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When to take him to the vet?

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I have been trying hard to re-socialize a semi-feral who had been living in a home with humans for about one month before I got him. He got out the first day we had him and after a month I trapped him and set him up in a spare bedroom. At this point he does not hate me, but he does not think of me as his human either.

He had been vetted and neutered before we got him. I also do not see that he is ill. So there is nothing urgent, I would just like to get him to the vet since he was outside on his own for a month. I am not good at reading cats.

The way I see it, I have two options:

Continue feeding him and plying him with treats until he really likes me, then burst his bubble by stuffing him into a box and taking him to the vet. When I get him home he will be angry and (maybe) will not trust me anymore and I have to start over...


Since he is not that fond of me right now anyway I can stuff him into a box, take him to the vet and when I get him home he will REALLY hate me and then I will have to recover lost ground.

Does this question make sense? I am trying to figure out what will be the least traumatic for him and keep us on the road to him trusting me.
post #2 of 13
Hi, I'm not stalking you, I promise, I'm really just waiting for someone to reply to one of my posts... I think I would just take him now. The behavior that you were describing before may mean that he has something going on. Who knows? Oh yeah, the vet. Haha, but we kinda freak out and take our cats to the vet all the time.

Since he was outside for awhile (3 weeks if I remember correctly), I would go ahead and take him in, make sure he didn't pick up anything out there. Cats are pretty good at hiding early symptoms.

HTH, and keep us posted!
post #3 of 13
oh, as a side note, our grumpy cat was grumpy ALL the time, hissing and growling, and when we took her to the vet and explained the behavior, he gave her an allergy shot, turns out she was grumpy all the time b/c she wasn't feeling too well, though her eyes, temp, eating/pooping habits and everything were normal, she maybe sneezed once or twice that we heard. She's still grumpy, but not all the time now. So def. tell your vet about the recent hissing, and just to make sure, have him check Brady's eyes.
post #4 of 13
Thread Starter 
Go right ahead and stalk me, after all you are giving me advice!
He was outside for a total of four weeks....yeah I really do want to get him to the vet. They said I could make an appt and then if I am not successful getting him then just make another one. What I do NOT want to do is try to get him by reaching under the bed or chase him around the room. I have never grabbed a cat and put him/her into a box or carrier unless the cat was ok with it and I doubt my ability to do it without the cat escaping AND being wary. So I feel like at the very least I would like to get back to him walking around in front of me and rubbing his head on me, chasing the wand etc. Then I think I would stand a chance of picking him up and putting him into a pillowcase or something....
post #5 of 13
Either use a towel when going for the carrier - and possibly risk setting him up for a negative experience every time he smells the carrier in future (tho' this could happen no matter what you do!), or have the carrier right there in the room on a table just before it's time to leave, with it's door open. When it's time, casually pick him up and, rear end first, swiftly slip him into the thing and quickly close the door before he knows what happened (tho' there's no guarantee he'll feel any different in future either about the box or you :-), it's just sometimes easier to get them in backwards! Don't fuss, most cats don't hold grudges for long, not if you just consistently act normal and relaxed afterward, and distract them with new toys or something. I don't think stuffing him with treats is a smart move tho', because he'll catch on pretty fast that acting up is the way to food!
post #6 of 13
Do not cause any unnessary stress while trying to build a trusting relationship! I think you have the right idea to leave that concern aside for now, no need to cause more reason for aggression there! Is he indoor only? I think at this point you would notice a sudden change in behavior if there was a medical reason for a vet visit, but for now I would focus on him trusting oyu. I always had a firm belief in any kitty that was my best friend should allow me to hold them, carry them, pick them up, no matter where or what in case something ever happens where I would need to do so, fire for instance. You can never ask this without that equal trust, otherwise we will feel the disagreement!
post #7 of 13
cheylink - my concern is the 4 weeks he escaped and was outside before she could catch him again.
post #8 of 13
Has there been any behavioral change? Look for appetite change, water, lethargic, if he is just as difficult as before, you should be in the clear! Some may disagree, but I firmly believe why cause stress if not already there.............................. Any behavioral changes you may question, you can always call your vet and ask if there is a need to be concerned.
post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
Not sure if there has been a behavioral change-after all he hides most of the time. And even if there was, I would think that him being moved from a foster home that he had just gotten used to after being there one month would justify him being annoyed. Since he does not run and jump when I am around I cannot tell if he is lethargic. He jsut sits and watches me from under the bed, and creeps out as far as he absolutely has to to get to the food.

