper.gif  hobbes.gifjive.gifwow.gif.   TIGER LET ME PET HIM TO DAY!!!!!!!!!     I was napping with him, slowly moving my hand closer and closer to him.  He finally touched it again with claws open then started licking it!  I slowly stretched out my fingers to scratch him and he let me!  For about 5 or 10 minutes I scratched and petted his head, and he acted luck he was drunk with effection!!  But then all of a sudden he got up and walked away. It was like someone hit a switch.  I was so shocked I had stopped talking to him while all this was going on, then I softly started talking and I think maybe that was the switch.  What do you think?  Do you think I'll be able to really make friends with him?  I really, really need to get everyones thoughts on this!!   Thanks  everyone!  Can't wait to hear from you all!!   Your new cat friend.......Cathy

post #20 of 81
Cathy - YOU HAVE MADE FRIENDS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! heartpump.giflaughing02.gif Cat's will be cat's bluelaugh.gif. When they have had enough - they will walk away.... don't let that bother you. AND he could have heard something that you did not and that called to his attention. This was an amazing cuddle session and I see many more of those to come. Great job with Tiger clap.gifclap.gifclap.gifheartpump.gif
post #21 of 81
Thread Starter 

Thanks!!! I'm so thrilled!  But I have one question. He always hisses and growls when I first come in the room. If he still does that, is that normal?  I guess I just don't trust what just happened.  I can't wait for tomorrow mornings session to see if it happens again.  I like this cat so much, I want him to join our little family so bad!!  Thanks again....,...Cathy.rub.gif.

post #22 of 81

Hi Cathy ... Our Calie we have had for 2 years now. To this day I still am not able to hold her, pick her up, or pet her just out of the blue. She has just recently let me pet her at the base of her tail when she is eating her breakfast. But that is about it for petting now. She does come into my lap to eat tuna for a treat. I think the smell of the tuna wins out. She is addicted to the tuna & the only reason she gets in my lap is because I put the dish on my lap. But like I have recently said, last night I woke up twice & found Calie next to me sleeping & purring. And now tonight when I went past the bed, Calie was very comfy on my side in my spot. Another first. So there is hope with your newest member. It really does take alot of time & patience. 1 step forward & 3 steps back really does apply here. We still have a long way to go with Calie. But she has also come a very long way in these 2 years too. It's tough not to get attached to ones that you work so hard with to gain their trust. But ferals really do seem to make the most loyal pets. I am rooting for you. It is frustrating at times, but don't worry, you're doing an awesome job. rock.gif



Caliesmom  rub.gif  The Hubby (Bubbers Human)  catman.gif  Shadow   paw.gif   Bubbers   greenpaw.gif    Calie    caticon.gif


Temporary The Tortiouse Kitten      bigeyes.gif   

post #23 of 81
Originally Posted by mieshasmom View Post

For about 5 or 10 minutes I scratched and petted his head, and he acted luck he was drunk with effection!!  But then all of a sudden he got up and walked away. It was like someone hit a switch.  I was so shocked I had stopped talking to him while all this was going on, then I softly started talking and I think maybe that was the switch.  What do you think?  Do you think I'll be able to really make friends with him?

He may simply got enough for the moment!  My residents, the cats I do know best, do so now and then.  And Im just happy with this, because I know the other times they do accept cuddling without showing much pleasure, they do it voluntarily.    Because if they dont want to, they can always go away - and sometimes do.  (most often they do enjoy, even beg for cuddling, but sometimes they just do accept).   A dog would probably stayed on, because Im the Master.  A cat goes away if he dont want more, because im just the Dad.


