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My Semi-feral kitten (photo)! — 40 Comments

  1. Sing to him. That’s how I won over Monty. That and lots of food. And singing while I gave him the food.

    He needs a song.

    Monty has his own song (to the tune of “Goodnight Ladies”) and my sister’s cat Kobe has his own song, consisting of his name three times on the first tone of the scale, on the fifth, and then split between the third and the tonic. (1-1, 5-5, 3-1.) You will have to come up with your own, of course, as these two are taken.

  2. Howdy Leah –

    J-A-A-A-Y-Z-I-S! (as the Irish would say). (Hope I don’t offend you. I try top subscribe more or less to Christian principles: the only thing I object to is a life after death.)

    Your comments were graphic – hideously so – and I can only imagine what you must have gone through, not to mention the added suffering to your kitty-man and the extra expense. And yes – I know – even a close, trusted friend can give you a massive stroke. Tell me about it. I know. I know. As my mother was always saying, ‘If you want something done right, do it yourself.’

    Not sure I could take my own advice re joint custody, though Michael seemed to be wandering through the Valley of the Shadow – not quite of Death, but grinding sorrow, which is why I was flailing about a bit, trying to come up a palliative.

    I hope your poor Mr. Jinks is feeling better, despite his permanent gimp, and DON’T EVER TRUST ANYONE AGAIN. Dismal advice, but probably true. What’s more, things could have ended up even hairier than what you’ve described. Don’t know about the English, but Americans are wildly litigious. You probably didn’t do this to her, but would she have done it to you? Though it goes w/o saying your friendship would have twirled down the drain, you might have been able to wrest a reasonable sum of money out of your friend – more than enough to cover every penny (shilling, whatever) of the costs of additional vet bills, not to mention the pain and suffering resulting from her flagrant negligence.

    I admire anyone with the strength and fortitude to foster cats – I would keel over. They’d have to call the meat wagon and haul me off to the rendering plant. Your kids have a wonderful home!

  3. Aww Michael He is Beautiful, Does look like a Mackerel Kitten. I never had a feral kitten so I can’t comment. I think what everyone else has said is the right thing to do. I guess it will take time as he does look abit timid and probley Frightened. Finally got the house back to ourselves so Cats can go anywhere on anything and do what they do best!! Jasmine at moment is chasing fly’s and loving being an adventures kitten. I hope for the best at least it will keep you busy and eventually the kitten will gain your trust.

  4. I had a feral kitten in the litter of LAILA, he was very very rude. He bit me 3 times within 5 minutes on my hand and my hand started bleeding. I enjoyed that wild manner but I never stopped to pick him up and after the third attempt, he was used to my touch.

    I never got consulted from a doctor because I did not care about the swellings and blood. And I knew it well, with these bites I could never turn to a CAT MAN (like SPIDER MAN got bit by a spider). But I was wrong. I really turned into a cat man. I cut my nails every Friday now, because I scratch my two little daughters when they do any harmful play to each other. They look at me as to say”what now?” I hiss on them. SSSsssshhhh…stop playing in this way, you will get injured.

    Well this was a bit joke with respected friend Michael Broad <3

    But congratulations! Thousand claps, and many hugs (if people of ENGLAND won't mind it) 😉

    This kitten Michael, is the friendliest of ever been. I bet on this. I was wondering how old he is?????

    If he is less than 8-10 weeks old, then let him roam free in your home and discover his new place. Let him do what he wishes to go on. But keep as same eye as a tigress do with the cubs. Tame him according to a house hold cat. never let him out. FERAL means FERAL in blood. The DNA of a feral kitten is the same as his ancestors so maybe not this kitten but his next and then next generation will become a pure household cat. NEVER EVER LET YOUR FERAL KITTENS OR CATS OUTSIDE, let me say it again, NEVER EVER! … Congrats again and I pray for him and you MICHAEL, NOW be sure and hard to adopt him, means you are doing the best love giving job if he stays to you, ONLY YOU. His eyes tells me something, YOU BOTH ARE BORN FOR EACH OTHER and don't miss this time, don't let him go <3 <3 <3 🙂


  5. what a beautiful kitten I love him , but there’s no advice I can give you as most of the other comments correctly cover every angle so just be yourself go about your routine and he will join in when he is ready I personally would leave dry food down 24/7 and only feed wet tasty food when your close by and split these into little and often hope things work out for both of you I know you will not give up on him

    • Thank you Kevin for your advice. He is a beautiful kitten if only I can get a chance to see him 😉 . At the moment he hides almost all the time and I have to use all my trickery and guile to get him to come out. This is going to be slow process and patience will be my guiding motto 😉

  6. My first chance to get a glimpse of Gabriel. He’ adorable.
    As they say, “Slow and steady wins the race”.
    I think you are doing well to just let him absorb your calm presence and voice for awhile.

