Rescued a "semi feral", have a resident cat, 1 bedroom but I want to make it work so badly!

noani

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This is Baby Yoda (you might guess the origin of his name from the photo below :) ). He was born a little over a year ago (June 2020) to one of the alley/courtyard cats below my house and was the only one nobody wanted to adopt. (TNR doesn't really exist in Sicily and we have been trying to do it ourselves out of pocket, but during the pandemic no vet wanted strays brought in..)
So we kept him outside, feeding him, and taking care of him and other strays as best as we could.



A few weeks ago though, he had an accident where he cut himself badly on his rear. I am not inserting photos of the injury as it is very gory and grim.
He went into hiding and the wound got infected. I made the decision to try and save him, while nobody else was interested in doing so due to the expected cost of treatment.

By the time I managed to get him in a carrier, the wound was badly infected and enlarged. He had to have surgery, IV antibiotics and stay in the clinic for a few nights. They told me that, had we not brought him in, he would have had maybe 24 hours to live due to the amount of bacteria in his blood and the stage of sepsis he was in.
Now he is at my house, where he is recovering in the privacy of my bedroom. A kind soul gave me a large dog crate on loan, and he is comfy in there and will go in there on his own if he gets startled.

My resident cat Charly is 1,5yrs, actually his 4 month older brother, born in Feb 2020 and abandoned by his mom cat at just 4 weeks old). I bottle fed and raised him and he has turned into a happy apartment cat. Him and me are kind of living on my living room floor now while Yoda gets the bedroom, but that's okay. I have a one bedroom, very small bathroom, decent size bedroom and open living/kitchen area in between the two, plus cat net on window and entire balcony is covered by cat net so he can lounge outside. There's a picture of Charly attached below.

Yoda is on the way to recovery but there have unfortunately been complications post surgery (the stitches came undone after only two days), so he still has a bit of a way to go and needs care. It will probably be another week until the wound closes (so 3 weeks total).



He is the cuddliest semi feral I have ever encountered. I've known him since he was born of course and he always came for cuddles outside and even let me pick him up into my arms. He is quite chill about being inside and loves food and cuddles, and is starting to be a bit more playful. He does have to keep his cone until the wound closes and he does need to stay in the crate when unsupervised.

I have feliway diffusers plugged in (one for Yoda in his recovery room and one for Charly in main area). I've always had feliway on just for Charly as he gets scared easily and it gets a bit noisy around my area at times unfortunately. It helps a lot. They are also both getting a natural calming product once a day to help them relax.

So far, they haven't seen each other. Yoda has been in the bedroom for two weeks now. They don't seem stressed about each others scent, they both hangout by the door and have started playing with their paws under the door (no hissing, growling or signs of fear) in the last few days. I've tried scent swapping as much as possible with an injured cat with an open wound and they have been fine with scratchers being exchanged and eating on or next to the others blankie.

Obviously I would very much wish to keep Yoda after his recovery to stay and live with us. I've read SO many posts, articles, watched videos on how to do introductions properly, but have been warned of trying visual while Yoda has the cone and until he heals. They do eat treats and food at the door and in general are very relaxed, at times curious, around their shared door.

Many people have advised me against attempting this, including one vet (well she also advised just letting Yoda die as it would be "a waste of money" for an alley cat). The vet from the clinic Yoda was in for three days has encouraged me though to just give it a try. My neighbours want him returned downstairs into the alley as they "miss him every day" but haven't helped once with any of his vet appointments (I have no car so depend on my partner for transport but he now works in another city so.. cab fares) or the cost (I'm not complaining but I'm about 800€in debt at this point between clinic bills and meds so I feel like they don't really get a vote if he stays or not). Of course, should he turn out very unhappy inside I would let him go to a good place with outside options. But I so want this to work.

So here is my question: do you guys think it's possible for
a) Yoda to become a happy indoor cat
b) Charly to accept him (I am worried as he has grown up as an only cat since 4 weeks old and hasn't ever interacted with another cat since). He does come for cuddles and sleeps with me, is always next to me, but he does have a bit of an independent streak where he will just go sleep on the top of my closet to have his peace sometimes.

