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Moving house, is the butter on the paws theory a myth?

(26 Posts)
SoMuchWaiting Tue 11-Apr-17 21:03:14

We're moving house in two days and I have a strong feeling that our cat will hate us for it.

We currently have a stream at the back of the garden, lots of trees, lots of water voles to chase/catch, he has a genuine friend in the cat next door. We are moving to a fairly new estate, fenced off garden, not many trees at all. You get the picture. There are some allotments not too far away but I have a feeling that he won't be made very welcome there grin

The new house is about half a mile from our current house (in a better school catchment hence the move) and is about 100 yards away from the stream that leads to our current back garden. I'm worried sick that as soon as he discoverers the stream he'll be straight back to the garden which he loves.

We are planning on keeping him inside for about 3 weeks, this may be difficult with the new house layout as unless he's locked in a room I'm sure he'll dart right past us as soon as the front door opens. I remember hearing about someone who put butter on their cats paws after moving and it was supposed to confuse their sense of smell/direction or leave a trail of butter smell for them to use to follow the smell home. Is that a myth?

Does anyone have any advice for me? Literally any advice would be appreciated. Thanks smile

Wolfiefan Tue 11-Apr-17 21:05:46

I think putting the used litter tray outside might provide a better trail home! grin
YY to keeping inside.
Is he microchipped? Remember to change details.
When old cats first went out at new house we would go out with them and feed treats or play with them. The idea being they would have positive association with the garden and house.

dementedpixie Tue 11-Apr-17 21:06:28

Yes it's a myth. Unless you want greasy footprints all over your house!

HemanOrSheRa Tue 11-Apr-17 21:07:57

I always buttered my old girl cats paws because my Mum told me to! I moved twice with her. Buttered her paws as soon as we got to new home. Kept her in for three weeks. She was fine!

HemanOrSheRa Tue 11-Apr-17 21:08:48

I just put a dab of butter on the top of her front paws to lick off.

dementedpixie Tue 11-Apr-17 21:11:19

www.pets4homes.co.uk/pet-advice/rubbing-butter-on-your-cats-paws-when-you-move-home-fact-or-fiction.html

gamerchick Tue 11-Apr-17 21:11:47

Aw I feel a bit gutted for her myself grin good luck man!

thecatneuterer Tue 11-Apr-17 21:17:32

Myth. And you will have to be very, very careful about keeping in him. That will include not opening windows.

smurfy2015 Tue 11-Apr-17 21:19:18

When i let mine out first times after she had been spayed, as she was a house cat till then,

i was outside with her, playing fishing rod type games, tossing treats, lots of praise some used litter in a wee tray to sit where could lift in easily

yes i covered the cats paws with butter before she went out and firstly she lay in sun and licked some of it, then tramped it into ground making her mark, if she had to not be able to scent herself back home, the litter tray would have helped as it was 20% clean litter and rest was waiting to be changed but meant her scent was from it

smurfy2015 Tue 11-Apr-17 21:21:29

Im moving possibly early next year to a house about 50 metres away so i will be asking new tenants here to shoo her away as otherwise if they open a window or door, they will gain a cat, whether they want one or not
grin

MyDarlingWhatIfYouFly Tue 11-Apr-17 21:32:26

Sorry not the point I know, but water voles? They are the most endangered mammal species in the uk. I think mine would have to become indoor if I knew that they were hunting endangered species.

But to your question, when we moved ours were confined to one quiet room for a few days, let out to explore the house very gradually. Basically they were in "their" room whenever there was any chance of the front or back door being opened. They did roam a huge distance (we saw them near our old house), but always made it back to the new place in time for dinner.

MyDarlingWhatIfYouFly Tue 11-Apr-17 21:35:05

Oh and we had a feliway plug-in (recommended by vet) - no idea if it worked as we don't know how they would have been without it, but lots of owners swear by it.

Glossolalia Tue 11-Apr-17 21:38:03

Sorry to hijack but our cat doesn't use a litter tray, he uses our flower/plant bed hmm

What do we do when we move?

SoMuchWaiting Tue 11-Apr-17 21:47:30

Thanks all for the replies grin

I'm suddenly really nervous about moving with him, he loves it heresad

I had forgotten about changing the address with his microchip company so thanks for the reminder.

We lived here when we adopted him and he settled right in really quickly and was nervous the first time we opened the back door for him. Now he's like a different cat, he actually has a reputation. Once when we hadn't seen him for half a day despite calling him (he always returns when we call) I knocked on some doors and after I described him I was shocked by how many people referred to him as 'that naughty cat', 'that confident one' or said 'oh, he's yours'. shock

We'll make sure to give him loads of attention the first time we open the door for him.

The tip about the litter tray outside is one I'd have not thought of. So obvious yet hadn't crossed my mind, thanks.

I'm going to make myself lock him in the kitchen if I open the front door to go out, even if it makes me late for wherever I'm going. Here we have a porch so when we first got him we could close one door before opening the other so he was safely inside but the new house is just stairs and hallway with a front door straight out onto the driveway.

