Pardon any typos or grammatical errors in today’s post; I’m a little loopy on pain meds because I am a dummy who got too ambitious and hurt my arm yesterday. I’d like to be able to blame someone else for this, but it was my own fault. I’m sure a day of rest, snoozing, and putting my sling back on (so I’ll remember not to use my right arm in a twisty or pulling motion)(note to myself: STOP DOING THAT, DUMMY) will do me a world of good.
I was wondering if you could share some of Fred’s magic tricks to tame a feral cat. I’ve been trying with canned food for almost a year now, and Negrito keeps fleeing whenever we get too close. The only time I am able to stroke his cheeks is when I’m holding the can for him to eat. Otherwise, he’s “see you later alligator!”. :/
I asked Fred if he had any advice, and he said: if Negrito will let you touch him when he’s eating, then stay with him the entire time he’s eating, and feed him less at each feeding, but more often. Add treats – make it so that every time he sees you, he thinks you’re going to feed him. And don’t let him have the treat or food unless he’ll let you touch him.
I hope that helps (and of course, anyone who has other suggestions, chime in)!
Since any discussion of Fred and feral-taming should include pictures, here’s a list of them. This only includes the cats who ran off at first and then ultimately became friendly. The ones who were instantly friendly (Newman, Cletus, Dorothy, among others) aren’t included in this list.
Roscoe, who showed up in 2010. I’m including him in this list, BUT Fred isn’t the one who tamed him, I am! He showed up one day and wouldn’t let Fred anywhere near him. We were both outside one day, and we spotted Roscoe in the garden, and Fred was complaining about how Roscoe wouldn’t come to him. I walked over, stopped about 10 feet from Roscoe, and called to him. He immediately came over and flopped at my feet. (Okay, so maybe I didn’t actually TAME him, but he’s pretty much the only cat who let me touch him first, so I’m claiming I tamed him.) Roscoe tested positive for Feline Leukemia and was starting to get sick, so we opted to euthanize. We had him cremated, and his ashes were sprinkled over by the garden.
Coltrane showed up around the same time as Roscoe. Fred tamed him, he became an inside cat, splitting his time between our house and a home down the road. He was with us for about a year, altogether, before he was struck and killed by a car near his other home. Fred buried him near the garden shed, where Coltrane liked to hang out.
Alice the Mo. Showed up in December 2010. We had to use the trap to catch her, and she took quite a bit of taming. She was so small that we thought she was only about 8 weeks old. As it turned out, she was more like six months old. The vet said she wouldn’t grow to be more than 6 pounds or so. HA. She currently weighs about 9 1/2 pounds.
Rufus showed up in March 2011. He started coming around one day, but the instant we opened the door, he’d race off. We were going to take our time working with him, but I looked out one day to see him eating bird seed under the bird feeders, and I decided that he was starving and was probably a pregnant female (he was very floofy), so Fred trapped him. He was terrified at first, but it only took three or four days to get him sitting in my lap. He became a Challenger’s House cat, and we fostered him until room was available at Petsmart. He was adopted pretty quickly, as I recall.
Rupert showed up in April 2012. We were working towards bringing him inside the house, but before we got that far, he was struck and killed by a car in front of the house. Fred buried him in a flat spot behind the back yard where he (Rupert) liked to hang out.
Stefan showed up in early 2013. Like most of the others, he ran off the instant he saw or heard either of us, but Fred worked hard to tame him, and eventually he came around. He was a MESS when he first showed up, missing a lot of fur (due to a fight with another animal, the vet suspected) and with a rash where the fur was missing. Eventually he healed and became a permanent resident and spends more time inside than out.
Potsie showed up in October or November 2013. He was in really good shape and I suspected he belonged to someone around here, but no one seemed to know who he was. We eventually befriended him and had him neutered and vaccinated. He showed up a few more times, but we haven’t seen him since. I’m hoping that his people appreciated the free neuter (that we paid for) and decided he was better off inside!
Chachi showed up in November 2013ish. It took months, but he finally dropped his feral ways and let us pet him by April or May of 2014. We took him off to be neutered and vaccinated, and when we got him home, we put a collar on him along with a note (“Is this your cat? We want to make sure he has a home.”) We never saw him again, so hopefully his people decided he’d be better off as an inside cat.
Archie, of course. He showed up in November 2014. He was another one who would run as soon as he saw us, but with time and dedication (in the picture above that’s Fred in shorts, sitting on the driveway on November 18, 2014, when it was probably about 40 degrees out; that was the first time he was able to pet Archie), he was tamed. He now spends more time inside than out. If he’d stop hating Stefan so much and trying to pick fights, he’d be perfect.
Spike, who showed up last fall. He came around for a while, then disappeared before we could befriend him (which actually makes it so that he doesn’t belong on this list. But I’ll leave him here because why not?)
This brings us to the latest cat to show up here. I don’t have a picture of him yet, and he bolts the instant he hears the door open. He’s bolting less quickly now, so I’m sure that eventually Fred will have a chance to tame him. He’s a black long-haired kitty who looks very much like a cat we had in the distant past, so we named him Fancypants, after that cat. I’ll keep y’all updated as the hoped-for taming progresses, of course.
(I really ought to put a page up of all the cats who’ve shown up here so I have that info in one place!)
Do you recognize this silly, sweet girl?
That’s Artemis, who was named Lilybet when she was our foster way back in February 2013. I was told she was pregnant, even though she never appeared so. After a couple of weeks of waiting, I took her to the vet, and it was confirmed that she was a FAKER. Can you imagine how gorgeous and goofy her babies would have been?
Chloe reports that Artemis is doing well and that she’s loads of fun, and a veritable cuddle-monster at times.
Thank you for the update, Chloe, and give that girl cuddles for us!
Thanks, Newt. I appreciate it SO much, y’brat.
2014: “The better to slap you with, lady.”
2013: No entry.
2012: No entry.
2011: “Happy. Freakin’. Thanksgiving.”
2010: Have you ever seen a happier cat?
2009: “No! You go away! This are MY lap for snuggling in!”
2008: “Friends, Romans, countrycats, lend me your ears…”
2006: No entry.
2005: THEY ARE HOLDING PAWS!