Author Topic: Best way to help a feral/stray cat settle in  (Read 4477 times)

Offline Judecat (Paula)

  • Purrrrrfect Cat
  • ******
  • Posts: 12736
  • Slave to: Emo, Bob and Pippa, Pirate and Merlin. Playing hard on The Bridge, Trouble, Jude, Mogwai and Pussmog
Re: Best way to help a feral/stray cat settle in
« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2016, 02:58:16 AM »
I have only had one real semi feral, food based encouragement, sitting in the little bedroom with my Pussmog, reading to her out loud and letting her come to me a little at a time with lots of letting her do it in her own time worked for me.

Tuna in springwater is wonderful :evillaugh:
Oscar Wilde on his adored Mog "The Mighty Atom that purrs and furrs"

Offline Sue P (Paddysmum)

  • Moderating Staff
  • Purrrrrfect Cat
  • *****
  • Posts: 27527
  • Paddy's Mum (Ginger Imposter) [Nov 90- April '11]
  • Slave to: Moray & Malt + my beautiful lost babies - Barley, Mac, Ross, and Tinks RIP babies.
Re: Best way to help a feral/stray cat settle in
« Reply #5 on: February 29, 2016, 10:28:43 AM »
Aw Sheila - I'm not surprised you feel so full of emotion over that.   ;D :hug:

Offline sheilarose

  • Royal Cat
  • ******
  • Posts: 8681
  • Sly da sly - how do I love thee!
    • Cats Protection Chelmsford
  • Slave to: Sly, Theo, Ziggy, Basil, Fuzz & Dot and Rosie the Rescue dog
Re: Best way to help a feral/stray cat settle in
« Reply #4 on: February 29, 2016, 10:11:59 AM »
Play with a laser dot is always a great icebreaker. Slowly at first.

And chicken roll, tiny pieces make a trail to daddies feet and one day she will eat it from your hand. Exploit anything food oriented, lick e licks, Dreamies, whatever it takes.  Trust can take ages, but once established the love of an ex-feral is worth all the gold in the world.

My girl Ziggy has been with us since August, fully feral she was around 16 weeks when she came indoors, but last night I scratched her behind the ears for the very first time. My heart is about to burst.

Offline Sue P (Paddysmum)

  • Moderating Staff
  • Purrrrrfect Cat
  • *****
  • Posts: 27527
  • Paddy's Mum (Ginger Imposter) [Nov 90- April '11]
  • Slave to: Moray & Malt + my beautiful lost babies - Barley, Mac, Ross, and Tinks RIP babies.
Re: Best way to help a feral/stray cat settle in
« Reply #3 on: February 29, 2016, 07:20:58 AM »
Well done to you James, for taking in a cat others may well have passed by.   ;D :hug:

You're doing the right things, and Liz has excellent advice to give. 

We buy our Zylkene online, but think you can also get it at Pets At Home as well as from your vet.  It's brilliant stuff for calming skittish cats.

We adopted two semi feral girls in November last year, at 8 weeks old.  They were wild, and they'd hide all the time.  (Still are on occasion, especially if we need to get them to the vet).

What we found helpful (and I don't know how feasible this will be for your circumstances) was to clear out the room we put them initially.  You need to limit the amount of hiding places, and essentially give her the confidence to own the space.  The best  "hiding place" is a roomy cat carrier, cage or cardboard box with her bed in.  You could put a blanket over the top to make it more cave-like.

We didn't put food down and leave it with them.  We made an event of food, so that they began to associate us as "food givers."  When we were going to enter the room, we used to knock at the door and call out - I used to say "Hello Gurly-Wurlies" and OH preferred "Foodies - foodies" but whatever you feel less daft saying, and which you can happily call out for her.  :)  It will give her advance warning you're coming in, but also, that you're sourcing her food for her.   

