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How long before I let my two cats see the feral?

post #1 of 20
Thread Starter 
I am new to this forum and anxiously read many of your posts. Yesterday I took a 1.5-year-old feral female inside. She was fixed in July (a rescue group convinced me to trap/fix and release her) and had been coming around since. A few of us were feeding her and some of her siblings. Four other siblings had been trapped but someone opened the cages and let them go.
But that's a story for later.
Princess began allowing me to pet her about two months ago. She would come running when I opened my back door and linger for hours in the evening, sleeping in her little shelter.
The management here grew tired of the cat problem and said they won't wait for volunteers to begin trapping in spring. They called animal control and the traps are going out tomorrow.
I got Princess into a carrier last night, put her into her own room in the carrier and off to the Vet this morning. SHE TESTED NEGATIVE again and was given dewormer.
I have returned her to her room with food, a litter box and a bed. She quickly disappeared under a desk.

I've read she should be kept alone in the room for about 10 days but I am not sure not to introduce her to my two male cats, ages 7 and 14. Both are very sweet. The younger one is a bit skittish about new cats (he hisses at the strays when they sit on the window ledge.)
Looking forward to your advice.
We are trying to desperately find homes for the other six but getting nos and the rescue groups say they have too many "adoptable" cats. Even tried the North Shore (a woman associated with them lives here when she is in town tending to her business). She says North Shore (in NY) has more than 100 cats already.
post #2 of 20
the answer is in two planes.

On one plane, shy semiferales are seldom troublesome in contact with residents. Usually they are submissive to them / or and eager to make friends. There are seldom issues, especielly not if the residents are friendly.

Second plane, is the usual recommendation of quarantene, minimum 10 days, but up to 3 weeks may be appropriate too.

Of course, how careful you are depends on:
If the cat is healthy or not.
A person active in exhibitions or breeding or something - must be VERRY careful.
Somebody with fully vaccinated, healthy cats may take a calculated, but really small risk.

She get clean check up from vet? Good. How is she looking?
An apparent sick cat should of course have her full quarantene. A seemingly healthy cat again, may perhaps have a shorter quarantene.

Some rescuers would let them meet already without thinking much about it.
Others would wait as an off course.
You must decide yourself....

(btw. The allround health is one thing, and the really contagious diseases arent that very common. But semiferales usually do have worms and skin parasites. It may take some time before THESE are killed off....So it is probably wise if you wait at least a couple of days more).

To the question many cats but few places:
Look also in the thread about "How rescue cats from euthanasy at spca". There you can see quite many ideas.
Good adoption-places dont appear from themselves. Usually you must work for them...

Tx for what you are doing!

Good luck!
post #3 of 20
Thread Starter 
The vet gave her a clean bill of health. He said she's incredibly healthy looking. I wondered about the worms and parasites - actually learned about that by reading this forum last night.

I am hesitant to disturb her much - especially after the vet visiting and blood drawing. She probably remembers the surgery last time. I just wonder where she's hidden. She immediately came out of the carrier - no hissing or crying.

Thanks for the response. People on this forum are doing such wonderful things. I wish I had taken her in sooner but.... no more looking back.
post #4 of 20

I think that the amount of time you keep Princess separate from your resident cats is subjective. I would base it on her interest in them, their interest in her, and all around health. If she is healthy, that's a good thing!

My very first foster had giardia (digestive parasite) for which she was treated and exhibited no symptoms. Her fecal exam showed that she still had it, however, so I kept her separate from Nova (my permanent cat). She was with us for a month and never tried to leave the room she was in.

The two we have now have been with us for two months. When they first came in, everybody had a respiratory infection, including Nova. For the first month, they hid in corners or behind furniture. Now, they want to leave the bathroom to play with Nova and her toys. (They have toys of their own, they just want to play with hers too. ) Nova is a little bit unfriendly toward them, so I try to let them out when she's in the bedroom and I can close the door. Like the above poster said, the former-ferals are submissive and want to be friends with my resident cat.

Do you plan to keep Princess?
post #5 of 20
Thread Starter 
Princess finally ate last night and after 24 hours used the litter box. In the morning I noticed she had tried to climb up the Venetian blinds so I opened them all the way. I have gone in twice today and sat on the floor and talked to her. She is hiding in some new corner behind furniture and I didn't want to move anything around.

