Ex-Ferals - 1 month in(8 Posts)
Thank you all that advised & commented on my previous posts about my ex-feral rescue kitties. They will have been home a month tomorrow, so I thought I would give a quick progress update.
Boy cat is still very shy, and has bad days when he runs behind the sofa whenever I come into or go out of the room. But on good days he stays put if I don't get too close to him & today he stayed within a few inches of me at night-time dreamies (in the hopes of more). He's definitely a ground cat, tending to lie on the bottom of the cat tree or under a coffee table - I think the highest I've seen him was the seat of the sofa.
Girl cat is getting bolder by the day. I've had 2 incidents of being able to approach her on her favorite perch and scratch her behind the ear & under the jaw, she happily wanders around letting me quite close to her, and has been known to sniff my hand and even knock dreamies out of it so she can eat them off the floor. She's a tree cat, liking to be high up on the perches of the cat tree, on the back of the sofa, half in a box on top of a chest etc. Today she discovered the windowsill (about 2 inches wide ), and got very indignant when I finally closed the curtains - she has already worked out how to jump up under the main curtains however. Boy cat isn't as agile (and I think may not be as smart) and he stands up against the wall patting her with his front paws through the voile, but can't either work out how to get up there, or is too scared to try.
I think they are doing bloody well bearing in mind their background
GirlCat is obviously the boss! Female cats usually are, and I expect he's taking the lead from her. (abdicating to her, and being the ground dweller - cats use height to show position of hierarchy.)
Does he have an igloo type bed to hide away if he wants to?
A poster on here had incredible success hand feeding pieces of chicken by hand, and just being in the room with them, reading quietly out-loud. They went from a pair of staring eyes from behind the book-case, to a pair of cuddlers.
Nice one for taking on 2 ferals, sounds like you're making good progress with them.
Remind me, how old are they?
They are around 2 Mantra. Girlcat very clearly the boss yes, and also much bolder than Boycat. He has an igloo bed ignored by him though she sniffs at it now it's on top of the chest, he also has a large cardboard box on it's side with a blanket in it he tried a couple of times but now ignores. His hiding place of preference is still behind the sofa but he no longer squeezes himself under it, and his daytime sleeping places are at the very bottom of the cat tree or under a coffee table in the middle of the room - this has a long draping tablecloth. There's plenty of places for him to hide, I made sure of that when I organised the room around them coming home .
Even Girlcat isn't up to hand feeding as yet, and she gave me the most disgusted look when I put fresh chicken pieces on their food one day then stalked off waving her tail in the air. She DID accept a small piece of lamb. though only after I'd dropped it on the floor. I talk to them and comment on the TV out loud (only me in the house), and do all my (frequent, long) phone calls in that room.
They have got used to the routine of me coming in before work and line up next to the sofa for their dreamies which they eat while I do their litter tray. They also line up at the dreamies position when I get in from work in the evenings - I'm a great believer in bribery .
I think in the very long term at least Girlcat will end up cuddly, but I don't expect that for a long time - as DSis said today, only get worried if I still can't stroke them after a year. A whole year as feral, then a year in a rescue, hasn't exactly prepared the darling things for a house cat life and it will take a long time to get over that initial learning.
But already I feel they contribute far more than the time and cost to me, I feel so happy just watching them in a decent sized space clearly reasonably happy and healthy, and getting more relaxed every day. The sheer joy of watching a beautiful cat even just sitting there (watching the TV in her case!) or stretching puts a massive grin on my face. I luffs my kitties so much even without cuddles & scritchings.
Our ex feral kittens have been with us for 3 months now. They have gone from hiding behind the settee at first, then sleeping in their igloo bed to now sleeping stretched out on the settees, on their backs, belly up! Then, when it's our bedtime, boy cat sleeps with his head between DH's head and neck! Squishy balls are still very popular for games of Catch; and if we hear crashing about upstairs, it's boy cat playing football with Yellow Squishy Ball!
I'm jealous! Kittens must be so much easier to acclimatise to people than fully adult cats.
Mine do both sleep on the sofa at night, but when I go in there in the morning he dives off at high speed under a table. She stands up, stretches deliberately then saunters off - definitely a saunter gait, just a rather FAST one .
We had kittens and a mum that were described as semi-feral when we took them on. After settling in for a couple if weeks the mum was a complete lap fiend but kittens wouldn't come near.
Found a cat psychology site that recommended sitting on floor with a pointed index finger out. Cats see that as a cat nose and will come to sniff it eventually. You may have to sit for a few mins every day with no response but I bet your girl will eventually want to investigate!
Let them just sniff, no attempt at finger movement or stroking. After a few days with them happy to do this, rub side of your finger along side of their mouth so they get your scent on them. Do this each time they come to sniff. Try the pointy finger greeting in different rooms. Always down on the floor.
Next, move from pointy finger - side mouth rub - side body rub. Keep this up and within a few weeks they are likely to willingly approach you to greet your pointy finger (you're another low dwelling cat to them).
It was at the side mouth stage I had a long pencil in my other hand and would drag it slowly over my lap with towel over my knees. My girl was bravest and was keen to break off sniffing to catch the end of the pencil. This is how I got them used to being on me. The towel was a constant so they got used to the smell of it, presume they felt it was 'safe'.
Took weeks. Four years later I have three total lap-tarts😄
Thanks Gobbin, I may well try that - if my arthritic back actually lets me sit on the floor then get up again!
Girlcat does sniff my fingers now & again, and tends to get
bribed rewarded with Dreamies when she does that. They are both getting bolder day by day, I know I just have to have patience with them. I'm actually exceptionally pleased with how far they've progressed in a comparatively short time, especially as they have been conditioned all their lives to not be sociable with people.
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