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Jimmy is having a breakthrough!! - Page 9

post #241 of 973
Those are great updates! He is on the verge of trying to make a breakthrough, isn't he! Maybe if you tried offering it on an outstretched spoon first? That way he has still taken food you have offered, but he doesn't have to get so close to your hand right away. It also keeps your hands a bit safer at first. I always started with a spoon. I also wouldn't bother with a picture at first. I think you're right, it would spook him. As much as we'd all love to see him do it...
post #242 of 973
There is no doubt in my mind that you will have Jimmy eating out of your hand in no time. Just keep doing what you are doing, you are doing a great job.

post #243 of 973
Thread Starter 
I have never even thought about a spoon. That is a great idea!.. I get off work in a couple hrs and can't wait to see what the day brings......
post #244 of 973
Jimmy is beautiful...
He looks like he wants to trust but his DNA still says NO!
He will learn Jenn.
post #245 of 973
Originally Posted by xocats View Post
Jimmy is beautiful...
He looks like he wants to trust but his DNA still says NO!
He will learn Jenn.
This is all true regarding the big guy. I love tuxedo cats and he's one of the most handsome I've ever seen. As Jenn said he comes from a long line of ferals and I'm not surprised his DNA is a factor. His mother, a gorgeous Siamese mix, was a bear to trap. She was so street smart it took an experienced TNR person several years and many attempts to finally trap her. In many ways, Jimmy takes after his mom.

If anyone can get him to take that next step, it's you Jenn. Just look how far he's come in the time he's been with you. It will happen!
post #246 of 973
Jimmy is beautiful.
I feel sure that it won't be long that you'll be posting pictures of Jimmy sitting on your lap.
I get the feeling from reading about his progress that in his little heart he wants to eat the food off of your finger, but his head is just over riding it right now.
Before very long his heart is going to win out.
post #247 of 973
Thread Starter 
It has never crossed my mind about DNA having something to do with feral. That is interesting and will give me something to research and read about.

With my plan of laying down close to Jimmy, I do believe it is effecting him. One other thing I am now doing is dressing in the bedroom instead of the restroom at night so that Jimmy sees me blowdry my hair and get dressed. I mostly just ignore him but not because he is feral. It is because I am busy getting ready for work. And he watches me in my routine of things.

But tonight after I got ready for work, I went back to the restroom to return some items and Jimmy was sitting in there. I had never seen him in there. And what amazed me was that he was not spooked at all. He walked back to the bedroom. I followed him and he sat a couple feet away while I got dressed. I petted the others and he sat and watched. I held my hand out and talked to him but he did not approach me. OR run..

The most major fact is that he does not run when I am next to him... That is the single largest telling factor about Jimmy and his progress. The hair dryer does not spook him. My opening and closing drawers does not spook him. Me getting stuff out of the closet does not spook him. Me walking around in a hurry in the bedroom does not spook him. Me kneeling close to him does not spook him. Me holding my hand out to him 1/2 foot away does not spook him. These are major major things for Jimmy. These things might be nothing to some "ferals" but to Jimmy it is a leap into another realm... He is joining the world of loved kitties.

Something else I have noticed is that when I am taking pics of him now, he does not have that wide eyes saucer look. Someone else mentioned that as well. He is easier to photograph doing things now since he not as focused on me and how close I am to him.

This was a cat who stayed inside a closet in my house for close to three months before even coming into the room except to use a litter box. He lived in his crate/cave and that was his only security in a strange world. And he only used the litter at night with the lights out creeping. He was absolutely scared to death of any human being around him. He very slowly started exploring his world in our house during the cover of night.

It has been a slow process. But I will say this. I have always kept his crate that Elly gave us near him in case he needed it. But he has not used it since we moved. The move was good for him. He moved but he realized the bond that we all have. Cats, people and dogs.
post #248 of 973
Thread Starter 
Elly, I have a question. Tell me about the colony Jimmy came from originally. How many were in it? I'm just curious as to what Millie knows of his origin and the others who were his role models. Another question is does millie "the approx generation of ferals that Jimmy came from"...?
post #249 of 973
Originally Posted by jcribbs View Post
It has never crossed my mind about DNA having something to do with feral. That is interesting and will give me something to research and read about.
Jimmy is smart. He is processing the new info he is observing about humans & how safe he might be inside.

