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Lily is a 9 year old, 6.5 lb. cat who was feral when we brought her into our home 7 years ago and is now our lapcat. We first thought (and so did our vet) that she was a kitten because she was so small, but after further examination, the vet decided she was about 2 years old and unbeknownst to us, she was pregnant when we brought her in to be spayed and tested for diseases. It took me 10 months to be able to pet her, she had never been in a home before, but adapted to living inside.​

Cali is approximately 2 years old and weighs about 12 lbs. She showed up on our property during the winter and we felt sorry for her - she was so hungry so we started feeding her outside. My husband and I started calling her the phantom, because the food would disappear, but we'd only see her occasionally. After awhile, she would just hide under our deck stairs, wait for us to go back inside and then eat. Eventually she started sleeping on the deck railing and one night at 10:30, I turned the light on and she was sitting at the sliding doors looking in.​

We knew Lily would not be happy about having another cat in the house, but we thought we could at least get Cali spayed and tested for diseases & then let her go back out thinking she was a feral. The vet discovered (after cutting her) that she had already been spayed, so we assume she either ran away, got lost or was abandoned. We kept her downstairs in a dog crate that the sanctuary owner lent us so she could recuperate. We checked with all our neighbors (we live in a rural area) and all the local shelters and vets, but no one knew her. She showed no interest in going back outside so we put her in a spare bedroom - she adapted to the litterbox and is the perfect houseguest. She has a large window to watch the birds, etc. and we bought her a cat tree. She has been in that room now for almost two months. We have baby gates stacked on top so Lily can't get to her. We tried several times to introduce them, but Lily attacks Cali even though Cali is twice her size - she just does not want to fight - she runs and hides. She has no "chase" instinct, does not know how to play and we have to force her to interact with us. She definitely enjoys our attention (most of the time), but doesn't want to come out of that room and we still can't pick her up - she'll tolerate us petting her for only a very short time and then she'll either try to nip us or swat at us. We realize now that we have to stop trying to get the two cats to tolerate each other and strengthen our bond with her first. We feel that we have to keep her because if we bring her to a shelter, she would have to live in a cage because she's so afraid of other cats and most people who come in to adopt a cat want one that's outgoing and she's definitely not going to be sociable with strangers.
Sorry for the length of this, but I wanted to give as much detail as possible and I think we just need some moral support and would appreciate if anyone has some suggestions for speeding up this process.​
 

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it sounds like you are being tested once again with another feral. you said it took 10 months before Lily let you pet her, huh? i suppose then it wouldn't be a surprise if it took her that long as well to accept Cali. hate to bring that possibility up, but it also sounds like you're prepared to tough it out. kudos to you for your patience and dedication, though. i'm SO glad to hear Cali will not have to be caged at a shelter. i support you 100% in what you are doing! you are so amazing! :worship
 

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Not too long and I enjoyed reading all of it. As I type, our found cat Marble just came in and jumped on the couch between Kermit and me. Second time in the last 15 min. she goes onto the porch, out into a cage mounted in a window and comes in (to warm up?). Kermit, I was told by wife will never really accept her or play with her. well, I am making progress as I pet both and say "Good Marble, good Kermit etc." and then just leave them....Well,this is progress. Kermit and her never really fought but they weren't buddies either a year ago. Now, Kermit is real close to me and taking in a younger female must be hard on his ego but he is adjusting.

IN your situation, I don't think you will get them to be buddies either but with time and patience I think they will one day roam the house together but will have to accept each others 'space'. Cali may even learn to fight back which might lesson attacks from Lili.

kudos to you too.
 

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Lily and Cali

Thank you both for your replies. It helps to know others support our efforts. We realize that it will probably take a long time to get Lily to at least stop stalking Cali. It is our hope that Cali will learn to stand up for herself and not run away from Lily. In Lily's defense we know she's just defending her territory and we're still giving her a lot of attention.

We now have 3 baby gates stacked on top of one another positioned at the end of the hallway (looks like a prison) so Cali can go into another bedroom and look out the window if she wants to and there's no chance that Lily can get to her.

Now that we're concentrating on boosting Cali's confidence we can see an improvement - she's learning to play and seems to really enjoy it now - she's actually starting to initiate playing rather than us having to prod her.

It's helpful to see that others have been in similar situations and that there's a light at the end of the tunnel. Thanks again.:D
 

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I've been going through the same thing for 10 months now. It's hard, but it's getting better all the time. At first Prince would attack Princess all the time, now a lot less, only once in a long while. Congrats to you for your caring for strays. I adopted all 3 of mine from the street here downstairs where I feed. Huge challenge, but I never did anything so rewarding in my whole life. Just thinking about what we are saving them from (streets, a cage life) is such a great comfort and compensation...

I'm very sorry to hear about the unnecessary operation. People should cut their female cats' ears to avoid this if they ever get lost.
 

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Lily and Cali

Thanks for letting us know your cats are getting along better. It is hard keeping them separated and giving them both attention, but I'm more hopeful when I see that others have eventually had success. Good luck with Prince and Princess.
 

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Cali sounds a lot like my Josie -- I thought she was a feral, so I trapped her and took her to the vet to be spayed, ear tipped, and released...but the vet found a spay scar on her so she was obviously someone's pet at some point. No one reported her missing or seemed to be looking for her. I can't believe that, because she is just the sweetest little thing. Of course we couldn't release her after this since she wasn't a feral, and she's been inside with us ever since.

I don't have any advice for you since she is my first cat, but it sounds like you are doing all the right things. I do have two dogs and it took several months for them to accept Josie. I still keep a baby gate at the door leading to "Josie's room" so the dogs can't bother her, but they really just ignore her. Keep us posted on how everything goes!
 

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Congrats LadyK on your kind heart!
 

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Need help/suggestions with bonding with Cali

We haven't let Lily or Cali have any physical contact (they do see each other through the gates) since the beginning of May and were trying to bond more with Cali, but it's proving to be very difficult. She has not come out of the spare bedroom (occasionally runs out into the hallway for one moment, but then runs right back into her "saferoom.") Instead of feeling closer to us, she seems to be more distant now. She will only play for a little while and only if we "entertain" her. She still doesn't have much of a chase instinct. We've used a flashlight, laser light, a toy on a stick and a mouse which we have attached to a long tie. She was bumping into us and seemed happy to see us, but now not so much. I sat on the bed the other day about a foot away from her and she ran over to me and scratched my arm drawing blood.

She's eating and drinking well, using her litterbox and even tries to clean the floor after she eats, she climbs up on the second and third shelf of the cattree and spends time looking out the windows watching the birds and the chipmonks, she never meows and waits patiently for us to come and spend time or feed her, we just feel so bad that she's so isolated.

I'd appreciate any suggestions as to how to get her to interact with us, as I'm feeling very discouraged.
 
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