Need advice on situation please

Catlover84

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Hello fellow cat lovers,

I joined this forum in hopes that I can gain some advice on my current situation with my cat Oscar. Oscar was a stray cat that I took indoors about 3 years ago because he had very bad breathing issues, malnourished, etc. Before I did so, I made sure I took him to the vet to run tests and get his shots. I wanted to help this cat because I felt like if I didn't he would have not survived the winter outside and died. Oscar had very aggressive behavior in the beginning, which was to be expected because he had to learn how to fend for himself outdoors, and in some ways he has calmed down a lot since then. He is very affectionate with adults, but not so much so with kids and other cats. That's the problem I've been dealing with for 3 years, Oscar does not get along with my other 2 cats who are brother and sister(Lou and Zoey). Lou and Zoey have been house cats since they were little and are very mellow, lovable and easy going cats. When I first brought Oscar into my house, I did separate him from my other cats. He lived mainly in my finished basement so he had his own space. I tried to slowly introduce them using Jackson Galaxy's methods, as well as using multi-cat diffusers, treats, etc. All of this effort without much success as Oscar escaped the basement on a few occasions immediately chasing and starting fights with my other 2 cats. These were not just ordinary scuffles, they were full blown fights with hair flying everywhere. Oscar has to be constantly supervised and kept away from my other cats. I have run out of ideas, and have considered the option of surrendering him to a local no kill shelter in town thinking he might stand a chance of getting rehomed with someone who has no other animals. I feel bad because I have never had to consider surrendering an animal before. I LOVE cats and even grew up around a bunch of dogs. I just don't know what else to do. My questions are: Do you think rehoming Oscar is what is best for him? Have any of you been in similar situations and considered prozac or other medicines to help calm the behavior? Do those meds really work well with cat aggression? Is there any other advice you can offer that you feel would help me with doing what is right for Oscar? Oh by the way, yes, Oscar is fixed. Thank you for reading.

Brian
 

StanAndAlf

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So from my understanding, you have had him indoors for three years? Where does he spend most of his time now?

It can be hard for stray cats to accept others, as they are so used to viewing other cats as threats. Great that you have had him fixed, but once a male cat reaches maturity it can be difficult to shake old habits caused by testosterone. There may be some methods left to try, and there are certainly a lot of threads on here with people who have similar issues. However, if it has been three years...

Rehoming will be stressful for him, so if this is an option you choose, please try to make sure you find the right fit for him. Someone without kids or other pets, who leads a quiet life, I would say is the best choice for Oscar. If you can avoid a shelter, and rehome him yourself, I think this would also really help make the transition easier for him.

How are your other cats? Is Oscar's aggression, or even his presence, stressing them in any way?

Is Oscar comfortable in your home, and around you? Or is he still a little reserved?

Something that has worked for me, and that I have recommended to others, is using a large playpen with an enclosed top, situated in an open area of the house. Place Oscar inside, with a litter box, food, water and bedding. Cover half of the playpen with a blanket or sheet, so he feels secure and can hide if he chooses to. This way he can interact with your other cats without harming them. Make sure to shut your cats in a bedroom and let him out at least a few times a day so he spend time with you and burn some energy.

If he stops hissing, ignores the other cats when they come by or shows gentle interest in them, you can try letting him out of the pen for short bursts, when the other cats are around but doing their own thing. Distract him with play or treats, while someone else does the same with your cats.

Please reminder, a divided home is an unhappy one, for you and your cats. Don't feel guilty if you have to rehome him, it may be the best decision for everyone involved.
 
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Catlover84

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Thank you so much for your reply. You provided a lot of useful information. To answer your questions:

My other cats have been fine for the most part. They don't act stressed. Although, I will say that the last fight Oscar was in was with my female cat Zoey. The fight slightly altered who behavior towards her brother Lou, but not in a major way in my opinion. She on rare occasions will bat Lou or hiss him. But honestly these cats are chill 99% of the time.

Oscar seems comfortable for the most part. He has his own space... his own sanctuary. He loves his cat tree that I got him for Christmas. He enjoys my company, but the weird thing is sometimes when I have him upstairs with me in my room, he will sit by the door and stair at me. I try to play with him but he doesn't always want to play along. I give him sporadic treats throughout the day especially to reward his good behavior, as well as cat nip.

I like your idea of having a large playpen setup for him. Can you recommend one from Amazon? The only thing is I can see him trying to claw through the mesh lol.