How long do you think it will take until she comes out to see me? This cat used to come charging across the lawn when my door opened in the evening and played endlessly with cat toys outside.
I am worried a bit but I realize I need patience.
Thanks for your help
post #6 of 20
This behaviour is quite common, including hiding, no eating nor using litter 24 hours, sometimes longer. It happens even among homecats.
Her beginning to use litter, water and food are good signs... The recovery will proceed.

I agree you are waiting with further steps (feks letting her meet the other cats) before she has "landed" and feels somewhat comfortable in this room she is now.

This is not necessary a question of quarantene but of her feelings and immediate needs.

Prepare for her a more "civilized" hiding place. Cat igloo if you have one, otherwise a sideturned cardboard box with something to lie on...

You are on good way!

WHEN it is time to let them meet you dont need to make big trouble about it: you simply open the door. If she wants to go out and join them, she does. If not, she remains in her secure room /her own safe place...
It is no that big deal here when you are sure your residents will be friendly to her.
post #7 of 20
Thread Starter 
Yes I plan to keep Princess. She's the one the other ferals would chase up a tree and she would meow when I came out. It took coaxing sometimes but she would come down.

I am just feeling bad that she is staying hidden. Put a deep cat bed up there as well. She didn't touch her food today so I removed the old and put down new web food.

The little angel means a lot to me.
post #8 of 20
Originally Posted by minouloveblue View Post
Yes I plan to keep Princess. She's the one the other ferals would chase up a tree and she would meow when I came out. It took coaxing sometimes but she would come down.

I am just feeling bad that she is staying hidden. Put a deep cat bed up there as well. She didn't touch her food today so I removed the old and put down new web food.

The little angel means a lot to me.
Aww, don't feel bad. One of the boys in my bathroom used to hiss at me, and he hid for over a month. I started to wonder if I made a mistake in trapping him, if he maybe wasn't too old to be socialized. It's been over two months, he barely started coming to me for petting and is just the sweetest boy. Don't worry, she'll come around once she gets used to being indoors. It might take time, but she'll get used to it.
post #9 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thank you so very much. My youngets cat Minou keeps sniffing under the door - it's a big crack (about two inches) - and last night he slept by the door for most of the night. He's the really playful one and I am sure he would love a playmate. The eldest loves to sleep and eat - he was a stray that showed up at my old place eight years ago. I tried to find his owner - called the vets and shelters. My vet at the time was "animal control" so he took him for the required week, tested him and told me to come get him, he was mine. The poor flea-bitten tattered thing is now as big as a bear.
post #10 of 20
Originally Posted by minouloveblue View Post

I am just feeling bad that she is staying hidden.
As said before, such shy hidding behvaviour is very common, practically typical for new-taken semiferals. And even not uncommon among some home-born cats when they comes to a new owner.

I realised here may be also one extra reason for her hiding.
She surely get shots, and dewormers. So she is probably dont feeling to well a couple three of days - and thus - hiding....

It is only very trusting homecats who choose to be sick together with their humans or cat pals. Most cats hide or at least keep for themselves when they are not feeling well....

It will be better and better with time!
post #11 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the reassurance. I coaxed her out of her hiding place today for a little while. She meowed for about five minutes but later let me pet her and rubbed against my legs. She sat at the window for a while.

I was outside talking to a neighbor, looked up at the window (upstairs room) and there was was looking at us.

The second time I went in a few hours later she was a bit more skittish and hid under a piece of furniture

I figured I'd give her some more time.
Does Feliway work for ferals? I've never tried it even with my other two cats
post #12 of 20
Originally Posted by minouloveblue View Post
Does Feliway work for ferals?
Yes, feliway could help here, yes.

I dont think it is necessary, you are doing well. But if you wish some extra help, Feliway is a good shot although not 100% sure. But it cant hurt either.
post #13 of 20
Thread Starter 
Minou the seven-year-old I've had since he was a kitten pushed the door open a crack when I was in the room with the feral. She approached the door and he hissed and then made that gutteral loud noise that's pretty scary. He came back a second time and did it again when I left the door open 2 inches (won't move in either direction, I tied it with rope) and made even worse noises. I left the crack be but he headed downstairs and won't go up there. Should I keep the door open for a while? Minou is the alpha cat. Blue just sleeps all say long. He hasn't even sniffed under the door. I have no idea how he will react (14 years old, stray taken in seven years ago when he ended up in local shelter).
post #14 of 20
I saw on another thread you did buy a Feliway diffuser. This is of course never wrong
and gives you and all the cats that extra bit of safety and wellbeing.

