Previous homeowner abandoned cat but we already have cat

epainter

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
Sep 14, 2018
Messages
11
Purraise
26
Trying to figure out how best to handle a situation where there is a cat that used to live in our home we will be moving into, but we already have a cat so not looking to bring them indoor, at least not for a while.

My backstory: We are moving into our new house in a couple weeks (waiting on Reno to finish) with our indoor only cat Jean. Jeans littermate/sister, storm just passed away unexpectedly a couple weeks ago, and we are still processing and grieving. Bringing in a new cat to our home is not something we are ready for emotionally.

Abandoned cats backstory:
Our neighbor has told us that the previous homeowner left his cat Tori (and her daughters) behind. They left October last year, and in January this year, my neighbor noticed them because they were eating his birdseed so they have been feeding them since then. They consider them "community cats" and haven't been able to pet any of them but have gotten close a couple times with Tori. My understanding is that at least Tori was indoor/outdoor cat, the daughters (Dee and Cali) were likely born outside and probably about a year old. There's also another tomcat (I call him Tom) that is possibly just feral. The neighbor a couple months ago had them all trapped, neutered/spayed, vaccinated. When we found out about the cats, we started leaving food out when we are around (not everyday but a 2-3 times a week) and got a couple heated cat houses for the porch. Initially all the cats would stop by our porch (we have Ring camera), the two daughters would come out for the food just minutes after we left it out. However if they saw us they would get skiddish and run away or at least get to a decent distance away.

About a month ago, we were by the house and saw Tori for the first time in person. She was out on the back porch and I went out to see her, expecting her to be totally skiddish, so I just sat on the ground to be not threatening. And to my surprise she came right up to me and jumped in my lap, wanting petting, making biscuits. I was shocked. She was so sweet, clearly missing affection for months. She was/is a little bite-y tho but not in an aggressive way. When I pet her sometimes she will give my had a little bite or scratch but still want attention/petting which makes me think she is either getting overstimulated or she's communicating (not sure how her interactions were with previous owners but they did have kids which can be unpredictable).

Now it seems Tori is a bit protective of the house (we don't see the daughters on the front porch anymore, but neighbors still see/feed them and they've said Tori isn't really affectionate or nice to them so they might just be avoiding conflict).

A lot of times Tori is now on the porch almost waiting for us when we stop by. She has darted in the house once while we had door open to let contractor in, but she only got a few feet in and then ran out. I get the feeling tho if we were there and left it unintended she would go in, she meows at the back patio door if we are inside and she is there. She still occasionally tries to bite if petting for a while, but I'm trying to stay calm and let her know we Rent going to be erradic with her hoping that she might stop that habit eventually.

Anyway, so like I said Tori seems to have adopted us but we aren't in a place to let her into the house. Besides our grieving and emotional not-readiness, we are worried about how Jeans safety and comfort, especially with Tori's current biting and scratching of us. We are already worried on if Jean will be stressed seeing the outdoor cats so close (Tori comes right up to patio and kitchen window), and previous times Jean would see outdoor cats in our old house, she would get poofed and riled up.

Anyway, not sure what I'm asking for of this community, but if you have any insight or helpful tips or stories of similar situation, that would be great. I'm a car lady so it breaks my heart that Tori was abandoned and wants our love, but my heart still hurts from Storms passing and Jean is my priority right now.

PXL_20210403_023435270.PORTRAIT.jpg

PXL_20210423_222040029.PORTRAIT.jpg
PXL_20210423_222040029.PORTRAIT.jpg
 

FeebysOwner

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Jun 13, 2018
Messages
13,335
Purraise
17,756
Location
Central FL (Born in OH)
Hi. I nearly cried reading your post. Tori is breaking my heart. She is so emotionally tied to that home and some life that she once knew, that she is willing to consider you her new family in order to stay there (and, she knows intuitively that you are a cat lover!). Is there any way to build her a place outside that she might be willing to stay in to call her own for now? Maybe after the reno is done, relocate her 'place' to a spot she most frequents? Or, create her spot there now if the reno wouldn't impact it? Possibly blocking direct view outside of the house (for the benefit of Jean when you move in) until you can sort out all of particulars?

I don't think from the sounds of it that you would have much of a problem getting Tori past the biting issue - I think that is part of her way of communicating loneliness, neglect, and desperation. The fact that Jean is used to at least one other cat (Storms - RIP) works to your favor.

I will tell you that from my prior experiences, Tori might be your 'salvation' (and, maybe Jean's) from the loss of Storms - and you hers. It happened to me - twice - so, I can't help but believe these things happen for a reason.

I hope others will come along soon to respond with more helpful information. I just had to reach out to say I was so touched by Tori and you.

I don't know if it will help any, but here are some TCS articles that you might be interested in. Once you see these, maybe there are others you can search for additional help.

