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Socializing a feral? (long)

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Am I missing something?
Cassi, my meezer mix has been 'in custody' since she gave birth to her litter, she was 7 months old then (she's 11 months old now), as far as anyone knows, including her trapper, she was born feral, though acclimated to humans (she was born into a cared for colony, thus friendly to a degree).

She crates easily, loves the carrier in fact, takes all of her necessary trips to the vet very well.
She loves ear and butt scritches, just eats them up, and she's very vocal, loves to converse.

She's been introduced into my own house full and she's great around the other cats, though she only actually plays with my baby boys, as they are only a couple months older than her.
She even does well with the dog, as long as he keeps his nose to himself.

She is still confined (with her baby of course) when she can't be supervised, as she's still learning how to be a house cat, though she seems to look forward to her nightly seclusion, and will even start trying to get me to follow her to her 'bedroom'.

The trouble?
Well, it's not really a problem, but it makes me feel bad for her.....
She craves attention, she flops over and gets all cute just like any other cat that wants to be pet.
But if you approach to pet her she hesitates, then bolts for cover, and I know she really, really wants some lovin.

I've done blinkies with her, I've tried getting down on her level to approach her, all with the same result.
On good days, she'll stretch her neck out and sniff my fingers before bolting.
She'll play with us, as long as it's string or some other 'long distance' toy.
We talk to her sweetly every time we see her or pass her, feed her, water her, scoop or change her litter, etc.

I've tried treats, but she's not at all food motivated, and she loves catnip, but will not come near it if I'm in reach.

It's been 2 months now and I can't imagine what has caused this obviously loving cat to have such mountainous issues with trust.
post #2 of 4
It's always a hard call to make to read these cats. They can't respond the same to humans as do house cats, because even in a managed colony, contact with humans is limited at best (depending on the size of the colony and the committment of the caretaker).

I would do this, I would go into the room where you know she is hiding, sleeping whatever. Make a small noise before you go through the doorway to announce your presence. Have a few tasty treats in your pockets (Plain Brown Tabby) carries great treats that my ferals love. Go into the room, and lie down on the floor on your back. Just lie there, empty your mind, close your eyes and lie still. Slow your breathing down, pray, sing to yourself, organize your cabinets whatever it takes to just relax. She should come out of hiding and walk all over you, let her explore you to the fullest and when you can, carefully take a treat from your pocket and put it on the floor next to you. Move slow as to not startle her. When she goes for the treat, roll away from her, stay low to the ground and then just get up and leave the room. Do this several times a week- it truly does help to relax them around you, because flat on your back you pose no threat to her.

Just to let you know that when a cat rolls on it's back and exposes the tummy, this is not always an invitation for a pet. It is also a way they prepare for war- their claws and teeth are at the ready. That is just the way of the feral or the stray, unlike a house cat used to being loved, touched, tickled, whatever, a feral has to keep its wits about her or else she might be tomorrow's lunch. Don't take it personal- it is how they survive.
post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
I guess this is more info to file away LOL.
This afternoon I was joined on the couch by a third kitty, Cassi!
Ivory on my neck, Trouble on my stomach and Cassi on my legs
And now she keeps putting her front paws on my leg (I really need to get her claws trimmed)and acting like she's considering some lap time.

Thanks so much for the answers though, I will still be utilizing your advice in the mornings before I let her out of her room, and in the evenings when she is put back in there.
She always seems most receptive at those times.
post #4 of 4
sounds like my oliver. this is the orange cat I posted about recently. It took us 3 months for him to even come out of his cage with hissing or trying to kill us. 3 years later he still does not want to sit with us and on the rare chance that he comes to us if we try to pet him he will bolt. I just try to remind him that he is loved and no matter what he has a good home. My other cat has mothered him and that are well with each other. I think feral cats will always be feral no matter how much we try to tell them otherwise. I would just continue what you are doing and maybe something at sometime will click that she can be comfortable with you.

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