semi feral cats

are semi feral cats always going to be skittish even though they have been living with you for almost three years?

Asked by Member 751251 on Jan 2nd 2009 in Other Behavior & Training
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Oscar J. Cat

I think it would depend on how long the kitty was feral before she came to live with you.

Also, some kitties just have a wider independent streak than others and just keep to themselves more than other cats.

Oscar J. was a kitten from a feral colony before we adopted him at 5 mos. He's very social, but not a lap cat by any means.

Oscar J. Cat answered on 1/2/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


If your cat has been living with you for three years and is still skittish, I would predict that Kitty is always going to be that way. I've had two rescued feral cats. The first was Spike, who was a total Mama's boy from the day I got him, and hasn't changed since (in contrast, his brother, I've heard, still won't let people near him). My other semi-feral cat stayed with me for 6 years, spending most of her time in the closet. She hated sweet Spike with a passion, and began urinating all over the apartment to show her displeasure. After a discussion with my vet, which is where I got her in the first place, we rehomed her in his cat sanctuary, where she is apparently quite happy, but still not human-oriented. Since she was rescued by the vet the day she was born (in a motorcycle basket outside his clinic), and grew up with her siblings and Mom, it would seem that her feral nature was something inborn, rather than learned behavior. Cats CAN change; the question is, will yours?

Lola answered on 1/2/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


Hi there, i would say, from experience, you can train them so far to socialise with humans, but i think they will have a limit. Our one was feral when i rescued him, i used to get scratched to pieces trying to socialise him, i withdrew each time he went for me with his claws, but a few weeks down the line i stood up to him and let him whack me a few times. He looked very confused and backed away, done this a few times and that was his turning point, i began human contact with him. Now he rolls on his back for you to stroke his belly, will let you pet him, comb him...BUT he is still nervous of feet (assuming he has been kicked at some point), still backs away sometimes, and there would be no way to pick him up. He will never be a totally normal cat, but he is loved to bits, so yes i think you can socialise yours so far, but there will always be a bit of feral in them

Member 714461 answered on 1/4/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer


as others will say it's very individual. i have two ex-ferals that were outside until they were 2 months old. i've now had them inside with me for aprox 16 months. one still runs from me sometimes but he often loves to be pet, picked up and carried around. two months ago he started sleeping on me some nights while he used to only sleep in the living room. he just let my husband pet him for the first time two months ago. he's been able to pet him about 10 times and even got to pick him up last week. i got two socialized kittens in april so i think that has helped teach him not to be so afraid. so, there is hope. i used to have a cat that wasn't feral but was terrified if a stranger came into the house and would always hide. when he was about 10 years old all the sudden he'd come out and sometimes even be pet by strangers. good luck!!!

scooter answered on 1/5/09. Helpful? Yes/Helpful: No 0 Report this answer