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I currently have my cat shut in the garage and am feeling awful about it :-(

(31 Posts)
AstridPeth Mon 28-Dec-15 22:09:31

Bit of a long story but here goes. We are a cat loving family. 2 of our cats were siblings (brother and sister). Unfortunately our very lovely girl cat went missing in August and was later found out to have been hit by a car, we were all gutted sad. Boy cat had taken up vigil in the kitchen at the time of his sister's disappearance. Sitting by the Aga starring out of the cat flap. He started going out for longer and longer periods and when he had been gone a few days we went looking for him and found out the factory down the road from us had an engineer's block around the back and they had befriended him. They were not there the first time we went but there were cat bowls left out. We picked up our cat and bought him home.
Unfortunately he escaped a few days later. So we trapsed up there again and bought him home again. This time shutting him in the dining room (our plan was to keep him in for a few weeks until he remembered where he lived). Unfortunately our lovely cat figured out how to open the serving hatch and by morning he was gone again.
We have other cats so needed to keep the cat flap open.
Again when we went up to the factory the engineers were not there. So we left a note about how sad our children were at the loss of our other cat and how they really wanted our cat back home. We thanked them for feeding him but asked them out of respect not to feed him anymore. We even left them some money for their trouble. In the hope that if they stopped feeding him he would come home to us.
I left it a few days but our cat still didn't come home. Dd2 and her friend went up there and this time the engineers were in. They gave dd2 the money back. The girls bought out cat home but he escaped for a 3rd time.

By this time I had resolved myself to the fact that i had pretty much lost our lovely cat to the engineers. Someone had lovingly built him a wooden cat shelter and placed a cat flap into their office so he could go in and out.
I am very aware that cats don't have owners they have servants, and whilst i Iove my cats entirely and miss him sadly he has not been happy here since the loss of his sister :-(
Well dd1 has been very upset and angry over the situation and resolved to get him back again. She went up there today with my sister and brought him back again. The only room i haven't tried to keep him in is the garage. He has escaped from everywhere else.
I feel incredibly mean shutting him in when he doesn't want to be here and have tried explaining to dd1 that he is sad here without his sister. But she thinks i don't care about him, which is just not true.
I don't know what to do really.
We have to let him out at some point and I think he will go straight back up to the engineers and whilst they continue to feed him he won't come home.
I could mention it to the reception at the factory and ask them to tell their engineers to stop feeding our cat but I want to do what is right and fair for the cat.
After his sister went his fur was getting patchy and he wasn't looking great. I am guessing stress. But he looks so well now.

I really don't know what to do for the best :-(

RandomMess Mon 28-Dec-15 22:12:32

sad

I don't know either sad

Alisvolatpropiis Mon 28-Dec-15 22:13:27

I'd be inclined to let him go, but that is easier said than done when you have a child.

This happened to me once, one cat was essentially stolen by a neighbour, the other wanted to live wild. I see them both still and both appear to be in good health. I cried buckets over it though.

Hope you can find a solution that is right for you.

cozietoesie Mon 28-Dec-15 22:15:41

How old are your daughters? (Excuse me if you said but I didn't see it.)

Wolfiefan Mon 28-Dec-15 22:16:45

Build a cat run or cat proof garden? The poor cat can't stay in the garage!

TheoriginalLEM Mon 28-Dec-15 22:19:32

its so difficult. not sure that shutting him away will help but what else can you do. The only suggestion i have is feliway/adaptil. It is a cat pheromone which is released by nursing queens and hrlps cats feel less stressed. You can get a collar and a plug in diffuser from your vets or a pets at home. worth a try.

how old is your dd?

cuntycowfacemonkey Mon 28-Dec-15 22:21:22

Let him out of the garage it is cruel to keep him locked in there. I'm not sure what else you can do to stop him going off you may just have to accept it as sad as that may be

cozietoesie Mon 28-Dec-15 22:21:58

I'd also be inclined to let him go, sad though it would be. (As long as he would be taken good care of.) He's made his wishes clear

The issue is your daughters, I think?

OTheHugeManatee Mon 28-Dec-15 22:27:29

Let him out. If he doesn't want to stay it's not fair to shut him in.

He might come back but he might not. If he doesn't you might need to explain to your DD that your cat was sad because your house reminded him of his sister so he went to live somewhere else. Then maybe consider adopting another cat or cats.

AstridPeth Mon 28-Dec-15 22:29:30

Sorry I didn't say. She is 13. I also have 3 other children 12, 9 and 6. The 6 year old hasn't really been too bothered. The 12 year old has much the same feeling as I do in that after several failed attempts at bringing him home that it is kinder to let him go. The 9 year old used to take him to bed with her every night so also missed him terribly .
I don't plan to keep him in the garage forever. Dh says that this is the last chance at trying to keep him in for a few weeks in the hope that he will remember how happy ge used to be here and hopefully decide to move back home. But I cannot and will not keep him in the garage for that length of time. He needs to be in one of the older girls bedrooms I think. But he will dart as soon as he gets an opportunity I am sure of it.
So you think a plug in would work in this instance?

I should have said also that we are in rented housing so building him a run isn't really an option and I still think that would be confining him too much.

