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Liz CA

Moving an outdoor, somewhat independent cat?

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Nobody is more surprised than I am that we find ourselves on the verge of moving but it seems to be happening.

2-3 years ago, a male cat adopted us by showing up here and over the ensuing months, he became more and more friendly. Dh said it's not all that easy to move an outdoor cat (or so he was told by a colleague) especially since this cat was on his own for who knows how long before he found us. We live in an orchard and he feeds off the rodents but gets also a handful of cat food once a day because we are suckers. At one point he must have been taken care of by someone because at the vet, we found out he was already neutered.  🙂

What do you cat people say about moving a fairly independent cat who has become somewhat attached to people? He comes in during bad weather, otherwise stays outside.

Edited by Liz CA

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When I was growing up, we had an outdoor cat.  We moved when she was around ten to another state a thousand miles away, from Tennessee to South Dakota, where she could not be an outdoor cat because of climate.  We made her an indoor cat.  She had never even used a litter box before, but she adjusted without any difficulty and lived another ten years.  

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If he is more attached to the place than to you, would new people be willing to let him stay continuing his current lifestyle?  If not, then you can probably successfully move him.  Which do you think he’d prefer? To go with you to new place or to stay where he is if new people are okay with a cat?  A cat who keeps down rodents could be a real plus .

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You need to lock them indoors in a shed or house for at least a week.  Or so says my family farm wisdom.  We acquired one from someone else and it worked.  She knows where home is. 

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21 minutes ago, Pen said:

If he is more attached to the place than to you, would new people be willing to let him stay continuing his current lifestyle?  If not, then you can probably successfully move him.  Which do you think he’d prefer? To go with you to new place or to stay where he is if new people are okay with a cat?  A cat who keeps down rodents could be a real plus .

 

This is what dh is asking himself - is he living here on the orchard or is he living with us? I think we will end up taking him because we do not know if this house will remain here. It will become part of the orchard land and the orchard owner may level it to plant more trees - or not. We don't know. It's smaller, old farmhouse whose original walls were built in 1914 but it has been added onto since then. Anyway, I don't think I can make Oliver an indoor cat so he will have to adapt to a new place.

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We moved without ours (similar backstory) and went back and got her after the days because we missed her.  She totally adapted.  We had her for 8 or 9 more years and she was the boss of the neighborhood cats--all 8 pounds of her.  I still miss that little cat and I'm so glad we went back and got her.  

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Are you moving to a place that also has an outdoor area where he could wander?  Anyway, I think cats can be more adaptable than you think.  We had a beloved indoor cat (yet who was very independent) that we had to re-home because of a family emergency that required us to be away from our home for over a year.  A good friend of mine was able to take her, but was unable to bring her into their house.  She lived on a farm, so she introduced our cat to the barn where the goats lived downstairs and the rabbits lived upstairs.  This was in the Midwest where it gets below 0 in the winter.  Our cat thrived.  She grew long, thick hair, learned to get cozy with the rabbits, and learned to chase down rodents.  She still got plenty of human attention during the day when people were outside working.  She lived for many years after that.

If you're uncertain whether the new owners would like a cat on the property and give him the attention he needed from time to time, and if you enjoy him, I'd probably try and take him along.  Otherwise, perhaps you have farm friends who would take him?  

Edited by J-rap
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If your new area is conducive to outdoor cat living then you can try what we did with Barn cats we adopted through a shelter.

Find a large metal dog crate and put food, water, litter box and blankets in there in the new location.  Keep the cat in the crate for a week or two and they most of the time will adapt to this as their new home.

 

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He's part of your family at this point; I'd take him. If he were truly feral, it would be more difficult but still not impossible. 

This is basically the advice I'd give, taken from PetMD:

"Keep moved kitties in an enclosed area for a few days (or longer) after your move (a bathroom or garage will do if the temp is right). Interact with them as usual—if not more. Feed them their stable diets at regular intervals. Then spend time with them out of doors as you introduce them into their new environments over a relaxed weekend. Then bring them indoors at night for a week. Afterwards, they should be stable—as long as you adhere to meticulous feeding schedules."

