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Can a cat adapt to living in two places?

Discussion in 'Cat Behavior' started by madzoya, Jan 19, 2017.

  1. madzoya

    madzoya Thread Starter TCS Member Adult Cat

    226
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    Jan 19, 2017
    Portugal
    Hi,

    I'm seriously considering adopting a cat, but my life has some peculiar querks that worry me some.

    I have two houses, one that I live during the week and another that I use on weekends (not all weekends, but regularly).

    They distance about 25 minutes from one another, so we're not talking of a big journey, but a kind of regular one.

    Do you think a cat can get used to go back and forth with us? 

    Also we are not thinking of a kitten as we work from 9 to 6 and we cannot socialize him/her properly. We we're more inclined on a young adult, or even an adult one with the right character. Do you think he/her can get used to car rides at this age?

    I really want a pet, and I couldn't get one for financial reasons for the last 12 years (I was helping my parents with their pets,), but want the pet to be happy and healthy.

    I have loads of love to give and a really want to give a cat the possibility of life out of a shelter.

    Thanks in advance,

    Mad
     

  2. imaginewizard

    imaginewizard TCS Member Adult Cat

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    Dec 30, 2016
    Newcastle, UK
    Imo - it might just depend on my cat. My cat complains a lot when he's in his carrier in a car, but other than that seems fine with it. In terms of moving about, I don't do it anywhere near as often as you - but when I brought him to my place for the first time he did the typical cat thing of hiding - but when I've had to take him to my friend's to be catwatched or with me to my parents' home, the fact that he knows me and I'm around when he comes out of his carrier causes him to be less concerned about the new location, as there is something familiar (i.e. me) there. So when I dropped him off at my friends, he was casually grooming himself within the hour in the middle of the hallway, and with my parents, he was more then ready to explore the house hours after I arrived (tho I kept him in a room for the first night anyway until we could sort his stuff out)
     

  3. solomonar

    solomonar TCS Member Alpha Cat

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    Jan 13, 2017
    Romania
    In rural areas of my country there are cats wandering between 2 or more households. Outdoor cats.

    I brought my cat once with me during a three days city break, 400 km away, by car. First day was difficult: kitty not eating, not playng. Then he got costumized.

    Car travel was ok,. Still, he was close to enter beneath the break pedal! He could not manage to stay in the carrier for more than 30 min. Very dangerous journey for all of us. I will not do it again.
     

  4. caseydoll

    caseydoll TCS Member Kitten

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    Nov 30, 2016
    Houghton Lake, Michigan
    It probably depends on the cat and how well it likes to be in a carrier. My boyfriend adopted a 7 month old cat in October and he brings her when he stays at my house which is almost every weekend. It's about an hour and a half drive and she does great. She even gets excited and starts zooming around when she sees him start to pack. [​IMG]  
     

  5. r-kins

    r-kins TCS Member Adult Cat

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    Mar 31, 2016
    That's adorable!!
     

  6. r-kins

    r-kins TCS Member Adult Cat

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    Mar 31, 2016
    I agree that it depends on the cat. My cat could easily handle it. He doesn't like being in his carrier but once he's in he'll go to sleep. And he adapts to new environments pretty well as long as I'm there.

    If you're looking to adopt, maybe you should see if you can find a cat that's currently living in a foster home, or that has before. You can talk to the parent and see what kind of personality the cat has, and how they fare on short car trips. 25 minutes really isn't that bad. A really chill cat would probably get used to it a lot quicker.
     

  7. madzoya

    madzoya Thread Starter TCS Member Adult Cat

    226
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    Jan 19, 2017
    Portugal
    OK, so Bruce is home since Saturday and adapting nicely to his new surroundings.

    He is bonding with us pretty well, sleeping in our bed every night and following us around during the day. He loves to be petted and since yesterday he trusts me enough to let me hold him. He has also climbed to my husbands lap a couple of times. Play time is wonderful and he's eating and using his litter box perfectly.

    He still a bit warry of the living room (he saw his reflection on the living room glass doors, and thinks there is another cat in there), but owns the rest of the house. He will go in the living room if we are there, but will not settle down.

    We're happy with the progress and do not want to ruin it.