AstridPeth Mon 28-Dec-15 22:32:59

I have tried to explain to my dds why he isn't happy here. Dd2 gets it. The other 2 think we don't care about him :-( it is because I care about him that I am willing to let him go. Dh says to try this last time to appease dd. But I just don't think it is fair on him :-(

Penfold007 Mon 28-Dec-15 22:34:11

This cat has told you loud and clear that you are not the family for him. Concentrate on your other cats and leave him be.

gamerchick Mon 28-Dec-15 22:40:07

I think I would go over there and admit defeat, that it was time to turn the vet thing over to them and change the address on the chip so they were responsible for all bills and fees for the cat from now on and who wanted it and not leave until I got what I want.

AstridPeth Mon 28-Dec-15 22:40:28

I think you are right Penfold. The dds are just so upset as he was the most loving cat before his sister wrnt missing. They could take him to bed and he would snuggle under the duvet with him.
Facebook brought up a memory picture from this time last year and there he was snuggled under a blanket with dd3. I must admit I did have a little cry. They just don't want to let him go sad
I am going to have to just do it and be in their bad books for awhile aren't I?

Costacoffeeplease Mon 28-Dec-15 22:40:42

Let him be where he's happy, poor thing will be so stressed being shut in the garage on his own. You'll just have to explain to your daughter, how cruel it is

cozietoesie Mon 28-Dec-15 22:45:09

Yes, I suspect you are.

Could you tell them a tale that your house has too many sad memories for him so he's gone away for a little until he gets over it? Something like that.

tazzle22 Mon 28-Dec-15 22:45:35

You are right in that cats choose where they want to be and if we are lucky its with the family who buys or adopts them. We have had many rescue cats over the years, some made our house their home but some have chosen neighbours over us.

Its easier for adults to accept this but not so much for kids who think that because they love the cat it should choose them.

I think you have explained it very well to the children in that its an unhappy place for him as it was where he was happy with his sister and now its just too much for him as its reminds him she has gone ... I suppose all you can do is feinforce this . While the adaptil might work in relieiving some stress I think that its less likely to work if he has already found somewhere else he is comfy.

The good thing is that he has not just disappeared, you know where he is and you can all go visit him and see that he is ok.

AstridPeth Mon 28-Dec-15 22:57:45

Thank you all for your replies. You have helped me to realize that I am right in what I was already thinking and not being unreasonable to let him go. However sad that decision may be.
I will keep him in for tonight. My girls and my dh are away for the night at a stay awake event and I don't want to let him go while they are not here. Plus I need my dh's backing on this one . When I last checked on the cat he was curled up on some comfy blankets (not the cat basket i put out for him) . I also left him some of my Christmas salmon to munch on. So I do think he will be ok for one night. But you have helped to firm up my resolve for tomorrow when they return.
Thank you.

Costacoffeeplease Mon 28-Dec-15 23:03:59

Good luck!

We have 15 of the little buggers, some are never in, others never go out, but the ones who want to be out REALLY want to go out and we figure that a (possibly) shorter but happier life is better than a long miserable one

FlankShaftMcWap Mon 28-Dec-15 23:04:14

If he goes to 'live' at the factory with the engineers who will be responsible for his upkeep? Flea and worming treatment, vaccinations, vet care? I don't think you can just let him go without making sure an actual individual agrees to be responsible for those things rather than a group of people feeding a cat at work.
I understand he's unhappy right now but it's not as simple as just releasing him to his desire to be out really is it? Poor little bugger sad
I feel for you, I had to let my elderly cat go some years back when the local cat lady took a liking to her. So many local cats ended up with her and there were always people turning up and begging her not to feed their pets, as did I. I had to concede that my lovely girl wanted to be there in the end though. I'd had her since I was 5 sad

AstridPeth Mon 28-Dec-15 23:09:17

As gamerchick said I will send my husband up to talk them about swapping his chip over and explaining about the up keep of him. (Actually maybe then they will stop feeding him and he will come home.)

cozietoesie Mon 28-Dec-15 23:23:46

That's the thing - you can't tell but that he might return one evening. Maybe the absence of the other cat has had a temporary effect on him which could wear off.

tazzle22 Mon 28-Dec-15 23:24:51

with mine flank I always retained "ownership" unless someone wanted to actually have them as their cat (or they just disappeared totally). One of ours chose to live next door with an elderly gentleman confined to his house and brought him great pleasure including chosing and buying its food... we took care of everything else.

If the engineers gave the wee girls back their money for the food and have installed a cat flap it seems they intend to take full responsibility for the cat ... although of course its wise to check that ....and if not still be prepared to look after the cat even if it chooses to spend its time elsewhere. As the only other opetion is keeping the cat in when its very obviously wanting to be elsewhere and unhappy being confined .... well thats cats !! !

gamerchick Mon 28-Dec-15 23:26:36

Believe me it's the first thing I would do. It's all very well feeding a visiting animal when they've been asked not to but a different story when taking on the responsibility. Those things are not that cheap to run when you do it properly.

Good luck. flowers

FatRun Mon 28-Dec-15 23:31:25

Aww OP I'm really sorry for you and your family, what a sad situation. sad

I think pp's (and you) are right - you do need to let him go. That being said, I've had situations before where our cats have had extended holidays with neighbours who decided to feed them, but without exception they have always 'come home', and stayed here.

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