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Stray Cat Dilemma

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
I have 4 kittens...3 males, 9mos, 6 mos, and 4mos and 1 female, 7 mos.
About a month ago, a stray male (adult) cat started hanging around our condo complex. One night when it was pretty cold, I let him in, but kept him isolated in my bedroom in case he had some type of cat disease that might be transmitted to my other kitties. I took him to my vet, where he got a clean bill of health, along with all shots and flea control (he was already neutered). He is extremely affectionate with me and seems to be very smart. I believe he had an owner somewhere in the vicinity who dumped him. I was hoping he would successfully merge in my family, but he is quite terrified of my kitties and hisses, growls and hits them, upsetting them very much. I realize that it takes a lot of time and effort to introduce new cats into a household with current resident cats, but there are some other factors involved:
1. The older cat does not want to stay inside. He is very, very
insistent to go outside after being inside for a while.
2. I would always worry about him, for obvious reasons, but I
would also worry that he might develop some illness that he
would infect my kitties with.
3. There is another stray male cat in our complex who terrorizes
him at every opportunity.
The local no-kill shelter is way overcrowded and can't take him. If I send him to the "Humane" Society, its a death sentence for sure.
I really hate to see him hurt in any way, but I don't want to jeopordize my other kitties, either.
Does anyone have any suggestions on what to do? It's starting to get cold at night here. Thanks.
post #2 of 8
There was a thread a while back ( I think lotsocats was the one ) that gave step by step instructions on how to introduce a new kitty into your home. Maybe you can PM her to send you the link.
In my opinion, I would try to keep him indoors and try the introduction to see if he can get along with your others. Sorry I am not much help, I am no expert!!
post #3 of 8
Cat to Cat Introductions

Research has shown that a single hostile encounter between two unfamiliar cats can set the tone for their relationship for a long time to come. So to prevent your new cat from getting off on the wrong foot with your resident cat, plan to introduce them gradually. Generally speaking, it is easier to introduce a kitten to an adult than to introduce two adults. Adults that grew up around other cats usually adjust more easily to a new feline housemate. If you are adopting from CCHS, try to match the personality of your new cat to that of your resident cat. Remember to spend plenty of quality time alone with your resident cat in order to minimize jealousy. At first, do not allow face-to-face contact between the two cats. Instead, follow these steps:

1. Confine the resident cat to a room (door closed) while the new cat explores the rest of the house. Then switch their places. This allows them to become familiar with each other's scent.

2. Keep the cats in separate but adjoining rooms for several days, continuing to switch places every day. You'll need separate litter boxes at this stage, and depending on the cats' preferences, you may want to continue to maintain two litter boxes for them after the introduction is completed.

3. After a few days, crack open the door separating the two cats. Prop it open a couple inches so they can see one another but can't make full contact. Once they tolerate this limited contact, open the door a bit wider. If they start to backslide, go back to step 2.

4. When the two cats seem comfortable with limited exposure, try feeding them on opposite sides of the same room. Then return them to their separate quarters. After a few days of common mealtimes, they may be ready to share the same living space. Remember to let them set their own pace and never force them to be together. Keep them separated when you are not home to supervise until you're certain they can tolerate each toher's presence. Exchange their bedding after about a week so they can get used to each others smells. You can also set their bedding down under their food bowls when they eat to help get their smells acclimated to each other.
post #4 of 8
I agree 100% with Hissy's suggestions.

I would suggest that if there has already been aggression between the cats, you should keep the new cat in the room for about two weeks before allowing the cats to have any exposure to each other. This will give the cats time to "forget" that that they used fight each other. Then, after the two weeks of complete isolation, do everything the way Hissy described.

Good luck and BRAVO to you for helping this poor kitty!
post #5 of 8
BJC - I wish there were more people out there like you tht would take the time and energy to help our unfortunate little ones. May God bless your effort and grant you a happy kitty home!
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks to everyone for your responses. I've been a "cat mom" for around 6 months. I started out with 1 kitten (my daughter's), got him a friend from the shelter, helped a stray little kitten who was dying and ended up keeping the little darling (he's extremely affectionate and loving) and adopted a kitty who had been dumped at my vet's office. So, as you can see, I've had a little experience bringing new kitties into the fold, it's just that these circumstances are a little different. Stray kitty is set in his ways, doesn't like my cats and doesn't want to stay inside for very long.

The stray kitty (I call Max) was waiting when we got home yesterday, and since the weather is getting bad (cold and wet), here, I couldn't leave him outside. He's going to need to stay in my house for a least a few days. It's supposed to warm up considerably on Saturday and I'll let him back out then. He likes to visit, but gets very antsy in a short time and wants to go outside again. It's dangerous for him and I hate to let him back out, but he really gets upset if I don't. I just wish he'd give my kitties a chance. He's petrified of them for some reason and in turn, scares them by hissing and hitting. Also, I live in a small place and don't know how I'd handle 5 cats...I sure wouldn't want any of them to start with behavior problems or something because of it. I would love to find Max a good home and I'm currently trying to do so. He deserves it.
Happy day to all.
post #7 of 8
In March my husband and I rescued an injured stray cat. It turned out that he was around 8 years old. He had obviously been living outside for years and was used to being attacked by other cats and dogs. Although he initially wanted to be outside and despite the fact that there was initially a lot of hissing and swatting, he now gets along great with our other 4 cats and he no longer tries to get outside.

We made it work by doing what Hissy described. You can't just bring in a new cat and expect them to get along. You have to introduce them SLOOOOOOWLY! Given our cat's age and injuries, we kept him away from the other cats for two months! But, this guaranteed that they would become buddies rather than enemies. Because we had a lot of patience initially, we now have five happy, healthy furry friends. Had we tried to introduce them quickly, we would never have been able to keep our new guy!

Please try the slow introductions that Hissy described....but, since they have already had some aggressive interactions, I would keep him isolated for at least a couple of weeks before beginning the introductions.
post #8 of 8
Thread Starter 
I feel so guilty keeping him inside against his will. I know it's for his own good, but he is soooo determined to get back outside. Instead of keeping him in my room (where he escapes when I open the door), maybe I'll just keep him in the spare bedroom. This will limit his interactions with me and greatly limit the other kitties' territory for a while, but maybe it can work out ok. I'm very much of a worrier, and I really don't want 5 unhappy cats, but I also feel a great need to take this guy in...he has no one to look out for him.
I'll try my best. Thanks again for your response.
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