    So, how long do you think we let him settle, before we try the "weekend home"?

    We were thinking of two more weeks at home and trying on the 4th weekend? Do you think this is wise, or too soon? Or should we do it sooner?
     

  8. Draco

    Draco NOT Malfoy! Veteran

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    Apr 26, 2011
    LawnGuyLand, NY
    How long is a weekend? one night? Cats will be fine by themselves for one night if it helps. Just leave them plenty of food and water and make sure their boxes are clean. 

    Otherwise, I'd give him at least a month to get settled in- longer if he's still nervous about the living room.

    I have two cats, when I moved, one did NOT handle it well. He hid for 3 weeks and urinated in wrong places. The other was out and about in 2 days. It depends on the cat like others said- I hope this one handles the weekend trips well!

    If you find he doesn't accept the weekend trips, and if its longer than one night, Maybe a friend or neighbor can stop in to check on him and feed while you are gone.
     

  9. talkingpeanut

    talkingpeanut TCS Member Top Cat

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    Oct 12, 2015
    I would really caution against traveling with Bruce. Most cats do not handle it well and would be happier to stay at home with their set up.
     

  10. madzoya

    madzoya Thread Starter TCS Member Adult Cat

    226
    90
    Jan 19, 2017
    Portugal
    Funny how, before I got Bruce, almost every answer to this post was encouraging in this matter, and now that I have him, not so much. This was my first post, first concern and the reason why I joined the forum in the first place. 

     Both my adoption contact and the shelter were also very positive about this and didn't think it would be a problem. 

    This is my life and I do spend most my weekends in a nearby town, in my second home.. Hopefully he will take to going as people said in the beginning. For what I see he is getting very attached to us, so I think he will be ok, as long as we are with him. And we would not be taking him to different places every weekend, but the same home, his second home, which is a 25 minute ride from here.

    So my question is not if this is or not advisable, but, as we are going to try this, how long should we wait.
     

  11. Draco

    Draco NOT Malfoy! Veteran

    8,616
    2,483
    Apr 26, 2011
    LawnGuyLand, NY
    Only one way to find out, give it a shot a few times and see how he handles it! Some cats will readily accept- others will not, it's up to Bruce really
     

  12. yogakitty

    yogakitty TCS Member Adult Cat

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    Jan 4, 2017
    Toronto, Ontario
    It probably depends on the cat. I take my little guy with me to my parents place on the weekend, pretty much every weekend. He loves it there more than our place in the city lol. But my parent's cat hates him. Poor little guy. He doesn't mind the trip. It's about an hour drive, longer if there's traffic. He sleeps in his carrier the entire trip on most days. He's used to it, but I was fairly lucky because before I adopted him, his foster mom would take him with her almost everywhere. My little guy likes the carrier. I always have nice comfy blankets for him, I'll put in a toy he likes....he finds it cozy. I think most cats would consider the carrier a bit of a sanctuary in a place they aren't familiar with.
     
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  13. madzoya

    madzoya Thread Starter TCS Member Adult Cat

    226
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    Jan 19, 2017
    Portugal
    Hi Yogakitty,

    I'm hoping Bruce will be like your kitty. My weekend house is very different from my city house, although both are apartments. In the weekend house there are birds outside to watch and listen to and lot's of light and natural warmth. 

    And he will still be our only child, so no competition there either. He will also be able to spend more hours with us there, as we won't be working.

    The house isn't very big, and I'm planning on taking some of his toys, and his blankets, so he recognizse the smell and feels more at home. He will also have a cat tree there.

    I'm not really worried about the ride, as he did fine coming from the shelter (same time ride), and they told us there that he didn't stress much, even when going to the vet. A plus for him, he will almost never ride to the vet again, as his vet is my best friend and she will make house calls. So car rides will be just to spend sunny weekends with us and not associated with vet visits.

    Crossing my fingers and hoping for the best.
     

  14. basscat

    basscat TCS Member Top Cat

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    Dec 29, 2015
    We have three cats.  Two will cry non-stop any time they are tricked into the carrier, and might hide and sulk for days at any other location. 
    The other "dives" into the carrier as soon as the door is open.  Is content (almost too happy) to be in the carrier.  And immediately makes "home" out of any location.  He loves to "go" and knows what the word "GO" means.
     
