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News of Mr Socks - for those who aren't 'Dashers'

Posted: Sun Apr 13, 2014 10:13 am
by Jacks
Well, we seem to have a new cat!

Last weekend I bought Mr Socks a dog basket and a thick cuddly cushion, and he took to it IMMEDIATELY and after kneading the cushion, got in! We kicked him out of the house at bedtime, but he hasn't wanted to go, and paws the glass of the patio doors desperately to get back in. So we took a deep breath and for the last two nights Mr Socks has spend the night in the kitchen, in his basket, like a little dog. He comes in during the evening and settles into his basket after kneading the fluffy bedding and stays there until we come down in the morning! We shut the kitchen doors and we don't hear a peep out of him. He was waiting patiently this morning at 7.45, asked to be let out, circled the garden with me and then back inside. As the weather is nicer we can keep the back door open and he can go in and out during the day. He goes over the fence to do his business and then sits or plays in the garden or in the kitchen, or on the shed.

So - it was last September we caught him after 5 months of attempted trapping and he was neutered. The vet suggested by his demeanor that he was completely feral, or had been for a very long time (since infancy). I'm now thinking differently. It took him a few months to calm down and stop hissing, but over the last few months he's become very attached to me and waits all day outside the back door or in the garden to get some fusses and his food. Over the last month he's stopped the feral gorging - just as well as he's quite a fat boy now - I think because he knows he's going to get fed.

The girls are still afraid of him but slowly the dynamics have changed. Sophie believes in pre-emptive strikes and whacks him at every opportunity, so he backs off from her and gives her a wide berth. She'll slink up and sniff his tail whilst he's eating and then whack him, which I'm trying to dissuade, but on the other hand its good he knows she's boss.

Jessie has been standing up to him and 'chitters' at him - the noise they make when they see a bird - and he backs off. He's fascinated by her though, especially that she goes into a plastic box to go to the toilet - he doesn't understand litter trays at all. They were both sitting peaceably in the study yesterday and I think in time they might be friends. I don't think Sophie will ever do more than tolerate him. It's her territory, after all, and he's a smelly boy who used to try and 'jump' her.

Lara he still sees as prey, and consequently she doesn't stay out as long as she used to. She's very attached to her mummy but is getting the message that I will protect her, I think. He's attempted to go for her a couple of times in the house but if I see him start twitching and say 'NO' with a waggly finger he will back down. I missed his preliminaries a couple of days ago and he leapt at her and she fell off a box and hissed in terror in a little heap, so I threw him out. When he came back in he was well behaved. I will keep working on this - at the moment he's not allowed upstairs as this is the girl's sanctuary and I won't change this until I know he can be a gentleman.

One really good thing is that the dynamic between the girls has not changed, and we've had no over-grooming or inappropriate weeing - so I think they're coping with things (fingers crossed). Jessie (maybe having being born a feral) takes cats in her stride now and even bullies a couple of smaller boys who come in the garden. Lara is an extravert and resilient, which is just as well, or we could be seeing some anxiety related problems by now.

So - I'm coming to the conclusion that he must have had a home in his past life - he's not afraid of household noises or the TV; he knows basic human signals ('no' and 'good boy') and takes note of them; he wants to sleep inside at night rather than being out hunting; I think he might have been familiar with a dog in the household as he has some 'dog' like tendencies, like familiarity with the dog basket (a neighbour told me he'd got in her cat flap and was sitting in the dog basket with their dog, which gave me the idea of getting a dog basket) and he wants human company (basically mine at the moment).

Still needs to learn some manners, but it's looking more and more like the neighbour was right who said he had been a family cat but a couple of years ago the family moved away and left him behind...

He's got some nasty mats in his shaggy coat but they're not going anywhere as he's definitely not a cat who would cope with brushing at the moment. His favourite day time spot is on the kitchen mat in front of the patio doors, but most of all if I'm sitting or working in the kitchen. Then he rolls in happiness on his mat and is a contented boy. At the moment he is wandering round the lounge whilst I type this, with Sophie and Lara on the window ledge - the former ignoring him, the latter watching but not too alarmed - Mummy is there and directs him away if he gets too close.

He likes to play - favourite things are a little plastic red ball in the garden, and a broken daBird with just the string on the end. He's beginning to get the hang of the daBird feathers but prefers to just roll with them on the ground. He loves me playing with him of course. I just need Lara to whack him a few times and we might really be in business for an integrated household...

Rather large post but I'm sure some of you will want to know about his progress. Hoping we can get a similar update on MISTY some time soon. x

Re: News of Mr Socks - for those who aren't 'Dashers'

Posted: Sun Apr 13, 2014 11:31 am
by KittyWitty
aw :) he sounds like he is settling in really well!

