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 Post subject: Mama's got a brand new boo! Meet Goji!
PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 7:44 pm 
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I have a new feral kitty--brought her home Tuesday. She's a seven month old newly spayed feral kitten named Goji. I don't know anything about feral kittens and wasn't fully aware when I took her that she had any special considerations, but she's EXTREMELY shy and frightened and is still hiding under my bed four days on--poor thing! She's making very small steps though in terms of getting braver about coming out but I can't get near her to pick her up, etc., AT ALL. She hisses at me when I get too close and runs away.

I've been introducing her and Lovey slowly and it's going pretty well. I really want to cuddle her though! I know I can't until she's more comfy. My main concern is that she get along with Lovey because I'll love her no matter what. And also--I know she'll come around to me EVENTUALLY. It doesn't have to be tomorrow. I mean, I just have to counteract six months of feral-ness (she's been with a rescue about a month with her Mama and bro). I have years to get her used to me, I figure!

If anyone has any info helpful about feral kitties, I'd love to hear it. I've also been reading stuff online. I know I just have to give her time and I am willing. The only thing that would blow these works and I felt it necessary to return her would be if it wasn't working with out with Lovey or I felt that one or the other was in danger because of the other. Also, Lovey has been vomiting today and has a bit of diarrhea. Although I got Goji from the vet and she was spayed and checked out, I'm not sure if maybe he picked something up from her? I hope he's all right. Goji is eating well, no diarrhea or vomiting and seems to have no health problems other than being small (I think) for her age

I tried to post some pictures below but I don't know how the picture thing works anymore. But anyway, she's a grey tabby, very cute and a very small seven-month-old cat (I assume malnutrition stunted her growth a bit in early life? The rescue did a good job and her coat looks good and she seems healthy but she's definitely small for her age). Adorbs!!! Anyway, yay!!

[url][URL=http://s79.photobucket.com/user/senselessgibberish/media/Mobile%20Uploads/GojiComesHome-January142014005.jpg.html]Image

[url][URL=http://s79.photobucket.com/user/senselessgibberish/media/Mobile%20Uploads/GojiComesHome-January142014004.jpg.html]Image

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 Post subject: Re: Mama's got a brand new boo! Meet Goji!
PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 9:46 pm 
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How adorable!


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 Post subject: Re: Mama's got a brand new boo! Meet Goji!
PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 9:46 pm 
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Oh my, she IS cute! I've no advice on feral kitties, but kudos to you for being patient :)

FWIW she doesn't look frightened in those pics at all......she's quite photogenic!


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 Post subject: Re: Mama's got a brand new boo! Meet Goji!
PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 9:50 pm 
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She's so cute! Hi baby girl!

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 Post subject: Re: Mama's got a brand new boo! Meet Goji!
PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 9:55 pm 
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My Luna was a feral kitten. She was 20 weeks when we brought her home. She bonded with my other cat pretty much instantly and it took about 6 months of never pressuring her or reaching out to pet her for her to decide we were ok and then she would approach us. She always has to be in control though and she's now 10 years old. She doesn't like to be held in your arms or hugged, but she will come sit on your lap and gives the occasional kiss. It's so worth it, your feral will come around. I think they just need it to be on their terms and timeline.


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 Post subject: Re: Mama's got a brand new boo! Meet Goji!
PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 9:57 pm 
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Goji is gorgeous! I'm happy to hear that the intros with Lovey have been peaceful. You have the perfect (purrrrrfect?) attitude- being patient, giving her time to settle and adjust. Our orange tabby cat, Dexter, was a stray, though not feral, when we brought him into our home, and to be honest it took a few months for him and Luna to be buddies, and they still occasionally have some squabbles. So, if Lovey is not all about Goji right away, that's okay, just give it time, and I'm a big advocate of Feliway diffusers for keeping kitties calm and happy.

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 Post subject: Re: Mama's got a brand new boo! Meet Goji!
PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 11:16 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Mama's got a brand new boo! Meet Goji!
PostPosted: Sat Jan 18, 2014 11:23 pm 
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Thanks so much, guys! She really seems super sweet!