  7. He’s such a lovely little kitten, it sounds to me as though what you’re doing is exactly what is needed Michael, I think you will know yourself by instinct how to gentle this little chap into trusting humans.

  8. It can take weeks to socialise a feral kitten or even a semi feral, it depends how feral he actually is and what he has lived though already, but the only way is with time and patience. Rushing it only ends up making it worse. He will come out when he’s ready. It’s traumatic enough for any cat to travel and to move into a new home with strangers, it’s even worse for a cat with feral in him. Everyone can give advice but at the end of the day it’s the person on the spot who knows the situation and how it’s progressing and that’s you Michael, so go with your instincts.

  9. Hi, Leah –

    You’re right. Fosterers fill a dire need and, as you point out, they can’t adopt every cat they’ve sheltered for a short while.

    But I would submit with all respect, though you disagree, that the politesse was mine, not his. I sat up until 1:00 a.m. yesterday morning, banging out what I’d hope might be a helpful suggestion.

    Why this sudden solicitude? In fact, there is none. I do not care if he is unhappy. Which doesn’t mean I rejoice to see him or anyone else pile still more unhappiness on their head. He is still trying to convalesce. He’s still a wreck over the loss of his boy. And now he’s putting himself through more pain, judging from his comments. Not sure, but think he used the word ‘finality’ in his post, as if he were having to cope with another death.

    Such as it was, my suggestion was more of a question.

    Why does parting with a foster-cat have to be ‘final?’ Would this lady refuse to let him see ‘Downton’ again? (She might, of course. You never know!) But since Michael was obviously stressed and grieving, I tried to suggest that cat-parents consider a shared approach in caring for a cat.

    People are glued more and more to their Internet They zealously guard their ‘personal space’ and curtail their interactions with their fellow humans mortals, trading real-life encounters for a glass screen. Not everyone, it goes w/o saying. Nor are these ‘my views’: I’m quoting the social scientists.)

    Here’s a parallel situation.

    There are books about the level of violence in certain cultures. What accounts for the variations? Anthropologists who’ve studied some rural communities in Africa have found that the kids in some of them grow up to be peace-loving adults. Why? The answer they came up with is that the kids weren’t smacked around.

    Children can drive their parents crazy. There’s a surplus of emotional and physical child abuse in America, and social scientists are saying it arises, in large part, from stay-at-home parents caring non-stop for their pre-schoolers. By contrast, when a mother in these African cultures is losing patience with her child, she defuses her anger by passing him along, for a few hours, to others in the community. I believe that kibbutzim also have a communal approach to child rearing.

    By way of analogy, many parents of cats feel that they – and no one else – can properly care for their cat. They adopt a cat, then shut their door to the world, and are pinned down for the next 20 years because they love their cat so much, they’re guilt-ridden to leave him alone — which is why, unless they board him, or have caring family members, they can never have a vacation. It’s bad enough when they go to work and have to leave the cat behind for nine and ten hours.

    Which is why I only meant to suggest that a cat might enjoy having TWO homes and TWO parents, IF the cat knew and was equally happy with each. While the idea invites rejection, it might work under carefully vetted circumstances.

    Anyway, my thought was that no one bereaved is sturdy enough to cope with still more losses. My sole intent was to shut the door on ‘finality’ and open a door on what might be an alternative: namely, that giving up a foster cat needn’t be a nails-in-the-coffin end of a happy relationship.

    • Hi Sylvia. I appreciate the suggestion of sharing a cat but my opinion is that it is not workable. Firstly the adopter would not like it because they don’t want the fosterer interfering and holding on. It would be almost impolite I feel and the rescue organisation wouldn’t want me to make contact with the adopter and suggest sharing.

      For a fosterer to share cat caretaking with the adopter undermines the relationship I feel and it undermines the process of fostering. The adopter might update me as to Downton’s progress and I have suggested she can call me if she needs to.

      To be honest, I think you have slightly misconstrued my state of mind. Probably my fault. I was upset at saying goodbye to Downton but I realise I have to move on and I have done.

      It is a job. It is about cat welfare and I only state how I feel on the website because I am amongst friends.

