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Old 06-05-2010, 01:35 PM
7,843 posts, read 11,137,853 times
Reputation: 10079


Trapped 1 of 3 feral kittens and took to vet for TNR (they are 9 weeks old). Trapped 2 of 3 day later and took to vet. The vet techs were all over me how the first one and maybe second one could be tamed (the third is avoiding the trap). So I take the 1st one home, work with him last night and most of this morning. He's doing pretty good if I stay with him on the bathroom floor, playing, hand feeding, pickup, pet, put down. He's starting to not hate it, almost like it.
Pick up the 2nd one this afternoon, different story, much more scared doesn't want any part of it. He's in a large dog crate and the 1st one is in the bathroom. Trying to hold and pet and hand feed isn't doing much for 2 so I swap and I think playing (stick with toy at end of elastic) with the 2nd one relaxes him for a few minutes. Switch to 1 but I can't let him down in the apt, too many places to get under and hide. The only place without furniture to get under and behind is the bathroom. He's feeling comfortable enough that he wants down to run around, doesn't want to be held. If I put him in the crate he hides in the corner and starts to revert. 2 meanwhile is crying his head off in the bathroom. So its been in and out of the dog crate, up and down on the bathroom floor since yesterday afternoon.
I finally cave and put 1 in with 2 which you are not supposed to do because they can bond to each other and stay feral together.
I feel like such a wimp and I hate that I can't follow through. Yes, this is a freaking full time job but only for a couple of weeks theoretically.....I don't have homes for them. I know people who always seem to find someone easy for the stray kitten or cat or dog they find. Me, no such luck. They are both neutered now and I think they gave them worming stuff. I'd home them for free to someone willing to give that little extra but there are so many cats looking for homes. 1 I think would be fine. 2 probably eventually. Part of me just wants to release 2. I still have the kitten and parents to trap, all 3 hard cases who are avoiding the trap totally. Instead this morning I got another Tom I only see once in awhile. He's here because Mom is in already in heat and all the males are all over her. The vet tested him and he was FIV positive and a big ol fighting moggy. I didn't think neutering was going to have much effect at this point so I let them put him down and then cried while I paid the bill.
Argh. I've spayed 2 females, 2 males and now 2 kittens and just can't get ahead of the power curve. I just want to shoot people who don't take care of their responsibilities!
There is no particular question or point to this point. Just, I'm doing this alone and no one else seems to care and I'm not much cut out for the taming of the kittens and rehoming thing. Hope "you" don't mind listening.
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Old 06-05-2010, 01:41 PM
Location: SW Missouri
15,527 posts, read 29,228,109 times
Reputation: 21263
My dear, it could take weeks or MONTHS to even get a feral cat to come close to you. Have a little patience! I know a lady personally who has had a feral barn cat for two years now and it will "just now" only allow her to touch it. These things take an ENORMOUS amount of time. Be patient.

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Old 06-05-2010, 01:54 PM
Location: West Palm Beach, FL
1,457 posts, read 3,322,588 times
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You're doing an awesome thing for these cats and kittens. You did the right thing for the one with FIV, he would only spread the disease to others. It must be frustrating trying to trap the others. I tried with a momma cat and 3 kittens at my work and never did get them. I wouldn't give up on the kittens you have. They've had 9 weeks of no human contact and it will take time. They have more of a chance becoming someone's pet now that you've caught them. Good luck to you! Try not to give up, you did sooo much already to help them.
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Old 06-05-2010, 02:10 PM
Location: In a cat house! ;)
1,632 posts, read 4,224,486 times
Reputation: 1960
Kudos for taking the time to trap and neuter them!! I also think it is WONDERFUL that you have given any consideration at all in attempting to give a home to ferals.

If the cats are truly ferals and not just strays, you could quite possibly have your hands full for a very long time (years) if your desire is to turn them into pets.

We have one true feral and thought a little loving and such would turn her around. We eventually figured out (after a lot of blood loss lol) that she wasn't going to allow us to do ANYTHING other than feed and talk to her. Touching was off limits!

She recently just turned 9... we can pet her a litttttle bit, but it has to be on HER TERMS.

By the way, she doesn't give any of our other 3 cats ANY grief. They all came after her. They stay clear of her and she is fine with that.

Not that you need any thanks for me, but.... Thanks for trapping and neutering the ferals in your area. You mentioned having to pay. Maybe you can find a free TNR program in your area?

