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Once a housecat, always a housecat?

(10 Posts)
ThunderboltKid Thu 14-Jul-11 17:08:24

We've had our cat for nearly three years, and the whole time she has been a housecat (we live in London, top floor flat, no garden etc).

We rescued her after she turned up at my IL's house (think we was about 6 months old) and we think she must have been living outside all winter, eating their vegetable scraps etc. She made the transition to housecat extremely well - never tried to get out at all.

Every so often we would take her to one of our parents houses and let her out in the garden. She would be fine - mainly just hiding in a nearby bush - and every now and then she would come back to see you. When we want her to come in we generally have to catch her and entice her back.

Next week we are moving out of London to a house in a village with a garden. She was our original motive behind moving. We have always felt a little guilty about taking her out of the open countryside and wanted her to have a garden.

But, will she be OK? Will she instinctively remember how the outside world works!? Will she come back again once we let her out? Will she stop being our cuddly, lap cat sad

Anyone else been through similar? Or have any advice about letting an older cat out for the first time?

peggotty Thu 14-Jul-11 17:14:08

My sister had an old cat who was about 12 the first time she went out! She didn't go far and would come back with no problem. If you follow the guidelines for when you move house with any outdoor cat you should be fine - keep her in the new house for a couple of weeks, and when you do let her out, do it when she's hungry so more likely to come back. Female cats tend to roam less and have smaller territories than make cats. I doubt it will make her less of a 'lap cat', she will enjoy spending time outside smile. Also, get her microchipped (am assuming she's already neutered?) and insured if she's not too old.

peggotty Thu 14-Jul-11 17:14:57

MALE cats not 'make' cats obv!!

Teds77 Thu 14-Jul-11 17:18:16

Not quite the same but our boys were one when we moved from flat to house with garden. They had never been out and one took a while to be convinced but they both happily potter round the garden these days. However, their favourite spots are still the bed/sofa/lap etc and cuddles are never in short supply grin And we are lucky in that they come running when they are called blush which means I never have to worry much when I'm looking for them.

Based on this experience I persuaded a friend to do the same with her cat who had been a flat cat for two or three years and again all went well.

Good luck with it. I do think they are happier if they have outside space and as you have bought the house and garden for your cat (don't worry... we did too) you should definitely risk it. Perhaps just keep her in for 2-3 weeks first so she gets used to her new home.

Tiggertoo14 Thu 14-Jul-11 17:25:30

I got a kitten from the RSPCA five years ago that was really timid,didnt really like humans but loved my other cats. I tried to entice her outside for years and eventually gave up (having also taken her out and shut the door, she just cried). When I got pregnant last year we decided to fit a cat flap as I was constantly up at the door trying to let one or the other of them in or out! Thats when she discovered the cat flap on her own and now she goes out every day. She only ever goes in the garden and never strays far, but she seems a much happier cat and is also now more sociable too!

sharbie Thu 14-Jul-11 17:28:15

if you are worried why not take her out on a lead first few times.

we have a siamese who we got as a kitten - i wanted a cat that would go outside (have 2 other moggies as well) but when it came to it he was just too spooked by it dd now takes him out everyday for a stroll on his harness round garden.he seems to enjoy this.
good luck.

purplepidjincantatem Thu 14-Jul-11 17:40:26

A friend of mine rescued a 1yo cat 5 years ago. When my friend found out she was pregnant, she had to encourage the (very wary) cat to go outside so that the cat would have somewhere to go to escape the baby. Cat now happily spends time outside, has established territory, and has ditched the litter tray (and is starting to get very fond of 1 week old new housemate grin)

ThunderboltKid Thu 14-Jul-11 18:22:56

That's very reassuring; thanks everyone.

No way cat would go

ThunderboltKid Thu 14-Jul-11 18:24:34

Damn iPhone...

No way cat would go on a lead. Have tried in the past and she just goes mental.

Can't wait to move now...eek.

Miggsie Thu 14-Jul-11 18:26:03

I have an ex house cat we took in. He lives outside during the summer, he has a little territory under the apple tree and snoozes away all day.

Try tempting him outside with a few plates of food and stay with him while he investigates.

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