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