Case Study #1, part 2: Sloaney, pregnant feral
Sloane is one of the feral cats at our TNR colony of 200+ cats. She was very pregnant in early May 2015, and we fostered her for 37 days beginning 5 days prior to birth. She was our first pregnant feral foster, and she taught us a lot. See the detailed case study of what she taught us during her first stay. Although the Great Sloaney Experiment was an unequivocal success, we have learned much more about fostering pregnant ferals in the year since. Check out our conclusions for the latest info.

When Sloaney was with us a year ago, she was very clearly NOT ready to contemplate life with humans. In the year since her release we have interacted with her daily at our feeding station. On May 13th 2016, we decided it was time to bring her back in to try again.

Why bring her back in?

While Sloaney is very happy and well cared for in her forest, we know we can't protect her from cars, injury or disease. We work with all of the cats that come to our feeding station, and when any of them show socialization potential, we bring them in to see if we can get them adopted.

We love all of "our" cats, but Sloaney is extra special since she was my first pregnant feral foster. It was incredibly difficult to return her to the forest a year ago, but I knew it was the only life that would make her happy at that time. We all hoped she might come around eventually, but didn't know how realistic that would be.

Why now?

Progress with Sloaney was fairly slow in the first 9 or so months after she returned. She had always been curious about us and came close for feeding, but hadn't wanted us to touch her and would hiss if we got too close. That slowly started to change in the months after her release, but it wasn't until about two months ago that we were able to pet her for the first time. We aren't sure why she suddenly decided to allow us to pet her, but we took full advantage!

She became very friendly on her terms, rubbing against us, purring, eating from our hands and letting us pet her. It was time to give her another chance.


We brought Sloaney in with Maravel, another feral from the colony who had been trapped and neutered in 2015. Poor Maravel had persistent Upper Respiratory Infection (URI) the entire time we had known him. He had also become pretty open to petting and interaction, and we wanted to see if we could treat his URI.

Intake of Sloaney and Maravel

We did intake exams on Sloaney and Maravel, and both did extremely well. They were obviously scared and nervous, but showed no aggression and responded positively to ear cleaning and petting. Both of them had horribly itchy ears from ear mites.

Introducing Neelix

Since Sloaney and Maravel did so well on intake, we decided to introduce Neelix to the group. Neelix was in our Feral Recovery Ward after her spay, and we had been working with her to determine if she might be open to socialization. She had been quite fearful, but had been showing tiny moments of progress here and there. We hoped she would benefit from being with ferals from her colony who were enjoying interactions with humans.

We were amazed at the instant change in Neelix. She felt safer, more confident, and actually started to play like a kitten. When she had physical contact with either Sloaney or Maravel, I would be able to pet her, and she even purred and rolled over for belly rubs one glorious time.

The Plan

We took all three in for vet exams, and started Maravel on antibiotics, ear meds and fluids. Sloaney got ear meds. Neelix had her spay incision checked because like many of the ferals from this colony she was having a mild reaction. All three did exceptionally well at the vet, as long as we were careful to keep their faces covered as much as possible.

Our awesome Snuggle Crew volunteers signed up to do daily socialization sessions with them. Ideally, we tried to have at least two sessions per day in addition to caregiver visits, but that was not always possible. During sessions, snugglers give treats, snuggles and play. Each snuggler has their own approach and style, and the goal is to have positive interactions with each cat based on where each cats is in their socialization.

Adoption was our next challenge. We love to adopt in pairs, but there just aren't homes available for pairs of adult cats, particularly if they are former ferals still needing socialization, and even more particularly if they have special medical needs like Maravel.

See what happened with Maravel and Neelix in their case studies.

Sloaney's Furry Tail Ending

We got an excellent application for Sloaney, and were thrilled to send her home just 24 days after we brought her in for the second time. See how she's doing on her facebook page at Sloaney Queen of my Heart.

Check out the livestream video archives from her first and second stays with us at

Sloaney in the forest, the day after she was spayed and returned.

No words. ❤️More about this experiment:

Posted by People for Happier Cats on Friday, June 12, 2015

Three days after Sloaney's return to TinyKittens

Sloaney in her forever home

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