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After some more advice re my semi feral kittens

(16 Posts)
BettySwollocksandaCrustyRack Thu 04-Dec-14 10:27:42

Have been given some good advice on here so after a bit more. Ok, so my kittens are now out from under the bed and I borrowed a dog cage and had them in that for a few days.

Th tabby kitten is really timid but if I catch her (she still will run away and hide) she is more than happy to be held and cuddled and stroked etc, I think she may have purred but couldn't tell if she was purring or shaking.

However, the ginger and white one is still nowhere near ready to be held or cuddled, I can just about stroke her before she runs off.

Should I make an effort to keep finding her (she runs away every time and I dont want to stress her out) or should I just let her get on with it and come out when she's ready. I'm just worried that she will never want our company if I don't keep trying. I can holder her for about 5 seconds before she starts getting viscious and scratches me.

How long should I keep the cage for? I still have it up but am leaving the door open so they can come out and wander around the lounge if they want to but all they do it either huddle together behind the curtains or behind the sofa.

cozietoesie Thu 04-Dec-14 12:06:12

Remind me - how long have you had them for in total?

BettySwollocksandaCrustyRack Thu 04-Dec-14 12:16:23

One week yesterday.

cozietoesie Thu 04-Dec-14 12:30:37

It's not long for a semi-feral - especially one of a pair. (They're likely giving each other a degree of comfort rather than latching on to humans which they might well do if they were singletons.)

Hopefully, issey will visit the thread later on today and give of her thoughts. Normally, I'd be saying leave them to get on with it but I just feel edgy about that with these two and she has so much more experience with ferals than most people here.

(I seem to recall her talking about a neat trick with a fluffy dressing gown she has. Maybe someone else can link to that.)

cozietoesie Thu 04-Dec-14 12:31:40

PS - purring isn't always pleasure anyway as I'm sure you know. (You can have stress purring as well as happy purring.)

BettySwollocksandaCrustyRack Thu 04-Dec-14 12:43:00

Yes I know they purr when they are stressed as well so not quite sure if it was a happy purr or not.

I was hoping if the ginger one sees us cuddling the tabby she would realise we are not going to hurt her but so far it's not worked.

cozietoesie Thu 04-Dec-14 12:54:52

Yes - I was hoping that as well but ferals and semi-ferals, especially as a pair, are sometimes ...difficult. I think you'll get there but it's a good job you're so patient.

girliefriend Thu 04-Dec-14 16:40:11

How old are they?

When did they first have any human interaction? I have a feeling kittens need human interaction between 4-6 weeks old to stand much of a chance of being domestic.

I would spend as much time as poss playing with the kittens but not force it too much. I have a kitten who was very well socialised but still cries if anyone picks her up and struggles to get away!! She will come to us for attention but very much on her own terms!!

isseywithcats Thu 04-Dec-14 19:03:37

hi im back i would still keep them in the cage overnight a week really isnt long enough to give them free reign of the house all the time as their confidence wont be focussed on you yet,

as cozie said i put my pjs on and have a big fluffy dressing gown what i do is scruff out of the cage stick recalcitrent kitten donw the front f my dressing gown with just head sticking out and sit there stroking and taking gently lots of baby talk for at least an hour at a time go for the more timid one first then the less timid one and put back in cage with some treats when youve finished fussing

BettySwollocksandaCrustyRack Fri 05-Dec-14 13:46:03

OK thanks I will try that. They dont have free run of the house, just the lounge. I leave the cage door ope but they only go in there to go to the litter tray.

It's really sad. I can cuddle the tabby one but she still runs away and hides, not playful like other kittens I have had and when DS tries to pick her up (and he is very gentle with them) she just scratches him.

I'm going to really try this weekend and calm them down and will just have to see how it goes.

isseywithcats Fri 05-Dec-14 15:31:27

i have fostered friendly and non friendly kittens and when i have the timid ones my grandchildren are told not to pick them up as they dont have the confidence to realise that this little human is not going to hurt them, if you can master the swaddle hold in your dressing gown then let your son sit next to you and gently stroke the kitten ,

that way you have the kittens claws hidden and he wont get scratched

my last mob three months on only one of them was pick up able so patience really is the key here

do you have one of those fishing pole type toys with a dangly mouse or feather toy on the end if so you sit very still and just drag it very slowly across the floor and being kittens curiosity will bring them near to you, a few sessions of this and they will forget that you are this big scary beast

small treats like little pieces of cheese or ham, you hold them down at almost floor level and the kitten does not get the treat till they come to you and actually take it from your fingers helps with them seeing you as a source of nice things

BettySwollocksandaCrustyRack Wed 10-Dec-14 09:36:33

Well they are not any better. I was cuddling the tabby kitten the other day and she is fine when beng in she tolerates it...but when I set her down she just flattens herself and runs and hides - she was really vicious when I managed to get her and put her back in the cage

I phoned the lady at the RSPCA where I got them from and told her I will give them a couple more weeks and if they are still the same she will have to take them back. I devote as much time as I can to them but its not making any difference and I feel mean with them being cooped up in the dog cage, they must be bored silly but if they come out they just hide behind the sofa.

They are not driven by treats at all, they won't even come to a dreamie.

cozietoesie Wed 10-Dec-14 09:58:24

When they're around, do you go about your normal business, Betty ?

BettySwollocksandaCrustyRack Wed 10-Dec-14 11:11:44

Yes cozie I do and if I'm in the lounge I will talk to them in that silly voice we use for our animals and I will open the cage and give them a stroke. I am starting to think they need to be with someone who can devote an awful lot of time to them. I do my best and cuddle them when I can but I have a full time job plus I work a couple of evenings a week too........I am going to give them another couple of weeks though as I don't want to give up on them but at the end of the day I'm not prepared to have animals I can't handle.

cozietoesie Wed 10-Dec-14 11:44:01

Hmm - I'm tempted to (slightly) go with what I was thinking earlier and say that you should then leave them to it for a bit. My experience with cats is that they adore 'predictability' - routine and order are great loves - so I'd try as far as possible to stay with some strict routines and then get on with your life.

I recall that when Seniorboy had his little incident which I think was a small stroke (he suddenly became terrified of books and - remote controls!) I sorted it by strict adherence to a pattern of behaviour - when I was around - which involved much sitting down and watching movies/reading books (after the first day or so) so that I was non-threatening and stayed physically pretty well in the same place. That seemed to do the trick.

I'll keep on musing on 't. (Have to go and do some work now.)

HansieLove Fri 12-Dec-14 14:54:26

They might like a cardboard box cat house, either in the cage or close to it. The box, with doors and windows, would be fun for them and a safe, hidden place for them to retreat to.

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