How to adopt this stray...? - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 37 (permalink) Old 02-16-2011, 04:06 PM Thread Starter
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How to adopt this stray...?

I've been feeding this strays' colony for a few months, and 2 cats there called my attention for their friendliness (they'll sit on my lap for hours) and their apparent suffering in the street life. One of them struck me as an obvious former house cat and I adopted him 4 weeks ago. It was easy: each day he became braver and followed me further and further until one day he followed me all the way up the stairs to my apt. and I closed the door behind him.

Now, the other one is too scared to follow me inside the building. I tried it many times and it didn't work. She does follow me everywhere, but inside the building she can smell other cats' territory markings and won't come in. She's also not a former house cat, apparently, as she's not as gentle as my Prince. She can bite me if scared and feeling cornered (although she's become a lot more gentle with me with the time).

She's become a bit of an obsession to me, to save her from the streets. She has these huge, frightened eyes that I can't ever forget...always tense and alert and never resting...and I worry constantly about her. I ache to see her all warm and safe, I have so many nice blankets and cushions and good food to give her, and love and safety. I wanted to adopt her long before I met Prince, only I said to myself: "whoever dares follow me all the way to the apt, can stay in it forever" so it was Prince I adopted.

She and my Prince have known each other for months, as they belong to the same strays' colony here downstairs. Prince is desperate for friends. But I don't know if they'd get along.

And I have absolutely no idea if she'd be fine being an outdoor/indoor cat like Prince or an indoor cat.

Besides, I have no idea how to bring her into my apt.

My father, my last family, died last week and I know I want to raise a family of my own, which I never did, so if the landlord is not ok with the cats (which he already said he isn't), I'll move somewhere else, wherever they accept me with 2 cats. Budget wise I'm able to afford 2 cats.

And I love both of them to bits.

The Royal von Meouw Dynasty: His Royal Highness the late Prince von Meouw,
Her Royal Highness Princess Gatita von Meouw, Nikita Duchess of Meouw and
His Highness Cuchi-Cuchi, next in line for the throne of Prince von Meouw.
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post #2 of 37 (permalink) Old 02-16-2011, 04:13 PM
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I apologize for unintentionally hijacking the last thread. That being said I feel a little out of my league on this one. All of the strays I have taken in and adopted out I crated and brought in to a safe place and worked from there. But I never made them my own so that would make things different. I would assume that if you decided to have her as an indoor/outdoor baby that she would need to be inside for quite a while before you let her back out so that she would associate the house as her territory. If she doesn't want to come inside on her own then I'm not sure how to get her there except through trapping. I'm very excited to hear other peoples thoughts on this and to learn! Do you have a picture of your little stray female?
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post #3 of 37 (permalink) Old 02-16-2011, 04:32 PM Thread Starter
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Nicole, it was I who went off-topic on the other thread, no apologies necessary.

I don't have a photo of her, unfortunately, I indeed want to take photos of my strays downstairs, but she looks a bit like Cloud, only sad and scared. Cloud seems to be smiling in that photo.

I kept Prince inside the apt for 2 weeks before I let him out the first time. I acted on intuition alone on this one, so I'm glad you say it was the right thing to do!

The Royal von Meouw Dynasty: His Royal Highness the late Prince von Meouw,
Her Royal Highness Princess Gatita von Meouw, Nikita Duchess of Meouw and
His Highness Cuchi-Cuchi, next in line for the throne of Prince von Meouw.
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post #4 of 37 (permalink) Old 02-16-2011, 07:04 PM
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She sounds amazingly friendly for only having known her for a few months of feeding... Are you sure she couldn't be a former house cat that's been abandoned? My cat used to be owned by someone (I would assume) as she was spayed and has unreadable numbers in her ears yet it took over a year before she allowed me close enough to pet her, and just like you, she was my obsession to tame and it still took that long. Then another year or more to get her comfortable coming inside and walking around the whole house - at first I tried carrying her inside but she freaked out in the house once the door would close and the only way I was able to make it work without freaking her out was by using a cat door for her to come and go as she wanted - at first she only came for the food but she later stayed for the companionship. That obviously isn't possible for you as you're living in an apartment. Anyway, there are really only two ways around this from what I can see:

Wait it out by doing what you're doing, I don't have any tricks for making this easy - this could take ages, maybe never, for her to feel ready to walk willingly into your apartment. What floor are you on? The higher up you are the more likely this wont work. It'll be too many stairs and she'll feel traped long before you close the apartment door behind her. On top of this fact is that you already have Prince and if they don't remember eachother that'll be very problematic, cats don't always remember like people do. Even if they do remember, Prince might very likely want to protect his new home from outsiders taking it from him. She could also easily be extra leery because of trespassing on his domain. Given your curcomestances of a disapproving landlord and already having one cat I don't recomened this approach if you want it to work out well.

Trap the cat and bring her inside - I really think this would for the best if you want her in your house as an adjusted member of your family. At fist she'll likely be very upset at being moved indoors but with time and care cats can normally become used to an indoor only life, or you can let her out with Prince once you feel she knows her place in the house and that she is getting along with Prince. Like already mentioned, you'd need to start out with her confined in the apartment and probably to a room Prince can't get in, it would be better to start off the intro like they don't know eachother first.

Best of luck, whatever you decide. And I'm so sorry to hear about your father, I can't imagine how horrible that must be.


