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post #1 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-25-2014, 04:50 PM Thread Starter
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Adopted Feral Cat Issues

Hi everyone,

I am having issues with my cat Jasper and am completely lost as for what to do. He was born feral, his mother dropped him off at my house as a kitten. He was tame from the beginning, and after feeding him and bonding with him, my ex-husband and I brought him inside at 10 months old. He got along with our other three cats and became a lap kitty who loves to cuddle on the couch and in bed. Loves belly rubs.

However, I have been having problems ever since moving to a new house after my divorce. My husband and I split up our four cats, I took him and my other cat Pepper who he used to play with all the time. I moved into a new house in a different neighborhood. He has become a non-stop complainer, constantly begging to be let out on the screened porch (he didn't have one of those before). Non-stop. He will sit at the back door and yowl for 20-30 minutes straight. If I don't feed him as soon as I wake up, or as soon as I walk in the door after work, he follows me around and yowls until I do. Again, it's non-stop. Could go on for an hour.

On top of the constant noise from him, he seems stressed. Not playing as much, not playing with Pepper, and extremely fixated on wanting to be outside. We have a ton of feral and outdoor cats in this neighborhood, and he watches them through the windows and gets upset. If he sees one in the backyard while he's on the porch, he starts the car alarm noises, fluffs up, and tries to attack them. He cries for me to open windows. When I close them, he cries for what seems like eternity to have them open again. He just seems to be in a constant state of upset. Extra attention and playtime do not help. As soon as I'm done giving him attention, he goes back to the door and starts to whine again.

I have had many cats over the years (including another adopted feral), my entire life, and never had problems that I couldn't deal with by just changing the environment, my approach, or more interaction. I am lost.

What do I do? I cannot handle the whining, in all honesty it's driving me nuts. I am bonded to him, but part of me wants to put him back outside. I fear for his safety though, because I see at least one roadkill kitty in this neighborhood every month. I have never been a supporter of indoor/outdoor cats, but I think it's what he wants. He did great for a year, now he seems miserable. He is either yowling, pacing, or sulking. I know he has been through a lot of change, but Pepper is fine, and I've noticed that he is worse the more time I have the windows open or let him on the porch. It's like he is getting the taste of outdoors again and wants to be back out there.

Should I put him back outside? Do indoor/outdoor? Contact a rescue to rehome him? What are your thoughts?

Thank you for your help. I am at wits end.
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post #2 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-25-2014, 06:41 PM
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Now that the weather is nice, could you buy or build him a catio? Even a window insert could let him experience enough of the outdoors to calm him down.
No, I wouldn't let him out since you're near a dangerous road.
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post #3 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-25-2014, 10:15 PM
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is he fixed?
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post #4 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-27-2014, 02:13 PM
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You mentioned you had a screened porch. Why not put a dog door out to it so he could come and go as he pleases.
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post #5 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-27-2014, 02:35 PM
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FYI.... please don't put the cat back at a shelter. 75% of cats which enter shelters don't make it out. Or even if it is a no kill shelter an unsuspecting person with less compassion than you might adopt the cat and then when it becomes a whiner at their house they may drive some where and dump it to die.

Half the cats we trap/ TNR are abandoned and unable to survive on their own outside and in bad condition. Its heart breaking.
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post #6 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-28-2014, 01:21 AM
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Hi sporkula, did he get to go out at all before you moved? If not, I hope you don't let him outside, because he's not a feral cat anymore. Despite his wanting to go out, he probably wouldn't do well fending for himself with so many other kitties around.

I've had a similar problem with my indoor-only and very timid cat who's never shown much interest in going out. We'd always lived on the 2nd floor and she could sit on the deck. But I bought this house last year, and the ground floor deck is fascinating her. She's escaped 3 times, and now meows and scratches at the screened porch door, something she'd never done in 12 years with me. It's not constant, though, so I just ignore her.

How long has it been since you moved?

It seems like all of the other kitties he sees, combined with the new location, are really stressing him out. You could try a pheromone spray, like Feliway, to calm him down. You might also try not opening the windows (if you can live with that) and not letting him out on the screened porch at all.

Or...if you have the time and the inclination, you could see if he's willing to walk outside on a leash. One of my cats used to LOVE that.
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post #7 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-29-2014, 01:04 PM Thread Starter
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He is fixed, and up to date on shots. I will definitely not even consider bringing him to a shelter. If I decided I could not keep him, I would look at foster organizations as my only option for re-homing.

I am a renter so I can't install a doggy door to the patio. I also hesitate to leave him out there unsupervised, because we get quite a few feline visitors and he goes nuts when he sees them. I left him outside on the porch with Pepper a few days ago, he got spooked, and ended up attacking her, complete with those blood-curdling cat screams. He had clumps of her fur in his claws. That incident is what made me think of possibly rehoming him, more for her sake, because I don't want her to be stressed or injured by his behavior.

I moved into this house about 4 months ago. I never let him outside before moving here. I never even opened windows, because my last house didn't have screens. In my new house, I have to open windows when I shower or cook, because it's poorly ventilated and the landlord requires it to avoid mold (yay Florida). But personally, I love opening windows and it saves me AC money. While I notice his behavior improves the less he is exposed to the outdoors, I don't want to feel like a prisoner in my home and be unable to enjoy my porch or let Pepper enjoy the porch and open windows.

He does also frequently try to escape. He has once, through a tiny window on my door that was covered with decorative wood bars... until he apparently jumped up there, broke them, and escaped. Once I lured him back in with food, he spent the rest of the night trying to jump through the window and get back out.

The Feliway spray is a good idea, I will try that.
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post #8 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-29-2014, 03:00 PM
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I duct tape my screens so I can leave windows open. Florida is so beautiful this time of year.
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post #9 of 9 (permalink) Old 04-29-2014, 03:28 PM
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It sounds to me like he's bored. Do you play with him? The first thing I'd do is play with him daily until he's panting. Burn off some of his crazies.

Thing two would be buying a door that you COULD put a cat-door in. Installing and removing doors really isn't that tough, and you could just store the rental property's door until you moved and re-install it. I'd probably tell your landlord though to prevent freaking out

I'm also going to second the catio idea. They can be semi-permanent, and if he can be in there safely and it helps get his sillies out it's totally worth it.

In the warmer months (this week through until we get frost) we can put Muffin out in the kitty pen when he gets all crazy and it just does wonders tiring him out. He can sit out there and watch the birds, run around a bit, and roll in the dirt to his little heart's content. Then come back inside when he's ready for a nap. Between that and the auto laser pointer it makes him much easier to live with when he's intent on being a pain.
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