Feral Victoria is making progress
I moved the new foster kitten’s cage into the spare bedroom last night. For now, it has become the foster cat room. My two foster siblings, Macy and Siara, have been lving in there over two weeks now. At first, I was a bit worried how they would take to her, as Macy tends to hiss at other cats (even those making nice as my Jake did when they first arrived) and Siara tends to go back into hiding. I finally got Siara to totally trust me and not dash under the bed when the door opens. Taking naps in the room really helped. Now Macy and Siara both sleep on the bed with me. These two are ready to find a permanent home together.
Victoria is much more feral and shy, however. But she has youth on her side. I left her in her cage last night, so they could all get accustomed to one another through the bars. I know she has been playing in there because the toys are all in her bed with her come morning. Since she has been allowing me to hold her and pet her (after hiss fits that are all show and no go), I decided to ry an experiment tonight. I opened the cage door, and after getting her to relax with lots of pets and scritches, allowed her to come out. At first, she slunk around the room with her belly to the floor. But her tail was not between her legs, which was a good sign. Macy watched her carefully. Siara was oblivious, remaining comfortably lounged on the soft fleece blanket on the bed. So far so good.
A couple of times she came nose to nose with Macy and once he did hiss at her. I feared this would facilitate the same reaction in her, but she just walked away, allowing him to maintain the façade of King of the Foster Room. As she explored, her stance slowly straighened and her demeanor became more relaxed. Macy only hissed at her one more time. Again, she did not seem phased. Instead, she waggled her tail in a mock act of spraying to let him know she could be Queen if he wants to think he is King. He was not phased!
A few times she slipped behind the bureau or the desk and I feared I wouldn’t be able to get her out without trauma as she tends to become quite feral when loose. As I drew closer to her she would slink back, but she did not hiss, and that is tremendous progress. I was able to finally get her in a position to pick her up without incident and she purred and cuddled into my arms. And when I put her back in her cage for the night, she rolled onto her back and kneaded the air. Yes, we are definitely making progress.
It will take time for her to trust.
Her name, as the shelter gave her, is Lightning. But it just does not fit her. As I watched the new foster kitten in her cage (a large dog crate with littler box, food, water and the softest blankets I could find) a more appropriate name came to me. Victoria. She is so pretty and delicate, it seemed a much better name for her.
And so, though her shelter name may be Lightning, that’s not what I call her. In any event, Victoria is a frightened little kitten. They said she was about 3 months old, but I checked her teeth… she is four months. She’s a pretty pretty girl. The hiss she lets out when first anyone goes near her cage belies her beauty. She even spits and bats out with her paw. But stick your hand in and pet her, and she relaxes out and purrs. She even stretches out and lets you pet her belly.
You might wonder why such opposite reactions? Let me see if I can explain with a true story. My part feral kitten Binx was in the hallway the other day…. Usually this is no big deal anymore; I walk out of the bathroom and he sees me and lays there till I walk by and he either runs if he is a playful mood or he stays put. I shut the bathroom light off and stepped out, down the hall. His eyes must have not fully adjusted and he must not have been complately aware of my presence because as I stepped down the hall (it was suddenly very dark) he let out a hiss that would curl your nose hairs! He rarely if ever hisses anymore. He used to act like the most vicious cat in cat history. But he’s part of the family now, and he follows me around, rubs against me and wants to be pet (still won’t let me pick him up though). But I had startled him and for a second he thought I was a stranger. The feral in him came out. And this is a behavior that can occur on occasion throughout the life of a former feral.
With Victoria it is fear that makes her hiss and spat. She had some very bad experiences, different from those Binx had, but bad nontheless. She knows most humans are okay, but still, instinct tells her to be cautious and let those who approach know she means business. But, hiss or not, the moment I stick my hand in there and start to pet her (she does not scratch or bite), the domestic feline comes out nd she purrs and stretches out.
It will take some time, but Victoria will come out of this. She just needs to learn to trust again. My Binx is getting so much better even with people other than myself. He is slowly allowing others near him. Victoria, in time, will learn as well.