Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Olympic Peninsula, WA
Need help understanding cat behavior.
My buddy Soxx is a male feral cat I first met when he was 3 or 4 months old, did TNR plus shots and started feeding him on my covered deck. He's now 6 years old and 15 pounds. On my deck he has a carpeted cat tower with a heated "condo" at the top and a cat door into my livingroom which is available 24/7. I feed him indoors twice a day. He is very wary and it took a long time to gain his trust but I'm retired and have lots of free time.
When he enters my living room, he goes straight to his food bowl about 10 feet away near my chair. If I'm in my chair, after eating he will jump onto my lap, groom a little, head bump my nose and then lay down and sleep. He lets me brush him and check his paws, eyes, ears and teeth. If I'm not around he'll usually leave or sometimes go to "his" corner of the couch to sleep. (I have recording cameras both inside and out.) The only things he marks inside are me and my chair and one end of the couch. He almost never leaves the living room even when I encourage him to follow me. A few times he has left the living room when we're asleep. Then he has strolled from the living room to the dining room to the kitchen and back to the living room, never stopping to check anything. He never goes on other furniture or the counters.
When I go out on the deck and he is there, he immediately runs to the opposite side and sometimes off the deck. If I sit down he may come by me and let me pet him but refuses to jump onto my lap and often just lays down on the deck about 10 feet from me.
He often spends early mornings on the couch, 1 to 5 AM, then heads out to his "condo". He'll spend more time indoors in inclement weather, on my lap or on the floor by my chair or on the couch if we're not around.
I've put out cat toys and he ignores them. I've tried for years to interact with him using feathers, string, and other toys. He watches for a minute or so and then will run away if I continue.
I've had many cats but none that behaved like Soxx.
Why is he so relaxed on my lap indoors but not out on the deck?
Why doesn't he explore more inside?
Is he too old now to learn to play?
How do I get him to use a litter box?
Can he ever become an indoor only cat?