Even since I last posted progress has been made. I went in her room to see her and she was out in the open sitting by the window and not in her hiding place and this time, she stayed where she was instead of going back into hiding when I came in and I moved slowly and cautiously (seriously--one tiny step at a time--the slightest quick movement scares her right off) inching toward the bed, sat down cautiously and then inched forward from there and just sat still and talked to her in a sweet voice and she came onto the bed herself and explored the perimeter around me before nestling down for a spell three feet away. So long as I stayed pretty still and made no sudden moves, she wouldn't run away.

She actually seems more comfortable with Lovey than with me, which is fine. Lovey is a total alpha cat and Goji gets on her back in a submissive pose when he barges in and they sort of play fight from there. They also play fight from behind her headboard, and sometimes he gets back in there and bugs her, which I'm trying to prevent because that's her safe space. Sometimes he jumps on her, which seriously bothers me to see but reading on line it seems pretty normal cat behavior they're exhibiting, so long as he doesn't hurt her and I need to quit helicopter Momming maybe SO much. But when I hear the beginnings of growlings and hissing (all from her, only growling from Lovey on the very first day they met) I go in and try to get Lovey away to separate them and even then, she'll run away from me and toward him! She really is more comfortable with cats and not so with humans at all.

Awww...she doesn't look terrified in the pictures and actually, she doesn't look so much terrified in person, either but she must be--just by her actions--I figure. Sometimes she looks sad and seems to be cowering when she's behind the headboard, like it's all a lot to take in. Poor baby. It's all so new to her!

Anyway, her coming near me on the bed was a big step!!!

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 Post subject: Re: Mama's got a brand new boo! Meet Goji!
PostPosted: Sun Jan 19, 2014 11:30 am 
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She's so cute!!! It sounds like you are making good progress! The fact that she felt okay to come on to the bed with you is a really good sign!

I had an adult cat that was semi-feral when I adopted him and what worked the best was to give him a hidey place (he liked to be in the coat closet) and just sit near him and talk to him. He would let me give him treats and slowly over time I could coax him out of the closet by leaving a trail of treats.

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 Post subject: Re: Mama's got a brand new boo! Meet Goji!
PostPosted: Sun Jan 19, 2014 12:26 pm 
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 Post subject: Re: Mama's got a brand new boo! Meet Goji!
PostPosted: Sun Jan 19, 2014 12:41 pm 
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the trick with ferals is food! :) at least in the short term. it might take (much!) longer for bigger breakthroughs, buuut there are techniques for being present when the cat is eating, and moving the dish closer and closer to you over time until you can make contact and so on. (every cat is different though! this worked fairly well with me on some feral kittens I was minding though).

I'll see if I can dig up the strategy document that I was referring to, if you're interested?

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 Post subject: Re: Mama's got a brand new boo! Meet Goji!
PostPosted: Sun Jan 19, 2014 1:27 pm 
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Yay! Thanks for the encouragement, guys!

Joshua, I am definitely interested in the strategy document.

I have two Feliway plug ins going--one in the kittens sequestered room and the other in the living room, where Lovey spends much of his time.

They spent two hours playing together this morning (which, in retrospect was probably too long for this level of newness between them) and that went peacefully but then they started making cat fight sounds at which point I separated them. The problem there (I think) is that Lovey tends to keep at her and she got frustrated. She was making scary cat fight noises for all of five seconds (which I think all came from the kitten and not Lovey--I think he was still in play mode--but playing too aggressively for her). For that, I am going to try diverting them more during their play time so things don't escalate until they can read each others signals of when they've had enough i.e. when Lovey is getting too play aggressive with her, I will divert him with a chase toy and see if that keeps the fur from flying between them. The good news is that it was two hours of reciprocal playtime of them going back and forth before it went too far but it's a small setback.

I also have decided to take away Goji's food and feeding her at appointed times and only offering food at that time. Josh, you're right in that all I've read on line is the key is food for them so what I am going to do is take in the wet food to the feral and try to feed it to her tonight (from a spoon) and see how that goes. I will keep the dry (free) food away for the time being and try to socialize her to me through feeding--going in and hand-feeding her twice a day--just to work up her trust in me and her willingness to get closer. I have to get to a point where I can groom her, take her to the vet, pick her up, etc., and free feeding doesn't seem to be bringing her any closer--it's leaving too much up to her. Also I'm supposed to give her a heartworm pill Tuesday and that definitely won't happen the way things are now. Doubt it will happen even on Tuesday but I just need another plan to get her closer to me so I can start caring for her like I need to. Will call the vet and see if the heartworm pill can go in her food.

