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Foster cat versus resident

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

After losing our cat to FLV, my fiance and I decided to take in a foster cat. The experience has been interesting to say the least. I offered to take a cat who may have behavioral or confidence issues. The cat we have is a sweet little thing, maybe a year old with no real history other than that he was rescued from the pound. With the lack of history it makes it difficult to judge how he will handle certain situations, like being introduced to our resident cat. Our foster cat is very interesting. Currently he is afraid of open spaces, in other words he doesn't like being out in the open for long periods, instead he "hides" under objects that have low height, like the chair or coffee table. He also doesn't like people standing but prefers them sitting or lying down on the ground. Any movements that look like we could be standing or moving to leave give him a little spook. He's made excellent strides as he is confident enough to come out from hiding on his own, and he can stay out for hours, but one wrong move or sound and he's back under the furniture. I realize this takes baby steps and eventually he'll have enough confidence to jump up on chairs and things. He took an interest in our resident cat, another male around the same age. He's so interested in our cat that he comes out of hiding just to see him. The foster cat was exposed to other cats frequently, so I wasn't expecting much fear or confrontation. At first, he seemed to invite my pet cat to play with him. He'd coo and paw gently at him. It didn't appear aggressive at all. My resident wasn't too stoked to meet our new foster cat, he growled a few times and kept his distance, mostly from high vantage points. Today seemed no different. The foster was gently pawing at my res and cooing to him. Out of the blue he got up, pounced and attempted to repeatedly bite my resident cat on the neck. I took my res out of the room and cleaned him up, the poor thing was definitely shaken and he's a big guy. This little cat was just going at him full force. I realize this must be a dominance issue, but I was genuinely concerned for the safety of either cat. Is this something that can be overcome in time?? Is there anything I should do?


I've had fights between cats before, but they were minor. This seemed a bit intense and relentless. I'm sure if I had let it go it could have gone on for quite awhile. I'm also worried about health. During his stay with the organization our foster was undergoing treatment for a cold. He had already finished his meds a few days before we picked him up. He seemed fine, but today he's had two or three coughing fits. Is it possible it's come back? I'm worried my res may get it now. : / 


Any advice is greatly appreciated!
Thanks. : )

post #2 of 4

Hi @SwampMonster

It's possible your resident cat may catch a cold, perhaps not likely but possible.  Are you planning on keeping the foster? If not, there is no real need to have them go through the stress of an introduction.  What the new cat really needs is human socialization.  If you are planning on keeping the fgoster, there here is introduction info below.  What are your plans?

post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 

The goal is to get the foster cat into a new family, but unfortunately around here that's easier said than done. We're overloaded with cats. I took this one on because I didn't want to see him sit in a cage forever (he was too scared to come out and interact, so they couldn't take him anywhere to show him off to potential adopters). He is very shy and skittish with people, I'm worried he may have been abused before because sometimes he reacts funny to our movements, like when we're petting him suddenly he gets scared. I said that if I can't "rehabilitate" him, that is to say, if I can't get him well socialized and comfortable enough to be transferred into a forever home with strangers, then we will keep him. He has a difficult time trusting people and if it's too much for him to have to adjust to another family then I would rather not put him through it. Especially since some people are ridiculous and don't recognize that it takes patience with some cats; it would kill me to find out a new family would just dump him back in the pound because they don't understand his behavior. 


The primary reason I want to introduce him to our res is because the organization likes to develop profiles on cats for potential adoptive families. For example, eventually we would gradually introduce the cat to a small dog in a controlled environment, to see if he's okay with dogs. The same would be done with children and what have you. It's nicer to have that kind of information available for people interested in adopting the cat. So I would still like to introduce him with our res, but gradually. I'm going to try the positive association thing, where you feed them on either side of the door, and hopefully it will change their attitudes.


post #4 of 4
Ok keep us posted!
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