Last year I brought in a feral/stray cat. He had been living outside around my area for almost 2 years. I assume he might have once been an owned cat for a short time, but had lived outside becoming mostly feral for about 2 years. He came to my yard/area Christmas 2012. He would come for food 1 or 2x a day and then leave or go under my deck. I had 2 other ferals who lived on my deck in shelters.
This new boy was petrified of me. I TNR'd him in March of 2013. He continued coming to my deck for another couple months. When spring time came around, he started spending more time in my yard. He was extremely territorial and was starting to chase my other ferals off the deck. They were both meek and it was sad to see them chased away. The chasing led to fighting and I was beside myself. I decided to try and find a rescue group to see if he (Marvin) could be relocated. Of course it was kitten season and everyone was Full to the brim. He was also not adoptable.
I had no choice, but to try and socialize him and bring him into my house. He would allow me to gently pet him, but that was it. I had an indoor only cat as well. I was able to get Marvin into a pet carrier ( after trying for 3 hours!) and take him to a completely cat proofed room. He remained in the room with no contact with my indoor cat or dog for 2 months. I was able to get him to the vet for all shots too. I worked with him for hours each day. Once he was to the point where I could pet him, we decided to try introductions. That was last year in mid August.
It has been a difficult journey full of ups and downs. Marvin decided he loved living inside and truly enjoyed attention from my DH an DS. We had to teach him about toys and how to play. It was sad to watch him have no idea what to do with toys and many of the toys scared him. The cat to cat and cat to dog introductions were both difficult. Marvin was scared of the dog, yet wanted to chase and attack my indoor cat (Jake). There were lots and lots of tears on my part as I truly felt I had completely disrupted our peaceful family. Yet I continued to work and did not give up on Marvin. I tried new things and was constantly researching.
At the first of the year Marvin started to settle down. He had a few favorite hiding spots and he settled nicely into a routine. He was out and about with the other animals during the day as long as someone was home, but he went into his room for night time. He loved his room for night time and was ready for bed each night at 8pm on the dot. I truly wanted my guest room back and could not believe that it had been so long and Marvin was still using the room. But I decided to let Marvin set the pace.
In early spring, I started letting the cats be out together when I was not home. At first it was just a half hour, but progressed to 1/2 days. By the first of May he seemed not ready at all to be out of his room for night time. Then it was as though a switch flipped and around May 3, he no longer wanted to be in his room. We allowed him to be out one night, but it was not a good night. He chased Jake or sat outside the room Jake sleeps in not letting Jake out. So back to the room Marvin went for night time. He stayed in his room all night for a few more nights and then it was a struggle to get him into the room.
So we tried again to let him stay out of his room all night. He has been an angel!! He has now been out full time at night since May 10. He was mostly sleeping in our upstairs hallway near the master bedroom. I had tried to bring him into our room for night time, but he was too worried about the dog. Jake sleeps with my son and Jake did not want Marvin in his room. Last night we were all up late. I was just dozing off to sleep when I felt something lightly jump onto the bed. I expected it to be Jake as he will occasionally come into our bed. Yet it was Marvin. He was so brave. He snuggled up next to me and slept most of the night next to myself or DH. It was just the sweetest thing ever.
I think back to a year ago to this scared boy who flung himself repeatedly at the windows in his room and hid for days. It has been a very long road, but I am so happy I persevered as he is just the sweetest most loving boy. He is still scared of alot of noises and hides whenever we have people over. Yet his accomplishments are huge!! I love you sweet little Marvin.