Senior feral cat socialization


TCS Member
Thread starter
May 29, 2022

I have posted about my boy, Lavender, a beautiful rare male blue tortoiseshell, a few times now for various reasons. But after doing a ton of research I keep getting mixed answers.

To summarize my question, is it possible to socialize a senior feral cat? He is not able to be returned outside as I had been planning on doing because he is already a senior at 10+ years old, has FIV, bladder stones, no teeth, and is blind in one eye - the vet told me that she didn't think he would last another winter living outside in his current condition but his bloodwork came back looking fantastic so he does have a good quality of life ahead of him, as long as he remains indoors with a consistent premium diet and temperature control.

I had been feeding him outside my off-campus house at school for about two years before finally being able to trap him to get him vetted and neutered before I graduated (it took over six months to catch him)... I couldn't leave him there without someone looking after him because it would have made me sick to my stomach. He would walk up to me to be fed and let me pet him outside but only when he was eating (he never seemed to 'enjoy' being pet, only tolerate it) but it's been difficult ever since I brought him inside. I brought him inside with his semi-feral friend (who is not feral at all anymore) and I had them both living in my boyfriend's house which was a two min drive down the road from where i caught them for about two and a half weeks to get free vet care from a cat rescue I had been working with (I caught them on May 20th) before I had to take them to my family's house which was a seven hour drive away.

The traveling seemed to set him back so much on our socialization progress. He didn't eat for two days when I brought him home and it scared the life out of me. He would come out during the day at my boyfriends, sometimes jump on the bed and hang out on the windowsill next to my bed and let me pet him. But after traveling I can't seem to get him to act the same way anymore. He occasionally gets on my bed in the middle of the night and makes biscuits <3 on a fluffy blanket I always put on my bed and he lets me pet him and sometimes leans into the scratches, but he's basically stuck under my bed other than those rare instances. I am afraid to block off underneath my bed because his bladder issues can be exacerbated with stress, which I'm sure that would cause and I am terrified of him getting a blockage. Is this even possible or am I just torturing him for no good outcome?

He also has not been eating his prescription bladder stone diet as much as I used to see (hills stress management c/d). He also gets a 2.5 oz can of tiki cat twice a day
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Cat Devotee
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Jan 9, 2018
Colorado US
He sounds like he's doing really, really well considering everything. Don't panic, and don't rush him.

Patience, calmness, being relaxed, --he is in a safe loving home now, you and he have all the time in the world. As a matter of fact, ignore him while you're going about your daily routines, it will give him more emotional space to figure out his new life, surroundings, smells, noises, both inside and outside your living areas :)


TCS Member
Young Cat
Dec 13, 2021
A few things you could try to reduce Lavender's stress level . . . one at a time, so you'll know whether they're helping or not:
  • Feliway - be careful of the plug-ins; they can malfunction (smoke, etc.). Maybe just the spray type on the surfaces he sleeps on. (Don't spray him, though!)
  • Playing cat music - David Teie's is wonderful, available on Amazon Prime Music. There are also lots of purring videos on YouTube
  • Bach Rescue Remedy - a lot of cat owners swear by this stuff
  • Vetriscience makes chews for feline anxiety
I had a male cat who kept getting urinary blockages. My vet recommended adding Dasuquin to his food, which I did every day for the rest of his life. He didn't always get a capsule full since a couple of other cats ate with him. But he never got another blockage. And he never had problems with arthritis, which is what Dasuquin and Cosequin are intended for.

As Furballsmom Furballsmom said, just spending time with him should help him acclimate. You could try leaving a cat carrier out with the door propped open. If you put a treat inside it once in a while, he may decide that's a good place to hang out which will make the next vet visit a little easier. Feliway sprayed inside the carrier before car trips is another thing you can do.

Margot Lane

Kitten at heart, not a Top Cat
Top Cat
Oct 24, 2021
With the cat music…I play David Teie’s music at the same time each evening, to the point where my cat comes up to me to ask for it if I forget! Seems to ”tuck him in” at night, and makes him feel comforted. (Caveat: personally I don’t like the music all that much, but for his sake listen and participate. It’s also a good chance to try to play a musical instrument & see what he likes).

Also don’t know if you do yoga or meditate but have found that when I do these things, suddenly I feel little cat’s whiskers brushing up against me!