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Socializing Cats to Each Other - HELP!

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
I really need some help, and I think the behavior forum is the right place (as opposed to the Feral Forum).

We just took in an abandoned feral kitty, Lazlo. He's adjusted to us and home life really quickly. We've also kind of been a home to an older stray, Booger (who I was calling Rocki because I was embarassed of the real name we were calling her - was 1 1/2 years when she adopted us last fall). Booger / Rocki doesn't live in our home - she comes by when she feels like it, is VERY independent, but loves being cared for and groomed (we took her to have her spayed but found out she already had been, and we keep her vaccines current). She comes by once or twice a day for half an hour to an hour for eats and pets. It's only in a snow storm or a heavy rain storm that she'll come in to sleep in her bed near the door for 1 - 10 hours.

We live in a motor home, which is the equivalent of a 210 square foot studio apartment. It is on a 240 acre farm. Booger is a LARGE Maine Coon. Laz is a teenie-weenie 7 - 9 week old kitten. We let Booger / Rocki in to eat the first day we had Laz here (not too smart, huh?), and Booger / Rocki started hissing, and Laz FREAKED.

How do we get them used to each other? The home will become Laz's territory (we don't let him sleep in the bed she's been using, but...) - and I'm pretty sure that even though Booger / Rocki spends very little time inside, she thinks it's her territory.

All the stuff I can find on socialization between cats involves separate rooms, time, etc. It applies to indoor cats in a house. What can we do? Anyone have any thoughts?
post #2 of 4
I would keep them seperate for quite awhile. Feed Booger outside, and put in Booger's bed a spare towel or blanket you do not care much about so when she lies down she gets her scent on it. Give Lazlo a similar piece of bedding and let the cats just do their thing for about a week. Take the bedding out and don't wash it, and switch them. Give Lazlo Booger's bedding and vice versa. Let them each lay on their new bedding and then switch them back, only this time put the bedding underneath the food bowls. This will help to acquaint themeselves with each other's scents and make the next meeting a little bit easier.

Because these are ferals they are not going to react the same way to each other as domesticated cats do. In the wild, any addition to the colony is automatically challenged, and since your motor home is now Lazlo's colony, but was Booger's first this is a heirachy movement on their part. My guess is Booger is going to be Alpha cat when she finally realizes she can't run Lazlo off.
post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
Hissy, as always, you have terrific advice for me. Booger loves it outside, and I've been spending lots of time with her out there. She's happier than if she were coming in to eat, but that will change come fall! I've got all summer to work on this. Thank you so much.
post #4 of 4
When you do the first switch watch for "posturing." The warning posturing signs would be the arching of the back and the hissing and spitting- that means it is to soon for the two to *meet* The minor posturing signs will be sniffing, burrowing, scratching and spraying- all this means is each kitty is placing their scent on top of the other and the meeting can then happen- supervised and short. But if you see spitting and hissing and arching the back, hold off the introductions for awhile.
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