Should I bring my cat from home to college?

Kiki1623

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Hello, hopefully people look at this! So I have an interesting situation and I have done some research but want some advice from outside sources and who better to ask then the people on this website. So I am currently in college about 3 hours away from my hometown and I have been off and on thinking about bringing my cat along to live with me here. Now she is about 14 and she currently lives with my parents. She’s never lived anywhere other then in the house she in living in now. However we got a new cat about 5 years ago and they do not get along. So for about the last 3 years my cat Kiki has been confined to my bedroom by her own choice because she is afraid of our other younger cat. She definitely has a strong attachment to me and without me there she only gets attention from my parents for around an hour a day because of their busy schedules and the fact that she will not leave my room.
Because she lives in my small room I feel as though if I brought her to college and had her living in my room, it would not be too great of a transition for her. I would love to have her here with me but I just want what’s best for her. I know cats are territorial and it can be stressful for them to move but I want to hear what others have to say. especially with the fact that I would have to move her home for winter break and then back to college in the spring and then again back home for the summer. So would it be too stressful for her to make the 3 hour move and travel back and fourth?
Side note: I also play softball at my university so I don’t have the most consistent schedule and will be gone quite a bit in the spring.
 

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rubysmama

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Hello and welcome to TCS. Kiki is a sweetie pie, and clearly a snuggler. :catlove:

About bringing her to college with you, unfortunately, I can't decide whether that's a good idea or not. Because she's 14, my first instinct is to say no, as it would be too traumatic a change for her. But since she's been confined to your bedroom the last few years, she'd be at least used to being in a small room. Is it a dorm room on campus? Or an apartment off campus? On campus, I just worry that it could be very noisy, and also that there's a chance of her getting out of the room, and getting lost.

Also there's the 3 hour drive to consider. Though some cats just sleep during the entire drive.

How is her health? That's something to consider, if she were to get sick? Would you be able to take care of her, take her to a vet, give her meds, etc.?

The topic has come up before, btw. So until other members post with their thoughts, here's the links to those previous threads:
(note a couple don't actually fit your situation, but the search found them anyway)

Search Results for Query: cat college
 
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Kiki1623

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Thank you for replying!

I’m living in an off campus apartment with 4 other roommates and a very well trained dog.

her health has been good she hasn’t ever had to be taken to the vet due to her health. She also has never had to be on meds for any reason. She does puke pretty regularly but it doesn’t seem to effect her health or weight too much and she’s always been a pretty skinny cat. I haven’t looked into vets in my college town but if she were to get sick I think I would be able to take her and give her meds. my parents would definitely help me with vet bills and such
 

klunick

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With 4 roommates and a dog, I'd vote no. Too much activity and noise for an older cat. Plus the traveling back and forth several times a year might be pretty stressful for an older cat. But I understand your reasoning behind wanting her with you and hopefully you can figure out how to make it work.
 

rubysmama

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The dog definitely adds a twist to the situation, as does the 3 other roommates. Could be very stressful for her. Maybe it would be best to leave her in your room at your parent's place, for now, and see how she does with you gone. As long as she seems content, and is eating and using the litter box normally, it might be best to keep things as they are. You could leave some of your worn clothes in your room for her to sleep on. And maybe get her a Snuggle Kitty for company.
 
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Kiki1623

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Another thing with the dog cuz that seems to be a main point of interest. My bedroom is at the back end of our hallway and the roommate who has the dog is at the front so we have like 3 bedrooms between us and the dog never comes down the hall. That roommate also keeps to herself quite a bit to the point where I hardly ever see the dog as is, they pretty much just stay in her room or are at her boyfriends place.

Idk if that makes a huge difference because I know that’s not the only concern but just thought I would clarify a bit more.
 

rubysmama

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It's really impossible to know how she'd react to all the changes, but you'd only be a 3 hour drive from home, if you needed to bring her back. So doable on a weekend. However, 3 hours is a LONG time for a cat that doesn't like car drives, so that's another thing you have to consider. I'm still thinking leave her where she is for now, and see how she does with you gone.
 

jefferd18

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You could always try it and bring her back if things didn't work out. One of my first roommates in L.A. brought both of his senior cats from his parent's home in NYC. They settled in just fine.
 

WillowMarie

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My cat came with me to college. She is a great support for me and really helped me emotionally, and cannot imagine not bringing her. I only spent 1 semester in the dorms, which was a tiny room (luckily never had a roommate even though it was a two person room) and then was able to rent a tiny house that had more room and a nice yard to take her for walks.

My cat is very sociable and had grown up in a house with other people and another cat, although they were not buddies. She did show signs of stress a month or so in, so I worked on ways to make things more exciting for her. I rearranged the human and cat furniture weekly. I had collapsible tunnels and cubes, so I could rotate them and they stored easily when not in use. I left boxes out when I received packages. I moved around her folded towels that she slept on and her cardboard scratchers. She enjoys wearing a leash and harness, so I took her on some walks until the scary front door made her hesitant to wear her harness. It was loud and jarring. After moving, I bought a new leash and harness that she allowed me to train her again to use.

Luckily, the one window in my room looked over a main street on campus, so she was able to watch people walk buy and that brought some entertainment for her. She gets a few pieces of dry food daily, and I would spread them or some treats throughout the room on various furniture and hiding spots for her to have to find. I also had a couple puzzles that she had to work at to get dry food out of, too. I increased the amount I actively played with her. It seemed to help ease her anxiety, which was displayed by starting to overgroom.



She also went with me to a summer job that provided housing, and the room was even smaller. That was for only 2.5 months, but she definitely again was getting bored about halfway through and I had a roommate that time with less control over how the room was arranged. But again, I took her for walks occasionally and did my best to play with her more.


It does depend on the cat though. My cat is older (11) and is not as active as the younger cats I now own. She is very sociable, so that may be why it was harder on her for longer term. I spent a lot of time in my room since I studied a lot and need a lot of alone time to recharge. With you playing sports, being in class, how much time you are out of your room socializing/self-care, and whether you are working/participating in clubs will be important to think about when determining what may be best for your cat.

So considering how much time you and/or roommates will be in the room vs. when the cat is alone will be important, along with the cats personality and how much interaction they need for their mental health.


My cats have been on long drives, and it does stress them although they usually quiet an hour into the ride. My three have done 14 hour rides over 2 days, and my oldest has taken a 4 day trip for my summer job. They were okay, but were stressed. Although, that depends on the individual cat and their comfort level as some cats may be fine in the car.
 

Cat McCannon

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You must decide what's best for your cat. Whether you take the cat with you or leave it at your folk's house, you've got work ahead of you.

If you leave your cat at your folk's, you have to get your cat out of your room and into the rest of your house. You'll need to do the work to boost your cat's confidence and convince your parents to interact with your cat more. It's bad for your cat's health to be stuck in a small part of the house away from the rest of the family. With you gone, your cat will more more alone and isolated than before. hat's bad for the cat's mental state.

If you take your cat with you, you'll need to to the intro work with the room mates and the dog. You'll also need to teach everyone- human and canine- proper cat etiquette and make sure no one will let the cat outside. Make sure you take her litterbox, cat condo, toys and beds with you. Do what's needed to catify her home.

If it were my cat- that is, if I were moving and Belle were ten years old- I'd take where ever my life lead because her and I have a strong bond. I'd do whatever work was needed to keep her comfortable. If I had to leave her behind, I'd feel like I was abandoning her.
 
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