Author Topic: Taming young ferals  (Read 1056 times)

Offline Egween

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Taming young ferals
« on: December 03, 2012, 04:11:26 AM »
Hey all,
My friend trapped a young kitty that was hanging out in her front yard and has been trying to tame him for about a month now. I don't have much experience with cats, and was hoping you all could offer us some advice.
I think (uneducated guess) that he's somewhere around 3 or 4 months old? I haven't been able to see much more of him than his scardy little face.
He is currently housed in a spare bedroom and has a hide box, toys and food and water out all the time. Is it better to give him his space or try to encourage him to be one of the family in a more forceful fashion? I can't give many details, but I'm going to try to get my friend on here to better ask/answer questions.
She hasn't been able to get near him without him hissing up a storm and growling.  And he hasn't been to the vet yet. She has three other cats that stay upstairs and two dogs who roam downstairs. Kitty is safe from the dogs, but she would like to eventually introduce him to her current cats when he's ready.
I know that was a lot, but whatever advice you can give is wonderful! Thanks!

Offline Rats_Red

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Re: Taming young ferals
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2012, 06:11:04 AM »
patience and food and soft voices and not trying to rush the kitten or chase her or grab her. her having a safe place to hide where no one intrudes her

no animal likes being ignored, either. so then they get curious and may feel safer
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Offline Marybelle

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Re: Taming young ferals
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2012, 08:51:17 AM »
Have her sit in the room and read to the kitty.  Don't look at him, don't interact with him, just sit and talk and not be a threat.  Even non-feral kitties in new situations can take some time to come around, but she needs to prove to him that she is not a threat.  Remember that to cats, staring is a challenge, which is why I say she shouldn't look at him.  If she does look at him, a slow blink is cat for "I come in peace". 

Hopefully, after she spends some time just being there, he'll get more comfortable with her and start to realize that she's not out to get him, and he can be friendly.  :)

Offline Oleander

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Re: Taming young ferals
« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2012, 04:54:09 PM »
She needs to get him to a vet and get him neutered and checked out for any issues. He likely has worms and fleas and will need to be treated for that, like Revolution (done by the vet while he is under for a neuter) or if she doesn't want to neuter yet she should at least get him some capstar which she can hide in his food and it will kill any fleas on him within a few hours (but not eggs, so it's a temporary solution.) No kitty is going to be up for learning how to deal with big scary humans if they are sick or itchy.

At that age it is totally possible to tame a feral cat but it is not going to be fast or easy. It really depends on what kind of history he has and there is just no way for anyone to know that.

She can also put a radio in his room and play classical, harp, or other soft, soothing music (my feral kittens I am working with right now like Christmas music, lol)
With younger kittens its best to force touch and holding but with older kittens you kind of have to let them trust you, and even after that they usually only bond with one or two people.
All cats will tame at different paces. Our 2 or 3 year old feral who has been inside since July has just in the last little while started nonchalantly walking around the room in front of us (before it was sort of darting from hiding place to hiding place), exploring other areas of the house besides the living room where he lives, etc. I still can't get within a few feet of him without him running as fast as possible to his "cave", unless I have a plate of canned food and then he will let me set it in front of him very slowly. 

We have 4 feral kittens that we have been working with for about 3 weeks now. 1 is totally tame. I mean, you would never ever guess that she was feral. She purrs so loud it is so adorable, she demands to be held and loves to nuzzle my face. The other 3.... 1 is still pretty feral. Hissing every single time I enter the room. 1 will let me pick him up, he will purr, but he is still very cautious of me. The last one I can pet in the cage but if I try to pick him up he freaks and tries as hard as he can to get away from me. So, that is a pretty big difference between the 4 of them and they are all the same age/related!

Once he has been vetted introducing him to her other cats will just depend on the cats... our adult feral, Sullivan, gets along super well with all our cats, he is the ONLY one who does. Our other cats all hate each other, haha

& 17 Hermit Crabs + 3 Crazy Kitties: Jack, Sullivan, & Bennett  <3