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Need Help Socializing Feral Cat With Indoor Cats

Discussion in 'Caring for Strays and Ferals' started by dbcatperson, May 7, 2017.

  1. shadowsrescue

    shadowsrescue Advisor Staff Member Advisor

    4,597
    824
    Apr 27, 2011
    Ohio
    I hope all goes well at the vet today. Let me know.
    I will get the apartment plans to you. My husband has been busy and we had out of town guests this weekend.
     
  2. dbcatperson

    dbcatperson TCS Member Young Cat

    44
    1
    May 7, 2017
    After my last post, the vet clinic had called us to ask if we could reschedule Bob’s appointment until Thursday. They forgot he’s a feral cat and thought it would be better to schedule a bigger time slot for him so they needed to change it. So now it’s Thursday. He needs to get out of that kennel soon—he just seems too depressed.

    One problem I’m worried about is Bob seems to be laying outside of the carrier inside his kennel more and more. If he’s outside of the carrier when it’s time for the vet appointment, I don’t know what to do or how I can get him to go in the carrier? I don’t think I can touch him. If he’s outside the carrier and we reach in to scoop out his litter box, he just backs up but doesn’t run to the carrier.

    I was going to ask you if you think it’s good to continue to give Bob the fortiflora supplements or shouldn’t that be a daily thing for him? No more problems with diarrhea and I’m still not sure what stopped it. It was better after the change of food but I can’t be sure if that’s what really worked or not.

    That is so nice if you could send us the plans for making the apartment for Bob but please don’t rush. Just when you have the time to do this.

    Thank you so much for all your help!
     
  3. shadowsrescue

    shadowsrescue Advisor Staff Member Advisor

    4,597
    824
    Apr 27, 2011
    Ohio
    Since you have until Thurs for the appt. you might try placing some treats or special food in his carrier and see if he will go inside. If he does it will make it easier. You could always wear thick gloves and give him a little push inside. I also would try to get him inside the carrier well before the appt. so that he is there and you don't have to panic at the last minute.

    I would go ahead and stop the Forti flora. If the diarrhea starts back up, you can restart it. Some cats love the taste of it and get used to it in their food so watch him to be sure he still wants to eat. You may need to gradually reduce the amount.

    Hopefully all will go smoothly on Thursday. Just remain calm yourself. You might even tell Bob that you need to go back to the vet one more time and then he will have freedom. He may understand more than you know!
     
  4. dbcatperson

    dbcatperson TCS Member Young Cat

    44
    1
    May 7, 2017
    Thanks for the great ideas! I will definitely try them. I just hope everything will work out and he'll get to like it here.

    Thanks again and i'll let you know what happens Thursday.
     
  5. shadowsrescue

    shadowsrescue Advisor Staff Member Advisor

    4,597
    824
    Apr 27, 2011
    Ohio
    Here are the apartment directions. At the bottom is a picture of the finished product.
    - I use 0.5” MDF or Particle Board
    - One 4x8’ sheet should be just right for one apartment
    - Cut pieces to the dimensions shown below. The square cut-out in the Top can be offset 1.5-2” from the edges.
    - The sides are designed to overlap the top/shelf/bottom and the back so you can screw to join the levels
    - I typically attach the carpet first, but you might find it helpful to attach the sides, top and bottom first and work around inside.
    - I use spare, semi-plush carpet for the lining. I line every surface except for the backside of the back and the bottom side of the bottom.
    - I keep 1/2 inch gaps from the carpet where the boards will be joined.
    - Secure the carpet prior to attaching the sides. I have used both a staple gun with 1/4-3/8” staples and an electric glue gun. The glue takes longer, but I feel it is a better adhesion and safer for the cats.
    - Don’t forget to carpet the edges!
    - Once the boards are carpeted, secure each board together. I typically use approx 1 1/2” fine drywall screws. It can be tricky to line the boards up on the 1/2” side, and it might take a few tries.
    - Refer to the completed pictures for orientation.
    [​IMG]
     

    Attached Files:

  6. dbcatperson

    dbcatperson TCS Member Young Cat

    44
    1
    May 7, 2017
    Thank you so much for posting this information. I'll give this to my husband so he can get this going for Bob.