When I used the term DNA...
I was loosely using it to mean the first imprints that Jimmy received from his mother or tribe as a kitten....not his genetic map.
I was not referring to nature (DNA) ---- but nurture, what his mother taught him as a new born about humans & threat.

Nurture can have a powerful influence on how he preserves you and his new environment.
That is good news because he is changing his behavior.
What a wonderful boy Jimmy is.
You have the patience of a saint Jenn.

You got me thinking Jenn...
I wonder if there is a DNA component involved in a generational line of feral cats vs several generations of domestic kitties?
Would becoming domesticated, over time, change future generations DNA?
Interesting subject.
post #250 of 973
Originally Posted by eilcon View Post
As Jenn said he comes from a long line of ferals and I'm not surprised his DNA is a factor. His mother, a gorgeous Siamese mix, was a bear to trap. She was so street smart it took an experienced TNR person several years and many attempts to finally trap her. In many ways, Jimmy takes after his mom.
I too have dealt with ferals that were at least 3 generations into being feral (and probably longer but don't know the history before that). They have turned around and it wasn't any more difficult than earlier generations. Anything beyond first generation doesn't seem to make a difference. Sometimes first generations are really dumped strays that have at least a little bit of socialization to them.

I love this thread!!! Thanks for sharing Jenn!
post #251 of 973
Thread Starter 
You got me thinking Jenn...
I wonder if there is a DNA component involved in a generational line of feral cats vs several generations of domestic kitties?
Would becoming domesticated, over time, change future generations DNA?
Nurture and not genetic....... that makes more sense and very interesting. But what you have suggested above I think is very very true coming from the nurturing aspect of things. But I feel that all depends on other factors as well....... Imbreeding...... Imbreeding does not strengthen a species. It makes it weaker genetically.

From a nuturing standpoint: Generation one is a stray. The babies are going to be exactly like the mama except possibly have no human contact. And I would think with that third generation, which would be their babies, they would be extremely more fearful not having human contact. And so on.

Based on my own set of cats and learned behavior, they feed off each other in emotions and in how they react to things. Cleo was a feral kitten. Star was at least a 2nd generation feral. Mama was a stray. Jimmy is a hard core feral. Turtle was a feral probably 2nd generation based on how she acts. She is ok but does not like being touched much. Only a few seconds at a time. No purring ever. Mama's babies which are two years old now have developed a lot of feral personality traits from these cats just by being with Cleo and Star and the others. Such as running and hiding if someone comes in the house. And they were socialized. I had them from birth in my house. But as they grew older they saw how the ferals in my home reacted to strangers and other situations and they developed the same trailts. And there is nothing I can do to change that. I accept them as they are. They see me as part of their cat group.

I would think then that a true feral colony such as the one Jimmy came from has all their emotions entirely based on fear. Fear of no food, fear of humans, fear of moving cars, fear of weather, fear of dogs and so on.....

It's hard to change in that situation.. And there would really be no need for them to change unless trapped and forced to live with people to learn a new behavior. Humans are the same in that aspect as far as learned behaviors. Take for instance a good southern family raised to hate people of other nationalities. [just an example and a very general one at that]... If they stay in that type of environment they will never learn a different behavior, even if they see and know there are other ways. It's easier to follow the crowd and not stand out. No one wants to make their rock shine because it takes work. It would take living a different life and emersing yourself with more intelligent people to actually make that change. This is probably a very dumb comparison but I am trying to think of a human behavior that is based on peer behavior and generalized learned behavior from a nuturing standpoint. But that could really be anything or parents and our peers teach us. I am using this because it is extremely hard to make someone prejudice unless they were nurtured by prejudice parents. And since I live in the Ozarks, this is the first thing that came to mind. There is a generalized colony of people in the Ozarks with a lot of common behavior and thought traits... I don't say that lightly.. Standing out as a feral is a death sentence just like standing out as a shiny rock in the Ozark Mountains. I am not a native from this area and when we first moved here we were met with utter suspicion. It took a while to be accepted in the human race here. We were not dull enough yet.....hehe Now we look like one of the crowd and I will go to the corner store in my houseshoes. But in case you were wondering, our light still shines bright....... People and animals eventually adapt.. They never forget who they are or where they came from. Just like a feral cat. Ferals never forget. They just might learn a better way of life with time. I come from a culturally diverse background and my family knows a different way and a better way. One not based on fear. Fear is paralyzing to any species and will inhibit the learning process. When fear is overcome, anything is possible. To any species........

