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Discussion Starter #1
I've been feeding this strays' colony for a few months, and 2 cats there called my attention for their friendliness (they'll sit on my lap for hours) and their apparent suffering in the street life. One of them struck me as an obvious former house cat and I adopted him 4 weeks ago. It was easy: each day he became braver and followed me further and further until one day he followed me all the way up the stairs to my apt. and I closed the door behind him.

Now, the other one is too scared to follow me inside the building. I tried it many times and it didn't work. She does follow me everywhere, but inside the building she can smell other cats' territory markings and won't come in. She's also not a former house cat, apparently, as she's not as gentle as my Prince. She can bite me if scared and feeling cornered (although she's become a lot more gentle with me with the time).

She's become a bit of an obsession to me, to save her from the streets. She has these huge, frightened eyes that I can't ever forget...always tense and alert and never resting...and I worry constantly about her. I ache to see her all warm and safe, I have so many nice blankets and cushions and good food to give her, and love and safety. I wanted to adopt her long before I met Prince, only I said to myself: "whoever dares follow me all the way to the apt, can stay in it forever" so it was Prince I adopted.

She and my Prince have known each other for months, as they belong to the same strays' colony here downstairs. Prince is desperate for friends. But I don't know if they'd get along.

And I have absolutely no idea if she'd be fine being an outdoor/indoor cat like Prince or an indoor cat.

Besides, I have no idea how to bring her into my apt.

My father, my last family, died last week and I know I want to raise a family of my own, which I never did, so if the landlord is not ok with the cats (which he already said he isn't), I'll move somewhere else, wherever they accept me with 2 cats. Budget wise I'm able to afford 2 cats.

And I love both of them to bits. :p
 

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I apologize for unintentionally hijacking the last thread. That being said I feel a little out of my league on this one. All of the strays I have taken in and adopted out I crated and brought in to a safe place and worked from there. But I never made them my own so that would make things different. I would assume that if you decided to have her as an indoor/outdoor baby that she would need to be inside for quite a while before you let her back out so that she would associate the house as her territory. If she doesn't want to come inside on her own then I'm not sure how to get her there except through trapping. I'm very excited to hear other peoples thoughts on this and to learn! Do you have a picture of your little stray female?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Nicole, it was I who went off-topic on the other thread, no apologies necessary. :)

I don't have a photo of her, unfortunately, I indeed want to take photos of my strays downstairs, but she looks a bit like Cloud, only sad and scared. Cloud seems to be smiling in that photo.

I kept Prince inside the apt for 2 weeks before I let him out the first time. I acted on intuition alone on this one, so I'm glad you say it was the right thing to do!
 

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She sounds amazingly friendly for only having known her for a few months of feeding... Are you sure she couldn't be a former house cat that's been abandoned? My cat used to be owned by someone (I would assume) as she was spayed and has unreadable numbers in her ears yet it took over a year before she allowed me close enough to pet her, and just like you, she was my obsession to tame and it still took that long. Then another year or more to get her comfortable coming inside and walking around the whole house - at first I tried carrying her inside but she freaked out in the house once the door would close and the only way I was able to make it work without freaking her out was by using a cat door for her to come and go as she wanted - at first she only came for the food but she later stayed for the companionship. That obviously isn't possible for you as you're living in an apartment. Anyway, there are really only two ways around this from what I can see:

Wait it out by doing what you're doing, I don't have any tricks for making this easy - this could take ages, maybe never, for her to feel ready to walk willingly into your apartment. What floor are you on? The higher up you are the more likely this wont work. It'll be too many stairs and she'll feel traped long before you close the apartment door behind her. On top of this fact is that you already have Prince and if they don't remember eachother that'll be very problematic, cats don't always remember like people do. Even if they do remember, Prince might very likely want to protect his new home from outsiders taking it from him. She could also easily be extra leery because of trespassing on his domain. Given your curcomestances of a disapproving landlord and already having one cat I don't recomened this approach if you want it to work out well.

Trap the cat and bring her inside - I really think this would for the best if you want her in your house as an adjusted member of your family. At fist she'll likely be very upset at being moved indoors but with time and care cats can normally become used to an indoor only life, or you can let her out with Prince once you feel she knows her place in the house and that she is getting along with Prince. Like already mentioned, you'd need to start out with her confined in the apartment and probably to a room Prince can't get in, it would be better to start off the intro like they don't know eachother first.