Time and patience!

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 Post subject: Re: Mama's got a brand new boo! Meet Goji!
PostPosted: Sun Jan 19, 2014 2:04 pm 
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This is so exciting! Lots of love and kitty fun to you two.

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 Post subject: Re: Mama's got a brand new boo! Meet Goji!
PostPosted: Sun Jan 19, 2014 3:12 pm 
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I'll look for the document, but in the meantime: don't be surprised if she won't eat with you so close (especially if you're somewhat _over_ her.. it's a threatening position!)

at the very least, stay in the same closed-off room while she eats. really condition her to know that "you = food!". from there, you can sit next to the food dish, or possibly from your hand. so much patience, but so worth it :)

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 Post subject: Re: Mama's got a brand new boo! Meet Goji!
PostPosted: Sun Jan 19, 2014 3:27 pm 
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Hi Goji! Sounds like she is only semi-feral or shy to me. (A truly feral cat is like having a wild animal in your house. They will usually wedge themselves somewhere inaccessible, like inside a wall or in back of a closet, and you might not even catch a glimpse of them for weeks). It looks like she is starting to feel comfortable in the house already, which is great! I'm sure with your help, she will make progress (it just will take a bit of patience on your end!).


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 Post subject: Re: Mama's got a brand new boo! Meet Goji!
PostPosted: Sun Jan 19, 2014 5:35 pm 
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Thanks, guys!

Yeah, I'm not going to feed her out of my hand tonight (further reading has learned me that I work up to that) but I'm gonna go in the room with her wet food tonight at feeding time, stay in there a half an hour while (hopefully) she eats in that period and take the dish away when I leave.

Yeah, that sounds right, RC (that she's semi feral, not full on). She is brave enough (or was last night) to be relaxed only three feet away from me on the bed and spend a bit of time there. It also gives me some relief because semi feral sounds easier than feral to deal with--I didn't really know about what feral meant when I took her home. The vet's office marked the mother's cage as feral and I was all "wots that?" and the people from the rescue told me I should try to "handle her a lot". (Well, I would if I could get near her!) But that's really all I knew--she wasn't as used to humans as she was to other cats. It is like extreme shyness. She's much bolder around Lovey than me, for sure, but she's definitely the submissive one in that relationship--at least at this point. He has a strong personality though and might be a bully but I also figure he'll grow out of his overkill energy. God, soon I hope! He's still only thirteen months but they say play aggression starts simmering down around the one year mark but I don't think he's quite there yet. Right now Goji's still pursuing Lovey in play and not always hiding from him so I hope it stays that way. I'm gonna maybe only let them play half an hour to an hour tomorrow (depending on how it's going) and then increase the time by maybe fifteen minute increments until they learn to read each other better. The sounds of cats (or dogs) fighting really bothers me and shakes me up. Also, I want their relationship to be positive which seems like it'll take time.

I've closed my closet so she can't hide in there because I would afraid she would just start living in there 24/7. She spends most of her time behind my headboard, where I've pulled my bed out from the wall and sometimes squeezes right under the bed (which has a very low frame) where Lovey is too big to fit. When she first came she hid under there and with Lovey in the room today, she took refuge under there for a period of time where he couldn't get her.

Anyway, hopefully she'll eat some food tonight with me in the room. I'll put the dish behind my headboard and just laze on my bed while I wait and see if she'll eat with me in the room to start.

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 Post subject: Re: Mama's got a brand new boo! Meet Goji!
PostPosted: Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:09 pm 
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Greenies makes pill pockets (it's basically like a treat with a hole in it that you put the pill in) so that might be another option for Goji's pill on Tuesday. The pill pockets only tricked Dexter twice, haha, but it might get you through Tuesday.