Yes, you are absolutely correct! I've never had this issue before and at one time had 3 cats and 3 dogs all under the same roof without any major quarrels! Thank you once again for the useful information. I ultimately want what's best for Oscar. He deserves a 2nd chance at life being that he had such an unhealthy one outdoors.
 
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Catlover84

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Also do you have any recommendations for efficient ways of rehoming a pet without resorting to surrendering to a shelter?
 

StanAndAlf

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Great news that your other cats aren't stressed out, if they were I would definitely recommend rehoming.

Its also good to hear that Oscar is comfortable with you, or at least in his sanctuary. Great job at setting one up for him! I can understand how it would be so much easier if they were all together though.

The sort of playpen I had in mind is one like this: Pet Play Pen. But you are right, he may claw the mesh. You can get a more heavy duty version, such as a wire dog crate, if that is the case, but be careful as this means his claws can reach through the bars.

As far as rehoming yourself, it can be difficult. Reaching out on social media platforms is good, but you can also put a flyer in local vet clinics, if they will take them. My vet clinic has a little book with all the pets in the neighbourhood looking for a new home, and when someone comes in or calls and mentions they are looking for something, we can give them a number to contact. Some shelters may even allow you to continue looking after him until they find him a new home.

I didn't say this before, but thank you for having his best interests at heart. Thank you for taking him in and nursing him back to health, for looking after him all this time even if you had to go out of your way to do it. Always brightens my day to hear there are still people like you out there 😊
 

Jcatbird

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There are still some methods to try. I have brought in over a hundred ferals. They had to learn to mix with my resident cats. It wasn’t always a breeze but all the cats that did not get adopted have found a home here and get along with all the others on some level. Most are just one family now but a few still need there own spaces at times. I have used many things to give them all space to call their own. I have a catio inside one room now. It has three levels and any cat wanting a quiet nap alone can go there. I have large cages a available to any cat that chooses to use them. One cat, Precious is a large male who gets over anxious at times. He goes into his cage at those times and I push the door shut but do not latch it. No other can get in but he can exit. For the introductions or cats that like a separate space, ( I don’t want them shut off from daily life) I found that lattice panels have been wonderful tools! Every cat can see every other and there is no risk of anything more than a hiss. Wish I had started out with these! Lol I have passed this on to others and it seems to work well when there is aggression or fear. This gives a safe barrier in the place of a door. For rooms that are across from each other, I can open the panels and link them which allows the cats in two rooms to visit freely. These panels allow for lots of options and changing configurations. Simple hinges allow me to fold the lattice doors back, forwards or straight out to link with another. They are inexpensive, easy to cut to size, lightweight, and easily removed as needed. The cats can meet and greet as they choose or choose not to. Everyone is integrated into daily life and I found that the cats made adjustments much more easily since they can observe from a place they know is secure. Ferals that are not part of your original resident family can still learn that they don’t need to be aggressive and can become part of the existing family once the pressure to become established in the pecking order has eased. I am so very grateful that you saved that life! You are the human that cat invested his trust in and I hope you will be able to find a way for everyone to have a happy place there. They don’t have to all sleep together, they just have to be safe, secure and happy. Three years may seem like a very long time. In feral cat lives, time is not what it would be to a human. Every cat is different and has had different experiences. Please keep trying. Starting over for a feral can set them back in ways that may or may not heal. If you must rehome at this stage of life, let him get to know, love and trust the new human before he leaves the only security he has ever known. Ideally, he needs a close bond with the new human before leaving. That just means he should spend lots of time with them and you should see that they have formed trust between them. In this way you can avoid causing trauma and the transition will be a happy one.
Here are some photos of the lattice doors that I use. They are mounted with the existing door still in place. Simple bunjee cords fasten them shut. Maybe something here will work there. Hoping for you!
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Jcatbird

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I meant to answer your question about rehousing too. If you reach that point, please post again. There is a process you will probably want to follow since I know your heart is invested in this kitty. An adoption contract is a must. It is simply a form that you have the person sign. It includes anything you wish but especially clauses that provide a great measure of safety for the kitty. You will want to speak to the adoptees vet, get records on previous pets, be sure to include visitation rights for you, check in texts, photos or other ways to assure kitty is well cared for, references, make sure that if the adoption does not work out, the kitty is returned to you and not dumped, and some more details that we can provide if you teach that stage. You can include whichever parts make you feel comfortable with the adoption. I strongly advise that you draw up a written agreement! There are some sites that may help to link you to good homes too. First things first though. Let us know how things are going. We have all our good vibes coming your way!
:vibes::heartshape:
 
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