Join Date: Dec 2018
Location: Arizona mountains
question about cat behavior
I moved into a new house recently in a little mountain town in Arizona. A stray cat started coming around, and I later learned he had been abandoned by owners that had left town. I started feeding him because I like having a cat around, to deal with mice and rabbits that might ruin my garden. He seems pretty smart and well-behaved but very nervous around anyone he doesn't know (which is a good thing for an outside cat); it took a few months before he would let me or my daughter approach him, but now he won't leave us alone and always wants to be petted. But no one else can get close to him.
He acts like he wants to come in the house, and I think he was probably an indoor/outdoor cat before he was abandoned. I've had house cats before and like having them inside. But the only male house cats I've ever had inside had been neutered when they were young. This one is probably a couple of years old and has not been neutered. I've heard that an unneutered male cat will mark his territory inside a house and it will soak into the woodwork, where you can't get it out. And I've heard that if a male cat is not neutered before adulthood he'll probably mark even if he is neutered. I live in a historic log house that could probably be put on the National Register and it's all wood inside. So I don't want to risk having a cat mark inside.
If I decide to get him neutered, I don't know how I'd get him in to a vet as scared as he is around anyone he doesn't know really well. I don't know if I could even get him into a cat carrier. And I don't even know if he's had his shots.
So the question is, what is the likelihood that he would mark inside if I do get him neutered and bring him inside occasionally? Or am I maybe better off just leaving him as is and letting him remain an outside cat, unneutered and with his claws? It doesn't get too cold here so it isn't like he can't survive outside, and he has a nice big yard here. But I'm sure he would enjoy curling up by the fireplace on winter evenings. And if I ever get mice in the house I like a cat better than mouse traps, because in my experience the cat has always worked so much better.