Before even getting into it, I have to tell you that in general they do much better in pairs or more, however this might not be the case with a select few, like Julio.
The closer I get to Julio the more I realize how distinctive and different he is — his personality, levels of aggression, receptivity, intellect and emotion. He is unique. I have an idea behavior traits of ex-feral cats in captivity relate to the hierarchical system “inbred” in cats in general (the factors of who’s the boss essentially, and who’s the queen, and who will or won’t be tolerated or accepted, and the varying levels of subservient roles). Perhaps these “rules” are more prominent in feral cats in the wild.
At any rate, without a doubt I believe Julio would have been King Alpha of the Colony had he not been neutered and had he lived in the feral colony. The fact is, he was born in shelter, of a feral mother, and absorbed that behavior style. So I was not anticipating seeing tiers of dominance flesh out the same way they would in the wild, yet upon closer observation, these traits are distinguishable. In Julio’s case, not subtly. Though to be able to state that the hierarchy is more distinct (to the human eye at least) in the natural environment I would have had to do a serious field study. Camped out or “lived” in the colony, followed, tracked, and observed everything. Believe me there is already enough to follow track and observe right here/now as the new behavior model (domestication) has been introduced and continues to be “taught”. Also and importantly, changes that result from spaying/neutering affect the behavior patterns, and all of these interwoven factors can tend to skew any predictability based on the study model. And cats are unpredictable by nature anyway, or so it seems.
Julio’s continual assertion of space dominance (however he doesn’t “mark” and neither do any of the male cats since neutering, he just oversees all areas and will occasionally boot someone else out of a prime spot he wants to occupy), his constant wandering, his extremely high level intellect, as well as his strong muscular body, would have brought him to the top level in a colony—he is patriarch material so to speak. Not to mention his tendency to bully, and how that keeps me on my toes! He is a unique combination of force and quietude. Most cats show contentment, Julio shows quietude which a a different thing. So I am seeing Julio as a single cat adoption and not because of any aggressive tendencies necessarily, but because the mixture of feral and domestic qualities in him are unusual, and I think his needs might be best translated if he were the King of all Attention in a domestic household where there would be no contenders, a secure position he can’t hold in the shelter without the other meeker cats getting into trouble. And the one thing about Julio that I really “get” is that he just wants to be worshipped basically, which is a quality lots of people love in a house cat, because it is so sincere and then also because his vitality is often highly entertaining, he would be a fun cat for the right people to have in the right home.
Julio is 4 years old now and he continues to catch up on assimilating domesticity, he is very smart and independent, so we are looking for a suitable home where he can be the ONLY cat and see how that works. The contract for adoption is free, and it clearly states that the animal can be re-admitted to the shelter if an adoption situation doesn’t work right for whatever reason. It might be thought of as a fostering period pre-adoption in some cases.
For more information on adopting a cat(s) or someone like Julio, please email me here or leave a comment with a link to your site.