The Five Golden Rules To Bringing An Outdoor Cat Inside – TheCatSite Articles
How To Successfully Introduce Cats: The Ultimate Guide – TheCatSite Articles
Do Cats Get Jealous? (and What To Do About It When They Do) – TheCatSite Articles

Whatever you decide, I most certainly would like to see you keep posting. My heart goes out to Tori and you, and Jean.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #3

epainter

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
Sep 14, 2018
Messages
11
Purraise
26
Thanks for you're reply. Yes, we'd like to buy or build a covered house and feeding place in our backyard. When we first heard about the cats (about a month before Storms passing) we had already planned on that, thinking it would be a while before they warmed up to us and we would have to think anything about letting them inside and managing that type of situation. We could also potentially give access to the garage, there is already a pet door there, just locked at the moment.

It completely caught me off guard that Tori warmed up immediately, completely changing whatever timeline I thought there was. I was already mentally going through how would that work with indoor cats and other cats who would want dual indoor/outdoor access, which I'm still unsure how to handle that, if we get to that point.

I know my boyfriend has been also hit hard with Storm's passing, and we are feeling very protective of Jean. I know a bit worry of his is Tori coming inside if we accidentally leave the door open too long, and conflicting with Jean since Tori feels this is her house and Jean will be just adjusting to this as her new house. Besides being vigilant with the doors, is there anything else we can do?
 

FeebysOwner

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Jun 13, 2018
Messages
13,335
Purraise
17,756
Location
Central FL (Born in OH)
Moving a cat (Jean) to a new home usually requires isolating them to one room, with all of their familiar 'stuff', just so they can acclimate to that one area first before being allowed to 'roam' the rest of the house. So, that might help. I also think that Tori might be a bit more apprehensive once she figures out 'things are not the same' in the house as they once were before. Hence the reason she came in the house in the first place and then ran out. So, initially you might be 'saved' somewhat. Some more articles that might give you some ideas. .
9 Tips That Will Help Your Kitten Adapt To A New Apartment – TheCatSite Articles
How To Move With Your Cat To A New Home In A Safe Way – TheCatSite Articles
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #6

epainter

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
Sep 14, 2018
Messages
11
Purraise
26
i really wish there was a child abandonment charge for pets like they have for humans
💯

The previous homeowner was foreclosed on so I imagine they were not in a good spot... But I have a hard time still having empathy for not rehoming her or at the very least notifying the neighbor to feed her. The neighbor only started feeding/caring for them because they noticed them months later so hungry they were eating bird seed.
 

game misconduct

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
May 1, 2020
Messages
1,668
Purraise
5,351
Location
westcovina california
💯

The previous homeowner was foreclosed on so I imagine they were not in a good spot... But I have a hard time still having empathy for not rehoming her or at the very least notifying the neighbor to feed her. The neighbor only started feeding/caring for them because they noticed them months later so hungry they were eating bird seed.
loss of a house doesnt mean you abandon animals you were responsible for caring for whom depend upon you etc they could just have easily taken a lil time to atleast surrendered the cat to a shelter with a chance to get rehomed.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #8

epainter

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
Sep 14, 2018
Messages
11
Purraise
26
loss of a house doesnt mean you abandon animals you were responsible for caring for whom depend upon you etc they could just have easily taken a lil time to atleast surrendered the cat to a shelter with a chance to get rehomed
Yep I agree. How someone can abandon and sleep at night is beyond me.
 

fionasmom

TCS Member
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Jun 21, 2014
Messages
3,776
Purraise
5,956
Location
Los Angeles
I have been in this situation twice where an abandoned cat (researched and found out owners had moved in both cases) came up to me for help. It was the most touching thing as they hope and know that kind people will give them help and does make you want to burst into tears. Both, Daddy Cat and Zoe, ended up being heart cats. Neither were brought into my house immediately but it did work out eventually and I did own other cats, and have always owned dogs.

My cousin is a realtor and called me once because some owners from a very nice area left their old cat behind and the crows where swooping down and harrassing it, probably seeing it as prey since it was so debilitated.

The only dog I ever found who was microchipped belonged to an owner who had just lost the house to foreclosure and he told Home Again that he had no intention of getting the dog back....what are you going to do about it. As game misconduct game misconduct mentioned, animal abandonment is a crime, at least in CA, but probably almost unenforceable.

I am not hijacking your thread but just letting you know that you are not alone in this. I do feel that FeebysOwner FeebysOwner has covered the points and steps to resolving this if you are able. Over time, this could possibly all work out, especially if you are able to provide this beautiful girl with shelter and food so that she realizes that she did not lose her home entirely. You are not even moved in yet, so this is new to everyone including your baby Jeans. Everyone has to adjust but it seems very promising to me.

