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Discussion Starter #1
Hi all, apologies in advance for this essay..

I was just wondering if anyone had any experience of moving house with cats? I currently live with my parents and brother (and my 4yr old cat, Harry!) in a house that has a cat flap. (I already know all the things like keeping him indoors for 5 weeks when moving etc :])

Harry can currently come and go as he pleases, but rarely strays far and doesn't really stay out for long periods of time. There are a lot of other cats in my neighbourhood and he is definitely not top of the pecking order and is always being chased back inside by the older Toms.

Anyway, me and my boyfriend have bought a house and are moving out in the next few weeks, to a house that will have no cat flap, and no way to put one in really, so thats not an option. We will both be out of the house from 8.30am to 6pm.

Firstly I am worried about him being on his own for the time while we're at work, what do you guys think? He would have to stay indoors during the day so I don't worry constantly while at work 30 miles away, and then I would let him out when we got home.

I'm also worried about him not adjusting to being able to come and go as he pleases, and that he will miss my parents and brother.

Thanks for all your advice in advance
 

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Congratulations on buying a house. When I was a kid we moved several times and dragged the cat with us. She always adjusted well. When I was older and still living at home I adopted a cat that had been confined to an apartment. Later I moved out to an apartment where she could not go outside. A year later I moved to a different apartment where the landlord's cat was dominant. Later we moved to a house and I let her go outside. She adjusted to each move fine. I don't have any great advice but I wouldn't worry too much until you see how it works out.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks both for your comments! Glad that your little cat showed so much resilience Janz.

Unfortunately there is nowhere for a car flap to go. The front door is uPVC and the back door is glass French doors, and there are no small windows that could be left open, but I'm not sure I'd be comfortable with leaving them open while at work if there were!

Again, nowhere upstairs to let him out, just more windows.

The only thing would be to leave him out all day if he wants to be outside, but I don't think I could cope knowing he was outside all day, as he is usually indoors more than he is outside.

Whats the bird feeder thing?
 

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My neighborhood is not safe for outdoor cats. We have too much wildlife - raccoons, fox, bobcats. So my cats are indoor cats. They have lots of high spaces to go, windows to watch out of and each other for play.
Once he has "his" things around him, with familiar smells, he will quickly adjust to the house. My cats love new places to explore. We take them to the lakehouse every weekend (and we spent over a month there this summer). Talley loves her carrier and will chill out in it at the lake when not on the cat tree. Zoey hates her carrier and tells me about it all the way up and back.
My daughter's cat is almost five years old and has lived in six states (including both coasts) with her.
Cats pick up on your attitude and mimic it.
Congrats on the house.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I understand that some people have indoor cats due to where they live, but we have no dangers here really. Our new house will be in a cul-de-sac. No main roads, no wildlife. The only danger is humans, and sometimes I am really shocked by what some people are capable of doing to defenceless animals.

I tried to keep him indoors when I first got him but he was always pulling up the carpet and crying. Now he has the choice but mostly chooses to stay indoors, or he sits in the driveway watching the world go by, but he's never far from his catflap/home.

If he was an indoor cat I would get another, but to be honest he doesn't really seem to like other cats. He is very wary of cats and young children. I will just have to play it by ear and see how he adjusts to my new house. If it turns out he really doesn't adjust well I guess I will just have to take him back to my parents house, even though that will be upsetting for me it's better than having him distressed.
 

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He'll be fine. I've moved MANY times with cats, and the main thing is to set up a quiet room for the kitty first thing--do that before anything else. Then, by the time you get things set up and he can come out, he'll see that it's the same old stuff, same person, etc. and he'll be fine. Spraying some Feliway around helps a lot.

Re: keeping him indoors--it will be easier on him if you keep him indoors ALL the time, rather than only when you are not home. If you let him go out when you return home, he'll never get over wanting to go out, which may make him miserable when you're away and he's inside. You may also rarely see him if he's out when you're home and only in when you're away!

I have converted MANY cats from outdoor to indoor and honestly, it's not that hard. If you provide plenty of vertical areas for climbing and lounging (could be a cat tree, a window perch, shelves on the wall, a bookcase w/ some shelves cleared off, etc), toys, comfy beds, and a sunny window, most cats adapt in a matter of weeks. As long as you don't let him out at ALL, he will get used to it and be perfectly happy!

A bird feeder or 2 is a wonderful addition to cats' lives (and it's nice for the birds, too!). Put it outside a nice window w/ a perch or piece of furniture where the cat can sit, fill it up, and wait for the birds to find it. My feeders draw goldfinches, house finches, sparrows, tufted titmice, chickadees, and cardinals-- so it's nice for ME, too! :)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks Hoofmaiden! I'm going to move all of my things in and THEN move the cat in after a few days, so he doesn't have to deal with the furniture moving etc. When I first brought him home when I got him he stayed under my bed for 3 days and all I did was worry.

I was reading about feliway a few weeks ago but I wasn't sure if it actually worked - do you find it helps soothe and calm? Is the spray better than the plug in? I could probably do with that for vets trips too actually, he does not like being in the car! Or maybe he doesn't mind the car but associates the car/carrier with being poked prodded and injected!!

As for converting him to an indoor cat, I'm not sure - I will see how it goes but I feel like he would always pine for the outdoors and might try to escape at any given opportunity. It would also mean being very careful having open windows and doors too surely? If he wanted to get out he'd just jump straight out of an open window, or make his escape when he hears us coming in and out...
 