I should maybe mention Charly was neutered at 5 months old, and Yoda now just two weeks ago while he was under anesthesia for his surgery anyways. Both have no diseases such as fiv or felv and no parasites. I've had blood work and tests done for everything especially on yoda.
 

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Mamanyt1953

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To answer your two questions quickly,

YES
and
YES

Baby Yoda is already more than halfway there, and you are doing phenomenally well introducing them very slowly. They already know each other's scents, and are comfortable with that, which is half the battle. When Yoda is feeling better, you'll want to swap sites with them...put Yoda in the living room to explore, and put Charly in the bedroom. That way, the scent of both cats is all over the apartment, and there aren't two "territories." Do that before they actually meet. Take your time, remember you can't go faster than the shyest cat.

For the record...those neighbors who "miss Baby Yoda SO much" were willing to let him die of an infection before putting themselves out. THEY DO NOT GET A VOTE!
 

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People are stupid. I never had any doubt, really, but my country has worked very hard to prove it the last few years.

Anyway, you have been getting really bad "advice" as these are really young cats, which is *hugely important* in these things. Oh, it could still be problematic, but I'd go so far as to say that if you do this right, the odds of eventual friendship are in your favor. How To Successfully Introduce Cats: The Ultimate Guide – TheCatSite Articles You can probably skip scent swapping given the amount of elapsed time in your home and proceed to a visual step once the poor fella is healed. I would not start until you are absolutely certain he isn't in any medical-related pain or discomfort.

At the end of the process, if you are unlucky, you might be looking at the long slow road to toleration. Thats a bit stressful for all, but its far from the end of the world, even in a one bedroom. I've had the long slow road, and its not much fun, but its ok, and given the ages, you have excellent chances to do better.

P.S. I do tend to recommend that people that live in studios think twice when their own cat is older, thats just too high of a difficulty, but even there sometimes it goes ok; many people have done that.
 
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Antonio65

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Hi and welcome to TCS noani noani ,

Why two cats aged a few months apart shouldn't get along? It sounds to me like they have a good attitude and haven't fought or growled or hissed when they sensed the presence of the other cat, and they didn't show any distress or bad reaction to the scent swapping.
To me, all these signals are good signals for a successful introduction.
It is possible that when they see each other "live", they might be a bit nervous and need some time to set a balance between them, sort of what's mine, what's yours, but I think that you won't regret it.

My two cats are a year and a month apart (the older one had been in the house for a year when the other came), they stayed in two separate rooms for two weeks, and both knew of their counterpart in the other room. Then they met. It took them a few weeks to get friends, but now they couldn't live separately, and when one of them was hospitalized for one night for a sudden problem, the other one cried all night long because she was feeling lonely.

Best of luck with Charly and Yoda. Do not even think of letting Yoda go back in the alley.
And let me express my gratitude and admiration for your wonderful job in that region. We, Italians, know how hard it is to be friends of ferals where you live.
 

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In the end it will depend on their personalities. I have the utmost respect for what you've already done, and very much hope that the two cats will be compatible. Otherwise, I myself have a screen door to my bedroom which one of my cats stays in; it's right beside my living room. That works for us. Best wishes, and thank you for doing what you do for the kitties.
 
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noani

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To answer your two questions quickly,

YES
and
YES

Baby Yoda is already more than halfway there, and you are doing phenomenally well introducing them very slowly. They already know each other's scents, and are comfortable with that, which is half the battle. When Yoda is feeling better, you'll want to swap sites with them...put Yoda in the living room to explore, and put Charly in the bedroom. That way, the scent of both cats is all over the apartment, and there aren't two "territories." Do that before they actually meet. Take your time, remember you can't go faster than the shyest cat.

For the record...those neighbors who "miss Baby Yoda SO much" were willing to let him die of an infection before putting themselves out. THEY DO NOT GET A VOTE!
Thank you so much for your reply. I am a bit worried about not doing things the right way and messing it up.
I just want both of them to be happy and healthy.

For now he has to heal, then we'll site swap. I also need to figure out a solution for first visual contact (baby gate, fence..). A lot of the options I've seen online (bought and DIY are hard to find here where I live so we'll have to come up with something.
Anyways thank you very much for your supportive and uplifting words.

