Why couldn't I tame this feral?
Okay, I'm new here. Never owned a cat before. Had a roommate with a cat, and the cat and I became best buds. I am a total cat person. Cats always come up to me, get along with me, while dogs bark at me, growl, and even try to chase me. LOL. Anyway, so here's my story of how I tried to tame a feral. I'm curious to get opinions on what went wrong.
So in my condo complex there are these two cats that hang out. One of them is fed regularly by a neighbor, but the other one, a scrawny orange tabby, was generally afraid of people and would run when people approached. I felt bad for the little guy, so I got some cold cuts and found him one evening under a bench where he liked to hang out. At first he was hesitant, but then he realized I was feeding him, so he came out for the meat. I pet him a bit and he didn't resist. The next night he was in the common areas and I fed him again. Eventually he came up to my condo. Eventually he came inside and started hanging out with me.
So I bought the little guy two bowls, one for water and one for food. I bought some of the hard cat food and the soft kind. I also bought a little cat bed for him and a litter box. At first he stuck to the food, water, and bed in the corner of the room, and seemed appreciative. But he always wanted to go outside after a few hours. Didn't want to be just an indoor cat I assumed. So I would let him out, and he would come back the next evening or whenever.
Things got rocky though when I tried to civilize him, for lack of a better word. For one thing, he got it into his head that it was okay to bite me. He would nip during petting, which was fine, because it wasn't hard. But sometimes he would grab my arm, dig his claws in, and basically tried to bite my hand. Of course I would instinctively yell, causing him to run away in fear, or because he knew I would be angry. Usually I handled this by putting him outside. Sometimes he would just run outside, but other times I had to physically put him outside. He didn't like this at all. He felt that I was intruding on his right to be inside my place I guess. LOL.
Then there was the issue of sleeping habits. We tried it several ways. First he was fine spending the night out with his feral friends. Then he wanted to sleep inside, especially when it was cold, so he moved up to the couch and forgot his cat bed existed. Then he would wake me up by scratching on my bedroom door, demanding to come in and sleep with me. So we tried that, but the cat insisted on sleeping on TOP of me, waking me up whenever I turned over. Now, my former roommate's cat would sometimes sleep at the foot of my bed too, but it wasn't a problem when I lived there, because when I turned over, the cat would just jump off the bed, or adjust accordingly. But this cat did NOT like it when I interrupted his sleep by requiring him to move. This led to me putting him in the living room, more demands by him to be let in, me putting him outside, or some combination of that.
Speaking of which, the cat often refused to let me move him, and responded by biting me while in the process. This of course led to me being startled and saying, "Ow!" (or something more profane, LOL), the cat being startled and running away, me putting him outside, etc. Basically an unpleasant experience for everyone.
Feeding time was also a challenge. The cat soon decided that the dry food was too ordinary for him. So I bought him greater amounts of wet food. But he soon tired of that too. He would go to the kitchen and meow for me to feed him. I would give him dry food. He would refuse to eat. I would open a can of wet food. He would eat a few bites and then walk away from it. He continued to demand something else. Now I am not stingy with my food. I like to eat and I appreciate a pet who likes to eat as well! So I would try to give him my table food. Some toppings from my pizza. A little piece of hamburger. Etc. He rejected almost everything. But he still meowed like he was crazy hungry. I seriously don't know what this cat wanted from me. Oh, and he stopped using his water bowl, which I kept full, and insisted on drinking from the toilet.
So the story seems to end with the cat acting very weird about coming up to my place. The weather has just gotten warm down here in the south, and the cat seems to be enjoying his days and nights outside. He did see me come home today and came up to my door. I opened it and he peered inside like everything was new to him. He'd been here a hundred times before and always rushed right in, so I don't know why he hesitated. Then he came in, snuck into the bathroom for the toilet water, and snuck into the dark bedroom. I came to find him and picked him up like I often do. He proceeded to bite me, not hard, but just hard enough for me to drop him. He ran to the front door and stood there. He wanted me to kick him out, the tricky little guy.
So I now realize that trying to tame a feral was kind of silly for an inexperienced cat person. I'm sure this cat was used to going where he pleased, eating what he pleased, and sleeping where and when he pleased, and my lifestyle seemed oppressive to him. But still, I am curious as to his behavior. Why did he demand food and then refuse to eat? What caused the biting? Why has he been so hesitant to come and visit lately? Is he just weirded out by the whole thing?