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Moving to the country...

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Greetings all!

Well Blackjack is a neutered male, and since he started coming around at an estimated time many years ago, we believe he is around 8 now.

Anyways, he is very fixed on our neighborhood and home...a very defensive cat towards the property when other cats come around. We currently live in town, and the farthest he travels is behind the neighbors house across the side street where there is some brush he hides in. He actually will not cross our front street due to traffic and he seems to know this. For the most part, he sleeps around the house, and goes out maybe just a few hours a day at most. He will use the litter box when he needs to.

Not that any of this matters specifically towards our upcoming situation, but I figured I'd provide every detail.

We own an apartment house kiddy corner from our house (across the street he will not cross), and one day while I was over there I brought him with me. He was very afraid while I was carrying him over there, and desperately trying to get away. Once he was in the apartment, he was very afraid and confused. He sat and desperately cried at the door to get out.

We are now finishing up a house in the country near some woods, and he must move to the new home. I simply could never give him up.

Now I know in the beginning we will basically have to keep him inside the house, attempting to get him used to it. But, my question lies in when to finally attempt letting him out into the new terrain to explore.

Should we keep him inside for quite some time in the new home, forcing him to realize it is his new place to live? Should we be cautious that when we do attempt to let him out, he may try and run away? And lastly, we live in northern IL, and have spotted coyotes on the property...should we assume he will be smart enough to adapt and venture into the woods and return, or should we make all efforts to keep him housebound from this point on, in fear of getting attacked by other predators? He does beg at the door when he wants out, and I would hate to take away most of his outdoor freedom.

I really appreciate responses from anyone who has been faced with a similar situation.

Thanks a lot.
post #2 of 7
I really would consider making him a inside cat only when you move.With coyotes and other predators around something is more then likely going to kill him. Cats can adapt to being inside only cats.Cats are smart but usually coyotes win.
post #3 of 7
Hi, welcome to you and Blackjack! I'm so glad you've both joined us! Congratulations on your upcoming move. You've just put a great tune in my head I'm going up the country, baby, don't you wanna go

ok, back on topic. A move such as this can be a huge transition for anyone, especially a kitty, and it sounds as if Blackjack has previously exhibited that he may have a difficult time adjusting to his new environment. I would strongly suggest making him an inside only kitty. Although this may be a big change for him, it's so much safer than allowing him out into this unfamiliar territory. With coyotes in the area, along with other dangers, allowing him outside would be incredibly dangerous. Keeping him in isn't due to his not being smart enough to stay away from danger. Any of us could fall prey to a fierce, hungry coyote, and it would simply be an unnecessary risk to expose him to this possibility.

Please keep Blackjack inside where he is safe. There are many ways of making his indoor environment more fun such as a cat tree, window perch, ramps, plenty of toys, even something as simple as a cardboard box or paper bags, and quite importantly, interactive play with you and plenty of love.
post #4 of 7
We have moved 5 times with our cats !
When we move with our cats, we try to keep them in for at least 3 weeks, then some time on a harness and leash (they hate it, but they get to go out in the yard and get used to what "home" smells like on the outside- have heard that putting old, used litter around the new house is good in case your cat gets out ), and then supervised time, then out during the day, as we have times of the year when the coyotes cut through the woods in our neighborhood at night.
Before all that though, I should say that our cats are trained to come running for canned food treat time (banging on can with fork ) , and know that they are going to get a treat at the same time everyday, so they are looking for the "come in for the night bell".
You might consider getting a locking pet door, so he has an escape route into the house whenever he needs it- we have a fence and a backyard that smells like, and is sometimes inhabited by, a dog.

However, after saying all that , if you are seeing coyotes during the day, I would try as hard as I could to get him to adjust to being an indoor-only cat. I have seen people here talking about outside enclosures for their cats (you might want to do a search )- one of these, attached to a pet door (at least attached to a safe, solid structure- a large dog house with a flap or a garage, if not the house, so he has somewhere to hide if scared), might be a solution for you. Also, I have seen postings about something called "Feliway", I think, that is supposed to help destress your cat (I think it comes in a spray and a plug in?) Maybe you could use it before you go, so it smells familar?. Don't wash a blanket or sheets that you sleep with before you go- it will smell familar, same goes for his bed or favorite towel or whatever he likes to sleep on when he goes in, and don't do a complete litter box change-keep the old litter so it smells very familar too .

I hope this helps! I'm sure there are other people who will have suggestions and links to help you in your move! I miss the country- but at least we have old woods and a wet weather stream in our neighborhood- has made the adjustment easier . Enjoy your new place!
post #5 of 7
Moving to the country, gonna eat a lotta peaches....

Oh wait, what was the question????

Keep him in for a while and see how he goes. Our new cat (a street stray from a friends neighbourhood) we got ages ago was an outside cat and so after a few days of being inside was going nuts, so we let him outside during the day, and he was ALWAYS waiting for us when he came home from day 1. He knew his home and he never wandered far.

I think as long as he's comfortable, and wants to come back to you, he will if you let him out. Of course there is the risk of coyotes and so forth.

Our poor boy was killed by a snake, and it absolutely devastated us, and still upsets me to this day. Just remember that if you do let him outside, these are the risks you take.

I'd suggest making him an indoors only cat, but if you can't, just let him guide you as to when you let him outdoors. You'll know when he's ready
post #6 of 7
I just moved from one country home to another and took the feral barn cats with me. I'm not sure my situation is the same as yours, as we moved from a very rural area full of coyotes, roaming dogs, bobcats, cougars, etc, into more of a x-burbs area that is less wild.

I kept them inside for close to 4 weeks when I moved them here. I kept them separated from the rest of my household and kept them in a sun porch with full windows to see the outside world where they would be released.

I moved their outdoor furniture with me, and placed it in areas that were close to safe spots (I have feeding platforms and patio furniture that they claimed as their own). We cut out cat sized escape holes in the deck lattice to give them a place to hide (and get out of the elements).

I know that my feral cats are rural savy and all of them know who to "disappear" when they recognize danger (mostly dogs). Most climb trees or stay close to the porch cut-outs where they can go to get away. I was scared to death the day I released them, but they all did great. Bob and Indie didn't leave the porch for weeks. Lucky found his way thru the fence and into the woods that border the property the first night (in a rain storm). I cryed all night until he came by the feeding platform for food the following morning.

After the experience of living inside for a month, Lucky, who rarely came inside the house before, now begs to come inside regularly. I encourage this, as I think it keeps him closer to home. The predator problem I have in my new place is the roaming neighborhood dogs. Even though my back yard is fenced (2 acres worth), some manage to find holes and come inside. One is cat aggressive. I also have worked with that dog to show him that I am alpha on my property and that behavior is not allowed.

If you keep this cat inside for a period of time and he adjusts to it, by all means don't let him back outside. It is REALLY scary to put them back outside in a new environment.
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Excellent advice everyone!

I was really debating this issue of ever allowing him to become an outdoor cat again, and it looks as if I will keep him inside. He currently hides in flower beds or bushes and runs to greet me when I get out of my car to walk to the door with me, but like has been stated; predators are the larger issue here.

I would hate to have him disappear, and he is a very playful cat with string, so I think I will give him the play time he needs indoors and keep him indoors.

Thanks everyone for helping with this decision!
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