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Feral cat question (Very long story)

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 
I have 1 stray and 2 feral cats besides my 2 indoor cats. We live in a suburb but it's really close to the river. We live in an area that has lots of animals such as horses, goats & chickens. It's not even unusual to see a deer. I've been working on socializing the ferals for a while.

The oldest one is Sweetie she's about 10-12 years old. She was born in a shed and has stayed around ever since. One of the neighbors had her spayed a when she was a kitten. She used to go back and forth between our house and the neighbors but she pretty much just stays here now. My Mom was trying for years to pet her but Sweetie wouldn't allow it. She would eat out of her hand, follow her around and loved to play but wanted no part of being touched. I moved in 2 years ago with my 2 cats (different house on the same property). Sweetie started to immitate my cats. Sweetie would never meow until she heard my cats now she never shuts up. Shortly after that the stray (George) showed up. Sweetie and George became friends really quick. George is very affectionate and would love to just be petted at first. After a month or two of seeing George being petted she acted like she wanted to be petted. So I tried a couple times to touch her and she was OK with it for a second or 2 until she realized what was going on then would move away. One day she walked up to me and started rubbing on my legs then would move away for a second then come right back and do it again. This went on for a day or 2. After the 2nd day when she did it I reached down and petted her and with in another week she was OK with it as long as nothing was going on around her and I was the only one around. In time she started letting other people touch her (only people she knows). She actually seems to like being petted more than being fed.

OK fast forward to about 5 or 6 months ago. Another feral cat (Blackie) showed up. She's about a year old. At first we weren't sure if we were going to be able to keep her because my Grandpa didn't want anymore cats. My Mom and I would still feed her but my Grandpa would scare her away. A couple weeks later he gave in and didn't mind her here. I started playing with her which she LOVED. She would be waiting for me in the morning to come out and play with her then feed her. Blackie started eating from my hand after 3 or 4 months. I started to try to touch her shortly after. She would come up to me and stand on my leg as long as I had treats but other than that she would stay away. She started crawling on my lap but wouldn't allow me to touch her (weird I know). Earlier this week she started coming up to me acting like she wanted me to touch her so I did. She loved it!! Now anytime I'm outside she wants me to pet her. One morning I was a little late comng out and she went to my door and started screaming and banging on the door until I came out. She will let me pet her anywhere and if I stop before she's ready she will grab my hand and pull it to her. Last night she even crawled in my lap and went to sleep. I know she trusts me because while she was on my lap a neighbors cat came over and started fighting with George and I yelled to stop that and she didn't even run. I figured it would be easier because she's younger but this is crazy.

Here's where the problem comes in. Sweetie and Blackie DO NOT get along. This has been the case since Blackie showed up but it's getting worse. Before as long as they kept their distance things were fine. Not only is Sweetie being nasty to Blackie but now she's scratching me. She will come up to me and ram her head against my hand to be petted then scratch the heck out of me. I know she's probaby jealous of Blackie but I still spend time with just her. I don't know what to do. by the way they have all been spayed/neutered.

Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,
post #2 of 2
First off, what a wonderful job you've done with these cats - you are so kind-hearted

For poor Sweetie it sounds like a case of jealousy - pure and simple . All our cats are rescue cats - 2 from a shelter and one feral/stray. The eldest cat Tippy, would get really jealous with each of the other two cats. She would do the same, demand attention and then scratch or leap at legs with her claws out. She got just as much, if not more attention, than she did before!

I followed the advice I found in books and on sites such as giving them all treats together - and it's amazing. The power of a piece of ham . Not only did they get into the habit of patiently taking turns (which is hilarious to watch) but also associated the other cat with "Treat Time". It might be worth trying that to see if it works.

Good luck.
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