TheCatSite.com › Forums › Our Feline Companions › Cat Behavior › New house move - cat seriously unhappy
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

New house move - cat seriously unhappy

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 
Hi all, apologies if I've placed this post in the wrong area.

A quick history of our cat's life:
We got our cat when he was just over a year old from a rescue centre. He had never been outside before, (a house cat), and after about 2 weeks he started slowly but surely venturing outside until he was outside more than inisde. He loved it at our old house and had several cat "friends" he used to hang with. So a very contented and sociable cat, 100% friendly. We also have 3 kids who love him to bits and he loves their company too.

Eight weeks ago we moved house. The new house is in a much more rural area with a huge back garden, (yard), and therefore more wildlife. We kept him inside for a week then let him loose and he loved it. Again he was more outside than inside. We installed catflaps so he comes and goes as he pleases day and night. One thing that kept happening were catfights. We'd hear them quite often outside at night.

After 3 weeks our cat dissapeared! After a few days we made up some leaflets and posted them through all the local doors. Two weeks later someone phoned us and told us she'd seen our cat at the bottom of her garden, so we went there and found our cat. He was very skinny and looked unwell. He was found about 8 houses away so he was very close. After lots of care and attention he was back to normal and off out he went again. Almost immediately he went missing again and we found him in the same place. We coaxed him back for a bowl of food then he didn't come back again! Same place.

He's not being fed by anyone as he always devours his food when we get him back here. There are a few foxes about but there were just as many at our old house which wasn't an issue. However there is a big scrawny old cat who uses our garden to sleep in during the day and we are getting the feeling this old "bruiser" of a cat is basically scaring our cat away. When I walk down the garden I can smell that this other cat has been spraying recently, so it's obviously the other cat's territory. Speaking to the neighbours it appears this other cat is not owned by anyone locally and has no collar. Maybe it's nothing to do with this other cat at all?

Is there anything we can do to stop our cat running away to an obviously "safe" garden?

ANY advice on this matter is welcome.
post #2 of 24
Well, I wonder if it's any more obvious now why Canadians and Americans are so fanatic about getting their cats neutered very early, and about keeping them indoors for life (except possibly to be walked on a harness). We really do understand about the great outdoors, cats' wanderlust and love, and 'freedom', and live with a little guilt about confining them inside, but that's balanced by the fact they get to live long (15-20) and healthy lives, are quite capable of being very happy indoors if given enough attention (and toys!) and do not develop hormonally related diseases later in life, not to mention are not run over, poisoned (if only accidentally) or chased into a dangerous place. Your cat needs to be neutered if he hasn't been, and possibly returned to being an indoor cat. He won't like it at first, but will get used to it in time. It's either that or take your (and his) chances with his becoming sick, injured, lost, and a whole lot of other possibilities by being outdoors and (maybe) 'intact'. Your previous location might have seemed to have been an ideal situation, but everything changes and the wrong cat (or dog!) could have shown up one day, not to mention sick friends who passed along something or other to him, speeding cars, nasty people, who knows, and like with small children, sometimes we have to be tough to be responsible and loving with them. I hope you consider what I'm going on about, because I have a feeling your cat won't be around for too long if things are left as they are.
post #3 of 24
Thread Starter 
Hi Larke,

Thanks for the reply. In mine, my wifes and our 3 kids opinion it would be cruel to keep our cat inside after he so obviously loved his previous life as an outdoor cat. Sorry but that's not going to happen here.

Thanks anyway.
post #4 of 24
My cats are indoor/outdoor cats so I can appreciate why your cat is the same. Please be aware that you are likely to recieve many responses that will say the same thing as the previous post. I will not respond that way however.

I am interested to know if your cat is neutered though?
post #5 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by huggles View Post
I am interested to know if your cat is neutered though?
I was going to ask that as well. Also if the other cat does not belong to anyone is it possible to capture the cat and get it neutered? or capture and turn it in to the humane society.

If you can then that may eliminate some problems. I know it not your responsibility but it might help.

It does sound to me like the other cat is scaring your cat and keeping him from returning to his garden. If he is spraying then he is marking the territory as his which is going to keep your cat away.
post #6 of 24
IMO the cats should be inside unless you are supervising them outside. The bully cat is the local tom cat who is boss. Your cat is a newcomer and more then likely it was this tom who was fighting with him and keeping him away.

