Feral cat reverting back to wild state?

About 4 years ago we adopted a bright orange kitten, he was a wild as they come and it tooks months for him to finally accept the fact he was going to be an indoor cat. He became as friendly as any other cat and loved to be petted and brushed. Roscoe would be at the door in the morning when I left for work and greet me first thing when I came home. The last month or so things have changed significantly, my soon to be ex and I split up and she took her cat Bella. Bella and Roscoe were best of friends and played together all the time. I also moved and I brought Roscoe and 2 other cats with me. Since the day I moved Roscoe has taken to hiding and only coming out at night. If I do catch him out of his hiding spots, he hisses at me then runs and hides. He is eating and using the litter box so he is not starving to death.

My daughter has suggested catching him and putting him back in the cat carrier for a few days so I can have frequent contact with him. I think the cat carrier might be part of the problem, it took about 10 minutes to catch him at the old house to put him in the carrier and he has really disliked his few other times in it. My question to those that may know, will I ever get back the friendly loveable cat I use to have?

Sounds like there have been many, many changes recently and he has regressed to an earlier state and is trying to protect himself. Once things settle down, Roscoe might return to his old self. Bella may have given him comfort and confidence. Have patience and don’t give up.

Our feral cat is just now willing to enter the room with us present (after only 5 months in captivity). It has been a very slow process, and we still have never touched him. He hisses at us each time we walk by and he runs to hide when we try to engage him. If we ignore him, he will sit nearby and perhaps play with a toy for a few moments, but he is always on guard.

Let Roscoe come out on his own terms and at least you know he is not starving.

Sorry, but why in the world would you want to get a cat like that? There are plenty of good cats out there waiting to be adopted, and you are harboring some maniac cat that you can’t even interact with?

These cats are called feral for a reason. They do not want to be kept in captivity.

Because their cat is just as deserving of love, care and a warm home as a “good” cat.

The answer to this is in Roscoe’s paws really, but I don’t think he’s reverting to a feral state, he’s just reacting, unhappily, to changes in his life. Cats are very place-oriented in my experience, moving can be very distressing for them and they can take a long time to adjust. Unhappy cats seem to blame you; it’s obviously all your fault.

Given his feral beginnings, Roscoe may be even more dependent on stability of place and personnel than other cats, and he’s probably missing his friend very much.

In my experience cats can take a long time to get over this kind of unhappiness, it could take months for him to settle down. Chances are he will if you’re willing to be patient with him and let him take his own time about things. Cats seem to be very good at deciding to make major changes very quickly, so with any luck one day you’ll find friendly Roscoe waiting at the door for you as if nothing had happened.

Oddly enough, I’m fostering a litter of semi-feral kittens right now, hoping to get them happy enough with humans that they’ll stand a good chance of finding homes. Three of them are ginger boys and one tortoiseshell girl.

I agree with everything. Give him time.

How are the not interacting? The cat is in the room and playing. Even on guard that means there is a small level of trust.

I adopted a cat not long ago who was a beast. In fact I renamed him Beastie. The asshole would swat and bite as often as he could. He was not shy by any means and would attack for no reason. He was not feral. In fact he has never been outside.

I guess I should have threw him away and adopted a “good” cat.

Cats have many different personalities. I have one female that was born in my home, socialized a lot and she is skiddish and trusts no one but me. That is just they way she is. I have seen ferals that are that way to begin with but become the most lovey housecats you ever want to see.

As they say “Don’t judge a book by its cover”.

Maniac cats can be great companions. My female cat Ceecee, is a hissing, spitting flathead. She will come up to people, sit down and proceed to growl , mutter, and complain like someone peed in her beer. She is like a little storm cloud that makes everything else seem more sunny.

If you decide you can’t keep your cat, either get it adopted or put down. Do NOT dump it. 7 of the 8 cats we have were dumped or feral.

You don’t want to know the number I have put down because they were to far gone.

People are the problem, not the cats.

The wild cat we have was born under our porch at last Christmas ('06) and lived outside for the past year. We provided shelter, food and water for him and he was curious and charming. He showed up one day with a serious injury. We felt that it would be best to claim him and give him a second chance as he could hardly walk and would surely die. While the relationship has been slow to develop, I have no doubt that we did the right thing. I don’t need to have him be a super cuddly cat who is all into me to feel some affection towards him. I love him unconditionally as he is now a part of our family. I wouldn’t give him up just because he won’t give affection; I understand that he is the way he is for a reason.

It took us the best part of a year to un-feral Nijel the Destroyer, but you couldn’t ask for a better cat. He’s got tons of personality, sleeps on the bed with me, and has put up with 3 location changes in his young life (he’s about 4 yo). Mostly we just let him take things at his own speed, gave him affection when he sought it, and when he was particularly stressed, usually because we were moving yet again, we had great luck with Rescue Remedy (Best Friends Animal Sanctuary turned me on to this when I had to do a cross-country driving trip with four cats - it wors great! Check out bestfriends.org for more help on dealing with cat behaviours)

Over the years, we’ve moved or adopted four cats. Two Siamese were moved five times, including a round trip to Japan and back to the U.S., a Calico was moved twice, and a DSH was moved once, solely for the purpose of us to adopt. The Siamese handled their adventures well, the Calico took almost two years to adjust to each move, and the black one lived in our basement for a year and a half before accepting us. Just give Roscoe time, and speak to him every chance you get. It should work out OK.

You may want to look into something like Feliway to help calm and reassure your little wildcat. Good luck.

I am highly suspicious of Feliway, in that no one seems to really know how it works and, to the degree that it does work, I feel it masks symptoms. Like most of the people who have contributed to this thread, I believe in compassion and understanding, and plenty of patience.

Our last cat came to us at a time when I would have seriously said “there is no more room at the inn, period.” But, for several reasons having mainly to do with his extreme affection and insistence on suckling my neck (ahem!) we took him straight to vet for a tune up and a lube, then brought him home.

He was as close to feral as I’d ever like to meet, and he had no idea at all how to live in a house or how to be around other cats without attacking them. Due to his various medical conditions and his undernourished state (needing special food and medication) we turned a spare bedroom into Ted’s Room and that’s where he was for a month. He had to be gentled and integrated into the household verrry very slowly, and there are still times, over a year later, when he goes a little wild.

Cats are like other creatures, and when they get stressed they revert to old behaviors. Others have said this is a very stressful time for your cat, and I agree. I would suggest spending some time along with the cat, just the two of you, maybe with a tiny bit of special food and/or a favorite toy, a few minutes every day if you can. Other than that, it’s just patience. As long as there isn’t any poop on the floors or blood on the walls, and everyone is eating, things aren’t as bad as they seem.

How it works? It’s a calming pheromone. What’s so suspicious about that? I also believe in compassion, caring and patience, and…better living through chemistry!

Yeah, I’ve read the official spiel. Not good enough, IMO.

:shrug: Okay. But I still recommend it, as I’ve seen lots of people use it temporarily with great success.

Squiggy was a feral cat. He used to be terrified of people. We found that one of the best ways to interact with him was to actively ignore him when he was stressed out. We didn’t talk to him and when he looked us in the eye, we turned away like total snobs as if we wanted nothing to do with him. Eventually he would come out and sit behind us, figuring with our backs to him we were disnterested in attacking and eating him. Eventually he wanted to interact with us.

The same thing seems to be working now that we’re introducing him to my fiancee’s enormous dog. The dog ignores him so Squiggy will come out from hiding. Finally, with the dog lying with his back to him, Squiggy went up and rubbed against him to say hello, although he trotted off again when the dog turned to look at him.