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Cats more attached to people or place?

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I just read today on some cat site that cats (vs dogs) are more attached to their places than their people. If true, it answers a big dilemma for me, but I'd still like to invite other opinions, understanding there's no perfect answer.

We are about to move to another state where our 3 felines (ages 5/7/15) will need to "convert" to indoor cats (due to snakes and coyotes). Problem is, they live in kitty heaven now.. two cat doors and 24/7 access to two park-like acres with lots of friendly neighbors and tons of trees and hidey holes. It's all they've known and forcing them to convert seems almost cruel.

The eldest/youngest have never known another family, so they stay with us, I guess, no matter what. But Middle Cat adopted us after neighbor's girlfriend moved out. Mr. Next Door has since remarried, they have other cats, and Middle Cat probably spends half her time there anyway mooching and catching some extra strokes, although she sleeps with me each night and does have a play & cuddle bond with our youngest kitty.

Thus I am thinking of asking Mr. Next Door if he would welcome Middle Cat back full-time rather than put her through the trauma of a full life change. The other factor tipping the scales that way is that she's the most stubborn of the three who might not take the transition too easily.

So my questions, like my kitties, are three..

a) If you were me, what would you do about Middle Cat?

b) For the two who must convert no matter what, any good tips or links to share on how to do that so they don't turn into depressed couch kitties?

c) Ditto (tips or links) on how to best transport a cat on a multi-day drive?

Thanks much!
post #2 of 14
All that I can say about the cats loving people vs. environment-I think that it's individual, and that it depends on their personalities...about travel...in the start, my cat didn't mind it sometimes, and then sometimes he would hate it, but Sherbert is interested in new areas...I had a collar on him and would now have a harness on him too, AND have him in a crate! PS-I think that it should really be up to you whether or not you keep the Middle Cat! It's up to what you think will most satisfy his/her needs, and what you think will ultimately be of help and happiness of him! Hope I helped!
post #3 of 14
I just moved my crew of 13 last month, age 3 to 13 years old and none of them had really known any home other than the previous one. They have actually adapted very well to the new house. Since we were only an hour away, I moved most of their cat furniture/toys first, vacuumed the new house with our current vacuum cleaner (it puts their dander into the carpet at the new place) prior to moving them in, then confined them to a single large room for the first few days here. Once they absorbed those smells, I started letting them out to the big house 2 by 2.

I seriously considered whether or not to move 3 of the cats. 2 of them have lived outside all their lives (mostly feral with occassional inside visits) and the other goes in and out. Had I sold the home to someone that absolutely loved cats or was in animal rescue, I might have done it. I completely understand your concern about moving Middle Cat. I ended up choosing to move them because 2 of them were feral and have socialized to me. I'm not sure they would have adapted to someone else very easily. I would not have taken the 2 of them and left the 3rd.

I did move 5 dogs and 8 cats in a 16 hour drive one time. We moved most of them in a cargo van, complete with bean bag chairs, beds, cat trees, etc. They actually took that much better than expected.
post #4 of 14
I would consider asking Mr. ND if he can handle another cat, but be sure he's happy about it! The others will be fine, because being in the new house will break their habits a bit, and if you really are consistent about never letting them out from the beginning, it'll be easier. Have you considered an outdoor 'run' (there are lots out there) like a big wire enclosure which comes in many diff. sizes - even a 4 x 5 rm x whatever ht. you choose would work) with wire ceilings? It's best to get a strong one, if you do get coyotes, though I doubt the cats would stick around if they showed up... you could have a cat-door leading their enclosure. Or you could get them all used to 4-pt harnesses and walk them all every day, but it wouldn't be as satifying I think, than they're just being able to be out there, taking a bead on birds (which would be safe), and bugs, etc.
post #5 of 14
HI-what a dilema! Here are my 2 cents worth: I would ask Mr Next Door :IF he would be willing to take the kitty back and willingly, and if not I think if moved and with time kept indoors Middle cat should do just fine. Ginger and Gracie are my husbands cats and I cannot tell you how many times they have moved, before their final destination in my house! They have adapted just fine. I would definitly consider microchipping all 3 if they are not already-that insures that once you move, if they get out and too far away from home and cannot find their way back-hopefully someone will take them to a shelter of vets office and then they can be returned home to you. I just had a dog come in to the vets office where I am a vet tech and that dog had been running loose-the owners had just moved here from Tennesee. All the dog was wearing was a tag from the State Dept. of Health. It took me nearly 3 hours to finally get some info on the dog and get ahold of his owners who had just moved to Coolorado that day!-if she had been microchipped I could have had her home in 30 min. Just a thought. As far as traveling to your new home with them-if they travel okay in the car, I would just make frequent stops so they can use the litterpan if needed and have a drink-Make sure all cats are in carriers-it really makes me mad to see kitties traveling in cars unrestrained Some vets may also suggest LIGHT sedations to easy traveling anxiety, this may be an option to talk to your vet about. I wish you the best of luck with the move and I hope you enjoy your new home!
post #6 of 14
Zissou is way more attached to me than to any place. In her first year, she'll have lived in three different places. But always with me!

