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Is there anything I can do to bring a troubled cat into my home?

(3 Posts)
GreatBags Fri 19-Apr-13 13:02:14

A family member has a cat which is not being looked after properly. There is a chance I may be allowed to take the cat in order to give it a better home but I really need some advice on the following issues:

-The cat has lived through a lot of upheaval and inconsistent care. It is currently not being let out regularly enough and has begun to mess inside. Can a cat be cured of this habit through good care and if so how?

-given the upheaval in her life how would you manage a move to another new home, also bearing in mind there are small children here.

-how do you prevent a cat from getting lost in a completely new area?

-my house is small so it will be difficult to provide the cat with it's own room to feel secure in and where the kids can't get to it. However I could probably put a bed in a sort of alcove over my washing machine which could be her own area, will this be enough?

-I am not sure if she uses a litter tray, can they be introduced and if so can I put it in the same space as her bed or will this not work?

Any advice is most gratefully received, I need to understand whether I have the ability to make a nice home for this cat. It is further complicated by the fact that we are due to move again ourselves in a few months but we will at least have a bit more space then.

marzipanned Fri 19-Apr-13 13:36:37

Hi GreatBags, how lovely of you to offer the cat a new home. Here are my thoughts (based on having had rescue cats, some with traumatic backgrounds)

The messing inside problem can definitely be solved with love and care. In fact you may well find that it resolves itself. Cats typically prefer to use a litter tray/garden because they like to bury their waste; anything else is usually a protest/sign of distress/ill health. If she is not used to a litter tray then you might want to start with half litter/half soil in the tray and then increase proportion of litter over time. I wouldn't put the litter tray right next to the bed but it can be in the same room.

In terms of yet another move/not getting lost - you should keep her indoors for at least three weeks after she moves in. But cats seem to have quite remarkable senses of direction. We've moved three times since getting our current two boys, and one of them has gone outside straight away every time and always finds his way home (I know this is against advice, but he despises using a litter tray and is furious if not allowed outdoors - I also have faith in his streetwise-ness as he first lived with us in London on a busy road in a neighbourhood full of foxes and fighting dogs and never got into any trouble!)

If DCs are an issue, I would just make sure that she has a safe space to go, I think the alcove above the washing machine would be fine. One of ours had been treated very badly in the past and still gets nervous occasionally. We used to have small kids in and out of the house and he would just run under the bed when they came in. For the first 6 months or so he lived with us, he spent a lot of time inside one of these: www.ideas-4-pets.co.uk/burlington-sherpa-fleece-hooded-pet-bed-pl-p-5051.html?gclid=CKHZz-Xe1rYCFXIPtAodLh8AJg&utm_campaign=export_feed&utm_medium=cse&utm_source=googlebase
Might be worth getting for her safe space.

Otherwise follow general protocol for a cat first moving in - give her space, let her explore the house at her own pace, let her come to you for affection initially...basically, be guided by her.

IME cats can be very adaptable creatures, and even those who have had a difficult start can turn into incredibly loving, affectionate pets. It sounds as though the set up you are offering is much better than the one she is currently living in, so why not go for it?

By the way, are you planning to take her before your move, or after?

GreatBags Fri 19-Apr-13 13:49:31

Thanks for the advice marzipanned. Probably before the move but only because her situation seems to be going rapidly down hill. Her owner is an addict and is becoming more unreliable. Just need to convince him to hand her over.

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