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To pet or not to pet - that is the question

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hi everyone! Well, Lexi is progressing nicely; yesterday while I was on the floor with her, she, for the first time, ate tiny bits of chicken directly from my fingers! And was quite gentle in doing so! I wanted to ask you all if you think I should begin to initiate petting her at this point, or should I wait for her to rub up against me? I would hate to do anything that could make her regress, but in a way I feel that she may be ready for it. Also, where on her body should I try to pet her? She sits facing me, so I doubt she'd be comfortable if I reached around her back. Would her head or cheek area be okay, or is that risking losing a hand since it's so close to her mouth?! Any advice or thoughts are greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
Kathy
post #2 of 14
if you think I should begin to initiate petting her at this point, or should I wait for her to rub up against me? I would hate to do anything that could make her regress, but in a way I feel that she may be ready for it. Also, where on her body should I try to pet her?

Glad to hear that Lexi & yourself are starting to bond & trust.

When I deal with socializing inside and/or touching a feral from a colony outside...I can only suggest what has worked for me. Try stretching out your hand towards Lexi...slowly, with your fingers tucked in & palm down. Although it may be hard, don't keep eye contact for a long period of time while doing this and get down to her level so you appear to be the submissive one. You may be surprised when she rubs against your hand You will know by her reaction if she is ready for this sort-of contact. Keep trying and please post with her reaction.
post #3 of 14
One more thing...sounds silly but again has worked for me dealing with an outside feral colony; try blinking slowly at Lexi and bowing your head slightly. I know it sounds silly and my neighbors have looked at me quite strangely when doing this but you are speaking to Lexi in her language and letting her know you love her (blinking kisses) and bowing your head to stress there is no threat here & no dominance.
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hi, Gave all your suggestions a shot and here's what happened - With my hand out toward Lexi, she stepped closer, sniffed and walked away. When I slowly blinked, she watched me, then turned and went to bed. I don't think she's ruled completely by fright at this point; I'm really just starting to think that unless I'm holding chicken, that she could care less about me (doesn't make me love her any less). The only positive reactions have been when I'm on the outside of her screen door, petting my boy Clawd who she adores, and then holding that hand up to the screen - then she will sniff and rub against it. I actually practically gave him a rubdown before I went into her room to see her reaction to my hand! Anyway, I guess this is a whole lot better than a hiss or scratch!
post #5 of 14
I read that after hand feeding the feral, you first try to pet with the cupped hand, as it looks when it has treats in it. This may be more for taming feral kittens, though.

I pet Jasmine as she is eating off my plate, or eating from my hand. She permits it, and even may enjoy it a little, but can't seem to come to really want to be pet. Odd, because she is very cuddly with the cats, rubbing and headbutting a lot. But she was held against her will, with forced petting as a kitten. (I even did that for a few days, until TCS helped change my taming model.) Maybe she will never be a pet loving cat.
post #6 of 14
Be patient...I think it's great that Lexi doesn't spit or have any negative reaction to you at all!!

Be patient...it took me almost 1-year to touch one of the females from the colony. I, too find that the colony takes great interest when I hold or pet one of my own through the screen door or window. It's almost like they are thinking to themselves...hmmm...maybe she is okay...she is petting & kissing that cat & nothing bad is happening to him.
post #7 of 14
That is so great! Sounds like wonderful progress!

Just curious about the hand position. I always thought that palm up was a sign of submission.

Palm down in a fist works better? I'll give it a try when Snowflake is ready. Any particular reason that works?
post #8 of 14
Don't be discouraged, Lexi's making fantastic progress! You can continue to offer your hand as Leesali suggests. She will probably do the same thing over and over again. That's okay! She sniffed, and that's good! It just takes tons of time. It hasn't been that long since you posted that she wouldn't even come out of hiding. I think she's being very brave! I'm so proud of both of you!
post #9 of 14
Just curious about the hand position. I always thought that palm up was a sign of submission.

Palm down in a fist works better? I'll give it a try when Snowflake is ready. Any particular reason that works?


Have read that palm down with fingers slightly curled -- not a fist -- is non-threatening. I could be wrong but have approaced many a feral in this manner and after some time, they give a little "bonk" against my hand.
post #10 of 14
I am definately trying this with my two ferals....... Sounds like a plan...

Jenn
post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 
I just had to post my latest brainstorm! Since Lexi gets so excited when her brother comes to her door, I thought "Well, if she's purring and rubbing against everything when here's there, let me sit down next to the door and call him over. This way she can associate a positive experience with me nearby." So here I sit indian-style about a foot back from the screen door, call him over, and here Lexi comes. As she's purring, pacing, and rubbing her cheeks on the door, bookshelf, and ottoman, she can't help but rub her butt against my legs as she turns to go in the other direction. Now, she didn't seem to mind this contact, and granted, it wasn't exactly the end that I wanted, but I pleased none the less. So I figured, well, let me close my hand, rest it on my knee but let it stick out farther, so her butt will will rub against my hand instead - she'll never know the difference. Ah, Grasshopper, but a cat butt knows exactly what it touches! She touched my hand once, quickly turned and looked at me as if to say "Would you like to look like a spiral cut ham? I quickly turned and bowed my head, removed my hand, and just kept blinking - I felt her eyes burning through my head and I'm just sitting there thinking, "Oh no, I'm only in a t-shirt and shorts!" Needless to say, it will be awhile before I try that again!
post #12 of 14
Too funny!!

It is good to hear you are making progress Yes, you might look pretty silly sitting on the floor bowing your head & blinking but it is all in the name of bonding & trust
post #13 of 14
I tried the palm down, fingers curled with Jasmine {wwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqq}Thanks Festus! and she bumped my hand! It works! Thanks, Leesali.

Overall, Jasmine is slowly progressing...allowing more than one person to be near her, letting us be in the room with her without running off...just overall calming down.
post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Beckiboo
I tried the palm down, fingers curled with Jasmine {wwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqqq}Thanks Festus! and she bumped my hand! It works! Thanks, Leesali.

Overall, Jasmine is slowly progressing...allowing more than one person to be near her, letting us be in the room with her without running off...just overall calming down.
I am so HAPPY for you!! Always so warming to hear a successful feral story!!
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