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post #1 of 4 (permalink) Old 10-16-2013, 08:03 PM Thread Starter
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Socializing my cat

So I've been taking my cat up to a shelter I volunteer at once per week. All cats at this shelter are taken through medical exams and must pass everything before being allowed to come in, so they're all healthy. No issues I'm worried about spreading to my cat.

He has barely been around other cats and I want him to get used to other cats so I can start fostering or get him a partner one day. He does extremely well when I take him in. He growls at some of the cats, but touches noses with many while sniffing them. No hissing and no raising his paws. Today was the second time I took him, and he walked freely around the floor without hiding and did noticeably better than the first time. He doesn't meow or pur there, but as soon as he gets back in the car he is meowing and exploring again. He acts perfectly normal the second he gets back into the house, and I haven't noticed him being mad at me

I'm wondering how long you all think it would take him to get comfortable. Is once per week plenty for him to get used to other cats and the surrounding, or should I take him more often? I only spend 30-90 minutes there with him.
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post #2 of 4 (permalink) Old 10-16-2013, 11:47 PM
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Honestly, I don't think he would get completely comfortable unless he was around another cat 24/7, but I really don't know.

It sounds like he is doing well around cats. I mean, they are going to hiss and growl at each other until the pecking order is worked out.

I have two older cats and am prone to bringing other cats/kittens into the house as rescues. There's always hissing and growling and maybe a bonk upside the head from time to time, but they usually get it worked out.

I think taking my cats to the shelter for socialization would be more traumatizing than just bringing a cat home. But that's my kitties.

Maybe other people will have more sage advice than me. We shall see.
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post #3 of 4 (permalink) Old 10-17-2013, 01:00 AM
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That's a really fun activity you have for kitty there. Just be alert to his habits and make sure he doesn't start acting different. Stress in cats can cause a multitude of problems, and cats tend to not show their stress very outright so just pay special attention to how well he keeps going to the litter box, as many problems will first manifest there. I'm not saying your kitty is stressed by this, actually he sounds rather the opposite, like he thoroughly enjoys his visits, but cats are very good at hiding their stress, and can be stressed very easily, so it's better to keep an eye out for it!

Now another note, socializing cats isn't necessarily the same as socializing dogs, though I'd say this is a good way to get him used to other cats, it's no guarantee that's how he'll act in his home environment. As you can already see, a lot depends on the particular cats he interacts with, and the fact that he's in "their" home might make him more friendly, and less confrontational.

But yeah, the amount of time won't matter I don't think. Cats either get along (or tolerate) other cats or they simply won't. No amount of socialization will make them more social towards other cats (unless it is done at a young age). You seem to have a cat that tolerates other cats fairly well in a strange environment, but like I said, you might see a complete 180 when these other cats are encroaching on his territory. No matter how social the cat, always take the introductions of new cats slowly to avoid huge conflicts.

Just an example, the boy we adopted from the shelter was 100% ok with other cats, he was kept in the "cat room" of a local pet store who holds cats for our shelter. Now, I am almost certain if we were to bring a "friend" home he would be very territorial and potentially aggressive towards that other cat, no matter how "used" to other cats he is. He's already proven this when he gets out and the local grey tabby is roaming around our yard. He chases that cat away, screeching all the while. I'm sure with proper introductions he'd be fine, but just bringing another cat in would be a big no no.
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post #4 of 4 (permalink) Old 10-17-2013, 10:05 AM Thread Starter
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Very good information, thanks! I have been keeping an eye on him for any potential stress issues but he has been perfectly normal only thing I see is he will sometimes avoid going near the door only after I put his harness on because that's his sign that we are going outdoors... but that has been something he does on and off already.

I wouldn't go as far as to say he enjoys it haha.. but he is very tolerable and relaxed.

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