People are stupid. I never had any doubt, really, but my country has worked very hard to prove it the last few years.

Anyway, you have been getting really bad "advice" as these are really young cats, which is *hugely important* in these things. Oh, it could still be problematic, but I'd go so far as to say that if you do this right, the odds of eventual friendship are in your favor. How To Successfully Introduce Cats: The Ultimate Guide – TheCatSite Articles You can probably skip scent swapping given the amount of elapsed time in your home and proceed to a visual step once the poor fella is healed. I would not start until you are absolutely certain he isn't in any medical-related pain or discomfort.

At the end of the process, if you are unlucky, you might be looking at the long slow road to toleration. Thats a bit stressful for all, but its far from the end of the world, even in a one bedroom. I've had the long slow road, and its not much fun, but its ok, and given the ages, you have excellent chances to do better.

P.S. I do tend to recommend that people that live in studios think twice when their own cat is older, thats just too high of a difficulty, but even there sometimes it goes ok; many people have done that.
Thank you for the positive input, I haven't done this before and reading posts here and elsewhere I got actually quite scared I would never be able to do it. But then again, the first few days he was home from clinic I also felt like I couldn't do it with constant cleaning feeding taking care of the wound etc... But here we are and he's so much better. I'm mentally prepping myself for difficulties but it helps to hear positive outlooks! Thank you again!

In the end it will depend on their personalities. I have the utmost respect for what you've already done, and very much hope that the two cats will be compatible. Otherwise, I myself have a screen door to my bedroom which one of my cats stays in; it's right beside my living room. That works for us. Best wishes, and thank you for doing what you do for the kitties.
Thank you!
I try my best. Sometimes I worry it won't be enough, but I guess I'll have to try and keep calm and worry about it when we are actually at that point where we can start proper introductions.
Thank you for your kind words. I try.

Hi and welcome to TCS noani noani ,

Why two cats aged a few months apart shouldn't get along? It sounds to me like they have a good attitude and haven't fought or growled or hissed when they sensed the presence of the other cat, and they didn't show any distress or bad reaction to the scent swapping.
To me, all these signals are good signals for a successful introduction.
It is possible that when they see each other "live", they might be a bit nervous and need some time to set a balance between them, sort of what's mine, what's yours, but I think that you won't regret it.

My two cats are a year and a month apart (the older one had been in the house for a year when the other came), they stayed in two separate rooms for two weeks, and both knew of their counterpart in the other room. Then they met. It took them a few weeks to get friends, but now they couldn't live separately, and when one of them was hospitalized for one night for a sudden problem, the other one cried all night long because she was feeling lonely.

Best of luck with Charly and Yoda. Do not even think of letting Yoda go back in the alley.
And let me express my gratitude and admiration for your wonderful job in that region. We, Italians, know how hard it is to be friends of ferals where you live.
Thank you so much for your insight! I very much hope we will be as successful as you have been! Or even toleration would be great actually, they don't have to become besties.

The reason I'm worried if it can work is the fact that my place is small, just a one bedroom flat, and that Charly was probably never properly socialized to other cats (he really was only four weeks old when I took him in). If they can get to a point where they'll live together peacefully I'd already be over the moon.
Thank you everyone!
 
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noani

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Oh, and the other thing that worries me is that my partner now lives and works in a city about an hour and a half away so he can't be around to help and sometimes it feels like all guides on proper introductions require at least 4 hands. I can't really ask a friend to help as I work very odd hours and I don't want to ask someone to come over at 11pm to help me distract a cat while they meet. Also Charly is never aggressive but skittish and a bit on guard around people he doesn't know well, and due to the pandemic he isn't well socialized to my friends either unfortunately :confused: and I don't think that would help in keeping him relaxed during the process.
 

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Personally, I think that any step that requires four hands is only useful in the somewhat unusual situations. For the most part, its time that works the magic, not a few minutes where one partner holds one cat at one of end of a hallway and another holds the other cat. The main thing is do some scent swapping until that doesn't produce any reaction, then set up a visual access step and leave that going until your not getting a reaction. Stuff like feeding on opposite sides of the gate is optional I feel, unless you have an unusual situation like a big house and one cat that is totally avoiding even coming near the gate. Then luring becomes more important, and yes, in that somewhat rare situation having two humans would come in handy, permitting stuff like attempting to get both to play on opposite sides of the gate. I just wouldn't bother with that even if your partner is around, unless you really need it.
 

