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petdrz, Veterinarian
Category: Cat Veterinary
Satisfied Customers: 7340
Experience:  Over 30 years of experience in caring for dogs and cats.
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We have a feral cat that we captured and had spaded about a

Customer Question

We have a feral cat that we captured and had spaded about a year ago. She kept coming to eat on a regular basis and I can say that we were becoming somewhat friends. We were able to pet her. She did not show upfor 3 days and we got worried.she finally comes by and the back leg is injurd and swallen and she cannot walk well. We mange to catch her after a few days and take to the vet. She had a bite from another animal and was infected, got treated, got an antibiotic shot and we gave herMatacam for 3 days in her food. She is much better health wise but very scared and wont come near us. We tried releasing her but she strted crying ad would not leave. we decided to try and see if she wouls get used to being an indoor cat, We have 4 others ages 8 and 10. 2 male 2 female and we are afraid that they would not get along. we are so confused!!!! should we try again to let her go? is ther a chance that she could becone a good cat indoors? she's abou 2 to 3 years old perhaps closer to 2. please advise!!! Nora solomon THANKS!!!!!
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Cat Veterinary
Expert:  petdrz replied 1 year ago.

I am sorry that you have been waiting for a response. I recently just logged onto the site and noted that your question hasn't yet been answered. I am a licensed veterinarian with over 25 years’ experience and would be happy work with you if you are still needing assistance. Many previous feral cats adapt very well to becoming a house cat, especially if they see that the people in the house have taken care of them. I think in her case, the fact that she wouldn't leave shows that even though she doesn't fully trust or accept you yet, she feels it is safer to be near you, than to be on her own. I would set up some sort of place in your house where she can hang out that has her own food, water and litter. IF she is allowed to come and go as she pleases, that would be even better, but that is not always possible. I would not however, allow her to mingle with your cats at all just yet, for multiple reasons, including making sure she is not incubating any of the contagious cat viruses, like feline leukemia and/or feline aids. From a behavior standpoint, it can be a little less threatening to the other cats in the house if her living space is somewhat restricted to start versus being allowed to have full run of the house right from the start. Cats do not really have a hierarchy in the household, like dogs do, but they are somewhat territorial and may be upset if all of a sudden someone takes over their favorite spot or favorite litterbox. Even when confining her, the others will know she is there and they will be able to get used to her sounds and smells through the door, before she is allowed to mingle full force. Even when you start letting them mingle, I would do it slowly and only when you are there to observe at first. If they are left all out on their own, there may be altercations that occur that you are not even aware of. Depending on what the set up of your house is like and where the other cats like to hang out, maybe you could alternately confine them in specific areas of the house and let her roam around some also. Eventually, the goal is to allow everyone to be out at all times, but it is often best to build up to that gradually. She needs to get to trust you a little better before having to deal with other cats. This can take variable amounts of time (weeks to months). Most cats do not like to live with one another right off the bat so we have to strive to provide an environment where all cats are able to find a place where they feel "safe". That begins by creating an environment of "plenty." There should be plenty of litter boxes, food bowls, climbing towers, toys and resting areas in multiple locations. All the litter boxes and food bowls cannot be clumped all in one place because that forces the cats together, something they don't want to do. If that is not possible due to the layout of your home, another option is to create a time sharing plan. One cat is out in the house for a bit, then put into a room and other is then allowed out. In some cases we just use a screen door on a bedroom to keep the cat separate, they can see each other but not interact, this can be very helpful. When they are separated, we can then proceed to limited introductions, where the cats are rewarded for being calm around each other. One other thing I would suggest is a product called Feliway®. Feliway is a synthetic pheromone that mimics the natural chemicals that a cat secretes. It creates a comforting, reassuring feeling that has a calming effect. It is calming to cats in stressful situations such as transport, hospitalization, veterinarian visits, boarding, new environments, pets or people. Feliway® is a product that can be sprayed or used as a room diffuser. It can be purchased through veterinarians and pet stores. In your case, a few room diffusers may help low the tension. LINK HERE I hope this is helpful. Please let me know if you have ANY other questions. My goal is to give you 100% satisfaction and if you are not yet satisfied, please reply so I can clarify for you. Dr Z

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