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Discussion Starter #1
It's been a while but Orange seems to have survived the winter. Here is the problem, I do not trust this cat. He continues to show up to eat, even walked into the house this morning. He will sit right next to me outside while eating but he continues to be very jumpy. He is vocal when he arrives for his meal but once the food is finished he is gone. He never used the shelter i made for him. The local rescue is offering $25 neutering so I will probably trap him if possible and get him altered. Given he is about 2 years old I doubt he will ever be a house cat but we seem close to a breakthrough. So the question to anyone with experience is, if trapped and altered do I keep him caged and isolated to see if he tames or just let him continue as before?
 

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Since you are dealing with one cat, I would suggest that, if you can, you should keep him in and use the opportunity to try to get closer to him. What were you visualising as "caged"?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I do not have a room to isolate this cat. I do have a 4 foot long by 2 foot wide by 2 foot tall containment cage I had constructed. There is a shelf plus a hiding place in case the cat is threatened with adequate space for a small litter box. I do have to resident cats who have encountered Orange in the yard, he is the dominate animal in that situation. No fighting, mine just back up and become submissive. He is only interested in eating anyway. My male buddy charged Orange once, he was swatted pretty hard and has since given Orange space on the rare occasion they are in the yard at the same time. Orange only appears at dusk or dawn, rarely any other time.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Well Orange still lives outside but now I get a leg rub. Glaciers move faster than this cat socializes but when he is here he is safe and calm. I had to intercede when the neighborhood coyote tried to get at the food. Fortunately the coyote is very frightened of people and took off while Orange hid behind me. Hopefully it will not return. Orange only gets fed when he shows up so I don't create a destination for the rest of suburban wildlife.
 

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You seem to have an orange version of my gray feral... I've had him feeding at my back door now for several years. He's been trapped (not by me) and neutered (and was then brought here for safe keeping as the people where he used to hang out were planning to kill him). I kept him caged for two weeks so he'd become aware that this is where food is and not try to run across town to his old haunts. I've pretty muct (sadly) accepted that Smokey will never be a Pet Cat. He has a fairly safe fenced yard and a styrofoam shelter on a shelf for winter and two meals a day even if I'm out of town. That's the best I can do at this time..
 

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I would trap him, s/n, shots and release him after a day. IF you want him to be an indoor cat and you don't have a spare room to socialize him I would let him come and go as he wants. He will start spending longer and longer time once he starts to feel comfortable in your house. It all takes baby steps and short interaction with him in the house. It took us 4 yrs to make our faux feral a house cat. He did it at his own pace with gentle nudges pushing his boundaries of petting, lifting, holding, etc.
 
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