    Thanks again for taking the time to do this--really appreciate it. Take care and I'll let you know how Bob's appointment goes on Thursday.
     
  7. shadowsrescue

    shadowsrescue Advisor Staff Member Advisor

    4,597
    824
    Apr 27, 2011
    Ohio
    I am happy to help. Not sure that the completed picture is showing up. Yet I did post one in thread #57 so you can show your husband the completed picture.

    I hope that Bob does well. Fingers crossed for you!
     
  8. dbcatperson

    dbcatperson TCS Member Young Cat

    44
    1
    May 7, 2017
    I think all the info you posted will be a huge help to my husband. I'll show him the completed picture that you posted earlier too.

    Thanks again!!
     
  9. shadowsrescue

    shadowsrescue Advisor Staff Member Advisor

    4,597
    824
    Apr 27, 2011
    Ohio
    How did it go today with Bob? Hoping all went really well.
     
  10. dbcatperson

    dbcatperson TCS Member Young Cat

    44
    1
    May 7, 2017
    Everything went well. We had a hard time getting him in the carrier—nothing was working earlier this week with trying to get him in there and I was hoping we wouldn’t struggle when we needed to go to the vet but he was still outside the carrier. We turned the carrier around and had it facing him and used the stick I made like your pet petter and touched him and he ran in the carrier. So that worked out.

    The vet we had this time I liked a lot more than the last vet and she seems very good with cats. She took Bob into a smaller room that was a little darker and took the cover off of the carrier and put a blanket on him and then put a mask on him and he was very calm and didn’t need to be sedated. She said the other vet should have done that this way too instead of how he handled things. Bob’s foot and leg are better and he doesn’t need more antibiotics and she gave him another dose of worm medicine. We asked if she could trim his nails and she did that too. So she said he shouldn’t need to come back for a while.

    Bob doesn’t seem interested in coming out of the kennel yet. Maybe he’s just too nervous yet and needs to relax after the vet visit. We only have part of the small room available. My husband still needs to find a better way to block the wiring around his computer desk before Bob has access to that part of the room. I’m just happy that we got through the vet visit and he’s set for a while.

    Oh I did buy some of the calming treats and the Vetri Dmg. I’ll see how that works for him.

    Thanks for asking about Bob and for all your help. I’m sure I’ll continue to need it. I’m hoping things will keep moving forward and Bob will feel more and more comfortable here.
     
  11. shadowsrescue

    shadowsrescue Advisor Staff Member Advisor

    4,597
    824
    Apr 27, 2011
    Ohio
    So glad it all went well and you found a great vet too. Request her if you need to go again.

    I am sure the vet visit was difficult for Bob. Give him a day to calm down. Hopefully you can allow Bob out of the kennel this weekend. He really needs to get out of there. I wouldn't worry too much about the computer wires. Just put a towel over them or block that space with a gate.

    The smaller the space, the better. Just be sure he cannot get behind or under large furniture. The idea is that you want him out in the open. Allow his kennel to still be there as he may find it his safe place. Yet have the litter box and feeding area out in the room ( just not next to each other).

    I always recommend you get on the floor and view things from a cats level. Cats can squeeze into very small spaces. If there is a book case/ in the room, you might want to cover it with a sheet so he cannot climb on the shelves. Also watch for window blind cords or draperies.

    You can always start the space quite small and expand it as he progresses.

    Thanks for the updates. I hope Bob will start to progress Remember to stay calm. Each step will seem like a mile to him. Keep expectations low. Allow him for now to set the pace. Yet there may come a time when you need to push him over the hump.
     
