Can This Outside Cat Ever Come In? - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
 
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post #1 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-30-2015, 01:50 PM Thread Starter
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Can This Outside Cat Ever Come In?

A few months back an approximately 6 month old kitten would show up in my yard, pass through, and then dart away the moment he saw me through a window or if I opened the door. He would show up once or twice a week and I assumed he was someone's pet and left it at that. Then one day he stopped showing and I figured he was fine at home.
Six months ago a friend found a stray she couldn't keep and we agreed to take him. Maybe 8 months old or so. Shortly thereafter the vagabond kitten started coming back into my yard. Imagine my surprise when these two male cats, mine neutered, the other not, decided to be friends and would be rolling around in the grass, climbing trees, and wrestling. This has been going on now for about three months or so. He began hanging around here throughout the day, every day, so we've been feeding him, as well. During this time he was skittish and fearful of upright, two-legged things that were always present, always keeping his distance. About two months ago I trapped him, had him neutered, vaccinated, and dewormed. He's gained weight and looks good.
Recently he has relaxed a bit around us and we can now pet him briefly. He'll come running if he sees or hears us, and will rub against my leg, (and by the way, whenever he does this he always feels the need to give my leg a little bite. . .why?)
OK. . .where am I going with this? He wants to come into the house and we have opened the door and he has wandered in. But the moment he does my cat pounces on him in a way that isn't as playful as when they are outside. It's almost as if my cat is setting a boundary: you can share my yard but not my house. Is this possible? If so, can this cat ever be fully domesticated and become a welcome member of the household? Or will he always be semi-feral?
Thanks for listening!
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post #2 of 7 (permalink) Old 09-30-2015, 10:59 PM
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It sounds like your guy is definitely defending his territory.

I think it's up to you. If they still get along outside I'd consider bringing the stray in, confining him to one room (which will also help teach him litter box habits he likely doesn't currently have) and doing an introduction. It'll probably go fairly easily, but I'd suggest starting with a goal of 2 months. One full month of separation to encourage good litter box habits, and then the second to work on allowing your cat to get used to him being inside.

How feral he'll be at the end of it remains to be seen, but expect a big backslide once he realizes he's permanently confined. He'll likely get over it, but probably will backslide again once he gets full access to the house. With semi ferals it can be a long process, so be prepared for it to be years before you can actually hold him or touch him.

I'd strongly suggest teaching him kennels are a good safe place, as you'll never be able to forcibly kennel him. Keeping an open one in his safe room 9door off) will go a long way to help, as would putting treats in it daily.
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post #3 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-01-2015, 07:18 AM Thread Starter
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Thank you for the reply, librarychick. I'm not planning on keeping him indoors permanently. My cat has free rein to stay in or go out as he pleases. He doesn't use a litter box. The only restriction is I don't allow him to stay outside overnight. So with the feral I'm planning on doing the same. I just want this guy to have a safe place to go when it storms outside, a place to sleep, a place for human interaction and affection.
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post #4 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-01-2015, 07:32 AM
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I think you still have to do what Library chick has suggested as this is about making it a happy relationship for both cats indoors as it is when outdoors. Then, once both are happy they can have run of house and garden
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post #5 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-01-2015, 11:17 AM
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Lexi, my female was a feral, probably 6-8 months old when found. She acted the same way outside, came running, rubbed my leg, little nips. Had her fixed, brought her in and the next 3 years she basically communicated by hissing. You could pet her, but she always nipped lightly then morphed into licking my hand endlessly. Now 10 years later she is the ultimate lap cat. If this guy is friendly as described, bring him inside, he will quickly figure out sleeping on a bed is better than under a bush.
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post #6 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-01-2015, 01:13 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fanwoodguy View Post
. . .If this guy is friendly as described, bring him inside, he will quickly figure out sleeping on a bed is better than under a bush.
Indeed, a mattress is better than a rock.
The bigger issue I'm having is my cat will not let this guy set foot in the house. I must say I'm quite surprised by this show of territorialism, (is that a word??).
Outside, the two of them can be found wresting and rolling around and chasing one another. The other morning I found the two of them running across the roof of my house. The feral cat is definitely the aggressor outside, too. But indoors, my cat's disposition changes and he wants to be the boss. I'll have to find a way to make this work.
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post #7 of 7 (permalink) Old 10-01-2015, 02:04 PM
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You have already survived the most difficult part, they know each other. Do the introductions indoor as if they were new to each other. This should go rather quickly since they know each others scents, just have to work out indoor territory.
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