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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 04-16-2019, 12:12 PM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Olympic Peninsula, WA
Posts: 5
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?
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 04-17-2019, 11:33 PM
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Location: Cobourg, Ontario, Canada
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I've had many cats but none that behaved like Soxx.
Soxx likely missed out on socialization to people which he would have learned in the first 3 months of his life.

Why is he so relaxed on my lap indoors but not out on the deck?
He's comfortable in the house because he knows it is safe....the great outdoors can be full of surprises and dangers (stray dogs, other cats) and he wants to be alert to anything in his environment---so he's on guard.

Why doesn't he explore more inside?
Not as interesting as the great outdoors, with birds or other small creatures---mice, voles, snakes, toads.

Is he too old now to learn to play?
Likely he finds "string and toys", just don't measure up to the real thing----real birds, and mousies.

How do I get him to use a litter box?
Try sprinkling some dirt on top. Try some "cat attract" litter and see if that makes a difference.


Can he ever become an indoor only cat?
Not likely now since he's been outside for quite a long time.....perhaps as he ages past 12 yrs he may seek more time to relax in the house where he knows it's a safe haven.

"There are no ordinary cats.";"Time spent with a cat is never wasted."~ Colette
"A loving cat can mend a wounded heart." ~ Unknown Author
Alkitotle aka "Alkee", "Lambie" (July 2/04 - Oct. 2/15) -- white Devon Rex
in avatar. "Always in my heart."
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 04-23-2019, 12:13 AM Thread Starter
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Join Date: Apr 2018
Location: Olympic Peninsula, WA
Posts: 5
Thanks for responding
.
I did think of the safety issue as a reason for him sleeping on the couch but then he leaves to sleep in his condo on the deck where presumably he's less safe!? Since I first wrote he's come into my bedroom once while I was laying on the bed. He jumped up next to me. I spoke to him in my normal voice but made no move to touch him. After about 30 seconds he jumped down and quickly went back to the living room.


If I lay down on the living room floor, he walks over to me and rubs up against me, going back and forth and mewing. After a minute or two he lays down next to me, behaving as he does when he sits on my lap.


I did put out a litter box which he noticed and sniffed around it (a completely cleaned box withfresh litter), got in for a couple seconds and then ingnored it for 3 weeks. I then spread some of the soil/mulch from our yard on top. He noticed it and 2 days later got in, dug a hole, sat over it and then left. When I checked, he hadn't done anthing in the box and didn't even cover the hole. Since then he's just ignored it. I'm going to get some of that "cat attract" stuff and see if that works.
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