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I think he hates me :(

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
And I can't say I blame him!!!

For those of you who don't recognize my handle, I hung out on the strays and ferals forum to get help with a semi-feral adopted cat named Brady. He had lived the first year of his life outdoors in New England, and spent winter in a shed built by the gal who was feeding him on her deck. After being injured he was trapped, vetted, neutered, fostered for a month and then I adopted him. He got out the SAME NIGHT he was in our house and I finally got him trapped and back in the house one month after he got out. When I found him in the trap he cussed at me with every feline swear word he knew.

For the past week he has been a prisoner in our spare bedroom, getting fed twice a day, with the Feliway running and listening to classical music. I go in mornings and evenings and talk to myself while using the computer and do my best to ignore him. The only progress I have seen is that instead of hiding under the bed or behnd the desk, he now sits on the windowsill and glares at me (I think). I try not to look at him but of course every so often I glance at him. His eyes are wide open, he is crouched and he does not move.

Will time and patience win out, or is he angry at me for life?? Is one week too short to expect any changes??
post #2 of 22
Coming out of hiding is definitely progress!!

I think you and Brady are going to bond eventually, but it does take time.
A week is like a whisper of a moment passing when striving to bond with a feral.

I'd suggest sometimes rather than sitting at the computer you sit on the floor about half way between the window and the computer. Bring a book to read out loud for a bit, some snacks, perhaps a string or dangle toy and a lot of patience.

If you idly toss the string out and drag it back, he may get curious enough to investigate. Offer him snacks before you leave. You can set them down somewhat close to him and over time as he starts taking and enjoying the snacks you can start putting them closer to you till you have him checking out what's in your hand.

All in good time it will work out and you both with be so glad when it does.
post #3 of 22
Have patience, I think it is going to take some time for Brady to be your "friend" but it is very encouraging that he doesn't hide in your presence I adopted a 8 week old baby a couple years ago that spent his first 3 months under my bed, the next 3 running when he saw me, the next 3 existing with me and the last 3 being a complete and total lovebug unfortunately Rocket passed away suddenly just after his 1 year birthday but those last 3 months i had with him were well worth the wait

I think you're doing everything right, so just continue on your path and Brady will join ya sooner or later
post #4 of 22
It takes a long time with feral cats and it can be very frustrating. We have had ours for three and half month now and the two grown mothers are still very feral. The kittens are slowly coming around.
For every break trough there will be a set back and there will also be long periods when you feel that nothing happens.
It is always when you almost given up something positive happens.
Patiens, patiens and more patiens - and candy.
Good luck
post #5 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by katiemae1277 View Post
Have patience, I think it is going to take some time for Brady to be your "friend" but it is very encouraging that he doesn't hide in your presence I adopted a 8 week old baby a couple years ago that spent his first 3 months under my bed, the next 3 running when he saw me, the next 3 existing with me and the last 3 being a complete and total lovebug unfortunately Rocket passed away suddenly just after his 1 year birthday but those last 3 months i had with him were well worth the wait

I think you're doing everything right, so just continue on your path and Brady will join ya sooner or later
what katiemae said, it takes a time, mine spent almost a month in hiding, then another 4 or more weeks of running away anytime i was near her.

now she is 90% of time with in arms reach anytime i am home. and is waiting at the door every time i come home. she even comes and gets in my lap now for a few min, every time she wakes up from a cat nap

she will throw a fit if she wakes up and i am not in the room , you can hear the meowing from the other end of the house, until she finds me.

so, take your time,
post #6 of 22
Thread Starter 
<sigh> anyone who knows me knows that I was behind the delivery room door when patience was being passed out.

But I am trying.

Thanks for your kind words of encouragement!

I came to the conclusion that I am not making it obvious that I am the one bringing the food. Since I have been putting the food bowl near the door maybe in his cat mind he thinks that the food just magically appears. So....and maybe this was a mistake.....while Brady was more or less hiding behind the computer monitor but watching my every move, I put some treats in front of him and pushed them towards him, maybe to within 1 foot. When I did that, he got up from his crouching position, started to walk towards the treats, and then meowed loudly once and backed down to his crouch.

Can someone translate?
post #7 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2dogmom View Post
<sigh> Can someone translate?
Prhaps he was suggesting you move a little farther away so he could grab the treats without you being able to grab him.
Might've been a thank you in there somewhere too.