The biting, as you have said, is from a source that is not clear. However, from your description of it, it seems like it is resolvable with some positive training. If it is overstimulation, just watch for that. My avatar Lily who is a reformed feral and a complete love, is entirely capable of getting overstimulated and I am on guard. No overstim, no biting.

I am glad that you have supportive and proactive neighbors who helped the cats rather than made them victims.
 

Kflowers

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Jul 28, 2018
Messages
3,789
Purraise
5,560
We always found that immediately when you move to a new house cats are more likely to accept another cat. All their territories get re-distributed, so after the first three days of hiding/panic, it isn't like this cat is taking my turf, it's a matter of dividing up the new space among everyone there. You don't do it, they do. It also helped those who entered months before the move become part of the group. Just what we found worked for us. It may be different for you. Best of luck.
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #11

epainter

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
Sep 14, 2018
Messages
11
Purraise
26
Thanks everyone for your replies. We are on day three of being moved in, and not without its drama.

Prior to move in:
Tori has stayed in the little cat house we have on the porch every night. Nearly every time we would be by the house, she would be there. I had started bringing little toy mice with me, to see if I could use that to divert her attention if she got to the point of biting. Turns out she loves to play fetch with them, which is pretty adorable. I both feel like it has helped and hasn't lol She does still get the point of biting (altho maybe ever so slightly less hard?), but also swipes her claws at our ankles if we walk away when she doesn't want us to. Definitely, a lot of habits to try to break -- definitely open to suggestions on how to help with that.

Week of the move I saw a black dot on her fur, wasn't sure if fleas so I picked up medication for her and Jean -- Revolution for Jean since it's prescription couldn't get it for Tori, so I picked up Frontline. I've given it to Jean, but haven't to Tori yet, but she also doesn't seem to be scratching, so it may not have been fleas.

Since move in:
The day of the move we didn't see her, I think she may have been staying away from the loud noise of the various people in/out of the house. I think that was helpful for Jean, so she could acclimate a little before adding that into the mix. The next day Jean explored a lot of the house, but in the evening Tori did come by and they did see each other. Tori seemed mostly uninterested in Jean, maybe a hiss or two, meanwhile Jean was poofing, growling, hissing, you name it. Tori mainly seems to just be interested in getting our attention to get some love, food, etc.

Now nearly any time Tori is around and knows we are home, she is constantly hopping up to the ledge outside our kitchen window meowing loudly/frequently to get our attention, staring inside (she . I was worried about the stress of seeing Tori for Jean, but she seems to be still okay being around the house, just gets stressed if she sees Tori nearby, but just stares if she's a pretty good distance away and sees her.

And if we are ever outside doing yard work or whatever, Tori is right there, nearby, even if we are doing something loud like pressure washing, she doesn't go far and when it gets quiet again tries to get closer.

I'm hoping they both get a bit more chill about each other, and Tori gets more understanding that we can't constantly go outside to spend time with her. Still trying to sort out how best to handle this situation. I'm not sure if they will get more relaxed, maybe after some consistency, it has only been a couple days after all. It just is really hard hearing Tori cry outside for us so often.

Maybe we are warming up to the idea of bringing her in eventually, but I know that sets off a lot of dedication (I don't know how she would handle indoor only), work, and we are still a bit worried about it. Jean is very attached to us (follows us around everywhere, has always been a cat who needs lots of attention, affection) and so apparently is Tori. I can only imagine even if they slowly come around to each other, how much jealousy will be a huge factor. And with how Tori has been aggressive/hurting us, I don't want to put Jean in a risky position. I honestly am not too sure how Tori is with other cats -- the neighbors have only mentioned she hasn't been too nice to her daughters.

I also have a lot going on personally, that just the thought of trying to navigate this is stressful. I feel like it would riddle me with guilt to do it, but should I also consider the possibility of trying to find someone who would adopt her? She clearly wants someone who can give her a lot of affection and time, and that just honestly may not be us right now...
 

fionasmom

TCS Member
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Jun 21, 2014
Messages
3,776
Purraise
5,956
Location
Los Angeles
Thank you for the update. I don't think that you are in a bad place at all with this situation. Tori is around, has not left the house, and is bonded to you. Jean knows she is there and both are probably assessing each other and the possibility that they might live in close proximity to each other. If you think you can rehome her, that is a good idea. If you decide to do that you can get help here with how to handle doing so. You might have a friend you know and trust, but if she has to be given to someone you do not know there are steps that should be taken, one being that you ask for compensation for all the care you have given her. I don't think this sounds desperate, like she needs to find a home tomorrow, so screening people or asking those you know would be possible.

On the other hand, as you continue to watch developments, it all might work out and she may become a house pet.
 

