Will he ever be tame?

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CorygalK
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Will he ever be tame?

Post by CorygalK » Thu Jan 02, 2020 11:46 am

Have had kitten for 10 weeks, was a feral rescue. Two of his litter are untameable and have been put back into the wild, one is tame. My kitten is now 6 months old and won't come near me and only comes out at night. I've tried pretty much everything - is there any hope that he will turn into an affectionate pet? The closest he gets to me is eating near me in bed, but he flees if I move or cough. I live in a small flat so there's 0 point in him staying with me if he and I can't have a loving relationship. I am terribly sad but it's better for him if I know sooner rather than later if he has any hope of being domesticated.

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lilynmitz
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Re: Will he ever be tame?

Post by lilynmitz » Thu Jan 02, 2020 7:31 pm

Please don’t give up. I know of people who have had totally feral cats who eventually became cuddle bums, but it takes a lot of time and patience, and for a cat this scared you have a long way to go yet.

Do you play with him at all? Interactive toys like feathers on sticks or wand toys (ie stick and string with feathers on the end) are good, it helps him associate you with good things other than food. Spend time down at his level, lying on the floor just gently talking to him. You can offer him treats at arms length while doing this.

He has a lot to learn about humans, and he hasn’t had any role models (ie more confident socialised cats) to learn from. Have you thought of getting him a feline companion, ie one that is more sociable? Cats are very good at learning from each other,

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Kay
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Re: Will he ever be tame?

Post by Kay » Thu Jan 02, 2020 11:42 pm

has he been fixed?

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Ruth B
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Re: Will he ever be tame?

Post by Ruth B » Fri Jan 03, 2020 9:14 am

It can take months, even years to gain the trust of an exferal cat, but it is well worth the effort.

As Kay mentioned, if he hasn't been neutered then that is the first thing to do. After that it is a matter of taking it slow, playing with him lots, just being around him acting normally and quietly, talk to him to get him used to your voice, some people suggest sitting reading aloud can help. Make sure he has plenty of hidey holes where he can watch you, both at ground level and higher up if possible. Don't be tempted to try and approach him while he is in these places watching you, he needs to feel he has somewhere secure he can go when things gets rather overwhelming for him. When he is out and about let him smell your hand then let him lead you in fussing him, gently stroking the side of the face is often a good start as that is where the scent glands are that he uses for marking , mingling your scent with his will make him feel that you are part of his den area and belong together.

Finally, you say there is no point of him staying with you in your flat if he won't become less feral, is this from your perspective or from his. He may not be the snuggley cat you wanted, but he is safe, well looked after, well fed, and will get medical treatment when needed although getting him to the vets might be tricky, all of which can make for a good life for a cat, as a feral unless he is lucky enough to end up in a monitored and well looked after colony he won't necessarily have access to. From his point of view staying with you in your flat could be a very good life.

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fjm
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Re: Will he ever be tame?

Post by fjm » Fri Jan 03, 2020 1:12 pm

I am going to sound a different note. While as Ruth says he is safe, warm and fed living in your flat it also sounds as if he is in a fairly constant state of high anxiety, which must have a significant effect on his quality of life. His days may be fewer and rougher in an outdoor colony, but they may also be more relaxed and happier somewhere where he can avoid contact with humans. I am certainly not recommending "releasing him into the wild", but I think if I knew of someone with a farm or similar set up, where he could earn his living by hunting while still being fed and receiving at least basic healthcare, I would consider it carefully.

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Re: Will he ever be tame?

Post by booktigger » Sat Jan 04, 2020 10:14 pm

I've been thinking a lot about this, especially as most know I have also had a lot of doubts about my own semi-ferals, but I think in this instance looking for a farm type home might be best. Yes, he may be safe, well looked after and fed, but bear in mind he has been taken from his family and put in a flat with you, he clearly isn't comfortable around humans and he doesn't have any feline company either, so it must be quite a lonely life for him.

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Re: Will he ever be tame?

Post by Sniper1 » Wed Jan 08, 2020 9:46 am

Hi you have asked a very complex question a feral cat has extremely enhanced wild instinct which set them apart from domestic or domestic cat gone wild ferals can have generations of wildness bred into them in which case it is not reasonable or kind to try to inflict domestic life on them, that said first or second generation of domestic cats gone wild can often lead happy domestic lives but need experienced handling and I would certainly never home one in a small flat with someone with no experience and given no support sadly I would say this cat is probably in the wrong situation unless you get help from someone with genuine feral experience but I would also be very reluctant to return him to a rescue who rehomed so irresponsibly

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Lamont Cyrus
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Re: Will he ever be tame?

Post by Lamont Cyrus » Wed Jan 08, 2020 11:39 am

thanks for the information. I did not know before

Sniper1
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Re: Will he ever be tame?

Post by Sniper1 » Thu Jan 09, 2020 7:44 pm

Something I would like to add if he is not neutered DO NOT put him through the distress of catching him getting into a carrier and the trauma of a vets visit you will have almost zero chance of ever regaining any trust after that and his rising testorone levels at his age may actually increase his confidence and help him become a little braver neutering can be thought about later when and if your relationship improves if you do decide to persevere with him......... Anyone who suggests putting him through the neutering trauma after reading your post about his history and nervousness should think seriously about the harm that trauma could cause to him and about their actual knowledge of cats particularly ferals

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