feral cats

This is Mia, my feral mama, and her "clone" Echo, one of her five babies.

Ok, in the first part of my feral tips, we are feeding them, but basically ignoring them. We are showing them that we are there for them, but not trying to catch them. We are building a bond of trust with them, which is very important.

As I said before, this may take a very long time. When dealing with feral cats, you have to have patience, patience and more patience!  Hopefully, by now, the cat is getting closer to you. He or she may even be close enough as you put the food down that you could touch it. DON’T! This will only spook the cat and you will probably end up with a nasty scratch or bite.

What you need to do next is start putting the food down and then going a fair distance from the cat and doing something else. You might keep something in the yard that you can fiddle with just for this purpose. Whatever you choose to do, make it something quiet and calming. I used to keep two bowls on a table with sand in them and would spoon sand from one bowl to the  other.  It was something calm and quiet to do and actually quite relaxing for me. The cat sees you are focused on something else and will eat.

While your doing your “busy work” don’t look at the cat. They instinctively know someone is staring at them. Just do your thing and you can maybe take a sly peek a couple of times. And if you have been out there for awhile, you can go inside also. As long as the path to your door doesn’t go by them, it’s ok to tell them something sweet and go into the house. Once you get to this point, you do want to stay out for awhile every day though just to keep that “contact”, although it’s long distance at this point, with them.

One thing I want to mention here is that you must be very calm around a feral cat. Talk softly to them and move slowly. This really does help them relax and makes the whole experience much more positive for them. Besides, cats don’t like loud noises or a lot of fuss around them. I never understand people who talk loudly to cats. Dogs love excitement, but not cats.

You will continue with this for awhile, until the cat doesn’t hesitate to come and eat once you move away. Over time, he will come more quickly and won’t wait until you are far away. Believe me, it will happen…just have patience. Whatever you do, don’t try to approach him. We still have some trust to build because that feral cat has only survived long enough to be in your yard by being extremely leery of people and defending himself against harm. It’s only natural that it takes a long time to undo those instincts. Good luck with this step. If you can stay outside with the cat and he eats, you have come a long way, so you’re doing good! If you have any questions, please ask in the comments section.

 

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