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Help with resident cat and semi feral cat (long)

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
My resident cat, Jake is a 3 year old neutered male. Shadow, the now semi feral is about 1.5 years. I found Shadow in my yard last summer completely skin and bones and completely feral. I began feeding him and slowly gained his trust. I was able to trap him in October and have him neutered and given shots. He began coming in the house for brief periods in January. He refused to stay in long and spent all winter outside in the cold except for night time visits that increased to a few hours. By April, I was finally able to pet him. He is just the sweetest cat ever. He cannot get enough petting!!! I began introducing Jake and Shadow over the winter. Jake would go into a small dog cage and I would allow Shadow to walk around and for them to smell each other. After awhile, I would then put Jake away. These interactions went really well. Just lots of sniffing. No hissing, growling or clawing. I then moved Jake to a large (6-7' long) pet tent that allowed him movement, but still kept the two separated. Jake began lunging and throwing himself at the tent if Shadow got too close. He would posture and have this awful mean face. Shadow is an absolute complete wimp. He will just fall to the ground in submission or run and hide behind me. Occasionally he will playfully lunge into the tent, but never aggressively. Jake began to not like being in the tent or cage so I was able to use a harness with leash and allow the boys more face to face time. Shadow just loves Jake, but Jake is a huge bully. Once Shadow turns his back on Jake, he will pounce right on top of him, biting his back or his ears. Shadow will screech, but never fight back. They do not hiss or growl at all at each other. I use Feliway plug ins as well as the spray and the spray helps the most. I use treats to distract Jake, but he always seems to be on a mission to hurt Shadow. I have tried engaging them in feather wand play. Shadow loves this, but Jake wants it all to himself. Once Jake has pounced, lunged or bit, I will remove him from the room. I have tried keeping the interactions short and stopping them before Jake gets aggressive, but it doesn't seem to matter.

Shadow has now decided that he wants to stay inside all night. For the past 3 nights, I have slept downstairs with him. I feel so guilty leaving him outside when he cries at the door to come in. Jake is with my son and we have a dog too who is with DH. Shadow has never been upstairs and seems very afraid of going upstairs. Yet, I cannot leave him alone downstairs as he will freak out and cry. He is very attached to me and wants to be with me or see me most of the time. While sleeping downstairs, I have brought down an old twin mattress. He curls up right against the mattress all night. I am shocked that he no longer wants to be out and about all night. He has a feeding station on our deck and when he is outside, he is usually on the deck or under it. He will also sleep in the feeding station. He rarely ventures very far.

I am ready for him to be inside as much as he wants. Yet, Jake is very irritated. I feel very guilty having to put him away so much. We also have a 6 year old samoyed, Misty. She is used to Jake, but not so sure about Shadow. She wants to sniff him, but he doesn't want her anywhere near him. I feel as though I am living in a 3 ring circus. To top it all off, when my DH is not traveling for work, he works from home. So he cannot deal with the cats or the dog during the day.

I have used Composure for all 3 animals and it does take the edge off, but not enough. I also use Spirit essences. I used the Feral Cat Rehab on Shadow and had incredible results. I tried Safe Space for Cats and Safe Space for Dogs on Jake and Misty, but not such great results. I am waiting for Bully remedy and Peacemaker to arrive for Jake.

I feel if I can get Jake and Shadow acclimated then Misty will come around. She does very well on a leash and listens well too. She gets upset when Jake lunges through his tent. She is protective of Jake and not too sure about Shadow.

Any help, ideas or insight would be greatly appreciated.
post #2 of 3
Congratulations in winning the heart of a feral in such a short time!
However, setting the calming remedies aside, may I suggest you pay more attention to Jake?
Try reintroducing them but this time put Shadow in the dog cage/tent and let Jake walk around and do the checking out. After all, he is the resident cat and it is his territory.
I agree with the time outs for the aggressor but you also must reward Jake for good behavior.
Please check out the stickies on introduction. Hopefully more members will give you more suggestions.
Good luck!
post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 
It is really hard to get Shadow in the tent. Even though I can pet him, he will not tolerate being picked up. He also still has his feral ways and freaks out when scared or threatened. I am not sure that putting him in a cage or tent will work. I do not want to ruin all of the work I have done with him.

I do reward Jake with good behavior. He is very food driven. I always have good treats (chicken, baby food, tuna) when he and Shadow are together.

Yesterday I gave Jake some harness time. He did go after Shadow, but I noticed this time that when he jumped on his back, he didn't bite or claw him. He was posturing and giving mean look, but he didn't go all the way. Shadow is learning to move away from Jake when he feels threatened.

Thanks for the help. I will keep plugging away.
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