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Moving with a former feral

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
I have a 5 year old "ex-feral" cat who was given to me as a kitten. Despite the young age of acquisition he never grew comfortable with anyone but me. We have lived with my parents this entire time and my mom has tried her best to befriend him but he's just terrified of her, and my dad(to a lesser degree, only because he basically ignores him). He's the sweetest cat and he adores other animals but he's just extremely afraid of people and is even distrusting of me when my parents are around. So.. in other words he's a fairly typical ex-feral cat but without any of the bad behaviour that often comes with them. I tried my best to socialize him but I'm not the most social person so this didn't work out so well. My sister comes by on rare occasions and he'll come out to stare at her and has even gotten into her lap to take food(the only thing he'll approach people for) but he's terrified of her as well.

Anyway, I will most likely be moving in August or September and have even considered not moving because of my ex-feral. I have no idea how he will adjust to apartment life, he's pretty much had my companionship 24/7 for 5 years and I'll be working/going to school a great deal if I move out of state, I don't think I am going to be able to afford my own place so we might have to live with a friend of mine, and.. I'm just really worried about how he'll handle the move itself and adjustment to a new environment. I'm afraid he'll just hide all the time and become miserable(he's a happy cat, despite the fears). My friend is willing to work with him but I just don't know how successful this will be. Also, I'll be taking my other two cats with me and he's grown very close to one of them(I got her back in February when she was about 5 months old, she was also a feral but is very outgoing and comfortable with people. No feral qualities at all.) so I'm hoping that will help put him at ease. I'm also going to be bringing all of his things(my cats have more furniture than I do) but for the most part our apartment will be fairly vacant, which I'm concerned will bother him. I'm going to try and have a bed delivered before we move in so he'll at least have a place to hide under or in(he hides inside the foundation of our mattress here).

So.. the question is.. should I try and get a place for just me and the cats? This is what I'd prefer but they're all out of my price range. I could do it if it's necessary for my cat's well being, though. Or.. should I just get an apartment with my friend.. perhaps a townhouse where my cats/I can live in the upstairs part?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated. The area we're moving to is 1800 miles away and we'll be making stops at hotels. I imagine it will be the most stressful thing he's ever gone through. And I feel awful and selfish about putting him through it all.. This probably won't be the last move or the last roommate...
post #2 of 3
Wow. That's a tough situation for you! First, I want to applaud you for trying to think ahead about how this will affect your cats and how you can help the transitation be smoother..

Bringing all his toys and furniture along will help and also the other cats who he is close to will also help.

Maybe you can have your friend come BEFORE you come and see how the cat takes to your friend? Also maybe have your friend leave some of his/her dirty clothes with you so the cats can smell his/her scent and be somewhat familiar with his/her scent before moving in with you all?

Also maybe during the first few weeks of the move, spend extra time with this cat to reassure him that he's safe and loved? Also, maybe you can keep him enclosed in one small room during the first few days with the other cats so he won't feel overwhelmed by a new apt or house? This would give him time to get used to that room then when he's ready, he can come out of the room to explore the apt or house...

Maybe you can read this book - Cats for Dummies
by Gina Spadafori? there's a section on what to do to help the transitation be smoother during moving. I've found many things in this book very helpful.

Another idea is to talk to your vet and see what he suggest for helping your cats handle travelling and staying in hotels..

I am sure the cat sages from this forum will respond to this with more advice.

Good luck and keep us posted regarding your decisions and the results.
post #3 of 3
Congratulations on starting your new life!

Pamela has excellent advice for you. I have moved with my cats several times and have had great success with the moves, despite one of my cats being just like yours. I always found that the driving part of the move was the most stressful for the cats (and me), but that they managed extremely well despite this. Do make sure that you keep them caged while in the car because when you stop to potty or fill the gas tank, they could escape through the open door, never to be seen again. Keeping them caged will also keep them from going under the brake-pedal or otherwise doing something that might cause an accident.
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