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post #1 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-02-2011, 11:21 AM Thread Starter
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need help for my dilemma

hi all, i am new to these forums. i live on the south coast of the UK. i did just make a post, but for some reason it did not like it, and when i hit the 'back' button the post had disappeared. that will teach me to save it, so i will keep this short.

i have recently met a lovely lady from thailand, online, with 2 children. I hope to apply for a settlement visa for them to come to the uk this year.

i live at home alone, with 2 dogs and a cat, who is wild. my animals get on very well with each other. my cat is scared of humans apart from me. if someone comes to the house she runs and hides. if she is outside and wants to come in, and sees an unfamiliar face, she will run away for at least a few hours. she is even very cautious of my mum. i am the only person she likes. my cat is 14.

i am worried that when my wife to be, and her two children come to england my cat will be totally distressed. my cats life will be a complete misery. plus we might even have a baby on the way.

we will have to move to my mums house, as my house is too small, and my mum will move into sheltered accomodation. my mums house only has a courtyard garden, and is in the centre of town, unlike my house which has a lovely, and large garden

my mum told me my cat is getting old, and is time to 'put her down' i wont do this, and i do not think a vet would do it either.

so what do i do? do i try and find a new home for my aging cat ( no idea how ). or what can i do? she would be completely terrified if 3+ new people started living with us. the children are very noisey ( as are a lot of children of course ). and there is no chance she would ever get use to them. as i said, she is very cautious of my mum, and that is after 14 years. if i ever let her out, she might never come back. and it would be unfair to keep her locked in a room for the rest of her life

any suggestions pls

Last edited by marie73; 03-04-2011 at 03:13 PM.
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post #2 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-03-2011, 01:24 AM
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My personal opinion is that you made a commitment to your kitty. She doesn't have control over what happens to her, her life is in your hands. I personally feel that the idea of putting a cat to sleep that has no health problems that diminish it's quality of life to be appalling. We don't put old people down because they are old so they have lived long enough and are costing too much money. This is your fur baby.

That being said I think it is perfectly reasonable to take her and blend her into the family. Why do you have to get rid of one family member (your kitty) just because you are getting more family members? Many people move with their cats of all ages, and if you would like advice on how to do the smoothest and least stressful move for your kitty then we would be happy to give that.

I would also consider it your responsibility as your kitties daddy to slowly introduce her and bond her to your new family members. The children will need to learn how to properly interact with animals. If you would also like advice on this there are many people here that would gladly give it.

If you honestly feel with all of your heart that for her to keep living with you will give her a life of sorrow then I think the most responsible thing to do for her is to find her a happy, loving home to spend the rest of her days at. If you would like advice on how you might do this we can help.

I do not think it is fair to send her to a shelter. At her age it is almost a guarenteed death sentence at a kill shelter, and at her age it is going to be near impossible to get her adopted from a no kill, especially if she is fearful of people. This would be an even more stressful situation then living with your family I guarentee it!
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post #3 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-03-2011, 04:50 AM Thread Starter
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yes i agree, putting her down is a terrible idea. this is something i would never do, unless she was in very poor health and on her last legs. i suggested i would 'put down' my elderly mum for being 'old'- i was joking of course, but she was serious when she said that about my cat.

when we move to the new house, i am scared i will never be able to let her outside - unless i put her on a lead. i would never get her back in. and keeping her indoors is not ideal for her, as she likes it outside. i would have liked to move to a larger house in the country with a large garden, but this is not possible

the reason for this post, is because i am looking for suggestions that can help me. i would rather keep my cat, and would hate to give her up for adoption.

but i know how she is with people. she is scared. she is not sociable, and she has been like this all her life. she will not stay in the same room with anyone, apart from me. she runs and hides behind my bed.

the new how has 3 bedrooms only. luckily the two children share a bedroom, so i can set aside a bedroom for the cat, as her sanctuary, if necessary. and i guess i will have to slowly introduce her every day to the new family, 10 minutes at first, then20, 30 , etc. so she gets us to them.

