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Jackson, the rescued feral needs some help

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Jackson's story started in early July when I spotted something very tiny and dark running around outside of my acreage home after dark. I have previously taken in two feral adults, and feed and shelter the unfortunate cats who live in our rural area. I was able to trap him in a squirrrel trap, and brought him into the house where he has had a bedroom. He was about 4-5 weeks old and under a pound, and we have made very good progress with his socialization. He has been very sweet and a cuddler. I have been trying for the last two months work him into relationships with our two adult cats, and one dog. He was kept apart from the cats until he had his first set of shots,and he was very lonely for cat company, but my cats wanted nothing to do with him, and spend most of the days in the summer outside. We have made some progress, and they seem to have most things under control outside, and can spend small amounts of time together inside. My cats have calmed down,, but he has started being agressive to me, and possesive, trying to bully them, one more so than the other. He is approximately 5 months old, healthy, and my vet does not like to nueter before 6 months. If I can't get him settled down with my cats, I will be forced to put him through the trauma of a new home, I don't know if he is suitable for a home with children, because he is acting agressively right now. I don't think he would meet the criteria of the humane society either. He is an indoor/outdoor cat, and would not be happy shut out of his home in the cold. I would appreciate any advice,
post #2 of 15
Define aggressive? He hasn't had enough time to adjust to this new life. They work on their time schedule not ours. To him, your home is a large padded cage where there is no escaping. Outside, he had the wide outdoors, places he felt safe and ways he could escape any danger. If your cats go outside, it changes their scent and he can regard them as interlopers and attack them because he doesn't recognize the signature scent he knows to be them. Just give him time to adjust- it really does take quite awhile.
post #3 of 15
It would also seem to me that getting him fixed would help with that. Have you talked to your vet about the aggressive behavior? Also even at five months and unfixed male could impregnate a female. See if your vet will bend his rules a little bit. 5 months is NOT too young. We do pediatric spay neuter here...
post #4 of 15
I am not an expert - but our cat right now is about 6 months old and he can be a bit crazy at times and I feel like he is testing who is the 'alpha cat' sometimes. He won't do it to my husband, but sometimes when he is hyper, he'll hide behind something and wait for me to walk in the room then playfully jump on my leg (no claws out though). He could possibly be figuring out where he is in the pecking order - I have to gently teach him that mommy is the alpha cat. (We got him neutered at about 5 months old.)
post #5 of 15
I voted for neuter. He sounds like a normal naughty kitty boy to me They often test their limits at this age.
Can you give more details about the agression?
post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 
We have been taking Jackson outside to help with his confidence, and build some life skills because even though I found him outside he was terified to go out, and so that at some points in the day he will be with my adult cats in a less confined area. He usually can get closer to them, and become less obsessive. One of them has been bringing him live mice to try and teach him.
About the agression, he becomes either frightened, anxious,or frustrated and starts biting and kicking hard,ears back. He knows the commands to stop and usually stops right away because we had lots of work with that earlier on, but last night I think he was either hungry or I corrected him from doing something to one of my cats, and he was up close to my face and bit down hard on my face and then harder, cutting my check. He had been over things like ankle biting, clothes or hand bites, but that has been reopening in the last couple of weeks.
This evening my cats laid down in their spots, and he finally relaxed. When my older cat that he is bossy to came up to look at him and smell him, he became upset after, and started biting me. I have noticed also, on the few occasions we have been able to get them all in the house together, he races around, quite manic, I assumed he was showing off, or unnerving them. But has also been playing more and more aggressively with his tail , to the point that he cries out when he bites himself.
post #7 of 15
I suspect much is his background. Ie being raised up without mom and siblings. Now also coming in the adolescent age.
His feral background doesnt matter very much I think, as he was very young when you found him. Some yes, but perhaps not so much as the headline suggests.

Some of this problems you describe is perfectly natural behaviour: Im thinking now on his manic racing around: this is that famous cat races or cat gallopps making a big show up!
Our two boys did these merry galloppades very much when young.

