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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-02-2012, 05:27 PM Thread Starter
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Cat Whisperer? Anyone?

Any cat behaviorists out there?

I'm excellent with other animals I've interacted with and have a knack for understanding them. I go out of my way to try to think like the animal I'm working with and interact on their terms and in their 'language'.

Cats have been a different story. I know nothing about them. I'm a self proclaimed she-man kitty hater (said with tongue firmly in cheek). I'm pretty allergic, and have had no contact with them willingly in my life. This is said only to give you an idea of how little I know what I'm doing here.

I've been adopted by two young 9 - 10 month old feral kitties. We're trying to gentle them a bit so they'll be easier to work with if I ever need to for health issues. I'm not actively trying to domesticate them. Our ideal relationship will be more like amiable neighbors where they always stop by and mooch little friskies from me while in return they might keep the vermin count down in my vicinity.

They're fed on a regular schedule. I'm working on acclimating them to humans. I sit by them while they eat, not moving much; talking to them. I'm at the stage now where I sit close enough by that they are within 6 inches from me while they eat. I've never tried to pet them, and haven't ever done anything dumb like grab at them or stare directly at them. I just sit and talk. They are cautious but will let their bodies (Head or tail) touch me briefly to get at available food. Example, I had my hand sitting near the edge of the food bowl and one nudged under my fingers to get to a yummy morsel.

They have begun checking me out: Cautiously coming close to sniff fingers and toes or other body parts. Then they put their teeth on me 'tasting/testing' me. After which they'll bat at my body part with their paws/claws. So my question is...what is this and what does it mean?

If I were a small rodent, I'd say they were testing to see if we were dangerous before they try to settle in to make a meal of me. But I'm not a rodent. I'm a big scary human.

Anyone know anything more specifically? Any special insight? Anyone have any suggestions for how to proceed from here?


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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-02-2012, 07:04 PM
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Contineau sitting near them even if its not while there eating, they will eventually come closer and closer it takes some times, when they approach u the first time and actually come close enough to touch dont touch them let them smell you first theyll come around iv had kimik since she was a baby and only know will she let us pet her . she did as a baby and as a teen, she wouldnt but now she does.

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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-03-2012, 07:06 AM Thread Starter
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Do you have any insight into why they keep batting and tasting me? That's primarily what I'm curious about at the moment. I'm trying to figure out if it's a typical thing, a dominance thing, a fear thing, a playful thing or what? Are they accepting me, do they consider me something to eat? Are they threatened?

Thanks for the encouragement. I'm doing just what you are suggesting. I'm not pushing anything on them but my presence, and I'm trying to keep that as low key and on their terms as possible.


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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-03-2012, 11:13 AM
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Mouth play is definitely not fear. I'd say its safe to assume at this point that they are associating you with reward- food. Using this conditioning, they are probably testing boundaries to see what you're capable of doing to them, perhaps its learning your position in the trio sitting outside. If they're not hurting you then I'd commend you already on this progress!
Mouth and pawing play is what kittens do with thier litter mates to learn what's socially acceptable for later life. They're 9-10 months old, you say? Beyond this I have no idea. Cautiously and slowly try to get them to come onto your lap or something for later T-N-R. We don't need more feral kitties!!
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-03-2012, 05:31 PM
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what i would try to do is catch them and spay neuter they will still keep the vermin down but you don't need them constantly reproducing.

what your doing sounds good

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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-04-2012, 08:51 AM Thread Starter
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That was actually the first thing we did.

I'd noticed their mother nosing around our property for several months. Like I said, I'm not a cat person, so I viewed it like I would a wild squirrel: If it didn't bother me, I wouldn't bother it. I didn't give it much thought for months, but then she showed up on our back porch feeding our left out dog food to two fuzzy kittens.

I thought, oh poop. It's breeding, just what I need. I first called the humane society who said they'd all be euthanized immediately. They were very healthy looking, and while I don't particularly like cats and won't ever have them for a real pet, I didn't mind them co-existing with me on my property. I didn't want to have them destroyed if I had an alternative, I just didn't want more.

Fortunately I was able to find a CNR feral cat rescue/maintenance group who caught all three and got all three girls spayed for me. Talk about dodging a reproductive bullet.

Once her kittens were old enough, momma cat returned to her elusive ways. I see her about once a month, and only if she doesn't see me first. Her two kittens know a sucker when they find one though, and are fed twice a day on my back porch. My kids love Rosecrantz and Guildenstern, even though they can't handle them. The kids even stole my pet rats' feather chase toy on a stick and now use it to play keep away with the cats. I'll have to buy my rat babies a new chase toy since the cats have gotten kitty cooties on theirs...maybe get a third toy so both of the cats can play at the same time and one won't be left out.....(curmudgeonly sounding grumble).

So yeah, now I'm learning how to be owned by cats whether I want to or not. I always knew they were our secret overlords. Sneaky things.

Now if I can figure out this secret cat language.


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Last edited by Storyseeker; 02-04-2012 at 08:55 AM.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 02-07-2012, 12:55 AM
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Those kitties got your attention and good to hear you are trying to understand them. Feeding and interacting with them would make them more closer to you.

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