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Can an older male cat adjust to life indoors?

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
Hi, I recently found a stray, male cat at my estate. It's ear was badly injured so I decided to bring it to the vet for treatment.

Although this cat is a stray, it is well fed in the community. It also has a very tame and gentle personality. It wasn't very difficult to get it into the carrier and loves belly rubs and being petted. In fact, at the vet, it decided to go to sleep whilst the vet was examining it.

The vet told me that the cat is about 5 - 7 years old and had not been neutered. She also told me that I should keep it indoors for 2 - 4 weeks before releasing it back to the estate.

At home, he is confined to the balcony because the vet advised that there may be parasites on him. In the mornings, he does mew a lot to be let out and generally for the rest of the day he mostly sleeps. However, if we pet him and rub his belly, he seems genuinely contented.

The wound appears to be healing nicely and I am thinking of releasing him but a part of me wants to adopt him as well. However, I am concerned that if he has been a stray for so long, is he better off back in the estate where he is free to roam around (and where he is fed by the community)? I would not want to deprive him of his 'freedom' so to speak.

Grateful for any advice or if any of you could share your experiences if you have dealt with something similar?

Lastly, if I neuter him before releasing him, will it put him in danger with the other community cats? As it is, his ear was quite badly injured in a fight and he seems to be very gentle (with humans, I have not seen him interact with other cats as I do not have a cat at home).

Thank you!
post #2 of 26
Hello Mubin, welcome to TCS wavey.gif

Yea know you for taking care of this stray and brining him to the vet to treat his injured ear.

It is best that cats be kept indoor. While outdoors, they get into fights, get injured, fall sick with no medications and get the female cats pregnant and having more unwanted strays and feral kittens.

If you have the heart and the means, please adopt him, get him neutered and keep him indoors.

Since you are the one that took him to the vet and he shows very good behavior and allows petting and belly rubs, he is definitely not a feral and was once a house cat.

Since he's in your house now and feeling contented, get him fixed and vaccinated and he'll have no problems Being kept indoors provided he dosen't escape.

Once you have him in and start feeding him and he knows that there's regular supply of good food, chances are he'll stay on. If he's back on the streets, he has to fend for himself against other male cats and may not have enough to eat.

I say, please adopt him and give him a good life since he's already around 7 years old wink.gif
post #3 of 26

I agree wholeheartedly with Tom, and would hasten to add that a call to the veterinarian is doubtless in order to address fleas / mites / worming and cetera as soon as convenience allows.  Keeping him will afford you the opportunity to interact with the rarest of all creatures - one who is independent and logical, but who Loves neither with condition nor with expectation.

 

.

post #4 of 26
Thread Starter 
Thank you for the advice! To give some context, I live in a very urbanised area. The estate where I found the cat is one with high rise apartments and I myself live in a smallish apartment on the 7th floor.

My main concern really is if the cat becomes depressed if it is confined to my apartment because if I were to adopt him, I couldn't let him wander in and out of my apartment and in the estate. He has a good appetite and allows us to pet him but does not seem interested to play with cat toys, and if no one is with him, will sit quietly in a corner looking sad.

Also, are there any issues with neutering an old cat? Strangely enough, this cat has been going to the litter box regularly to pee and poop but hasn't peed on anything else to mark its territory.
post #5 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mubin View Post

Thank you for the advice! To give some context, I live in a very urbanised area. The estate where I found the cat is one with high rise apartments and I myself live in a smallish apartment on the 7th floor.

My main concern really is if the cat becomes depressed if it is confined to my apartment because if I were to adopt him, I couldn't let him wander in and out of my apartment and in the estate. He has a good appetite and allows us to pet him but does not seem interested to play with cat toys, and if no one is with him, will sit quietly in a corner looking sad.

Also, are there any issues with neutering an old cat? Strangely enough, this cat has been going to the litter box regularly to pee and poop but hasn't peed on anything else to mark its territory.

 

As long as he hasn't any respiratory issues, neutering an older cat is little different than neutering a kitten, and the attendant health benefits might surprise you.  You'll likely find that his energy level after neutering will rise - a boon for older, sedentary cats, as it builds capillary beds in addition to strengthening the heart musculature, and it will certainly decrease the need to wander, and, of course, to mark territory.  As time goes on, and he becomes more and more a part of the Family, you'll also see improvements in his demeanour - and often in those with whom he lives, as well.

 

.

post #6 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mubin View Post

..........

My main concern really is if the cat becomes depressed if it is confined to my apartment because if I were to adopt him, I couldn't let him wander in and out of my apartment and in the estate. He has a good appetite and allows us to pet him but does not seem interested to play with cat toys, and if no one is with him, will sit quietly in a corner looking sad.
I too agree with what was mentioned by 1CatOverTheLine.

I don't thing he is sad. I think he is just getting the feel of his new surroundings. And partly it's also might be due to his age and character that he is more docile. It's a good thing that he uses the litter box and has not started marking.

certain cats like certain toys as not all appeal to them. Try using a feathered wand and let him catch the feather (prey). Probably when he was outdoors, he has chased and caught some birds.