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This is my cat Cocos story. Very shy. I give her lots of tlc Maggie tolerates her Coco is now 6. She and Peaches are bff. Peaches is 8,Maggie 7. Coco was semi feral but no more. Coco is afraid to go outside. Now she is safebecause she stays inside now

I took care of a sweet loving stray outside. One day she was very excited about something. She kept rubbing against me and meowing. Then, 2 kittens popped out from the bushes. A few days later I could tell the mama cat was very upset about something. Someone had taken one of her kittens-CoCo. The brother got adopted and a rescue took the mama cat and her second litter of 4. A year later CoCo showed up on my porch 1 yr old. Soon after, she had a litter of 5 that were adopted. A friend helped me get TNR done on her and her bff, a male cat. She was outside for 2 yrs.A neighbor took the male cat and left CoCo alone. A few days later I took her in by grabbing by the scruff of the neck then she immediately started purring. First 3 months she lived under my couch. Now she will not leave my bedroom. I have had her a over a yr. I can see why some shelters do not want kittens adopted til they're 12 weeks old. CoCo does not defend herself when my cats hiss and growl at her. She does not hiss back or stand on her haunches. No reaction at all. Just quivers her tail and hides. I even took her to the vet to have her eyes and ears checked. She is fine. When I go to bed she rubs against my face and wraps her body around my neck. Then she kneads her paws and purrs for a long time. CoCo will eat next to my cats in my kitchen then back to the bedroom. Could be she does not know how to defend herself so she goes where she feel safe.. Hopefully by 2019 she will leave my bedroom on her own.

She no longer stays in my bedroom and sleep on the couch that Maggie's on. Still scared of her. Coco and Peaches play together. She will chase her!
 
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noani

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Personally, I think that any step that requires four hands is only useful in the somewhat unusual situations. For the most part, its time that works the magic, not a few minutes where one partner holds one cat at one of end of a hallway and another holds the other cat. The main thing is do some scent swapping until that doesn't produce any reaction, then set up a visual access step and leave that going until your not getting a reaction. Stuff like feeding on opposite sides of the gate is optional I feel, unless you have an unusual situation like a big house and one cat that is totally avoiding even coming near the gate. Then luring becomes more important, and yes, in that somewhat rare situation having two humans would come in handy, permitting stuff like attempting to get both to play on opposite sides of the gate. I just wouldn't bother with that even if your partner is around, unless you really need it.
Thank you for this insight from a different perspective. I was feeling a bit defeated by many guides and step by steps recommending so many steps that need at least two people (simultaneously feeding in two rooms, distracting both cats with toys when they first interact, all that.
Definitely lifted my spirits so thank you very much.

This is my cat Cocos story. Very shy. I give her lots of tlc Maggie tolerates her Coco is now 6. She and Peaches are bff. Peaches is 8,Maggie 9. Coco was semi feral but no more

I took care of a sweet loving stray outside. One day she was very excited about something. She kept rubbing against me and meowing. Then, 2 kittens popped out from the bushes. A few days later I could tell the mama cat was very upset about something. Someone had taken one of her kittens-CoCo. The brother got adopted and a rescue took the mama cat and her second litter of 4. A year later CoCo showed up on my porch 1 yr old. Soon after, she had a litter of 5 that were adopted. A friend helped me get TNR done on her and her bff, a male cat. She was outside for 2 yrs.A neighbor took the male cat and left CoCo alone. A few days later I took her in by grabbing by the scruff of the neck then she immediately started purring. First 3 months she lived under my couch. Now she will not leave my bedroom. I have had her a over a yr. I can see why some shelters do not want kittens adopted til they're 12 weeks old. CoCo does not defend herself when my cats hiss and growl at her. She does not hiss back or stand on her haunches. No reaction at all. Just quivers her tail and hides. I even took her to the vet to have her eyes and ears checked. She is fine. When I go to bed she rubs against my face and wraps her body around my neck. Then she kneads her paws and purrs for a long time. CoCo will eat next to my cats in my kitchen then back to the bedroom. Could be she does not know how to defend herself so she goes where she feel safe.. Hopefully by 2019 she will leave my bedroom on her own.

