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New twist, old story

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
I'm one of the new guys. I sought this site to help with common problem. Introducing a new cat. The twist is that my indoor only cat, Sasha, is a classic feral. Brought into my home at about 10 wks of age. The cat to be introduced (maybe) is a very sweet but extremely shy stray. A very beautiful black and fishbone gray mackeral tabby. I've been feeding the stray for two weeks and it (have not determined sex yet) has over that period become slightly more trusting. It will come close for food but retreats with any move ment I make. I gained this small step forward after applying methods gleaned from this site. This cat comes to the screen door to meet my Sasha with very amiable posturing and vocalizations. My Sasha seems to hate it. He postures an attack stance and howls seemingly bitterly. I understand that Sasha is defending his territory. I wonder however that due to the fact that Sasha is feral could an introduction be possible.
Sasha is a wonderful companion with absolutely no bad behavior issues whatsoever. I am afraid I could create behavior trouble if I persue this introduction
post #2 of 18
If you continue to introduce them slowly and let them each get used to the idea, it should be OK. Try dabbing vanilla extract on their butts and behind their ears. Seriously, it makes them smell the same and helps them adjust.

Feliway might also work - it's a pherenom (Spelling???) based product that calms many cats down. Its a little pricey, though.

You can also rub each of them with a towel and then put the towel with the opposite cat. Also gets them used to one another's smells.

Good luck and bless you for taking this one in!
post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 
I just got off the phone with Stephane at our local shelter/clinic. I'm going to trap the stray tonight and have it fixed in the morning. Fingers crossed that I have success.
post #4 of 18
I've heard many stories on this site about using a calm, socialized cat to help a feral cat become more socialized. But usually the reverse happens - someone has a resident cat and brings in a feral as a rescue. Feral cat sees social cat interact with humans and realizes that they aren't nearly as scary as they thought they were. But regardless of circumstance, many of us have intermingled feral and non feral cats before. I wouldn't take that into consideration here. Cats have their own language regardless of their backgrounds.

It is a good thing that you are getting the stray speutered. If it is a male, he might be intact and therefore threatening to Sasha. Assuming that you've decided to bring him inside post speuter, keep them separated at least through recovery and longer as necessary. Have you seen the thread about introducing old cats to new? The vanilla extract reference is from that thread. It really covers a lot of ideas to try to make introduction successful. And if something doesn't work, try another. Every cat is different and each will have their own ways of learning to live with each other.

http://www.thecatsite.com/forums/showthread.php?t=67321

Keep us posted and please ask questions as you go through this.

And I'll send vibes that you can catch the stray and get them fixed!
post #5 of 18
Sasha may have been feral when you brought him home at 10 weeks of age, but I have to assume that by now you have socialized him. Unless Sasha presently hides and runs from you and you're unable to touch him at all, he is no longer feral.

However, since he's your only cat, he is ruler of the house . All cats are territorial, but like people, they each have their own personality. Consequently, some cats are more readily accepting of newcomers than others. It's not uncommon for most cats to be defensive when there's a new kitty around, even if the cat is outside. Lots of hissing, growling, etc. are pretty typical.

It's possible Sasha may never warm up to the newcomer, but it's also possible they may grow to tolerate each other, maybe even become friends at some point.

What are your intentions for this stray kitty? Are you hoping to bring him indoors, or will you release him outdoors once he's neutered? If you're planning to bring him in, you should have him tested for FIV and FeLV when he's at the vet. Unfortunately, if he tests positive for FeLV, some vets will recommend having him put to sleep. It's a tough decision because not all cats with FeLV will become sick, but will be carriers of the virus. They can potentially infect other cats with the disease. FIV on the other hand, is a disease that many cats can live long lives with. They can only infect other cats through a bite wound. Either way, these are things you'll need to consider.

Hopefully this new kitty (who sounds very handsome) will get a clean bill of health. If you want to introduce him to Sasha, you'll get lots of advice here!

Best of luck to you & this kitty! Wishing you successful trapping!
post #6 of 18
This article offers some great advice on introducing cats:

http://www.thecatsite.com/Behavior/4...cing-Cats.html

Good luck on your trapping efforts. You're doing a wonderful thing!
post #7 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ondine View Post
Try dabbing vanilla extract on their butts and behind their ears. Seriously, it makes them smell the same and helps them adjust.
The Vanilla Trick is a tried and true one! Just wanted to clarify, though. Use real vanilla, not the usual (cheaper) extract. The extract contains so much alcohol that it evaporates away quickly. Also, put the vanilla at the base of their tail on their back, behind the ears and under the chin. Under the chin makes them think that they smell like that since they smell it all the time, and when they smell the other kitty s/he smells the same way! Happy kitty smell!

