I had a cat that was a great hunter too, and he would leave his gifts in the dirty laundry pile. Nothing like grabbing a cold stiff snake to get your adrenaline going.....That particular cat only weighed about 7-8 pounds, and he killed and adult rabbit once.
Most of the time, feral cats are never completely tamed, and even if you do manage to tame them somewhat, everything I've seen says that they seldom become lap kitties.... especially if they are not "tamed" until they are an adult. This makes me think that she might have been a pet at some point.
We have a feral that is a lap kitty, who thinks she should be attached at all times to a person, and who insists on being held by DH every morning and on getting under the covers with us every night. But she was only about 6 weeks old when she was caught, and I spent quite a bit of time when I first got her (at about 10 weeks or so) holding her and working with her to calm her down and get her to be less wild.
She has never really cared about going back outside - though she did wander out by accident once. And she has always been great about using the litter box - we've never had any problems with her.
Cats are individuals, though, so give it a try. If she turns out to be completely miserable, you can always let her back out again.
If you are going to keep her in, the suggestions I have are: make sure you have a tall scratching post that gives her both a place to scratch and something to climb. Added bonus if it has a good hiding place in it too - but regardless, make sure she has a good place she can hide when she wants: maybe a box or something.
Stuff to keep her busy. Finding what kind of toy a cat will play with can be tough too. Most of the cats I've ever had didn't care for 99% of the toys we've ever bought. The exception - one of ours now absolutely goes nuts for the little fur mice that rattle.... but they have to be the ones that have real (rabbit) fur, not the fake fur. He knows where I keep the new mice, and anytime I get in that closet, he is at my feet, hoping I'll get the "magic mouse box" out!
Since she's used to being outside and chasing things that move, you may need to engage in more active play with her. She may not be as good at entertaining herself.
Did I mention having something she can climb? If she's used to doing that outside, she'll find places to do it inside, so if there's anywhere you don't want her to climb, you may want to figure out a way to make it less attractive to her.
That's all I can think of.
We have no way to have a cat door for her. I'll just have to play it by ear, seeing if she needs to come in during the worst weather, providing shelter for her if she can't adjust.
Thanks for the reassurance about the owls-that's the only real predator around here.
Are you sure she's actually feral and not just a pet that got loose and is now wild?
We have a huge feral cat problem in my neighborhood. We just went through a terrible ordeal with one of them. A mother and two kittens abandoned a kitten who was injured or diseased (he couldn't move his back legs at all) We tried getting help and we left food out for him. It took us a day to realize it was another cat getting to the food first. The organization helping us said that he probably died fairly quickly. We haven't seen him since, so they're probably right. I'm heartbroken about it.
[This message edited by PricklePatch at 10:44 PM, October 18th (Friday)]
I put a litter box on the deck. She's been in the box, digging around, but hasn't used it.
She is such a lover. Wants to spend all her time tucked into my lap, giving kisses. We had a visit from another feral cat last night, far bigger than our friend. I scared that one off, Kitty jumped into my arms, tucked in purring as though she was glad I rescued her.
Of course, this was the same cat that nearly caught a squirrel twice her weight earlier in the day...
We closed off a room- large bathroom and put a litter box. She would meow then stop. After awhile she used the litter box. Then we move to a certain area of the house and we checked and she used it. We left it there and she was ok.
They will adjust and there are toys that you can play with her that resemble the "hunt". I knew a cat that loved hide and seek
I brought her upstairs with me for awhile. She wanders around, meowing a lot, exploring and coming for a cuddle. Downstairs she settles down for naps. Playtime is fun for both of us.
My older cat is intolerant, but curious. She could easily run away or hide, but she hangs around to check things out. She's hissed and swiped at the baby. Baby backs off, unknowing that she has tools (claws) while Old Lady doesn't. She had been declawed and then "lost" when we rescued her. I won't let them have close contact in any event.
She'll be a great pet, sweet and affectionate, loves humans now. My Old Lady is sick with renal insufficiency so I don't know how long I'll have her.
I'm relieved. I was worrying about cold weather, hawks, bigger cats.
I truly could be one of those crazy cat ladies. They are wonderful animals. I love dogs, too, but cats are special in that it's like taming a wild animal. Thanks to all of you for your input.