  12. dbcatperson

    dbcatperson TCS Member Young Cat

    44
    1
    May 7, 2017
    Thanks for the great ideas. We are keeping the kennel in the room until he starts to show he’s not interested in going in there anymore. Seems to feel safer in there for right now but I'm sure that will change. I was wondering if I should keep half of his food in the kennel and put half outside the kennel? I was going to put a bigger litter box outside the kennel too but I want to leave his kennel stuff as well until he feels comfortable? My husband made a divider to block half the room from the bookshelf to the window. Maybe we’ll just keep it like that until he seems more comfortable and then we’ll open it up more--we'll get the computer wires blocked or covered by then.

    We do have blinds on the window and I cut the strings that it doesn’t have loops but I don’t know if that’s good enough and If I should do something else with the strings? I’m trying to think of areas that could be trouble to him. We have some thicker plastic that we covered the bookshelves with. I hope that will be good enough. My husband needs to work on his apartment with the plans you sent us. He’s not sure but he might have to make it a little smaller but we’ll see how it goes—we might be able to move some things around.

    Oh ya, we are definitely going to ask for this vet and I want my other two cats to go to her as well. They are only 5 minutes from our house which is also great.

    Thanks again for all the great tips. I really appreciate your help.
     
  13. shadowsrescue

    shadowsrescue Advisor Staff Member Advisor

    4,597
    824
    Apr 27, 2011
    Ohio
    The goal is to have him out of the kennel so if you keep too much in the kennel, he might not want to come out. I would put the food outside of the kennel, but be sure he is watching you. You might also want to move the carrier out of the kennel, but keep it in the room too. Having a litter box in both is fine as long as he is using the one outside of the kennel too.
    When do you plan to open the kennel?
     
  14. dbcatperson

    dbcatperson TCS Member Young Cat

    44
    1
    May 7, 2017
    We left the kennel open when we came back from the vet yesterday but I left everything in there. He didn’t come out at all. Last night I felt nervous that I closed the kennel doors before we went to bed—I was afraid he might get into something overnight that I didn’t catch and I didn’t want him to get hurt. I guess I’m still feeling nervous about this.

    We actually have two carriers in the kennel--one small one and one medium one--maybe I should take one out and leave it outside the kennel and leave one in the kennel? The kennel takes up so much space in this little room. Would be nice to have that out of there but we’ll have to wait until he feels more comfortable.
     
  15. shadowsrescue

    shadowsrescue Advisor Staff Member Advisor

    4,597
    824
    Apr 27, 2011
    Ohio
    I would start to leave the kennel open at night. Most cats feel more relaxed at night and he might come out to explore. I don't think he will hurt himself, but he may try to hide.
    Yes, I would take one of the carriers out of the kennel and place it in the room. The goal is to get him out of the kennel.

    If you have time, you might go in the room every 1-2 hours and sit on the floor ( don't loom above him by sitting in a chair or standing). You can just talk to him. Be sure music is playing for him too. I liked to always bring a yummy treat when I came to visit. I would offer the treat or toss it close to the cat. The cat will then look forward to this from you. It may take Bob awhile to eat the treat while you are there, but eventually down the road, he should.

    I forgot to mention that the calming treats can be dosed at double or triple when the animal is very stressed. I used to give my cat 3 at a time to start. It really made a difference. One is rarely enough to help.
     
  16. dbcatperson

    dbcatperson TCS Member Young Cat

    44
    1
    May 7, 2017
    I tried the new calming treats and he won’t touch it. I’ll see if he’ll eat them later. I have some greenies hairball treats too that I’ll try. I’m not sure if there’s something else he would like—maybe some tuna as a treat sometimes? Is there anything else you would recommend?

    I do have one problem, though—I have arthritis in my knees that it's very hard for me to kneel or sit on the floor so I’m pretty limited there. My husband could maybe do that part. That won’t work for me to sit on a chair, hey? I don’t want to look threatening to him, though.