She no longer stays in my bedroom and sleep on the couch that Maggie's on. Still scared of her. Coco and Peaches play together. She will chase her!
Thank you for your story and experience. So basically after years she is still scared of them? Do they get aggressive/fight with each other?

On a less related note, I just found a flea (yay..) on a cardboard box I took out of yoda's room.. so that's not good. Vet was "sure" he didn't have any and advised against preventative treatment as he was on a lot of meds and all. So both cats now have had frontline applied and Yoda was super chill about it. Charly is currently giving me the "I hate you profoundly right now" stare as per usual post frontline/other parasite prevention treatment.
I really can't deal with a flea infestation on top of things ATM so please fingers crossed we nipped it in the bud.. kinda.
 

maggie101

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Thank you for this insight from a different perspective. I was feeling a bit defeated by many guides and step by steps recommending so many steps that need at least two people (simultaneously feeding in two rooms, distracting both cats with toys when they first interact, all that.
Definitely lifted my spirits so thank you very much.



Thank you for your story and experience. So basically after years she is still scared of them? Do they get aggressive/fight with each other?

On a less related note, I just found a flea (yay..) on a cardboard box I took out of yoda's room.. so that's not good. Vet was "sure" he didn't have any and advised against preventative treatment as he was on a lot of meds and all. So both cats now have had frontline applied and Yoda was super chill about it. Charly is currently giving me the "I hate you profoundly right now" stare as per usual post frontline/other parasite prevention treatment.
I really can't deal with a flea infestation on top of things ATM so please fingers crossed we nipped it in the bud.. kinda.
When Coco was first rescued Maggie was aggressive but now she does not go near her partly because Coco sleeps on my couch. Maggie is very territorial so she will hiss if Coco gets too close but does not bite
 

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Oh, and the other thing that worries me is that my partner now lives and works in a city about an hour and a half away so he can't be around to help and sometimes it feels like all guides on proper introductions require at least 4 hands. I can't really ask a friend to help as I work very odd hours and I don't want to ask someone to come over at 11pm to help me distract a cat while they meet. Also Charly is never aggressive but skittish and a bit on guard around people he doesn't know well, and due to the pandemic he isn't well socialized to my friends either unfortunately :confused: and I don't think that would help in keeping him relaxed during the process.
Hello and welcome to TCS! It sounds as if things are going very well to this point. Has your little guy been neutered yet? This will definitely help as his hormones calm down and he mellows out. Two pounds is the weight limit here for the operation, which is is a lot less invasive on the male than on the female and most males bounce back very quickly.
You're doing great!
I don't know if he was truly feral or if he was just born outside to a betrayed/abandoned mom. But many feral kittens are easily socialized, whatever the case.
Keep doing what you're doing. Time, patience and love are key in socializing a feline family. I've done this in a tiny studio -- I first adopted one kitten, and then brought in an adult cat who was in very bad shape after being on the streets for who knows how long, but was definitely betrayed/abandoned rather than feral. After an initial period in which she gained trust and confidence, she and my first adopted girl got along well. When I rescued a little male kitten who had been intimidated outside in the courtyard, the family was complete and I don't remember any serious problems. My first-adopted didn't like him very much and didn't bond with him, but they didn't fight and there was no stalking.
I also lived in 332 sq. ft. for a year with these three, several years on. By "building" up with tall furniture, they all found their spaces and there were no problems whatsoever between them.
You should have absolutely no reservations about keeping your sweet little guy! Do keep us informed, won't you?
 
