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New here, and would like opinions!

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
I am with a local cat rescue and we do some trapping, s/n and release (if conditions warrant.)

Last winter, I set a humane trap on my property to catch a female cat who lost her refuge when a nearby stable was torn down. Instead, I ended up catching an adult feral tomcat, who is one of this female's adult kittens.

It was difficult, but I tamed him and he became so sweet that I could neither adopt him out, or release him, but kept him instead.

Last month, I trapped a 10-week old litter from this female, socialized them, and got them all adopted.

I then trapped the mother. She is now spayed and in a spare bedroom. She is eating well, and seems calm, but is still completely wild and terrified of human contact. The only time she comes out from hiding is when I take my other cat in the room. She remembers and loves him and his presence emboldens her.

I have never tamed a feral cat this age (prob 4 - 5) and am wondering if anyone here has, and what my chances of sucess would be. All the kittens from this cat were exceedingly docile and easily tamed, so I'm wondering if that trait is hereditary? Here is her pic.

Sorry for long post!
post #2 of 7
Oh! She is adorable!

First of all - Welcome to TheCatSite! And BRAVO to you for rescuing and TNRing feral cats!

Hissy is our resident expert on adopting ferals. I am sure she will check in soon to share her experiences with you.
post #3 of 7
Wow, you have done wonderful work with your feral colony! And, she is one gorgeous kitty. I've TNR'd ferals in my neighborhood, but haven't been able to socialize the two feral momcats (now spayed). However, just this week, they've started coming very close to me when I feed in the morning. Um, that only took 6 months! But, with her in your home, I'm sure it will be a much smoother process.

I know you will get a lot of good advice here. There are some older threads with plenty of info on socializing ferals. Good luck!!
post #4 of 7
The oldest ferals that I've socialized were about 2 years old - a litter of 3 ferals that were TNR'd early and I adopted when their caretaker had to move out of state. I chose to try to socialize rather than just re-release at my house and it worked for the most part. Sebastian always retained quite a wild streak in him, his sister Samantha was permanently shy, and sister Little Mom was just a mellow friendly fluff ball. Goes to show that in a single litter, how different they can respond to the same conditions.

I have also neutered a number of queens and released them. They have hung around my house and once neutered, I have a much better chance at petting, picking them up and handling them. There were 2 of them friendly enough to come in and out of my house, but didn't have it in them to stay in permanently. They don't like the cold winters here any more than I do.

It's all a matter of building up trust with her. If she has mellow genes (which I know some of mine have) or is a stray rather than a true feral, you can probably do it. Although if she has been out all her life, it will take a minimum of a few months adjustment for her to not want to go back out. It will take a lot of patience, understanding and respect for her on your part to go thru it....and I feel that it is worth the effort!

Keep us posted.
post #5 of 7
Hi patc-

Welcome to the board! I specialize in the older ferals, the ones who everybody thinks should be killed and the ones everyone swears can't be socialized. Well guess what? They can! It takes time and patience to overcome what I call the Terror Barrier that many adults have. It is understandable that they feel so scared, they have seen nothing but brutality (usually) toward their kind, and they are so used to have to fight for everything they can get, that at times they just don't know how to trust or relax.

Here is a an article I wrote about how I do this process. And it does work. But as you work with the older ones, it can get frustrating. One minute they are head bumping you, the next they are hiding under the bed and growling!

Best of luck! You can email me at maryanne@thecatsite.com and I will try to help you along as best I can-

Handling Ferals
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks for nice welcome, and great points of view! We too always try and socialize trapped ferals, but if it's not possible, we try and get good barn homes for them. We never release them if there is not good shelter available.
And surprisingly, there are people who will adopt them even if they aren't perfectly tame. I just got one adopted who I'd had since April. She had a horrible history of neglect and abuse, and was a tough case, but a wonderful couple took her and they don't care how long it takes to really get her tame.

Our main problem, like everyone who rescues cats, is a desperate shortage of foster homes.

As for this girl I have now (I've named her Chanel) I don't care how long it takes to tame her! Here are her kittens who just got homes. I got very attached to them and it was so difficult to let them go. They were so sweet and pretty, people were actually fighting over them at our last adoption clinic!

Two boys - Casper and Casey:

And one tiny girl, Cindy Lou Who
post #7 of 7
Welcome! We also TNR (have done over 90 at a park near our home). We have 17 cats, all who were feral at one time. YES, you can tame a feral!! Like Hissy said it all has to do with time, patience, and the cats personality. We have one that we've had for years now, will let us pet him, but is still very skittish. Then we have one that lived in the park for a few years, who is now our most lovable one we own.

Good for you and good job! I know what you mean about getting attached, that's why we have 17!
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