“Feral” adoption, need advice

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“Feral” adoption, need advice

Post by Gahbbbee »

I was at my local shelter and saw a beautiful Siamese cat in the isolation ward because it is labeled as “feral” and if he doesn’t get adopted he will be euthanized due to the fact that the shelter isn’t a no kill one. I really want to adopt it but I’m afraid he might not want to stay inside my home meet an awful end any advice????
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Re: “Feral” adoption, need advice

Post by Mollycat »

Sounds like they haven't taken much time to assess him properly, he might be a different animal with some love and home comforts. If he is likely to be euthanised, and you are prepared to give him a chance, if you have the patience to help him learn to love and enjoy life, if you want to give him a chance because you see something in him (rather than just feeling sorry for him) then why not?

What are the dangers near where you live? I'd like to share a story with you that really inspired me. Some years ago we stayed in a hostel in Scotland. It was close to a very busy fast road that I was nervous walking along and in an area full of foxes, eagles and other predators that could be a threat to pets. The people who ran it had two rabbits who had complete free range all day every day from dawn til dusk. At night they had a room, not a hutch. You've never seen such happy rabbits. We talked to the owners, weren't they afraid for the rabbits' safety? Well, they said, we would prefer them to have the best life possible. We would rather they had two years and be happy than five years miserable in a cage. It takes courage to let go and give an animal such freedom.

This cat currently living in a cage, would you keep him as an indoor cat? That would be a big improvement for him. If you can't let him roam free would you have an outdoor pen for him to be outside safely? Or once you have gained his trust would you take him for walks on a harness?

A feral label doesn't mean much. Is he timid and nervous, or wild and aggressive? Does he hiss at shelter staff when they invade his space to change his litter tray, or scratch when strangers try to pick him up, or fight back when a vet tries to examine him? All these behaviours would be normal for a cat in his position and could be helped with love and patience.
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Re: “Feral” adoption, need advice

Post by Jacks »

What a lovely reply from Mollycat. If you feel you could help this lovely cat have a chance of a meaningful, enjoyable life - then patience and love are the main ingredients. I trapped a roaming unneutered Tom in February 2017 who had been coming for food as dusk for three months but still would not let humans get near him. He spent a month in rescue at my expense, being neutered and having his shots. In the month he was there he hid and hissed at everyone who came near him, and only ate/toileted after the rescue staff had left him for the night. Every day it was open I drove over, talked to him, sang to him, put my hand into his cave, gentle, and tickled his chin. When I first touched him he shook like a leaf (he still does this at the vets). I hand fed him chicken and cheese whiskas treats, because having tried various things this was something he couldn't resist. He was never vioent, just scared.

After a month I had to decide whether to bring him home and release him (to continue befriending) or to put him in a little 'bonding room'. Thank goodness I chose the latter because in a very short space of time he came out of his hidey hole, we did mutual head rubbing, then we bonded. He is devoted to me and loves being brushed and snuggled. At the vets when pick him out of his carrier, he clings to my body like a limpit. He doesn't go out but he has a very happy life.

I also took in a feral, who lived rough for 8 months after neutering (he was wild for years and we did a TNR) but eventually moved in to find home comforts. In his last three years he slept on the end of our bed at night, and came running like a puppy if I called him or he saw me outside. He still roamed in the day, but his life was a happy one, although I could never have put him in a carrier to take him to the vet. He passed away peacefully outside, in the sunshine. He had good food and he was loved.

Sounds like this little one doesn't tolerate humans well at the moment, through fear and suspicion, but this doesn't mean he never will. x
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Re: “Feral” adoption, need advice

Post by booktigger »

I think you need to have a chat with the shelter as to why they have labelled him as feral - some will adapt, some won't. It also depends on what your home situation is like, depending on why he has been labelled depends on indoor or outdoor home. I fostered one cat who had been living as a stray with kittens, while she didn't seem to want fuss, she would accept it with no blood drawn, so against vet advice, I homed her, but with someone who had enough outdoor space in case the vet was right. After 8 weeks of being kept in there (and she'd already had 5 weeks indoors at mine), she showed signs of wanting to go out, and has never been seen since.
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Re: “Feral” adoption, need advice

Post by corkysdad »

I understand your concerns and can only let you know about my little friend Corky

Back in 2010, I was made redundant from my job and was advised by a good friend to get a pet in order to ease the feelings of loneliness.

Corky was advertised as needing a good home, 4 weeks old, black and white and house trained (aren't ALL cats ?)

Along he came and WOW ! what a spitting hissing growling biting clawing bundle of fury he was, and after tearing my arm to ribbons after an attempt was made to pick him up, he fled to the kitchen where he hid behind the washing machine.
My first thought was to leave him exactly where he was and wait for future developments ie the onset of hunger...lavvy time etc and slowly, ever so slowly, he decided to accept my existence as something he would never be able to ignore for any length of time
To cut a long story short, here we are almost 9 years later and you couldn't wish to meet a friendlier, softer, home loving and amusing little feller anywhere.

Give your prospective new friend a chance to get used to the idea of having an employee and I'm sure you'll never regret your decision, and I only wish that miscreants of all ages could be treated this way too

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Re: “Feral” adoption, need advice

Post by Ruth B »

I can only add to what the others have said, time and patience can work wonders.

Freyja is my scaredy cat, I got her, along with another cat, when they were both about 6 months old and I already had a golden oldie at the time. I knew Freyja had had a hard start in life, while not advertised as feral, she was scared stiff of people and when I went to view the two of them i saw a vague white blur as she ran from one hidey hole to another. it didn't put me off, I believed I had the experience to take her on and knew if I didn't take her it could be a long time before anyone else would be willing to give her a chance.

For weeks she hid from us, only slowly daring to venture out to eat when we sat quietly, and later play with a toy that was on a long string and wand so she didn't have to get near me. I knew I had to let her take things at her own pace and slowly she started to accept my presence and finally to actually touch her and scratch her behind the ears.

Four years on she is a changed cat much of the time, she can be very affectionate and demanding attention, but she still is very hard to handle. Over the years both myself and my husband have had our hands and arms ripped when we tried to get her to the vets for a check up and her boosters, but we have never blamed her for it, she reacts out of fear not anger. Fortunately we have some very good vets who have seen her while she was still in the carrier or had her out and quickly and calmly checked her over, fortunately she tends to freeze while there.

For all of the challenge never once have I regretted taking her on.

I have watched videos of many truly feral cats that have accepted a live indoors,, some have accepted human contact, others still object to it, but all have learnt to live happily even if it wasn't their first choice. Of course I have seen a few that haven't really adapted but they were lucky enough to be somewhere where they could be released back into a monitored feral colony.

If you think you are able to give the time and patience that that little one needs then trying them with a life indoors would be better than just being put to sleep, if they really don't adapt to a new life then maybe you could contact other charities and see if any of them know of a monitored feral colony where they could go to live out a happy outdoor life.
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