Bringing a stray cat indoors - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-11-2012, 05:32 PM Thread Starter
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Bringing a stray cat indoors

Some friends of mine have been feeding a stray cat, but they can't afford to bring him inside for the winter, so I am going to take him. He's a friendly cat who hasn't been neutered and he's only been in their neighborhood for less than a year. I'm worried about acclimating him to living inside. I don't know if he ever belonged to anyone and was letterbox trained. So I'd need to know the best way to do that. If he insists on going outside how easy is it to get a cat to use a leash and harness to go out from time to time? Advice is greatly appreciated! Thanks!

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post #2 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-11-2012, 07:26 PM
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My cat was formally a stray. Do not know his history. He adapted very well to indoor life and took to the litter box immediately. I kept my cat in a bathroom (no carpet) with his litter box and only let him out when I could supervise him. I did this for a week or two until I learned to trust him.

He doesn't really want to go outside anymore once he had a taste of indoor life but YMMV.
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post #3 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-11-2012, 07:32 PM
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First introduce him to the litterbox and see how that goes. If you are going to keep him, I would get him neutered right away.
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post #4 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-11-2012, 07:49 PM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by tgw View Post
First introduce him to the litterbox and see how that goes. If you are going to keep him, I would get him neutered right away.
Yes, I am actually going to get him neutered before I bring him home. I'll bring him right from my friends' house to the vet.

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post #5 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 03:53 AM
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You may need to wait for his hormones to settle but he should settle to the litter-box. My semi feral likes to go out a lot but uses the litter box when in and has done from the time she first set eyes on it.
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post #6 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 10:01 AM
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I agree with the above. A room where he won't destroy the floor if he "misses" the first few times. Cats want to bury their waste, so as long as the litter box is his only option (don't leave towels or dirty laundry on the floor that he might like to bury things in) he should figure it out pretty quick. I've heard that some people put leaves/twigs in the litter box to make it more similar to what he's used to outdoors, but I've never had to do that with any of the adult cats I've box trained.

So far as the leash thing....NONE of mine have ever liked a leash and I've tried it on several cats over the years. I've seen other people's cats who have liked leashes...but not any of mine. Getting him to use the litter box will probably be much easier.
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post #7 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 12:23 PM
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You might get lucky and he will take to the box. If he is tame he most likely was some ones pet and at one point had a litter box.

Our Mitzi went out on a 10-20 foot teather. She liked it but it still was a big chore. We had to watch her constant. She got tangled up often. Not so safe. And she would beg and beg to go outside. It became a big pain. We never did that again with our other kittys.

My brother brought in many outside cats. They acclimated with out to much complaints. Except one time when the local house population did not get along.

Good luck and good for you.

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post #8 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 03:28 PM
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I adopted my 3 cats from the feeding station I manage. They were already neutered.

Two of them just followed me home and refuse to leave, the third I adopted because she really suffered in the streets. She doesn't go out. The other 2 accompany me each night to feed the strays, and on weekends we take a longer stroll around the block, which is full of greenery and trees. As time goes by and they become older and more pampered, they show less desire to go outside, which is good. Rescuing these cats has been the most rewarding experience of my life.

As to litter box, they didn't require any training. The first time they just walked around till they found the litter boxes, used them and covered the stuff, very naturally. I wasn't even around. When we're outside, they wait till we're back home to use the toilet, even if they need to badly. They hate having to go outside the house, because it's not as safe.

All that said, I adopted the 3 cats that seemed most in tune with humans from the whole colony. I have no idea what it would be like with the cats that are more feral.

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post #9 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 04:09 PM
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Our stray as well as her outdoor kitties figured out the litterbox in literally under two minutes. As long as you're careful about what you leave out for him to uh...explore you should be fine
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post #10 of 13 (permalink) Old 11-12-2012, 04:30 PM
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Twiddledee joined the cat colony in January 2012, immediately TNRd. I moved 25 miles away in August, but still saw TDee every weekend. In mid September I noticed he was running on three legs. I decided to foster him, to give his paw/leg a chance to heal (vet isn't sure what is wrong, possibly genetically pre-disposed to arthritis). TDee was always a friendly cat at the colony, obviously previously owned.
Good news--he uses the litter box fine.
Bad news--after a month, he still really wants to go outside. He escaped once (right before Superstorm Sandy) but found his way back to my home. Opening the windows seems to make his longing worse. He remembers how he escaped before--pawed open a screen door, and if I open that door, he goes right to it and starts to claw at it again. I *hope* this wears off soon; he is very vocal about wanting out.
Good news: super affectionate, loving, playful; submissive to my resident cat, Ritz, who had never been around another cat before.
Good news: they BOTH sleep with me, and I have a twin size bed.
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