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Can a Cat Be Comfortable in Two Homes/Territories?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
It's looking somewhat likely that our family - my wife, our cat Snoop, and I - may be splitting time between two homes in about a year. We have all been living full time in the same home for about 9 years now but starting next June we may need to be living 6 months a year here, and six months a year on my in-laws' ranch a few hours away. We're concerned about how Snoop is going to deal with that because we have always known that cats are very particular and attached to their territory. He's an outdoor/indoor cat who comes and goes as he pleases thru a window in our house that is open 24/7/365. He usually spends about half the day inside and half out, sleeping with us in our bed most of the night. Is it even possible for an outdoor cat to go back and forth between two homes/territories without having major problems? The upside of the equation is that we think he would be very happy at the ranch - lots of mice and gophers and animals to chase. We just don't know if he would be able to deal with the back and forth. Any advice from someone with experience would be greatly appreciated.
post #2 of 8
With a little luck it should go well.

There are quite a few cat owners who have happy indoors cats home in the city, and being outdoor cats at their cottage in the summer.

Surprisingly many witness it is OK, the cats seems happy with it.

Of course, one reason may be the cottage-life is in the summer, when it is warm and pleasant.
post #3 of 8
How about bringing some things back and forth with him, like a piece of cat furniture or his favorite scratching post, so that he has something to tell him that he's home and a secure base to explore from while he's getting used to the new places?

The only other thing I can think of is that each time he changes places, it might be a good idea to keep him in for a few days, to make sure he gets the "this is home" idea and doesn't wander off when he goes outside.
post #4 of 8
When we had indoor/outdoor cats we kept them in for a week after a move, never had any issues with that formula, assuming the cats are fixed.
post #5 of 8
I wouldn't let him out at the ranch, personally. There may be a lot of animals and smells there that he would be frightened of outside, and possible added dangers with ranch life that he wouldn't be adjusted to.

But going home from home should be ok - the trip between will probably be the worst part for him.

I suggest you try working on harness training him now. If you adapts to it well you may be able to take him out of a carrier on a long trip as long as he's harnessed and leashed, and you could walk him at the ranch. If you finally did decide to let him free roam, being taken on walks before hand could help him memorize the area.


When I brought my two cats to my new home one thing that I did that seem to really help them settle in well was take them on a tour! However these are two cats that will happily follow me around, so that worked. I made it a bit like a game and they seemed entertained to explore with me.
post #6 of 8
This is definitely going to be more challenging for you and stressful for him since he is older. At his age, if he is not already use to traveling and different environments, this will be extremely stressful for him.
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
thanks for all the advice.
there are pluses and minuses in our situation. the main minus is that snoop is not used to travel at all - we very rarely even take him to the vet, we have a local vet who does housecalls. the plus is that snoop is pretty attached to us so i think that where we are will in some way feel like home to him. but the suggestion of bringing a bunch of his favorite things is a good one. and the harness idea i hadn't thought of but that could be good too. we'll have to try that out.
still trying to find some people who have had experience doing this exact arrangement with a cat but haven't had any luck yet...
post #8 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by tmborden View Post
thanks for all the advice.
there are pluses and minuses in our situation. the main minus is that snoop is not used to travel at all - we very rarely even take him to the vet, we have a local vet who does housecalls. the plus is that snoop is pretty attached to us so i think that where we are will in some way feel like home to him. but the suggestion of bringing a bunch of his favorite things is a good one. and the harness idea i hadn't thought of but that could be good too. we'll have to try that out.
still trying to find some people who have had experience doing this exact arrangement with a cat but haven't had any luck yet...
There is no "best thing to do" that will guarantee he is going to take to this new living situation. I think the best thing to do is to start getting him use to a carrier, and not in a negative way. Let him go in and out at home. Then close him in and carry him around outside back in, let him out. Then try taking him into the car and just start the car, maybe short drive around the block. Slowly increase each travel time and eventually introduce him to a different environment for maybe a day, one room, litter, water little food........This is the only way you will know how stressful it may be for him and prepare him for it.
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