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noani

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Hello and welcome to TCS! It sounds as if things are going very well to this point. Has your little guy been neutered yet? This will definitely help as his hormones calm down and he mellows out. Two pounds is the weight limit here for the operation, which is is a lot less invasive on the male than on the female and most males bounce back very quickly.
You're doing great!
I don't know if he was truly feral or if he was just born outside to a betrayed/abandoned mom. But many feral kittens are easily socialized, whatever the case.
Keep doing what you're doing. Time, patience and love are key in socializing a feline family. I've done this in a tiny studio -- I first adopted one kitten, and then brought in an adult cat who was in very bad shape after being on the streets for who knows how long, but was definitely betrayed/abandoned rather than feral. After an initial period in which she gained trust and confidence, she and my first adopted girl got along well. When I rescued a little male kitten who had been intimidated outside in the courtyard, the family was complete and I don't remember any serious problems. My first-adopted didn't like him very much and didn't bond with him, but they didn't fight and there was no stalking.
I also lived in 332 sq. ft. for a year with these three, several years on. By "building" up with tall furniture, they all found their spaces and there were no problems whatsoever between them.
You should have absolutely no reservations about keeping your sweet little guy! Do keep us informed, won't you?
They're both neutered, Charly was neutered at 5 months and Yoda when he had surgery a couple as weeks ago. They are 1yr 4 months and 1yr 8 months respectively.

I'm not sure about their mom, she may have been born to a street cat herself. It's taken years for her to eat kinda next to me when I feed her and she doesn't like to be touched.
She has been the hardest to catch as she is wary of all types of trap cages. She is not a social cat, she hisses and growls at all of the alley cats in that colony (5 minus Yoda now) if they walk or run past her, or when they all eat next to each other. She's definitely the most feral of all of them. They just avoid her now.
The others are quite bonded and play and sleep together. I also make it a point to try to socialize kittens as soon as they have them, since we can't get them all fixed (there's literally zero support in Sicily for this). So I try to socialize the little ones to humans (Me, my partner and one of my neighbours to a certain degree) and find them homes when they are old enough (unfortunately, the best i have been able to do). The momma cats let me approach and handle the kittens which helps. I've found homes for all but 3. So the two females which won't be caught, and Yoda and two younger cats. The youngest two were still breast feeding when all this started popping off, and Yoda who has been socialized and quite bonded to me from very early on. He would run from far away when he heard my shoes or my key when I returned from work each night to come get some cuddles and pets.
They both don't take after their mom too much (thankfully), though Charly sometimes gets overstimulated and might play bite (working on it with clicker training slowly but steadily). He doesn't draw blood though of course or show aggressive behaviours. Just can't handle himself when he has excess energy sometimes (despite scheduled regular playtime). He's affectionate in his own way (plopping himself down on my foot or next to my leg wherever I go) and coming for cuddles when he's in the mood. Mostly I physically leave him be unless he shows me he wants to be touched and communicate more through play, training, treats and speaking to him, or welcoming him when he chooses to go for physical signs of affection and cuddles.
Yoda will plop down on the floor and purr his little head off when I pet him. He'd happily stay like that for hours and rubs his head on me very determinedly if I decide to stop his cuddle fest. He was wary of my partner for a bit (we caught him together and took him to clinic together) but has all but forgiven him and loves on him almost as much as on me. He has never shown signs of aggression or even so much as hissed at either of us, just been fearful of my partner for a few days after the clinic. He forgave me instantly, which I hadn't expected and it honestly made me cry like a baby when I went to pick him up, cause I expected him to hate me now forever (which I was willing to accept in exchange for him surviving) but turns out he was meowing at me wanting attention and head scratches. Broke my heart right there.
So yeah that's a bit more about their back story and characters. Thank you for your reply :)
 