Think this is a nice cat to keep as he is easy and no training needed. Best is he can be petted and belly rubbed! 👍🏻
post #7 of 26

Hello @Mubin Nice to have you on TCS.

 

First of all, thank you for trying to help this cat.

 

The cat in my avatar picture was a feral cat for years before he came to live with me. I think he must have been at least ten by the time I got him neutered. It didn't cause him any problems at all. He still used to yowl at intact feral toms if they came near for the first few months after being neutered, but he was very calm around my spayed and neutered cats. He was actually amazingly gentle with some semi-feral foster kittens I cared for before they went to their new homes.

 

Getting him neutered is the best thing for him. If you do end up putting him back outside he's a lot less likely to get into fights and get injured if he's been fixed. 

 

I think the best thing for him would be if you could keep him indoors though. An apartment with a balcony that he can watch the world from sounds perfect. It can take cats a while to adjust, but with him being a bit older he'll soon learn to love life indoors.

 

It's really easy to get rid of his fleas and worms. Ask your vet for a good on-spot treatment. Profender and Revolution are pretty good. It's better to get it from your vet rather than buy the cheap OTC ones. Those don't work as well and can cause allergic reactions.

 

Is your balcony netted? I have heard of cats falling from high balconies. You can put up some pigeon netting to keep him safe.

 

Here's an article that might interest you.

 

 The Five Golden Rules To Bringing An Outdoor Cat Inside  

 

Good luck, please keep us posted.

post #8 of 26
Thread Starter 
Thank you all for the advice and sharing your experiences. I am arranging to get him neutered in a couple of days' time and will keep you updated. In the meantime, here's a picture of the cat. As you can see, he is extremely friendly and relaxed when he is not meowing to be let out.

post #9 of 26
That's great to hear and he looks so comfy!

Cats sleeping with belly up shows that they have full confidence in their surroundings. This kitty is for keeps!
post #10 of 26

Wow, he looks right at home already.

 

Beautiful markings! Is he a ticked tabby? 

post #11 of 26

He looks content! Try crumpled up balls of paper. Some cats like those and some like fuzzy mice with a rattle inside.

 

Amazon has these cat nip bananas that I have never seen a kitty ignore.

 

https://www.amazon.com/Yeowww-Catnip-Toy-Yellow-Banana/dp/B000AUJFHE/ref=sr_1_fkmr0_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1490098879&sr=8-1-fkmr0&keywords=yeowza+banana+cat+toys

 

I have had very good results from this toy.

post #12 of 26

Starving, wandering, scared 3 year old semi-feral Bug took approx 30 days after neuter to begin playing (he missed out Play 101 while a homeless kitty) and about 90 to fully integrate into the household (other cats/dog). At this point, he could care less about the outside.,...realizes he's now in Club Med for cats.   

 

I'd guess some ex-housecat strays are actually seeking adoption...a home, food and security...via their purposely introducing themselves to humans?  

 

You are doing the right thing in bringing him in !  Give him time to de-stress and settle in after neuter, fully integrate and play.

 

 You've got a great headstart with your guy, he's obviously a very willing participant. 

post #13 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mubin View Post

Thank you all for the advice and sharing your experiences. I am arranging to get him neutered in a couple of days' time and will keep you updated. In the meantime, here's a picture of the cat. As you can see, he is extremely friendly and relaxed when he is not meowing to be let out.

 

He's a beautiful boy, and it's clear that he's happy and secure with you.  Bravo - and do please keep us updated regarding hsi progress and adjustment to the Life he was meant to have.

 

.

 

.

post #14 of 26

My 13 year old lived his first 7 years outdoors, although he was neutered at age 1.  It took him a few weeks to completely forget about his desire to go outside, but now he never thinks about it.  He went deaf a few years back, and it really makes me glad that we brought him in when we did.  He is a perfect gentleman in the house too!!   Don't let the age/background deter you from making him a fully indoor kitty.  Maybe he is ready to retire his wild life and live the good life the rest of his years!

post #15 of 26
Thread Starter 
Hello! Just a quick update... We've named him Sumo because he really is quite a large cat. I believe he is a ticked tabby @Norachan.

We will be sending him for sterilisation on Monday. For the moment, he still meows loudly to be let out but only in the mornings and evenings. He is quite quiet during the day and usually will stop meowing if we give him attention.

We got him a feathered wand but he still doesn't seem too interested in playing at the moment. I would be grateful if any of you have any advice on how much to feed him? He has a very healthy appetite. Right now, we feed him one small can of wet food once a day and in between we give him some dry biscuits every 4 - 5 hours.

post #16 of 26
Great that he's getting fixed.

Any side and top view photos of him?

As long as he has not been starved for a long time while he was outside before you took him in, he should have a steady appetite. Being 7 years old, they eat less in terms of amount and times.

As you just got him, you have to experience his eating patterns. Like feeding him wet food, a given amount and watch if he finishes it all and will he be asking for more or he just simply walk away when it's enough for him leaving some food behind. This is an indication of how much food he eats at one go. The other is how many times a day. Some senior cats eats just maybe once a day or at most twice.

