Thomas was scared. He had only been held a couple of minutes a day while a dog barked at him. His trust needed to be earned.
When I first brought him home, I kept him in my room & the little storage sun room off the back of the house. I slowly earned his trust and then for very small time, introduced my dog, Bagel(the dog love of my life but that's another story). Bagel loved to bark. He was a beagle. Thomas slowly trusted Bagel. Greg was the next human he trusted because for a while there, I didn't let the kids in my room so that Thomas would have time to adjust. Slowly, each of the children earned his trust.
Thomas is amazing. After everything he has gone through, he has become an integral part of our family. He trusts us. Bagel & Thomas became extremely close. So close in fact that my son, Jeremy and his friend Tyler tried to rename Thomas..... Croissant LOL. Eventually, our family changed as Roxie joined the family. Roxie was a puppy so Thomas instinctively knew to avoid her. Eventually, Bagel passed away. It wasn't until then that in their grief, Roxie & Thomas soothed each other and became so close that he will climb into her bed and sleep with her.
Thomas' fear of strangers & dogs has not changed. Thomas will hide if someone comes over unless he has gotten to know them because they are here often. There was one time when a co-worker of mine came by with her mother in law's dog. When Thomas realized there was a strange dog in the house, he ran from room to room trying to get out. He banged his face into the glass doors upstairs and downstairs, even ran into the bathroom and hit the shower wall where I was able to shut the door behind him and slowly calm him down while my co-worker removed her dog from the house. It was horrible. He gave himself a bloody nose and a panic attack.
Ironically, he was able to get out of the house a couple of times when we lived in the condos.(that's an odd story...creepy neighbor didn't tell me that Bagel started suffering from separation anxiety in his old age and howled while I was at work...but they figured out that my back downstairs slider didn't lock...so they opened the door and let my pets out...happened twice before I figured out what was going on and I put a pole to lock the door in place). There was a large feral community of cats that lived on the mountain side. Thomas went right to it, claimed a space and woman(even though he's neutered) and moved right in for a coupe of days till I got him back in with food. He's tough in that environment. But in our home, he's precious and loved and coddled.
When we moved from on our own to the family we have become, there was some adjusting to be done by all.
Lulu was the Queen of the castle here prior to our arrival. I had gotten Lulu for Greg a couple years ago. Greg taught her how to fetch. He doted on her. She is a fresh little thing. But this is Thomas' story so I digress. Needless to say, Lulu didn't want to share her castle with anyone. She didn't have exposure to any other animals prior to this(see Lulu's story when I write it ;) ) So it took a while to say the least. As a matter of fact, it's still in the works.
Turns out that because Thomas doesn't trust easily and Lulu considers him competition for her castle and all that includes, they needed a facilitator cat. What's a facilitator cat you ask? Cats can live together in a colony(whether small or large is invalid) but they need to share scent. If they don't share scent, they would be considered competition. In nature, a facilitator cat would assist in the sharing of scent. The cat would rub on each cat creating a unique combo scent that becomes the colony scent. In nature, Thomas & Lulu would probably never be in the same colony because of their personalities unless there was someone who facilitates the scent making. I became that cat by petting one and then the other. Since then, there has been a lot of progress made. They play now more often. There have been occasions where they have sat together on the bed(they are still a little tense because each of them of tried to chase the other off the bed either by direct attack or growling.....but they are getting better). They have each chosen a side of the couch so they share that. We provided them with scratching posts & towers. More and more of the house have become neutral territory. I still have work to do...lol
Thomas has the softest belly fur it reminds me of a bunny's fur, and he will roll over and expose his belly to be pet. We have come so far. His life story mimics Greg & my relationship. Because of how I had been treated in the past, I came into this scared to death and slowly over time, I am trusting more and more. Occasionally, I will even roll over and expose my soft belly to Greg for him to love.