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stray cat

Discussion in 'Cat Training and Behaviour' started by john1, Jan 27, 2012.


  1. john1

    john1 PetForums Newbie

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    hi,i have been looking after a stray cat for about 8 months.
    i have found out that in his previous home he was chased by the owners new dog,so the cat has have packed his bags and he decided to move into my garden.
    i understand the cat is very scared of everything but i need any advice please on how to gain more of his trust.
    he lives outside so i have built him a little house to sleep in which he loves.
    he will come inside to eat and will be very friendly,rub himself against me,circle me and even sit on my lap untill i feed him, but the moment he hears the slightest noise he will fly out of the door and try to bite you if you are in his way,i understand why he does this because of the dog.
    once he has eaten he will go back outside and never stays in.
    i just need some advice on how to get him more trustworthy of me and perhaps not so scared of any noise or movement.
    thank you for any advice


    rip tiggy woo see you at the bridge
     
  2. Jiskefet

    Jiskefet Slave to the Hairy Hikers

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    Do you have a dog, too, or are you referring to the dog in his former home?
    Can you approach him when he is outside? Or does he run and hide at the sight of you?

    I don't think it is just the dog, he is practically a wild cat by now. If you had wanted him to be a house cat, it would have been best to keep him indoors when he first came to live in your garden. By now, he is very wary of people, he is a true predator with all his instincts working perfectly. And a cat's instinct tells him to stay out of sight, avoid larger animals and run and hide at any sign of trouble.

    The behaviour he shows before being fed shows there is a bond, he does trust you, but only so far.....

    One thing you can try, is to keep talking softly to him all the time he is inside. And you could try keeping him in for a little while after feeding, talking gently to him, but ignoring him in all other respects. NO looking at him, NO moves in his direction, and NO scary sounds. If he shows any sign of panic, just open the door for him, but if he is just annoyed he cannot get out and hides, leave him be for 5 or 10 minutes.

    He will probably hide under a table or chair, so when you open the door for him, don't pass too close to him, stay well away from him, and again, talk gently, but totally ignore him otherwise. If he has a name, tell him: there you go, Xxxxxx, tikk the next time....

    I have a semi-feral cat, Tosca, who is much the same. She will give cuddles when she wants food, but she doesn't want to get picked up, she keeps to safe places under tables and chairs, and once she has eaten, she goes out again.
     
  3. john1

    john1 PetForums Newbie

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    thank you for your reply jiskefet
    i do not have any pets,the dog i was referring to was in his former home.
    yes i can approach him when he is outside he will not run away,but i would have to be very careful if i went to stroke him, his little house i built him is near my back door and if i open the back door he does not run away if he asleep in it.
    i dont necessary want him to be a house cat,i am just not use to a cat of this nature.
    regarding feeding him if i call him he comes in only if he is hungry, he runs in meowing and the longer i leave it to feed him the more friendly he gets sitting on my lap ect,the moment he has eaten he is clawing away at the back door in a panic so i let him out.
    as i said dont want him necessary to be a house cat,i just believe he is not as wild as he make out.
     
  4. McSquirtle

    McSquirtle PetForums Senior

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    I was in the same situation myself last year. A female stray followed my boys and basically adopted us. She was super friendly with the cats but a bit wary of humans and as I never knew her background I always went steady with her. It didn't really work for us because I tried to take her in properly, and my cats were happy with this - however once the food was eaten she'd bolt. I was glad she was receiving food but I would have rather had her as one of the group. In the end I took her to a local cats protection society. I couldn't afford to keep feeding her and the guilt was terrible as she'd crave love but then didn't want it. I figured they knew what to do and around 4 months later they informed me that she'd gone to her new home :) fantastic outcome.
    If you're happy with this little cat living mainly outside then just carry on as you are. I think it might be a bit late to force him inside now as Jisk said, hes already adapted to living wild. Perhaps over time he will calm down in the house, does he explore the your house?
     
  5. john1

    john1 PetForums Newbie

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    thank you for your reply mcsquirtle
    when he lived in his previous house i dont know if he was an outdoor cat then as he is now,i do know that they got a dog and the dog chased the cat out resulting in the cat moving out,the cat was there before the dog,i was told about the dog chasing the cat by my neighbours.
    he properly has adapted to living outside.
    sometimes he does explore the house twice he has been upstairs and fallen asleep for about 4 hours,also now and again he will explore the front room then go he looks very confused as to where he is.
    i am more then happy to feed him,look after him and for him to be an outside cat and i am not trying to make him a house cat,i just belive that he is not as wild as he makes out to be and was looking for ways to make him perhaps not as nervous as he seems to be.
     
  6. McSquirtle

    McSquirtle PetForums Senior

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    I'd say you're doing a great job then! Carry on as you are. Lots of gentle encouragement when he is around. Its a really good sign that he came in to nap and felt relaxed enough to do so :)
    He's lucky to have found a nice person to feed and offer him shelter.
     
