How to bring skittish stray inside

OliverNcompany

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Hi everyone! I have been feeding a skittish black cat I’ve named Salem for about a month now and she finally trusts me. She lets me pet her and loves on me and gets happy to see me every day. The only thing she won’t do is let me pick her up. She stays at my house and never hardly wanders. At night she sleeps on a blanket in my garage (bought her a cat house that she refuses to use) and during the day she sleeps in my flower beds. She has started coming around to both my kids but is still scared of my husband because he hasn’t spent as much time with her. I found out that her and a litter mate were actually dumped in our neighborhood about 4 years ago as kittens and a lady was feeding them but moved 2 years ago and couldn’t take them since they never learned to trust her. Salem was actually trapped and brought to be spayed after having a litter of kittens so that’s good news!

I am wanting to know how to transition her to being indoors after spending so many years outside. I’ve been leaving my door open to try to get her to come in and she is very interested. She even sits by the door looking like she wants to come inside. I have 3 cats and 2 dogs already so I definitely would need to have Her in her own space for a little while. Just wanting some advice on what to do! I don’t want to being her in and then her be traumatized but I worry about her so much being outside. Thanks! I’ll attach a few pictures because she’s just so adorable 🥰
 

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tabbytom

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I am wanting to know how to transition her to being indoors after spending so many years outside. I’ve been leaving my door open to try to get her to come in and she is very interested. She even sits by the door looking like she wants to come inside. I
:hellosmiley: and welcome to TCS!

Thank you for taking interest in taking Salem indoors :clapcat: Salem is beautiful:hearthrob: :redheartpump:

Since she's used to you and your kids, it'll be pretty easy and on top of that, Salem shows interest in going into the house.

First, prepare a safe room for her so that she may have her own space indoors, away from your other cats and dogs unless the other cats and dogs have seen Salem before and maybe met Salem, then the transition and introduction will be much easier. But first, lets work on the fact that they have not met.

Second, take a few towels and place then in the garage and outdoor where she rest. It's good that she already has a blanket in the garage. Having towels and blankets is to absorb her scent so that after awhile having her laying on them, bring the towels into her safe room. This is to assure her that the room is safe because of the scents. You can also take a few of your clean unwashed non perfume clothing and leave it with her so that she can further get youse to your scents. And also leave some in the safe room.
Prepare a box big enough for her to hide by facing it sideways away from the door but at an angle where you can see each other and also make sure that the room has no other hidey holes and escape route.

Third, after having the safe room prepared, start feeding her a few feet away from the door and during each, bring the food plate nearer and nearer to the door. Once she's used to eating near the door, the next feed leave the food plate slightly inside the house but near the door. Continue feeding her for one or two days this way and once she feels comfortable eating inside of the door, move the food plate further in. This will take quite a few tries but please don't give up.

Just remember, bringing her in requires much love, patience and routine. If one step fails, it's always one step forward and two steps back.

Once she's very comfortable eating deeper in the house, the next thing is quickly close the door, not slamming it close but close it gently and not freak her out. She may look for places to hide but least her be while in the house but you can continue to feed her slowly leading her into the safe room.

She just need to gain trust and confidence inn you and the kids and hopefully from your husband. Just do not betray her trust else it's back to square one and this tine it'll be a little more difficult.

As I mentioned, this may take time, so I repeat, don't give up. Do it step by step. Feel free to ask questions and there's no such thing as a stupid question here. Many other members with experience for this scenario will be able to help you further in taking Salem in and making her feel at home.
 

SharkTT

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Hello OliverNcompany, My first street cat wouldn't come inside, and I would spend hours with her outside every night. However, the mosquitoes were getting the better of me so I had to get her inside. I did so by putting the food inside and leaving the door open. The food gradually moved further and further inside, and I eventually got to the point where I would close the door. The first few times she freaked out, but whenever she wanted to go out, I would always let her as I didn't want her to feel trapped. It is a slow process for a cat that is used to the streets. 4+ years later, she spends her nights in our enclosed patio and still likes to spend her days in our garage with the door slightly ajar. However, whenever we get a chilly night, she is the first on our bed. You have additional challenges because the other cats need to get along with Salem. My suggestion here is to let your other cats see Salem through the window for at least a week. I have put new cats in our patio and let my other cats see them through the glass doors. For the most part it has worked well and when they have been touching noses through the glass, I have opened the door. Do make sure that Salem is healthy though. It is worth getting him checked for worms and fleas before introducing him. Given the fact that you have 2 dogs as well, he probably won't ever be an inside cat, but if you can keep them separate, he could well at least spend more time inside than he is now, if only to eat.
 
