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Help with partially feral kitten

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
Our pretty new addition Lily (14 weeks old) seems to have some feral in her I think. She is still quite the fraidy cat and has some of the traits the ferals at the shelter had.

She is usually hiding under the bed, under the table or behind the couch. She doesn't like coming out during the day, but will quite happily play once a toy is thrown to her.

Once it gets dark she often comes and sits on the couch, or at the window and hangs out in the open, but only for short periods.

When she's playing on the stairs she'll crouch down with a fearful look in her eyes, and usually once we get close, she races away. Occasionally she'll stay where she is and let us pat her, and when she does she purrs like mad, and rolls around.

She's certainly getting a bit better - she hangs out downstairs under the table rather than under the bed upstairs when we're around. She's also started sleeping on the chairs rather than under the actual table.

She sleeps on the bed every night with us, so I think she's comfortable with us, but seems to have some feral fearfulness in her.

I know we need to just give her time and encouragment, but does anyone have any recommendations of anything else we can do to help her come out of her shell?
post #2 of 17
hm, thats tricky since every kitty is different. Maybe sitting with her while she eats or giving her some treats from your hand. Try findind a toy that you are actually holding while she plays, the feather sticks are great or the toys that look like fishing rods with mice or furballs on the end. Talking to her is great recognition, even if she does'nt come out........goodluck!
post #3 of 17
Be patient and let her have her space. Once she feels safe, she'll start coming out of her shell. Celebrate each new behavior, but don't expect her to act or behave a certain way. Accept that she may never come out of her shell and love her anyway. Let her come to you. When you do walk near her, start talking to her before you get to her. Hearing your voice may calm her enough so she doesn't scurry away.

I have a former feral/stray cat who's extremely skittish and shy. She loves to sleep in an upside down box with a few holes cut in it. I sometimes drape a dark towel over it so it's nice and dark. She also likes to sleep under the folding chair in one of the bedrooms, in the far reaches of my closet, and under the bed. I leave her alone and just check on her every once in awhile to make sure she's okay. She comes out eventually! It's helped her to feel safe and secure.

Time, patience, and gentleness will win your kitty over. Also, make sure you read the feral cat forum. There's a ton of helpful information over there!

post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys! She loves Gerber baby food which she got when we first got her, and I've been giving the rest that was leftover as a bit of a treat on the end of my finger and she's quite happy to come out for that, and there's no shyness at all.

I don't get dangly toys becuase my other cat tries to consume them, but maybe I will get one and just put it away whe we're done playing so Stumpy can't eat it!

I know there's a confident, sweet kitty in there, it's just hiding behind the fearfulness.

For example - last night, as soon as we turned the lights out to go to bed, she jumped on the bed, and came up to our heads purring and looking for pats, then snuggled down near my feet. And whenever I pat her then, she doesn't flinch at all, just purrs. Only when it's dark is she like that though!

She certainly is getting better though and we'll keep just trrying to encourage her.
post #5 of 17
She's already coming around.
post #6 of 17
Thread Starter 
Definitely!!!!! I just hate seeing her so scared during the day - even when we quietly walk to her while talking gently she looks as though she thinks we're going to hurt her in some way - it breaks my heart!
post #7 of 17
Actually I always put the "toy on a string" away after, sometimes they like to chew or could get tangled up so that is best. Try it though, it's a good bonding method!
post #8 of 17
just read the first post and realised that i might have the same problem. my cat had a litter of 3 kittens. 2 girls and one boy, i moved out and took 2 kittens with me, 1 boy and 1 girl. female kitten used to be very exploring and social when she was young but then smth happend, i mean she is still sweet and loving and lovable but she got those feral treats that were mentioned above. the kitten was never outside, she is not afraid to be in the open but still with every loud noise she runs for cover or when i bend to pet her or to take her she runs away, but once i catch her she relaxes. i dont think this is a game that she plays coz she doesnt look like she is enjoying it. other 2 kittens do not have any of those patterns, why did this happen?
post #9 of 17
Maia is the same way except if I am there to reassure her. Was this kitten the runt? I think sometimes this happens from there first weeks of trying to nurse and basically struggling, may put an everlasting over percaution they feel with everything they don't know. Maia is my second "best friend" runt of the litter and both girls were very shy in different ways. Pandi hated thunder, trucks, even loud voices would make her run and hide. Maia on the other hand could care less if the sky was falling but runs from everyone but me, and believe me, both extremely affectionate with me, "mom". Pandi would growl, hiss, bat at others, Maia just runs.....................oh yeah, she also runs from loud noises in the hall of our apt. building, but thats it....
post #10 of 17
Thread Starter 
I just find it so heartbreaking that I can't tell her that nobody will hurt her, and I will never allow anything under my control that's bad ever happen to her.

Stumpy cat loves people, and she's a great influence (Lily is already doing weird things that Stumpy always does!), but I still hate that I can't verbally reassure her.
post #11 of 17
But you do - she can hear it in your voice!
post #12 of 17
Thread Starter 
Ok, I wish I could say to her "there's no need to be scared" and have her say back to me "oh ok then, fair enough", and run around confidently
post #13 of 17
The thing is to not let her know your scared............ They sense fear as well as other emotions and it effects them...........
post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 
I'm not scared - she's not an aggressive kitty at all, just very shy. We had some big moments today though. When I got home she was hiding behind the couch, and came out from behind it and approached me within minutes of getting home. I'd just bought some baby food for her, so she got a little bit of that on the end of my finger as a treat, so that worked out well.

And DH said this morning when I left for work, she was on the bed playing with him and cuddling him. Normally once it's light she won't play with us on the bed, so that's good!
post #15 of 17
I think time and patience with her needs to get comfortable with everything is all you need. Sounds like she is going to become a good friend - kitty!
post #16 of 17
Thread Starter 
But I want a lap kitty and now!!!!!

Unfortunately I'm such a sucker for the kitties with the sad stories... Stumpy is friendly but not a lap cat, and Lily is a bed snuggler at night, but really shy during the day. Sigh
post #17 of 17
It took my cat 2 YEARS to jump up into my lap!! Patience does have its rewards, but it can be frustrating while waiting.

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