    I’m still concerned about the cord on the blinds. I did cut the ends but it just seems like something that could get tangled around him. I’m trying to figure out what to do with this so he won’t get hurt.
     
  17. shadowsrescue

    shadowsrescue Advisor Staff Member Advisor

    4,597
    824
    Apr 27, 2011
    Ohio
    Some cats do not like the taste of the calming treats. You can try crumbling 1-2 and adding it to his wet food.
    I like to use bits of canned tuna, canned salmon or plain cooked chicken. When I make chicken, I always save some for my cats and often will freeze it in baggies for special treats later. Also something that works very very well is Gerber stage 2 chicken or turkey baby food. You can find it most stores where there is baby food. It's in a small glass jar with a blue label. and the only ingredients are chicken/turkey, water and modified food starch. There are no added spices or salt. I think Beech Nut makes one too. Cats go crazy for this stuff. It is used in socializing feral kittens. My cats go absolutely crazy for it. You can offer a bit in a dish ( just a spoonful) and gradually get to the point where he can eat it off the spoon. Some people take a small spoon and afix it to something with a long handle. That way you can put a bit on the spoon and offer it to Bob from a distance.

    Shy kitties, do not like when you loom over them as it is threatening. If there is a chair you can sit in and just talk to him without leaning over him that would work too. It is just in the early stages that you want to be cautious. Also watch direct eye contact. I like to either close my eyes or look over the top of their head.

    Here is a great article that has some awesome tips on socializing cats. Socializing Cats: How to Socialize a Very Shy or Fearful Cat You already have him in the kennel and can continue to work with him even if he chooses not to come out. I read that someone took a wand toy and taped a small baby hair brush to it. They used this to try and pet/brush the cat. The cat absolutely loved it. Just get some duct tape and use a new brush and give it a try. Sometimes it is easiest to start when the cats back is to you so he doesn't see it coming, but you can also just lightly touch his paws. Just slow slow movements.

    With my blinds, I just tucked the cords at the very top. Mine are almost just resting up there. I wouldn't worry too much about them right now. I am sure what you did is fine.

    You are doing so much for Bob and in the long run it will all be so worth it!
     
  18. dbcatperson

    dbcatperson TCS Member Young Cat

    44
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    May 7, 2017
    Thanks for the idea of mixing the treat in his canned food. I’ll try that. I also have baby food that I will use as a treat sometimes. I’ll have to try that with a spoon on a stick. I’ll also try to get a baby brush and see if I can do that as well.

    It’s probably way too soon to try and get him to play with any toys? I can't remember if i asked this already. I think he has a lot more to accomplish before that happens, hey? When we first had him in the garage and we were trying to get him into the carrier, we tried a feather on a string and he wasn’t interested at all.

    I know I’m so bad about this—I keep making the mistake of looking at him right in his eyes while I’m talking to him. No wonder he seems nervous.

    Thank you for the link you posted for socializing a shy or fearful cat. I’ll read this over.

    Thank you again for your help and wonderful suggestions!
     
  19. shadowsrescue

    shadowsrescue Advisor Staff Member Advisor

    4,597
    824
    Apr 27, 2011
    Ohio
    Trying to play toys with him is always a good idea. He may not be ready yet, but you could scatter some toys in the room for him. Catnip toys or toys that you sprinkle with catnip might go over very well. He may decide to play with them while you are not there. I would place a few with some catnip on them and see if you find them moved in the morning. Try a clean towel sprinkled with some catnip too. Hopefully he will venture out!
     
  20. dbcatperson

    dbcatperson TCS Member Young Cat

    44
    1
    May 7, 2017
    Okay, sounds good! I’ll give it a try. I need to stop at the pet store this weekend that I’ll get him a couple toys. I have catnip here I can use. I have toys here that the other cats play with but I think I’ll get him his own toys for now and see what happens. I’ll try that with the towel too.

    Thanks again!
     

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