Best of luck, whatever you decide. And I'm so sorry to hear about your father, I can't imagine how horrible that must be.
 

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I tamed/socialized both Malibu and Pretty *outside* before they ever came inside. It was a long process; 5mo before I could "first touch" Mallie and 14mo before "first touch" with Pretty. Of course, Pretty took the longest to tame/socialize. I think it was at least 2yrs before I could ever convince her to come inside and overall it was a good 4yrs before she became truly comfortable.
It was all worth it when she leapt onto a friend's lap to demand his attention as he was in the middle of an animated story. My husband and I looked at each other with our jaws dropped because we knew what we had just witnessed was a landmark moment in Pretty's life.
I do know that if I had forced the issue by bringing her inside I could have achieved results faster, but for her, this method of letting her go at her own pace worked best. I have no hesitation bringing in feral kittens to tame/socialize, but I've never done so with adult cats. I've always tamed/socialized them outside before they came inside. The only exception was The Wanderer who had broken his leg and had to wear a cast, I brought him and his 'hutch' into the house from the barn because I felt the weather was getting too hot for him to be outside.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Carmel, thank you for your kind words and for the very detailed reply! It's all exactly as you say.

Heidi, thank you, I went over old threads on here yesterday looking for similar topics, and found your posts recommending what you tell me here too. I really prefer the free approach too.

She's obviously a former house cat, because she sat and fell asleep on my lap on day 1, and isn't afraid of people at all, but she's terribly afraid of other cats, so she won't come in by herself. I guss the only way would be trapping, much as I don't like the idea, but I live on a 5th floor. I've gotten her and Prince used to sitting one on my lap and the other next to me, while I pet them both at the same time, so maybe the separate room won't be necessary? I ask because I don't have an extra room...though I have plenty nice, hiding corners all over the apt. Both Prince and she are neutered. I guess there's no telling how they'll react till I have them both here... :)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Edit: Actually, "obviously" is not the right word. She may or may not be a former house cat, I don't know. But she's certainly different from all the other strays.
 

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Oh Prince is gonna be thrilled! I think it would be safe to assume she was someone's somewhere along the way. At sometime she learned to love people and must have interacted with them. Oh how exciting!!

I may be misunderstanding your apartment situation, but is there any way you could set her up maybe in your bedroom or bathroom? I did all of my cat's safety rooms as my bedroom because my scent was strongest in there. The only reason why I think it is so important is because you don't know if she has ever even been inside before. It is such a new world for her. She may not have ever felt carpet under her feet, the sound of the toilet flushing, the telephone ringing. This could be overwhelming so I think the safety room would be a good place to calm her fear before she explores the rest of the house.

I recommend this out of experience. My mother's cat was in her safety room for about a month and my mother just couldn't wait for her to be a part of the rest of the house (I completely sympathy with this feeling). So she let her cat out long before she was ready. The cat was extremely petrified. The family immediately went on a trip and when we got back she was still very freaked and bolted out the door. It was 2 weeks before we found her under the house. It was 9 months before her cat decided to make the rest of the house her own. But she is confident and unafraid of any of it and my mother will tell you it was worth the effort and patience. If you are able to create a safe place to start and let her set the pace of when she wants to explore the house then you will have a much smoother and less traumatic experience then my poor mom had.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Nicole, again you're spot on. Now that you mention it, her worst fear and why she won't come in is that the building lobby's walls are covered in mirrors and she runs from her own reflection thinking it's other cats surrounding her. Prince (and another stray that came in a few times) knew from the start that those weren't other cats.

I can certainly put her in the bathroom or bedroom, those are places I can close the doors of, but Prince and I need to use those 2 rooms...
 

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Yes, perhaps trapping would be ideal if weather is an issue. I chose to trap Captain Jack because winter was coming along and I was afraid he'd be frozen. Obviously, he was quite upset at first, but judging from the stories of the others, he came along very rapidly. He forgave me and I could touch him going into about the 2nd month after knowing him. Going into the 3rd month I could pick him up.