Anyway, whatever it was, this was a major breakthrough.   :)




post #24 of 81

Great, great news!   Things will only get better, steady wins the race!   How excited you must be!   And how nice for him to have someone love him so much.  Soon he will be looking forward to your sessions like you do.

post #25 of 81
Thread Starter 

Update,    He let me pet and scratch him again today, for about 5-10 minutes, but he still hissed and growled when I first came in the room.  And after he had, had enough He would strike out at me like he did in the beginning.  So I quietly filled his food bowl which is right there where we interact and took the water bowl, crawling slowly backwards and he hissed and struck out at me. I filled the water bowl and crawled slowly back in and he hissed and struck out. So I laid down and took his fishing pole toy and petted him a little with it, (he likes that) then slowly crawling backward left the room.I wanted to end on a positive note. Do you still think I'll be able to get him to trust me? Do you think he'll always be angry?  I really need some insight on this.  It does make me wonder if he'll ever totally come around. Please help me here my new friends......I was a little depressed after this  mornings session even though he let me pet him and he licked my hand again.    confused.gif  7.gif  please.gif.   


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   Your new Friend.....Cathy




post #26 of 81

Nay, some backwards is common. two steps forward, one backwards...


Everything is new for him in this journey. He dont recognizes the feeling... How to be defensive, he know, but how to be trusting you, accepting the cuddles, beg for cuddles, is entirely new...

Dont worry.

Be observant, be careful, dont take stupid risks, but it should go forward, slower, quicker, sometimes backward, but the overall forward.



When he struck out at you, did you see if he has claws out or claws in, soft paw?

Soft paw is very promising!   So are they teaching their friends and relatives.



Good luck!

post #27 of 81

I think you're doing a wonderful job and considering that it's only been a week or two Tiger is doing a wonderful job too. Socializing a feral cat is no different than socializing a wild animal. It's like grabbing a raccoon and try to make him a pet. It's going to take a very long time if it's even possible at all. I'm actually surprised that Tiger has made so much progress in such a short period of time and that's a very good sign. I have two semi-feral brothers, D and G, and it's been very slow going with them. G has let me pet him from the beginning but only when he feels like it. D wouldn't let me touch him at all though and it took two years before I was able to lay a finger on him. I can now pet him when he's laying down on his bed and he does like it but other times he runs from me if I come too close. Compared to D Tiger is making remarkable progress. Be patient. This is a long process and it's most likely going to take months. Remember that he is terrified of you. Feral cats view humans as a threat just like they would view any predator so the fact that he lets you touch him and come near him is huge. I think his progress is very promising.


What are your long term plans for Tiger? Are you planning to keep him or are you planning to adopt him out? If you are planning to adopt him out that may be difficult. Socialized ferals tend to be a one person cat, only okay with the person that socialized him so if he's placed with different people he would most likely revert to his feral behavior.

There is no reason why he couldn't be a part of your family though. But keep in mind that he may never be like your other cat and will probably always have some "issues" more or less. But as long as he's happy does it matter if he's a bit different? He may not be a cuddle bug and only have occasional close contact with you but that's okay. You can still be a happy little family with a special needs cat-child. Although my semi-feral boys are not okay with having a lot of close contact with me they are perfectly content running around the house and living like any other cat. G comes out and shares my husband's yogurt in the mornings and D loves to sit on our kitchen table and look out the window. As long as I don't stretch my hands out to him he's fine. I'm sure Tiger can live a normal happy life with you and your other cat too. Judging by how much progress he's made so far chances are good that he will do much better than my boys. I would recommend that you prepare yourself for the possibility that he may always keep his distance.


I don't think you need to worry that Tiger will hurt your other cat. He's used to other cats and will relate to her just like a tame cat would. His issue is just with humans, not cats. As long as you introduce them properly I'm sure they'll do just fine.


I think you're doing a great job with Tiger but I would change one thing - the feeding. I would not free feed him right now if you don't have to. Instead I would feed him twice a day and maybe mix some wet food in with the dry food to make it more tasty. That way he will associate you coming in with good things and he will learn to depend on you more. Eating with you present is also good as he will learn that you're not going to threaten his food. I'd also spend some more time in the room with him. The more the better but not so much that it stresses him out. Just bring a book and sit there and read. I know sitting there petting a cat can get really old really fast:)


Oh, BTW, we'd love to see more pics of Tiger! Pics are always a good thing.


post #28 of 81



I first read your thread, following the advise and support you have recieved so far, and frankly was excited for your progress. I have worked with ferals for many years now, and in your first week you have done so well.


You asked a couple of times about the hissing at first sight of you entering, this is very normal and will continue for some time. In your absence, he is still all the way feral, more or less, but you are showing him he has nothing to fear in you when you are present.

