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PitRottMommy, Veterinary Nurse
Category: Cat
Satisfied Customers: 9138
Experience:  15 yrs experience in vet med, 8 in emergency med. Founder of a non-profit animal rescue
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I need advice on rehoming a cat. will try to make

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I need advice on rehoming a cat. long will try to make it short. We moved 4.5 months ago from our neighborhood a few streets away (less than a mile) to a rental house while we are building our dream house in the country. We sold the other house and lived in that suburb 10 years. 5 of that 10 years there was a cat that showed up one day starving and looking homeless but was so friendly. I fed it, tried to find it's owner, took it to the vet to check it for chipping and so on. My husband and I decided to adopt it as an outdoor cat since we already had two indoor male cats (and it was male too). I got it a collar and named in Henry, bought it an outdoor house with a heated /insulated inside/cushion. Two days later, its owner was knocking on my door asking why I had a collar on his cat. I had really tried over a week to find it's owner by posting it online/social media and checking with all the local shelters. i gave him his cat back...he lived 5 houses up the street. over the next 5 years "Henry" showed up a lot. I did not feed him as I wanted him to go home but it became obvious he was not well cared for. At one point half his tail was rotting off because I guess it got shut in a door or something and I went to his owner and told him he needed to have it amputated or he would end up septic and die. He would not do the surgery until i begged him after WEEKS of it being like this. So after that I fed him when he would show up and he always had a warm place to sleep at my house. When it got super cold i would march him up the street where his owner would put him in the garage (he was his "garage kitty"). When we moved i told the new owners of our house to watch out for him and be kind to him if he showed up and to not think he is homeless. I let his owner know I was moving and to check on his cat more.
Now for the past month, this lady started posting on my old neighborhood's FB page about him attacking he cats and thought he was homeless (he only attacks when he feels threatened) and she was going to take him to the animal control. I told her who he belonged to but she said she refused to give him back to such a poor owner. So, i went and picked him up....and since I live just two streets over I just have him in one of our bedrooms right now. He did not have any fleas but in case i did flea him and set him up in the guest room (he is litter trained). he seems very happy to see my dogs and even my cats ..and me again. He almost seems relieved. I talked to a lady at animal control and my neighbor who is a vet tech and they said I should just take him now, since I had always cared for him anyway for 5 years. I guess they are right and I have missed him. But do not know how to "rehome" an outdoor cat who lived just a few streets away without him possibly wandering back. Again, he does okay inside but he will eventually attack one of my cats pretty bad (he did that before...but he loves my dogs, haha). So, how long do i need to keep him in the house and how do I slowly reintroduce him to the "outdoors" in this new area (we are renting a house on 90 acres with a barn in back). I know there is a time frame I need to keep him indoors here, then put him outside on a schedule (feeding schedule so he knows what time to come home)? Any help would be great!

Hello, JACustomer. I have been a Veterinary Nurse for over 15 years and would be happy to help you today. I'm reviewing your question right now.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Okay great thanks

Good evening, Page$luv.

First things first, is Henry neutered?

Second, "rehoming" typically means to find a new place for a cat to reside. It doesn't sound like this is what you mean. It sounds like you're wanting to help acclimate him to your new house, is this correct?

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
he is neutered , and yes I need to help him acclimate as an outdoor cat to this new house that he only 2 streets over from his old home. We are on a farm so lots for him to do here ( barn mice ) but I don't want to just let him out now and then he either goes back or gets lost . What is the process to help him acclimate ? He have two other indoor male cats with out claws and he gets along well with one of them but not at all with the other one. So I need to either keep in another room but not sure for how long before I can let him outside . I am planning on taking him to my vet of course to get him up to date on vaccinations and chip him too

The very, very first thing I would do is get him vaccinated and chipped, as you'd mentioned, before you let him set a single foot outdoors. This makes it clear that he is your cat so that others who may see him know he's not owned. If he winds up in a shelter, he can be traced back to you. Unfortunately, you will not be able to keep him from wandering back to his old residence but you can increase his desire to stay where you are. Are you wanting him to stay in the barn itself or just wander the property?

