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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
As some of you may already know, I recently got a new kitty, Aiko, who is the reason I joined catforum. I have some questions about the recent series of changes that Aiko experienced in the process of her adoption. Here goes:

We first found Aiko when she followed my mother and brother into the house. She had a collar, so we knew she was not a stray, but no tags. My brother and I were afraid to let her back out again because it was night and we have coyotes in our area, but my father (who has some cat issues) insisted that we not keep her in the house. We decided to let her out and follow her home, but after a little walking she broke into a run and we lost track of her. We figured she went home. The next day almost the exact same series of events occurred again.

The third day, Aiko showed up at our home very early in the morning. At this point, my brother and I got really nervous. A young cat should not be out at all hours in the hills. We figured that she was a runaway/escapee, so we made some posters and put them in every mailbox in the neighborhood. She spent the night in our house, despite my father's howls of protest that we were taking her away from her owners and that she would pee on the rug.

Unfortunately, the next day we were going out of town, but we didn't feel right leaving her to her own devices outside. So we brought her to my friend's house, where she stayed for a little over a week. My friend's family has three tough outdoor cats and a very small lapdog. They reported that she was very playful with the cats, but that they hated it and reacted with a cold hostility. She got along marvelously with the dog and the people.

During the time we were away, we received two calls. The first was from another woman on our block who said that Aiko had been showing up at her house too during that three-day period. The second was from her owner. She was out of town, too, and her house sitter had unknowingly let the cat out. She had not realized until she saw the poster. She was also somewhat new to the neighborhood and did not know about the coyotes. Thank goodness we had not made poor Aiko stay outside. She then told us that she was moving to a place that did not allow pets and had been planning to give Aiko away anyway, so we could keep her.

So just as Aiko was getting comfortable at my friend's house, we swung by and brought her home again. Then not a week after she had come to live with us, sleeping on my bed every night, I had to move back to college. I will still see her about once or twice a month, but I left just as she was getting used to me.

I'm a little worried about how all this changing-up is affecting her. She is only about four months old, and the last three weeks have been quite eventful for her. First she spent three nights outside, hanging out at various houses during the day. Then she briefly lived with us, then with our friends with all the animals, now with us again, and now I've left. In all this time, she has not seen her previous owner. I worry because, while she is still a very warm cat, she seems to have become less gregarious since we picked her up from the friend's house. She does not purr as much, isn't quite as playful, and keeps trying to escape the house, even though we want her to be an indoor cat. My friends said that she never had a desire to go outside at all when they let their cats out. I'm worried that she does not realize that she is home for good now. My aunt's cat developed a sort of neurosis when too many changes occurred around her in a short time (first another cat, then my uncle moving in, then the baby) and it led to all kinds of health problems. How can we be sure that she has a sense of stability?
 

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Don't worry too much. Cats HATE changes, but they will adjust in time, especially for kittens. Aiko is growing from baby to a teenager, so some changes are expected even if her environment is stable all the time. Provide her all the love you can give, be careful when opening doors/windows, and keep her vacinne up to date, and she will be fine. It's also possible that she feels a bit lonely or bored so she want to get out. Buy her toys and play with her for at least one hour per day. Eventually she will settle down.

What worries me is your father's attitude toward Aiko. How does he react when you bring Aiko back home again? The worst scenario is that after a few month you dad decides that he got enough of the cat and insist you get rid of her. You know, cat scratches, kitten bites, and may have litterbox accidents. It may be hard to accept to a non cat lover. If you don't see your dad warm up to Aiko and give you clear permission, I feel it might be better to find Aiko a new permenent home NOW. She is most adoptable when she is a kitten, and she adjust the best to new environment when she is young.

Good luck, and keep us posted please :)
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I'm no longer worried about my dad. He's not a non-cat person by any means. He actually is a sucker for them and had just taken a hard stance after our last cat died because she was very difficult in several respects. He's already warmed up to Aiko and loves to snuggle her and play with her. He always says that she's special. I'm not worried at all.

On the other hand, I will relay your advice to my family and make sure that they are giving her adequate playtime, as I was the primary playtime person before. Thanks for the advice!
 

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Good to hear your dad likes Aiko. Seems Aiko has found her a perfect home :D Please post some pictures of her!

BTW, maybe you can get Aiko spayed after a few weeks, when she is comfortable with her new home and owners/staffs. That will reduce the chance of her sneaking out when in heat.
 

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At four months kittens are quite adaptable to changes. It's important to keep her indoors now and she should be spayed as some females can come into heat at 5 mos. Wait for a couple of weeks and book the spay surgery when she's more settled. She should come around if given lots of love and attention, good food, treats, and gentle grooming. Lots of interactive play will help a lot too, with throwing of toys, foil balls, or playing with a fishing-pole type toy, especially with other members of the family (e.g. dad). It was too bad that you had her sleeping on your bed at night and then went off to college, as that was another change she had to adjust to. With some stability and routine she should become more settled. Just don't expect her to be your cat when you come for your twice a month visits.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Thanks for the advice everyone!

@yingying, you can find some pics of her in my other posts. She's the brown and orange one, the black and white one is my last cat, Bundy.

My mother has been planning to take her to the vet soon because we know little to nothing about her medical history from her previous owner. They adopted her as a very small kitten, so she may already have her vaccines, but we want to be sure that she is healthy and spayed. We also think we can feel a microchip at the base of her neck, so we would need to get it replaced/reprogrammed, as well.
 
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