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We did, but our cats had to become housecats for a while. They still are semi-house cats and that is becoming a problem because we are getting new carpet in a few weeks and they have a habit of tearing up carpet.

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We moved ours. It’s cruel to abandon a cat. Do an internet search on “how to move a cat” and you’ll find like to of tips. Our once outdoor cat became an indoor cat when we moved because we moved to a more urban setting and there were more cars. 

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We moved our outdoor cat. We had a back porch that we kept her in for the first week. Then we’d take her outside in a cage and let her sit while we were nearby. Then we let her out on her own. I switched her mealtimes, when we first moved, to evening in the hope that she’d stay nearby for dinner. She was also spayed, which supposedly helps with the urge to roam. I also told the nearest neighbors what she looked like in case she roamed.

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I had an originally mostly outdoor cat who adopted me in a campground.  He was bonded to me more than campground and moved with me both around the campground and then when I left.  No special actions were taken for the move, other than cat carrier during trip.  I fed him at his new home when we got there, showed him his water dish location.  That was it.  The new home was rural so not an enormous change from campground.  

He adjusted very easily.  I didn’t pen him in because I already knew from having gotten him neutered while still at campground that he was not okay with confinement.  I also knew he was capable of finding me on a larger acreage than his new home, and that he could pick out my car from a parking lot of cars.  I was reasonably certain he would understand that home had moved. 

ETA when I first fed him at new home maybe I gave him something more delicious than just kibble? Once, a few times? I can’t recall.  I doubt I had a can opener yet.  

Edited by Pen
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I think when we moved to this house from our old one two miles away, I read to lock up the cat three days so it would get acclimated, then it would stick around. After 2 days in the garage, the cat escaped and tried to go back to the old place. Three or four days later, when I’d basically given up hope, having looked all over multiple times at the old place, and checked and called at points between, he showed up again at the new house, muddy and skinny and basically looking like he’d been drug through a knothole backward, and he’s pretty much stuck around since.

all that to say, probably keeping them in one spot for more than three days is better but depending on the cat, may be a challenge. But apparently cat personality matters. Maybe some don’t try to go back, but this one did.

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Following. We have a super-sweet stray that we feed, and the kids love on her when outside. I'm day-dreaming about moving into town to a place with no yard (and an HOA that won't  allow wandering cats). :( I told the kids that I'll try and hold off as long as the kitty is hanging out with us. 

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11 hours ago, J-rap said:

Are you moving to a place that also has an outdoor area where he could wander?  Anyway, I think cats can be more adaptable than you think.  We had a beloved indoor cat (yet who was very independent) that we had to re-home because of a family emergency that required us to be away from our home for over a year.  A good friend of mine was able to take her, but was unable to bring her into their house.  She lived on a farm, so she introduced our cat to the barn where the goats lived downstairs and the rabbits lived upstairs.  This was in the Midwest where it gets below 0 in the winter.  Our cat thrived.  She grew long, thick hair, learned to get cozy with the rabbits, and learned to chase down rodents.  She still got plenty of human attention during the day when people were outside working.  She lived for many years after that.

If you're uncertain whether the new owners would like a cat on the property and give him the attention he needed from time to time, and if you enjoy him, I'd probably try and take him along.  Otherwise, perhaps you have farm friends who would take him?  

 

11 hours ago, Ottakee said:

If your new area is conducive to outdoor cat living then you can try what we did with Barn cats we adopted through a shelter.

Find a large metal dog crate and put food, water, litter box and blankets in there in the new location.  Keep the cat in the crate for a week or two and they most of the time will adapt to this as their new home.

 

 

The new place is still somewhat rural but more of a neighborhood type with homes on large lots. He'd have plenty of room to roam, however, there will be roads with more traffic than where we are now. BUT he has lived through the crazy time of harvesting when the large semis come in and go out several times a day so he must know how to stay clear.

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