Your first two cats will be perfectly fine, and I'm glad to hear that you've decided to keep them indoor-only. As for Middle Cat (is that his real name?) I think maybe he's better off where he is IF and only if your neighbor truly wants him back. Don't let him say it if he doesn't mean it. If he doesn't want your cat back, you would just be abandoning it by leaving it, so then he will have to come with when you move.

All cats can become happily indoor cats if their people do it right. Window perches, bird feeders outside the window, plenty of toys and love and scratching posts, etc. If you aren't getting an enclosure or walking them on a leash then never not even once let them outside at all, as someone said before. Zissou walks on a leash, but I think it would be a bad idea for formerly in-out cats. Zissou's scared to go outside without me, and if she slips out she stays in the stairwell! Your cats would undoubtedly be more adventurous.

Keep us updated on Middle Cats!
post #7 of 14
I have moved with my cats and I also take them to aunts house for the weekend occaisonly and to my parents house for weeks at a time. No matter where I go they are attached to my hip. They both follow me around all day whther I am "home" or at my parents home or my aunts house. there was also no adjustment period when I moved or when I travel. This leads me to beleive that they are attached to the people and not environment.
post #8 of 14
I think they are attatched more to people. Phenom pays my mom no attention when she cat sits for me. When I get home she runs to me and cries. Keep the kitty and convert to indoor!
post #9 of 14
Thread Starter 
Thanks much for all your replies and perspectives! That's exactly what I hoped for.. a range of opinion since I was torn myself, seeing several sides.

Knowing how many of you made happy transitions and have done happy traveling with your pets helps a lot. It also helped to see what's out there these days in kitty enclosures outdoors.. even a cat stroller! LOL.

Between the enclosure thing on the other end so they can still feel the wind in their whiskers now and again plus the traveling tips, this now seems less daunting.

As for the future of Middle Cat (no, not her real name) I will inquire next door and see if they seem enthusiastic or merely dutiful. If the former, she stays, if the latter she goes with us and we deal with whatever comes. I will post an update and let you know how it shakes out.

Meanwhile, continuing thoughts always welcome -- and thanks again for the thoughts and tips already shared
post #10 of 14
Have you thought about fitting a cat proof fence around your garden so that the cats are confined to your property only?

You can also keep them in at night when there are more predators around.

There are lots of threads for making your garden appealing to your cat if you decide to do this
post #11 of 14

Hey there, just a quick thought that may help or hinder your tricky decision....is there any consideration to how long Mr. Nextdoor will likely live there. The question that pops into my mind is...is he "likely" to be there a while (baring unforseeable life changes) or is he really not setting down any roots and middle cat will be subject to other life changes....
Goodluck and keep us posted
post #12 of 14
I believe that cats are bonded to the person and this is why. I have a very bad back and my daughter has a very nice and new Serta mattress. I have begun to sleep in her bed for the last week or so. She does not really like the cats and does not allow them into her room at all. All five of them sleep with me every single night without exception. Since I have been sleeping in her bed my babies have been sleeping with me since the first night and every single night. I was actually surprised because her bed is a twin and we all sleep in my double bed and the space is a bit cramped. Definately bonded to the person, take your Middle Cat with you.
post #13 of 14
When I got Sibohan from the Humane Society she had been an outdoor cat. I started making her an indoor cat slowly. I took her for walks on her liesh 2 times a day for 1 hour each after 1 week I made it 45 minutes.... slowly we got to the point that she is happy just sniffing out the screaned window. I am happier that she is now an indoor cat and she in turn is healthier. I think it is worth your time to try to convert her it may not be easy but in the end isn't the cats safety and health worth anything.
post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Orange Krew

Hey there, just a quick thought that may help or hinder your tricky decision....is there any consideration to how long Mr. Nextdoor will likely live there. The question that pops into my mind is...is he "likely" to be there a while (baring unforseeable life changes) or is he really not setting down any roots and middle cat will be subject to other life changes....
Goodluck and keep us posted
He's been there 20 years and seems as wedded as we to staying, so the odds are high he'll be here long after Middle Cat meets the Great Maker. Plus he's a cat guy in general, enough to let MC stay with us without any beef once she had voted with her feet (I work from home, he didn't back then). So she won't be treated badly.

Plus she's always been the "Neighborhood Princess" who wanders around getting treats and strokes from several (the lady across the street keeps a cushion just for her). That plus the fact that she really acts out if she doesnt get what she wants when she wants it (e.g. shreds my newspaper if I dont get up to give her breakfast) makes me concerned she will develop other behaviors if frustrated by the move. On top of which moving and transitioning two seems less daunting somehow than three. But I would take MC if I had any large reason to think she'd be less happy left behind than going with. Have yet to talk to Mr. ND.

And yes, you folks are right, there are garden fences and other things which could be adapted to suit outdoor needs on the other end. Two of the more clever ones I found web surfing at Amazon last night were these:

o Kitty Fun Run

o Kitty Fun House
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