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Friday, December 19, 2008

Annie's anniversary and my opinion on taming feral cats

I trapped Annie quite awhile ago, a year ago today in fact.  Annie is now living at the Parkville Animal Shelter.  I thought it would be best for her to live at the shelter to get more used to people.  She lived here with myself and my boyfriend but was not getting to know anyone else.  She was friendly with me but scared of my boyfriend.  So, once a space opened up at the shelter, I brought her to live there.

To be honest, I don't think I would do this again.  I think that Annie would have been happier outside.  The process of taming her was very difficult and took a long time.  She is not even completely tame now-a year later! She will never, ever be the kind of cat that you could pick up and hug.  When I trapped her, I felt that she was around 6 months old because of her size.  When she was getting spayed, the vet was able to look at her teeth and estimated her age to be between 1-2 years.  I thought she was a kitten, that is the only reason why I decided to tame her.  I waited about 2 months to get her spayed because she was really unmanageable.  I didn't take her immediately because I felt that I would be able to tame her and did not want her ear to be tipped.  Also, generally, the people who work with feral cats are at the clinics where their ears get tipped when they get fixed.  Because I was taking her to a regular vet, I wanted to work with her a little to make the process easier on Annie and the vet.

If I would have known she was an adult, I would not have tried tame her.  I would have trapped her, got her fixed, her shots and released her outside.  Although where we live is not the ideal place for a cat to live, I do think she could survive.  There is quite a bit of traffic out there but I would have done my best to take care of her.

Although she loves me and lets me pet her, I don't think she is totally happy.  She lives at the shelter so she has lots of kitty friends (which she loves).  I think Annie would rather just have her kitty friends and not have to deal with humans.  I am sure that she is happy to be warm inside rather than outside in these freezing temperatures but when spring comes around, she will probably want to be outside.

One thing I have noticed with feral cats is that they get along well with other cats.  I don't know if the feral cats I have had contact with just happen to like other cats or if that is the norm.

So, if I had to do it over again, I would not have attempted to tame her.  I now have a new rule.  Any cat I trap from now on has a 4 day grace period.  After 4 days, if I cannot pet the cat, they will be fixed and released.  I have two cats here right now that were considered feral at one point and they are still very, very shy.  I still have quite a while to go before they will be ready for adoption.  Since they are here, I cannot bring any other cats in.  If they were more friendly, they could be adopted then I would have 2 spots for other cats to be helped.

My decision to do this is partially for my convenience, partly for them (the feral-ish cats who are happier outside) and partly for the cats I can help if I don't try to tame cats that can take months.

If you have any questions about taming please email me or leave a comment.

Thank You!

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