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Curious about advice on currently entirely hypothetical situation

(10 Posts)
SmillasSenseOfSnow Wed 05-Aug-15 02:49:26

When in 2011 I returned home to my mum's house after uni, we got a new kitten that someone else couldn't take care of. He instantly became my sidekick. Lets call him Totoro.

Unfortunately (?!) I pretty much immediately got into a long distance relationship, and travelled to another country every other month or so for a year. Then, in September 2012, I emigrated.

I've visited home seven times since then. This last time was the first time Totoro didn't even pretend to be unimpressed with me. He ran off because the dogs were barking, I presumed he'd gone outside to come back later - then I saw him hanging around, peeking behind the door from the conservatory, wanting to see me. I went to him and he was unbelievably affectionate. I cried like a baby (or a madwoman) while cuddling him for about ten minutes (tearing up now, actually).

He has a bit of an attachment to one of the dogs, or used to but doesn't seem that fussed now. He's never really bonded properly with any of the other four adults in the house, though he'll sit with my mum and have a cuddle sometimes if she happens to be somewhere he wants to chill out. He's not interested in any of the other cats, as far as I can tell (there are four others, currently).

So, my issue: we live in outrageously cheap rented accommodation that really is too small for a cat anyway but which a) doesn't allow pets and b) doesn't have any way for a cat to access a garden. I'm a student and we can't afford to buy a property right now. Moving out into obscenely expensive rented accommodation would be crazy. We could probably look into buying a flat (without garden access, but probably with enough room for a cat and interesting bits and pieces of shelves and trees etc for said cat) in, say, three years.

Issues:

How unpleasant would it be for him to move to indoor living? I'm not sure how much success we'd have with a harness for walks.

Is he likely to actually dreadfully miss the other people/dogs/cats, even though he seems to begrudge their presence now?

How traumatic would the actual journey be? As far as I understand it, you can take a cat in the cabin of a plane on the way out of the UK, but not on the way in, so it would be one way forever or we'd be finding a way over there by land and sea for a return journey. Which might be less traumatic than the hold of a plane, but that must be weighed up against the duration of the travel.

He'd be at least seven by then. Is that too old for such a dramatic change in living arrangements?

I honestly almost feel like I'd be unable to adopt a cat here if I knew he was back home without me. Am I being stupid and should I just accept that I'll see him twice a year or so for visits and move on with my life?

BeautifulBatman Wed 05-Aug-15 04:08:54

Can I ask which country you live in?

SmillasSenseOfSnow Wed 05-Aug-15 13:52:54

Sure. It's Denmark.

BeautifulBatman Wed 05-Aug-15 14:30:45

I don't believe an animal can enter or exit the UK in the cabin of any airliner, they have to go cargo.

I honestly would leave the cat where it is. Travel is very traumatic for most cats. They do tend to be much more attached to location than people. I speak as someone who lives in the ME and left her two gorgeous boys with my mum after initially spending 2k to get them shipped out when I moved.

SmillasSenseOfSnow Wed 05-Aug-15 14:43:08

I researched it a while back and the only restrictions were on them being in the cabin on the way into the UK, if I remember correctly. Finding an airline that would want one in the cabin on the way out would still be an issue of course. I think someone said KLM(?) was fine with it, for example.

Thank you for your views on the moving him situation. Do you see yours often?

BeautifulBatman Wed 05-Aug-15 14:45:44

I go home once every few months. They are doing great. They've also grown up as outdoor cats and here they were indoors and very miserable. I've adopted 5 more since being here. I'm sad I don't have my other two but I will be repatriating on a few years and I will have my boys back smile

BeautifulBatman Wed 05-Aug-15 14:52:30

If you can't find an airline to leave from the UK you can always drive to France and fly ftom there. Just an idea.

SmillasSenseOfSnow Wed 05-Aug-15 21:52:13

Oh, I didn't realise you'd got as far as having them shipped over, thought you'd paid for it and then not gone through with it, I suppose. The fact that they reacted badly to no longer going outside does concern me.

Neither of us drives so that would be an issue of course, otherwise driving the whole way would be a viable option for transporting cats (Totoro or others for whatever reason) in the future. I suppose there are ways to make the experience far more comfortable than I'm imagining - a special big crate or something, for example. Not sure. You've definitely put me off though. I'd feel devastated to have changed his life for the worse. Too many risks of that happening involved.

PiperIsTerrysChoclateOrange Wed 05-Aug-15 22:18:13

I would leave the cat where He is.

7 years as an outdoor cat then being detained into an outdoor area would be cruel.

Callycatsy Thu 06-Aug-15 11:19:50

I'd leave Totoro there. As long as the family are ok with it. It seems a huge upheaval for not quite as good a life as he has now.

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