UPDATE post #36 - Help please. Which is more humane? (stray cat) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 59 Old 03-14-2011, 05:06 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Experience, ideas, opinions, suggestions, all welcome... I need help figuring out what to do and I'm on limited time.  I really tried to make this as short as possible, lol.

 

I'm in my old state selling my home.  I've been here for a few months.  A previous neighbor had a mainly indoor cat who looks and acts VERY much like a Ragamuffin breed which is an offshoot of Ragdoll breed, which are both known for their non-aggressive personalities and most will not fight, even in self defense.  (One neighbor told me this was a Maine Coon, so if you read that in another post, this is the cat I'm talking about, but upon researching, he is not a MC cat.)

 

The previous owners removed his collar and put him outside in our neighborhood and then moved away and left him to find food.  Our neighborhood is a bird sanctuary (city declared) and is a forest area, so I guess they figured he'd find food.  But, this cat has since attached itself to me and my house.  It had fleas that I've treated and was looking a little rough, so I've been letting him sleep inside and I've been brushing him, giving him love and food/water, etc.  I've asked around to try to find him a forever home here in the neighborhood but no one wants a cat.  I could and would take him with me, but it's to an apartment in a large metro city with a high outdoor cat (indoor/outdoor too) mortality rate due to crazy poisoning people, coyotes, traffic, stray dogs & cats, disease, parasites, awful traps, etc.  

 

 

EDIT - I would love to take him, the reason that I would consider leaving him is all about him.  If he has to fly, become indoor or leash walking, live with a dog, be removed from the neighborhood that he knows, etc.  I would hate to get there and then have him constantly trying to escape or be totally unhappy or depressed.  I'd feel like I did the wrong thing.  If I knew that he'd adapt and be happy to be with me, I'd not even have the question.  I have the resources and am able and willing to work with him to leash walk, etc.  Just don't know if that's selfish thinking on my part, yk?  Ideas/experiences very welcome!

 

If I take him it involves a 6 hour flight (I'd take him in-cabin, but it'd still probably be stressful), a major lifestyle change for the cat as it'd have to learn to walk on a leash if he wants to ever go outdoors, he'd have to learn to be fine with my dog (nice dog but still a dog), and he's at least 2-3 years old so what if he doesn't get passed this great forest area?  Will he get depressed if I take him?  I'm trying hard not to get attached.  I know that loving a being means doing the best thing for that being, not necessarily always what you want to do.

 

If he stays here, he may not live long and will probably have fleas within a few months again, if no one else comes along to take him in and love him.  He's super chill and there are raccoons and opossums in this neighborhood, I see them every night.  Along with a few stray dogs that chase the cats, I see those dogs about once a week around my house here. I read that outdoor cats have an average life span of less than 5 years and indoor cats have around 15 year life span.  It would be tough to drive away knowing that statistic.

 

Ugh.  Thx for reading if you made it this far!  So, which is more humane... to leave him or to take him with me.  I leave in less than a month.  Help please??


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#2 of 59 Old 03-14-2011, 05:30 AM
 
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take him. it's deplorable that his last owners abandoned him, but kudos to you for looking after him.

 

people don't seem to fully understand this, but cats are domesticated animals. sure, it only takes a couple generations for them to revert to a feral state, but it still is generations, not months of a single cat's life. this cat became attached to another human really quickly... that means that he really craves that human relationship, and short of finding him another home in your neighbourhood, the only right thing to do is to take him with you.

 

he will have to become an indoor cat when you move to the city. it really would be criminal to ever let him outdoors again, in that environment particularly. he may miss the outdoors a little, but to him, having a human companion and caregiver are more important than hunting and roaming. letting him outdoors in the city is a guaranteed way to get him run over, poisoned, attacked or lost. indoor cats are capable of having very fulfilling and happy lives. toys, good food, your company... that is all he really wants. if you think you will be away a lot due to work or school, you might consider adopting another cat with the right temperament when you get to your new home. cats to enjoy the company of other cats.

 

good luck! he seems like an awesome cat, and i'm sure he will adapt just fine to the new situation and lifestyle.

