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Old 18.12.2017, 15:13
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Rehoming a cat

An elderly relative from Holland is moving into a care home and cannot keep her cat.

We are considering taking the cat into our home, but have some concerns.

The cat is 12 years old and has lived her entire life with the same person in the same house (she was actually born there). She had access to the garden which we will try and give her as well. When she was younger she sometimes vanished for days on end but now she just goes into the garden for short stints and stays indoors mostly. Actually, sleeping mostly. My concern is that the sudden change in location and person might prompt her to run away or get lost or get into serious stress. Also I don't know how to manage the trip itself. She has never travelled further in a basket than to the vet (about 10 minutes from her home)

What's the best way to rehome her while minimizing stress. Flight, or rather driving? What about breaks for peeing etc. Once she's here, should we keep her indoors for the first few days so she gets used to her new surroundings, and if so, how long?

The cat knows and recognizes us and always spends time with us when we visit, so I guess she will accept us.. Most other visitors she doesn't like and hides from them. So I guess we are the right people to adopt her.

Any advice appreciated.
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Old 18.12.2017, 15:24
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Re: Rehoming a cat

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An elderly relative from Holland is moving into a care home and cannot keep her cat.

We are considering taking the cat into our home, but have some concerns.

The cat is 12 years old and has lived her entire life with the same person in the same house (she was actually born there). She had access to the garden which we will try and give her as well. My concern is that the sudden change in location and person might prompt her to run away or get lost or get into serious stress. Also I don't know how to manage the trip itself. She has never travelled further in a basket than to the vet (about 10 minutes from her home)

What's the best way to rehome her while minimizing stress. Flight, or rather driving? Should we keep ger indoors for the first few days so she gets used to her new surroundings, and if so, how long?

The cat knows and recognizes us and always spends time with us when we visit.

Any advice appreciated.
Make sure to have somebody pass by a vet so he/she gets the chip, injections and passport. The injections have to be some time ahead of the actual transport.

As for transporting the cat, we had it in the trunk in her basket properly surrounded with blankets so it would not shift during an emergency break or tough corner and a nice bunch of breaks where we had the basket out to feed her and allow her to drink. No matter what method you choose, the cat will like none of them, so I'd say just pick what is best for yourself. If you drive, take it along in a car, if you fly, take it along on the flight.

As for change of environment, this differs per cat, some take it great and others are stressed for some time, however cats are great at finally adopting a new place and this should be fine eventually, take along some of her things like her basket, food bowl, litter box and such so there are some trusted things.

And yes you keep her indoors and not just for a few days, you have to keep her indoors until there is no doubt left that she considers the new place as her home so she will return to it. It is hard to tell how long this exactly should be, I always did 3 months with all my cats and that always worked great, letting her out after only a few days will guarantee that you'll end up hanging up missing signs.
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Old 18.12.2017, 16:10
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Re: Rehoming a cat

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What's the best way to rehome her while minimizing stress. Flight, or rather driving? What about breaks for peeing etc.
Google says its about 7 1/2 hours drive from Holland to Zürich. I would think that this would be the better option. While a flight may be shorter, you still have to add in the time of getting to/from the airport and the extra time required before boarding.

I flew my cat here on a 7 hour flight. He was in his carrying case with me in the cabin. I didn't do anything special for him, other than to make sure that if he peed in the case that it would be absorbed. He was not interested in eating or drinking during this time, although I offered it to him.

With him in the car with you, you will have a better chance of comforting him, or at least having him hear your voices as you converse.

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Once she's here, should we keep her indoors for the first few days so she gets used to her new surroundings, and if so, how long?
Like Edwin said, this is up to the cat's personality. Three months seems like a long time, but the benefit of bringing a cat at this time of year is that there isn't a lot of reason for anyone to want to go outside, so three months just might be perfect!


Chips, shots and paperwork - be sure to get those done before you get any further!
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Old 18.12.2017, 16:14
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Re: Rehoming a cat

I would guess that a car journey, although longer than a flight, would be less stressful since you can stop and take her out on a lead for toilet breaks, etc. The flight would be very noisy as well as lots of strange people handling her travelling box. Stop every 2-3 hours.

