A Path to Follow

A Path to Follow

by Carol
(Nashville, TN)

Our local feral furry friend

Our local feral furry friend

This is a picture of a female feral cat who has lived in our neighborhood for about 3 years. Unspayed she has had a couple of litters of kittens one of which was caught and tamed and now lives happily in a loving home.

His 'Momma Kitty' as a nearby neighbor refers to her was too crafty to be caught until recently when after feeding her for several months I was able to lure her just into the house with a plate of tuna. Closing the door to prevent her escape began kitty's new journey.

Our vet came to the house to catch her and take her away to be spayed and given all her shots. The report was wonderful in that she is now spayed, deflead, wormed, and feline luke negative.

Currently in a large cage and able to see outside she is recuperating with us and will get boosters in a couple of weeks. She has been invisible preferring to stay out of sight in a box inside the cage. I don't know if we will be able to even get to 1st base in taming her. I am continuing to feed her the same food though she almost seems to be on a hunger strike.

She somehow survived a week of single digit weather in Nashville as I made sure she got as much to eat as she wanted--up to 3 small cans a day plus dry food. I guess I should just feel good about stopping the cycle of reproduction.

She is a sweet cat who always was sitting anxiously at the door for her meals, 'making biscuits' with her paws and ducking her head down and rolling over in happiness but always from a distance - a short distance.


A Path to Follow to Feral Cats

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A Path to Follow

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Feb 20, 2010 Great progress !
by: Ruth

Carol I think you are making great progress with Kiri ! I love her name by the way.
Usually true ferals panic and try to climb the walls, get out of windows or doors, anything to escape.
We actually have a cat next door at our friends house a bit like Kiri.She used to come for food every day,she was always starving but wouldn't let us near her.One day she was limping and she had a huge studded dog collar round her neck with one front leg trapped through it.We were able to catch her and cut the collar off and our friend took her in. Despite trying we didn't find her owner so whether they'd been abusing her and thought it funny to put that collar on her, we'll never know.
Like your Kiri she gradually started to trust us but her HQ is still the bathroom although she can come and go as she pleases.
We took her out in the cat run one day but she shook and coudn't wait to get back to her safe haven.
I think she must have had a really bad time outside and is now happy with food and a warm bed.
She's been in since November and still grumbles at us sometimes if we fuss her too much ! Maybe your cat has a similar story.
I think the secret of success is to go at their pace.
I'll look forward to your next installment.
p>Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Feb 19, 2010 Progress with feral kitty
by: Carol

This week Kiri, as we now call her, is living in a large quiet bathroom with a cat tree in front of a large window with a commanding view of the backyard. Because she is non aggressive I got up the courage to start to pet her head and have progressed to giving her a head and neck massage. She responded yesterday with a small purr on three occasions and today she seems to really be getting into it as she made major 'biscuits' using the small back on the cat tree shelf as her 'brace.'

She is incredibly hand shy but does not lash out. She flattens her ears when my hand approaches but she does not hiss or try to swat. When I was patting her she eventually maneuvered her paws so she could make 'biscuits' big time.

I watch her eyes closely to see how alarmed/fearful she feels. Once the petting starts she seems to be becoming more relaxed. Does anyone think that this is progress or is this just my imagination. Any information would be helpful. Years ago I did turn a fraidy cat into a lap cat but the cat was not feral, just a basket case.

I tried to find out if Kiri had been dumped or was the product of a feral union and could not get any clear information. No one can seem to recall a mother cat with kittens of which Kiri would have been one.

She is named for Kiri Te Kanawa the Australian opera diva though as yet we have to hear kitty Kiri's voice in the house.

Feb 09, 2010 Don't Give Up !
by: Julie,Alhambra,Il.USA

She is wanted and that is half the battle. The other half is just how much she wants people in her life. Not being in captivity she dose not know the pro's or con's of her situation. Feral cats do have their odd ways and they can leave some heavy duty scars even after you think they are tamed. My husband always tells me that I can do more with BB than anyone.I dont know if she has just excepted us as her new colony or has become part of the family but when she lays her head on my chest and looks into my eyes she has a look of pure love and it melts my heart. I hope this happens for you and her. Best of luck and thanks for the picture.She is wonderful!

Feb 07, 2010 True ferals
by: Ruth

Some cats people think are ferals are actually cats which have been 'thrown out' or abandoned and gone semi wild due to having to fend for themselves. Those cats are much easier to re-domesticate.
True ferals have generations of ancestors born wild and these are the ones it's very unkind to confine,especially to cage.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Feb 06, 2010 good job
by: kathy

This is a great story. I consider it one more saved. Our Midnight has a similar story. She too was saved through a program for spay and nueter. She is very content to just stay inside and look out the window. She doesnt even try to go back out. Although that may change soon as the weather gets warm.

Feb 02, 2010 You are still her human anyway
by: Finn Frode, Denmark

Hi Carol. I think you've you've done a great job. Don't focus too much on whether she is tameable, because she will still have a function to fill in your neighbourhood as a spayed feral. That's the whole idea behind TNR-programs, right?
She probably won't be very friendly for some time after you've releases her, but with patience, food and a calm voice maybe some day she'll allow you to touch her. And maybe, just maybe, later on she'll be ready for more, who knows...
For now just enjoy having this beautiful feral running the territory - and be happy that it was you that bailed her out thus saving her from trouble, births and disease. In a way you are still her human anyway. 🙂

Finn Frode avatar

Feb 02, 2010 Momma Cat
by: Barbara

I agree you've done a great thing for her in having her spayed and vaccinated,she is a beautiful cat and it's sad that she ended up on the streets. But I also agree with Ruth, being kept in a cage must be hell on Earth for a feral cat that has only known freedom. She may come around but you need to hope it's because she wants to be friendly and not because her spirit is broken by being imprisoned, it's so easy for a cat to just give up, especially a feral cat. In the past as feral officers for CP both Ruth and I were involved in trapping, neutering and releasing ferals back to where they were living, the ones that the co-ordinator, in her wisdom, decided to confine never did well.

Good luck and keep us posted.

Barbara avatar

Feb 02, 2010 Ongoing care and feeding
by: Carol in Nashville

Kitty is eating, drinking and using her litter box. Once she has her booster shots next week we will determine whether further domestication is in her best interest. I was heartened to see that there are feral cats who are 'neighborhood' cats. This cat has been one of those. An acquaintance said that a feral cat he befriended took about a year to warm up and is now touchable. This may be the best route for her. I so appreciate th helpful comments. I am a huge cat lover and would only want the best for her. I will keep this forum updated.

Feb 02, 2010 Feral cat
by: Ruth

I'm very glad that Momma Kitty has been spayed and had her vaccinations etc but I'm very concerned she is not eating.If a cat goes more than 2 days without food they can become ill.
If she is a true feral she will be very very unhappy and feeling very trapped in a cage, no matter how large it is.
At 3 years of age she will be very hard to tame, a feral cat's life is outdoors and all they ask is food,water and shelter provided.There is a difference to her son being succesfully tamed as feral kittens can be tamed easily if caught young enough.
I hope if this cat doesn't settle and eat very soon she will be released to live the life she was born to, or she may die, if not from starving herself, from being trapped into an un-natural life for a feral.

Kattaddorra signature Ruth

Feb 02, 2010 Nice work
by: Michael

I am impressed with your commitment, patience and care. I think you will do fine in taming your feral cat. Do you have a name for her yet?

She looks like a black tortoiseshell or calico (with the bit of white on her paw).

Thanks for visiting and sharing. We like stories about improving the lives of cats.

Michael Avatar

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