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#3 of 59 Old 03-15-2011, 02:31 AM
 
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I really hope you take him. I have two cats out of four that started life "on the streets" and they are perfectly happy living indoors in a multi-pet family. I don't think they look back, honestly.

If not, I think you should try to contact a local no-kill shelter and give him a chance at a better life.



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#4 of 59 Old 03-15-2011, 07:20 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks both of you.  I'm really conflicted.

 

I have a vet appointment this week to see if its a male or female, it sleeps on it's back a lot on my sofa but it has SO much fur that I cannot even tell the gender.  Its either a neutered male or a female (can't see or feel a spay scar due to thick fur and it doesn't seem pregnant).  I was just putting food out and petting it for the first few weeks after it started really hanging by my front porch a lot, but the opossums kept getting the food, this cat would just sit there and watch the fat possums waddle up the steps and eat the food, about 2 feet away.  No sign of defense or upset, this is what prompted me to bring it indoors a little, it seems too chill to be safe from the wild animals outside here.  Its a really relaxed cat.  The first few days it was inside, it would eat and clean itself and then want back out, so I'd let it out.  Around the 3rd day, it slept for many hours and only wanted out randomly to use the bathroom, then would meow at the door to be let back in.  Now, it has been about two weeks since it came inside for the first time ever, and it only wants out to use the bathroom, totalling less than an hour per day outdoors total.  I got it a cat box, but it doesn't like it and asks to go outdoors.  I got it a harness and it let me put it on it first try.  Today, I'm going to put the harness on it whenever it wants to go out to pee or poop, maybe he'll get used to having the harness when he has to go to the bathroom?  Ugh, really I've only had dogs... I had a few cats as a kid, and am not really a "cat person".  This cat acts like a dog, follows me around, wags it's tail, flops down next to me.  I still don't know what to do, it's going to have a pretty fair amount of trauma with the airport, long flight, living with a dog, total environmental change, I'm still really conflicted.  The city I'm in now (with the cat) has a bad rep for transferring animals from no-kill to kill shelters after a short period of time.  I have a neighbor friend who works at one of the no-kills and she tells me sad stories, the city has euthanized thousands of cats and dogs in 2010 and it's projected to be higher this year.  I think it's survival rate could be higher by risking escape from my apt in my other city vs. going to a shelter in this city.  Thx for the idea tho...

 

More opinions?  Or suggestions on how to make an easier adjustment for the cat and also me, if he goes with me to my other city and apartment over there?  What if it escapes my apt and eaten by a coyote?  I'll feel terrible.  I have friends who come and go and he could easily slip out while I'm getting the dog out for walks, etc.  How do I keep him from trying to escape?  Or if the cat and dog don't get along?  Or if it decides to never use a litter box?  Right now it has never tried to pee or poo in my house, and only asks to go out twice a day for less than 20 minutes each time... is that even healthy?

 

Thx for the input so far... 


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#5 of 59 Old 03-15-2011, 07:52 AM
 
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I don't know, IME cats that have experienced a life outside the 4 walls of a house generally are not happy to adjust to inside only existance. Have you been keeping him fulltime now so at least you could get an idea of how he might adjust to inside only?

 

I wouldn't leave him to his own devices if you decide not to take him I'd at least try and find a rescue or no kill place where they will find him a forever home.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arduinna View Post

I don't know, IME cats that have experienced a life outside the 4 walls of a house generally are not happy to adjust to inside only existance. Have you been keeping him fulltime now so at least you could get an idea of how he might adjust to inside only?

 

I wouldn't leave him to his own devices if you decide not to take him I'd at least try and find a rescue or no kill place where they will find him a forever home.



I disagree, we have had multiple former outdoor cats in my life that have become indoor only cats. I find that adjustment can be hard but if they have lots of stimulation most become quite content. 

Of course any cat will be happier outside, that is a given but I don't think you should write it off that because they aren't happy at first they will be miserable forever. I had a cat that was a pure barn cat and he turned into the most loving indoor kitty. It took him a few months but he was fine and happy. I think, he never actually answered me when I asked....

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#7 of 59 Old 03-15-2011, 08:02 AM
 
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You disagree with my personal observation that I couched as IME?

 

You may have a different experience, but my personal observation stands as it is mine after all.  

