Welcome to The Cat Site
your cat community
Interact with our community

Combining Ferals....

Amanda923

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Sep 14, 2019
3
8
Hello - I have 2 ferals that I trapped separately in my backyard. One wandered off from a colony, he was part of a TNR (I was able to connect with the rescue group, most of the colony is FIV/FELV positive, this little guy is not). I named him Bylka.

The second feral I have no details on, no tipped ear (I had him neutered, he's FIV/FELV negative) and I named him Watson.

I have Bylka in a spare bedroom, he has a cat tree, toys, litter box etc. Watson is in a room in my basement (which is sadly unfinished), I bought him rugs, he has toys, hiding places, small basement windows etc.

Both cats have been to the vet so I feel good about their health. Bylka and Watson are my first true feral rescues. I do have a one-eyed feral barn cat that I adopted (Juliette), she's only partially feral at this point, we can't touch her but she loves to be with us all the time. So I'm definitely 'green' when it comes to ferals...

I have cameras in both Byelka and Watson's rooms so I can see how they're behaving. They seem ok. Byelka plays with all his toys, grooms, looks out the window, scratches on the scratch box etc. I have only had Watson for a few weeks, he seems like he's adjusting, he's starting to play with the toys, eat the treats etc (he was always eating the food, using the litter box) but he seems to be relaxing more.

Ideally I would like to get to a point where both ferals are in the same room - which will be a bedroom so Watson has normal windows and better climate control. I am going to do it in a neutral / different bedroom. Does anyone have experience with this? Any pointers you can offer? I won't be tackling it for a little while yet bc I have to figure out my plan (divide the room, taking turns with each of them having access to roam the room but not access to each other).

I just want to do right by them. I have a lot of animals in the house so I think it's best if they continue to have their own room(s) and safe place for now.

Thank you :)
 

Jcatbird

TCS Member
Top Cat
Dec 5, 2017
4,079
20,566
Southern U.S.
Hi! Welcome! Yes! Many here have introduced ferals to each other. I have done many dozens.
It’s a step by step process. First would be scent swapping by exchanging blankets or towels the kitties lay on. A hairbrush is another way to share the scent of both cats and spreads it onto the other cat.
Thank you Furballsmom Furballsmom I am a bit swamped today.
I will be checking back to try and help you along but try the scent swapping first. Letting them sniff each other under a closed door is good too if you can do it.
 

Jcatbird

TCS Member
Top Cat
Dec 5, 2017
4,079
20,566
Southern U.S.
I just wanted to come back with something that happened today. I have four older females that were ferals. Two are still semiferal and all four are shy with strangers. I had added another female to the mix. A kitten about 8 weeks when I brought her in. At first she was in a bathroom adjoining the room the older kiities are in. They were all able to smell each other under the door at first. The older females often hissed at the door. The kitten was afraid of them being at the door. This diminished over time. After awhile I allowed the kitties to view each other briefly through an opening in the door. I did the scent swapping with their bedding too. Because the new one is a kitten, I was able to gain her trust and able to hold her so I then carried her just past the door to see the big cats. She was frightened at first. The big cats still hissed. You can use baby gates or wire rack shelving to put in a doorway with bigger cats to allow viewing without contact. I have also used cages to introduce a new cat safely. Visitation is done only as long as the cats don’t get really scared. If they do, it’s time to put them back in their safe place. Over time this kitten was advanced to face to face sniffing, being allowed to meet and greet, to being allowed to play with a wand toy with the other cats, to being allowed to explore the room, eat meals with the other cats and finally to join them for longer and longer periods of time. The older cats remained aloof so I brought in a toy that all had heavily scented. When I put it before all the cats they all came over to sniff it and it gave them a common interest. I used toys daily to try and get the older cats to lose themselves in play with the kitten. Today was a landmark day. The kitten was able to engage all the cats in play without my assistance and was accepted into the group without any hissing or swatting. It takes time and patience. The group of four was already long established as a group so accepting a new member was something they rejected at first. You would never know that if you could see them together tonight. We may still have setbacks or arguements but they are now a group of five. :yess: The kitten is a very happy little girl. Me too! The older cats are now playing like they did as kittens.

This is not a detailed version but it does give you sort of an outline of how to approach combining kitties. Please keep us posted as you begin the introductions. There are lots of other tips that can be given and I’m sure others will be in to help as you go along.:wave3:
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #6

Amanda923

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Sep 14, 2019
3
8
Thank you! From what I've been reading on here, I think my first step is to continue working on getting the ferals comfortable with me - because they are not. We're already doing scent swapping with the toys and towels. I've been rotating the toys for scents but also to keep them from getting bored. I have 6 other cats in the house, plus 2 dogs, plus the 2 ferals. Unfortunately bc one is located in a bedroom on the second floor and one is in the basement, letting them (meaning the two ferals specifically) smell each other under a doorway etc isn't logistically an option right now. I trapped Byelka in June of this year and Watson I trapped a few weeks ago. I'm probably prematurely thinking about introductions but just trying to think long term. :)
 
Top