And ...that is what I think Jimmy is going through in a manner of speaking.

But as long as they are in the colony there is no reason to change. But Jimmy is getting there...... He is going to be one of the diehard ferals that change. It is so exciting to see it happen.....

Oh, and my answer to the above quote........"Yes, because only through repeated inbreeding in the same colony DNA would not change as much... Domestics are less likey to breed in their same immediate bloodline so therefore I think the DNA of domestics would be more diverse. The more ferals that become domesticated, the stronger the DNA would become as they would breed out of the colony [if not spayed/neutered]."
I also think that possibly that the more the colony inbreeds, the harder it would be to tame them or socialize them but I haven't read anything about this. I am just surmising this. I think genetics play a large portion of who we are but possibly who we are nurtured by is the greater influence..

Changing thinking patterns and learned feelings and learned behaviors is always hard no matter what species we are... And it's not impossible but it IS a challenge .....to any animal species of any type.

And I love this thread too. I learn so much by posting my own experiences as the more experienced give advice.

thanks, Jenn
post #252 of 973
Thread Starter 
Juan just walked in the restroom and Jimmy was using the indoor litter box. This is the first time he has allowed us to see him use the bathroom since moving......
post #253 of 973
I was thinking of DNA in terms of nurture vs. nature too. Jenn, from what I know of the site where Jimmy came, his father was likely a feral male a tuxedo that frequented the site but was never trapped. Besides his mother, there were also several other adult ferals at the site that Millie TNR'd. Jimmy's mother was at least several years old and had numerous litters of kittens before Millie trapped her. Most of those kittens were trapped, socialized and adopted out. There were two other kittens in Jimmy's litter, both male. They were trapped at 3-4 months old and socialized. They were still a little shy when adopted, but very sweet, and went to a patient home together. Millie wasn't able to trap Jimmy until several months later, so he was probably 6-7 months at the time. So, he spent a lot longer at the site with his mom and the other adult ferals. Plenty of time to pick up their feral tendencies.

Hope that helps!
post #254 of 973
Thread Starter 
Millie is great person!!! She, so many other spend their time trapping animals so they can't reproduce. I can't imagine anything more productive in preventing stray, unloved and unwanted animals...

Did Jimmy's Mom cat fair ok when they re-released her? Did Millie ever say? Hae they been able to track her? And I bet Jimmy's father was beautiful....

Jimmy is smart. He is processing the new info he is observing about humans & how safe he might be inside.
yep yep yep........ totally agree Xo.... and it has never been more obvious than now.
post #255 of 973
Yes, Millie has done so much good and helped many cats.

Jimmy's mom did fine. Millie still checks the site regularly and said she looks happy and healthy. She suspects Jimmy's father was a tuxedo, which makes sense because so many of the kittens that came from that site were tuxies. Unfortunately, she was never able to trap the male cat and he hasn't been seen for a long time.
post #256 of 973
Thread Starter 
Thats wonderful that she did good and that she is happier now. I have been reading lately about ferals and some people believe that some feral cats absolutely never adjust to living in a home and she was probalby one of those. It is really excellent to hear that she is happy again.

I'm glad Millie trapped Jimmy when she did. Otherwise it would have possibly been too late for him to change.

A few minutes ago while I was sitting here playing spades on the computer, I kept hearing a growling and it was Jimmy. He was about 3 feet from me in the doorway and was growling at another cat in the room. He is feeling his oats. He has never done that before either. He has been a member of the cat group here for a while but I suspect with his new feelings going on inside him, he is looking for a new spot in senority among them. He is a dominate male and he is saying "I am here by god and I am not hiding any longer!".... I suspect Felix and Festus already know that.
post #257 of 973
Sounds like Jimmy is asserting himself! I never heard him growl when he was in foster care. He did hissed A LOT, though.
post #258 of 973
This is a wonderful thread! So much love and positive life stuff. I just spent the last hour or so going through it. Jimmy looks like such a great cat. He's come a long way! You are a great, patient mom!
post #259 of 973
Thread Starter 
I don't know if it means anything but at the same time frame that Jimmy is asserting himself, Festus is also coming in the house wanting to be petted. We have lived here since Sept 19th and this week is his first voluntary entry into the house. I am not sure how this effects Jimmy but I'm sure it does... Jimmy is the last cat to decide he wants to be petted and loved on.