Re: News of Mr Socks - for those who aren't 'Dashers'

Posted: Sun Apr 13, 2014 12:46 pm
by Crewella
That's such great progress, well done to all of you! :D

I'm so pleased Mr Socks is settling in well. xx

Re: News of Mr Socks - for those who aren't 'Dashers'

Posted: Sun Apr 13, 2014 2:33 pm
by greenkitty
Keep up the good work, I'm sure he'll be fully integrated before the end of the year :)

Fusses to Mr Socks.

Re: News of Mr Socks - for those who aren't 'Dashers'

Posted: Sun Apr 13, 2014 4:00 pm
by Kay
that was my Tosker's first foray into the house - after weeks of hiding out in my neighbour's garage, he started to sleep in a Mr Snugs kennel in the garden, and then moved into the kitchen, where I had made a bed for him in a spare litter tray

once sleeping indoors he never went back to his kennel, or the garage, and 6 months later turned into the most loving, snuggly cat I have ever had

4 years later Tiffany still biffs and hisses at him, but he takes no notice of her, and there has never been any major incidents - so you and the girls have been warned - Mr Socks is definitely here to stay

Re: News of Mr Socks - for those who aren't 'Dashers'

Posted: Mon Apr 14, 2014 12:56 pm
by lilynmitz
Lovely to hear he's finally coming round. I hope the progress with his socialisation with your girls continues to go well. Another happy ending! :-)

Re: News of Mr Socks - for those who aren't 'Dashers'

Posted: Mon Apr 14, 2014 1:28 pm
by Jacks
Thanks all - Kay I'm really encouraged by your story of Tosker - for the third night he has slept in his basket like a little dog - not a whisper out of him all night. I shut the door, take my girls up to bed, and in the morning he is up and over to the back door to inspect his territory. He even used the litter box last night! We were out yesterday and he had to wait for us to come home and was desperate to get in to his bed. Like Tosker he has a Mr Snugs in the garden but I don't think he'll be using it again unless we're away...

During the day the girls are not best pleased; Jessie is handling him very well, Sophie has her claws out for him at every opportunity and Lara is still petrified - she almost ran at him today though, and if she'd only be brave enough I'm pretty sure he would back down and the dynamic would start to change.

I can only let them out/him in when I'm working from home but the idea that in about 6 months we might have peace and harmony will spur me on...

Re: News of Mr Socks - for those who aren't 'Dashers'

Posted: Mon Apr 14, 2014 4:53 pm
by SarahT1 [PLLE]
What a lovely update. That boy has has chosen you, Jackie. Don't go thinking that YOU have chosen to give him a home!

Re: News of Mr Socks - for those who aren't 'Dashers'

Posted: Mon Apr 14, 2014 5:30 pm
by Jacks
I know he has! I'm sitting on the sofa working on the laptop, and he is snoozing on the other end, in one of Jessie's 'places' - just happy to be with me. Jessie is in her igloo, Sophie on the top of the cat tree and Lara upstairs in her doughnut ring, oblivious. I've shut the door to the lounge so she can't come down and be taken by surprise. She's still my worry.

So there he is - great big scruffy matted lad that I really didn't want - but had to take responsibility for. He has chosen his home...

Re: News of Mr Socks - for those who aren't 'Dashers'

Posted: Tue Apr 15, 2014 11:33 am
by Crewella
..... and chosen wisely, I think! ;)

Re: News of Mr Socks - for those who aren't 'Dashers'

Posted: Tue Apr 15, 2014 11:51 am
by Kay
this is the ideal time of year to get them all used to each other, as they won't have to spend days cooped up together in a restricted space (always supposing this summer is like the last one, and not like 2012!)

Trigger will not stick around if Tosker is about, but just removes himself without a fuss - and I live in a very tiny one-bedroomed cottage, and have had all three for 4 years, so cats do sort themselves out as long as they can get away from each other if they want to, and none of them is really aggressive - so good luck with your dynamics, and get that camera out for that picture of them all curled up together (that'll be the one I'm still waiting to achieve)

Re: News of Mr Socks - for those who aren't 'Dashers'

Posted: Tue Apr 15, 2014 5:29 pm
by HRHFluffy
I know it wasn't planned but some of the best things never are :)

He clearly loves being with you and wants to be your companion. He sees you as his Mum!!

He wouldn't have appreciated what you did for him in September but now he is being rewarded with a home and all the love he deserves. Give him a little tickle from me xx

Re: News of Mr Socks - for those who aren't 'Dashers'

Posted: Thu Apr 17, 2014 6:36 pm
by Lyn from Australia
Thank you so much for the lovely update. This isn't a happy ending, but a happy beginning. :D

Insofar as his coat goes, what have you tried? If I were you, and you've not already done so, I'd leave a brush around, in or near his bed, eventually when you hold it towards him he might rub his face on it - and it may be as easy as that that you are able to start brushing him lightly. That's how I got started with my darling Ruby and in the end she loved being brushed - although I have to admit she never loved having mats removed and I generally just cut them out.

Big snuggle hug from me and my girls to Mr Socks xx