Btw.... Now that you have him in the room, have you tried to reach out and pet him at all?
post #8 of 22
I can't remember well, but it took me at least a couple of weeks of feeding Elsa where she wouldn't run away & hide while I was filling her bowl. I fed her twice a day outside, and she was ready every morning. One day I just stood there while she ate. I couldn't move a muscle. But then I progressed to leaving my hand down by her food and sticking out my finger so she could pet herself using my finger. The day I tried to pet her tail I got bit, but not badly! I would say that whole thing took at least a month, and a couple more weeks at LEAST before I could pick her up. Picking her up involved deli turkey - not just cat food, LOL!
post #9 of 22
Thread Starter 
Well I did move away, but it was as if he did not want to eat while I was there.

I have not tried to pet him--I thought that was a no-no(?). While he was at his fosters' I had pet him. He was very polite about it, did not hiss, scratch or run away. If you think I should try it I will be happy to. Maybe I should stop at KFC in my way home from work.

I am a little worried, after a month of him being out I would so much like to take him to the vet. I called and asked them what I should do and they said to wait until he is ok with me touching him.
post #10 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by 2dogmom View Post
Well I did move away, but it was as if he did not want to eat while I was there.

I have not tried to pet him--I thought that was a no-no(?). While he was at his fosters' I had pet him. He was very polite about it, did not hiss, scratch or run away. If you think I should try it I will be happy to. Maybe I should stop at KFC in my way home from work.

I am a little worried, after a month of him being out I would so much like to take him to the vet. I called and asked them what I should do and they said to wait until he is ok with me touching him.
I would agree with them, unless he is obviously sick or hurting. With Elsa I just sat beside the food and after she had "shared" a few meals, I'd just leave my hand down by the bowl. Then just sort of stick out my index finger to see if she wanted to "bonk" it with her nose.
post #11 of 22
Ok, I am not saying the way I do things is the prescribed or "right" way, but for me it all goes on a cat by cat basis.

All of my ferals were "captured" by me picking them up and putting them in a carrier to go to the vet. I have been feeding cats almost since moving out here and working on getting friendly with them always.

If a cat would eat while I was close I would always try to sneak in a pet and work on picking up from there and so on and so on.

The one feral I used the humane trap with was trapped in the cathouse and transferred to the cat playpen in the house with a carrier. After that I ordered the humane trap and used it to take him to the vet.
I still cannot pet that one and suspect that it may never happen with him or take years if ever.

Since you have pet Brady before then I am thinking that you may get away with it now because he is basically more scared than ferocious.

It, of course, remains up to you and how you think Brady will react. In my case, I have usually been the initiator of our relationships moving along.
post #12 of 22
Thread Starter 
Yesterday evening I changed my tactics. Since he was probably not associating ME with the FOOD, I put some wet cat food on a lid and put it right in front of him while he was on the ledge. He ate some but not all of it. So I dumped what he had not eaten into the food dish that had the dry in it and put THAT in front of him. He started to chow down. What the heck, I thought, I'll see how he reacts if I reach out. No reaction-when he eats he is in a trance. So I pet him on the head a few times. Great, I thought, maybe I can get him to associate ME with PETTING with FOOD. After he was finished, he got up and jumped down, and headed under the bed.

When I came down first thing in the morning he was not on the ledge, but under the bed. So I put the bowl in its odl spot, which is pretty near the bed. He came out pretty much right away.

I am thinking I should be a little less generous with the food since this seems to be my only weapon.
post #13 of 22
Quote:
Tru said: A week is like a whisper of a moment passing when striving to bond with a feral.
Learning to love and trust again or for the first time is never quick, even for us.

Brady glaring at you is not hate, it's fear and a defense put up to keep you at a distance until he knows you won't hurt him. Let him learn you are the source of food, a nice voice and someone who won't hurt him or scare him. Be solid, steady and dependable, always doing the same thing in the same way, time and time again. That's the way he will learn to trust you and know what to expect from you.

Ferals don't have a sense of humor. They have learned life is serious and if they aren't careful, they can be hurt. A toy thrown in their direction, can be a danger, not something to play with. Pru freaked out when I rolled a ball to her, but I heard that same ball being rolled down the hall a few night later.

You have more patience than you know, and if you don't, Brady will teach it to you.

Bringing Brady into your home will give you more rewards than you can imagine at this time. He's already made you special, you gave a feral a home.
post #14 of 22
You may want to read through this thread Poor Pengy thread is gone. Unfortunately the original thread was lost in the great TCS crash. I was able to salvage the following from google caches. It gives you an idea where Michele started from.

If you want, I can PM the other posts from the original thread that I found.

Quote:
Originally Posted by noni
07-03-2004, 06:00 AM

Penguin, the cat who lives under the bed.
Hi, all.

Penguin. A sweet, massively traumatized, 5 year old cat. Terrified, she lives under my bed. How did she get under my bed? There's a story...

