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Question about my semi-feral cat

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
For four years now I have been feeding and taking care of a feral cat. He was totally feral when I started with him. The first year, I was able to set food out for him, but could not go near him.

The second year, he was injured, so I was able to scoup him up and put him in a large dog kennel, where I kept him all winter while we nursed his wounds. When it got warm, and he was well, he stayed outside.

Last winter, when it started getting cold, I'd push the kennel up to the doorwall and he would come in for the night, out of the cold.

This winter, I've let him stay inside, in my bedroom all winter. He gets along with the dogs just fine, but he goes nutso with other cats. He has come a longgg way since being feral, but if I'm going to make him an indoor cat, which he wants to be, he's got to be able to get along with my other three cats. It's a pain to have to make sure my bedroom door is closed all the time, and the other cats aren't allowed in here when since he's not in the kennel.

I tried letting one of the cats in the bedroom, and the minute he saw him, he was in fight mode. Now, he is fixed, and so are my other cats. Will I ever be able to break him of wanting to fight? Will he ever be able to be a house cat and get along with my other cats? Should I introduce them one at a time, or all thee cats and him together?

I really want to make this work, but I don't want my other cats to get injured.

IF you have any advice for me, I would be happy to hear it.
Sorry this was so long.

post #2 of 6
Yes you will. I am sure that others will be along to advise, but usually cats can find away to live together indoors. HOWEVER there are a few (very few) cats who simply want to be dominant, and cannot "share" or get along - like humans the purrsonalies don't "mesh" well.

I have my parents who have my brother's cat and their own cat, in such a situations. No outright fighting, but pooping everywhere and peeing everywhere in the house sometimes (not always) that is ruining the house. Been going on ever since the big guy came to them 3 years ago. At that time he was about 6 years old. He's about 9 now. The big guy is scheduled to be PTS because of it (he also suffers from Diabetes and other complications). They tried everything to no avail, and are heartbroken. But, they are elderly and can't deal with it anymore.

I OTH have 4 cats, and no problems (knock on wood). One dominant male, who "rules" and 3 females who have a pecking order of their own. No fighting all boxes are used etc etc... Helps they go outside, that I have 3 levels in the house, and that give each their own "love time" and attention.

But still, it boils down to purrrrsonality!

Good luck and ask for info on "cat intros". Lots of tips and tricks, and follow closely all the instructions...
post #3 of 6
Pity he isnt friend with the other cats. It is usually MUCH easier to foster a feral/semiferal with help of friendly homecats (or even a friendly dog!)...
It is because he is/was a tomcat? When did he get neutered? If not long ago, patience. Time will work for you. Quite soon he will calm down some and be more cat-sociale.

Try with Feliway. Cant hurt and may help very much. - observe, Feliway dont always help at once. Often it works at fully first after several weeks.

Try also a net door between your bedroom and the rest of the house. So he sees the others, see them interacting with you and each other... and the smells interchanging.

Begin with a docile female when you let them met. Ie such cat he dont sees as a rivale, or a threat. If you dont have docile female, take a docile neutered male.

Good luck!
post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 
I got him fixed two years ago. That has stopped him from spraying outside, and when he was outside, it seemed to stop the fighting. Actually, one of the indoor cats ( Fred) I have now was a stray (male) and they got along together outside before either of them were fixed. ( I took them in at the same time to get fixed) Fred was not feral, so he was able to come in and adapt, but not so with the feral one.(I named him Gray). Fred got out last winter and before I knew it, he and Gray were in the middle of a hot fight...two cats in mid air spinning circles, with balls of hair flying every which way and both of them screaming.

Gray has been inside at night in a kennel for the past couple years, and the other cats always visit with him nightly. He's fine when he's in the kennel...no agression towards the other cats...but out of the kennel, he wants to fight. He is a big cat and a tough fighter! He doesn't mess around, and he's had a lot of experience fighting, where my indoor cats haven't.

I have two females and one male, besides him. I'll try him with the female first, and see what happens.

Everyone, wish me luck!
And thanks for the advice.


Ps. What is Feliway? I've not heard of it before.
post #5 of 6
Here's Feliway: http://www.catfaeries.com/

At that same site, you can buy Flower Essences, which also sometimes helps in multi cat households or in stressful situations.

For introductions, the best thing to do is replace the door on your bedroom with a screen door. Or just add a screen door to it, and open the door (but not the screen door) a few hours a day.

You can also start "intros" by rubbing your other kitties all over with a rag, and put it in the rescue room with treats on it. Do this every day. And rub your rescue all over with a rag, and put that under food bowls for the other kitties, and re-rub it every day. Of course you can take another wash cloth or rag or whatever, and rub it all over rescue and set it out with treats on it for your other kitties. The idea is to get all the kitties associating the new cat smells with good things.

Maybe focus on swapping smells with treats between Gray and Fred first? And slowly intro Gray to less aggressive kitties while working on getting Gray and Fred to associate each other with good things?

You can also use the vanilla trick. Whenever one of our cats has had to be in the hospital, we've had trouble when we bring them home. So we put vanilla on a paper towel and dab all the kitties behind the ears, at the base of the tail and on the bum with Vanilla. It confuses the smells, and seems to make re-acceptance of the kitty that was in the hospital go better.

Thank you for rescing these kitties! I hope you're able to successfully introduce everyone this time around. Just take it very slow.

post #6 of 6
I also have a semi-feral, age 4 that comes in and out of my home. I have the opposite problem: he runs off any cat that comes onto our property but is fine with the cats indoors. It's all about territory.

Place a towel/rug/cat bed that your indoor cats use outside for him to use. Get him used to your cat's scents. Use the screen door trick that Laurie described, or use open mesh baby gates (floor to ceiling). Or use the vanilla extract to make them all smell the same. The more interaction you can give them without actually making contact will help to put him at ease with your cats.

You've gotten him to come along this far in 4 years, it might take him a while to get over the last hump. Go very slow.
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