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Taming a feral stray...

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I have three cats. Two of which were from the shelter and love being around people. The third cat, Ella, is a feal stray that I have had for about 5 months. She is very afraid of me and will not come out from under the bed when I am around. At nighttime, I hear her playing with my other cats and chasing them around my apartment. She eats well and I have had her to the vet so she is healthy.

She comes out a little more often while I am watching tv (I see her out of the corner of my eye) and if I move, she jets into another room.

I give my other cats tons of playtime and affection- but I can't get near her. I let her watch me pet and play with them, but she doesn't want any part of it. Am I doing something wrong? I see her looking out my window a lot when I pull into my driveway, so I am assuming she really misses the outdoors. I don't want to keep her as an indoor/outdoor cat because I don't agree with that and I live on the second level of an apartment building anyway.

Am I doing anything wrong? I try to give her treats but she won't eat them until I leave the room...

...any advice would be great! Thanks!
post #2 of 10
Her behavior does not sound at all unusual for a newly adopted feral. Please click here to read the amazing story of Lucky, a feral whose new person felt just like you do now. The thread is chock full of advice and suggestions on how to socialize a feral cat.

Good luck!
post #3 of 10
This is so common of cats who have been rescued. See the Story of Lucky in the feral forum for inspiration:

Here is the link:

post #4 of 10
looks like Hissy and I were posting at the same time. Obviously, the story of Lucky is the perfect one for you to read!
post #5 of 10
oops! LOL Sorry Renae- but yes, Lucky's story is inspirational!
post #6 of 10
I am having the same problem. I recently took in a 4 month kitten from a woman (to be nice, didn't know how to treat cats). She had been around this kitten since about 8 weeks and didn't do anything to socialize it. I work with an organizatin here in Kingman, called HALT.
The director asked me, if I could help this woman with this kitten. (Can we say Sucker). I took the kitten. It is terrified of people. I can only get about 4 feet from it before it runs away. I once surprised him in my bathroom, I closed the door. I wanted to catch him and put him in a carrier so I could take him to the vet and get him fixed. Once I closed off his escape route he went crazy. A trapped wild animal. I quickly opened the door.

I have to do this. It will terrify him, but I need to take him to the vet.

post #7 of 10
Goblin, if a kitten is cut off from humans at the crucial ages, then this kitten will have no socialization skills with people at all. It takes time, and patience, and it is a matter of getting down to the cat's level. Lots of sitting flat on the floor, reading outloud softly while the cat eats nearby, never looking the cat directly in the eyes until the bond has set between the two of you. It is not easy to do, there are times when you make great strides, and then the next day you feel like you are back to square one.

You will probably have to trap the cat in the bathroom, and capture it as gently as you can with a towel to get it in the carrier- but if you do it wrong you will get bit or scratched and traumatize this poor cat even further. They respond so much easier if you can get a baby gate in the doorway going vertical instead of horizontal. They are less likely to panic and start running along the walls and the ceiling if they can see outside of the room they are in.

You might want to consider getting a flower essence and giving this to the cat prior to the vet trip just to calm them down.

Little Big Cat has a mixture you can use for this:

Little Big Cat
post #8 of 10
Hank cam e from a litter of three, his brother Scortch and sister Zelda have found a very loving home of their own and have adjusted wonderfully, but Hank...Hanks' name was Hanks because a man named HAnk was gonig to adopt him, unfortunatly the Human Hank passed away not before he meet Hank and had began to bond with him, but before he could take Hank full time. Well, after Hank came home from being neuterd he was never the same, not mean, just not social anymore. We found out from the vet that Hank had a hearing problem and would probably always be a little skiddish. He is what we call our indoor feral. We know he is healty, and he gets along great with the other cats, he lets us touch him if he is really tierd but he usually dashes off quickly. We have found that Hank will come around us when he wants (not often) and we will accept anything we can get from him at this point. He is a beautiful cat, just wish he was adoptable, at this point he is almoxt 2 so I'm not sure he will ever grow to trust us 100% like the others do, but we keep right on trying. Orangie was almost six before she understood, maybe he will someday too.
post #9 of 10
Some great info here for those who have adopted a stray (or any cat really)...http://www.alleycat.org/pdf/Congratulations.pdf

2 great sites for cat resources are
http://www.alleycat.org and
A bit deeper in these sites are the resources if you can't find them...
post #10 of 10
Try to lure him into the carrier/kennel with food. A little tuna (they love the scent) can get him in there. you might want to try that a few days before the vet appt so that he gets used to going into the kennel for food. Take out the gate on the kennel if possible. and cover the kennel with a towel. Stay away from the kennel so that he doesnt think you are going to get him.If there are holes in the kennel, covering it with a towel will prevent him from seeing you come near it.
This is how i got my 2 feral kittens in the kennel. Most importantly, I would skip a meal so that when it was time to lure them into the kennel with food, they were really hungry and wouldnt be hesitant to go into it. This method was better than trapping them in the bathroom and getting scratched. Its a method that never fails. Until you develop a better relationship with your kitten where you can pick him up and put him in the carrier, i recommend using this method instead of frightening him by trapping him in the bathroom.
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