The short version is last year, I started feeding a scraggly, limpy-gimpy, filthy, emaciated, beat-up, battle-scarred and often newly bloody stray who would not allow me anywhere near her. My heart ached for this older, roughly-treated kitty, so I started to leave the food on the porch, and, upon coming back from work, would notice the food was gone.

Over last summer, she started looking healthier; fatter, would groom in the sun, not flee when she saw me (but walk quietly away). I thought "wow, what a change," and when I could, I'd leave the back door open while she ate so she could see me and the other cats. She never made any move to come in, and so I was content to allow her complete freedom as long as she'd be here to eat.

However. One day last January, during a cold, very wet storm, I watched this kitty crouch in the downpour and eat. She was shivering, drenched, and starting to look poorly again. I realized that something was amiss, but never could get close enough to her to even touch her, let alone pet or stroke her to reassure her. I decided to bring her in.

I tried one sort of trap (the one which the door springs shut), but she would go nowhere near it. She stopped coming for food, and I didn't see her (nor any evidence of her) for about 10 days. This worried me. I brought the cage back to my vet (who lent it to me), and started again with just food. Eventually, I bought a bigger "Kennel", without a springing door, and set it out on the porch. I would create a trail of squished, stinky sardines, and place the rest of the food inside the mouth of this "kennel." She became accustomed to it, and I'd move the food back farther and farther, until one day she was all the way in the cage.

Because this cage didn't have a trap door, I had rigged a system of pullys and twine, threaded it under the back door, and had been practicing closing the door quickly. Surprisingly, it was successful, and I was able to bring her to the Vet on March 4 of this year.

The vet ran all the tests, wormed, flead, mited her, vaccinated her, and x rayed her, cleaned her teeth, and gave her a thorough going over. Along with being parasite-infested and underweight, both her hips had been broken, as well as a fracture of her spine (just above where the tail meets the bottom), and her left leg had been badly broken in at least 4 places. Her tail had been traumatically amputated approximately 4 inches from her bottom. She is unable to climb, jump, nor defend herself well; indeed, she can't walk well, although she can run should the need arise. She likely has low-grade, constant pain, as well.

I brought her inside. There was no way I could release her, not if she was deteriorating without constant, higher quality food that I could provide. The other three cats adjusted very well and rapidly to her, and I thought we were doing well. I was able to insert my arm into the cage, and stroke her and talk to her and just be there "in her space," and she was getting used to it.

I made a very bad error, however. During the litter changing one day, I didn't latch the door completely, and she fled. She found under the bed, and has not re-emerged in my presence since. She will leave when I go to sleep for the night, and she uses the litter box as needed, but will not come out and gets significantly upset (including trembling) if I kneel down to see her. I feed her separately (under the bed) so she will never have to worry that food is not coming.

I have been given all sorts of advice, from leaving her utterly alone to blocking off under the bed and anywhere else she could hide in my home and force interaction with her. My vet has said that he's willing to put her onto some (liquid) sedative for a bit and see if we can't start bonding, but I am reluctant to introduce chemicals until all other options are exhausted. I recently discovered Feliway, and two days ago I plugged in the diffuser in the bedroom. There is no noticeable difference yet, but my fingers are crossed.

At this point, I am at a loss, and am asking for any suggestions, or help, or understanding that may be forthcoming. I will not turn her out, even if we never become "friends." The least I can do is provide her with food, shelter and care, for it seems she's has some very very bad times in her life. It's enough for me to know that I've done something to help her, even if she never becomes a cuddle kitty. Know what I mean?

Thanks for reading this long, and thanks in advance for any assistance/advice you can give.
post #15 of 22
I dont know if this will help, but I had a feral cat who lived on a farm and lost its mother, so when I got her she was scared and pretty mean. I put her in a room where she was closed off and I would go and read and eat something. Eventually she wanted me to share (I just ate tuna) and after that we became best friends. Unfortuantly she never adapted to the dogs in time and was still too hostel by the time my neice was born so we had to give her up....(oh FYI we gave her to a no kill shelter and she was adopted in less then a week...that adorable )
post #16 of 22
You're not going to like this, but time and patience are your best friends when it comes to winning over this cat. He doesn't hate you, he's just unsure of you and doesn't trust you....YET!

Don't vary your routine everyday. Continue to do the same thing at the same time everyday and he'll soon associate you with food and treats and fun. That's how I won over my stray, who's now my love bug!

Celebrate the baby steps of change you see everyday. Today he meowed at me. Today he sat on the windowsill and looked at me. Today he came out from under the bed when I walked into the room (he knows you're bringing him food!). Today he....Looking for the small improvements will help with the patience thing, too!