Now, them growling is quite normal. They do feel scents from a foreign cat in their home.

Although I think in practice the problem is much less:

When they met, they will also see each other. The newcomer will be submissive and or try everything to please herself in.
Which she cant do now. Now she can only send potentially threating scents...

So in practice the real meeting is seldom big trouble.
post #15 of 20
Thread Starter 
Family member had surgery and it's been hectic for more than two months. But... Princess is doing beautifully. She has bonded with the 7-year-old male and they are buddies. They clean each other, touch noses, play and chase each other around the house. I can pick her up - she wiggles - and pet her. She's still a bit skittish but comes downstairs, explores and share dishes and liter boxes with the other two.
The old cat ignores her - he doesn't hiss any more. Apparently she's not a threat. I still keep a liter box and some dry food for her in her "safe" room upstairs but she doesn't sleep there or stay there much. All three cats have ended up in the bedroom nearly every night for the past two weeks.
post #16 of 20
Somehow I missed this thread when you first posted it, but I'm so glad to hear that things are going so well with Princess. I truly believe that it helps feral cats to bond with other cats that are friendly with humans. They see their buddy cuddling with the big scary human monster, and realize that big scary human isn't all that scary after all.

Don't be alarmed if Princess has the occasional setback. My house of 10 cats were all born feral and there are days when some of them still surprise me, particularly the ones that have lived inside for 12 years. You gotta love them!

Good job!!
post #17 of 20
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the reassurances. And you're right. She takes cues from Minou - who has taught her some of his naughty habits like getting a running start from the bathroom upstairs onto the runner and sliding it four feet down the hall. The two of them are a riot.

I'm not sure how to get the 14-year-old to warm up to her. She's still scared of him. Strangers coming into the house also scare her.

But all in all, because of the great tips I've gotten here, Princess appears to be a happy cat.... except she hates the collar with the ID tag that I put on her. Perhaps I'm being too cautious but I would be truly upset if she got out.

Would she come back?
post #18 of 20
I've never held any expectations for an older cat to welcome a youngster into the house. I think they hit an age of dignity and don't want any more change in their lives. As long as they are not fighting, be content. It's only been a few months and that's not long enough for him to adjust.

A lot of cats hide from strangers, regardless if they were feral at one time. That could be just who she is. I have 4 visitor "greeters" and the rest make a beeline for a back bedroom.

If she got out, would she come back? I would hope that she would, but again, every cat has their own personality and their own quirks. If she understands how good she has with you, she would be silly not to come back.
post #19 of 20
I missed this thread when you first posted it too - but how wonderful!

She's made SO MUCH progress in such a short time. I know it feels like forever to you. I'm so glad she's getting along with Minou. Amy is so right - having the "new" ferals see your interaction with the other kitties can make SUCH a difference in speed of "trust" building.

We don't have collars on any of our kitties. They all acted like we were trying to sink them in a big lake or something, or like the collars weighed 8 million pounds. We could have taken the couple of weeks it would have taken to train them to get used to it - but we just decided to get them microchipped at the next vet visit, which we did. Thank goodness none have ever gotten out.

And as to the hiding when strangers come by.... after several years of Gary's mom visiting us for 2 weeks each visit, Flowerbelle and Lazlo FINALLY came out in the fourth year. But anybody else, and they're gone - and for well beyond the time the scary stranger leaves.

So any family and friends that come over regularly, she may get used to and not so scared. But she may hide from other people (for the most part) her entire life. Like Amy said, it's just the way some cats are.

Princess and you are so lucky to have found each other, and THANK YOU for rescuing her!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

....any pics?

post #20 of 20
Thread Starter 
It has been a while since I've posted. Family, illnesses, work stress.... you name it. Anyway, Princess is now the queen of the family. She dominates the two older male cats. How funny. She follow me around, demands good and treats, and loves to be petted. She's still skittish around strangers and you can't hold her for too long - but amazingly I can pick her up and hug her. She's an amazing cat and a wonderful addition to our family.

Meanwhile, i am still dealing with the other ferals. I've managed to gather up six kitten from two litters and get them to a local shelter. A seven kitten was fostered by a neighbord and is getting adopted tomorrow.

The shelter is coming out next week to trap one mama - I have gotten all four of her kittens (four weeks old) into care). A second mama she hangs out with is pregnant and we hope to trap her. There's a male that takes care of them and I've befriended him and I think he's very adoptable.
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