my girlfriend is coming to the uk in april for 3 weeks. i will have start then.

but as i said, i am looking for advice and suggestions pls. how do i introduce the cat to the new family. what if she is no better after 2 or 3 months, and is miserable.

still a good 5 or 6 months till they come to live here, so pls help
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post #4 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-03-2011, 07:48 AM
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You say you hope to bring the lady to the UK in a year, but you don't say you've already started the process and have spoken to an immigration lawyer. My brother (who lives in Canada) met a woman in the Philippines who he hoped to bring to Canada that same year, and we all thought that made sense. They're now married, but it took him almost three years before he was able to bring his wife to Canada (even though they were already married). He was very surprised to find out what was involved. It might be that Canada has stricter immigration laws than the UK...but, long story short, if you haven't already had advice from someone in immigration, you might have more time than you think.

Second...if you've never had someone living with you and your cat before, you don't really know how she will react to having someone there full time. My cat Muffs always runs and hides when new people come. Yet my daughter and her boyfriend came to stay with me for a few months and -- because they were there full time -- after about a week, Muffs did get used to them and stopped hiding (although she would still hide when any other new people came).

I agree with Nicole, there are things you can do to get cats accustomed to new things, which involves introducing them very slowly to the new people/etc. over time in a non-threatening way and having good things happen in their company. In addition, children can (and should) be taught how to behave around animals. So, I suggest you first try slowly introduce your cat to your new family once they arrive. If you haven't already, you should speak to an immigration lawyer, since you might have more time than you think.
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post #5 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-03-2011, 08:16 AM Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Susan View Post
You say you hope to bring the lady to the UK in a year, but you don't say you've already started the process and have spoken to an immigration lawyer. My brother (who lives in Canada) met a woman in the Philippines who he hoped to bring to Canada that same year, and we all thought that made sense. They're now married, but it took him almost three years before he was able to bring his wife to Canada (even though they were already married). He was very surprised to find out what was involved. It might be that Canada has stricter immigration laws than the UK...but, long story short, if you haven't already had advice from someone in immigration, you might have more time than you think.

Second...if you've never had someone living with you and your cat before, you don't really know how she will react to having someone there full time. My cat Muffs always runs and hides when new people come. Yet my daughter and her boyfriend came to stay with me for a few months and -- because they were there full time -- after about a week, Muffs did get used to them and stopped hiding (although she would still hide when any other new people came).

I agree with Nicole, there are things you can do to get cats accustomed to new things, which involves introducing them very slowly to the new people/etc. over time in a non-threatening way and having good things happen in their company. In addition, children can (and should) be taught how to behave around animals. So, I suggest you first try slowly introduce your cat to your new family once they arrive. If you haven't already, you should speak to an immigration lawyer, since you might have more time than you think.
thanks for reply. i have already made a reply to Nicole which covers some points you raise. i have done a lot of homework on settlement visas, and i am confident of success. though i believe that the US is much stricter than the UK on immigration, and maybe Canada is similar to the US.

but yes i hope you are right, that if the new family are in the house full time, my cat will get use to them eventually. that would be fantastic
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post #6 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-03-2011, 06:12 PM
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Have you met this woman and her children in person yet?

Cali, Cinderella, Cleo and Charlee

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Always in my heart, my lovely Cinderella, running free at the Bridge.
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post #7 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-03-2011, 07:42 PM
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It sounds as if your future wife has not come to the UK yet. I assume you will be meeting her a few times before you marry and move in together? See how your kitty is with them before the move.

You have had this kitten for 14 years. To 'bin her off' because you have met a lady is really unfair. She is an outdoor/indoor cat I assume, and the upheaval of moving will be a lot for her as well. When are you moving compared to when you will be marrying.

It is not practical to just have her in one room, its pretty unfair (plus I am sure the children would prefer their own rooms, if not now, when they are older)

Putting her down, as you have already said, is completely out of the question.