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#8 of 59 Old 03-15-2011, 08:06 AM
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You disagree with my personal observation that I couched as IME?

 

You may have a different experience, but my personal observation stands as it is mine after all.  



I didn't catch the IME, sorry..., like I said I think all cats would prefer to be outdoors if they could.

 

I should have prefaced my comment by saying IME as well. Yikes, I'm not looking for a trivial fight about semantics so I'll leave this one alone.

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#9 of 59 Old 03-15-2011, 08:20 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arduinna View Post

I don't know, IME cats that have experienced a life outside the 4 walls of a house generally are not happy to adjust to inside only existance. Have you been keeping him fulltime now so at least you could get an idea of how he might adjust to inside only?

 

I wouldn't leave him to his own devices if you decide not to take him I'd at least try and find a rescue or no kill place where they will find him a forever home.


I won't just leave him if he doesn't come with me.  There are two neighbors who had been feeding him before he started coming around to my house more.  They only put food out tho, no flea care or sleeping inside or other care.  And we have other wild animals who get to the food sometimes before the cats can get it.  And I didn't feed him at all for several weeks, just petting him and talking to him, but he stuck to me a lot whenever I was outside working in the yard or garage.  I noticed he was looking a little scruffier one day, so I set a bowl of food and water out, and it drank a lot of water and ate a bit.  Then later when I checked the food, I found an opossum eating it.  I don't want more opossums or raccoons coming around so I decided to let the cat eat and drink inside.  Then, it started wanting to be inside more and more and is up to wanting to be indoors for about 23 hours per day, only asks to go out to pee or poo, then is back at the front door right after.  I watch it go to the bathroom somewhere in my yard and then it comes back to the porch.  I want to see how it would do staying indoors 24 hrs/day, but it didn't like the catbox and after about an hour of it asking to get out and me putting it in the catbox and it refusing to go in the box, I opened the door and it ran right to the bushes and peed, then came back to the porch.  I'm experimenting with various types of litter now.  It seems like it would be satisfied with indoor living and daily excursions on the leash to get outdoors a bit.  I mainly worry about it escaping in the city apt b'c there are coyotes and normal large city dangers.  I'm not in a grassy yard type of neighborhood over there at all, its an apartment building with busy streets on both sides of the building and a hillside grassy area where I could take it on leash, but if he went beyond that area one it's own, it could be in real danger, and danger of the wild animals at night... there are coyotes spotted even in the downtown areas at night.  I guess my big fear is it escaping and getting lost or hurt if it got scared and ran before I could get to it, I think the rest of the issues could be worked out over time (flight, dog, indoor life with leash only outdoor time).  It does seem to enjoy lying on the boxes I have stacked near the window and snoozing the day away.

 

I will not just leave him here without a plan in line for it's care.  It's either coming with me or it will have a proper home and caretaker already in place.  That's my dilemma right now, figuring out which is best for the cat.

 

(sorry my posts are so long, writing out my thoughts is helping me weigh out the options)

 


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#10 of 59 Old 03-15-2011, 08:33 AM - Thread Starter
 
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You were both posting while I was writing out my last post.

 

So, what do you think about it having an indoor life with little leashed adventures outdoors daily?

 

My thought and experiences have always been along Arduinna's.  The cats I had as kids wouldn't have been happy indoors and ripped thru the screen doors to get out if no one was around to open the door immediately.  We kept them as indoor/outdoor but lived rurally.  It would be really dangerous in my other city if this guy escapes, or tried to.  But, as I wrote above, as I've been following his desires to see how he'd do, he seems like he only wants out to find a bathroom spot, then asks to get back inside.  Maybe I haven't found the litter it likes yet, I've tried pine pellets and am going to get some of the corn or wheat ones today after work.  My intention was not to let the cat in, but I think what my neighbor said about it being a mostly full time indoor cat before the previous owners tossed him outdoors and moved, is true.  He seems to like being inside.  I really have been letting the cat lead it's indoor or outdoor choice so far, b'c I'm trying to see what it prefers.  Once it uses the litter box, I'll try the 24 hr indoor only.  And in the mean time, I'm going to try to have it on leah when it wants out so the options are, use the box indoors, or be on a leash and pee outside.  No free walking.  That sounds harsh in my mind, but it only has about 3 weeks to get used to that routine or else he'll have too much adjusting to do, I think.  Ideas on all of that, anyone??