Last edited by Lola4; 06-05-2010 at 02:29 PM.. Reason: Added TNR Link
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Old 06-05-2010, 03:17 PM
Location: Niceville, FL
7,276 posts, read 15,279,446 times
Reputation: 7024
As others have said, you're doing a wonderful thing and it can take time for them to adjust to Inside. And some kittens are going to be naturally skittish whether they were raised with people or not. When we brought Five home as a 12 week old kitten, for the first two weeks, the only way we could tell we still had a cat was that the food was getting eaten and (thankfully) the litter box was being used. The rest of the time, he was trying to get himself into every hidey hole he could find.
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Old 06-05-2010, 03:25 PM
Location: Massachusetts
4,033 posts, read 8,245,548 times
Reputation: 4867
You have received some very sound words from the above posters ^^^. I think that you are expecting too much of yourself and these cats. As Branson stated, this is a process that takes months or even years of hard work in the form of [positive] interaction. Especially if you have never done it before, it can be very, very frustrating.

If you talk to anyone who has worked with ferals, the first thing they will tell you is how long they have been doing it, the reason being that working with any kind of animal requires an enormous amount of patience that is cultivated during many, many years of daily, close contact with the animals. In short, it doesn't happen over night for anyone. And it is a huge task/workload. Moreover, the huge amounts of time are required for observation and interaction witht the animals to figure out what they are communicating (and vice-versa). It takes much, much longer if you are only able to do it part-time, which is why very few people do (especially initially).

That said, my advice is to focus on what you are able to provide for these animals rather than what you are not able to provide. It is frustrating when we are not able to be all that we want to be but there are many people on these threads who will tell you about how they were initial caregivers who were only able to provide for animals for a short time whose foster animals went on to live long and healthy lives with full-time caregivers. What you are doing is beyond selfless, please don't forget that
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Old 06-05-2010, 04:17 PM
Location: Wichita, KS
1,463 posts, read 3,439,398 times
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I agree with 20yrsinBranson on it taking awhile with ferals! I have a semi-feral cat at home. She was born outside, bonded with me just after birth and had to stay with her mama until she was old enough. So as soon as I could I brought her home.

Let's just say she's not a lap kitty or one you can cuddle. She turns three this summer. She's adjusted to living in a house and likes a clean cat pan and her food when she wants it when she wants it. To this day she will come near me for a brief pet, but she won't stay for more then 5 or six before she dashes off. And she's always running around inside the house like it's a field. One of her favorite things to do at night is to get at the foot of my bed, sit and stare at me for hours on end!

It's taken her two years to come up close and actaully sit by me to watch TV. I can pet her sometimes or give her a face scratch, but after awhile she'll get up and dart. But she usually comes back after 15 mins.

She kind of does her own thing and you have to repect the fact most ferals don't quite get the idea of home living in a snap.

So far it sounds like to me you are doing a fantastic job with the kittens. You've got them while they are still young. And remember these guys have been though so much in their short time they have been here on this planet!

Best of luck with the kittens.
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Old 06-05-2010, 06:26 PM
Location: San Diego, CA
3,474 posts, read 4,548,614 times
Reputation: 3907
We adopted a feral kitten years ago. It basically hid for 6 months, but he would venture out at night and use the litterbox/play with toys/eat.

Eventually he ended up being a VERY loving lap cat- he was always on my lap, following me around, sleeping on me, etc.

It takes time, and sometimes you just have to let them adjust on their own. But it's worth it!!!
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Old 06-05-2010, 10:19 PM
1,331 posts, read 3,531,303 times
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My feral kitten hung outside and I fed him. Over time he relaxed and came up to me. I didn't try to pick him up but let him do the approaching. He eventually let me pet him and eventually he became my cat. A sweeter more loving boy didn't exist. Had him for 19 years.

If you just want to provide the neutering and releasing, so be it. You are not a bad person if you aren't up to the "taming" and domesticating of feral kittens. Being neutered and living in their colony is a chance for being a cat. Not a pampered one that we would all like to see but a cat nevertheless
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Old 06-05-2010, 11:30 PM
Location: Metromess
11,798 posts, read 21,341,330 times
Reputation: 5054
It took me two years or so to tame two outdoor ferals down enough to let me touch them. They are very affectionate now, but I still can't pick them up, and they are easily startled. I'm glad, because that will help them survive. It takes lots of patience! A day and a half is nothing, but since they are kittens, it probably won't take as long as adult cats do.
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