I think you shall basically go on with fostering, teaching what is ok to do and what is not. Use as much as you can positive reinforcement. Good ways for teaching him the NO is you blowing in his face - if he is near. Or a cat-alike hissing when you cant reach to blow.... Try to look up threads on behaviour... there are good descriptions here and there.... Among others LDG has some good advices.

Good the other cats are more friendly now when he isnt little kitten anymore and are now willing to have him around and help him behave. Try to use them. Both as active instructors, and also as positive examples to follow.




Ps. I think you can also try with a Feliway diffuser, making him more comfortable. It may be the trick which is missing here.
post #8 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by StefanZ View Post
I suspect much is his background. Ie being raised up without mom and siblings. Now also coming in the adolescent age.
His feral background doesnt matter very much I think, as he was very young when you found him. Some yes, but perhaps not so much as the headline suggests.
I suspect the same. I have 2 cats that were orphaned young and interestingly when they were younger, I would have labeled one of them aggressive and the other possessive. They didn't have a mom long enough to teach them cat manners and even now that they are 6 years old, they still haven't entirely figured it out. Some of the cats still run away from my Koko (the aggressor), and there are days I'd like to lock Muddy up just to have some peace (his possessiveness is me).

I would really love to hear more about their specific behavior that you have labeled aggressive and possessive, as I think those 2 terms can be interpretted broadly. My Koko (aggressor) always has her ears back and dilated pupils before she leaps on the back of others. But it is always in play. The only way I get her to stop sometimes is if I pick her up and snuggle with her - she doesn't like to be held and it distracts her. And for the first time a few weeks ago, I witnessed Muddy grooming another cat in the house - he turned 6 in April.