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#11 of 59 Old 03-15-2011, 08:37 AM
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I would take it with me to the city.

 

When at the vet, ask about the air travel.  Is it possible (and what are the risks) of using a light sedative for the flight?  I only suggest it because it is such a long flight. 

 

As far as the litter box is concerned, I wonder if that would be a big deal once you move.  He won't have the bush either way.  I would start using the harness/leash now and let him use his bush.  Then, when you move, I would have a litter box AND still be willing to use the harness/leash.  

 

If you were to "collect" some of his poop and put it in the litter box, would that give him the idea to potty in the box?

 

Oh, and maybe get some of the pheromone collars for the transistion.

 

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I would take it with me to the city.

 

When at the vet, ask about the air travel.  Is it possible (and what are the risks) of using a light sedative for the flight?  I only suggest it because it is such a long flight. 

 

As far as the litter box is concerned, I wonder if that would be a big deal once you move.  He won't have the bush either way.  I would start using the harness/leash now and let him use his bush.  Then, when you move, I would have a litter box AND still be willing to use the harness/leash.  

 

If you were to "collect" some of his poop and put it in the litter box, would that give him the idea to potty in the box?

 

Oh, and maybe get some of the pheromone collars for the transistion.

 

Amy


Thank you.  Yeah that could work, I also thought to maybe grab a leaf or something it had peed on to help promote the catbox.  Honestly, the catbox and jumping on countertops are the two main reasons that I'm not a cat person at all.  I'm still not excited at all by having a catbox.  Do you think it would keep with a pattern of relieving itself outside while on leash, like a dog does, and having the catbox for when I'm not home? Do cats do that?

The countertop isn't an issue so far,  this cat doesn't seem to be a vertical guy, he'll climb from the sofa arm to the stacked boxes to watch out the window, but hasn't tried to jump on anything else, not even when I had an open can of tuna on the countertop and I left the kitchen to see what he'd do.  He meowed once then laid down and waited for me to come back to the kitchen.  That's another reason it seems to fall into the Ragamuffin breed that he looks and acts very much like, supposedly a breed trait to not jump.  He really is a neat cat, he may convince me to liking cats as pets after all. lol

 

Oh, and I ordered some stuff containing tryptophan and chamomile from a pet supply, its for travel, etc.  I was planning to test it out one day here before traveling, just in case.  I also ordered a travel carrier so that it could get used to laying in it, in case he ends up going with me.  It should be delivered in a few days.  I really hadn't planned on any of this added to my house-selling and moving stress, I'm trying to be open and willing to do whatever is necessary.

 


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#13 of 59 Old 03-15-2011, 11:52 AM
 
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I must weigh in!

 

I do rescue myself and have done over 100 personally with my Chicago rescue group.

I can tell that you are new to cats, and that's cool!  Cats don't really use leashes the way you might think.  If this cat is okay with a harness and leash, then yes, you could take him outside with supervision.  But a litterbox is really the only way to go.  You can see what kinds of litter are best for you and him.

 

 

Let me say: even though this cat is relaxed and seems willing to compromise, it sounds very much like he would like to be indoors only.  I am sure that he could survive for a while longer outside, but since he has come inside and tried to make full use of the amenities, I get the strong feeling that he would like to have the relief of having a secure and reliable place to sleep, eat, etc.

It is disgusting that people "put out" indoor cats and leave them to the elements.

He/she needs to be:  neutered and microchipped , treated with Frontline or another flea preventative, vaccinated, dewormed, etc.  Your vet can prescribe a sedative, however, unless he's a very loud guy, you could also just get a health certificate from the vet and take him as your carry-on.  I would NOT do cargo because it can be very dangerous temperature-wise.

 

There are ways to make litterboxes more livable.  Though most cats don't like hooded litterboxes, there are litter chests that you can use that serve the double-purpose of hiding the box from your site as well as your dog's.

