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Training a feral, has anyone had any sucess?

(30 Posts)
ClarkL Wed 25-May-16 10:28:49

We used to foster cats on a regular basis, now we're in rented our landlady is pretty forgiving with us having 4 cats but not sure how she'd take to be fostering again so I've quite a bit of experience with cats, just not ferals!
However we have had a small feral come visit us, I'm guessing from one of the farms but he is in really poor condition, terribly skinny, tail was broken at some point as it is bent at a 90 degree angle near the end.
Every morning and evening he sits staring into our conservatory. I take a bowl of food out, he runs away but immediately comes back for the food, now he'll come within about a metre but hiss the whole time until I've put his food down.
Today for the first time ever he's visited during the day, its absolutely chucking it down, so I shut all our cats out, opened the conservatory and popped some food inside to tempt him in, he did come and eat it, had a small sniff round but heard a noise and scarpered. I then heard him crying outside.
I cannot get close enough to catch him, i'm pretty certain if I did he'd be massively stressed but I think its worth stressing him once to get a vet look after him. After that, then what? We release him, continue to feed him...will he ever come round to humans? If I take him to the vets could he get so stressed he wont ever come back?
He has been named Scott of the Antarctica - he is a brave and wild explorer. Tell me how to help him best

ClarkL Wed 25-May-16 10:39:08

Meet Scott of the Antarctica

Fluffycloudland77 Wed 25-May-16 10:56:05

I think trap and neuter is in order. It takes a couple of weeks for the hormones to go though so he won't wake up soppy.

You can but try. It's got to better than being in poor condition.

You could always empty a zylkene capsule into his food to calm him down a bit. It's very effective.

JanetWeb2812 Wed 25-May-16 12:03:55

tinykittens.com are doing some amazing things with ferals

CaroleService Wed 25-May-16 12:08:41

We also had a young black feral in our lives; he would howl like a banshee outside when he smelt the Sunday roast.

Saw him limping one day; tried to catch him for two days. Finally got him into a carrier, hissing and fighting, and got him to the vet.

The wound was cleaned up, he was flea-treated, and injected with antiboitics. He was so chastened at the end, he went back into the carrier of his own accord.

Anyway, we were told we must take him home and keep him in; we were dreading the upcoming fight.

To cut a long story short, we opened the carrier, he chose the comfiest chair and spent more or less the next twenty years on it. I guess he had had a family originally and it all came flooding back.

Do try ...

ClarkL Wed 25-May-16 12:19:55

WARNING Do not look up tinykttens.com on facebook - those tiddly smidge kittens are adorable! So many beautiful furbabies and videos as well, I may get no work done and simply coo at the furries

Thanks for the tip Janet I did look but didnt see much in terms of what I can do as the focus a lot on trapping, neutering and releasing. If that's all we can do then we'll do that but I do hope he might be rehabilitated.

I have called our local cat rescue to see if they can offer advice or lend us a trap

thecatneuterer Wed 25-May-16 12:41:41

Definitely trap and neuter. After that you will really need to have a cat flap to get anywhere with him. It seems to be the only way to get feral cats comfortable with being inside as they know they can always get out if scared, so will be happy to be in for longer.

I have had some ferals become completely tame and soppy, and probably an equal number just being happy to live in the house but not want to be touched. In both cases I haven't trained them as such, I just let them get on with what they want to do and take the lead from them.

ClarkL Wed 25-May-16 13:02:46

A cat flap is totally out the question. We have 3 bengals who are house cats, they do have a catio with a run from the house but we cant risk them getting out (neighbour dispute)
We do have one moggy who comes in and out but only when a door is opened for him.

Perhaps I should see if the rescue can have him if we cover vet bills if our set up isn't right for him

Fluffycloudland77 Wed 25-May-16 13:11:51

Cat flap into the shed? How do the other cats react to him?.

thecatneuterer Wed 25-May-16 13:23:52

I doubt any rescue would be able to help. They are all very restricted in the number of ferals they can take in. We only take in those in danger.

You've got a shed? Cat flap in bed in there would be great. Or a cat shelter in the garden.

The neigbour thing sounds very stressful btw.

ClarkL Wed 25-May-16 13:30:11

We do have a garage and we leave the side door open, have always done that for our moggy incase he gets caught in the rain, perhaps I should try putting a food bowl in there for Scott?

Fluffy our bengals will happily sit at the window and look at him, our girl bengal is really aggressive towards other females but fine with boys (we could only ever foster boys because of her) which is why im convinced hes a boy even though I cant get close!
Trevor the moggy who is allowed out actually plays with Scott, you'll often see them in the garden together and following each other around, zero aggression, Trevor is a hippy though.
Thats another reason for wanting Scott at the vets, he's bound to be covered in fleas and passing them onto Trevor to bring in.

Our bengals have a tunnel leading to their run, the other week Scott was sat near the run, our eldest Bengal kept putting his paw through the bars to swat him, Scott must have been millimetres away, close enough to be annoying, not close enough to be caught by the paw!

