Milestones to expect when socialising cats

Former feral cat Zimba, after graduating from a crate

Zimba is available for adoption

Every cat is different, but this is the usual progression a scaredy cat will make when being socialised.

I see you!

  1. Meets your eyes/doesn’t freak out.
  2. Comes out of carrier lair when you come in.
  3. Lets you put food in front of her, doesn’t run.
  4. Eats in front of you (may still hiss and growl).

Let’s get physical

  1. You can touch (one finger, light quick touch) [this may take from one to three months, or even more, depending on the cat].
  2. You can touch longer.
  3. You can pet a bit.
  4. You can pet entire length of body.
  5. You can pet under chin.
  6. You can pet under belly.
  7. She meows at you.

Leaving terra firma

  1. You can lift her very briefly, say 1″, off ground.
  2. Lift more, longer.
  3. Lift and hold.
  4. You can put her on your lap while kneeling on the floor.
  5. You can put her on your lap and kneel up a little.
  6. You can put her on your lap and stand up fully.
  7. Lift and hold on your shoulder.

Carry me

  1. Same, and walk around.
  2. She WANTS to be lifted up/walked around.
  3. Let run in room, have chair so she can go back in safety lair (be prepared: often they will stay out in room overnight. Catproof thoroughly first).
  4. She’s calm about room and lair.
  5. You start doing carrier practice with her: in/out, treat.
  6. You can in the room, pick her up from your being seated.
  7. You can in room, pick her up from your standing.
  8. You can in room, walk over to her and pick her up.

♥ I love you ♥

  1. She seems to enjoy “ride-sies”.
  2. In room, she runs over to you to be picked up.

Remember that a lot of taming is “PLATEAUS” — they go and go forever with no apparent change, then BOOM, they’re at a new level. (Unfortunately, this can happen in reverse if something really scares them).

Make it easier for them

Calm YOURSELF! It helps a lot.

Talk with/croon at cat (this is very important; I sing low lullabye-like songs to them, with their stories in them and their names).

When approaching a cat in a room, SIT DOWN! (even if you crawl around).

Starting taming in a cage gives them eventually a safe “lair” space, then they expand their “locus of safety”.

Reward them

Give treats IMMEDIATELY after you “push the envelope.”

Gesine Lohr, Yahoo Feral Cats group
gesinecatnation .at.

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