Sylvia Jones

TCS Member
Alpha Cat
Joined
Jun 11, 2019
Messages
430
Purraise
618
Ok so I was definitely getting choked up reading this thread Tori of course thinks she is home Which of course she is Since the previous owners of the house abandoned her we don’t know the level of care she had with them( not being fixed may be a clue however) but it’s probably all she has ever known So she stayed at the house just waiting for months Then finally someone shows up She doesn’t know you but is desperate and lonely so she tries to make a good first impression Here you and your family are freshly off the devastating loss of one of your own I am so sorry for your loss I have 2 brothers that I got at 6 weeks old They turned 2 years this month I truely can’t imagine how one would react if something happened to the other I used to hate that saying sometimes things happen for a reason BUT sometimes they do For what it’s worth from the outside looking in and from a fellow cat lover I see so much HOPE here I agree with the previous post moving into a new house might just be a key ingredient for Jean and you to take a chance on Tori I don’t know that all will go smoothly but life seldom does If you are willing to take it one day at a time there is a wealth of experience on this site to help you through it as It has helped me many times Warm thoughts and sincere wishes of the best outcome for all of you No matter what that ends up being I can tell you will make sure Tori is better off than when she found you Please update us
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #14

epainter

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
Sep 14, 2018
Messages
11
Purraise
26
Thanks ❤ Yeah, it isn't lost on me how fortunate Tori is that a crazy cat lady moved in to her house and not someone else.

I'm definitely not going to rush into any decisions, I am curious how the week will go. I just need to find ways to keep my stress level down when she does start crying for us -- that's when I wrote that update, at peak stress when she was outside the kitchen window.

As someone who does believe whatever cat/pet you adopt is a forever pet, I don't take the decision to bring her in lightly and while normally I'm would say the more cats the merrier, but losing Storm still is emotionally hard for me. If Tori weren't around I would not be anywhere near thinking about taking in another cat. I just wish I would have a bit more time to decide than Tori seems to want to give me.

Anyway here is a photo dump because the internet could use more cat photos 😸

PXL_20210517_012027879.PORTRAIT.jpg

PXL_20210517_012026712.PORTRAIT.jpg

PXL_20210516_060017658.jpg

PXL_20210515_234127204.jpg

PXL_20210505_021322390.jpg
 

fionasmom

TCS Member
Staff Member
Forum Helper
Joined
Jun 21, 2014
Messages
3,776
Purraise
5,956
Location
Los Angeles
What a beautiful little girl! Jean is so charming as well looking out the window. It does appear to be interest, at least in that pic, as the body language is not stressful, hair standing up, tail fluffed up, the usual. Tori looks great with your care!
 
  • Thread Starter Thread Starter
  • #16

epainter

TCS Member
Thread starter
Kitten
Joined
Sep 14, 2018
Messages
11
Purraise
26
What a beautiful little girl! Jean is so charming as well looking out the window. It does appear to be interest, at least in that pic, as the body language is not stressful, hair standing up, tail fluffed up, the usual. Tori looks great with your care!
Oh well these photos of Jean were when she didn't see Tori lol her body language isn't this stress free when she does. But I am glad that she isn't constantly in a state of alarm when she isn't around.

This was last night when Jean sees Tori at a distance in the window (not up close, she would be more tense then)

PXL_20210516_061152761.jpg
 

CL56

TCS Member
Adult Cat
Joined
Dec 27, 2017
Messages
186
Purraise
493
Location
Florida
Thanks ❤ Yeah, it isn't lost on me how fortunate Tori is that a crazy cat lady moved in to her house and not someone else.

I'm definitely not going to rush into any decisions, I am curious how the week will go. I just need to find ways to keep my stress level down when she does start crying for us -- that's when I wrote that update, at peak stress when she was outside the kitchen window.

As someone who does believe whatever cat/pet you adopt is a forever pet, I don't take the decision to bring her in lightly and while normally I'm would say the more cats the merrier, but losing Storm still is emotionally hard for me. If Tori weren't around I would not be anywhere near thinking about taking in another cat. I just wish I would have a bit more time to decide than Tori seems to want to give me.

Anyway here is a photo dump because the internet could use more cat photos 😸

View attachment 381041
View attachment 381043
View attachment 381044
View attachment 381045
View attachment 381046

What a pretty girl !
 

Talien

TCS Member
Top Cat
Joined
Oct 10, 2018
Messages
2,384
Purraise
4,785
Location
Michigan
It would be a good idea to give her the flea treatment you got, if a Cat has been outside for a long period of time they will most likely have picked up fleas and worms. If you are financially able to, it would also be good to take her to see a vet for an exam so you know for sure.

If she is used to the area and stays around the house mostly then the outdoor shelters you plan to set up will be good while you decide whether you are going to bring her inside or not.
 
Top