I would work on socialization more, and realize that he will always be special. I chose behavior modification.
post #9 of 15
I have rescued many many cats and dogs, the first thing I do,this is what I do, since the sent of animals seems to be a major deciding factor for these animals, I said fine I will make you all smell the same, and golly it really works, I took a cotton ball and put vanilla extract on it then rubbed it on all the cats and dogs right where their tails are on the back just before the tail , they all sniff each other and they all smell the vanilla extract, they all smell the same, and this seems to turn off the agression, everyones sent is the same, I also use a couple of drops of Rescue remady in the drinking water the first day or 2 or some stuff called calm down you can get at pet stores, only need it a couple of days, there is always going to be a "pecking order" amoungs animals, and they work that out themselfs, all attention must be givin to all at the same time, like play time and eating together at the same time, not easy when you have alot of kittes though but still can be done, now the aggresion towards you, well they are your furkids and you went and brought another new kid in the house so they are mad and jelous, so if you make time for all at the same time that will go away the kids you already have need to be extra comforted that they are not getting replaced and that you still love them just as much , Ive had as many as 17 rescued along with the 5 I already have in the house at the same time , I gave extra attention to the 5, then extra attention to the new kids then all together for group or family attention , It doesnt matter how long they were in the wild, not really and the age dont much matter either , I get all them in 1 room, my tiny office and they all watch as I give each attention, , and my first 5 see that I love the others and them to and pretty soon they are baby sitting, guess they figure well mom loves them to so we might as well help her out cuz we love mom If nothing else do the vanilla extract trick, and it wont hurt them if they lick it off either, I do that everytime a new kittie comes in all of them get that , I do keep the new incoming ones in my office away from the others however they will smell vanailla when they sniff under the door , until the vet says its ok to intruduce the kitties , the kittens I wait till they have had the deworming before they see each other , and I usually get the new incomming kittens and cats and dogs right to the vet the same day or the next day, funny when I call the vet, she just asks how I am and what I have to bring in this time, LOL, and she has helped me rehome many that I have saved as well , keep in mind that some kitties just do not like to be held at all, nothing wrong with that, I recently discoverd that my 1 kittie that doesnt like to be held, likes to be pet with my feet instead , he'll run and try to get down when I hold him but he will lay down all day to be pet with my feet, he has a foot fedish so does the newest young one, I never thought of that, if my hubby is laying on the couch and his feet hanging over the edge they go right for his feet and rub against them to be pet , this is new to me and I was suprised ,so when i want to pet those 2 I just put out my feet and they lay down and roll around in delight. The feral kitties need alittle more time to make playing alittle more gentle than they were used to in the wild and that will come in time. let me know how the vanilla trick works out for you
post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 
I would like to thank you all for the great advice and suggestions I have been getting for Jackson. It came at a time that I really needed some help and support.
The adult cats and Jackson have been together more in the house because the weather is encouraging them to come in. I use the the pheramone sprays in the family room, cat tree, and around the litter and food areas in the laundry room. I haven't tried the room diffuser yet, it was a lot more expensive, and the store clerks had heard no feed back on it. I have been adding drops to the drinking water, and drops to their wet food, lately more on his than theirs. I have tried the vanilla this evening, and I did notice them sniffing each other. When everyone has settled down on the couch, things are great. When my girls are up to eat, visit the litter box, or moving around, he stalks them, which is pretty normal behavior. He is bossy to my older cat, which he doesn't seem to regard as his leader. He taps or thumps her, even though he is scolded or sprayed if he continues. I am afraid he is going to be a bully to her, and she deserves better. My younger cat, he seems to have more respect for, which is odd because she was more afraid of him and is more dramatic in her messages to him. I will speak to my vet again about the neutering, and I am hoping that might change some of his attitude.
It's funny that the two adult feral cats that I rescued, one of them male, were great fitting in with other cats, but I guess he missed some of the social lessons.
post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 
I talked to my vet about his urine starting to smell strongly and the more agressive attitude, and we had him altered two weeks agos on the 7th. I think he is showing more control and maturity. We will have to see if it will be enough to get along respectfully with my older cat. He is developing some games with my younger cat, but there is a fine line sometimes with play becoming confusing because of the intensity. They like patting through door cracks and other openings, so maybe they are on the right track. He really likes to try and sleep close to them. We will see if he can stay
post #12 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by catsincrisis View Post
I talked to my vet about his urine starting to smell strongly and the more agressive attitude, and we had him altered two weeks agos on the 7th. I think he is showing more control and maturity. We will have to see if it will be enough to get along respectfully with my older cat. He is developing some games with my younger cat, but there is a fine line sometimes with play becoming confusing because of the intensity. They like patting through door cracks and other openings, so maybe they are on the right track. He really likes to try and sleep close to them. We will see if he can stay
Good!
Please note it can take up to a couple of months for the hormones to wear out...
Now.... About the interaction with the other cats - is it really bad? Are you sure they are not wrestling? Sometimes it is hard to distinguish a real fight from a play fight - and yes, they do have ears back and all... As long as there is big time screaming, fur flying and blood, it is important to let them figure it out themselves... just like kids! It is ok... Part of being kitties...
post #13 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by carolinalima View Post
As long as there is big time screaming, fur flying and blood, it is important to let them figure it out themselves... just like kids! It is ok... Part of being kitties...
I suspect you forget a little "no" somewhere; between there is .. big time...


Otherwise I would agree with you Carolina!
post #14 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by StefanZ View Post
I suspect you forget a little "no" somewhere; between there is .. big time...


Otherwise I would agree with you Carolina!
you are right - sorry - forgot this "detail"
post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thank you for the advice about it taking two months for the hormones. There is no real biting, and no real screaming anymore. It amounts to some running and jumping, tag, door footsy, some spitting, rolling, and light to heavy bats with a paw. My younger cat and he have worked together with some of the mice she has caught. They all seem to have no problems outside. My older cat is not interested in playing, and his approach to her may not be all play, he sometimes seems annoyed with his ears back. I am hoping that he will realize she isn't going to play and start to ignore her. I am concerned that he is bullying her to make her leave.
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