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Advice for moving home with wandering cat...

(12 Posts)
weeblueberry Tue 23-May-17 14:16:21

We have two Ragdolls which used to be exclusively indoor pets. When we had our children they didn't enjoy the idea of being cooped up with them and we were faced with the possibility of trialling letting them outside or rehoming. We opted to give them free reign to go outside. For one it's made virtually no difference. She goes outside and pees and the rest of the time is in the house. All fine.

My male cat however has decided he's a total wanderer. We can go days (and, on occasion) weeks and don't see him. He's obviously being fed elsewhere because we don't even see him everyday to come in and eat. And since the amount of food we're having to buy has decreased dramatically he's obviously getting grub elsewhere.

The issue is that we're moving home in six weeks. I see my options as:

1. Go in search of him and (possibly forcibly) have to crate him and bring him with us.
2. Try and find out who, if anyone, is feeding him and discuss them 'taking him on' (I appreciate cats choose their owners and if he's happy with another family I'd have to make my peace with that).

My concern with 1 is that he might be so stressed by being removed and put into a new home that he'd either leave and we'd never see him again or know what happened to him, or he'd be so stressed it would make him ill/pee everywhere/generally be very unhappy. I also think it would really stress out my female cat who's doing much better with her various skin conditions now he's not around so much.

My concern with 2 is that we might not find who's feeding him (although it's a small village we live in) or that it might be an old woman and, at nine years old, he's got a lot of life in him yet which his 'new owners' may not have. If it's who I think it is who is feeding him she looks like she'd 80+.

I know a lot of people will say 'well obviously it's 1 - he's your cat' but, as much as I love him, I don't want him to be stressed out if the possibility of an alternative is available.

Advice please. Sorry if I've left anything out - don't want to drip feed but not sure what else needs including...

Wolfiefan Tue 23-May-17 14:19:45

You keep him in next time you see him until you move.
Is he neutered?

weeblueberry Tue 23-May-17 15:38:34

Yes he's neutered. I wouldn't have let him out otherwise.

While I can certainly bring him inside and keep him here until we move I'm really worried about the stress this is going to cause him until we've gone...

Wolfiefan Tue 23-May-17 15:39:36

Tried Feliway?

weeblueberry Tue 23-May-17 15:40:43

I can certainly give Feliway a bash although it didn't work before when we tried it when the kids were 'new'. Granted they were younger then so the general stress might be less now.

CherryMintVanilla Tue 23-May-17 16:08:18

He'll be far more stressed if he comes home to find his family gone!

I'm a fosterer and I have to keep cats inside. Some of them can be very committed to trying to get out, but not one has ever made themselves ill.

Justmadeperfectflapjacks Tue 23-May-17 16:11:26

Our cat shared a few addresses. . As a temporary thing put a collar and barrel on with your phone number and note in. Bet you get to find out where he goes!!
We did this. . Unfortunately he decided to move full time there - his own choice. The woman offered to keep bringing him back but it was unfair if he wanted to be with her (no dc!!) full time.
Cats are fickle. .

weeblueberry Tue 23-May-17 16:23:05

He'll be far more stressed if he comes home to find his family gone!

Yes I would understand that if he considered us his family any more. But I'm not sure he does. If there's another home he goes to every night and we've not seen him for weeks and days (and even then it's often only in passing in the village as opposed to him actually coming inside) I'm not sure he thinks of us as his family.

weeblueberry Tue 23-May-17 16:23:36

Justmade thank you - we did consider this. As well as a note through peoples doors asking if they knew where he was going grin

Hulder Tue 23-May-17 16:24:59

I think you have 2 issues:

1) what to do about wandering cat and house move

and 2) does female cat actually like living with wandering cat.

Possibly the second question is more important - if she has had lots of stress-related illnesses that have cleared up when she doesn't have to spend time with wandering cat, then actually the decision you should be making is 'do I put wandering cat up for adoption?'

If you are going to move with wandering cat then you keep him in the next time you see him and don't let him out until you move. Ignore him moaning, he'll cope - although possibly your female cat won't. Although he clearly does eat elsewhere he doesn't seem to live elsewhere so you haven't got another family who want to take on their newfound friend. You would have to keep him in for some time after the house move anyway for him to recognize he has a new home and wander off and go missing which would be the worst possible outcome.

Justmadeperfectflapjacks Tue 23-May-17 16:28:10

Not the same cat but a 3 legged one about 25 years ago - managed to get home with a badly damaged leg and had to have it amputated - had 5 homes! When he went missing my ad was in the shop window with a near identical one!! Same dcat!! He had been crossing a main road to an allotment and had all the men wrapped round his paws!! He was like Felix off the ad. .
No way are they less stress than dc at times!!

weeblueberry Tue 23-May-17 16:31:35

2) does female cat actually like living with wandering cat.

No. She doesn't. And this was a big problem in our tiny house with two young babies but we're moving somewhere with a lot more space. Neither cat is particularly territorial but I appreciate this may be a larger issue in terms of why he's become a roaming cat...

I suppose, naively possibly, that I assumed he'd become another outdoor type cat in the new house and we'd see him every so often but not regularly. Much as he is now.

I'm not opposed to him being rehomed, as much as it would really upset me to do it. But I feel as though he's made his decision about where he wants to be and it's not with us. sad

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