First I would try and trap that tom and have him neutered - it will help stop the spraying and he will not be so aggressive any more. Then discourage him from hanging out in your yard.

Get your cat inside for awhile and keep him there. You could build a cat enclosure where its safe and your cat will still get to enjoy the outside BUT under a controlled supervision. Or you can train your cat to a leash/harness and walk around the yard with him for a period of time.

This is a good example why, we in America, etc., are pro INSIDE cats unless you are supervising them when outside. I would rather have my cats inside then to face what happened in your situation. Cats do NOT need to be going outside to enjoy life Far too many dangers out there to be worth allowing them to roam.
post #7 of 24
Thread Starter 
Yes, our cat is neutered.

I really don't want to get into a debate about house cats, I really do understand all your points of view. Not only do I consider it cruel, (in our case), but with 3 kids constantly in and out the back door is ALWAYS open, so a logisitical nightmare anyway.

Regarding the other cat, why would our cat run away rather than just return to the house and stay put?
post #8 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by gazzak View Post
Yes, our cat is neutered.

I really don't want to get into a debate about house cats, I really do understand all your points of view. Not only do I consider it cruel, (in our case), but with 3 kids constantly in and out the back door is ALWAYS open, so a logisitical nightmare anyway.

Regarding the other cat, why would our cat run away rather than just return to the house and stay put?
Because when he does he is attacked by the tom that has taken up residence in your garden?? Am I missing something? Isn't that essentially what your posts say?

I think trapping and neutering that tom is a good idea regardless.
post #9 of 24
Because the boss tom cat is taking over your yard as his territory and since your cat is neutered he is at the bottom of the hierarchy in the cat social group.

Please build your cat a safe enclosure and take him out there for a few hrs or several times a day. If you don't, then one day your cat will NOT come home or be dead somewhere.

I'll respect your opinion on wanting him to go out, but do so in a safe and responsible way. IMO its not right to allow a cat to be roaming the neighborhood unsupervised. Someone out there will not appreciate your cat digging in their gardens and they could put poison out.

If you want him to be outside then you have the two choices that I mentioned. I'd consider one or the other or both!
post #10 of 24
The tom cat in your garden has claimed your garden as his territory. I'm guessing that he fought with your cat and won. While your cat may able to go out back and flee the garden with the tom's permission, the tom is obviously not letting him back in.

You do have some options. Only you can decide what will work in your case. I do think the tom needs to be neutered, no matter what else you choose.

The options for the tom:
When is away for the neutering, let your cat roam your garden and spread his scent. When the tom comes back, he recognizes it is no longer his territory and he moves gardens.
Release him in another area. IMO, that's cruel. And he might come back anyway.
Find a friend who would love to have him live in their garden.

The options for your cat:
Make a new cat door in the front of the house, so he doesn't have to go past the tom. No guarantee that the tom has claimed the front of the house either though.
Cat proof your garden so the other cat can't get back in. This is going to be difficult with children around and gates left open accidentally.
Rehome your cat. Perhaps a friend has a garden that he would be able to claim and be safer for him. Then he could go in and out at will.

The options you've turned down:
Making your cat an inside cat.
Making an enclosure in the garden for your cat to safely enjoy the outside.
Leash/harness training your cat.


There are probably other options that I haven't thought of, but it's hard without knowing the layout of the house, garden and surrounding area.

You've obviously recognized this is a huge problem and want what's best for your cat. Sometimes, we have to make choices that we don't like, especially when it seems like the choices are "bad" and "badder." As a parent, you've already done it many times - doesn't get any more fun, does it?
Good luck and best wishes for you and your cat.
post #11 of 24
I think the tom cat needs to be neutered. This may tone down his aggression and his territorial nature, but I doubt it will stop his spraying as neutered cats are still able to spray, they just don't normally "learn" it if neutering is done early enough in their lives.

I didn't see if you'd answered or addressed the possibility of putting up an enclosure in your back yard/garden that would allow your cat access to the outside (and potentially block the tom from getting in). The sad part about it is, the tom cat is in fact a resident there, even if you didn't bring him. I feel bad for him.. but it may be that neutering him will alter his personality a bit. You may also consider talking to your vet about the possibility of giving him a single injection of depovera to supress his testosterone.. I know some breeders employ this for their male studs when they're retired and go to forever homes.