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 Post subject: Re: Mama's got a brand new boo! Meet Goji!
PostPosted: Sun Jan 19, 2014 6:16 pm 
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Thanks, dakini--the pill pocket is a good idea! I actually never thought of that. I'm going shopping tomorrow I'll stop in the pet section and see if I can find anything. I also feel like I need some new interactive toys and get them playing with me for some of the time and not all just focused on each other and wrestling and chasing as that's when aggression between cats always seems to get out of hand (in my very limited experience). Playing with them also helps bond me to them. Lovey was a different cat for me in the sense that he's not snuggly so I couldn't figure out how to get closer to him for the first while, but I find what's really bonded us lately was for me to include dedicated playtime with him every day. I think Goji's going to be too afraid at first to participate but I can at least get it going and she'll see in time that it's fun and nothing to fear.

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 Post subject: Re: Mama's got a brand new boo! Meet Goji!
PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2014 5:04 am 
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If you're looking for a new interactive toy get "Da Bird"! It's amazing and Goji won't be able to resist it! Pet Valu sells them, perhaps Pet Smart as well, I'm not sure.

How did the feeding go?

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 Post subject: Re: Mama's got a brand new boo! Meet Goji!
PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2014 10:25 am 
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How sweet! I hope the adjustment process goes smoothly for both of you. My two senior felines were originally, ahem, "obtained" as very young ferals (previously discussed in "The Great Cat Caper"). One now loves to snuggle, but as someone mentioned above, only on her terms. The other always wants to be petted, but has never liked to be held. They both are very affectionate, which has been lovely. They are going on 18 now...the longest relationships I've had besides my own family.

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 Post subject: Re: Mama's got a brand new boo! Meet Goji!
PostPosted: Mon Jan 20, 2014 4:05 pm 
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lobsteriffic wrote:
If you're looking for a new interactive toy get "Da Bird"! It's amazing and Goji won't be able to resist it! Pet Valu sells them, perhaps Pet Smart as well, I'm not sure.

How did the feeding go?

Oh,that sounds awesome. I'll look for it at the pet store. Well, I was at Supercenter (shopping) earlier today and they sometimes have a nice selection of cat toys, but this one didn't. I will go to Pet Valu as I want a toy that they associate with playtime with each other and is special.

The feeding went awesome, actually. She ate behind my headboard last night and then this morning, I only had ten minutes to get dressed before having to be somewhere so I took her food in and put it on a table near where I was dressing and she came up there and ate some. After I came back home a couple of hours later, I went back in to feed her some more (because she didn't get much the first time because I had to leave) and put the dish down and stroked her three times! She ran away every time I touched her but the main thing is she kept coming right back to the food dish even after I touched her. Not into me touching her though and scampering away every time.

I was just in there briefly letting Lovey play with her and she seems to like him and chases him and when they're playing she's somewhat oblivious to me and while I didn't touch her while they were playing, I was hovering over them, close by and she didn't seem scared--she was more determined to give Lovey a playful swat in the moment! So I think it's coming along well.

Vet's office called me for an update and told me her heartworm pill isn't due actually until next week. I couldn't find pill pockets at Supercentre but my vet told me they sell them so I'll pick some up on the weekend and that should help her medicine go down. Baby steps!

Tenacious LD wrote:
How sweet! I hope the adjustment process goes smoothly for both of you. My two senior felines were originally, ahem, "obtained" as very young ferals (previously discussed in "The Great Cat Caper"). One now loves to snuggle, but as someone mentioned above, only on her terms. The other always wants to be petted, but has never liked to be held. They both are very affectionate, which has been lovely. They are going on 18 now...the longest relationships I've had besides my own family.

This makes me so happy to hear. I really want this to work out because I have a lovely home for her here. Goji seems like such a lovely little boo and Lovey is very curious about her and is playful with her and doesn't seem territorial--but she still only stays in the bedroom. She has come to the door to peer out in pursuit of Lovey during playtime but she has yet to set foot outside her sanctum--which is fine. It's just kind of boring for her and Lovey to have such a small space to play in but I know she needs time and she's definitely feeling braver and more comfortable around the house a little bit every day.