At some point, and it can be sooner than not, or take months, hard to say as they all progress differently, but he will not. He may even stop, then a few days later, do this again. It is only his instincts that he has always known, to fear humans due to complete lack of exposure. That's really all a feral is, lack of exposure to people. No fault of their own.

They are not wild cats from way back in the days, they have domestication bred into them and deep down inside have the very same needs/wants ans any other house kitty does, they are simply waaay too frightened to even know this though.

You have seen the beginning of this by being allowed to pet him.

He will eventually even purr with your affection, and that my friend is a wonderful feeling and a huge step.


Ferals are not hostile towards other cats. Only people.

Your resident kitty will be fine, they may even become great pals, especially since he is male and she is female. This is good :)


I suggest since you are leaving dry all the time for him, that when you enter to give him goodies/treats he loves, do not put them out for him. Hold back as if you have none, get down to his level, and hold the treats in your hand. MAKE HIM COME TO YOU.

I have had amazing trust progress this way. I have had ferals actually shaking as they approached, I felt so sad to see this, but they still came just the same. He will learn you are safe, and good, gentle and loving.


The more he spends time with you, the faster your progress will go. Times when you have something else to do, if it's possible to do this in his room, do it. Even as you walk past his door, slowly open it and say hi. Everytime he sees you is good.


Also when you are in with him, always keep the same sweet tone, I sing, hum, talk about everything and anything, it's almost therapy for you too!


You're doing an awesome job Cathy, I will check in daily to see how things are coming along.


In my rescue group, most of my fosters are softies for kittens, my heart is for the ferals, they were once a kitten too, and have gone through so much in their lives, hungry, always fearing a predator or danger, cold weather, lack of love and belonging. No real place in this world. A nuisance, disposable. Very, very sad to live this way.

Love what youre doing!

post #29 of 81
Cathy, socializing an adult feral can take many, many, many weeks. Some will be much sooner and some will never socialize, ever. I DO NOT think that Tiger is the later. I do think this cat is not truly feral, he has had human imprinting at some point many years ago. He is at least three years old, right? Please know that the progress you have made is far above and beyond what most feral adult cats will ever tolerate from a human. His hissing, growling and lashing out at you is all from fear. This WILL pass. You have to be much more patient and don't get so worried that you are doing something wrong OR that he will never come around. Think the opposite. You must be positive when you go in that room. He will sense your insecurities and this will make him frightened. I would NOT crawl backwards out of the room on your hands and knees...... that will look very odd to him and make you seem more prey like..... It is fine to go down to his level when you are interacting with him. But when you come in and leave the room do it standing, slow moving. When you leave the room, stand and turn your back and quietly, slowly leave the room. ALL feral cats are frightened when a human walks or stands up. This could take months for him to get over - but he WILL. Just be consistent in your movements at all times. Eventually he will learn to accept this new life. He sounds very, very loving and want's that connection with you. Do not over pet him right now. When you get a few pets in - leave it at that. Try to stop petting before you think he has had enough. Honestly, there are many cats who do not like petting. My Perkins loves head butts laughing02.gif no hands. Only after eighteen months of age has he started letting me pet him. I love him so very much - it does not matter to me one way or another. You have to find a way to pet without over-stimulating his senses. Try under the chin, behind the ears. A whole body petting might be way too much right now. Slower is best, the slower the better. If you are in toooooo much of a rush to get him acclimated into your little family, then you are setting yourself up for failure. Let him tell you when he is ready for the next step. Keep the same visits, bring the wonderful canned food, play with him with the toys, read aloud to him, spend a lot of time in that room if you can. Hope this helps a little bit hugs.gifheartpump.gifwavey.gif
post #30 of 81
Hi Cathy,

I know the ups and downs of socializing, but you are doing so well. Don't get discouraged by little setbacks. I truly believe he will come around. Slow and steady wins the race with socializing ferals. One day you will be encouraging someone going through what you are going through now.

Hang in there and keep posting updates! I have had one of the older kittens since right before Christmas, and he is just letting me touch him this past week!
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