Funny, he doesn’t look feral.

May I introduce Wolfgang Amadeus Pusscat, also known at Little Guy.
Motley Cat had lost his buddy, and was becoming depressed living with two disapproving old lady cats, so we went hunting for a companion for him.
Since Motley's got a lot of tomcat issues from being fixed late (he had health issues at the time) I was nervous at the prospect of getting a little kitten (he might hurt it) or a grown cat (it might hurt him).
Wolfgang was six months old when we found him, so he fit in nicely.

Wolfgang had been brought in as a feral, socialized at the animal shelter, and adopted out once already.
The woman returned him when he got abscesses and she couldn't or wouldn't pay for a vet.
She *may* have been nuts.
He seemed very disheartened in the kennel and mostly just hid, but my daughter picked him out anyway, and I've learned to trust her instincts.

When we brought him home he just hid for about a month.
We set him up, first in the bathroom, then in the laundry room, coming by to visit him by the hour (bring a book and pat the kitten).
Then one day Motley stuck his nose in the laundry room, and Wolfgang loved him at first sight.
Motley was unnerved to begin with because kitten followed him around like a star-struck fan, but it's been good for them both.

We noticed eventually that — umm — for a cat whose paperwork
said he was neutered, his little rear end was becoming more and more
interesting.
And he was staying out in the spring nights to the point where he looked just exhausted.
So we finally put two and two together and called the shelter: seems his first person had adopted him as soon as he turned up, and insisted on taking him home right away, even though he had a respiratory infection.
Normally they only send beasties home after neutering them, but he was too sick, and she was apparently persuasive.
So they made her promise to use a voucher at the vet to get it done when he recovered
And when she returned him, she said she had done so, but she lied.
They gave us the voucher, and he got snipped.

We've had him over a year now.
He's fit in with the other cats seamlessly, but I think his feral past is still a strong influence.
No one but the three of us can touch him, or pretty much even see him.
He has a number of hidey holes, both inside and in the yard that are clearly chosen to allow multiple paths for a quick escape.
And some things remain non-negotiable.
No tv. he won't even be in the room with it. Radio is almost as bad. (It has ghost voices, but at least it doesn't have miniature things trapped inside it.)
No loud noises, unusual noises, unexpected rapidly moving things. (The shiny cat toy is scary, though the feathered one is okay.)
Grabbing and holding are just right out. You can pick him up to pat him and he's perfectly happy, unless he thinks you are restraining him
Then he wiggles until he gets away — but he is utterly gentle and has never scratched or bitten once.
Shut doors of any kind at all are an abomination — I can really pin down when he decided we could be trusted; it was when we opened the cat door.

We all adore him.
Henrietta touches noses with him, which is as much as she's allowed any cat since her Orlando died.
Motley and he hang out together and sit and look at stuff.
Silmi the tortie doesn't hate him any more than she hates the others.
The three of us love him.
He's a complete mushball, and sleeps on my feet every night.
He purrs if we look at him.
And I think he likes us all, and thinks we're just a very odd colony of cats to end up in.

But is there anything we can do to help him be less frightened?
I just hate that he finds so many things so disturbing.

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14 responses to this post.

  1. I've only had one indoor cat, and that's my Elvis. I don't have any advice on how to train cats or get them to be less skittish. I know what bothers him and I try to avoid doing those things when at all possible. So I guess I mean to say, I've been trained well.
    Wolfgang is a pretty boy. He's lucky to have found you!

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  2. He sounds a lot like my Kitty, she spent a month under the bed after moving, and is out of sight as soon as a stranger (OMG!) comes into the house. We can pick her up and pet her, but she really doesn't like being held. She's lived with me for four years (she was adult when I let her in). I never tried to change her.. I don't think she is suffering… With age she is getting a tiny tiny bit more confident… but it's not a big change. She loves playing, so that's the main thing we do together… There's three cats in the house, and she doesn't trust the other cats, so if I want her to be really happy I have to be alone with her in a room – I think it boosts her confidence to get a bit of special treatment alone.

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  3. I have no kitteh experience, but I always heard that an animal will always be soothed by His Master's Voice. Speak to him gently in the presence of Scary Noises, and maybe he'll aquaint them with your calming influence.
    Oh, and I'll repeat – bootiful cat.

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  4. Aubrey-I was initially a little reluctant to adopt him because he was so attractive.I thought I should go for someone a little less obviously adoptable, because this guy wouldn't have any problems.Then I realized he was actually having a horrible time being in the kennel, and found out he'd been returned once already, and it seemed as if he needed us after all.And yes, I talk at him a lot, and he does like it.But *nothing* will get him into the room when the tv is on.(Maybe it isn't skittishness, but rather taste?)

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  5. Maybe that's the problem! You haven't been watching 'American Idol', have you?
    Maybe that skittishness is too deeply ingrained, poor thing. So ingrained to the point of become a characteristic, rather than a problem.

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  6. Awwwww he looks very comfortable there!

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  7. He's sooooo beautiful – and lucky to have such a great home!!

    Reply

  8. He's so gorgeous, lw! Truly a loveable little fellow. Maybe he's there to tone down your viewing habits, lol?Seriously, my street cat Bluto never lost some of his wild ways. Some of them faded. Basically though, he was so happy to be inside, have a home, be loved and taken care of–and I was so happy to be the one to offer those things–that the remnants of his past became just a part of who he was. My feeling is this–this is the first time in his life that Little Guy has choices about where he wants to be and how he wants to be there. Allow him that complete luxury. Regardless of the "better" things you want for him, he knows best at any moment what makes him feel comfortable, so he chooses someplace quiet during those noisy human activities. He knows he's safe. He knows he's loved. He'll choose differently when he wants.

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  9. We have a skiddish little kitty. She comes out sooner or later with company, but more often later. Loud noises, door knocks, etc drive her away. She has also been known to snarl/growl at the door if it is knocked upon.
    Anyway, this is a lovely cat. Very lucky indeed as well. I look forward to the day when we can get a fourth for our gang of three.

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  10. Beautiful cat. He's so lucky to have you.

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  11. What a lovely boy. He reminds me (in temperment) of some ex-ferals some friends took in. They react just like he does, only they don't even allow pettin's from their people. But they have improved slowly over time. They don't like the noises either, or strangers. I doubt El Wolfo will ever like TV. And, really, if the tortie merely despises him equally with the others, what higher compliment could he get?

    Reply

  12. He is completely beautiful! And it sounds like he is really pretty comfortable. We have one dog who is very afraid of rain, thunder, gunshots, fireworks and sports on tv. I don't think that some animals ever get over certain fears. But, it sounds like Wolfie is pretty happy anyway! So glad you all found each other! đŸ™‚

    Reply

  13. He's gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous. And so lucky to have found you and your family. I've never known a kitty who's afraid of the tv, although I have known many kitties indeed.I love his name, too.

    Reply

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