Festus, before the move, would approach me on the porch and want to be petted. After the move, nada. He did NOT want in the house and he would hide in the back of the cat houses under the shelter. I wa a little leery of poking my hand all the way inside in case he felt threatened. I coaxed him out with soft food and would try to pet his head while he ate. The move was hard on him.

So all this time up until three weeks ago, I have had one feral and two semi ferals in the enclosure with two absolutley refusing to come in the kat door. Jimmy was the only one who would come in the house until recently.

Felix......just one day walked in the living room like he owned it and jumped on the couch damanding to be petted. He has asserted his authority over the dogs as well. Since that day, he is in here constantly purring and being very loving. I think he was dumped and was reverting back to being feral. Initially when I came into contact with him, he had a pad ripped off and it was approx 8-9 months before I could touch him. He would hide or run if he saw me. It's unbelievable how he has changed.

Festus started coming in approx 4-5 days ago I am guessing. That is when I initially saw him inside and that is also when I quit putting food in the enclosure. They all eat inside now. Easting inside was my initial plan.... Festus likes to be petted now too. He is not as comfortable as Felix with it but he is doing great, does not run from me or act afraid. He does not rub on my legs but he will soon. I pet him and hold him every day for the last few days. He totally cooperates even though his body is a little stiff... He is just not used to it.

Jimmy's progress is directly proportational to Festus choosing to come inside as well. When Jimmy started letting me near him, this was at the same time I was able to pet Festus and also cooresponds with Festus choosing to come in the house.

Maybe Jimmy doesn't want to be the odd man out? He is the last one holding back........

I like to think it's me they love. But it could be the fear of bobcats outside.. They have been prowing around. I guess I am the lesser of the two evils. hehe

I took this photos a couple days ago with our last snow...

Look at the tracks on the outside of the enclosure door... IT IS SECURE AND HAS A TIN ROOF WITH WELDED WIRE UNDER THE TIN AND ON THE SIDES....

I followed the track was back to the back of our property. Easy to track in the snow. I reached an area not far from our house that has been marked. I could smell it. Bobcats have a real strong odor. I did not see a den. A couple weeks ago, I saw threee sets of eyes at night across the way. A neighbor reported to my husband they saw what they thought was a large bobcat. I have seen two recently driving to work.. They are out and a bout...
post #260 of 973
Oh my Jenn...
that bobcat is probably hungry & desperate because of the snow.
Be careful
post #261 of 973
You've got a fiesty feral bunch - they're not afraid of any bobcat. It's YOU they love! (So glad the enclosure will stand up to a bobcat. I hope he realizes there's no food for him at your place and will roam somewhere else. Poor kitties!)

Thanks for the wonderful updates. You're doing so well with them!

post #262 of 973
Thread Starter 
I'm not scared of a bobcat. They very very seldom attack people. Usually the only ones that attack people are rapid. I'm really not worried about that. But I do stay alert when walking. I have read a few stories of bobcat attacks, but like I said, they are rare.

And the cats are safe. Come spring the bobcats will move along... Hopefully.

I have also thought of putting food out with jalapeno in it so they might look somewhere else for food if they thought the food source here were bad. But they have a set territory like any cat.

But I think it probably best to just do nothing. As long as the kitties are secure, all is well.

We have lots of wildlife. I would rather have bobcats roaming the woods than poisonous snakes in my yard...... Bobcats are pretty secretive.

I still have a plan of putting meat out with a wildlife camera motion detected to just catch a picture of one. But not in my yard area. Maybe several acres back..

One of the reasons we have such abundant wildlife is because our land goes back three acres but beyond that to the rear is 1000's of acres of wild government land with the lake bordering it on one side. It is owned by the conservation dept I think. But it is totally uninhabited and wild. We have walked/climbed to the top once on sort of a plateau and took pics. [rough rough walking to get there] The pics are on a different computer that the harddrive crashed on. If I ever retreive it, I will post some pics of the land. Quite beautiful land it looks like land from some western movie. Free land, no fences and still natural.

