Rescue cat gone from feral to loving fuss - is this normal?

(26 Posts)
catlover777 Sat 19-Jun-21 21:53:49

My cat was “living rough” for the first six months of his life - he was born to a cat who was living feral in a derelict building.

Luckily a rescue centre got involved and took the cats in, at which point my boy was six months old.

He then spent another six months at the rescue centre before being rehomed with us.

Two years later he is the most gorgeous cat, who loves a cuddle and a stroke (tho he is still wary around strangers to begin with).

I’m kind of surprised he’s been able to go from being feral to being perfectly happy in a domestic setting in such a short time, especially considering the difficult start he had in life.

Is he unusual or is this the norm among cats like mine?

OP’s posts: |
25yearsnhsworker Sat 19-Jun-21 21:57:46

I think it is about building trust after that background. What a great story OP. Any photos?

Honeyroar Sat 19-Jun-21 22:00:35

Cats aren’t daft. They work out when they’re onto a good thing. Animals often amaze me in how forgiving they are and how they can put a horrible past behind them.

JoanOgden Sat 19-Jun-21 22:01:15

The technical term is "failed feral", I believe. He sounds lovely; agree we need a photo!

catlover777 Sat 19-Jun-21 22:05:54

Thanks everyone. I guess it just amazes me how trusting and lovely he is after such a tough start. Although I don’t think he’s ever had any negative experiences with humans - he was just living in a derelict building. Also the rescue centre staff clearly did a great job!

OP’s posts: |
catlover777 Sat 19-Jun-21 22:07:20

Animals often amaze me in how forgiving they are and how they can put a horrible past behind them.

So very true.

OP’s posts: |
hilariousnamehere Sat 19-Jun-21 22:08:24

My two are rescues - one was a cuddle bug from the first time I met her, the other one was the terrified runt of the litter and I couldn't get near her for a good six months. A year or so in and she was happy with fusses, and eight years in she's a proper, magnificent lap cat and berates me if I don't do enough cuddling.

I see it as a massive win of her trust and I think you should be proud your cat has decided you are a trustworthy good human!

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catlover777 Sat 19-Jun-21 22:13:45

I see it as a massive win of her trust and I think you should be proud your cat has decided you are a trustworthy good human!

Thanks smile

OP’s posts: |
Maggiesfarm Sat 19-Jun-21 22:24:34

I think that is lovely, catlover. He must feel really secure with you now. Well done.

Skysblue Sat 19-Jun-21 22:37:37

That’s unusual, sounds like both you and the rescue centre did a great job.

Also sounds like that although he was feral he perhaps hadn’t had any bad experiences with humans.

catlover777 Sun 20-Jun-21 07:53:34

Also sounds like that although he was feral he perhaps hadn’t had any bad experiences with humans.

Yes, I don’t believe he had any bad experiences. I think he just never interacted with humans at all, until he was taken in by the rescue centre.

OP’s posts: |
Pinkybike Sun 20-Jun-21 08:07:41

We got our cat as a tiny feral kitten that kept coming into our garden.
We trapped her in a rat cage & she was furious!!
She would not let you touch her or even look at her without hissing and growling and scratching.
She's 10 years old now and the most affectionate cat I think I've ever had.
She loves to be fussed over by anyone in the family ( when she wants it of course!)
She is absolutely adored by us all and she adores us in return.
She still has some feisty traits in her and is a prolific hunter who loves to be outdoors whatever the weather.
I'm so glad she chose our garden!

spaceghett0 Sun 20-Jun-21 08:12:34

Sounds like you've done a great job with him! We fed a feral cat in our garden for months, she eventually got closer and closer to our house and now she never leaves. She doesn't sit on your knee but she is perfectly happy having a fuss on her bed

spaceghett0 Sun 20-Jun-21 08:14:16

Pinkybike

We got our cat as a tiny feral kitten that kept coming into our garden.
We trapped her in a rat cage & she was furious!!
She would not let you touch her or even look at her without hissing and growling and scratching.
She's 10 years old now and the most affectionate cat I think I've ever had.
She loves to be fussed over by anyone in the family ( when she wants it of course!)
She is absolutely adored by us all and she adores us in return.
She still has some feisty traits in her and is a prolific hunter who loves to be outdoors whatever the weather.
I'm so glad she chose our garden!


