Introducing new semi-feral to my super friendly resident cat

Nicole M

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
May 30, 2022
Messages
6
Purraise
5
Location
Twin Cities metro, Minnesota
I don't think I fully understood I was getting a semi-feral kitty from a sanctuary a month ago, but you never really know what you are going to get from a shelter either. We were slightly under-prepared for how good Julius would be at hiding, but adapted quickly. Julius has his own room with plenty of "cocoons" I was told by sanctuary staff told to introduce my resident boy, Greg, to him fairly quickly since Julius was a colony cat and used to being with other cats, and that this would help him adjust. That didn't seem to quite hold up in practice. I let Greg in the room and he calmly sniffed everything, then tried to get under the bed to say hello to his new friend. Julius did not really enjoy this, and made a distressed sounding meow so I pulled Greg back. I tried a couple more times, trying to make sure Greg didn't approach too fast again. He was great, rolling over and showing his belly, purring while I pet him in view of the new boy, but when he tried to get closer Julius hissed.

Every other resource I know of says to introduce cats more gradually, and it's worked for me before. We were already doing our best to respect Julius' body language for our human interactions, so I've been doing that for cat to cat now too. We have a gate installed in the doorway and I have been trying to encourage some interaction with that protection in place. I think it's going fairly well, Julius sometimes comes out to the gate now looking for Greg ( Or someone) , Greg sometimes will show up and play with a toy, but then Julius retreats and just watches. Greg gets bored and walks away, but then Julius will come back to the gate looking for him. Last night he didn't retreat immediately but chirped at Greg first. I think I might have them playing with a string toy through the gate soon, and they both LOVE catnip so that helps. So maybe things are actually coming along fine, but I've never had a true semi-feral before, so I guess I am looking for reassurance that gradual is better.
 

Tobermory

“What greater gift than the love of a cat.”
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Dec 13, 2017
Messages
6,322
Purraise
18,134
Location
Oregon
Yes, gradual is better! And it actually sounds as if Greg and Julius are doing really well. I also adopted a semi-feral who loves other cats. But I took it very slowly with the two resident cats, because she loved the cats she already knew, not the new ones. Also, they weren't happy with her. Also, she also extremely frightened of her new environment. I introduced her very slowly and made sure they were never left alone together. It can often take much, much longer, but I was able to leave them all out together after three weeks. So patience is really what it's all about. I think you're on the right track, and the cats seem to be agreeing!
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #3

Nicole M

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
May 30, 2022
Messages
6
Purraise
5
Location
Twin Cities metro, Minnesota
Greg and Julius spent a fair amount of last night in what seemed to be a silent conversation, not aggressively staring, but just sitting where they could see each other, Greg would usually be in what I call his Buddha pose. I even caught them doing that when I went to the bathroom in the middle of the night!

Tonight I got a foot inspection from Julius and he chirped at me and let me rub his face for a second. :)

I think our next hurdle might be convincing my adult son to learn to sit quietly in there with him instead of always trying to fix something. Yeah it was necessary when the silly boy got himself inside the box spring, but if not necessary for immediate safety , I think he is in danger of being seen as the source of loud noises and bright lights/
 

Tobermory

“What greater gift than the love of a cat.”
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Dec 13, 2017
Messages
6,322
Purraise
18,134
Location
Oregon
Tonight I got a foot inspection from Julius and he chirped at me and let me rub his face for a second.
Awww. Julius sounds like he’s beginning to feel comfortable in his new surroundings. I love it when they chirp! :redheartpump:

I’ve always seen a difference between older adoptees from difficult backgrounds and those I’ve had as kittens in their comfort level with noise and activity. I agree that it would help Julius feel more secure if your son could speak softly and move slowly while Julius is settling in.

I hope Greg and Julius become good friends!
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #5

Nicole M

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
May 30, 2022
Messages
6
Purraise
5
Location
Twin Cities metro, Minnesota
Now my son, being unsatisfied with the slow progress, wants us to only let Julius eat when we are in the room. He found a Flatbush Cats video on socializing feral kittens, and that did work well for that situation. However, Julius is two years old and spent a year in a sanctuary. He is not totally feral, in fact he let me pet him on the back last night. The other issue would be that I haven't found any wet food he likes though he is eating quite a lot of kibble.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #6

Nicole M

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
May 30, 2022
Messages
6
Purraise
5
Location
Twin Cities metro, Minnesota
Managed to talk the son out of food restriction, Julius is coming along, we've let him explore some other rooms and he actually seems to enjoy petting now, for a few minutes anyway. He's still kind of checking Greg out, I am ready to try opening the gate between them when it looks like a good moment.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #7

Nicole M

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
May 30, 2022
Messages
6
Purraise
5
Location
Twin Cities metro, Minnesota
well, we had 2 good supervised sessions with both cats in the same room though there was a bit of chasing the 2nd time, my son was easily able to interrupt. Tonight it didn't go so well. Greg chased, and I am pretty sure he wanted to play though it could also be about dominance. This time we had snarling and fur flying but I don't see any blood and they are both acting relatively normal now in their separate spaces.

One problem I see here is my son just decided to put them together without telling me or asking for help. I've heard it's better if a human is playing with each cat separately so they have fun in the same space so they have something else to do rather than chase. Now he wants to put Greg on a leash inside the house! And I am going on vacation next week and my son will be the only one here. I am worried that he will punish Greg for acting normal, and Greg will probably already be upset from not having me around.
 

Tobermory

“What greater gift than the love of a cat.”
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Dec 13, 2017
Messages
6,322
Purraise
18,134
Location
Oregon
:clap2: Yay! Friends!
 
Top