Fencing can be expensive. There are several fencing options that I've seen in the past, though. And there are certainly quite a few kitty playground options. I've seen a lot of cat enclosures that were built that I've often thought, wow, I'd love to build my kitties one of those. One option that you may want to look at it is directly linked to on this site, and called Purrr...fect Fencing. http://www.purrfectfence.com/

In all honesty, and saying this without letting my personal viewpoint on whether cats should be allowed outside or not interfere, I think your *easiest* and *cheapest* solution is going to be keeping him indoors and then taking him out for walks on a harness if you wanted to. There are methods to keep him from going out the door when the kids go out. And whether he'll be happy or not depends quite a bit on whether or not he lives to see those days, which is debatable since he's coming in in such bad condition, and obviously not eating for days at a time (which can also trigger liver problems when they don't eat for longer than 24 hours, not to mention starvation), and that's not including the threat he's facing from the resident tom cat. If it's bad enough that the cat won't come home, to the point where he's starving to death, then the tom is a very large threat to your cat's health.

I think your children would be willing to be careful if they were presented with a situation where "this is what we need to do or this is what will happen to kitty", even if they needed occasional reminders.

What it comes down to is how much time and effort you're personally willing to invest in this compared to how much you love your cat and want him to be safe. I'm certain that you tell your children no when you know that something isn't good for them, or when you know it could be dangerous. It's the same thought with a cat. What's relevant here is how much your cat means to you and how much time/energy/money you're willing to invest to keep him safe. We could probably all help a little better if we had an idea of how much money you're willing to spend, how much time/effort you're willing to put into it. And, I'm not trying to be dismissive or condescending here, as I am a believer that people have to choose what's right for themselves, so please forgive me if it comes across that way. I'm just trying to figure out what best fits your situation.

I hope that you're kitty and you come to a resolution soon.
post #12 of 24
gazzak, if you check your Private Message box, I have answered you there. Best of luck-
post #13 of 24
Gazzak, I came back on to add enclosures to my list, but CatsAreBetter beat me to it. There have been some really neat ones on here that I would love to have.

I'm not a 100% sure how Depro works in cats, but in humans it has to be repeated every three months. While it might be possible to give repeated injections to domesticated cats, I'm not sure it would work on a ferral.
post #14 of 24
Now, this is the information I got from the breeder, and when I asked the vet about this... both of them... one is hollistic and likes to do everything hollistic if possible, so really doesn't like to try meds.. but said that over a long period of time, it can cause bone density deficiency.. in other words, the same thing that they say happens to humans.. (in humans it's lack of calcium which then subsequently causes bone density loss).. but.. she said that she didn't see an ongoing issue with it if it was done once.

The breeder said that usually once is enough to get them to stop spraying or feeling the desire to spray..(and also puts a damper on the testosterone in their system, helping their personality as well) and that it has worked extremely well for her studs. My personal opinion is that if it doesn't do any long term damage if there's only one dose given, then it's probably worth it to try it. I've been toying with the idea with my cats, but I can't find anything on the net about it being used in felines, so I have no real way to research the effects.
post #15 of 24
Oh, I also meant to possibly clarify something I said in my first post.. because I didn't express myself very well.

When I said that it depends on how much you love your cat versus how much you're willing to invest.. I don't mean to imply that you don't love your cat.. just to clarify.. some people think of animals as animals, and some people think of animals as family. A person that thinks of a pet as family is willing to invest a lot more time, money, and effort than someone who thinks of a pet as an animal.. and depending on your point of view.. it will determine how much you're personally willing to invest.
post #16 of 24
Thread Starter 
Again, I appreciate all your replies today. What a great community you have here.

One big thing I've learned is the way we in the UK consider letting cats roam free as a right, not a single cat of the many many people we know who own them is a house cat. Not a single one. Please understand that we're just different over here and you'll see that we're not being cruel letting cats outside, but it's all any of us have known since kids. I'll also try to understand your notion of house cats as normal. Agreed?

It's also not the done thing to simply trap a cat and get it neutered. Our vet would not let us neuter a cat we didn't own, so that's out of the question.

