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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-15-2013, 05:47 PM Thread Starter
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Bringing home a semi-feral cat - updated

For several months I have been feeding a cat that lives near my office and am thinking about bringing him home. My question is about getting him fixed/examined/immunized. Should I catch him and take him to the vet straight away, or should I give him some time to get used to me first? I guess I know the answer is the vet, but I just hate to traumatize him any more than necessary. I do have another cat (spayed female), so I’m sure vet is the way to go. Just looking for some moral support, I guess.

He is a petite, young Siamese looking cat with the sweetest blue eyes. My office is in a residential area and our neighbors have told me that he is indeed a stray (among several), has been around over a year and has not been seen pregnant, thus, must be a male. They say he will let one of the residents hold him in his lap, so I think he might be social-able. They said the resident said he would catch him for me if I would like, and put him in a carrier. But, I do have a friend who has a humane trap and was wondering if that would be better. Kitty is always waiting for me in the mornings, waiting for his food. He has not let me pet him, but ate a couple of bites of canned food from my hand the other day. I have been trying to gain his trust, so have not really been pushing to touch him. I put my hand out and if he backs away I usually only try one or two more times before I let him be so he can eat. We are animal people and know how to treat/care for him when I bring him home. Our current kitty was a socialized feral kitten and had her own room until she was comfortable enough to venture out. It is still her play room, but she roams the whole house now. Thanks for any advice/info/support!

Last edited by marie73; 02-06-2013 at 03:55 PM. Reason: font
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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 01-15-2013, 06:19 PM
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Honestly, I think you DO know what to do! You seem to be answering your own questions. Always take the path of least resistance. Let the neighbor catch and crate him as long as he doesn't terrorize the cat by doing so. I think a live trap might be a bit much for this guy. And, yes, definitely get him vaccinated, examined and neutered...especially if you are considering keeping him. If you are going to re-release him into the outdoors (or keep him indoors) I would get a flea preventer maybe, too. Sounds like you are already emotionally involved! Don't be surprised if the introduction process with resident kitty is loud and somewhat wild - hopefully it won't last too long. Let us know how it goes!

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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-05-2013, 09:25 PM Thread Starter
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I have had the cat for about two weeks now. He does not hiss or scratch or run away. He is docile and will let me pet him but he sits very still and cringes a little bit. Sometimes he backs away. He is in my guestroom and stays under the bed. Sometimes he is in the window when I open the door but he jumps down and goes back under the bed. Recently we have heard him scratching at the door. I thought about cracking the door slightly but I am afraid to do this because I have another cat and I don't know how they will react to each other. Just looking for some advice on how to proceed with him. I know he is not happy in that room. Thanks.

Have not taken him to the vet yet, but will soon. Not ready to do that to him yet.

Last edited by meowmiss; 02-05-2013 at 09:28 PM.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-06-2013, 08:27 AM Thread Starter
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Bringing home a semi-feral cat-Update

I have had the cat for about two weeks now. He does not hiss or scratch or run away. He is docile and will let me pet him but he sits very still and cringes a little bit. Sometimes he backs away. He is in my guestroom and stays under the bed. Sometimes he is in the window when I open the door but he jumps down and goes back under the bed. Recently we have heard him scratching at the door. I thought about cracking the door slightly but I am afraid to do this because I have another cat and I don't know how they will react to each other. Just looking for some advice on how to proceed with him. I know he is not happy in that room.
Thanks.

Have not taken him to the vet yet, but will soon. Not ready to do that to him yet.

Last edited by marie73; 02-06-2013 at 03:56 PM.
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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-06-2013, 08:44 AM
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Make the rounds of the thrift stores and buy two baby gates. Stack them one on top of another in the door way, but be sure they are secure so kitty doesn't knock them over. This way they are still isolated but not able to get to each other. Poor fellow has been locked up for two weeks - I'd go stir crazy too.

You don't say how much time you are actually spending with him? Take a magazine in there, watch TV or just sing out loud softly for a couple hours at least twice a day. Make that your new hangout place so he gets used to you. Can you even set up a temporary bed for yourself in there? He may come out from under the bed right away, he may not, but some meaningful contact will help tremendously. After a few days of the baby gates being up and resident cat knowing he is not leaving, you can take the gates down and leave the door open. Then just see what happens. Ideally they will just sniff and walk away from each other. They may hiss and yowl. They may attack. Don't be too alarmed by any of the these responses. Although stressful to watch, unless the fur is really flying with knock down drag out fights just ignore it.

If things get too intolerable then put RESIDENT cat in to isolation and let new kitty explore for a day or so then try again. Repeat with rotating the cats in to the safe room as needed to keep them somewhat separated. This gives each of them space to relax....let them. It may take days, it may take weeks, it may take months, but NORMALLY they will eventually agree to disagree and live relatively peacefully together. In a perfect world they will become friends, you will win the lottery and war all over the world will end....well, maybe they will just become friends. Hope this helps.

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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-06-2013, 09:58 AM
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Marcia gave you really great advice. However, before you proceed to this point, make sure you get your new kitty to the vet to be checked out. You don't want to unknowingly introduce any sicknesses or communicable diseases to your current cat. Once your new kitty gets a clean bill of health, then proceed with Marcia's advice. Good luck and of course, we must have pictures!

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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-06-2013, 11:11 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you, Marcia for the advice! I should have thought of that myself! We use baby gates for our dogs all the time. And I agree, My4Kitties, I need to get him to the vet. It breaks my heart to think of more trauma for him, but I know it is necessary and should not be postponed any longer. I spend a lot of time with him on the weekends, but week nights he only gets an hour or so. Last night he came out to eat while I was sitting in the room. Will post a pic soon. He is precious! But, aren't they all!
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-06-2013, 12:13 PM
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I think the fact that you can pet him already is a very good sign. I would proceed slowly, I brought mine to the vets right away the day we trapped her, and made out ok. She still has a long way to go, it's been 6 months, but she is progressing nicely.
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