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L, so glad you started this thread and I was somewhat relieved to read cats adjust. I am a similar position. In seven days I am moving to a townhouse twice as big as where I'm living now. To add to the mix/stress, I have to start fostering a cat at the same time. The resident cat (Ritz) and new cat (Ace) will be moving into the new house at the same time. I'll keep Ace in a separate room and Ritz will have full run of the house, though I suspect she'll stay under the bed/sofa for several days. I rescued Ace from the streets, a friend was keeping her until I got a second bedroom and is too busy to continue fostering Ace. I will foster her until she is adopted into a Forever Home--which may take a long time. Too many cats, too few people.
I don't know the personality of your cats, but Ritz (around 3 years old) is timid, shy, doesn't like sudden noises; Ace (around 9 months old) is full of herself and life, love. I'm hoping there is a Ying/Yang going on.
Anyway, to answer your question: I have found Feliway diffusers and Rescue Remedy very helpful. Ritz is prone to stress-induced UTIs, and they prevented a recurrence of a UTI about a year ago. I will begin adding Rescue Remedy to her food in a few days, and will place Feliway diffusers in multiple places in my townhouse. I also have a generic calming spray that I'll use. I heard calming collars also work really well, but Ritz won't tolerate a collar on her.
Good luck; and I'll keep reading this post. Let us/me know how it goes.
 

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I was reading about feliway a few weeks ago but I wasn't sure if it actually worked - do you find it helps soothe and calm? Is the spray better than the plug in?
You can use both or either. I usually use the spray. It helps, but it's not magic.
As for converting him to an indoor cat, I'm not sure - I will see how it goes but I feel like he would always pine for the outdoors and might try to escape at any given opportunity. It would also mean being very careful having open windows and doors too surely? If he wanted to get out he'd just jump straight out of an open window, or make his escape when he hears us coming in and out...
Well, yes, you have to watch doors and windows. Is that so difficult? Just don't open windows unless they have screens in them and be careful re: the door. You can use a spray bottle at the door to teach him to back off.

Trust me-if you do not let him out, he WILL give up and will learn to be happy indoors. Every one of my cats other than those who were kittens when adopted were outdoors first. They all learned to be happy indoors.

Most recently I brought my 2 barn cats, Conrad and Erik, into the house. They lived outside their entire lives and seemed very happy. However, they converted VERY easily to indoor cats and are now very happy living the safer life.

The only people who have problems are those who allow access to the outdoors SOMETIMES so the cat never learns that the rules have changed.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Thanks Ritz, I will definitely look into the feliway. I may also look into the rescue remedy, as I've not heard of that before. I'm hoping to be able to move him in a few weeks, possibly on the bank holiday weekend, so I will have a longer weekend to be home with him. I will definitely let you know how I get on. Are your cats indoor cats?

Harry is not too timid, he just doesn't like cats or children. He is fine with the hoover, hairdryer, washing machine etc etc. If theres someone he doesn't know in the house he just disappears outside or goes upstairs.

Thanks again Hoofmaiden for your advice, I will definitely consider keeping him indoors. He will have to be inside for at least 4-5 weeks anyway so he knows the new house is his new home, so maybe he will adjust fine to being inside and then I won't even have an issue :)
 

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Discussion Starter #11
Oh & Ritz, let me know how your move goes and how the cats adjust to becoming housemates!
 

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Rescue Remedy is an herbal supplement, original formulated for humans but a vet discovered it also works with animals. I put a few drops in food because Ritz drinks very little water.
Ace will be my first time solo fostering; I removed five cats from my feral/stray/abandoned cat, outdoor colony 18 months ago. Friend and I helped socialize them and adopted them out into Forever Homes. Four were previously owned and adapted easily into being inside; the fifth also adapted to being inside, but after 18 months is still standoffish. She LOVES dogs, okay with cats, not crazy about humans. One of the cats escaped from the house after being inside for eighth months; two weeks, two miles later, returned to the colony. (Later retrapped and adopted into Forever Homes).
Ritz is strictly indoors; I live(d) on the third floor of a condo building. Death drop. She lived outside for the first six months of her life (abandoned, survived 20 inch snow storm). Being inside didn't bother her as much as strange people keeping her warm and fed. She was the second of four cats to be ready to be adopted out. Ritz was my first cat, she probably picked up on my nervousness, so her personality is in part a reflection of me. Which is another hint: cats do read moods, so note to self: breathe, everything will be okaaayyyy. I'll definitely keep you posted.
 

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I just went though the same thing a month ago And I highly recommend the serenity collar. It's like the feliway but it stays on them for a month. It works wonders. We moved three cats and a dog to a 2 bedroom apartment to a three bedroom townhouse.

The first day we put them in the cat room with the door shut but they all wanted out so bad so we let them out and right away they explored the whole house and loved it ever since.
 

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3Furbabies, how did your cats react when you put the collar on? Had they ever had a collar on before? Can they eat/bite at it? Irritation? (My friend could probably get it on her, the one who rescued Ritz.) How far in advance did you put on the collar? Thanks.
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Thanks for your advice 3furbabies! I'm hoping he adjusts okay, because he is like my baby and I'd love for him to stay with me and to not have to stay with my parents. I will keep in mind about cats reading your emotions etc. I'm going to look into all of the things everyone suggested tonight, especially the collar (he already wears one anyway) and the feliway.

Ritz, you're so nice taking in and looking after so many cats! I don't know how you do it, I would hate to give them up at the end! :(
 

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3Furbabies, how did your cats react when you put the collar on? Had they ever had a collar on before? Can they eat/bite at it? Irritation? (My friend could probably get it on her, the one who rescued Ritz.) How far in advance did you put on the collar? Thanks.
They never really wore collars before, Only once in a while. They were fine with me putting it on and didn't care about it once it was on. I put it on just before I put them in the carrier to move them to the new house. It calms them almost instantly. There is powder stuff that will flake off, don't worry about it that's not important. I left it on for about three weeks although I could have taken it off at 2
 
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