I've had some great advice via PM today which I appreciate and will take up ASAP, but I'm concerned now about our cat being away from food for such long periods and now treat this matter as very urgent.

It appears I have 2 choices. Either keep our cat inside or somehow convince the bully that our garden isn't a good place to be. There's no way the cat can physically be stopped from visiting our garden, so the question we seem to be coming down to is how to scare the other cat away if that's even possible.

Thanks again, I've learned a lot today.
post #17 of 24
I have two feral cats outdoors, both fixed. Because it is unsafe for cats to outside where we live - raccoons, deer, foxes, possums, coyotes- and because one of our ferals recently showed up with a bad tail laceration resulting in the need for surgery and amputation, we invested in a children's playhouse at CostCo for our kitties.

It was expensive but cheaper than a bunch of surgeries. We felt like we had taken responsibility for these kitties and so we needed to help give them somewhere safe outside. After we assembled it, we put all their blankets and toys in it. Now they stay there at night and they can be up high and away from the worst predators. Also they can jump onto our roof from the top of the playhouse which gives them more territory that is not claimed by others. You might want to think about doing something like that- making a safe spot for your boy and/or being outside with him when he is out.

Roger Tabor the cat researcher from the UK has pretty much made the point that in the wild, cats usually have their territory staked out and if they are removed, others will move in to fill it. If I were you I would carefully watch the neighborhood for signs of other feral or dominant toms before taking any action with your bully kitty. Removing the one may simply bring another tough tom in to take his place as top cat.

In the meantime it sounds like you are figuring out ways to protect your boy. I would put sheets of tin foil around the perimeter of my property and think about other things that would make it unattractive for the current tom and other kitties that might want to go there. Let me know if you need some ideas. I wasn't sure from your last post or not if you were still interested in getting suggestions.
post #18 of 24
Oops I almost forgot, if you look at Costco online for the house, it is under Sunray playground. It is more expensive online than at the store.
post #19 of 24
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by BarbB View Post
I wasn't sure from your last post or not if you were still interested in getting suggestions.
Absolutely right I'm still looking for suggestions and ideas. Some great stuff already, keep it coming
post #20 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by gazzak View Post
Again, I appreciate all your replies today. What a great community you have here.

One big thing I've learned is the way we in the UK consider letting cats roam free as a right, not a single cat of the many many people we know who own them is a house cat. Not a single one. Please understand that we're just different over here and you'll see that we're not being cruel letting cats outside, but it's all any of us have known since kids. I'll also try to understand your notion of house cats as normal. Agreed?

It's also not the done thing to simply trap a cat and get it neutered. Our vet would not let us neuter a cat we didn't own, so that's out of the question.

I've had some great advice via PM today which I appreciate and will take up ASAP, but I'm concerned now about our cat being away from food for such long periods and now treat this matter as very urgent.

It appears I have 2 choices. Either keep our cat inside or somehow convince the bully that our garden isn't a good place to be. There's no way the cat can physically be stopped from visiting our garden, so the question we seem to be coming down to is how to scare the other cat away if that's even possible.

Thanks again, I've learned a lot today.
Ahh, didn't realize you were in the UK.. it's not posted on your info (which is usually where I look for it). I tend to be one of those bad Americans that assume that everyone is in the US, unless it's obvious to me.. sorry!

I do think that the purrfect fence might work for you, as it's supposed to keep other animals out, and your cat in, but still give them plenty of room to roam outside. I don't know if it's available in the UK, though. Not sure where the company is located.

There might be other choices available to you, but I personally can't think of any. I have no idea how you'd scare the resident bully away, or repel him short of an enclosure.

Maybe you could built a catwalk, literally, that goes from an upstairs or higher up window out to past where the tom's territory is.. but I'm not quite sure how you'd figure out where that ends at, and/or how you'd keep the tom from claiming it too.

I wish you the best of luck, and again, previous posts of mine weren't intended in any way to be derogatory, or snotty, so I hope I was able to make myself understood in that. Sometimes I don't express myself quite as well as I'd like to. Please keep us updated on how your kitty is doing.
post #21 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mom of 4 View Post
The tom cat in your garden has claimed your garden as his territory. I'm guessing that he fought with your cat and won. While your cat may able to go out back and flee the garden with the tom's permission, the tom is obviously not letting him back in.