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  15. yogakitty

    yogakitty TCS Member Adult Cat

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    Jan 4, 2017
    Toronto, Ontario
    @Madzoya  I'm sure it will be fine. Just take it one step at a time. It makes it easier if no other pets/cats are involved. I'm sure he'll become accustomed to both locations and call them home. :) Let us know how it goes!
     
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  16. hellomisskitty

    hellomisskitty TCS Member Top Cat

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    Mar 13, 2016
    Portland, Oregon
    I agree with @yogakitty especially about making Bruce's carrier his "portable safe zone". I actually just read an article about this yesterday:

    http://www.catster.com/lifestyle/cat-behavior-health-tips-how-to-free-of-anxiety

    You could start working with Bruce on this now. The article above has some good tips.
    I leave my Kitty's carrier out all the time so she does not associate it with just scary things like the car of the vet. She loves her carrier and often naps in it. She feels so safe and secure in there that her vet will do as much of the exam with her in the bottom half of the carrier (the one I have has a removable top half) in order to keep her happy.
     
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  17. hellothere1234

    hellothere1234 TCS Member Young Cat

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    Oct 27, 2015
    Arizona
    So happy you adopted from a shelter!!! Timewise to take him to the weekend house, I would give it more than a month. It takes cats a while to warm up and get used to surroundings and if you take him to a new place he's going to be confused and scared especially since he came from the shelter.

    I'm not sure exactly how long but I would give it a lot of time so that he's accustomed to you and trusts you strongly. That's just my opinion. Maybe like a couple months instead of one month. If he can't handle it he should be fine at the other house just for the weekends, I know it will be sad not to have him with you on weekends but you should listen to what your cat is telling you :) Just see how it goes, the thing I've learned is that cats require lots and lots of patience, don't rush.
     
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  18. weebeasties

    weebeasties TCS Member Top Cat

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    Jul 14, 2016
    Florida
    I think your best guide for this is how much Bruce trusts you. He needs to be at the point of "if Mom (or Dad) is relaxed and comfortable then I'm safe".   Like when there is some strange noise coming from outside and our cats get freaked out, all I have to say is "It's Ok" and you can see them relax then they get curious and start looking out the windows. Anyway, as soon as he gets to the point of associating you with being safe then I think you could take him. I think he might adjust more easily if he is introduced to the new place sooner rather than later. The goal is to make the switch part of his weekly routine and if you wait too long it may make it harder to adjust. I had two cats that were very well traveled (Been to 44 states I think) and stayed in countless hotels and homes of friends and family. My advice is once he trusts you and feels totally safe with you, take him to house #2 and STAY WITH HIM. At least for the first weekend or two. I don't mean follow him around or anything just stay at home. Hang out around the house and let him hear your voice so he's not in a weird place alone. The other thing I would suggest is to take his litterbox from house #1 with you to house #2 for the first couple of weekends. Just pop it in a garbage bag and take it with you. Whenever we stayed at a hotel Buster and Shady would take breaks from exploring the room to come over and sniff the litterbox.. It was like their touchstone. "This place may smell weird but that box smells like me so I belong here!"

    Good Luck!
     
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  19. madzoya

    madzoya Thread Starter TCS Member Adult Cat

    226
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    Jan 19, 2017
    Portugal
    Thanks for all the ideas. We will wait at least two more weekends to try it, until then we will play a lot, cuddle a lot and learn to know each other.

     
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  20. arouetta

    arouetta Slave of Bastet's acolytes Top Cat

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    Mar 31, 2016
    My husband once worked for a man who would bring his cat to work every day.  During the day she would wander around or nap on the printing equipment.  At the end of the day, she would easily go to her carrier.

    As far as locations, my three cats have been pretty adaptable to changing circumstances.  Due to all sorts of things going on, I've moved 7 times starting in 2013.  Each move, the cats needed less and less time to settle in.  This last move, all three cats were pretty chilled out in less than an hour.

    Your cat will have the advantage that after a few trips, both places will smell like him and be familiar territory from the start.  Just like my husband's former boss' cat.
     
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