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
We will of course get him vaccinated and chipped. Don't worry. I do know his other owner did do these things but he would never feed him and he left him out in the freezing cold and bad storms!
All my pets are chipped so I am a big believer in that so don't worry , I got that covered.
Anyway,I want him to come to the house daily and set a time feed him yummy food so he will not wander too far. Or should I leave food out? We don't have a good garage to leave him but I could let him inside and put him in my house to rest once per day since he likes to come in sometimes. Also we are moving in 3 months to a 120 acre farm and he will have a wonderful life out there worn us. He will have all the field mice he can chase and we will have a temperature controlled garage bay to let him into when he wants to rest
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
I do not want him living in the barn , I want him coming to the house to check in if that makes sense
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
how long do I keep him inside and what kind of schedule should I have him on to let him outside so he knows this is his home?

It sounds like Henry knew where he belonged (originated, maybe?) but knew to come to you guys for the safe spot. The more welcoming the house is of Henry the less likely it will be that he returns home. Alas, he's been wandering the street for his life so he's likely going to continue. I would give strong consideration to keeping him inside if you can acclimate him with your other boys. Most cats, given time, can learn to like one another.

If keeping him indoors is not an option, having a place for him to stay every night would be worthwhile. The same setup you had before with thermoregulation and food. A porch or verandah with a cat door might be just the ticket if he's more independent and wants to come and go as he pleases. If you feed him at a certain time each day, he should come home to eat at that time. If you leave food out around the clock, he will graze or come back as he pleases. You can begin training him to a whistle, bell or calling his name each time you put out a tantalizing morsel like canned food so that he knows when you call he needs to be front and center for chow time. It may take some time, but the more he enjoys spending time with you, the less likely he's going to wander back to his old establishment.

I would keep him under observation after his vaccines for at least 10 days to be sure he's fit enough to hit the streets. I'd then move him to the porch or verandah area for another few days so he can become familiar with the surroundings before release. Be sure to feed him on the same schedule you intend to keep in the future so he knows when food is going to be ready for him.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Okay, so like move him to the porch here in a large crate or something? I have a dog crate I can put him in on a covered porch during the day and bring him in at night maybe for a few days and feed him awesome yummy canned food for a few days in a row at a certain time so he knows . I would keep him inside but he is not the cat that is happy for longer than a couple of hours inside. He whines loudly to go out as he has spent 5 years this way. I don't mind bringing him in at night and putting him in his own room here until we move to our bee house with thermo regulation in the garage. We will have a dog door into that garage . I will probably lock him in at night because of coyotes.

That would work perfectly. A wire kennel, if you have one available. 36" or larger will permit food, water, bed and a litter box for him to use and still get used to his area.

I expected that he might not be easily transitioned into an indoor cat. Many cats who have been outdoors like indoors only for limited periods and typically during inclement weather.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
I also know he needs much more human contact than the typical cat, as to why I think he wondered to my house all those years ago because I worked from home and he wanted attention. I guess I need to give him a lot of love too. Do you think I am legally stealing this cat? I am worried about this as he does have another owner but he is not chipped and the lady in my neighborhood was going to take him to animal control to ha e him put down because he was attacking her cats. She said his owner did not care about him and I would agree but do not want to do anything illegal.

Be advised that I cannot give legal advice as this is not my profession. I think your conundrum is a morality issue more than a legal issue, personally. Microchipping is a strong indicator of ownership, though it has come to pass that many outdoor cats have been owned by multiple people as the cat never stayed in one place for very long. I would recommend keeping all of Henry's medical paperwork together in one area, including access to his microchip number which should be registered directly to you at all times. If you ever need to prove that you've invested money in his care and ownership, you'll have the documentation to support your claim.

Keep in mind that if Henry were to wind up at a shelter and the man did not pay to remove him (which I suspect would be the case since he's none too worried about a necrotic wound), the shelter could adopt him out to whomever they saw fit. This would mean that you would officially be his adopter and, as such, his rightful owner.

Customer: replied 1 month ago.
I know that is the legal way, I may do that but just worried about putting through so much in a shelter. For now I will take him to my vet, get him shots and a chip, keep him indoors as long as I can ( he gets sort of whiney inside) for at least a week after vaccinations and then put him out on the porch to acclimate him for a few days before letting him go and feed him on those days at the same time, sound good?

Sounds like a plan to me. If you reach any speed bumps, don't hesitate to reach out!

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Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Thanks so much!
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
I have another question as I took him to the vet today
Customer: replied 1 month ago.
Let me know if your online and I will request you for another separate question on him

I will be online practically all day today.