I like to think that since he survived on his own outdoors for the first year of his life (which is a pretty good trick in New England) he must be pretty hardy. So I am not TOO anxious to take him to the vet but if he does have some ailment I would certainly like to relieve him of that.

So now our routine seems to be that I bring him food mornings and evenings. I deliberately give him less now so that he will be more hungry for the treats. The interaction that we have is that I toss the treat towards him or place it gently near him. Sometimes I can leave my hand there sometimes not. I wish I knew what the magic formula is to get him to rub my hand and play with me like he did last weekend <sigh>. I suppose I should be grateful, at least he is in the hosue and I do not have to worry about him being cold or being food for a fisher cat.

I am getting better at hearing the noises. I think he will hiss if he thinks my hand is too close to him so of course I withdraw it right away. But he is making another noise that might be a sneeze-hard for me to tell since I am not familiar with cat sounds.
post #10 of 13
Idea - may sound cruel to start with, but could help long term:- Set down a bowl of his favorite food (not treats!) where you'd ideally like him to eat in future (a place that's a bit out of the way of traffic), and do NOT bring or throw him any food any more - he's got you trained. Just do it and leave it, and when he's hungry enough he'll find it, no question, even if it takes him a couple of days, and then he won't necessarily connect you (and whatever he sees as threatening about you) with the food, but will think he's made a kill/find/etc. and learn that it's ok to come out because he gets to eat there.
post #11 of 13
if he's sneezing then be sure to note that to the vet if you bring him in or just call to explain the situation. Our vet warned us after he discovered Phoebe's allergies that even 1 or 2 sneezes means you should start watching them more carefully.
post #12 of 13
Thread Starter 
Larke I am not sure but I think you are describing what I was doing the first week we had him in the spare bedroom. He would hide under the bed or behind the computer monitor, I would leave food, he would come out and eat it whenever he felt safe. Zero interaction between me and him, no progress. After I had brought him back to the house in the have-a-heart I am pretty sure I was not his favorite person in the world so I was trying to get him to like me. I felt like things picked up after I got him to realize that I was the bringer of food. He was rubbing me last Sunday and dang it I want to get back to that point.

Traffic is not an issue since he is in the spare bedroom under conditions of "maximum security". The bedroom door opens to a downstairs hallway with no doors, so we have a huge piece of plywood blocking the hallway off from the rest of the house just in case he goes for the door when I am going in and out. He does not have the run of the house yet. Our house is very "open" meaning that living room, dining room and kitchen are all one huge area. There are three separate ways to get in and out of the house and I am not confident of being able to keep him inside once he is let out of the spare bedroom. He could hide anywhere and it would not take but a moment of leaving the garage or sliding door open, bringing in groceries, letting dogs in and out and out he would be. I want him to WANT to be in the house. Plus I have to be sure that the dogs will not harass him and that even if he should get back outside (which I am sure he is itching to do) the bitter cold will help drive him in. Also I want him vetted before he is allowed to roam the house. So realistically he has about another month in solitary confinement.

Just in case I was garbling, he does not hiss at me unless my hand is very close to him. As long as I just come in, put his food bowl in what has become its usual place, sit about 3 feet from him and chitchat while he is eating, there is no problem. He watches me, gets startled by noises such as the heat turning on or off, the laundry dryer etc. He seems to be more willing to eat if I chatter to him since (I assume) my chattering covers up the scary noises.

As far as the 'sneezing' goes I am not even sure it IS a sneeze. A hiss I can recognize. But sometimes when I put the treat right in front of him he makes a short noise, sounds kind of like a mini-hiss, but his body language as near as I can tell does not signal anger. That is why I am thinking it is some other sound that I do not recognize. Don't laugh, is there a web site somewhere with cat noises so I can better interpret it?
post #13 of 13
I'm at work so I can't actually play the noises but here's one website:


I'll try to look for some more later
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