Have no direct experience in this subject, but I wish you the best Naomi. You're a good soul.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.