On May 31, 2013, I was able to lure Marvin into a cat carrier after 3 hours of trying. I only ended up with two scratches on my hand! I had a spare bedroom completely cat proofed. The bed was picked up and all areas behind dressers and bookcases were blocked. I had a small cat tree for him, 2 litter boxes, a place to eat and a few safe places to hide. I pulled the blinds up and hid the cords too. Once inside the bedroom and out of the carrier, Marvin promptly went crazy. He ran around the room, jumped up on the cat tree and repeatedly threw himself against the window. It took me about 10 minutes to calm him enough that I felt I could leave him for a bit.
Also living inside our house was our resident cat of 5 years, Jake, and Misty, our 8 year old Samoyed. I decided that Jake and Marvin would not meet for quite awhile. Marvin had to get used to being an indoor only cat first and also learn some socialization skills The process was very slow. At first Marvin would yowl and cry for hours at night. He also tried to scratch his way out of the room. More cat proofing was needed. Since it was summer there was a lot going on in our household. I wanted to be sure the time was right for proper introductions without interruptions from vacations.
Marvin settled down after 3 weeks and I was even able to get him into a carrier for a trip to the vet. He had been neutered in March, but I wanted a more thorough exam before he was set free in our house. He did test positive for Bartonella (Cat Scrath Fever). This required a 21 day course of antibiotics. Let’s just say this was a huge struggle.
Introductions between the cats began in late July 2013 and continued for almost one solid year. We had ups and downs along the way. Marvin was very aggressive towards Jake. He was so sweet with myself and my family, but he just wanted to attack Jake. Introductions had to be redone and at a very slow pace. During the holiday season, we had a few issues that set us back once again. We were out of town for a few days and Marvin had a difficult time being alone in his room.
During the winter of 2014, the cats settled down. I started using Feliway plugins all over the house as well as Composure liquid Max for both cats. I used it on Jake to help him feel more secure and I used it on Marvin to help settle his impulsiveness. I really started to see improvement. In early March the cats were able to be out together almost all day. It really helped that Jake preferred to be up high on his cat trees while Marvin preferred to be down low. By the end of March, they were able to be out together even when no one was home. Marvin still happily went into his room each night. It was almost as though his day was so active, he needed a place to get away and be alone. He wanted to go to bed each night between 8-9pm. Then magically in early May he stopped wanting to be in his room at night. We allowed him to stay out and he did so well.
His progress continued and within a month, he was sleeping in our bed! As summer wore into fall, the next step was for Marvin and Jake to play. It began slowly, but blossomed each day. The two now race around the house playing each morning and evening. We have even caught Jake grooming Marvin!!
I left out a lot of details on the introduction process, but if you would like to know more about Marvin and his transformation, feel free to contact me. Here is Marvin as a fully adjusted domestic cat! Every day I remind Marvin how lucky he is to be living inside a house with a loving family. I also remind myself how lucky I am that I took a chance with him. He is such a sweet and loving cat and a joy to have in our family. Additional pictures of Marvin are available on my Flickr site.