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Unread 11-24-2010   #1 (permalink)
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Default Need advice

Sorry for my English, it is not my native language and I don't have many occasion to write in it. (:

Few months ago a friend of mine asked for help. There was a homeless cat walking around her workplace for few weeks trying to find food and she asked if I could catch it and keep it in my house. (my cat died from old age about half a year ago and she thought it is about time for me to give home to another one)

First of all, there were quite a few people trying to catch this cat, but no one had any success and possibly made it even more fearful. This cat never came closer than 5-10meters to any person and ran as fast as possible if he saw anyone moving to his direction.

After a month of trying to at least get attention from it we had no success, as this cat would never show itself up for eating if someone was around even if far away. Because of the fear, he was always having lack of food and he was getting skinnier every day. As weather started getting worse and people who gave him some food leftover moved out, we took a net and managed to catch it.

Now when I brought it home I read a lot of articles on how to act with such a fearful wild cat but none of the articles really helped. In 2 months of trying to make him cozy in home the only achievement is that I can be in the same room and cat wont growl...still, he is shaking and trying to hide most of the time.

Every night from 1 to 7 he is meowing and purring at the same time loudly and I have no idea why. One person good at feral cats said to me that this is the way to attract attention, but just as he sees me he runs away and growls, so that's not the case. It is becoming a problem as I haven't slept for days just because he is meowing so loudly.
Recently he changed his usual hiding spot and started spending days in his litter box. It is quite a problem because cleaning it became complicated. His eating sessions happen very rarely too (either its most expensive cat food or fresh chicken he either never eats it or waits till I'm away atheist for an hour).

I just wanted to ask if there is a way to show him I mean no harm? I mean most of website who give advices on feral cat petting say to allow him to come to you and make the first move. This one will obviously never work as after 2 months he just got worse on socializing part. Maybe there are some tricks which I couldn't find? Maybe I should start touching him regardless of his hissing to show him I won't cause pain? I really need an advice because he does act like a home cat when he is alone and he won't survive in the wild himself but at the same time his not moving all day and eating few times a week habit won't be comfortable for both of us.

I do understand patience is the key to this, but at this rate he will slowly fall into deep depression if he already isn't.
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Unread 12-15-2010   #2 (permalink)
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Hi gosumd, I'm not any kind of expert but I'll try to give you some ideas to try. First off though, I'd like to thank you for helping this cat, it's very kind of you and would also like to welcome you to this forum.
I wouldn't try to get close or touch this feral cat, it probably would make it be even more afraid and not want to trust you. I believe that talking to the cat in a low, soft voice will help. Another thing that may help is to get a toy, one of the kinds that have a long handle with a string on the end and a feather or something tied on the end of the string. See if you can get the cat interested in playing. Don't push it to play, just try for a little bit at a time a couple of times through the day. I'd also get the cat a box or some other place that it could hide while also being in the same room with you. Put some soft bedding in so it can have a comfortable hide-out. I'd cut a hole big enough for it to get into the box on the side that will be facing away from the rest of the room and cut a small slit an inch wide on the side facing the room so it can look out of it to see what's going on while still feeling hidden and safe.
If this is truly a feral cat it may never warm up to you and be a pet but it's possible, at least, to get it so that it trusts you and won't be in a panic every time you come into the room.
I wish you the very best of luck and once again, thank you.
Jim
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Unread 03-17-2011   #3 (permalink)
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I would like to thank you also!
Feral cats can take months to socialize. He does need a safe place; under a bed, or sofa, a cardboard box, etc; someplace he can go to feel safe. Do not approach him but do talk to him,playing soft music also helps. When you talk to him, look at him. Many will say not too, but I think they need to know you are talking to them. It's like saying "I see you, I know where you are but I am not coming after you. I am not chasing you. I am not going to hurt you." If you haven't taken him to a vet to be neutered, tested and vaccinated, that needs to be done ASAP!! Borrow a live trap if you need to, but get him to the vet now.
I have trapped and vetted every feral and it has never made them more fearful. I swear the opposite is true. The neutering reduces aggression and actually makes them tamer.
I hope I am not too late to be of help. I just got here!
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