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Here's Yoda chilling in front of the door with Charly sitting on the other side occasionally popping his paws through under the door :)
It took me years to gain the trust of the matriarch two locations ago -- she was what I'd call semi-feral. Eventually we were able to get her and her generations spayed/neutered, and since we were in a rental that was owned by my ex's ex, we were able to put up a gate and fence around the property. It wasn't a cat fence, but at least it kept others from coming in, which gave them a degree of safety. We adopted all of them except for some small kittens who were deemed "adoptable" by a friend who did rescues and adoptions. They were all adopted, according to her. There was one truly feral kitten who my ex was able to catch and get spayed/basic innoculations and checkup. And then there was one little male teenage guy who slipped the trap. He was the only one we were unable to get vetted and he ran off right before we moved. We took everyone with us, of course, over time, with my ex driving by to replenish food and water at the vacant house after we moved; but the little feral did not adjust to our cat-fenced barn compound at the new home and we were afraid she would harm herself, so after talking to some feral experts, we took their advice and my ex drove her back down to the old place. There were at least two families there who fed cats, and there was wild prey available, so we had to hope and pray she fared well.
All of this took years.
For play/biting, Jackson Galaxy strongly advises to never play with hands, but rather with wand-and-lure, "fishing pole" type toys. The most popular ones here are da Bird and Cat Dancer. They are inexpensive, available everywhere cat supplies are sold, and irresistible to cats and especially to kittens! Ten-to-fifteen-minute play sessions a few times a day will expend some of that high kitten energy, build trust and socialize. Or you can make your own with a stick, pole, or metal rod with a string tied on and a small, very lightweight toy on the other end. It could even be a paper ball or foil ball.
 
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noani

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It took me years to gain the trust of the matriarch two locations ago -- she was what I'd call semi-feral. Eventually we were able to get her and her generations spayed/neutered, and since we were in a rental that was owned by my ex's ex, we were able to put up a gate and fence around the property. It wasn't a cat fence, but at least it kept others from coming in, which gave them a degree of safety. We adopted all of them except for some small kittens who were deemed "adoptable" by a friend who did rescues and adoptions. They were all adopted, according to her. There was one truly feral kitten who my ex was able to catch and get spayed/basic innoculations and checkup. And then there was one little male teenage guy who slipped the trap. He was the only one we were unable to get vetted and he ran off right before we moved. We took everyone with us, of course, over time, with my ex driving by to replenish food and water at the vacant house after we moved; but the little feral did not adjust to our cat-fenced barn compound at the new home and we were afraid she would harm herself, so after talking to some feral experts, we took their advice and my ex drove her back down to the old place. There were at least two families there who fed cats, and there was wild prey available, so we had to hope and pray she fared well.
All of this took years.
For play/biting, Jackson Galaxy strongly advises to never play with hands, but rather with wand-and-lure, "fishing pole" type toys. The most popular ones here are da Bird and Cat Dancer. They are inexpensive, available everywhere cat supplies are sold, and irresistible to cats and especially to kittens! Ten-to-fifteen-minute play sessions a few times a day will expend some of that high kitten energy, build trust and socialize. Or you can make your own with a stick, pole, or metal rod with a string tied on and a small, very lightweight toy on the other end. It could even be a paper ball or foil ball.
I have a gigantic box full of toys for him - stuffed animals, balls, mice, wands, interactive toys, puzzle feeder.. cat tunnel, cat tree, separate scratcher. My friends joke about how 70%of the stuff in my house is now cat stuff and I own maybe 30% of stuff for myself :D we NEVER play with hands feet or other body parts. My partner isn't as consistent about it unfortunately (I nag about it a lot as I just want him to STOP undoing our progress). What I was referring to is that occasionally, very rarely, he gets so worked up over a feather toy or one of his animals attached to the wand that he will jump over and bite my foot/arm (lightly) which means instant end of playtime and he's learning. He was so young when he was abandoned by his mom he hasn't learned some of that but with a lot of patience it almost never happens now, also because I'm learning how to read him better. I am a bit uneasy and do hope this won't happen with Yoda when they meet though...
 

tarasgirl06

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Yes, she is beautifully marked and very colorful, maggie101 maggie101 -- and she looks very happy and comfortable on her paw print blanket!
noani noani Consistency is key and you're right -- you are saying that to your partner for that very good reason. I have the same problem with my roomie -- having to remind and remind! but it's necessary.
You're right about walking away when he nips, too. He'll learn. Cats are very smart.
 
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noani

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I started BINGEING Jackson galaxy, read his books and also reading articles and posts here. Oh and kittenlady when he was a wee little squish. From the very first day, i was and still am obsessed with learning as much as I can about cats, their needs, behaviours, how to interact respectfully, how to provide the best environment possibile ever since I got the first one. I'm hoping it will help me also now with the new challenge of integrating Yoda into our little family.
 
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