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Old 09-14-2012, 05:01 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Can all cats adjust to an indoor lifestyle?

So 6 days ago, I took in a semi-feral kitten that I found wandering around my apartment complex. He came up to me for food and I just picked him up and brought him inside.

I've already brought him to the vet once and because he has ear mites, he has to stay confined to our bathroom. The room is nice though, there's a carpeted area and a window as well as a nightlight so that it isn't pitch black in there at night.

ANYWAYS, he has already gotten comfortable enough with me to let me pick him up occasionally and he will also purr and enjoy petting sessions. Do you guys think that he's the type of cat that will adjust well to indoor life? He is doing well, but he does still hide most of the day and has never once approached me. I just want to make sure he'll be okay indoors and can adjust before I take him to the vet again. The first trip alone cost me $70 and the second one is going to be MUCH more because of testing for a few feline diseases.

I don't want to sound cheap or anything. I just want to make sure that he sounds like a good candidate for an indoor lifestyle before I commit any more financially. I'm currently in college and it can be difficult to pay large sums of money all at once, but if this cat can have a happy life with me, it is well worth it. If he's going to forever feel trapped inside though, it might be in both of our best interests for me to try and find him a safe indoor/outdoor home.

Any thoughts on the matter? I hope I'm not coming across wrong! I only want him to be happy! I've been working hard to make him feel okay, but I haven't done this in years either so it's hard to gauge how it's going.

Thanks for your time : )
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Old 09-14-2012, 05:09 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I also forgot to mention that he is already 4 months old, so he missed that optimal window for socialization by quite a bit.
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Old 09-14-2012, 11:26 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mackaroon View Post
ANYWAYS, he has already gotten comfortable enough with me to let me pick him up occasionally and he will also purr and enjoy petting sessions.
There are lots of other people here who know much more about cats than I do, so I hope they chime in, but to me this is an excellent sign! Plus the fact that he is still a kitten seems to me that he will adjust fine and be very happy inside. It's only been a few days, so I'm sure it's all still very new to him.

What's his name?
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Old 09-14-2012, 11:53 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Thank you so much for rescuing this cat.
At four months, he's still relatively young, and based on the simple fact that you were able to pick him up, I think there is an excellent chance your cat will be happy inside. If truly feral, he wouldn't have let you pick him up. Ritz and her litter mates were successfully socialized at around six months old, and some cats I re-trapped after TNRing (long story) were closer to one year; they have been adopted into Furever Homes.
Just give him lots of time to get to know you. Sit with him in the bathroom, reading aloud quietly and working on the computer, etc. Let him sniff your finger(s) if he approaches. Move VERY slowly at all times. With Ritz, I told her what I was going to do (still do): "I'm getting up now"; "I'm behind you", etc. This gets your kitty use to your voice. And enter with treats in hand; a way to a cat's heart is (initially) through his stomach
Regarding additional costs, the main one with be neutering. Check around your local non-profit SPCAs and rescue organizations. Where I live the cost is anywhere from $60 (non-profit) to $300 (vet). Many clinics as part of spaying/neutering, will also de-worm. (And, it's a given that the cat has worms. Comes with the territory of living outdoors.) They may also offer FIV/FeLK testing at a reduced cost.
And in answer to your question: yes, there are some cats who cannot adjust to an indoor lifestyle. Some cats simply don't have it in their "DNA". Some cats were too abused when a kitten to ever trust humans or lived on the streets too long. But your kitten sounds lovely, and a good candidate for a happy indoor cat.
PS: we looovveee pictures
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Old 09-14-2012, 11:54 AM   #5 (permalink)
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PS: at four months of age, he should be spayed ASAP. He may go into heat in another month (varies) and then he WILL want out to mate.
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Old 09-14-2012, 03:04 PM   #6 (permalink)
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I think just the fact that you were able to pick up this kitty means he will probably adapt to an indoor life with people. I had a truly feral cat come to my house for a while. I fed him, but he never let me get close. One time, he wandered into the house to look for food and I was able to shut the door behind him. A torn up room (literally) and MANY scratches later, we had him in a carrier to go get neutered. After that, I tried to keep him inside for two days at least to recover from the surgery, but he was only hiding and refusing all food and water. I had to let him go after a day and acknowledge that he really was more of a wild animal than any cat I ever met. What you describe sounds very different - plus, the kitty is still young, so I think you have a wonderful pet there.
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Old 09-14-2012, 03:05 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Thanks so much to both of you!

LadyK, I named him Tiberius (he looks very regal), but I typically just call him Tibbers.

Ritzpg, that's all very helpful and good to know. Sounds like you have a ton of experience with this kind of thing! It's so good to hear that so many of your cats adjusted to an indoor life. I'm even more happy to hear that you think Tibbers can adjust to being inside. I've grown quite attached to him, but I've been worried that he'd always be happier outside.

As far as costs go, he's already been neutered. He was caught by a catch and release group apparently. At least I won't end up having to pay that cost. Besides that though he needs almost $200 worth of tests and treatments for his mites and worms. It's doable of course, but I wanted to make sure before taking him again that he wasn't going to be forever unhappy inside. I was considering taking him to Petco (or Petsmart, I'm not sure which one does this) because they offer some vaccines at a reduced cost. However, I dropped by to scope it out and there was a very long line with barking dogs and I'm not sure he would be willing to have a needle prick him after waiting in that mess.

Anyways, thank you both for your replies! I'll keep him and continue to work on everything with him. Here's a few bad quality pictures of him. I'll get some better ones when he's less afraid of my camera!







These were all taken on different days. He does come out of his little crate now too, but I don't have pictures of when he's out.

Thanks again you guys!!
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Old 09-14-2012, 03:08 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Irene, I posted before reading your post, sorry!

I'm sorry to hear you had to let that cat go. Makes sense though! I can completely understand that there are some cats who are just to adjusted to a life outside. At least you got him neutered though. That was very good of you!

Thanks for the advice : )
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Old 09-15-2012, 10:44 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Oh look at him! Tibbers is gorgeous! Thanks for caring for him. I wish you many happy years together! You'll have to keep us updated on how he adjusts.

About the vet visit, maybe try to get the first or last appointment of the day, there might be less commotion at those times. A lot of people recommend a cat-only vet, where there wouldn't be intimidating dogs in the waiting room. Maybe that would be another option if you have one near you.
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Old 10-05-2012, 01:45 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I think we're due an update?

Tibbers doesn't seem like a feral cat, he's probably a stray and he's probably long ago decided to adopt you and move in - cats just prefer, if possible, to make us think it's OUR decision and that we have to woo them to stay.
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