Slow introductions would definitely be the key. It would also give you the chance to really spend time with the new kitty and work on those trust issues.
post #8 of 18
Thread Starter 
Sasha interacts very closely with Becky and I. He is bonded to me though. He still runs and hides when anyone else comes in. after a bit he may come to the doorway and look everyone over but will not let anyone get close. This is latent feral behavior. In a few more years, who knows?
As far as the visitor's appearance, click mackeral tabby in the first frame of this thread.
post #9 of 18
Congrats on having new kitty spayed/neutered! You and Becky are obviously angels.

If you're planning on adopting new kitty, if you've got a spare room and can afford to put a screen door on that room, it will help immeasurably. Sasha isn't inclined to share his territory - that's normal for almost any cat that isn't less than 10 weeks old or so. But letting him see and smell the newcomer without having to physically interact with him will help the process along.

Slow introductions, done with all of the above recommendations, usually work out just fine.

And, of course, we're here for more ideas and lots of support!

Laurie
post #10 of 18
Thread Starter 
Just came in from putting my guest to bed. I baited the trap, went to the far side of the deck, and three minutes later I had a confined cat. I covered the cage and he/she calmed right down. Not one peep out of the guy.
post #11 of 18
Thread Starter 
The screen door trick sounds like a good one.
post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by diggerled View Post
The screen door trick sounds like a good one.
The screen door works very well (after a few days of the door closed to they know there's another kitty in the house, but can't see them). I've done it with all three of my later intros. Just be sure it's secured at the top and bottom of the door. We used hook and eye closures, but just one in the middle of each side for the first kitty-intro. We went downstairs and Ginger climbed the screen door and knocked it a little askew. Sure enough, we came upstairs and she was sitting outside the door, happy as a clam. Oh she did not like going back into that room again, even though there was plenty of space, food, water, toys, litter...she wanted to meet the other kitties. Unfortunately at that time, the feeling was not mutual.
post #13 of 18
Thread Starter 
I really worry about Sasha's behavior. He's quite selfish and hardheaded.
The new guy is off to the clinic this morning.
post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by diggerled View Post
I really worry about Sasha's behavior. He's quite selfish and hardheaded.
Rather than selfishness, see it as self-preservation. It's in Sasha's best interest that he's defensive and wary of the newcomer. This instinctual reaction is what has helped cats survive through the ages.

Sasha's had you and Becky to himself for almost 2 years. Now there's a strange cat in his territory. In his view, this isn't a good development. He's not trying to be difficult. He's worried about the new guy.

Cats are not fond of change and this is a big change for Sasha. Be patient with him and help him understand that his status with you is the same. He needs to remain "Number 1". Lavishing most of your attention on Sasha, especially in the presence of your new kitty, will help.

Congratulations on trapping the new guy so easily! Hope all goes well at the vet.
post #15 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by KTLynn View Post
Rather than selfishness, see it as self-preservation. It's in Sasha's best interest that he's defensive and wary of the newcomer. This instinctual reaction is what has helped cats survive through the ages.

Sasha's had you and Becky to himself for almost 2 years. Now there's a strange cat in his territory. In his view, this isn't a good development. He's not trying to be difficult. He's worried about the new guy.

Cats are not fond of change and this is a big change for Sasha. Be patient with him and help him understand that his status with you is the same. He needs to remain "Number 1". Lavishing most of your attention on Sasha, especially in the presence of your new kitty, will help.

Congratulations on trapping the new guy so easily! Hope all goes well at the vet.
Totally and absolutely! Play with him first, lavish love on him first - be totally and completely reassuring. And reward him for any positive interaction (even if the "positive" interaction is simply the lack of a negative - like no hissing or growling). Cats learn best through positive reinforcement - and if he gets the idea that having the new kitty around is a total party - new toys for Sasha or treats when he doesn't hiss, etc., will certainly help.

Also, it can really help to do scent swapping. Rub new kitty all over with a couple of rags, and put one of them under Sasha's food dish. Give Sasha extra play time (play helps work off stress) every day - and at the end of the session, put treats down on another rag that smells like new kitty. This will help Sasha to come to associate new kitty with things he loves.

Laurie
post #16 of 18
Thread Starter 
Sasha is a different cat by all accounts. So we are told. Click here to see him at our Christmas party. He will not eat any treats or canned cat food. Instead he does a "try to bury" ritual. He loves his dry and would eat all we put out no matter how much. He's no nibbler. He drink alot of water, ALOT.
post #17 of 18
Thread Starter 
Just took a call from the Vanderburgh County Humane Society's spay and neuter clinic. It's a boy! Healthy and doing well.
post #18 of 18
Well, once the hormones cycle out of his system (about 30 days), Sasha might not be so aggressive about his presence.

What a great picture of him! He sure looks like a character. Our feral rescues are amazingly picky about food too. I think it has to do with their "learning" what food was when they were younger.

Laurie

Laurie
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