 

As long as your apartment doesn't have a door that opens directly onto the street, it shouldn't be that much of a problem.  Like, if he darts into the hallway, you can just grab him and put him back in the apartment. 

Cats are just different than dogs, but great in their own way!  If you have any more questions, let me know! 

I'd like to attach some documents, but don't know how.  I'll try to find links.


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Quote:
Originally Posted by catheleni View Post

 

He/she needs to be:  neutered and microchipped , treated with Frontline or another flea preventative, vaccinated, dewormed, etc.  Your vet can prescribe a sedative, however, unless he's a very loud guy, you could also just get a health certificate from the vet and take him as your carry-on.  I would NOT do cargo because it can be very dangerous temperature-wise.

 

There are ways to make litterboxes more livable.  Though most cats don't like hooded litterboxes, there are litter chests that you can use that serve the double-purpose of hiding the box from your site as well as your dog's.

 

As long as your apartment doesn't have a door that opens directly onto the street, it shouldn't be that much of a problem.  Like, if he darts into the hallway, you can just grab him and put him back in the apartment. 

Cats are just different than dogs, but great in their own way!  If you have any more questions, let me know! 

I'd like to attach some documents, but don't know how.  I'll try to find links.

 

Thanks for your post and links catheleni, I'll read thru them.  And thats so nice that you've helped out that many animals!  So kind.  Yes, I'm new to cats.  We had cats when I was a kid but we lived rurally and the cats were all strays that we fed but we never took them to the vet or used flea control or anything.  "Owning" a cat is a whole 'nother thing for me.  I really am not a cat person.  It's akin to asking me to have a fish or a bird as a pet.  I'll care for it like a mother, if its in need, but its not really my type of pet, yk?  I'm a dog person 100%.  This cat is a fine cat.  Polite, quirky, clean, funny, sweet, etc. but I find the idea of a catbox absolutely disgusting.  That said, I brought home 3 types of litter tonight and it seems that he will maybe use the clay one.  The others, he jumped right out as if I'd set him on hot coals.  We'll see, I'm planning on either cleaning up a mess or he'll use the box tonight.  I'm not letting him out again tonight.  I feel like a big meanie, and I hope that he doesn't make himself hold his pee too long, out of fear of using his new box.  I'll figure out how to post a photo or two here from my iphone, b'c he sleeps in the craziest positions, on his back and completely chilled out.  I'm sure he was indoors a ton prior to being kicked to the streets.  I read about cats walking on harness and leash, is it not as common as it seems when googling it?  There are a lot of people who recommend that, is it weird?  Would I be "that weird lady who walks her cat"?!  ahaha.  

 

As for the things you said to do,

- I have him on Frontline but have been reading about a cedar and peppermint spray that kills fleas, roaches, ticks, bedbugs, etc but doesn't damage humans (obviously) or dogs/cats, I think I like the idea of something natural vs. the very toxic and cancer causing chemicals in the Frontline.  We use the natural treatments on our dog (who came from a construction site... maybe these two will share stories of their street days?!).  

 

- My plan is to take him in-cabin if he flies home with me, I'd never bag or cargo check a pet, too many losses and deaths, plus this is a 6 hour flight which means cat is in a carrier for at least 10 hours and a minimum of 2-3 hours of sitting on a tarmac... I think cargo flying animals should be illegal, thb.  I'm not looking forward to flying with an animal, but if I'm doing this deal, its the only option for me.

 

- I got him some tryptophan and chamomile relaxing liquid and will test it out on a day when the vet's office is open before he flies, just in case.

 

- He has a vet appointment for Saturday to get checked for parasites, etc. and get a microchip if he's not too freaked out by going to the vet, getting a fecal, etc.  I don't want to traumatize the poor guy by putting too much stress on him all at once.  He's already had a pretty heavy year since his owners deserted him.  We need to wait for the carrier I ordered yesterday to get to the vet, hopefully it'll be here in time for his Sat appt.  He has 3 different coats of fur, a heavy undercoat and two much longer ones, I think he's either a neutered male (no testicles) or a female, but I can't see to the skin, so I can't find a spay scar or even genitals, so hopefully the vet can help me figure out what it's gender is, and if it is female, see if she's spayed. If it's a female and has been living on the street for a year +, and its not pregnant and has not been pregnant all of this time, I'd assume that she's already spayed.