If you do end up being forced to rehome her (which as I have said above is very unfair) I would suggest trying to find her a good loving home, through sites like this or pets4homes etc. Putting her into a cat shelter is not fair. That is for cats who have no homes. Your cat does have a home, just it sounds like the home doesnt want the cat anymore.
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post #8 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-03-2011, 08:07 PM
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As I earlier noted, Muffs is a scaredy-cat. When I first adopted her, she was afraid of people, noises, any sudden movements, the list goes on. I then adopted Abby, who was 10 weeks old, and was very tiny. Muffs was terrified of Abby too! I ended up hiring a professional animal behaviorist to help me introduce Muffs and Abby -- which really amounted to helping Muffs get over her fear of Abby. He designed what is referred to as a desensitization and counterconditioning (D&C) program. He told me that this technique (D&C) is used not only to introduce two cats, but to help cats (or dogs) get over their fears...whether it be a fear of people, a fear of children, fear of other animals, etc. It took about 3 months for Muffs to stop being so afraid of Abby and for the two of them to get along, but it worked in the end. I have used these techniques to help Muffs get over some of her other fears. She's still a bit of a scaredy-cat, but she's a lot better than she used to be. She used to spend 90% of her time hiding under by bed or under other furniture!

Below is a helpful link that explains the D&C technique. You can try to use this technique when your girlfriend comes, although the technique often takes months before you see progress, so don't be discouraged if you don't see instant results in the few weeks your girlfriend is with you in April. You will no doubt have to try again once she arrives full time. Good luck!

ASPCA - Virtual Pet Behaviorist - Desensitization and Counterconditioning
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post #9 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-04-2011, 12:18 AM
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Susan has provided some good information regarding socialization and whatnot between your new family members and your kitty.

As far as advice for your move you need to be prepared. It is going to be very stressful, cats are creatures of territory and you will be moving her from one territory to a new one. I know she is an indoor/outdoor cat but you need to start keeping her inside and work her slowly outdoors. That way she already views the house as her territory and will not wander far by the time she is going out. It will also be less overwhelming to her. By slowly introducing her to everything she can slowly take it in instead of being overwhelmed with it all at once.

Set up a room in the house as her safety room. This is a temporary haven for her. Keep her litter box, food, bed, toys, etc in there. Feliway plugs would be extremely beneficial to put in there and would help calm her. Move her into the room first and shut the door. Put a BIG sign on the door saying do not enter! That way she is safe while everything is being moved. Keep her in that room and let her adjust. This could take a day to a couple of months, it is different between cats. It is vital that you do not rush her out of her safety room too soon. Once she is confident in the room, claiming it as her own and not hiding, then start introducing her into the rest of the house. Keep the room set up for her, if she gets overwhelmed with a sound or smell in the house this will be to room she will dash too. Do the process again. Wait for her to feel confident and claim the house, confident enough that she stays out and about and is not hidden or fearful of it. Then begin to take her outside in slow increments, increasing the amount of time she is out there slowly over time. This will be the least stressful and safest way to move her into your new home.

Best of luck!
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post #10 of 15 (permalink) Old 03-04-2011, 06:58 AM Thread Starter
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thanks for replies. i certianly do want to keep my cat. my (our ) new home certainly does want our cat.

i had my cat first, 14 years ago, then i had 1 dog, then the next dog, who i inherited. the cat was scared of them at first, but i kept the dog in the front room which had a glass door to the hall - where i kept my cat. every now and then she would look through the glass at the door at the dog, and that was how i introduced them.

i would like to be able to move into the new house before my wife comes over, so the cat can get use to it. maybe up to at least 1 month or 2 before.

for your information, by the end of May this year i would have spent, 28 weeks with my future wife, and her children. so yes, i have met her before. ( that is 28 weeks in each others company )

thanks Susan,i will look at the link.

i think maybe the best way would be to slowly introduce my cat to the new family a few times every day, bit by bit.

i will definately try very hard and introduce my cat to my girlfriend in April, and will tell you how that goes
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