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bringing in a feral...

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hi there. I wanted to see anybody had any advice or wisdom to share on this topic.

If you've read me before, then you probably know about Mason, of the ferals in our small colony. He is nearly 9 months old, and the only male in the family, but he is very silly and playful. His mom let us touch him since he was a few days old, and he rolls over on his back and smiles when he sees my husband. He is so sweet and cuddly and good tempered that we are thinking of bringing him in. We'd want him to be indoor/outdoor so he can have the human interaction he seems to really want while still having time with his sisters and Mom outside.

The issue has to do with our existing indoor family. I'm not too worried about our dog because she LOVES cats. She wants to lick them and sniff them and play and run, and I know she loves Mason. The potential issue is that we already have two male cats, age two-and-a-half, and they are brothers. They are indoor-only, and we've had them since they were about 3 months old. They are probably 8 and 9 pounds respectively with one being very dominant while the other is more submissive. However, the dominant one will defer to our dog.

I thought that step one would be to shut everybody in the basement, bring Mason in, and let him look and sniff around to see if he's interested in being in our house. If he runs out the door, that tells us that. But at least this lets him see the inside of a house without having to deal with other animals yet. Does this sound good?

What are other ideas for our indoor boys? I am concerned that they won't like a new cat who is much younger but much larger. He looks like he could easily be 15 or 16 pounds of all muscle. He's getting neutered tomorrow, so our boys won't have a tom cat on their hands. He's really just a big baby. He's still young, but he's growing up to be a big guy like his dad.

Suggestions? Thoughts? Advice?

Mason on 23 October (6 mo. old) - he's bigger now thanks to winter bulk and some hormones kicking in!

post #2 of 14
Thread Starter 
Also, should I assume that I'll need a separate litter box for Mason? Our indoor brothers have always shared one, and seemed comfortable with that. But they may not like another cat's or family's smell in their box, right?

post #3 of 14
Deb - he is MAGNIFICANT!
A real tribute to a feral kitty.
I think the slow introduction route would be the way to go. I would put him in a big carrier or kitty condo and let the others come and sniff, etc. Also the girls have sugggested rubbing towels with each others scent and letting them sniff as a way to get used to a new introduction. Seclusion in a separate room for a few days night now hurt either. You may want to use a separate box too - sounds like a good idea to me.
Where will he recover from this neutering?
post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
I have set up a "recovery cage," which is made from my dog's old crate. It's around 2 feet by 3.5 feet by 2.5 feet high, so it's no tiny raccoon trap. I already have it in the garage, which we keep open 1' so the ferals can go in and out and escape bad weather. I put the carrier in the cage so they'd be used to that, and towels everywhere to make it soft. I tied the door open, and I've found that they've been sleeping there at night.

The whole point was to make that cage a safe, comfy, familiar place so that a recovering cat can be locked in and be not too surprised. I didn't want to get them, have surgery performed, and then dump them in an unfamiliar place. So they will stay in the crate, which has room for a little food dish, water dish, and litter box, until I think they are healed. I even got a cardboard scratching thing that I'm going to tie to the inside "wall." They'll also get homeopathics and the like to help with healing. We don't do Western Medicine.

I didn't want to bring the recovering cats in partially so our indoor family is not alarmed and partially so that the outside family doesn't think the missing cat is gone/dead and maybe pick up and leave!

post #5 of 14
Deb - sounds wonderful. I had forgotten that you had a recovery cage all prepared. Please forgive my 'senior moment'
Deb M
post #6 of 14
Thread Starter 
Not at all, other Deb! I never mind talking about these kitties or our plans for/with them.

post #7 of 14
And these ferals have fallen into the right, and caring hands. I have a large cage out in the barn, and I too, tied the door open. Inside is a very big soft pile of towels and rags and at any given time, I can find a feral or two curled up inside, sound asleep. The only drawback, is I have to wash the bedding almost every day as the others mark their territory although they are neutered.

Your cat is beautiful, and I am so glad you are doing this for them.
post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
Well we thought we'd get Mason today, and we got little Xerox instead. She's 6 months old, and you can't touch her, but she is sweet and curious. She walked right into the pet carrier, and we closed the door behind her. So maybe Mason next Wednesday.

post #9 of 14
Yippee for Xerox! What a good little girl she is!
Fantastic job Deb.
post #10 of 14
Hi Deb,

What a good thing you are doing!! I wish I could do that for kitties here. But we have more raccoons, squirrels, mice and deer- the raccoons already live under our back porch!

For your inside kitties, I can only say to just to be sure and give them the same and even more attention as Xerox and Mason and I think they will be fine.

I've added two adult shelter kitties at different times to my home (I already had one kitty from kittenhood) and I fostered a stray. My kitties were ok but I had to take special care to keep the "seniority" in place.

When John and I took a vacation recently we had a kitty sitter stay at the house. She didn't observe the kitty pecking order - she liked the newest kitty best. Our newest adoptee is the smallest - fully half the size of the other two - and is front declawed. Our other two kitties ended up becoming very aggressive with her and each other. We had a lot of playing and petting and brushing to do when we got back but order is now restored!!
post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the info, Barb. I guess we will have to put Mickey first, since he demands it , and Luke 2nd or 3rd. Luke is very submissive, and will probably defer to Mason even though Mason is younger. We don't plan to bring in Xerox... we're in a small place, and 3 animals already seems like a full family! But my husband loves Mason SO much, and every time Mason sees my husband, he rolls on his back, smiles, and wants rubs. So there could be a match there... but I think Mason will miss his outside family. I think if anything he'd end up part indoor for rubs and outdoor for play with his family. We'll see how it goes.

post #12 of 14
Oh Deb....Mason is so beautiful!!!!!! That is such a wonderful thing you are doing, taking in these ferals. We have a few ferals running around our farm, too, but some of them we can't get more than 50 feet away from, before they bolt.
post #13 of 14
Thread Starter 
We're actually ONLY considering taking in Mason. He's very friendly, sweet, and has a great relationship with my husband. The others are more scaredy cats, though they are good natured. So we are spaying them and sending them back out to live on our property, where they get food, water, shelter, and plenty of chatting from us. Once Mason is neutered, we'll see if we can make him work with our two existing kitties and one dog.


post #14 of 14


I just wanted to say that Mason is absolutely gorgeous and he's so lucky to have you and I'm sure you feel the same way about him. It's so cool when ferals take to you! I have one and he's still skiddish, but he purrs (loud too!) Good for you! Have fun and good luck with the introductions

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