 

- My apartment door opens directly to an open balcony (wide set railing only) and an exterior open flight of stairs that goes straight to the parking lot, on either side of the lot are busy streets.  If he escapes and runs and hides, it wouldn't be good news.  I need a way to ensure that he cannot get thru the door at all when it opens to bring the dog or groceries or anything in or out, or if unsuspecting friends pass by or if the landlord need in when we're out.  (landlord allows cats btw)  Ideas?  Its only a 1 bedroom and the A/C unit is in the living room, so I cannot hole him up in the bedroom.  A tall baby gate placed in the bedroom doorway may work, I'll need to figure out a way to put it vertically or something and make it strong enough so that my dog can't push it in to get to the cat in the bedroom, and tall enough so that the cat is confined in the bedroom and cannot climb out into the living room where the front door is.  Maybe Ikea.  They have everything!  lol

 

Geez, another long 'un!  Thanks for the ideas and tips, everyone.  I'm still asking neighbors here to see if anyone will give this guy a forever home so that he could stay in his known neighborhood.  But, they'd have to be able to have him as a 95%+ indoor cat at least. for me to feel good about leaving him here, now that I see more of his personality and how defenseless he is.  He's the most chill cat I've ever seen.  Way too relaxed to make it very long without a secured home.
 

 


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#16 of 59 Old 03-15-2011, 06:53 PM
 
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The cat chose you, and chooses to stay indoors most of the time, it sounds to me like the most humane thing would be to take the cat home with you.  I suspect that the cat would adapt to the apartment and the dog faster than it would find and adapt to a new human.  Yes, the flight will probably freak it out, and it might hide under the bed for a couple days when you get home, but it will get over it.  If it makes you feel any better, I've known several outdoor cats who became very contented indoor cats, and the cats that I've known who chose their families seemed to be the most contented.

 

If you're very bothered by the litter box you could try toilet training the cat.

 

eta:  Instead of a babygate to keep the cat in the bedroom, why not a screen door?

 

 

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Originally Posted by rachelsmama View Post

The cat chose you, and chooses to stay indoors most of the time, it sounds to me like the most humane thing would be to take the cat home with you.  I suspect that the cat would adapt to the apartment and the dog faster than it would find and adapt to a new human.  Yes, the flight will probably freak it out, and it might hide under the bed for a couple days when you get home, but it will get over it.  If it makes you feel any better, I've known several outdoor cats who became very contented indoor cats, and the cats that I've known who chose their families seemed to be the most contented.

 

If you're very bothered by the litter box you could try toilet training the cat.

 

eta:  Instead of a babygate to keep the cat in the bedroom, why not a screen door?

 

 


Aww, yeah, I feel that he wants to be with me, oddly, I really didn't offer up my couch so easily!  I waited and then saw that he started looking a little downtrodden, and then I figured it must be up to me to figure out his best interest.  Not what I'd have planned in a million.  But it is what it is now.  The way he follows me from room to room, and sleeps for hours on end on his back with his belly totally exposed and his feet splayed out to the sides, tells me that he trusts this house and also me.  I owe it to divinity and to this little guy who believes in me for whatever reason, to either give him a good fun home until his last day, or find him a forever home.  I can't and won't do less than that. 

 

And noooo my gawd NO way will an animal be using the same toilet as me!  I truly appreciate the idea, have watched training vids on youtube, I'm certain that it works well for some, but the thought is far too much for me.   I still really hope that I've inherited some cat-dog who will LOVE the leash and pee/poo whenever we go outside and never need to use it's catbox.  Even tho I'll of course offer it a full time catbox as an emergency spot.

 

And YES!   A screen door is a great idea!  Of course, I'll build a frame to size when I get home, & I can install it in the bedroom doorway and use the wild animal safe screening, steel or whatever.  THANK YOU!  

 

 

 


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#18 of 59 Old 03-16-2011, 09:29 AM
 
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I would take the cat. If things do not work out you can rehome. I took in a feral cat.Took months to tame. It was years before he even tried to get out. Maybe put a seat and a 2 way bird feeder on the window(suction cups) to entertain. If you had a yard I would recommend a cat enclosure with tunnels to it from the home.