We then put the food down a little way from their hidey hole, and we'd sit down and read or talk or watch catch up TV on the tablet, and wait for them to feel comfortable enough to venture out.   Hunger is a great motivator.   After they'd fed, we'd remove the food and just leave water.  Overnight, we'd leave out a scant handful of dried food to snack on overnight - not much though.

When it wasn't "mealtime" we would go and sit in their room, and would put a few treats near to the entrance of the "cave".  After a while they'd dart out, steal the food and run back to the cave.  It took about 4 days before they would warily venture out and came anywhere near us to get the treats.  However, we were dealing with much younger kittens than yours, so don't try to place a time limit on your achievements, as they need to go at her pace.

When they were eating, we'd very gently extend a finger towards them, not touching them at first, just letting them get used to the idea.  It wasn't too long before we could actually touch them, but they'd run away immediately. 

 We would spray our hands and clothes with Pet Remedy spray, and also spray their bedding and the carpet.  Unlike Feliway (A similar product which they recommend you don't allow to touch a cat's fur or skin)  it isn't harmful if cats get it on their fur, and they can - and often do - lick your hands when you've sprayed them (but let it dry!)   The smell is very attractive to cats, and calming.  You'll pay about £20 for a 200 ml spray at PAH, but the last one I bought online was £9.99 for the same size product.

Pet Remedy plug ins are also good.  Again you can get these from most vets, or from Amazon and other online outlets (usually a good deal cheaper than at  Pets at Home and the vet)  We had one in the girls room, and one downstairs for our other cat, who was a bit puzzled and worried by what was going on in our back bedroom.   :-:

Our girls are now 6 months old, and have come on in leaps and bounds, although they're still not cats we can pick up for more than a nano-second.  :shify:  Having said that, they're affectionate - but very much on their terms.  They will cuddle with me and OH and our other cat, and they really enjoy a little snuggle session - they just still feel very intimidated by feet and by being picked up. 

We found this advice really helpful:

http://www.theluckyfew.org/site/feral_cats.html

The task you've taken on may not be an easy one, but it will be so rewarding when you win her trust.   And you will.

There are lots of opinions out there that once a cat gets beyond the magic 8 weeks and hasn't been handled, then it is feral for life, but thankfully, in practice, many have succeeded in proving that theory wrong, and Liz is  a perfect illustration of that, with her incredible crew of strays and ferals.   

We had our doubts, but we kept the faith and it paid dividends.  Look forward to hearing how you progress.

What have you called your little lady?  :)  What colouring is she? 

Offline Liz

  • Cat Rescue
  • Royal Cat
  • *****
  • Posts: 9130
  • Here come the boys!!!!
Re: Best way to help a feral/stray cat settle in
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2016, 20:25:33 PM »
I have a lot of ferals and use Zylkene capsules split and popped on to wet food - I get them from my vet, also a plug in may help as well and some catnip and valerian toys in the open, leaving a radio on as well in the room - we use Classic and Jazz fm, also spending time in the room on the floor reading on the laptop etc can make them curious and things like human ham as treats work as well

Time and Love is what you give them mine range from age 18 to 9 months the sooner you can handle them the better - a dog cage covered but with a bed, litter tray and food and a clip on water bowl gets them more used to you than giving them a whole room
Liz and the Clan Cats and Dogs

Offline jamesthomsonn

  • Kitten
  • **
  • Posts: 6
Best way to help a feral/stray cat settle in
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2016, 19:34:31 PM »
We recently fostered a cat that has been living behind our work for all her life. She's 7 months old and never lived in a house before. The CP helped us trap her & now we're looking after her in our home.

I was just wondering what we can be doing to best help her. She's currently confined to one room with food, water, litter tray & lots of hiding spots/cardboard boxes etc. She spends all day in her hiding spot behind a wardrobe & comes out at night to eat & use litter tray. She hasn't come out when we're in the room. What can we be doing to make the transition easiest for her? I know with new cats you should be in the room & get them used to your voice/presence, is it the same with strays? She's in no way vicious, just very timid & scared. Thank you!

 


Link to CatChat