ClarkL Wed 25-May-16 13:57:38

I've just spoken to our local rescue they were lovely.
They have suggested we pop a worming tablet in his food as chances are if hes skinny its from worms.
They will happily have him if he's tested for viruses and been neutered as they have a colony of ferals

I think I'm going to encourage him into our garage, worm him, and see if he comes round more, if he shows signs of wanting to be near people then he has a much greater chance of finding a home, I'm not ruling us out as a home but would need to check with our landlord and see how he gets on with our cats but as he's in no obvious state of pain I think I have time to work with him.
I did ask if we could trap him, get him to the vets, continue working with him and if no progress trap him again to take to her but she said he wont be fooled into being trapped twice

Fluffycloudland77 Wed 25-May-16 14:03:07

If they like him then woo hoo! Free pet.

You have 5 cats. Plus you've named him. Once you've named them it's game over.

Can you get tablet flea control into his food?.

ClarkL Wed 25-May-16 14:12:24

Ah Fluffy, I have fostered many a cat before and been able to love them and hand them to their furever home.
Trevor was supposed to be a foster but the little bugger kept getting sent back, we adored him though and he's a lot less hassle than our other cats! Weirdly today is his 2 year anniversary of us fostering him.

I have, at the advice of the rescue, just ordered Panacur granuals to pop in his food. As its a powder hopefully he'll just eat with his food and get rid of any worms.

They have warned if he has a virus and fights with our cats he will infect them, so first sign of aggression and he's being trapped and taken to the vets. If he has a virus he will need to be PTS, so even if we work with him, he comes round and becomes trusting, if he has something yucky it may all be for nothing - but at least I'll have tried. I really hope he remains chilled and happy to wonder round the garden with Trevor hassle free.

Gatekeeper Wed 25-May-16 14:16:05

We had the most beautiful tabby female feral who used to sit and stare in our sunroom. She wouldn't let us get close, lots of hissing etc but we fed her anything up to four times day. After a few weeks of feeding her we borrowed a trap and caught her with the help if some roasted chicken legs

Took her to the vet who spayed her (she'd already had one litter at 1 year old) wormed and deflead her and we kept her in our summer house for a week until her wound had healed.

Afterwards we fed her several times a day and made a fab house for her I the summerhouse-cat flap, four beds to choose from... the lot. Would never accpwt us though and remained a right termagant hissing thing.
When we got a cat of our own she stopped coming round as he is a right bruiser who hates other cats but we still leave food out on a night

Fluffycloudland77 Wed 25-May-16 14:20:26

You're in denial 😹

Are they loaning you a trap?. The pound shop do little gourmet tins 3 for £1. No cat could resist them.

thecatneuterer Wed 25-May-16 14:21:23

What virus are they talking about? FIV? In which case he really is of no danger to any other cats unless he fights. And it's generally unneutered males that fight. He needs neutering regardless. It's better for him and for other cats around.

There is no need to test for FIV. If he does have it HE MOST CERTAINLY DOESN'T NEED TO BE PUT DOWN! Most cats live healthy, long and happy lives with FIV and end up dying of a normal age-related condition.

Please can you tell me which rescue said this as they obviously need educating.

hollinhurst84 Wed 25-May-16 14:22:47

That ^^
Mine came to me as FIV +
Anyway that was via a snap test. A full blood test has since shown he doesn't have FIV

ClarkL Wed 25-May-16 14:26:10

Stop tempting me fluffy!!! I am already known as the crazy cat lady in our village, not helped by us walking our bengals on leads for the first few weeks, it quickly went round the new family had wild leopards!!

Yes they have offered to loan me a trap, I said i'd worm him, keep working for 2 weeks and see what progress we have.

Gatekeeper, my concern is he wont ever come round like yours and when we move if he is still living outside he may loose his food source, the next people may not be cat lovers which is why we need to get him semi tame so he can be homed/stay with us OR moved to the rescues feral colony.

thecatneuterer Wed 25-May-16 14:28:53

I've sent you a private message OP

ClarkL Wed 25-May-16 14:29:34

thecatneuter it was the animal ark - perhaps they meant only if his lives in their feral colony?
So he could live a happy life even if he is positive??

If that's the case then that gives me hope, the feral colony might be out but if he can have a home elsewhere he wont be PTS
Does it make a huge impact if he's with our cats and positive? is he best kept in a home with other positive cats?

thecatneuterer Wed 25-May-16 14:35:28

In Lincolnshire? Yes he can live a long happy life even if he is positive. I've had lots of positive cats and they've all lived to a ripe old age. There is no need to euthanise any FIV positive cat - in a colony or not. People used to think that around 30 years ago. Things have moved on!

No, FIV isn't passed on through sharing a house/ food bowls etc with other cats. My none FIV cats never caught it even after years of living with many FIV positive ones. I had a few tested just out of interest (even though I knew the chances were vanishingly small).

Some info for you: www.celiahammond.org/index.php/faqs/fiv-cats

ClarkL Wed 25-May-16 14:41:59

Thank you for the link, I have replied to your PM

That makes me feel much better, I was deliberately not telling my husband about the FIV risk as im sure he'd insist on trapping straight away

Fluffycloudland77 Wed 25-May-16 14:42:34

Lol. Ok.

So you have pancur & a trap coming. How about some zylkene to chill him out while he waiting for neutering?.

It works really well on our Bengal.

JanetWeb2812 Wed 25-May-16 15:10:12

Thanks for the tip Janet I did look but didnt see much in terms of what I can do as the focus a lot on trapping, neutering and releasing.

Well one of their current house guests - Sloane - was a TNR case about a year ago. After giving birth she returned to the feral colony. After a year of regular interaction with humans she is back at TKH and up for adoption.

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