 

Best wishes whatever you decide.

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#19 of 59 Old 03-16-2011, 11:19 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah, a window perch will be great for him.  I stacked a few moving boxes by my window here and he's always lounging on them now.  He darted out last night when I was bringing in some laundry, he went to pee then came right back to the door.  Maybe if he did run out over there he'd get scared and come right back to the door as well.  We are moving within a few months after I get back over there, maybe I could incorporate a little enclosed deck area into the requirement list.  He insists on being indoors over 23 hours per day but enjoys lying very close to me and getting sun if I'm on our deck and was always close by when I worked in the yard.  I wouldn't want to deny him of being out doors at all.  He seems to love getting sun.  My windows here get a lot of light but no direct sun.  My apartment there gets a lot of sun.  Who knows, I guess I'll just go with the flow and if someone steps up here and falls for him, that will be good but if not, plans are in line for him to come with me, and he'll have to adapt.  I wake up to him curled up at my feet and he follows me everywhere, asking to get petted and will only need to get used to using a harness and leash, or use a catbox (shudder).  Sigh, never thought I'd have a cat.

 

Well, thank you all for the support and suggestions and ideas... if anyone has more they are very welcome here... I'm still working through the logistics so I'd love to hear more.


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#20 of 59 Old 03-16-2011, 03:32 PM
 
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I've known 3 ferals that all became happy indoor only cats. Far from being miserable they seem so blissed out to finally have food, warmth, and comfort they hardly ever ask to go outdoors--and they went to 3 different homes. And these cats were never anywhere NEAR as chilled with people as your cat is already! These cats warmed up to people but to this day run and hide if they sense anyone new on the property.

 

My point is that I think you are worrying to much. Take the cat. You will both be happier for it. Can you really imagine leaving her?


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#21 of 59 Old 03-16-2011, 03:45 PM
 
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You could try putting dirt in the litter pan, or use it on the toilet to try to toilet train him. Just google how to toilet train a cat.

 

We brought in a male formerly-outdoor-only cat after he was shot by less than savory people. He's fine now and while a few times a year he does enjoy a foray alone, mostly he sticks to my back yard when we take all 4 cats outside, but often jumps the fence and sits in the neighbor's yard. I wish he still stayed in our yard like he did for years when we had our outings. He sets a bad example for the girl cats!

 

He does love it indoors though. We have a kitty condo and two cat trees with plenty of window space.

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#22 of 59 Old 03-16-2011, 05:05 PM
 
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A few thoughts:

 

For traveling and adjustment in his new home I **highly** recommend Feliway spray and/or diffusers.  It's a pheromone and does wonders for stressed cats. :)

 

For your screendoor - check into pet screening.  We replaced regular screening on a screen door with pet screening (more durable, but still polyproplene) to keep our cat in my husband's home office and it's been wonderful at resisting scratching.

 

For the box, I would consider 2 things: 1. Confining him to one room until he gets the hang of the box to minimize him finding inappropriate places to do his business and 2. use the finest texture of litter you can find (usually clay clumping) so that it's very close to the "paw feel" of his current substrate (dirt).


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#23 of 59 Old 03-16-2011, 08:36 PM
 
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And YES!   A screen door is a great idea!  Of course, I'll build a frame to size when I get home, & I can install it in the bedroom doorway and use the wild animal safe screening, steel or whatever.  THANK YOU!


If you don't want to bother with this, I've had very good success with a Carlson extra-tall (38 inch) dog gate when I need to confine a cat. The one I'm borrowing has both a securable cat door at the bottom and a latch at the top so that you can swing it open rather than having to step over. Works a treat.

 

And kudos for caring.

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#24 of 59 Old 03-17-2011, 04:42 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Otto, great idea!  Here's one I just found that is pressure fitted into the doorway, I'm renting so I was worried about putting any holes in the door frame, so this one I'm linking may work.  Thanks for all of the ideas everyone, very helpful.  Maybe it shouldn't be, but this is a big commitment for me, there is a lot of adjustment going on in my mind, and also in my apartment, for my dog, budget, etc by taking in a cat.