Thanks for the replies so far grin

SoMuchWaiting Tue 11-Apr-17 22:06:05

MyDarling Endangered? Seriously? I feel awful. I'm a vegetarian so I'm not keen on him catching anything but an endangered species, that's awful. He has never brought a mouse/rat/water vile into the house. We occasionally, maybe once every few months if that see him flinging a mouse looking thing into the air and then catching it as it's running away. When we see this we (my dh) goes and catches the cat and we lock him inside until the animal has escaped and for a good few hours after too. We've only ever known him to be playing with a dead one once. They're not rats and sometimes we are debating if it was a mouse or not so my dh googled small mouse type animals and water vole came up so we're presuming that's what he's catching, they're usually running so we don't get too much of a close look. I know that even if we only see him doing it once every few months I actually have no idea what he's up to when we're asleep or out.

When we first started letting him out and his confidence grew we were treated to baby (no feathers they were so small) birds being brought into the house (he'd found a nest, we kept him in for days after that, we were up all night feeding them with a straw and keeping them warm, they didn't survive unfortunately), then pigeons, both dead and alive were brought in and then he progressed to big magpies sometimes dead, sometimes flapping around my lounge! I felt so bad that I have a monthly standing order to a bird sanctuary set up. This year he hasn't brought one bird home, some neighbours have chopped trees down so I'm presuming that his supply has disappeared, thankfully.

When we bought the new house I did actually comment to my dh that I'm relieved there won't be as many animal catching opportunities for him.

SoMuchWaiting Tue 11-Apr-17 22:07:53

I'll look into a felliway plug in too, thanks

SoMuchWaiting Tue 11-Apr-17 22:19:41

Sorry to type more about the water voles but I've just googled them as I'm feeling awful that they're endangered. I actually don't think they're what he catches, google images brings up animals which are fluffier and look larger than the things our cat catches. I think my dh was wrong when he googled. Not that it's much better for my conscience if he's catching mice, they're all little animals which don't stand a chance against him but at least they're not endangered.

Also, in my last post I said that usually they run away. I am aware that they may be injured and not survive after running away sad

CreamCrackerundertheSettee Tue 11-Apr-17 22:27:33

I remember my mum buttering our cat's paws before he went outside for the first time. He walked outside, sat down and washed it off. I wouldn't bother!

MyDarlingWhatIfYouFly Tue 11-Apr-17 22:43:57

Water voles are as big as rats. Water shrews are more like largish mice. Maybe those?

The hunting is not nice and if there was any way on earth to retrain them I would, but there just isn't and just part of cat-owning life unfortunately!

smurfy2015 Wed 12-Apr-17 08:07:55

@SoMuchWaiting another tip, in advance of the move do a photo session with the cat, get some good shots of his face and any markings, these are for lost pictures if he goes awol, its always handy to have up to date pics and just the cat in the pic, no chance of getting this pic after cat goes awol so be prepared

Mine has a reputation too, sadly she bullies the dog living directly behind us. The dog is a westie. Tom the tom cat, also has felt her wrath despite him being x 3 times her size.

I have found when there are things happening (curosity killed the cat and all that) that if i pop mine, in the cat carrier and make sure she has a good view of things from a safe viewpoint, she is ok

@Glossolalia over the week pre move, scoop the poop into a litter tray, take cat poo and soil and some new litter and mix in tray, tray sits outside for a few days best if you have a covered area, everytime you see cat heading for flowerbed, help move and dig into litter tray, when gets it right, reward right away

when you arrive at new place, you will have (in heres one i made earlier style, saved a bag of soil from previous flower bed which will have been fertilised with cat poo), same process with tray, unless you want the cat to be an indoor tray user, some soil (with cat poo) into new litter in tray, place outside, it goes nearer each day to the desired place (ie new flower bed?) the litter /poo levels go down and it becomes all litter for last couple of days while the tray sits in flower bed and then tray is gone, cat should toilet in new flowerbed

Does that help any?

smurfy2015 Wed 12-Apr-17 08:14:11

@CreamCrackerundertheSettee and in doing so by licking the paws would have transferred where they had literally stepped outside and put scent down - a cats scent pads are in their paws and their paws are the most sensitive part of their bodies, so by cat licking it off was making its own mark and instinct makes it lick it off as cats sense of smell is something like x 15 times more sensitive than ours so was putting other cats off the trial

smurfy2015 Wed 12-Apr-17 08:19:38

@Glossolalia rereading your comment above, would you like the cat to use the litter tray or is my other comment any help to you to help cat move from one place to another (fills bag with soil from flower bed and cat poo)

sofato5miles Wed 12-Apr-17 08:23:49

We have just moved. The first 3 eeeks were awful for the cats, no word of a lie. They were distressed, staryed pering on beds etc. Coming through doors was a nightmare.

However, that is now a memory and they are very happy and haven't run away.

SoMuchWaiting Fri 14-Apr-17 08:30:24

We moved yesterday. After spending the day at my parents house we introduced our boy to his new home at about 7:30pm. He was initially quite nervous and found the room with more of our stuff in it than any other and hid under a chair for about one hour before beginning to wander. After my dh spent most of the night downstairs with him (he wouldn't settle upstairs in the bedroom and I needed sleep) he's now sat on the landing and has started to show his normal personality. Hopefully he will be totally comfortable soon.

MyDarling, I honestly don't know if I would be able to tell the difference between a water shrew or a mouse. Who knows which one he was catching.

SoMuchWaiting Fri 14-Apr-17 08:38:03

Gloss are you sure that your cat wouldn't use a litter tray? Ours hasn't used one regularly for about 3.5 years. Ours has lived in the loft during that time and only gets brought down if we have locked him in due to a bird catching spree. As he's locked in at the moment he has used the litter tray just fine overnight. Maybe yours would adapt too?

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