Author Topic: Moving with an inside cat and an outdoor cat (or trying to convert outside cat)  (Read 935 times)  

Offline Annalog

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DH and I are planning on moving from rural southern Arizona to urban central Arizona. We currently have two cats, both originally rescues. Both are large, but not fat, neutered males.

The inside cat, Dusty, has always been an inside cat and was very neurotic when we got him. He has become more stable over the years but is still needy and is unpredictable. For most of our time with Dusty, he has shared the house with a small neutered female rescue cat, Snowflake. Earlier this year Snowflake developed salivary gland cancer and has passed away. Dusty misses her and seems more needy than before.

The outside cat, Sylvester, originally lived across the street with a large dog. They did not get along and the cat decided to go feral. He started hanging around our house because DH was leaving some cat food out for strays. One day, DH noticed that the cat had an injured paw and notified the neighbors that their cat was injured. They said that they no longer had a cat as he hadn't been home in a while. DH asked if he could take him to the vet and they said that the cat now belonged to DH. DH got the cat into a carrier and took him to the vet where he learned that the paw was infected and that the cat was not neutered. Since the cat needed to be on antibiotics, we put the cat in an empty outdoor chicken coop in a covered chain link pen. After the paw was healed, we had Sylvester (not original name) neutered. Sylvester became somewhat tame and for the past several years is loose outside during the day and willingly goes into coop/pen, where he is safe from coyotes, hawks, etc., for the night. He is now very friendly but definitely independent and prefers being outside unless the weather is bad.

This winter, we started encouraging Sylvester to come into the laundry room. He would stay for a few minutes before requesting to go out by standing by the back door and meowing. There is a vent opening at the bottom of the connecting door with the kitchen where Sylvester and Dusty can see and smell each other. We always let Sylvester go outside whenever he wants out.

A few weeks ago, DH opened the doors that normally separated Dusty from Sylvester. That meeting went well with Sylvester essentially ignoring Dusty and Dusty following Sylvester at a distance. After Dusty growled and hissed once, DH let Sylvester outside. This was followed the next day by a session where DH let Dusty outside for a supervised excursion. We have continued the inside sessions when Sylvester wants to come inside. The sessions have been mostly the same with Sylvester exploring the house and Dusty watching Sylvester. Sylvester lets us know when he is done by meowing by the back door.

Any suggestions for additional things we can do to encourage these two older cats to become friends? I would like them to be friends before we move as we will be moving to a household with three small dogs and another cat. Those four all get along well; all are neutered. The only dog there that I am a bit concerned about is the dachshund. She is the largest and youngest of them all and is the most protective. The cat there is extremely mellow and likes playing with the dachshund and the Yorkie. We will be able to keep our cats in a separate room while going through the introduction period.

The new household also has a dog door which the cat there also uses. The back yard is walled but the small cat has been known to get to the top of the 6 foot wall. I know that both of our cats would have no trouble doing the same.

Additional suggestions for after the move would also be appreciated.

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    Offline Andra

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    It sounds to me that you are doing well getting Dusty and Sylvester to be friendly.  I don't know that I have any advice there.
    But I can tell you that when we first moved to Austin, the neighbor across the streen had a "cat fence" added to the top of her regular board fence.  You should be able to find some information if you Google, but basically you put mesh netting sloping back into the yard.  So if the cat tries to get out there is still something on top of him.  It kept her cats in the back yard.  I've not used one personally, but she was pleased with it.

    Offline NapCat (retired)

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    Good Grief !!

    I would contact Barnum & Bailey and hire one of their retired Ringleaders !!
    'da NapCat

    Thousands of years ago, cats were worshiped as gods...They have never forgotten this !!

    Offline Annalog

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    Good Grief !!

    I would contact Barnum & Bailey and hire one of their retired Ringleaders !!

    NapCat, it gets more complicated. The youngest granddaughter has adopted a male kitten while away at college. She is bringing him home from spring break tomorrow to meet the three dogs and the mellow cat. It appears that her spring break has been extended a week and her classes might be moved to online.

    I didn't mention all of the animals in the other household are all rescues. The oldest dog, Lucy, is a poodle/Yorkie mix who is now completely blind and has congestive heart failure. She was rescued as an abandoned stray many years ago. She is happy and appears comfortable but my daughter knows that she will have a tough decision to make in the future. The next oldest dog, Ricky, is a Yorkshire terrier. He was rescued many years ago from a breeder who had had him debarked. He is currently recovering from CCL surgery (similar to ACL surgery for humans) on his left rear knee. He injured it jumping down from a bed instead of taking the stairs. He is doing well but cannot play, jump, etc. for a few months.

    The youngest dog, Roxie, is a dachshund. She was apparently mistreated by an older woman before she was rescued. Roxie was extremely wary of strangers, especially of older women who are a bit overweight. I am in that category. Over the past couple years Roxie has had some training and no longer barks at everyone. She will not let me approach her but she is OK with me in the room and will now fetch toys that I throw. However she returns the toys to my daughter, not to me. She will not take treats from me. My daughter is considering calling the trainer for some individual training on one of the weekends when I visit.
    « Last Edit: March 13, 2020, 07:02:45 am by Annalog »

    Offline Annalog

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    Friday morning Sylvester was in pain for an unknown reason. We phoned the vet and got an appointment less than half an hour from our phone call. The diagnosis was he had a blocked urinary tract. He stayed at the vet for treatment that includes a catheter, IVs, medications, and a special diet. He will be on special food forever. Apparently his sometimes eating the chickens food in retaliation for them eating his food may have triggered this even more than his regular cat food. 

