Transition outside cat to indoor advice

k131n

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Ok, So I'm going to try and make this story as short as possible. I do apologize though because its kind of long. I don't know how else to word this. Need everyone to understand this cats history and how much we care about him... Anyways So when when I was about 22 I bought a house. Very first few days of moving in, this neighborhood cat was roaming around my yard. Maybe even previous owners cat, who knows. I started feeding him and would let him inside. He would scratch at the door when he wanted in and scratch at the door when he wanted out. Thought it was the coolest cat ever and best way to own a cat. He was more like a dog I thought. Never needed a litter box. Scratch at the door if he needed to go out. Fast forward probably 6 years of living there, decided to move into a larger house. Family and kid by then. I didn't want to get rid of the old house so I rented it out. moved in with the parents for a month until our new house was finished. I had plans to go back and find (big kitty) what I called him (large main coon). Anyways went back to find him a month later and told the renters to keep an eye out for him but they never did or bothered to catch him. I wanted to move him into our new house with us. Never did find him. Ok so lets fast forward to now (5 years later). Renters moved out just last week. I have been over there working getting it ready for the next renters and 2nd day working over there big kitty showed up out of the blue! I was super excited to see him. Made me really happy to know nothing happen to him. I am shocked, and could not believe that 5 years later he is still alive and still roaming the neighbor hood.

On to the health part and reason I am posting this in the health section... To me he doesn't seem like he's been taken care of at all in the neighborhood. He's skin and bones and no where near as big as he use to be. I can feel every bone in his body and bumpy boney back. I've started feeding him every day I've been over there working, trying to get some weight back on him. I don't understand how he could survive a winter like that. He's also very skittish. Maybe from people being mean or neighborhood kids tormenting him? He never use to be like that. Anytime I move to quickly he runs out of the house or I pick up a tool he hasn't seen me use yet he runs out. I have to keep the door cracked and it's starting to get cold out lol. At least no bugs or mosquitos with the door open since its getting cold out right? lol

Anyways I have no idea how old he is. He was a full grown cat when I moved into that house probably like 11 years ago. He's older than my daughter. I have videos of my daughter as a toddler trying to pick him up and carry him around. Bumping his head into the couch because he was to big for her to pick up. He would just tolerate it and act like it never bothered him. She's 10 now and got to see him again, it's crazy... He immediately came up to her right away. Me, it took him a minute to warm up to again. He's such a good cat and I just want what's best for him. I want to bring him back to our current house because I can't trust anyone in that neighborhood to take care of him, or the next renters. I told the last ones to take care of him and let him inside in the winter but they didn't. I feel that he is to old now and might not make it another winter in his current shape.

What is everyone's advice? I want him to live out his last years the best possible way he can. Would he be happier just staying in that neighborhood or should I try and make him a permeant indoor cat at our current place? We have busy traffic next to our house and he doesn't know this neighbor hood. His current neighborhood is safe (all cul-de-sacs and children at play signs) I feel like bring him over here and having him be and outside cat would be a bad idea with him not familiar with the neighborhood and traffic. I don't know though? We do have another cat, so there is that as well. I honestly don't even know if big kitty is a male or female with all that hair I could never tell. Just figured it was a boy since it's a huge main coon. Don't know if it's spayed or neutered either? He never once peed in my house. Always scratched at the door when needed to go out. Well other than one time... Back in my party days when I was single. Drink to much and passed out in my room. Woke up to him peeing on the bed right next to my pillow. I always laughed about it because it was my fault I didn't realize I locked him in the bed room with me. He was just trying to wake me up. Like hey dude *** I need to go pee and don't see a litter box or pile of dirt in here anywhere. Never a sign that he would spray though or anything like that. Only that one time but it was my fault.

Once again I apologize for this being so long. I just want everyone to know this cats back story and history so that I can get the best advice possible. I really do want to do what's best for the cat. I was thinking maybe I should take him to the vet first and get a check up before trying to bring him over. I worry though at his age it might be to much stress, this whole process and transition? Maybe it doesn't work out and he has major issues? Maybe he starts peeing on stuff and wants to go back? I've always heard that cats have really bad memories? What if I bring him over here and it doesn't work out. Maybe it's like a couple weeks down the road. If I took him back to the old neighborhood would he still do okay? Would he still remember how to be safe and all of his hiding spots? I know all this would sound stupid to most people but this cat is special. He was always my buddy when I lived alone and single before kids. I feel like I can't just abandon him again. I have to try something different now that he's came back into our lives. I'm sure it sounds stupid but oh well. I'm willing to do what ever most think is best. Leave him be and let him live the time he has left where he is now or bring him to our house and try and give him a better time that he has left. He is a very social cat and does want to be around me, even now. Even though his food bowl is outside he still wants to come in and hang out with me as long as the door is cracked. Biggest reason I think bringing him here would be hard is because he really likes being an outside cat. Back then he would come in eat, take a nap, chill for an hour or 2 then be scratching at the door to go back outside. Anyways, I don't know. Look forward to everyone's advice and any further questions I can answer.
 

