General Question

Lulu4500's avatar

I can't tell if this cat is stray or feral?

Asked by Lulu4500 (162points) January 15th, 2016 from iPhone

He’s been hanging out at our house for a couple of months now. I think he lives here now because I see him most mornings when I go to work and he’s always outside by the garage and around the cars in the evening when I get back. We feed him once to twice a day. There’s another cat with similar coloring that comes around to eat too, but I only see it like once every week or two. I’ve named the first cat Miles, so I’ll refer to that name for the rest of the question.

I’m trying to see if he’ll ever let me pet him or if I should give up hope. Over time of hanging around during feeding time, he has progressed a lot. He used to run away under the car if I got within two feet of him and not come out until I was multiple yards away. Now he will circle around the food bowl and come within a foot of me. He will occasionally run away but then immediately come back. He will play with toys, swat them around and stuff, and come sniff my fingers if I hold em out. He also will eat wet food off a spoon if I hold it out and looks me in the eyes.

However, if I approach him he’ll back up some and shrinks away if I make motions to pet him. I just want him to love me lol. Is there a chance?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

8 Answers

Zaku's avatar

Probably not too feral, if he’s eating from a held spoon and sniffing your fingers. Sounds like a homeless cat who was hurt by some people in the past so doesn’t trust them. I’d say there’s hope.

Coloma's avatar

Yes, you have already seen progress, just don’t push it too far or you’ll lose the trust gained. It once took me over a year to tame a very feral cat, a female that had kittens in the compound of a nautical shop in San Diego whose back wall bordered my duplex at the time. I managed to catch two litters of wild kittens and take them in and finally, after a year of feeding mama cat on the wall, getting to the point I could pet her and then, finally pick her up, I took her in to be spayed and go up for adoption. You really need to get this cat off the streets, whether you adopt them yourself or take them to a shelter.

You can always, if you capture it, take it in to the shelter to be spayed/neutered, vaccinated and then adopt it for a bargain price. Good luck. cats are great!

DrasticDreamer's avatar

Yep, there’s hope. We took in a cat that was similar, but it was clear he definitely didn’t have a home. It took a lot of bonding before I could touch him, though. I’d sit outside with him on my back patio while he was sitting next to it in the bushes. He’d meow for food, but never let anyone get close to him. After months of me talking to him and trying to coax him closer while I sat on the patio at night, he walked up under the covering because it was raining really hard at one point. All the while, I was talking to him while sitting on the porch swing. He was comfortable enough to walk right next to me (but with no intention of physical contact – and I had respected his space at every other point) to walk under the swing, but because he was so close and I finally had the opportunity, I reached down and stroked his back as he was passing me. It startled him so badly that it made him jump about a foot in the air (seriously), but it immediately flipped a switch. He came right up to me after that and started rubbing all over my legs and he hopped up in my lap. It took months and in a literal seconds, everything was different. At first, he’d get mad at me and growl and his if I had to move him to go inside after spending hours with him.

Eventually, our bond was extremely strong and we had a close relationship. He’d talk and cuddle and follow me around like a dog. You never would have known that he’d been feral.

This was my buddy, Mr. Big. We had to put him down 2 years ago, because he had pica and somehow ate a lot of styrofoam. But he was with us for a few years and we gave him as good a life as possible. He went from being feral and homeless to loved and adored. He got a chance to be happy, and that’s what matters. I hope you’re able to make the cat hanging around your house happy, too.

gondwanalon's avatar

Keep up what you’re doing. But the likely hood that such a cat will ever be friendly to you is slim to none. He is a surviver cat in a ruff and tumble world. He has survived by using the behavior that you describe. Being standoffish works for him so he will not likely change much at all. Hope I’m wrong. Good luck!

Lulu4500's avatar

I love your stories guys! Thanks! It’s quite funny because I’ve always considered myself to be a dog person, but this little guy has been rubbing off on me. If I get him to the point where he trusts me I’ll take him to get neutered, but I’m a bit afraid that if I trap him now he will lose all trust in me. Glad to know I’m at least going in the right direction.

Brian1946's avatar

Another thing you can do to facilitate the bonding process, is try to be his most-frequent feeder. I.e., if it’s feasible and agreeable to the other feeders, see if you can be the only one that feeds him.

msh's avatar

@DrasticDreamer – what a sweet boy. :) I’m sorry for your loss.
I have taken in stray, ferals, dumped, disabled. ( all animals- I’m a sucker.. )
And scared. People can be so cruel.
It takes time. It does work. I sat out. For forever. Next- propped the door open while getting food ready, Then finally shut the door- usually to a blocked off area like the kitchen, etc.
Until vet trip? Cage or bathroom. No household interaction until pronounced fit.
Always ‘fixed’, and inside.
Good luck!

jca's avatar

Sit on the ground quietly when you put the food out. Outstretch your hand and try to pet him.

I used to feed feral cats and trap and neuter them. Some I used to release back in the yard and some I would give to an agency, Forgotten Felines, to try to find homes for.

Good luck and please update us!

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther