I adopted Mollie, 2-yr old female Tortie, from an animal shelter almost 10 months ago. Unfortunately, I didn't take the time to visit or hold her in the room before taking her home, or I would not have adopted her. She is partially feral, and I am not able to pick her up. It took a few months for her to become socialized, and now she is friendly with strangers, plays games has full run of the apartment, and is rather sociable and sleeps on the bed with me. Her litterbox habits are good.The problem is that I can't pick her up. I need to take her to the vet, and I can't get her in the carrier. She is very strong and quick, and runs away as soon as she feels that you have two hands near her rather than one. I've tried treat-training her into her carrier, and almost got her zipped in, but she exploded out of it and scratched me. I've tried it several times, being as calm and gentle as I could, and I can't get near here with two hands. Otherwise she lets me pet and brush her, and even presents her tummy to me when we're on the couch together. A friend tried to help me, got bitten, infected, and had to go to the hospital the next day.I eventually want to return her to the shelter, and they are OK with that, but I cannot get her into a cat carrier. Do you have any suggestions for me? It's becoming more stressful for me, and that probably reflects back to her. We both need help!Katt and Mollie, La Mesa, CA 6/30/12
Pet's Gender: Female
Pet's Age: 2
Name of Cat: Mollie
Treat-training into her carrier
Animal sedative from shelter; couldn't get her to eat the food with the medicine and coordinate the capture with the shelter
(I can't even get her collar on her!)
Hi,my name is XXXXX XXXXX X've been with this company since 2008. I'll be happy to help you with your question today.
I can completely understand the stress of living with a semi-feral cat...I have one of my own. I can understand how frustrated you are and how much you really want to love on her. I will tell you that after living with me for about 2 years, my feral cat is now comfortable with my picking her up, but only on her terms. I think it has really helped my cat when we got another kitten. It seemed that the kitten, by being friendly and social, taught the feral cat that people are okay after all. I wish I would have gotten the kitten sooner, actually. My feral cat was about 18 months before I got the kitten.
I noticed that you said you tried to zip the carrier. I assume that means you have a soft sided carrier...which are the absolute worst when trying to get a cat inside that doesn't want to be inside. I prefer the hard sided kennels. That way you can tip it on the end, scruff the cat, and just pop her in the door. The shelter that you're going to return her to likely has one that you can borrow.
Since she's okay with you petting her one-handed, you may want to consider scruffing her, rather than actually trying to two handed pick her up. There's a video on how to do that can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FWFKl_rSpM8 . Don't worry about hurting her by scruffing her. When cats are scruffed, their body releases a calming chemical called endorphins, so it actually feels good to be scruffed for short periods of time.
Finally, if you'd like to work on having her be less anxious in the house and thereby less feralish acting, you could try a Feliway diffuser. These contain a synthetic pheromone (the same chemical lactating female cats give off to calm the kittens while nursing) that can be plugged into a wall socket. They seem to help cats feel less worried.
I hope this helps!!
Thank you very much for your quick research! Unfortunately, I had already found those answers on the Internet, learned about (but not tried) scruffing, and have the metal/plastic carrier from the shelter. I was hoping for some new suggestions that I hadn't already read about. I'm sorry, but $79 is too much to pay for something I already knew. But thanks anyway!
I can understand....I didn't know what you did know and what you hadn't...and since there is so much misinformation out there, I wanted to start you with the basics.
If there is other information you'd like, I'd be more than happy to help you out.