  7. Treaclesmum

    Treaclesmum PetForums VIP

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    Sounds like you are taking good care of the little guy! He can't be totally 'wild' if he once had a home, only a cat who was born feral or never handled as a kitten would be totally wild. He has obviously just had a very scary and unpleasant experience with the dog in his former home. He is probably nervous of being indoors in case you have a dog in there, too! With regular food and gentle encouragement, he should come round.

    I say keep up the good work!! :D
     
    #7 Treaclesmum, Jan 27, 2012
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2012
  8. john1

    john1 PetForums Newbie

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    again thank you for the replies.
    i also believe its the dog chasing experience that has caused the problem,when he comes in he will look about and most times he turns his head to check where the exit is.
    if he sees a box or may be a hoover near the front door he crouches down then slowly turns and goes out the back door(i now do not leave things near the front door)
    i can walk into the garden and if he is there he will not run away.
    all i can do is keep plugging away with him,not to make him a house cat but to let him know there is bed/settee,home and hes safe ect.

    the attached file is the young man in question
     

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  9. Jiskefet

    Jiskefet Slave to the Hairy Hikers

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    From what you tell, he is very much like my Tosca.
    Tosca was born in the wild, but captured with her mother and siblings when she was about 16 weeks old. We took her in about 2 weeks later, and she was an indoor cat for almost a year, until she had worked out the mechanism of the cat flap.

    She is not feral, but she will never be a people's cat, either. There is still very much of wild animal instinct in her, she was raised to hunt and take care of herself.

    She will let me handle her, if absolutely necessary, but first we must have a rodeo to catch her, and she hates it. But she does accept my home as her home, and me as her slave. She is very much living on instinct, very wary of people, she is out and about all day and all night, only comes in for food, and then I will get a cuddle too. But totally on HER terms.

    When it is very cold or wet, she will come in and sleep indoors, but hides in a quiet place, so we often don't even know she is there. Though nowadays she will show herself more than she used to. But her real world is outside, in the park. She loves her natural environment too much, and lives her life exactly as she wants it. Everything happens on her terms.

    And I know she does love and trust us, for when she was injured she allowed us to handle her, though she could easily walk away. But she knew she needed help and we would provide it.

    She is my little wildcat, my tomboy, and maybe I love her even more than the others, simply for being so utterly independent and still loving and trusting us.
     
  10. Jiskefet

    Jiskefet Slave to the Hairy Hikers

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    If he is scared of all kinds of things and sounds, he may have been chased or bullied by people (maybe children), too. Or maybe he just has a more nervous disposition than the average cat. I had a very nervous cat, too, once.

    I think it is very good that you remember not to put any obstacles in his way, but maybe you can make a few nice hidey holes (or maybe he already has some). I think he is perfectly happy with you as long as he knows he has a clear line of flight in case of an emergency.

    One more thing you may try is to plug in a feliway diffuser, it gives of 'feel good' cat feromones. It will make your house smell safer and cosier to him.
     
  11. john1

    john1 PetForums Newbie

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    thanks for the advice i shall try feliway diffuser.
    i know all cats are different,but am 100% sure the dog chasing experience is the problem.
    i can have the washing machine on hes fine,if hes wet then he will let me rub him with a towel a couple of times.i can lay a piece of string down he will play with it if i gently throw the string towards him hes flown out the door,if people run past the house he will fly out the back door as if he is about to be attacked.
    its all a learning experience for me hopefully he will realize he can be safe with me
     
  12. rose

    rose PetForums VIP

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    Do you know if he is intact or neutered?? His face looks quite wide which usually means he hasnt been neutered. If he hasnt he would probably be better if you got him "done". Well done for taking care of him!
     
  13. john1

    john1 PetForums Newbie

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    hi rose
    i have no idea if he is intact or not,but my guess would be he has been neutered,i know he is micochipped.
    when i found out where the cat used to live i realized i vaguely knew his owners(they have moved now)they where decent people.
    i believe they just did not know what to do about the dog and cat and from what i understand did try to make it work and had not seen the cat for ages they thought the cat had found another home all this happened before i moved in.
    yes i will attempt to get him to a vet,that could be fun.
     
  14. ShelybellyandTeamC

    ShelybellyandTeamC Bad Joke Generator

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    First can I say you are a amazing human being for taking this beautiful boy in there should be more people in the world like you :)

    I agree with the above post
    however if this does cause him too much stress with you trying to catch him I would be tempted to leave it for now
    Also have you ever done flea and worm treatments on him? or know if his is vaccinated?
    I wouldn't want to think of the poor boy suffering with any illnesses such as cat flu etc on top of his obvious past problems

    also did you put the collar on him?? or did he already have it?
     
  15. john1

    john1 PetForums Newbie

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    thanks to you all for the help.
    my cat tiggy passed away just over 2 years ago aged 15 he meant the world to me and i know tiggy would be proud me for helping the stray out.
    i have done flea and worm treatments again i can only guess that he has been vaccinated if i saw any signs of him not being well i would get him to the vets(i might lose the odd arm)
    the collar was on him when i first saw him in my garden about 14 months ago,it must have fallen off(quick release)
     
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