    We are not sure when he gets to come home from the vet but we are setting up the house so that Sylvester will be in the main part of the house in order to keep an eye on him and to make it harder for him to get outside. We are moving Dusty's favorite cat tree from the living room window to the window in the master bedroom. We will keep Dusty in the master bedroom/bath until the two cats are safe to leave alone together unsupervised. We haven't had a cat in the bedroom at night for years.

    Maybe this unfortunate incident will accelerate turning Sylvester into an inside cat and get the two cats to be friendly. Us being home  except for essential errands should also help.

    Offline NapCat (retired)

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    "cat" and "catheter"...two words that should never be used in the same sentence !    shudder...
    'da NapCat

    Thousands of years ago, cats were worshiped as gods...They have never forgotten this !!

    Offline Annalog

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    "cat" and "catheter"...two words that should never be used in the same sentence !    shudder...
    True. :(

    Tomorrow (Monday) we will be able to phone to see how he is doing.


    Offline Annalog

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    We brought Sylvester home Monday 13 April 2020. He is doing well. He wants to go outside but we tell him that Stay at Home and isolation is in effect. He is not impressed but is making do with exploring his part of the house. This morning he was inspecting the top of the kitchen cabinets and the opening where he can look down on the living room. I believe that this is working.

    Offline Annalog

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    Sylvester seems content with being a house cat. He still looks longingly out the window but no longer cries at the door. He is more confident and no longer gives way to Dusty. Sylvester seems to want to play with Dusty but Dusty will have none of that. Instead, Dusty has started backing down from Sylvester. There is some times when one will bat at the other but no cat fights. We have separate food/water stations that both cats have access to but one is primarily for Sylvester with his special canned and dry food and the other is intended for Dusty with his dry food. Dusty does not like Sylvester's canned food. Sylvester will nibble Dusty's dry food but prefers his own food.

    This has gone much more smoothly than I had feared.

    Offline LDB

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    Anything new and exciting going on with the various animals?
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    Offline Betty Blast

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    Moving is traumatic for cats. They love routine. It's a great time to bring Sylvester inside because he'll probably already be freaked out. Wet food and a water fountain help a lot for UTI's. My biggest advice for moving would be to make sure they have safe places where they can go to hide and be by themselves.

    Offline Annalog

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    Dusty, the older cat of the two, suddenly seemed to be acting like an old cat. We made an appointment to take both cats to the vet at the same time. The vet was happily surprised to see how well Sylvester was doing after his rough time with the urinary blockage. Dusty has a few older cat issues and is now on daily meds for pain and joint health.

    Everything is going as smoothly as it can. When we move, they will have places to be alone until they build relationships with the other animals in the household. Since the other household has both cats and small dogs, it will probably go fairly smoothly. But we will have ways to keep our cats happy if there are adjustment issues.

    Offline CatherineM

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    Dusty, the older cat of the two, suddenly seemed to be acting like an old cat. We made an appointment to take both cats to the vet at the same time. The vet was happily surprised to see how well Sylvester was doing after his rough time with the urinary blockage. Dusty has a few older cat issues and is now on daily meds for pain and joint health.

    Everything is going as smoothly as it can. When we move, they will have places to be alone until they build relationships with the other animals in the household. Since the other household has both cats and small dogs, it will probably go fairly smoothly. But we will have ways to keep our cats happy if there are adjustment issues.

    I have only caught the end of this but you mentioned urinary blockage. Please, if it hasn't been mentioned before, look into VetriScience UT Strength Feline chewies. This seems to be a common problem, especially among male cats.

    I think we almost lost Nestor a couple months ago due to crystals. It took me a bunch of baby-talk and "please, please, please eat this" but he finally did! They help so, so, so much!

    The first time he ate it, I was so happy I gave him like EIGHT of them! Yikes! I had to call the vet after I read the instructions and ask if I od'd him, lol. It's all good.

    Try these! I call them Magic Chewies. He gets one a day and he's doing great now. Another good thing to include is Licks. That's a liquidy thing. It certainly can't hurt.

    Offline CatherineM

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    And I forgot to say....

    They are shaped like fish. Break them up into pieces (like thirds) and they are more likely to eat them.

    Nestor loves his! I break the tail off first and he gobbles it up. The rest just follows. YAY!

    Offline Annalog

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    I have only caught the end of this but you mentioned urinary blockage. Please, if it hasn't been mentioned before, look into VetriScience UT Strength Feline chewies. This seems to be a common problem, especially among male cats.
    ...
    Thanks for the suggestion but, since both cats are now on Hill's Prescription Diet Urinary Care, I don't think that he will need it.

    Early part of story: When we had chickens and Sylvester was an outside cat, the chickens would eat Sylvester's food. They would also steal mice from Sylvester. In what I think was retaliation, Sylvester would eat their food when he could get away with it. Chicken layer food is high in calcium and definitely NOT good for male cats.

    Offline CatherineM

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    Thanks for the suggestion but, since both cats are now on Hill's Prescription Diet Urinary Care, I don't think that he will need it.

    Early part of story: When we had chickens and Sylvester was an outside cat, the chickens would eat Sylvester's food. They would also steal mice from Sylvester. In what I think was retaliation, Sylvester would eat their food when he could get away with it. Chicken layer food is high in calcium and definitely NOT good for male cats.

    Yep, ours eat Hill's, too. That's been for a while.
    Nestor still needs the magic chewies. lol

    Plus we give them Licks for treats.

    They think it's cool and I just smile.  :D

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