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S. August Abbott, CAS
S. August Abbott, CAS, Own Animal Care/Rescue Org.
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 7523
Experience:  Up to 300 cats saved each year; Animal Care author; Behavior & Nutrition Consults
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we moved & 1-cat keeps going back to our old home.

Resolved Question:

we just moved to a new home. it is only about (3-Streets) over from the old home we had lived in for about 3 years. i started letting my cats outside - for short periods of time each day, so they could adjust to surroundings. the third week, my oldest female cat went missing. about the second month of us being in the new house, my cat had not returned, i just had a feeling i should go back to the old residence and ask neighbors if they had seen her. as i pulled in the driveway of the 4-plex where we had resided, i could already hear my cat crying - she seems to know the sound of my car. she was on the roof of my old neighbors unit screaming down at me, but would not come down. i did manage to get her & brought her back to the new house, but 2-days ago went back to the old house again. HOW CAN I CAN I KEEP MY CAT FROM RETURNING TO THE OLD RESIDENCE????? the old neighbors don''t even like cats & the new tenants living in my old house, i don''t even know & have not talked to. HELP PLEASE.
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Cat
Expert:  S. August Abbott, CAS replied 8 years ago.

Now might be the time to convert your pets to the healthiest environment you could ever provide.

The most common statement we hear about why people continue to let their cats out is "they were born to be free". We've heard some very blunt professionals ask, "then why do you own them?". We'd rather remind the best intentioned owners that a natural environment for a wild cat (which should only be lions, tigers and their immediate relatives) does not include cars, mean-spirited people, dogs, anti-freeze and other poisons, threats or two and four legged predators. Also, catching rodents and lizards, toads and whatever - may be asking for major health problems, not just with the cat, but with diseases that could be spread to the humans in the house.

Disease such as Feline Leukemia and Feline AIDS wasn't nearly as rampant (or even in existence).

It was a different world when cats were born to be wild.

These days, if someone is going to own a cat, they must commit to being responsible companions. I assume you've already made sure they're 'fixed'. Neutering/spaying helps prevent quite a few diseases and disorders (including cancer) and studies in veterinary universities are repeatedly showing that the earlier they are done, the better their lifelong prospects.

Indoor activities that provide endless amusement for felines include sitting in front of a window that overlooks anything going on outside. Watching traffic or birds in a bird feeder, squirrels in a bird feeder too, people walking by or just the wind blowing a leaf and the sun moving across the sky - can be fascinating to a cat.

A couple of those little balls with bells are usually big hits, but so is a sock or thick rubber band (make sure your kitty isn't a rubber band eater - this wouldn't be good). For exercise, fill an old sock with a handful of dry beans (like kidney beans) or even rice - and sprinkle in some catnip. Then, knot up the end, tie a piece of twine securely around that knot and hang it from a door handle or just toss it on the floor.

Provide a proper scratching surface by just stapling a sample piece of carpet to a wall, a block of wood or post. Some people designate an old chair in a spare room for their cat's scratching pleasure.


If kitty begins to inappropriately scratch something, just quickly, quietly and gently pick her up, carry her to the appropriate place and put her two paws on it like she would hold them to scratch. Don't worry that she might not get it at first, she will. Eventually. Be persistent.

Ohio State University offers this

and another excellent link is

Indoor only will solve the problem, but you know, introducing yourself and kitty to the new tenants might also be a good idea, 'just in case'.


Customer: replied 8 years ago.
keeping my/this specific cat indoors would be great, but this is a cat that has ALWAYS been an indoor/outdoor cat.
i have always been very selective with where i reside - living on large private properties & cul-de-sac locations, specifically for my cats -(i currenlty have 6 cats, 5 of which have adjusted to the move just fine) although she was not born at the residence that she keeps returning to........
the first time i brought her home after her first return to old residence, i did make a very good effort to keep her indoors, but with other cats that i will still allow to go in & out, this is just not an option for me with her. she will just drive our family crazy trying to get out whenever anyone comes or goes, crying at the door, etc.....
if anyone else has a better idea, aside from building some type of cat run....please let me know & if it sounds like something i can try, i will be happy to pay the fee.
thank you,
Expert:  S. August Abbott, CAS replied 8 years ago.
Customer I own an animal rescue org - last year we rescued about 200 cats, either born feral, having become feral or being someone's truly loved pet that got chased away from their home area by a neighorhood dog, kids, nasty neighbors or who knows what else. One old guy had apparently been safe and cared for all his life up until some isolated incident drove him off. When we found him he only had a few days to live from a progressive disease that he may have had for months, or developed as the result of his being away from home and not eating/drinking regularly. He passed with someone he didn't know trying to comfort him and we never found his family.

200 cats and every one of them has their own story. I sincerely don't want yours to be one of them and I know you don't either.

The 3 in-house cats we have as permanent residents were all life long outdoor cats too. One for more than a decade. You'd be surprised at how cooperative they are once they figure out they have things to do at home and probably the most important feature we insure is a window to look out of - with good entertainment. A bird feeder is a great attraction.

The crying will eventually end and there's a product on the market that may help speed that up called Feliway.

it's a plug in, like an air freshener, but of pheromones that humans can't detect/smell.

It helps calm the cats, reduces acting out, aggression and more, without making them sluggish or lethargic.

It's important to continue through at least 3 refills (each refill lasts about 3 months) - and be very sure you don't let the device go dry between refills.

It can be supplemented with a room spray, but the room spray won't work by itself since the animal needs more long-term exposure to it.

It's available in PetSmart and other stores, plus of course online.

Honestly, the key is to outlast the cat.

You might want to investigate this option


I hope this works out for you and your companion.



S. August Abbott, CAS, Own Animal Care/Rescue Org.
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 7523
Experience: Up to 300 cats saved each year; Animal Care author; Behavior & Nutrition Consults
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