I didn't know a thing about ferals until a flood at my house sent me to the hotel and I discovered the local colony (some of which already had the tipped ears indicating they had been spayed/neutered by Operation Catnip)
The first one I caught was Athena's little Agatha at about 8 weeks old. She was literally tamed as soon as as I touched her. She loved being touched and arched her back to the feeling of my finger! After I petted her a bit, I picked her up & held her and she *immediately* began purring. She found the soap dish all of her own after I left her by herself in the bathroom. I had her for a week before Athena adopted her.
Van came from the next litter. He was about 12 weeks old when I caught him and he took 2 hours to tame. He is just naturally shyer than Agatha. I had Van for 2 weeks before Athena adopted him.
Missy was from the same litter as Van and I was going to leave her feral as I did not have an adoptive home for her, but (like Van) she developed an eye infection and I just felt I could not leave her in the wild with an infection like that, so I brought her home at about 16 weeks. I was afraid I was never going to tame her. She was tough! She took 2 weeks to tame and after that she became totally domestic. I was going to try to adopt her out but she became best friends with my own cat and my pit bull mix, so my home is her forever home now! She and Mocha (my pit bull) are so cute together.
It took me a full 6 months to capture the momma kitty and get her spayed. I moved out of the hotel last December, but I still feed all the feral cats at the hotel (7 left including 2 litter mates of Van and Missy) and Momma is waiting for me every day! All the housekeeping and maintenance folks recognize me and smile at me--it's really great because they watched me trapping all the cats and were very interested in the progress of the spaying/neutering and adopting out of the kittens. We have a wonderful free spay/neuter program here in Gainesville Florida, Operation Catnip, and when I couldn't use them, I used a low cost ($50) program called Operation Petsnip.
Editor: Marjorie Skiba
About the Author: Kathleen lives in Florida with her 2 cats and sweet pit bull. When not out making the world a better place for our feline pals, she enjoys the beach, freshwater springs, and buying and selling out-of-print books.