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what to do?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
When I manage to get my Kitty to trust me, I am concerned about what to do with her next year because in Sept 2008 I will be moving to a large city to attend university for 8 mos of the year. The summer mos I will be moving home again. I don't know how she will react to all this moving as this will be my pattern for the next 4-5 years. I do not want to release her because I don't think she will do very well. She is spayed and I would like her to have a good home but I don't know that it is wise for me to keep her. Can anyone advise me please
post #2 of 6
If you are planning to take her with you, I think she will be ok. A lot of cats are dependent on routine, so most change is hard for them. But her bond is with you more than her immediate surroundings, so indeed it would be much harder on her to give her up to anyone else.

Do you let her outside now? If so, I would stop doing that and not let her out when you are moving around. It is too disorienting and she would probably not make it outside with so many new surroundings and cars, people, other predators.

It is a good idea to give positive reinforcement when you are introducing something new, so lots of petting and attention with the new environment. Also doing a lot of play therapy with your cat will help build her confidence immensely in general, because to her the toys are prey and she is attacking and overcoming them.
post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Thank you for the advice. She is still at the point where she hides from me. She has not been outside since I live trapped her six months ago. I am wondering if getting a kitten that isn't feral, will help to socialize her and also provide her some company. I often wonder if she gets lonely for other cats. I want her to be happy. I have decided to name her Mariah, that was my great-grandmother's cat's name
post #4 of 6
HelpFeral, I am no expert, except through my own experiences with a feral Mom & kittens, and many past stray cats (abandoned pets) I've taken in, so my advice is not The Law.

You have some time to work with her before your move date. This is good. I'd not make any decisions for a couple/few months, because Mariah is so new to her home, it's hard to know what to do based on her current state.

On a companion:

First, I'd ask you: do you know if Mariah came from a feral colony? If so, then she is used to having other cats around her, and that would be a point in favor of getting a companion for her. However, if she was a loner, another cat in what Mariah is only starting to think of as "her" territory might stress her out even more.

Another point in favor of a companion cat is if you (or another human) isn't going to be around all day and she would be left alone - I have found that, even though cats adjust to being alone, mine have all seemed happier when they have a companion. Again, though, if she isn't coming from a cat colony background, I'd wait at least until Mariah is more comfortable with her new surroundings before introducing anything else new, whether it meows or not.

However, in the short run, I'd say, no, no companion until she relaxes a bit more.

On relaxing a bit more:

Even though they are independent-minded, cats - especially insecure ones - do really well with a regular routine. Even when my Mom cat and her four kittens were all in the Hide From The Monster stage, they knew perfectly well what the regular meal times were, when the regular sleep times were, and even when the regular "Oh no, The Monster is talking to us" times were.

I caught on to this when I overslept one day. Normally, when I was in the kitchen dishing out the chow, the Family would hide under the bed, only coming out to eat when I'd left the area. One day, I overslept, and when I went into the kitchen, they were there, looking at the empty food bowls...THEY knew there was supposed to be food there! Of course, away they ran when I came in...

Point is, Mariah is trying to get a feel for her new environment, and a schedule will help her feel more like she knows what's going on. I'm offering this for what it's worth because you DO have a time constraint operating, so the faster you get Mariah relaxed, the more time you will have to decide about a companion cat before you have to move.

I look forward to hearing about her progress, and also reading whatever other, more expert people have to say on your dilemma...
post #5 of 6
P.S. I meant to add one thing: with most of my pets, there was always dry food available. But with the ferals, all food was "from my hand", and I took up the leftovers after a couple hours. This was so they would associate food with ME, even if they weren't in the room at the time I was getting it out for them. It seemed to work out pretty well, and when they got to where they were rubbing my legs and telling me they were Starving Kitties, I started leaving out dry food for casual nibbling purposes.
post #6 of 6
That is good advice from cat52.

Your feral kitty probably would bond well to other cats, but it would slow down the process of bonding to you. Now is the time to pull out the toys such as a string on a stick. If you sort of hide behind furniture with the toy, your baby will want to play with it, especially if you make it act like prey.

Over time she will bond more quickly to you b/c she will associate you with the play session which she will love.

As cat52 says, same with food. These are good times to bond. Also I can't agree more about the structure. It makes them very secure to do things around the same time each day.
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