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i'm starting to think Winnie is a true feral

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
well this is day 4 of winnie my new friend living in the house with us. the good thing is that she is using the litterbox, eating her food and water and i think last night she got up on the bed to explore (i found hair there), anyway, i am leaving her alone, got the radio on for her and am giving her treats under the bed. i am not pestering her in anyway, i come in and just talk to the bed in a nice voice...don't look at her or anything like that. for the past 2 days i am now hearing a soft growling coming from under the bed....poor girl
i guess she isn't the happiest camper in the house, do i just keep her locked up in the room till she gets comfortable? i really dont want her wandering around if she doesn't know us or luby (other cat) at all...she did so well at first...maybe shock of being herded up?
post #2 of 8
Originally Posted by kim36
do i just keep her locked up in the room till she gets comfortable?
Yes, that is exactly what you need to do. Her world is totally upside down and she's got to be scared to bits. Expect to have her hiding in the room for weeks, if not months. Seriously. You are going to have to be very, very patient.
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
my heart just aches for this poor girl...i can't imagine how bad life must have been for her...even sadder that she has to hide under a bed.
post #4 of 8
She'll come out eventually don't worry.

Once she has settled down a bit, you could try playing with a wand toy. We have one that had feathers on the end (to begin with) of a long piece of material attached to the plastic wand. We dangled it in front of Adelaide's teepee - but not inside; at first she had no idea how to play. But then one day, her paw reached out to the front of her teepee and dabbed at the feathers we were on our way. I would rub the wand around the front entrance of the teepee and after a few more days she began to actually play with it. After a few weeks, I was able to stroke her with the end of the wand. All of this was at Addie's pace, when I felt it was right to move on.

She didn't play outside of the teepee for a long, long time. But now, she chases around just like any other cat.

It just takes time. You've got plenty of that and plenty of love.
post #5 of 8
I took in a true feral (born & 2 years living on street) in early October (she is called Tabitha)...I live in a 1 br apt so got a large plastic mesh tent and she lived in there (and gave birth to 2 kittens) for a few months. She used to be so scary (there were days I couldn't even get close enough to feed her as she would spit & jump at me)....now she is so lovely....sleeps on sofa and tolerates me touching her. Despite all her hissing and swiping, she never once hurt me, when the paws made contact she was clearly holding back on the claws.
Hang in there, it is absolute magic when they start to come around!
post #6 of 8
Re play, I should have added that for the first month or so when I tried to entice her to play, she would become very angry and saw it as threatening, but as Super Cat says, it takes time. Now she's a maniac when it comes to playing and I wonder if the vets got her age right (they estimated 2, but she seems too playful for a 2 year old).
post #7 of 8
If you have some time to kill, read through Socializing a Feral: The Story of Lucky. Sandi was great at updating up with all of the wonderful leaps, and heartbreaking setbacks she experienced while socializing Lucky. Lucky turned into a big mushpot once she learned to trust, but it sure did take a while to do it! That thread also contains pretty much all of the best advice this site has to offer when it comes to socializing ferals, taking time, working on their schedule, and what to do when.

Poor Winnie, her life must have been so hard before she met you. While it will be hard for her to adjust to this new chapter in her life, she will soon know that she is safe, warm, not hungry, and loved. Even when she knows this it will still take longer for her to really trust you, but it sure will be worth it for both of you in the end!
post #8 of 8
When I was 12 or so, there was a feral in the basement where my mother worked. They trapped him, and we brought him home, and named him Phizzy (the building he was in the basement of was called the Physical Plant at the time (a department on campus)).

We set him loose in our yard and put food and water out for him. At first he was very very wild and would run away if anyone got near him. Apparently the guys that worked in the basement teased him and yelled at him so he was very afraid of humans.

IIRC it took me 2~3 months to socialize him. I first started by setting food out on the concrete and sitting on the porch as he came up to eat. Then I would talk to him (which at furst made him run, but then he got used to my voice). After he was used to me talking I would set out treats when I fed him, so he would associate my voice with that. I started to set the treats closer and closer to me, until he was within reaching distance but I didnt reach for him for at least a week.

When I was sure he was totally OK with me being there, I would hold his treat in my hand, until he was confident enough to take food from my hand. After that I was able to touch him. Just on the head at first, but as he warmed up to me, he would rub my hand, and then pet himself with my outstreatched hand.

Soon enough he would run up to me and be totally clingy and lovey When he finally trusted me, he seemed fine with my parents as well, and would warm up to new people very fast.

With patients and lots of love, I'm sure you can turn your kitty around
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