Yeah, our ex feral is a prolific hunter too. She doesn't go outside though unless it's sunny 😂

Lonecatwithkitten Sun 20-Jun-21 08:18:53

After years of seeing cats one of the biggest things is your cat is a boy. Once neutered make cats will take the sofa and regular food over the feral life every time.
Females never totally trust that the sofa and food will stay for ever and retain some of their fiesta traits if they started feral.

Allergictoironing Sun 20-Jun-21 08:19:13

Your story sounds like mine, except mine was double in everything - 2 cats, a year old before being taken in, a year in the rescue before they came home.

Boycat is a total cuddle monster now, and Girlcat demands fuss on her terms frequently. They are still wary about any other people, probably because I live alone so they aren't used to company. Neither has ever bitten me, and the only scratch I got was unintentional ("pushing off" to get away). They don't growl or hiss.

So yes, unusual but not unheard of!

RainyDay2020 Sun 20-Jun-21 08:21:35

Some take much longer than others and it can take them a while to settle in but when they realise they can trust you and start giving head bumps and sitting on your lap it’s the best feeling in the world!

Stickytreacle Sun 20-Jun-21 08:22:58

All my ex ferals are affectionate cuddle monsters, barring one who is strictly fusses on her terms and won't sit on laps, but will cuddle beside you. I know a rescue who specialise in ferals, they say that there is no such thing as a feral cat, just a scared cat, and I think that this is essentially true, once the fear is gone you've essentially got a pussycat grin

Katshouldnotswim Sun 20-Jun-21 09:01:04

Complete agree with what lonecatwithkitten said.

That’s my experience too.

Tom cat turned into the biggest sissy ever whilst his sister could randomly strike out years later.

catlover777 Sun 20-Jun-21 12:12:17

Interesting @Lonecatwithkitten, I never knew that! smile

when they realise they can trust you and start giving head bumps and sitting on your lap it’s the best feeling in the world!

Very much so!

OP’s posts: |
thecatneuterer Sun 20-Jun-21 15:01:45

Lonecatwithkitten

After years of seeing cats one of the biggest things is your cat is a boy. Once neutered make cats will take the sofa and regular food over the feral life every time.
Females never totally trust that the sofa and food will stay for ever and retain some of their fiesta traits if they started feral.

I disagree with this. I've had experience of dozens of feral cats. Some remain completely feral, some remain more or less feral, in that they don't want to be touched, but are happy to exist around humans and some become properly tame and affectionate. My soppiest cat right now is an ex feral girl who was born outside and was around 2 years old when I caught her. She hangs round my neck and purrs into my ear. I have noticed no difference between males and females relating to how they turn out.

ViperAtTheGatesOfDawn Sun 20-Jun-21 15:24:44

It sounds like the rescue and you did a fab job, and you were matched well.

Mine is a former semi-feral stray, picked up by an inspector at about a year old with her 2 fully feral kittens who were about 6m old. Huge credit to our local RSPCA who put in a lot of effort with her to help her feel safe with humans. She's been with me since last autumn and has done amazingly. I didn't actually want a lap cat and I've never allowed previous cats on my bed at night but she's turned out quite needy and cuddly, and demanding and bolshy, she's quite bitey but it's manageable, though some of her character may be down to being a tortie grin

Getafuckinggripman Sun 20-Jun-21 15:32:17

Is your camera broken OP? You know the rules...

claireb7rg Sun 20-Jun-21 16:40:48

Our youngest is a former semi feral ex farm cat.
She got taken by the farmer along with her mum to cats protection as he didn't want any more kittens. Ours was spayed but the mum was already pregnant again. The mum had her kittens and was then spayed and re released, ours was found to be very friendly so was put out for homing (hence her ear being tipped)

10 weeks later and we have gone from being petrified of us to loving life in a warm friendly house with lots of toys

purdypuma Wed 23-Jun-21 09:33:59

I only have the experience of rehoming 1 ex feral kitten that I got at 4.5 mths. She died nearly 2 years ago but lived to 17.

She was an amazing cat. Lived under the spare bed for the first few weeks before gaining confidence to explore. Had access to outdoors & never strayed far beyond the back garden but was very territorial!

Was happy for my friend to pop in on her on the occasions I was away from the house.

Used to snuggle next to me on the sofa & always enjoyed a tickle but hated being picked up & was a nightmare to get in cat basket or to give meds to. However, was an absolute angel in the presence of the vet!

Very skittish, nervous temperament & would hide upstairs if strange people came to the house & enjoyed a fuss from those who visited regularly.

Still miss her every day & every bit of progress felt like a massive achievement.

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