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Discussion Starter #1
Hello

A feral with an ear tip (TNR) found her way to my backyard about 2.5 years ago. I immediately started caring for her, setting her up with a heated outdoor house and providing food. She has been to the vet and is healthy and microchipped. Last fall my indoor cat died so I installed a cat door to see if the feral would come indoors. After 2.5 years of gaining her trust, she sleeps in the bed with me every night, loves to be cuddled, and shows no signs of being feral towards me. She is a little skittish around others but will eat treats from their hands and sit in the same room comfortably. My grandmother also lives in this house and the cat is friendly towards her, though she doesn't allow head scratches from anyone but me.

She still goes outside on most days for a few hours to make her rounds which include the yards of three neighbors. Two of these neighbors have no problem with her, but I'm suspicious of the third though he is usually never home. Sometimes I try to keep her indoors but the second I turn around she goes outside when she gets bored. I can't get her to use a litter box, she would prefer to go outside, but I also haven't closed her indoors without the possibility of going outside so who knows.

So is she more attached to me or the location? I'm thinking about moving cross country soon to a small apartment. Would it be worse to take her with me and keep her indoors in a 1bed apartment or leave her in the location she knows where she will be fed and let indoors anytime she wants? I'm feeling guilty about either one. HELP.
 

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Most cats are attracted and comfortable in their territory. Your mature girl is very settled with you....she has the best of both worlds, her small outdoor territory that she checks out every day and her indoor life especially with you. Tho as you say the "second I turn around she goes outside when she gets bored", so altho she loves the head scratches from you and sleeping in your bed she is really happier to be outside. To take her from this, and move to a small apt without being able to go outside to roam would make an unhappy cat. If you are confident that whoever buys your house or a neighbor would feed her, then I would let her be. When you move get a kitten from a humane society, and kitty will be happy and content with your apartment as that's where she will grow up.
 

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Is your grandmother staying in the house when you move?
 

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Thank you for your reply. The people who will be in the house when I leave are family that the cat is familiar with so she will definitely be taken care of. I'm just feeling guilt for disappearing one day. I think maybe I'm making myself more important to her than I really am.
 

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If you're the only one she'll let give head scratches, you are important to her. But it would be best to leave her where she is.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks marie73. I will most likely end up leaving her here, but I think I've painted a picture of a cat that sounds more feral than she is now. As I type this, she is sitting in my lap purring. After a year of trying to get her to play with a toy outside with no success, she now has a pile of toys she plays with indoors. She let the vet handle her and check her teeth with no problem. Before she moved inside, I would catch her in cat fights on a semi-regular basis. I'm concerned about leaving her here, worried she will spend more time outdoors, getting into fights and crossing the road, and risking going into the bad neighbor's garage who doesn't like cats. It's hard for me to reconcile that leaving her here would result in a less safe environment, but I also don't want an unhappy cat.
 

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I would try, starting today, to see if you can get her to use a litter box. If you can keep her inside and get her to use it, then I would say take her with you. You clearly love her. But if she won't, you definitely don't want to have a cat in your new place who only wants out and won't use a litter box.
 
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