Also, I had also tried to get him to follow me into the house but without success. He was skittish and likely smelt the scent of Rocky the dog and existing cat, Miu. So with winter coming up soon, I felt I had no choice but to trap him.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Alpaca, I can certainly understand that he was upset and angry at you - how dare you worry about him out there in the cold and rain, bring him inside into your warm house, feed him goodies, pamper him, try to pet him and love and protect him, give him a safe home and a family... I'm surprised he forgave you. :)

Now seriously: weather and food are not a concern around here. Neither are dogs or people. It's the fear that cats have of each other around here that doesn't let them live in peace. I never saw one attack another, but they live in constant fear of each other, I don't know why... When she arrives, she's usually not hungry or not very hungry, she hardly eats, all she wants is my lap, petting, and for me to keep the other cats at bay...
 

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It's hard to win the trust of an animal sometimes, esp if they've been abused before or their trust breached. I guess in this case, time isn't a major factor for you and you'll have to just be patient. She may or may not follow you in one day. Guess you just gotta keep trying then. Good luck!
 

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Discussion Starter #13
How do I trap her? Do I bring a cat carrier and hope she gets in? If I put any treat in there, the other cats will attack the carrier and she'll be last to get to it... And the other cats always surround me. A professional trapper costs a lot of money, which I'd be willing to pay if I knew she'd stay, but the chances she'll want to stay are not 100%... Please help...

Today she fell asleep on my lap after about an hour of petting her, as usual on the bench in the garden downstairs. She was so miserable when I had to get up to leave... She needs a vet because I'm seeing more and more "holes" in her fur. She seemed so small and alone when I looked back...
 

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Discussion Starter #14
The other problem is that she doesn't always come when I feed. Only once every so often. So I can't book a trapping appointment...
 

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If the kitty isn't scared of sitting on your lap, then just bring a cat carrier of some kind, leave it open, and set it close to you. When she's on your lap, shover her in the carrier.

You might want to bring a towel to wrap it around her to prevent her putting up a fight and ripping you to shreads. You might also want the back of the carrier resting against a wall of some kind, I've found if there isn't a second person to hold the carrier, that if a cat really doesn't want in one they keep pushing at it with their feet and moving it away so you end up making the whole thing take a lot more work.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Maybe I'm wrong, but I think she'd bite me, she wouldn't let me push her into the carrier... She's a paranoid cat.
 

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Start desensitizing her to the carrier. If your other cats are interested that's fine too, that just means that they are already used to it if you need to take them to the vet in the future.

Start just bringing the carrier out with you when you go spend time with them. Open the door, set it on the ground and then ignore it. Your ease with it will make them feel less nervous about it and bring out their curiosity. Put treats inside to reward them. Praise them for responding to it positively. Just start making the carrier a normal part of your visit. I regularly leave my carrier out for my cats to sleep in, that way they don't only associate it with capture and vet visits. This too gives you plenty of time to look for the perfect opportunity to capture her. When she is in the carrier half way just kinda shove her booty the rest of the way and shut the door. You will have to be quick!

I wish I could come help you. Crating cats really is much easier with one person focused on the cat and the other focused on the crate.
 

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Discussion Starter #18
I'm afraid that once she's in the apt and out of the carrier, she'll bite me! :)
 

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There are many reasons why cats fear each other, I believe they are drama queens par excellance, but there are also other considerents such as access to food and territory, but also hierarchy. It is not a good idea to force a cat into accepting even great things for her and you should not do it until you are confident you get the desired outcome.
Btw: Prince looks awesome all tucked in the blanket :)
 

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Well I guess biting is always a possibility :p. I've found, generally, that most cats will swat and scratch first and reserve biting for situations that they feel very threatened in. Most don't strike like snakes with their mouths. Biting is a risk you have with any cat, just like being scratched. If you do a proper introduction of her into your home then you won't be putting yourself in a situation to be bitten because you will not be imposing yourself upon her, which is the only situation I can think of that would get you bitten initially.

If it helps any I have been bitten from cats of all ages, and although it isn't a pleasant feeling, it isn't quite as bad as it sounds. Just swelling and whatnot, but there are worse things in life lol.
 
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