Taming a wild cat

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Ridgerunner, Nov 29, 2010.

  1. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    We got a female cat over the holidays. It is fairly young, probably less than year old, and still has its claws. It will tolerate it if you pet or scratch it for a little while, but does not like to be handled. It hides from us and only comes out to eat, drink, and use the litter pan when we are not around. The former owners let it outside during the day but kept it inside at night.

    We are keeping it locked in an attached garage right now. Eventually, we want it to be able to go outside during the day but sleep in the garage at night for protection from coyotes. I don't think I want to let it out until it will come back in when I want it to, which means come when called. Food will only be available in the garage.

    Any suggestions on how to tame it? We are currently scratching its head and petting it several times a day but not picking it up and such. Should we be handling it more? Maybe fooling with it less? Experiences, advice, stories, and suggestions welcome.
  2. apdan

    apdan Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 10, 2010
    Treats usually work, peices of meat like ham. One thing if it is going to be an inside/outside cat I wouldn't recommend getting it declawed. I don't know if you were thinking of doing that or not but I wouldn't recommend it. Also if she isn't fixed I would look into getting her fixed before you let her run outside also. But to get her tame just spend time with her, let her get to know you. Call her and when she comes give her a treat. Make her want to be by you [​IMG]
  3. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Thanks. She will not be declawed. We have two dogs she needs to get along with, besides how can she catch mice without claws? And we both believe in fixing dogs and cats.
  4. thebritt

    thebritt Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 5, 2009
    Humboldt County
    I've tamed up several feral kittens by just sitting quietly, reading a book - to myself at first, then out loud (softly) to get them used to my voice. I would also only give them wet food while I was in the room. Sounds like yours is a lot more tame than the ones I had, so I would give treats and allow time. Some cats just don't like to be held (I don't think I, personally, would like to be randomly picked up off the ground [​IMG] ). Good luck!
  5. sunflowerenvy

    sunflowerenvy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 4, 2010
    south/west tn
    how we tame our feral cats. they were about 5 month old. we put out food and stand by the food dish while talking. then next week when we put the food out we put your hands near them while they where eating. then put our hand on top of there heads and start petting them while they eating. and now we can pick them up by the scuff of the neck and pick them up put them on my chest with my other hand softly pet the cat. just hold not more then one min during feeding time. when we go out to feed them they are starting to rub up against our legs . couple of them start to come inside stick the head in the door. they are about 7 month now
  6. verity

    verity Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 8, 2008
    It often takes a very long time for a cat to feel comfortable in a new home and trust its people -- you are doing all the right things -- :)
  7. pips&peeps

    pips&peeps There is no "I" in Ameraucana

    Jan 18, 2008
    Newman Lake, WA
    What breed is it? I adopted a flame point two years ago from the pound and he hides most of the day and comes out at night and sits with me. Some kitties just only like one or two people and take a while to get used to them.
  8. Mak

    Mak Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 12, 2009
    Londonderry, NH
    Time and patience. Sounds to me like you are doing it all right. She just needs to get used to you and feel comfortable with you. To a lot of feral cats, people are just one more thing to be wary of and to avoid, so you have to change that attitude. I've tamed down several of ours just by sitting quietly and talking to them, moving a little closer as they got used to me, move back if they don't like it. Our latest boy took a full three months before I trusted letting him downstairs from his private room. Now, you can't get him off your lap! If she's letting you touch her without slashing or biting, she'll come around. Some cats never like being picked up and cuddled, but will be affectionate on their terms.
  9. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Thanks for the responses. This advice agrees with what I found online, but I like to get the opinions of people on here. I somehow have a little more faith in this advice.

    I have no idea what breed the cat is, though her name is Spook from her ability to hide. She has a sort of an irregular striped pattern, sometimes looks a sort of dull gray but if the light is right could be sort of green. In certain lights I've seen some patches of brown. Maybe occasionally even some blue. Right now, she is very camera-shy.
  10. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Overrun With Chickens

    May 8, 2007
    In addition to the other advice you've gotten, playing with a cat can help, also. When I tamed our feral kitten, I used wand toys. She wouldn't let us get close enough to touch her. She had the really strong prey/play drive of a kitten, though. Wiggly toys at the end of a long wand were just the thing. The wand kept the toy at the end far enough from us that she didn't feel as threatened and the wiggling was too much to resist. We kept the rest of our bodies still and didn't stare directly at her, either, so we would be less threatening. I tried to use only wrist movements, not big arm movements, to start.

    We used a toy that had multiple strips of leather on the end of a wand that we could jiggle. Later on, we switched to one that had a long strip of fleece and one that had feathers at the end of a string, attached to a wand. She really grew to look forward to her play time. Eventually, she decided we could touch her and she turned into a big lap kitty.

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