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Need thoughts on integrating foster

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
OK. Many of you know Gary and I live full time in a 38 foot RV. It's really well set up for cats, because we have 6 of them. They certainly have more space than we do, and they have a lot of vertical space.

Because of visiting family and friends, we have rented a trailer that is next to us. The next visitors arrive Nov 18, so we've got a few weeks here.

We've been caring for two kitties outside, Billy and Bing. They're not ferals, because they "friendlied" up way too quickly.

Bing is the alpha - loaded with character, and a lap cat. Billy is so submissive he stands with his tail between his legs. They both love pets and to be brushed, and they both like Belly rubs. Billy gives kisses.

They are close to each other. They eat out of the same bowl (even though we provide two), wrap their tails around each other, sleep in one small cat bed meant for 1 kitty together.

It's getting really cold here. So we weren't willing to leave Billy outside on his own, and we've tried for months to get them adopted out together - but they're over a year old.

So we have to bring Billy inside to live with us until or if we can find him a home.

We have three females and three males. The three males and 1 female are 6 years old. 1 female is 5 (Flowerbelle), and 1 female is 4 (Ming Loy). One of our males is an "ambassador" kitty - always friendly to newbies (Shelly). One of our females takes about a year to fully accept newbies (Spooky) - but all newbies since she's been with us have been females. Flowerbelle is completely neutral to new kitties. Ming Loy we don't now about - she was our last adoption and we haven't fostered any cats/kittens since we adopted her.

We crated Billy and Bing this morning and got them to the vet. They are going to get dewormed, etc. Looks like we'll be taking Bing to his new home on Tuesday.

What do we do about Billy? Whenever we fostered when we lived in the RV before (we moved into a house for a couple of years) we had a lot of fosters coming and going, and we just didn't worry about separating them. We just don't have the space to do it unless they're teeny kittens (because our bathroom is teeny). Never had any problems.

But it's been four years since we've introduced a new cat to the group, foster or otherwise.

SO.... when we bring Billy home on Tuesday, do we:

1) Release him into the trailer next to us, spend "working hours" over there with him (to get him used to living inside), and bring him over in a crate (large enough for two kitties, but not large enough for food, water AND litter) for a little bit each day to get all the cats used to each other (and, of course, wipe him all over with towels and put them under food bowls over here - get our kitties used to his smell - and bring a couple of our kitties' beds over there, so he can get used to their smells) and do this slowly over a couple of weeks (or play it by ear, but you get the point).


2) Release him directly into the bedroom, which we can close off for at least a couple of hours. He can explore the bedroom - or potentially, just lunge at the door and yowl because he wants back outside. Shelly (ambassador kitty), Flowerbelle (completely neutral to newbies), and Spooky (mean to all new females, not mean to the one male we intro'd after adopting her) are the three that will complain about not being allowed in the bedroom. So we could let them in - as they complain about being shut out - and if everything's OK, let it be. But we would have to open the bedroom door before going to sleep, so it could get interesting.

We're really torn on this. We fear that Billy will be really freaked out about being inside - but having been at the vet's for 3 days, he may just be happy to not be at the vet. We also think he'd likely only freak for a few hours, because he LOVES pets and brushes - that motivates him more than food.

We like the idea of going slowly - but then how traumatic is it going to be to be crated an put on "exhibition" every day? If we do this - do we cover the crate at first?

We will be using lots of Feliway everywhere, and we have Bach's Rescue Remedy.

Your opinions, thoughts or suggestions are appreciated!

post #2 of 6
perhaps a combination of the 2), ie OPEN crate covered with cloth in the bedroom, so he has it as his safety place.
After some hours when you are sure he has settled down open the doors and let the others in... Begin with the ambassadeur.

Feliway and so on. I dont think you need to overwork it.

He is submissive homeless, so he shouldnt have big problems with the residents. And thus not they with him either.

Females reluctant to accept other cats often arent accepting other females, but do accept easier males. I had met several such striking examples.

Such are my thoughts here.

good luck!
post #3 of 6
A third option, that might work. Use a baby gate (or dog gate) to block the entrance to bed room, let them see each other through the gate. Eventually, you can take it down after a few weeks. If all goes will with the
seeing each other part....

Not sure if its an option that you can use, I used that method with my Frodo and Baby Yum Yum, and it worked well. Took me 3 months to take the gate down, but now all are integrated peacefully...

Good luck and god bless. (And I have 2 adorable semi friendly ferals from my colony in my basement right now. Feel better knowing others are up to their gills in cats too!!)
post #4 of 6
Thread Starter 
Two baby gates on top of each other for a day isn't a bad idea. The problem is that there are at least three cats that ill go completely insane if not allowed into the bedroom part of the RV because that's where they spend most of their time.

But I think a combination of BOTH of your suggestions will help make this work. The idea of not putting Billy on display is great - release him into the bedroom and let the three kitties that spend their time in here in one at a time (depending upon how things go) is a good idea. Then we take Billy back to the other trailer and open the bedroom door - let everyone smell his smell in here.

Then maybe the next day do the baby gate thing. We already know from intro'ing Ming Loy - though that was when we lived in a house - that they just hop the gate. But two on top of each other is do-able, and a good idea.

Thanks you two!!!!!!!!!!!

post #5 of 6
Will 2 baby gates cover the door opening from top to bottom? I tried 3 gates one time with a gap at the top. They simply climbed over it.

Put Billy in the bedroom at first for a few hours, then try putting Shelley in there with him to break the ice. My ambassador Bogart used to groom the new cats in the house immediately and it made them relax tremendously.

Do you have anything with Bing's scent to keep with Billy for a while? And do you have anything with Billy's scent to share with your current residents?
post #6 of 6
I have no useful suggestions, just wanted to wish you luck
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