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Ferals in the house?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
My heart is being torn out. I want so much to bring Princess into the house. She is the baby of the feral family and she is being fixed today. I am so afraid that that is going to start World War III in my house. I really could use some practical advice even if it is not what I want to hear. I know it will NOT be smooth and I do have 4 inside cats to consider. Advice? Recommendations? Anything?
post #2 of 8
This is the system I use, and I introduce new ferals all the time. It works for me.

I'd like you to meet
post #3 of 8
First of all, neutering ANY cat will calm him or her down considerably, so however agressive Princess may be outside, it's probably because of her unaltered state, and the harsh outdoor conditions she has to live in. Once she comes inside, it might take a while, but she will probably make a lot of friends. I took in a feral cat that I named Sunkist in July of 2003, and put him in my bedroom (which is off-limits to the other cats). This of course was after I got him neutered, shots, and tested for diseases (luckily he was clean). After about 1 week of him being alone (and under my bed most of the time), I brought in one of my other cats (Tardy) to say hello to him. After a little bit of hissing, long story short, Sunkist became Tardy's biggest admirer! You should see the two of them together! Sunkist refuses to sleep by himself, preferring to snuggle with Tardy as much as possible. He used to hiss at us, but now he even lets me and my mom touch his nose and scratch his cheek! All this progress after less than 1 year! I doubt he will ever let us pick him up, but that's OK, as long as he's safe inside, and gets along with the other cats, we don't have to worry about him getting hit by a car or something like that. I don't believe the prevailing thought that feral cats are like truly wild animals - they can't help being the way they are because they have known no other way except living outside. Once they are introduced to the joys and comforts of indoor life, believe me, they never show a desire to go back! You should really give it a try with Princess.
post #4 of 8
KittenKiya, if you don't intend to keep her inside but just want a place for her to recuperate, I wouldn't do it. If you mean you'd like to bring her inside as a pet, I'd go for it! But then, of course, I'm completey biased. We thought we didn't have enough room for more than two. Then three. There was NO WAY we could bring in a fourth. And five was out of the question!

We live in an RV that is 40 ft by 8 ft. Mind you, we've taken out the "dining room" and put in cat furniture. We've emptied out cabinets so they can go vertical. We've put in special bookcases that are open on the ends so they have various levels on which to sleep or move about. We've constructed three-levels of play-areas/roadways / sleeping areas by using construction forming tubes placed between the bed and the wall in the bedroom. We've got shipskins draped over what were our bedside tables (they make VERY cozy corners for sleeping for the kitties!) We put up "windowsills" that sit on the back of the couch and protrude out far enough they can lie there to look out the window - all five fit if they're in a mood for it, LOL! We've put up birdfeeders so they've got cat T.V - as I look around the living room, I see eight cat beds at three different levels excluding the floor that are NOT human furniture.

It depends upon you, really! If you can take care of five, her introduction into your home can be made in such a way that they will all get along - eventually - and that not too much fighting will break out at first. I use Hissy's method as described in the article to which she included a link - but we do this only when they're small kittens because the only "room" in our home that's truly separate is the bathroom. That's where the babies always start out - with a box/bed in the shower and small litterbox on the bathroom floor. Of course we try to make intros ASAP - usually by having one cat in the bedroom with kitty (and us) for a few minutes at a time.

Flowerbelle was absolutely convinced the big kitties wanted to kill her for weeks (she'd been mauled when rescued - and likely by a cat). Spooky always hates new intros. It took about six weeks - two months before we let Flowerbelle out into the general home unsupervised. Otherwise at night she went back into her bathroom set-up, and whenever we were both out together she went back into the bathroom set up. Now? She loves the bathroom! It's her "safe" space. She loves getting brushed in there. She eats her kitten food in there (we have adult cats that have stomach problems, so they can't have access to her food). She doesn't like being left alone in there for long - too anxious to get out and play with all her pals. Even Spooky loves her now, and bathes her and curls up to sleep with her. But it did take about two months before Spooky would not rush at her (though it was only about six weeks before Flowerbelle was big enough and confident enough to hold her own against those "in-your-face" moments. There was very little hissing ever involved).

Shelly, our 14 pound (thin but HUGE) alpha and Flowerbelle have become fast friends. She'll run and jump on him - literally! She tries to sit on him, they roll around - they'll even get "into" enough you get ears back sometimes. But they never really mean it, and he has NEVER hurt her.

But we took intros slow and long, and we kept her basically segregated from "the crew" for several months, as I explained

My point is - if you have the time and patience to do it right, space isn't really the issue.

Let us know what you decide to do!

post #5 of 8
BTW - especially since she'd be groggy and with stitches, I'd put her bed in a really warm segregated place. She is NOT going to want to deal with anything for a day or two!


No matter what you decide, thank you for being her angel.

post #6 of 8
Once an animal has been free outside they feel trapped in a house. So many people won't even try. Good luck to you.
post #7 of 8

Well, four inside cats is like, nothing -- unless you have a very small place, one more does not have to guarantee bedlam. I agree with LDG on the answer. If you bring patience and consistency to the process, you can integrate this kitty with your others successfully.

Do folks here use ComfortZone diffusers? They are a terrific help especially if you foster or are often introducing a new animal to the mix. You may have heard of Feliway, a pheromone analog that makes cats THINK they have already "marked the territory?" Well, ComfortZone is Feliway, in a plug-in electric diffuser. And it really works! So I would invest in one or two of these (unfortunately they are not REAL inexpensive, but they are worth it, IMHO) if you intend on working with the Princess to bring her into the group.

I don't think I have anything much other than that to add, but I thought it was worth saying.
post #8 of 8
KittenKiya updated in a different thread that she brought Princess inside, but Princess was crying so much that she let her back outside with her mum.

Here's that discussion: http://www.thecatsite.com/forums/sho...2&pagenumber=3
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