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Mamanyt1953

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I doubt he will survive another winter outside in the condition you are describing. By all means, bring him in. And see to his health needs with a good vet. As for helping him make the transition, I think that this will help you:


Once he has been in your new home for a few weeks, you could probably let him out for part of the day, as his internal GPS will have been reset to his new home. However, he may be like many stray/feral cats who have found homes...once they know the joys of hearth and home, outside holds no charms for them anymore!
 

fionasmom

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I have only ever dealt with strays and ferals and have successfully brought in adult cats, some in emergency rescues where there was no real time to make a decision as to whether or not this would work or where it would go. You know this cat much better and might be shocked that he would be so happy to leave the miserable life he has been living trying to keep body and soul together. You can get a lot of help here for any issues or questions you have as you rescue and rehome him to your house.

I once trapped an adult older feral on the day that I was moving to a new house. It was her last chance to come with me but I was very concerned as she was completely unfriendly. When I got her to the new house and put her in a spare room, she simply jumped on the bed and went to sleep and never left the room in the last three years that she had on this earth. The door was never closed; she was just so happy for the outdoor life to have ended.
 

My Buddy Mikey

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I have only ever dealt with strays and ferals and have successfully brought in adult cats, some in emergency rescues where there was no real time to make a decision as to whether or not this would work or where it would go. You know this cat much better and might be shocked that he would be so happy to leave the miserable life he has been living trying to keep body and soul together. You can get a lot of help here for any issues or questions you have as you rescue and rehome him to your house.

I once trapped an adult older feral on the day that I was moving to a new house. It was her last chance to come with me but I was very concerned as she was completely unfriendly. When I got her to the new house and put her in a spare room, she simply jumped on the bed and went to sleep and never left the room in the last three years that she had on this earth. The door was never closed; she was just so happy for the outdoor life to have ended.
The best choice. You have a good and caring heart.
 
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k131n

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What if he doesn't do good inside our place? What if he starts peeing on stuff or spraying? Or worse our other cat starts peeing on stuff? He never did that at the old house but I always let him out when he scratched at the door. Would he still remember his hiding spots at the old place if a week or 2 went by and it didn't work out here? Our laundry room has hard floors and where our current cats litter box is. I could start him out in there? Leaving him over night and when we are gone. Just until we could trust him? I would feel bad but my wife won't tolerate a cat that pees on stuff. Hopefully he would only have to stay in there for a day or two until he gets use to being inside and not being let outside. I really hope it works out. I don't want to put him through any additional stress since I'm sure he's pretty old.
 

fionasmom

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The transition from the laundry room sounds fine. It is a good idea to have a place to put any newcomer cat who is brought into your house until they settle in a little bit and realize what is going on.
 

Anchoress

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Please stop with the "what ifs"! And be calm around him? Old saying; there is no mess that cannot be cleared up. Just love him.
 

Mamanyt1953

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Go ahead and order a good ezymatic cleaner for any "accidents." And get him to a vet for a thorough checkup and neutering FIRST THING. Other than adding those two things, your plan sounds like a good one. IF it becomes necessary, we can help you fine-tune things, but stop borrowing trouble before it happens. I promise you, that cat will pick up on your anxiety and be far more likely to have issues than if you remain calm.
 

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Agree totally Manamy. Any critter in a new setting etc is deeply intuitive and alert to mood. They have to be to survive and to decide.. stay or flee.
I am seeing this now with the two island cats who are close to ferals. Especially Tonto. He has had no reason to trust anyone and not even given food. When I open the door here ? Races in at high speed; kitchen.. f not food there? bedroom. Heartrending. It is only recently I have even seen what lovely eyes he has. And he is starting at last to relate to me apart from food. He is also seriously inbred. Delighted with progress.
 
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k131n

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*********UPDATE**********
We went over and got him Monday. Wanted to wait until after his vet appointment but was afraid we wouldn't catch him right before the appointment. Anyways, got him in the crate, he was freaking out. We got to the house and I coved it up with a blanket so he couldn't see what door we brought him in. I'm glad I did that because he spent all night scratching every shut door in the house. He definitely doesn't like shut doors but I don't think he knows the door he came in or if he even cares at this point. Was worried one of the kids would accidently let him dart out. As of today he watches people leave from a distance and doesn't seem to care.