You do have some options. Only you can decide what will work in your case. I do think the tom needs to be neutered, no matter what else you choose.

The options for the tom:
When is away for the neutering, let your cat roam your garden and spread his scent. When the tom comes back, he recognizes it is no longer his territory and he moves gardens.
Release him in another area. IMO, that's cruel. And he might come back anyway.
Find a friend who would love to have him live in their garden.

The options for your cat:
Make a new cat door in the front of the house, so he doesn't have to go past the tom. No guarantee that the tom has claimed the front of the house either though.
Cat proof your garden so the other cat can't get back in. This is going to be difficult with children around and gates left open accidentally.
Rehome your cat. Perhaps a friend has a garden that he would be able to claim and be safer for him. Then he could go in and out at will.

The options you've turned down:
Making your cat an inside cat.
Making an enclosure in the garden for your cat to safely enjoy the outside.
Leash/harness training your cat.


There are probably other options that I haven't thought of, but it's hard without knowing the layout of the house, garden and surrounding area.

You've obviously recognized this is a huge problem and want what's best for your cat. Sometimes, we have to make choices that we don't like, especially when it seems like the choices are "bad" and "badder." As a parent, you've already done it many times - doesn't get any more fun, does it?
Good luck and best wishes for you and your cat.

That was really nicely written!!
post #22 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by gazzak View Post

It appears I have 2 choices. Either keep our cat inside or somehow convince the bully that our garden isn't a good place to be. There's no way the cat can physically be stopped from visiting our garden, so the question we seem to be coming down to is how to scare the other cat away if that's even possible.
.
Well, you can scare the cat away from your yard (garden) and take steps to keep Mr. Tom the bully out of it - but your cat is going to roam if you let him run free, so they will meet again regardless if the Mr. Tom is in your yard/garden or not. Then Mr. Tom may or may not let your cat come home again. To me letting your cat be bullied and harassed so he can't come home and won't get to eat and is scared and has to fight and/or hide sounds more cruel than keeping him indoors in this case. Best of luck to you in this hard situation.

You can make a cat fence for your cat if you want him to go outdoors in peace and be safe.
post #23 of 24
Quote:
Originally Posted by gazzak View Post

Is there anything we can do to stop our cat running away to an obviously "safe" garden?

ANY advice on this matter is welcome.
I think you got really good advice here. The simple answer to your question is No -- you can't stop your cat from running away to a "safe" garden. When you let your cat roam, you have no control over where he goes or who or what he encounters. That is just the risk you take.

The idea of the enclosure sure sounds like a good one.
post #24 of 24
Thread Starter 
I thought I should post an update as so many of you took the time to reply to me, I'm still very grateful for all replies made.

Our cat continued to run away. He always ended up in the same place and every morning we'd go fetch him back. Later in the day he'd dissapear again and we'd go fetch him again. I said to my wife that this situation is ridiculous and we must stop it, she said to give it 2 more weeks and see what happened before acting.

Since August began things have changed. Firstly the other cat has been made to feel very unwelcome in our garden. If any of us, including the kids, see the other cat we chase it away. We've also made a lot of changes to the garden so it's not as welcoming or "normal" to the other cat.

Our cat then seemed to work out a timetable of when the other cat would be around, and seemed to go outside at regular times only. I think he also worked out where the other cat hid for his ambushes and avoided those places. He gradually started coming back unaided, and was slowly venturing further and further down the garden. Sometimes he would dissapear for the night but he'd be back inside when we woke up.

Now we haven't had to fetch him for almost a week, and his time outside appears to be growing daily. The other cat is seen less and less now, so I get the feeling that even though our cat is low in the local pecking order, he's beginning to command his own garden. We've also found out that other families have suffered due to the other cat and his local nickname is "Mr. Angry". He regularly beats up other cats. There's been no sound of catfighting in the last week either, so I also think that Mr Angry appears to think our garden isn't worth the hassle.

Basically the problem seems to be resolving itself naturally, but we're still keeping a close watch on things. I appreciate all the advice and will keep updating you of the situation.

Thanks again.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Cat Behavior
TheCatSite.com › Forums › Our Feline Companions › Cat Behavior › New house move - cat seriously unhappy