Rough guide is 25 calories per pound and it also depends on his activity levels. More active requires more and less active requires less if not will put in weight.

If he's fixed, than it's less calories. But it differs from cats to cats. Again depends on his activity levels. Weight maintenance is best by feeding wet food. It's ok for a little snack in between but make sure he don't prefer snacks over his main meals.
post #17 of 26

He's gorgeous! He has got a nice round belly too.

 

Generally speaking wet food is better than dry for weight control and overall health. If you could get him to eat mainly canned food with just a little dry to snack on it should be easier to keep him at a healthy weight.

 

Make sure you have lots of different brands and flavours in your wet food rotation. Some cats get hooked on one particular food and then there are problems if their favourite brand isn't available for any reason.

 

Keep us posted. And more pictures please.

 

:pix:

post #18 of 26
Thread Starter 
Okay! Thanks for the tips, I will try and calculate/estimate his calories intake. For the moment, he only asks to be fed in the morning and evening. I think that when he was a stray, he must have settled into a routine with the community feeders. Whatever we put in front of him, he will pretty much gobble up. Currently its different flavours of Fancy Feast wet food and Friskies dry biscuits.

Here's his front and side profiles! It wasn't a hard decision to adopt him, especially since he was so friendly!





post #19 of 26
What handsome markings. Looks like he has some abyssinian in him. His ticked solid back is a dead give away. Thanks for giving this old man some peace in his golden years.
post #20 of 26

Oh, he is very handsome, in addition to his friendly personality.  How lucky you both are!

 

He looks like he's at a very healthy weight in the pictures.  I agree that more wet food and less biscuit's will keep him vital and at a good weight.

 

Here's a pet weight chart.  I'd would recommend weighing him every month or two.  Our pets don't seem to change when we see them everyday, but a weight gain or loss can slowly creep up over time.

 

Congratulations to you and Sumo!

 

Image result for pet weight chart

post #21 of 26

You mentioned he might have parasites. Did the vet give you a de-wormer? Usually one or two doses of Drontal does the trick, and it's an inexpensive drug.

Can you leave dry food out for him 24/7, and supplement with canned food once a day? If he does have parasites, he will be very hungry, and possibly anemic.

Have you tried getting him some catnip toys? Cats seem to love those. Also, you can try to engage him with a wand toy and a laser toy.

 

I would advise you keep him indoors. My guess is that once he's neutered, he will very happily settle indoors, because the instinct to roam and mate will leave. It may take a few weeks after the neuter for his hormones to settle down. Another option would be to take him out on a lead and harness--this is what I do with my one cat who loves to go outside. It takes several trips outdoors for a cat to get used to being on a lead, and they don't usually walk beside you like a dog--but my cat loves going out on a lead, and yours might, too. I can tell you from experience that it's much less stressful caring for an indoor cat than an outdoor cat, because you worry a lot less. Since this is a stray and not a feral, he can most likely adjust to life indoors with walks outside on a lead. I can give you some advice on that when he's healed up from the neuter.    

post #22 of 26
Thread Starter 
Thank you for the chart Orange&White!

We don't leave dry food out for him @MsAimee because he tends to finish up whatever is in his bowl straight away, but if we feed him 3 meals a day, he doesn't usually beg/meow to be fed in between. In fact, when we had to fast him for his trip to the vet to be sterilised, he didn't really ask for food in the morning.

The vet did give us a deworming tablet. I'm still figuring out how to get him to eat it. He seems a bit more lethargic after the sterilisation operation and has lost some appetite. Is this normal? However, he doesn't seem interested to go outdoors anymore.



Waiting patiently beside his food bowl.
post #23 of 26
Yup pretty normal. He is mellowing out because his hormones aren't going haywire anymore.
post #24 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mubin View Post

Okay! Thanks for the tips, I will try and calculate/estimate his calories intake. For the moment, he only asks to be fed in the morning and evening. I think that when he was a stray, he must have settled into a routine with the community feeders. Whatever we put in front of him, he will pretty much gobble up..............
His eating speed and amount will slow down once he's more or less settled in.

He gobbles up food is because as an outdoor cat, he has to eat fast so that other cats will not eat his food and also maybe the amount given was not enough as probably he has experienced that.

It takes 6 to 8 weeks before the hormones are fully flushed out of the system. And after that, his activity levels will slow down. So keep him fit by playing with him.
post #25 of 26
Ask the vet if he has a "pill gun" he can sell you (for a few dollars). I can post a pic if you like. They are plastic syringes that you put the pill in. You open the cat's mouth and just shoot it straight down. It's how I pill all of my cats. You can get the ones for dogs in PetSmart, but it is better to get the smaller one for cats from the vet's office. I tried giving a dewormer pill to the last feral I took in by crushing it and mixing it with tuna, but she would not touch it. You can also try to give it to him in in a "pill pocket" treat which you can purchase in most pet food stores. I'm glad that your kitty is calming down, that's great
news!
post #26 of 26
Some cats might not like pill pockets though.
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