Honestly I was worried for nothing. The first night was rough with all the meowing and scratching at doors all night, even closet doors. After that he has been more than perfect. He's using the litter box, not a single accident, he's eating, super friendly slept with us last night. He's more well behaved now that our 2 year old cat. He's in rough shape though being so skinny and matted hair. Other than that he seems healthy. The soonest the vet could get him in is Tuesday next week. I can tell he's really old though by now. He tries to jump in bed and struggles. He can't quite make it and has to claw the rest of the way up. I got him some books to step on. He kind of just moseys along and moves real slow. As of right now he acts so content and I can tell he's happy and purrs a lot. I think it's like mamany said "outside holds no charms for them anymore" Just happen a lot sooner than I thought it would. Blows my mind that no one was taking care of him or made him an inside cat. It's just crazy that this cat came back into my life right at this moment. I'm almost positive he would not have made it another winter outside. Part of the reason on top of no one feeding him is probably because he got to old to catch mice. Idk just glad this story has a happy ending so far.
Will update again after the vet appointment Tuesday if anyone is interested.
 

walli

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Bring him in, it's a miracle that you got back together, put him in a room until he gets use to it
He sounds pretty friendly already, if you can touch him.
 

fionasmom

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:yess:This is such a wonderful touching story. He just wanted a place to be safe and cared for. This is just like my Hamy who never left the room that I gave her in the three years that were left to her.
 

Mamanyt1953

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Bless you. And bless him. Finally, after a rough life, he's found his soft spot to land.

And YES, we most certainly want to know what the vet says! You and he (did I miss his name?) are a part of this community now!
 
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k131n

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I named him big kitty, BK for short all those years ago. I don't actually know 100% if he's male or female. I always just figured it way a boy because back in the day he was a huge main coon. He's skinny now so name doesn't really fit, but oh well. With all that hair I can't tell. If it is male he's definitely neutered. Has no balls and has never once sprayed. Would think he definitely would with us now since our other cat is female. He could careless about our other cat. Just ignores her.
 

Mamanyt1953

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BK is a lovely name for a Big Kitty, and works well for either sex! Yeah, I'd say s/he is neutered, since you haven't seen any signs of prenancy, and not overtly tomcat behavior, and no apparently boy bits! Apparently, poor BK started out his life as Somebody's Cat, and now will be Somebody's Cat again. Thank you for this. He deserves a good home at last!
 
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k131n

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So his vet appointment went well. I was a tad bit disappointed from the lack of info I received though. Because of his history and not wanting to put him through any more stress I scheduled an appointment with a home visit vet tech. I really care about this cat and want what's best. It was expansive and didn't feel like they were as thorough as I would have expected but hey he is in retirement and needs to enjoy and live out what time he has left, stress free and spoiled. Vet tech seemed like they were kind of in a rush.

I can post a copy of his report if anyone would like to see it. They did a blood sample but I think it was just for feline leukemia. They put the blood sample on a slide and waited for results. No lab work. That came back negative so thank god.. since I already brought him around our other cat. They informed me that wasn't a good idea. Didn't know any better and just wanted to get him inside because of the shape he was in and afraid I wouldn't be able to catch him before the vet appointment. I thought feline leukemia was a cancer not a virus. Oh well anyways that was all good, they were surprised he didn't have it after being an outside cat for 11+ years. His heart rate and breathing seems awful fast to me even when napping. Asked them about that and they said probably just stress. Didn't seem to concerned. I googled it and sounds like early signs of heart failure =( They gave him a shot that I guess took care of a bunch of different stuff? Ear mites, fleas, heart worms, and some other stuff? They told us to feed him kitten food and sprinkle this stuff on his food for his joints (don't remember the name, my wife bought it wasn't with her) Kitten food would help him gain weight they said. They also told us he definitely was a male cat that had been neutered. Everyone kept calling BK a she. I knew he was a "He" I was the only one that was right lol. His hair is very matted and they said it's probably pulling on his skin. They didn't have time shave him but me and the wife manage to last night. He's not very happy with us but oh well he will get over it.

All and all He seems healthy other than the breathing issue. I really wanted the full 110% inspection and to know every possible thing we can to make his life the best but I don't know if it's worth the stress on him talking him from vet to vet to run different test or ex rays? He seems to be plenty happy napping all day in bed not running from cars or coons, searching for shelter, and putting our other fat cat in her place.
 
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