I seem to have a recollection of your caper!!!! <3 <3 <3

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 Post subject: Re: Mama's got a brand new boo! Meet Goji!
PostPosted: Tue Jan 21, 2014 8:01 am 
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This all sounds so promising seitanicverses! She is coming along so well!

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 Post subject: Re: Mama's got a brand new boo! Meet Goji!
PostPosted: Wed Jan 22, 2014 8:55 am 
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We need Goji updates!

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 Post subject: Re: Mama's got a brand new boo! Meet Goji!
PostPosted: Wed Jan 22, 2014 10:59 am 
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Thanks for asking! Goji's doing very well!

Yesterday, we went to the next step of her eating while sitting directly next to me, like she's maybe a foot away, eating and I'm sitting on the floor beside her. We did that last night and this morning I decided to try feeding her from my hand but she's not ready for that yet so I just moved the bowl a bit closer to me than it was last night and she came and ate. I tried to pet her while she was eating but she skittered away every time, but also kept coming back immediately.

Lovey intros are deteriorating. He just keeps jumping her soon after he sees her and she's on her back and they're batting paws at first but it escalates into a fight and I separate them. I think some of the problem is that because Goji is really confined to her space because of all her other fears and unfamiliarity, she can't run and have more room the way they would in normal type place and so the play with him is kind of more threatening in the enclosed space. If she came out into the living room, there's a kitty tunnel, a cat tree, sills and perches she could use and it wouldn't feel so confining. Well, also, they're fighting because they're new to each other and it's natural to work the kinks out. But yeah, Lovey goes into attack mode very soon after any encounters with her now but the good news is that she still comes back to him, chases him so she's not so afraid of him yet. He used her litter box this morning (he's always gotta poo in her doo first thing) and she sat on top of it while he was in there and batted at him through the vents at the top and opening, so she's retaining her spunk. She'll hide from Lovey but always comes back out to form a new plan of attack. I don't want him wearing her down though because HE WILL in time. He's a crazy boy. I've got the Feliways plugged in here and reminders to keep patient because their cohabitable relationship won't happen overnight. I'm going to get Da Bird and some other interactive toys this weekend and am thinking of ordering Bach's Rescue Remedy for my bully kitty--maybe help chill Lovey out a bit through the transition. He's also being more sucky-baby with me (I'm giving him TONS of extra attention) and surprisingly, he's eating less so he's definitely affected by the new addition. He also had one jealous outburst toward me (i.e., attacked me when I came out of the room when he heard me in there talking sweetly to Goji). It's hard for him too but I'm totally doing my best to reassure him he's still my boy boo.

So my next plan is to scale back their encounters to short and remaining supervised like for fifteen to twenty minutes each time and focus on interactive toys instead of Lovey stalking her as their playtime while I work on getting Goji familiar with the rest of the house first and foremost and more comfortable with me and then I can shift the focus more to integrating her and Lovey for longer periods every day and working on their relationship. She's still afraid of toys right now but she's really showing progress with her comfort level in my presence every day so I'm fairly confident that once she sees they won't hurt her, she'll jump in.

I might try feeding her from my hand again tonight--wet food even though it's really gross to do. Goji's really thin I see now that she comes out all the time and I've had a good look. Poor little girl! Lovey doesn't seem to be hurting her though when they tussle. His claws are trimmed and I touched them up yesterday--the vets trimmed Goji's but that was now a week ago. Of course, I can't get close enough to do hers at this point so I'll just have to hope Lovey doesn't peas her off enough to use them. Anyway, they're just tussling briefly with no blood drawn and I separate them. Argh though. Their relationship is the part that strains me nerves the most in all this.

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 Post subject: Re: Mama's got a brand new boo! Meet Goji!
PostPosted: Wed Jan 22, 2014 11:37 am 
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Also, Goji is VERY quiet. I suppose because she is semi-feral and her instincts are to lay low. I heard her mew a couple of times the first night I brought her (I figured she was crying for her Mom and bro as she'd been newly separated) and then little mews and cries or hisses and growls when she's tangling with Lovey and just now she let out a mew, apropos of nothing, from her room. It's the cutest sound! She's usually super quiet though. Not a peep. Is that a feral or semi-feral characteristic?

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