or Connect
TheCatSite.com › Forums › Feral Cats and Rescue › Caring for Strays and Ferals › Should we release her?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Should we release her?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hi, this is my first post! i hope someone can help!

My girlfriend recently 'rescued' a stray cat and it's now living in our apartment. It is very skinny, but looks reasonably healthy.

This is my question, we have had her for about a week now, but she is showing no signs of settling down or enjoying living here. She crys everytime she is touched or picked up. She spends all of her time hiding and only comes out when she is really hungry. We have two small kittens and she hates them.

We live in a nice apartment compound and we found her in the gardens. We had been putting food out for her for about a month and eventually she came inside with us. The compound is safe for her (no cars). Do you think it could be really distressing her living in our apartment as maybe she has got used to living outside and should we release her?

Your advice would be appreciated.
post #2 of 6
A week isn't very much time at all for a kitty to adjust to a new environment. The fact that you can touch her at all is excellent. The fact that she followed you inside says that she used to be someone's pet, and she either got lost or dumped. I hope you give her more time to adapt. She sounds like she has a lot of potential!

In the meantime, have you taken her to the vet? If you haven't, you really should. She needs to be tested for diseases that your other cats could get, and she really should have been tested before coming in contact with your others. The vet can also check her for fleas, worms, etc., and she probably needs to be spayed. The vet can also check to see if she's been microchipped (just in case she's someone's lost pet).

If you do decide to keep her (and I hope you do), here's an excellent article to help you with her. There's tons of great advice, and it works...even on true ferals...for proof, check out the girl in my sig. A year ago she was a true feral, now she's asleep at my feet. The kitty you're describing isn't even close to being as feral as JinJin was. Please read the article linked below. I hope you choose to give her a chance! Please keep us updated!

post #3 of 6
You did get good advices.

Also, I think you shoulnd not be in hurry to pick her up or so. Although she is probably no real semiferal but dumped or stray, she is now shy. Take it easy with her, let her come to you!
Look at the articles about work with semiferals and take some advices from them...

Good luck!
post #4 of 6
Definately give her time - also, I would take her to the vets to make sure she isn't hurt, isn't carrying anything. Also, a checkup is a good place to start with your vet - you have a vet and know how to get there, etc., in an emergency, if you ever have to.
post #5 of 6
Thank you for finding TCS to ask these questions! It's amazing, isn't it? You provide love, food, shelter - and they seem scared and/or ungrateful. When we first rescued the kittens, hubby kept commenting on how they just didn't seem to care.

In fact - this is not the case. They simply don't really get what's happening to them yet. Cats are very smart - but when it comes to living with people, it's not something that is pre-programmed in them to understand is a good thing.

The article to which Kelly referred does have lots of helpful info.

But the main thing is to think of this kitty as a wild animal that will come to trust and love you, but isn't there yet. She knows you feed her - but she's in a new territory (and cats are very territorial) and so she's scared. She doesn't understand yet that she's safe, and the most important thing from a people perspective is to realize the quickest way to gain her love is to earn her trust.

Like I pointed out earlier, cats that have been living outside don't come pre-programmed to love living with people. But once they understand they're safe, that their caretakers can be trusted, and that your home is their territory - and they no longer have to concentrate on survival - it's truly an amazing thing. They learn what play is. They know what it's like to be safe for probably the first time. They feel contentment - and express it by purring. And what an affirmation that is for people!

Depending upon the cat - meaning how old she is, what her other experiences/encounters with people were like, what she learned from her mother - earning that trust can be from a few days (kittens that were picked up and cared for by people at an early age - like anything under 8 - 10 weeks old) to a few years (an older feral - like 3 or 4 years old - that was physically abused by people).

More frequently, for a cat that's older than a kitten but hasn't been on its own too long, it'll be a few weeks until you start seeing her not hiding, and most likely within a few months she'll be "Queen of the Castle" so to speak. But one thing is for sure - it'll be on her schedule, not yours.

The best thing to do is just let her hide. Get her some toys, but don't necessarily try to play with her. If you find the toys you've left out have been moved around the next morning (at first she'll feel far more comfortable coming out and exploring her new territory when you're not around), then maybe try playing with her with a wand-type toy. Make sure you leave it in a place that is NOT accessible by the cat. Ferals are attracted to string and often eat it - possibly resulting in her needing surgery. Don't learn that one the hard way. When you move the wand, think like a mouse (or bird that lands on the ground).

There's many other tips - again, most of them are mentioned in the article in the link.

...and however contrary to nature it seems, the most important thing to do is ignore her at first. Just let her get used to the new environment, the new sounds, the new way of going to the bathroom, of getting water, etc.

When we first rescued the kittens, the more attention we gave them, the less interested they were in us. The more we ignored them, the more they wanted attention. With older cats it takes a little longer, but sooner or later she'll "get" that people are fun and make them feel good. But you've got to give that "survival" mode time to turn off. And since she was OK eating food you put out and coming inside, that "survival" switch is already on the move.

And to make sure you all remain happy, it's important to get her stuff that it is OK to scratch on. It is part of the physiology of cats that they have to stretch and scratch, so it's very important to provide a carpeted post, or the sloping cardboard scratchers - or the flat on the floor mats. We have all of them, and they each have different preferences. If you can provide all of them, that's really the best. But at least something, so she doesn't hurt your furniture.

It is also very important, as everyone has pointed out, to take her to a vet for a check-up. She probably does have worms, and she may have fleas or ticks. She really ought to have a rabies shot, and it is very important to have her spayed. There's a link to low-cost spay/neuter services in my signature.

You can also visit http://www.pets911.com/organizations/organizations.php, type in your zipcode, and a list of organizations in your area will pop up. Not all of them will be "cat" organizations, but at least you can let your fingers do the walking (to find a free spay clinic or a low-cost clinic).

And of course, feel free to ask any questions!

Thank you for rescuing this kitty!

post #6 of 6
I agree that a week is not long enough for a kitty to feel comfortable inside. Give her more time, at least a month. Then if you decide she is not happy inside, you can always let her back out...but this will be after she saw the vet and got spayed and vaccinations.

Since you are able to pick her up, she is not a feral (in my opinion). I think she will tame up nicely...she may never like being picked up, but will most likely make a very nice pet for you. And even if it is pretty safe outside, she will live longer if she is kept inside.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Caring for Strays and Ferals
TheCatSite.com › Forums › Feral Cats and Rescue › Caring for Strays and Ferals › Should we release her?