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When city-kitten goes to the country...

post #1 of 5
Thread Starter 
For a very brief period (he was abandoned as a baby) our kitten, Mr. Wiggles, spent his life in the open air, but since we adopted him at 7 weeks he has been a contented apartment-dweller, occasionally venturing a few feet into the hallway outside our door and quickly returning. But we've rented a house in the country for the month of August and we are planning to take him with us. (We briefly considered asking a neighbor to come in and feed him while we're away, but we think he'd miss us - and we would miss him even more!) Wiggles will be just about six months old by then.
We're figuring that we will keep him inside in the country, too - there is a screened-in porch, so he will be able to get some fresh air - but I'm wondering: When he starts smelling those country smells, won't he start pining for the great out-of-doors? And if he does start to pine, is it right to keep him in? Will we even be able to? Will it help stem the wanderlust if we make sure to get him neutered before we leave? (He'll be a little younger than the orthodox 6 months, but I understand that's usually O.K.)
Also, I've been wondering about micro-chipping, which sounds like it would be a good precaution in case he does wander away. But shouldn't he still wear a collar and a tag? After all, not everyone who spots a stray cat will bring him to a shelter where he can be scanned. (Someone who finds a kitten without a tag might assume he's a stray, and keep him.)
post #2 of 5
If you put a collar on him, make sure it is a breakaway collar. I have seen more than my share of accidents involving cats with regular collars on. None of my cats even wear flea collars because of the horrors I have seen.

I am sure if wiggles has a screened in porch, he will be perfectly content to sit there and smell the outside. If he cries to go outside, just ignore him if you can, he is a lot safer indoors. Also microchipping is a good alternative in case he does bolt and get outdoors. Good luck!
post #3 of 5
I would be so afraid of losing my cat I would never take it anywhere except the vet. I'm even nervous about that. I know some people have taken their kittens on vacation with them successfully, but I would not. Once a cat is lost, it is my understanding that it is rare for the owner to get it back. I don't know why, but I think the person who picks it up assumes it has no home, and "rescues" it- with good intentions, of course.
post #4 of 5
You would be surprised how they can learn their boundaries. We live on a second floor apartment, and let our cats out on the balcony when we are out there. They love being out in the fresh air, and peeking under the boards to the big outside world. But they don't pine to go farther than that, and have yet to associate the front door with the big outside world they see from the patio. They are perfectly content being inside cats.

I think getting him neutered before you go would definitely help. Remember though that it can take weeks to get all the hormones out of his little system.

I think the best advice would be to just keep a very close eye on him, especially for the first couple of weeks you are there. It will be a new environment for him, he may be scared or he may want to explore. Be sure the place is kitten-proof before leaving him alone, especially in the porch area.
post #5 of 5
Thread Starter 
Thanks to everyone who posted encouraging words about traveling with cats!
We're back from vacation - and it was a great success for Wiggles. It took him about 20 minutes to adjust to the new environment. He just loved being in a big house in the country: racing up and down stairs (a new experience for an apartment-dweller), doing acrobatics on the screened porch, chasing (and eating!) moths. (We had to keep a close eye on him, though - if we ever opened an outide door when he was in the vicinity, he would dash out between our feet and make a beeline for the edge of the woods.) I was afraid that he would pine for the outdoors when we got home, but (though he was a little subdued at first) he was quicky back to his old self, and shows no interest in leaving the apartment. (I keep looking at him and wondering what is in that little head of his. Does he have any memories at all of his magical month in the country?
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