But also on our own land, we have a wet creek 10 or so months out of the year. There is a free water source.. And that draws wildlife. We used to have wild boar but they moved on. We have lots of deer but since bobcats are in the area now, the deer have moved on. Life cycles keep changing, but that is the way of things. Our FIRST creek is about 100-150 yards behind the house.
post #263 of 973
I'd love to wake up to that sight every morning. Its beautiful.
I love this thread on jimmy. He is a hansome fella.
Your a wonderful person for taking in these kitties who need lots of love and attention.
post #264 of 973
Thread Starter 
Well, nothing to report. Jimmy is not moving forward.............nor backward. Still watching me get ready for work. Still sitting in the closet and still using the restroom litter instead of going outside.

Not going backwards is good.... He has gone in litte bursts of progress since the begininng. This last burst was just huge and he is probably still processing all his new feelings.

He is nearly "exactly where Star is now"........ That was my initial hope for him based on his circumstances... But I think he will progress much more than Star in the longrun.

Star talks to me but is still skittish. Absolutely does not like being touched and probalby never will. She has little times where she has laid on my feet but they are few and far between.

And they both might just surprise me as the years pass.....

But there are differences between them. Star NEVER displayed interest in humans like Jimmy. And this has always been in spite of him being afraid. They are just very different..

both with their own quirtks..... and both special.
post #265 of 973
I am sending you some hugs and prayers from me in Mississippi, I hope Jimmy continues to have steps forward, you are doing a great job. You are just so patient.

post #266 of 973
Jenn - it is so beautiful where you live! I love it here - lots of woods and wildlife - but we don't have any water. I've always wanted a good size "crik" - or even a small lake - on our property.

post #267 of 973
I have seen several photos of your property Jenn.
You have your own little Eden.
It's beautiful.
post #268 of 973
Thread Starter 
I have a little eden that need so much more work......... the person who lived here had a half finished fishing cabin and did not respect the land and had it absolutely trashed with beer cans, junk, metal objects, lawn mowers and probably anything else you could think of. That's why we got a good deal on the price. They did not live here on a full time basis since they had no water or septic. We have moved approx 2 tons of rocks and 1 ton of trash..... and I mean TRASH. Plus about 200.00 worth of aluminum cans. We still don't have it all hauled away. Since we recently bought a truck, we have the means to do it ourselves now. Just have to find the time. It's been a big job, but it will all be worth it when we finish....

Then our little eden will actually bear fruit..... We love it here.

As far as little Jimmy, I got "his closet cleaned out".... And have it fixed for him. We both have a spot...

Tomorrow morning will be busy. We recently sold our old wood burning stove and have found another one for 250.00 that is just beautiful. It is about 5 miles from us. We are picking it up in the morning. I am so excited. It is big enough it will heat our whole cabin and has glass door so we can see the flame like a real fireplace. We will filll the propane tank up just for an emergency but we don't plan on using it usless we have to. We are fixing to stock up on wood. We hope the stove will be installed and working in the next week or so. If the electric lines go down, this new stove gets hot enough we could actually use it to cook on if we had to. We are bringing it home in the morning but the installation will take a bit of work. We have to have at least two days good weather to get it going so we can make sure the roof does not leak after cutting the hole..

Then we just need that windmill to generate electricity and we will be self sufficient and bill free except for necessities like satellite.......... and phone.. But that windmill will be a few years away. We are considering building one ourselves actually. We have the plans.
post #269 of 973
Wow, I am so pleased to hear that he is still doing well Jenn, and your house sounds absolutely wonderful, I am a bit jealous myself - although wayy too lazy to do most of the work you have done!!
post #270 of 973
You really have a beautiful place there, Jenn. Jimmy, Star and the rest of the crew are lucky to be able to call it home and to have you and Juan in their lives.

I meant to tell you that my mom surprised me the other night when I was over for dinner. My brother and his kids were there too and we were talking about their two kittens, when out of the blue my mom asked, "How's Jimmy?"
(She knows he's special to me). So, I told her how well he's adapted to his new home, the wonderful progress you've made with him, and then she wanted to get on TCS and see his pictures. She loved the one of him earlier in the thread where he's peaking around the laundry supplies and said, "Wow, what a gorgeous cat!

Anyway, just wanted to share that.
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