Question for people with experience with feral cats?

I've recently rescued a colony of cats! All are getting along really well except for 1, who is so scared, constantly over reacts in a violent manner! She's been in a mesh tent for a number of weeks, looking pretty comfy...many of hte kitties have spent nights lying beside the tent to keep her company. While she was in there, she'd often hiss & spit at the cats (& me at times) if we came close. It's obvious to me that she's EXTREMELY frightened, and when she hears a noise she strikes out without thinking. She once scratched me (very minor) & looked very remorseful immediately after. I let her out of hte tent 2 days ago for hte first time and things did not go well! She attacked a number of cats, including many that had been very nice to her while she was in there. Last night she put a claw into one of hte kitties eyes, so now she's back in the tent. Any ideas how to get her safely mixing with the others? Only people experienced with feral cats please answer!

Update:

Em...it's a MESH tent...so she can see the others, & they see her.

Update 2:

Mesh tents are much kinder than crating in my experience, though more expensive. More room for stretching and exercise, particularly if they are going to be in there for awhile!

Update 3:

And of course she's fixed! I've rescued so many from teh street here, there is no way I would not have them desexed, that's what causes the feral cat problems to begin with!

Update 4:

She was desexed within 24 hours of being trapped! And she's known these cats all her life, they are all from the same colony and has been interacting with them through the mesh for almost 2 months.

Update 5:

I should have been clearer on 2 things...

1 I have lots of experience taming ferals....I've now rescued close to 30!

2. I'm not worried about me...she doesn't attack me, just hisses & spits, but clearly doesn't want to hurt me & responds incredibly well to my voice.

She's just incredibly frightened & overreacting to some of the cats, even though they are being nice to her. I don't think she poses a threat to me at all & despite her hissing & spitting I actually think she's a sweety.

Update 6:

She loves playing...and I often involve her with play with the other kitties while the front of her tent is open...I put dangly toys inside then out to the ohters, then in, then along side of tent etc, which works well!

9 Answers

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  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    You might check with a vet to find out whether a mild sedative is in order while she gets socialized. I believe there is even something made from a poison ivy derivative that you can add to their water (sounds crazy, I know, but another friend who works with ferals told me about it). I had one cat who, after after being tranked for travel, came out of it with a whole new outlook and a lot less fear. It's almost like she saw things that would normally freak her out, but the meds took the response mechanism away from her, and afterward she was far less spooked - about everything. There's also a mild sedative called "rescue remedy" that is for precisely the kinds of problems you are having.

    Also, I don't know I would allow the other cats to be around her en masse. Maybe just one at a time - it's worth a try.

    Finally, GET SOME FELIWAY!!! This stuff can be bought a Petsmart OR a vet, or you can order online. It is a synthetic cat hormone spray that people can't smell, but it mimics a cat's "happy" pheremones to make them feel more at ease with their surroundings. You can get either the spray or an air freshener type electric diffuser. I can swear by this stuff. You might even want to spray your clothes with it when you are handling this cat.

    Finally, do not be afraid to resort to plain and sheer bribery with food treats to get the cat near to you.

    Be aware, however, that sedative use is only for the SHORT TERM, (though you can use feliway indefinitely) and that there are some ferals, who, even after extensive work and effort is made with them, will at BEST only tolerate you and /or the other cats.

    I wish you the best of luck. Finally, here's one more thought. If this cat cannot be socialized, and is simply too wild to be kept, you may want to consider the "catch, neuter, release" philosophy. At the very least, you will be preventing the cruel overpopulation of unwanted kittens.

  • Lisa
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    I have caught many feral cats, and the only time they have avoided the trap has been if they weren't hungry enough. You have to make sure not to have placed food outside the trap, cover the bottom with newspaper and drip some tuna water along the newspaper all the way to the back, where you place a few chunks of tuna so they can go all the way to the back of the trap (to set it off). If that still doesn't work, try to camouflage the trap with either leaves or towels (making sure not to obstruct the entrance) and be sure to keep away from the trap as much as possible, since they won't go near it as long as they can smell you, or see you. Hope that helps--if you follow these instructions, you should have it trapped within 15 minutes.

  • 1 decade ago

    Well putting her away in a tent where she cant see the others isn't going to fix your problem. What you need to do is get a crate for her so she can clearly see the others and get used to them. Also since there are so many other cats its probely overwhelming for her which is why she is so scared. Try intorducing her to the cats one at a time so she wont feel so threatened. Also if you can I would get her fixed. Is there a chance maybe that she is in heat? She will probely calm down after the surgery since she will no longer have a strong hormonal drive to attack other cats.

    This has worked well for me in the past and I hope it does for you aswell! Best of luck!

  • 1 decade ago

    How old is she approximately? The older she is, the harder it will be. Start gradually, just walking around and dropping goodies for her. When she doesn't seem so afraid, kneel down very slowly and attempt to pet her. If she doesn't respond, walk away. Don't force yourself on her. Get some toys you can play with her but don't expect her to jump on the chance. It will take a long time, again, depending on her age. I've seen cats that never respond. Your goal should be to make her less afraid before you attempt to make her your friend. While you have her in the mesh tent, go in and just sit there with her, if it's big enough. No attempt to pet, let her get used to you being there.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Well unfortunately not all farrel cats will mesh with others but the thing to do is handle her several times a day. I usually start off wearing welding gloves but I also have to catch them in live trap cuz they are so wild here, but handle her 4 to 5 times a day not exceeding 30 min at a time after a wekk you can do it less often for longer periods of time once she has gotten real used to you then slowly introduce her to other cats one at a time in the tent start with a 30 min session a few times a day till you can get them to stay all day together safely.

    Good luck. Remember it takes persistance and lots of love.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    you are going to have to supervise her very closely and slowly let her out of the tent for a little bit of time, longer each time, and if you see her beginning to get into trouble with the other kitties you will have to put her back into the tent...i have a cat who was feral and i have had her for 3 years and she still doesnt let my daughter near her however i have built a trust with her and she does let me hold her and such. so it just takes alot of time and patience and supervision...good luck

  • 1 decade ago

    I read your question but I have no answer...

    I just want to say that I think you are marvelous person for rescuing a colony of feral cats

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Have you tried Rescue Remedy in her water and using Feliway. Where is the tent located? Maybe keep it covered so she doesn't feel so threatened.

    Source(s): www.kathyskitties.com
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    REMOVE her from that environment

    she will probably always be

    loathed...can you find her a good

    home or bring her to a no kill shelter..??

    I ADOPTED A FERAL CAT...

    it takes a while for them to

    trust you.....but eventually they will..

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