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OliverNcompany

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Thanks so much for both of your replies! Our house is a split level so where the baby gate is in the picture is the main side and the other is my laundry and master bedroom. I’ve been opening the door while she sits near the opening and my 3 cats have all seen her through the bars. There hasn’t been any issues so far. One of my dogs is a tiny Maltese who is afraid of cats for the most part and leaves them alone. The other is a mix who is sweet but is big so that’s the one I’m worried about her being scared of. They have also seen each other through the gate and not much has happened really. It did not deter Salem so I think that’s good news! She’s a very friendly and laid back cat (once I’ve gotten to know her) for being on the street for so long. I definitely plan on bringing her to the vet as soon as I can get her there. That’s my first step once I get her secluded in my house.
 
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OliverNcompany

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View attachment 401590

Oh, I forgot to mention, Once she's in, do not let her out again, even if she yells to go back out.
[/QUOTE
Thanks! That is my biggest worry. That I will let her in and she will hate it.
View attachment 401590

Oh, I forgot to mention, Once she's in, do not let her out again, even if she yells to go back out.
Yes that’s my biggest fear to let her in and then her hate it. I feel like if I let her back outside I’d have to start all over gaining her trust. But I worry so much her being outside. I literally check my security cameras all day when I’m not home to see where she is. She usually just sleeps all the time lol.
 

tabbytom

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Yes that’s my biggest fear to let her in and then her hate it. I feel like if I let her back outside I’d have to start all over gaining her trust. But I worry so much her being outside. I literally check my security cameras all day when I’m not home to see where she is. She usually just sleeps all the time lol.
Safest for her is indoors and that's the clear choice. I guess that she'll have not much of a problem being indoors. Just make her as comfortable as she can. It's natural that she feels strange being indoors at the beginning but if she is showered with love, the transition is faster.
 
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OliverNcompany

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Update!

She is safe inside!I ended up setting a trap and caught her pretty much as soon as I set it down with the tuna inside. There was another cat starting to bully her and run her off so I figured I needed to act fast. She was obviously scared in my bathroom the first day but came out of her shell and was letting me pet her and purring. Brought her to the vet yesterday and she had a clean bill of health and had her shots. I opened the bathroom door to allow her into my master bedroom too but she has not really wanted to go in there yet. Hopefully she will soon! She seems happy just a little cautious which is understandable.
 

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OliverNcompany

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Feeling a little defeated the past couple of days :/ I’ve had the bathroom door open to the bedroom and I think she’s left maybe a couple of times. She’s definitely nervous about it. She literally sleeps all day in her hidey house so I don’t know if since I’m in the room at night she doesn’t feel safe to explore. She definitely isn’t scared of me because she rubs all over me and asks for attention when it’s on her terms. During the day in the hidey house she just wants to be left alone which I do respect. She gets up around 10 at night pretty much yelling for pets and attention though so I guess that is a good sign! I just want her to have more room to explore. It’s been almost a week and I do feel like she is crying less. I did not get much sleep since I’ve trapped her until last night. Hopefully I’m doing the right thing! She’s just making me feel bad
 

tabbytom

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Feeling a little defeated the past couple of days :/ ................................
You are not defeated. Both of you have won each other hearts. It is normal for her to behave this way as you said it, she's still; nervous being indoors. Give her time and let her do the exploration at her own time.

In the meanwhile, you can place towels in her hiding hole to soak up her scents and later bring those towels out and place them all over the room or house. This is to boost her confidence when she comes out and there's familiar scents and she won't freak out so easily. Whatever it is, it is at her own timing and liking.
 

Meowmee

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I think this was her plan all a long, to move in with you. Each cat I have rescued from outside has had a different course. Just give her as much time as needed and let her lead the way. I have just trapped Zena and she is not touchable and scared, she is going to stay in a drop trap until vetted at least to help calm her and make sure she gets to dvm. She was a tame cat dumped outside nearly 2 years ago. She was crying for help then, but ran away when I tried to get her into a carrier and vanished a few times for months. My outdoor guys scared her off from eating at the back but months later she showed up on cams at the front. She is definitely scarred from the outdoor life and being dumped but I hope in time she will adjust and be able to live inside and get along with my guys.
You are way ahead of the game because Salem is touchable and she walked into your house willingly 👏🏻👏🏻😀 I would try sitting with her and reading to her, playing music and purrli each day.
 
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OliverNcompany

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Thanks so much everyone for your reassuring posts! She is doing soooooo good! She pretty much hangs out on her cat tree all day now and never hides anymore. I’m slowly introducing her to my other cats and she is so kind and patient with them. They are still a little unsure but have not been aggressive. Just some mild hissing. I can’t believe she has been on the streets for so long. Literally the sweetest cat. I think she is so thankful to have a nice warm and dry place to stay with plenty of food ❤
 

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