 

http://www.dogkennels.com/dog-doors-&-gates/dog-gates/extratallswingclosesecuritygate.cfm#ReviewHeader


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#25 of 59 Old 03-17-2011, 05:18 AM
 
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Is the cat a jumper?  I know some people have success with a babygate, but most of the cats I've met would look at that and laugh, then jump up and sit on top of it.

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#26 of 59 Old 03-17-2011, 06:16 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah, that's my only hesitation with a gate... I'm not sure how high it can jump but it doesn't seem to be a very vertically interested cat.  It jumps up to sit in a window sill here that is around 30" from the floor.  Hasn't jumped on countertops or anything except the sill.  The gate I found is 42" and I could raise it with 2"x4"s or cinder blocks or something flush with the cat-side of the gate, if it jumps.  There will be probably trial and error stuff to deal with as I've never had a pet cat that was forced to stay indoors (except for leash walks).  He still won't use the box I got him and he was inside for almost 18hrs and held his pee.  I don't want to make him sick, so I put the harness on him and walked outside with him for him to pee.  He did, then wanted back inside.  I'll keep trying new ways to entice him to use the box, maybe he hates them as much as I do!  

 

* I'm looking forward to knowing it's gender so that I can stop referring to him/her as "it"!


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#27 of 59 Old 03-17-2011, 09:05 AM
 
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I would so kill for a cat I could housetrain like my dogs - if he potties on lead already I'd run with it!


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#28 of 59 Old 03-17-2011, 12:07 PM
 
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Otto, great idea!  Here's one I just found that is pressure fitted into the doorway, I'm renting so I was worried about putting any holes in the door frame, so this one I'm linking may work.


Yah, that's basically the same as the one I've got (also a pressure fit), but four inches taller and without the cat door at the bottom, which could be helpful if you're still trying to get the cat and dog to mingle--the cat can come and go from the room, but most dogs won't fit through. As for jumping up and over, I think the depth of the top rail is a consideration. My 10 year old can still do 35 inches from the floor to the counter pretty easily, but the motion is to land the front paws on the surface and then bring or pull the hindquarters up and plant the back feet. The gate I've got only has a 5/8-inch rail, and the vertical pickets don't offer any assistance, so it would be a really precarious maneuver; there's not enough room to stick the landing, as it were. With that 42-incher, I don't think you'd have any worries so long as it doesn't offer that intermediate perch.

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#29 of 59 Old 03-17-2011, 05:29 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I think if he can keep using the bathroom outside on walks, and having the box for when I'm not home to go walk with him, it could be great!  I tried pine, wheat, corn and clumping clay so far and altho he stayed for 2 seconds and sniffed the clay one, he typically jumps right out of the box when I put him into it.  I haven't tried putting some of his mess in the box, ugh, maybe later, if he starts messing in the house.  I don't know, he's fine with a harness and after watching videos on how to train your cat to wear a harness, I'm considering this a lucky situation that this guy is already fine with it.  I think I will just start trying to get him into a morning/night bathroom leash walk outside and maybe he'll just not think to do anything differently.  Feels like I'm torturing the poor cat having him hold his pee for so long, he's so relaxed that he does it, but its probably not comfortable.

 

I have another question.  His carrier should be here tomorrow.  His vet appt is Saturday.  If I take him to the vet in that carrier, is he going to be scared the whole flight trip, thinking he's on his way to the vet's office, when he's in that same carrier?  Should I put him on his leash & harness inside a pillow case or something other than his carrier for his upcoming trip to the vet?  It would be better to have him associating only positivity with his carrier, right?  My plan was to put some catnip in the carrier and leave it open for him to climb in, play in and sleep in before the flight, so it'd be a space of comfort to him.  Thoughts?  Another option besides a pillowcase is my neighbor's hardshell carrier, it's still a carrier but has a different smell and feel then his soft sided new one.


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#30 of 59 Old 03-21-2011, 02:14 PM
 
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I've been following this thread.  I'm so amazed by your dedication to this cat.  I'm not a cat person either, but he really does sound like an incredible personality.  Eagerly awaiting your next update!!

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