      Thanks again for your suggestions and thoughts.

      • You are right Michael, sharing a cat is not workable, a cat needs a stable forever home with one person or family to care for him.
        It must have been a wrench parting with Downton but your job is done, it’s what you signed up for and you’ve done it and moved on to your next challenge, I think you are going to be excellent at fostering, loving and caring but then letting go.

        • Thanks Ruth. We are on the same page on this. If I can’t do it at an emotional level, I’ll stop. The boy I have now will be a long foster. I may develop too close a bond. I told the lady who was fostering him and rescued him that I might not be able to let him go. She thought it would be 3 month foster or something like that time frame. This morning it took me 15 mins to find him 😉 This is tough.

          • 3 months is a long time compared to how long you had Downton, so if you find you and Gabriel have a close bond, you always have the option to keep him, there’s no need to make decision for a while, just enjoy getting to know him and building up love and trust. Don’t worry if he hides, as long as he’s eating and using his litter tray, he will come out to you eventually.

    • Sylvia…appreciate your views

      For me its about responsibility. I asked my friend to look after my foster cat Mr Jinks so we could take a short break that had already been paid for. She has had cats over the years and is sensible so I thought all would be ok. Jinks was in a playpen with the top covered over with boards and I said to my friend ‘make sure you weigh the boards down because if you don’t he will get out even though he has an external fixator on his leg’ well….. she didn’t and he did. she found him the next morning stuck down the side off the bed with me 180 miles away. We drove back cutting our break short.

      A visit to the vets showed that the ex-fix had moved so 3 weeks of care down the drain in just one weekend eventually causing the leg to heal crooked turning a healing time of 8 weeks into 6 months.

      I’ve learnt my lesson the hard way and I will never trust anyone again with my rescues and fosters.
      This Sylvia is why when I foster I lock the door to the world and do it myself its my responsibility and therefore only me to blame if anything goes wrong.

  10. Michael he is a little darling I am pleased you have another foster so quickly, he will take your mind off Downton who I know you miss 🙁 the whisker pad and mouth of this little chap appears to resemble that of a Cheetah

  11. You had no use for my last suggestion re Downton. So what else is new?

    Suggestion 1: Give him some people-grade tuna, the salt rinsed off. It’s not good for him, what with the mercury and cadmium, etc., but a tablespoon won’t kill him, and he’ll enjoy the flavor.

    Suggestion 2: Talk to him in a cajoling, squeaky, whispery voice.

    Suggestion 3: KEEP HIM, for Pete’s sake. He’s been bounced around enough in his tragic infancy.

    • Sylvia, I read your comments and digest them. I appreciate them and this one, I really do. I am doing pretty much what you have suggested. I have spent the last 15 mins sitting next to his cave feeding him small pieces of cooked chicken by hand so he gets used to my body and I talk to him so he gets used to my voice. It’s early days but I am hopeful. He’s a tough one because he is genuinely feral but he is young and I am old….and wise 😉

    • A lot of cats have a rough deal you can’t keep all of them! Far better Michael socialises this little one and he goes to his forever home!

      • I agree, fostering means loving and caring but then letting go so as to give the next cat a chance, then the next, then the next …….

  12. I am sitting on the floor in the spare room (second bedroom) where Gabriel is under the bedside table typing this. I have placed some warmed up chicken breast next to the exit to his “cave”. I am about 3 feet from the exit. I’ll stay here for about 15 minutes.

  13. Leave on a radio or tv on low volume so he can get adjusted to human noises if you are leaving him alone for some time. Also, when I have brought feral kittens home to socialize and adopt out, I like to sit and read out loud to them from whatever book I am reading at the time. I would start out placing canned food about 2-3 feet from me and making them approach while I stayed there while they ate. Every day I would pull the plate a little closer until eventually I could pet them along their back. I think slow progress is best when they are scared. He is certainly a fine looking boy. You are going to have a lot of stories to tell us and I look forward to reading about Gabriel.

  14. He is gorgeous! Just give him time Michael, he’s hissing because he’s frightened. Look at those eyes! I’d put him some food down along with the water and put his litter tray in a quiet corner in the same room and just carry on with your day, but make time to sit in the room he is in, close but not right next to him and talk very quietly to him, let him get to know the sound of your voice. Use his name a lot, move around very slowly and softly. He will come out when he’s ready!
    Time and patience is all you need.

  15. He’s cute 🙂

    Teaser toys are a good way of interacting with nervous kittens. Most of them can’t resist the temptation to play.

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