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Major Grey - making progress or not?

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hi all. I just wanted to let everyone know about
how Maj. Grey has being doing.

He disappeared for a few days and I really
panicked- I left out food -
it was eaten, but I never saw who was doing
the eating. I hoped he had been coming...

Then, last few days, he's been back - making
contact- sticking round the yard AFTER eating -
getting meowy with me.

I think he's eating - waiting and guarding food
from other cats, eating more, resting and
then going off to "do" his thing...

He comes in regular round 8:20 am ish (just
after I get out and call for him). Then he
meows demandingly and loudly (like where
the heck IS that food!?)... he backs off
while I put food down. Lately he
has been not eating the wet, which is funny -
he seems to prefer the dry kitten chow...

Then he wanders over
after I've moved to the deck stairs and sat
down. I talk softly to him while he is eating
and washing up. Lately the last few days
or so, he's taken to hanging in the yard and
resting up. Eats more than one serving -

I am not sure if this is because he is 'guarding'
food from others (there are 2 neutered male
cats that will chance encounters with him,
but that aren't agressive with him (back off).

Neither seems want to fight...Or, Maj. Grey
likes the yard because (oh I do hope so!) he
feels safe and knows he can rest...

At anyrate - I do not know if he is using the
Indy Feral Shelters I put out (I put out 2).

I have a blankie in each, and have checked -
there is fur of every color - black from my Lexi,
Tabby from 2 of the others... white?? and
Possibly grey?? From Maj. Grey??

I've also found alot of tapeworms
ugh! I know that it isn't Lexi, and prob. not the
2 neutered (owned) cats... I think it may be
Maj. Grey's deposits. but if he is using the
shelters at night, I've not seen him go in
or emerge...

When I put down the second shelter his reaction
to it was very funny. He sniffed all round, got down
and looked "under" it (raised up on bricks), poked
1/2 the head in, and waited till Lexi went into before
he disappeared into and explored...A very cautious cat
that seems to have had experiences of trapping??

I propted up pieces of plywood in front of each of the
entrances (there are two entrances
for each shelter - to make ferals more "secure").

This was to keep out rain/wind and provide
privacy entering and exiting...

I have snuggle safe disks which I plan to put
into the upper parts of shelters on Thursday - when our
temps are due to take a dive

Are there any other actions I can take to let
him/get him to go into and use shelters when
it gets cold and rainy?

I have put plenty of catnip round the entrances.
Should I add small bowls with "treats" or

I don't want to encourage bugs or skunks tho...

Anyway.. any feedback? I feel sometimes Grey
progresses with me then "forgets" or gets
scared and "regresses". Progress is slow.
I had hoped to be able to get close enough
to pet him by now. But then .. its all at the
cat's own pace I guess.
post #2 of 7
Sounds like he is doing well. Just keep doing what you are doing, showing him that you are a friend. That is great that he meows at you for the food. That is real communication!

My Will went into his house I fixed up for him last night. I was tickled pink to see him climbing out this morning, so I know how you feel about wanting Major Grey to try out his houses! You have done what you can, just let him be. (My Will is a tame barn cat, so I actually shoved him into his box, and he climbed right back out, but I did tell him it was for him, and have been petting him next to it.)
post #3 of 7
Oh I like threads like this, where it's all about the cat's welfare. It sounds like you're doing everything you possibly can. When you feed him, do you stay close to the food or back off? I tamed a feral once by being a little closer to his food every day until he would eat while my hand was still there. Then he would watch my hand while he ate, and gradually he got to allow me to touch him while he was eating. Eventually he got to like being petted and would sit on my lap and purr even when there was no food.

I hope Major Grey does well this winter. Apparently he knows that you are his human, and it sounds like he does feel safe in your yard.
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks all. I do sometimes sit near. But
he tends to be REALLY skittish.

He is letting me move more around him - not quite as skittish as before. He
came right up to patio door, and watched my Lexi come
in - tho he ran away a bit when he heard the door latch
click to open door. He and Lexi are... welll... I don't
know. I think he "plays" with her? She is a bit
intimidated, but stands her ground...

I am just worried he won't stay in the shelters...
I leave food in the yard overnight, and that's
prob. not good either. but he may not
eat all right away - he stays i think to "guard"

Last night I do not know if he went in shelters.
It was windy cold and raining. He was under
the kayak by one of the shelters... There is another shelter
but I do not know if he goes in it.

Today I am going home and warming snuggle disks
and putting in each of the shelters
upper sections which are isulated and
warm and dry.

I may also move one of the shelters to another location
in the yard - where he may feel safer. One
is currently located to the entrance hole for
the fence/yard, and I think too close to the food site.

He seems to want some distance from the food
and his shelter - which makes sense if others are
looking for his food!!

He was in the yard in the am - earlier than usual..
either hanging out or in (oh I wish it were so!)
one of the shelters...

We are having good meowy conversations - and
I think that with the cold weather he may
hang more in the yard to be close to food
and shelter - thereby giving me the time and
closeness to work toward getting him to
come to me.

( am a real newbie at this and I just wish
I had more experience. I sense this cat
WANTS to trust and be near me, but is
very skittish from the behavior of other
humans esp. a nasty young
boy in the hood - which is why my yard
is gated, fenced and LOCKED at all times!)

Give a prayer that he starts to learn to
use the shelters and to get more used to me.

I am not forcing him, we are going to
develop trust at his pace. It is one of the
reasons I've yet to trap him. Because a)
don't want to break trust and b) want him
to come in on his own. I just have a feeling
he is close to making a big break through!
post #5 of 7
Time, time and more time.

I would not be afraid to trap him and get him neutered and get his shots. That will actually make him easier to tame in the long run, to lower the hormones! Also, he will be less likely to be injured in a fight. Since Will and the other totally feral boy Tommy got neutered, Will has not had a mark on him. Before, he got torn up a couple of times.

However, check with your vet first, as with ferals you generally release them within 24 hours of the surgery, and that might not be good in bad weather.
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
Beckiboo - yeah, I was going to TNR - the only thing
was the weather. But if I did TNR I was going to
keep indoors for the winter weather - maybe
a few months even. I figured if that didn't tame
him down - then he was okay to go out and eat
and shelter in the yard.

I know the benefits of altering... but right now,
IMHO he needs the benefits of being top cat
of the hood. This is because the other cats
eat the food I leave out, but are respectful
to him as he is "top cat" based on smell/hormones.

He doesn't fight with the hood cats - he goes
elsewhere to do that I think if indeed he does...
and in general doesn't appear to be a highly agressive cat
(which is good cause if altered he may
be even sweeter!)

Yesterday poor baby, I moved the shelter 3
times to try and get him in. He watched me
the WHOLE time, and let me get quite close
to him while doing so.

I KNOW he knows what the shelter is for
- shelter natch! But, for some reason he
won't use! I know the other hood cats (all
owned cats) have been in, including mine... is he afraid
of going in the shelter and getting trapped?

Or, is he using but at times I am not aware
of? Usually the owned cats are inside
by midnight. So perhaps he is going in
the shelter later in the night?

I put in cat nip, blankies and yesterday
my snuggle safes. I keep hoping he'll
discover how nice and toasty they are, LOL!!
post #7 of 7
Truthfully...now is a GREAT time to have him neutered. If you don't neuter him now..what will be the excuse come Spring when he is able to find females to get pregnant. Being neutered doesn't change him into a wimp. He should still be able to defend himself. As far as your shelters...blankets are not really recommended as they can get wet and cold.....I would switch over to straw. Even though he may be rejected your shelters...he may have his own "pad" that he likes better. But don't hold off on his neutering....this is probably the best time to trap him.

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