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Last edited by Carmel; 02-16-2011 at 07:08 PM.
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post #5 of 37 (permalink) Old 02-17-2011, 12:53 AM
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I tamed/socialized both Malibu and Pretty *outside* before they ever came inside. It was a long process; 5mo before I could "first touch" Mallie and 14mo before "first touch" with Pretty. Of course, Pretty took the longest to tame/socialize. I think it was at least 2yrs before I could ever convince her to come inside and overall it was a good 4yrs before she became truly comfortable.
It was all worth it when she leapt onto a friend's lap to demand his attention as he was in the middle of an animated story. My husband and I looked at each other with our jaws dropped because we knew what we had just witnessed was a landmark moment in Pretty's life.
I do know that if I had forced the issue by bringing her inside I could have achieved results faster, but for her, this method of letting her go at her own pace worked best. I have no hesitation bringing in feral kittens to tame/socialize, but I've never done so with adult cats. I've always tamed/socialized them outside before they came inside. The only exception was The Wanderer who had broken his leg and had to wear a cast, I brought him and his 'hutch' into the house from the barn because I felt the weather was getting too hot for him to be outside.



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post #6 of 37 (permalink) Old 02-17-2011, 03:30 AM Thread Starter
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Carmel, thank you for your kind words and for the very detailed reply! It's all exactly as you say.

Heidi, thank you, I went over old threads on here yesterday looking for similar topics, and found your posts recommending what you tell me here too. I really prefer the free approach too.

She's obviously a former house cat, because she sat and fell asleep on my lap on day 1, and isn't afraid of people at all, but she's terribly afraid of other cats, so she won't come in by herself. I guss the only way would be trapping, much as I don't like the idea, but I live on a 5th floor. I've gotten her and Prince used to sitting one on my lap and the other next to me, while I pet them both at the same time, so maybe the separate room won't be necessary? I ask because I don't have an extra room...though I have plenty nice, hiding corners all over the apt. Both Prince and she are neutered. I guess there's no telling how they'll react till I have them both here...

The Royal von Meouw Dynasty: His Royal Highness the late Prince von Meouw,
Her Royal Highness Princess Gatita von Meouw, Nikita Duchess of Meouw and
His Highness Cuchi-Cuchi, next in line for the throne of Prince von Meouw.
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post #7 of 37 (permalink) Old 02-17-2011, 03:35 AM Thread Starter
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Edit: Actually, "obviously" is not the right word. She may or may not be a former house cat, I don't know. But she's certainly different from all the other strays.

The Royal von Meouw Dynasty: His Royal Highness the late Prince von Meouw,
Her Royal Highness Princess Gatita von Meouw, Nikita Duchess of Meouw and
His Highness Cuchi-Cuchi, next in line for the throne of Prince von Meouw.
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post #8 of 37 (permalink) Old 02-17-2011, 04:35 AM
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Oh Prince is gonna be thrilled! I think it would be safe to assume she was someone's somewhere along the way. At sometime she learned to love people and must have interacted with them. Oh how exciting!!

I may be misunderstanding your apartment situation, but is there any way you could set her up maybe in your bedroom or bathroom? I did all of my cat's safety rooms as my bedroom because my scent was strongest in there. The only reason why I think it is so important is because you don't know if she has ever even been inside before. It is such a new world for her. She may not have ever felt carpet under her feet, the sound of the toilet flushing, the telephone ringing. This could be overwhelming so I think the safety room would be a good place to calm her fear before she explores the rest of the house.

I recommend this out of experience. My mother's cat was in her safety room for about a month and my mother just couldn't wait for her to be a part of the rest of the house (I completely sympathy with this feeling). So she let her cat out long before she was ready. The cat was extremely petrified. The family immediately went on a trip and when we got back she was still very freaked and bolted out the door. It was 2 weeks before we found her under the house. It was 9 months before her cat decided to make the rest of the house her own. But she is confident and unafraid of any of it and my mother will tell you it was worth the effort and patience. If you are able to create a safe place to start and let her set the pace of when she wants to explore the house then you will have a much smoother and less traumatic experience then my poor mom had.
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post #9 of 37 (permalink) Old 02-17-2011, 12:52 PM Thread Starter
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Nicole, again you're spot on. Now that you mention it, her worst fear and why she won't come in is that the building lobby's walls are covered in mirrors and she runs from her own reflection thinking it's other cats surrounding her. Prince (and another stray that came in a few times) knew from the start that those weren't other cats.

I can certainly put her in the bathroom or bedroom, those are places I can close the doors of, but Prince and I need to use those 2 rooms...

The Royal von Meouw Dynasty: His Royal Highness the late Prince von Meouw,
Her Royal Highness Princess Gatita von Meouw, Nikita Duchess of Meouw and
His Highness Cuchi-Cuchi, next in line for the throne of Prince von Meouw.
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post #10 of 37 (permalink) Old 02-17-2011, 02:54 PM
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Yes, perhaps trapping would be ideal if weather is an issue. I chose to trap Captain Jack because winter was coming along and I was afraid he'd be frozen. Obviously, he was quite upset at first, but judging from the stories of the others, he came along very rapidly. He forgave me and I could touch him going into about the 2nd month after knowing him. Going into the 3rd month I could pick him up.

Also, I had also tried to get him to follow me into the house but without success. He was skittish and likely smelt the scent of Rocky the dog and existing cat, Miu. So with winter coming up soon, I felt I had no choice but to trap him.
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