Stephanie
post #17 of 22
I think that you have caught on to what works with Brady - food! One of the elemental connections between a baby and its mother. I had dealt with ferals as a child, and my dad would tell me to set out food and sit quietly beside it. except for a tanatalizing morsel or two, don't feed. And when you get up to leave, take the food with you.
That is how I got Scotty, a semi-feral to decide he'd rather belong to a family. I first set out kibble next to the driveway for a couple of weeks, so he started hanging around the yard. Then I upped the ante to Fancy Feast, and would set out the dish at my feet, and only at night, when Scotty felt safest. He can now be held, and will come inside the house. I have to get him used to staying inside overnight so that he can be taken to the vet, put under and given whatever medical treatment he needs (his jaw is lopsided, but he's eating ok, so the vet wants to wait till he trusts me enough before he gets thrown in a carrier and taken in a car. Also, half of his left ear is missing, as if someone chopped it off with a scissors )
post #18 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by catsknowme View Post
Also, half of his left ear is missing, as if someone chopped it off with a scissors )
Are you sure Scotty is not fixed?
Most of my fixed ferals look like somone cut half their ear off because they are "cropped" or "tipped" which is a sign of fixed ferals.
Just thought I'd mention that.
post #19 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by tru View Post
Are you sure Scotty is not fixed?
Most of my fixed ferals look like somone cut half their ear off because they are "cropped" or "tipped" which is a sign of fixed ferals.
Just thought I'd mention that.
Yes, I believe it's the left ear too. Cut straight across the ear, horizontally. Maybe a local vet would know for sure.
post #20 of 22
Thread Starter 
Well this has been a very informative thread for me...and we are making progress. Katachtig I read those links, that is about how I feel. It helps to know that there are others who have had the same problems.

Yes it is definitely fear, and Brady is not ferocious. I would describe him as a 'gentleman'. If I petted him at his fosters' before I adopted him, he did not hiss or try to scratch, but I bet he did not like it.

So now I am making it obvious that I am the one with the food. I set the bowl right in front of him and he eats it, within about 3 ft of me. I then put out a few handfuls of treats (I shake the bag) and he is VERY interested in the treats. I think he might even eat them out of my hand, but I am practicing patience. He is now more willing to walk around in the room and let me see what he is doing so that is HUGE progress.

We did have one temporary setback which was my fault-I am dealing with the problem of how to make sure the dogs understand that Brady is one of their 'pack'. I have let them into the room a few times, and the novelty of the cat smell has worn off. The first time of course they tried to find the critter, but of course the whole room smells like cat. Now they sit nicely while I am at the computer. My intention in doing this is that they get used to the smell and understand that if any harm comes to the animal in this room, that there will be h*** to pay. So what does the good-natured Golden Retriever do yesterday afternoon but GROWL at the smell under the bed yesterday. Brady growled back so I ushered my canine kids out of the room and left myself. But we are back on track with the treats. Yesterday evening and this morning Brady and I had a nice interaction. Thanks Malena, for the tip with the treats. And for now the dogs stay out.

You guys are really great!
post #21 of 22
Something to think about when Brady's ready (& not a moment before) is to get one of the large cages (I got one for medium size dogs) and put him in it, then partially drape it with a dark blanket. Put some food, water, and litter box in there. Then let the dogs in. That way, he's safe and they can safely interact. Only let the dogs in there once Brady's totally comfortable with you and has claimed you as "his". Then they can be introduced, sniff each other, then you can put the dogs back outside the door. Another thing to try is a screen door on that room that you could latch from either side. (On the inside to keep the dogs out while you're in there and then on the outside to keep the cat in when you're not in with him.)

But, I would think this is several WEEKS down the road, if not longer.

Stephanie
post #22 of 22
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by stephanietx View Post
Something to think about when Brady's ready (& not a moment before) is to get one of the large cages (I got one for medium size dogs) and put him in it, then partially drape it with a dark blanket. Put some food, water, and litter box in there. Then let the dogs in. That way, he's safe and they can safely interact. Only let the dogs in there once Brady's totally comfortable with you and has claimed you as "his". Then they can be introduced, sniff each other, then you can put the dogs back outside the door. Another thing to try is a screen door on that room that you could latch from either side. (On the inside to keep the dogs out while you're in there and then on the outside to keep the cat in when you're not in with him.)
I am curious-if Brady is in a cage with dogs sniffing around him, would he KNOW that he is safe??? Supposedly Brady's best buddy at his fosters was a dog who liked to lick his ears.

And by the way I am trying to make sure that the dogs understand that Brady is supposed to be in the house and that they are not supposed to harm him. I figure some day Brady will have the run of the house and they will interact. If / when Brady gets outside I need to have the dogs know to let Brady back into the house and not regard him as a 'varmint'.

I better not try the screen door, not with Sophia, our Golden. She would make short work of it!
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