As for how long you keep her in? You could try and move her to a completely indoor cat if she doesn't go out that much now. Otherwise I'd say at least 2 weeks inside. This is what I did with our cat when we brought her over. After that I then took her out on a lead for another week, walking her around her new garden. Of course, didn't stop her disappearing down the street as soon as she got the chance to explore further, but she knew where home was by then and always came back when she was ready.

Use this from the BLV to find out what needs to be done before she can travel. Microchip is first and foremost, vaccinations can't be done before that's inserted - assuming she doesn't have one already.

http://blv.bytix.com/plus/dbr/default.aspx?lang=en
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Old 18.12.2017, 16:45
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Re: Rehoming a cat

We adopted a neighbour's 10yr old cat and kept him in for 2 weeks, but he bolted and went back to his old home. I kept him in for a further 10 days, and he was fine after that.

Moving home is upsetting for any cat. It's very visible with them, because they'll just stare into space or at the floor. They need peace and quiet, and a dark place to hide. Our's hid in the bathroom cupboard for the first day, then followed a trail of dreamies to where the food was.

We had a Feliway plug-in in the hallway and let the cat come to us when he was ready to explore and lay his scent around the place.
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Old 18.12.2017, 20:02
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Re: Rehoming a cat

Years ago, when we moved from the North of England to the South, the vet supplied us with sedatives for the two cats we had. They still sang the miaow chorus from time to time.

Definitely keep the cat in for 2 weeks. After that, they should be acclimatised to what is "home", and tentatively begin to explorre the outside without getting lost.

Consider getting a tracker. There are two kinds. One is RF, that you can detect up to about 100m. The other is GPS and internet enabled. Our experience is that it can be useful - but it can also help you relocated the expensive collar and tag when the cat manages to shed it.
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Old 18.12.2017, 22:08
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Re: Rehoming a cat

To be honest I think you would do the cat a favour if you'd find a new home in NL. Even better, if at all possible, in it's old neighbourhood.
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Old 19.12.2017, 11:18
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Re: Rehoming a cat

our cat was moved from Belgium to Switzerland by car. Same age as your cat (12), lived with us in the same place for his entire life. It ended up to be a very traumatizing experience, he seemed like to have a depression for more than half a year, staring at the floor, refusing to go outside. It was very sad. Now after some years, he has recovered and is happy again.
But I think that it would have been less traumatizing if he would have stayed in his old environment, if we would have left him in Belgium with other people.
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Old 19.12.2017, 11:40
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Re: Rehoming a cat

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To be honest I think you would do the cat a favour if you'd find a new home in NL. Even better, if at all possible, in it's old neighbourhood.
I think it all depends on the cat. We've moved 3 times with our moggy (who's now 15, I think), the 2nd and 3rd a year apart and to completely different communes. She was absolutely fine. The first was probably the most traumatic and that was literally up the road.
We also brought a cat with us when we moved over here in '95; Oxford to Fribourg via the ferry and she too was fine after aclimatising for a few days.
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Old 19.12.2017, 11:45
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Re: Rehoming a cat

I know with our cat that what he likes the most in the home is a place to sleep which has our smell. Typically he goes for my used laundry.

May I suggest that you consider this option. Take some of your relatives used clothing and start the new bed with this, in the new home.

Over time as the cat builds up trust, you can replace with clothing from a person the cat trusts the most.

Then you may be able to swap smells from previous owner to your smell over time.

Good luck.
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Old 19.12.2017, 12:10
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Re: Rehoming a cat

One important thing for travelling is to have that pet carrier box, and to cover it well enough so it's dark, while still allowing sufficient breathing.

Oh boy I remember when my cat freaked out, managed to pop out the plastic door and panicked in the car, on the motorway...

I discovered the "dark travel" trick from then and it always worked.

Beyond that, this cat seems to have no chance there so if you are happy to re-home one, then why not? I think it's mid-age cat , it could be ok... But of course it depends on the animal, some react to stress differently.
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Old 19.12.2017, 12:40
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Re: Rehoming a cat

It was a 12 hour car journey with our two cats from the U.K. to Switzerland.


- Pet passports and vaccinations: essential.
- The vet gave them a sedative before the journey. Did not stop them from miawing from time to time, especially in the B&B bedroom in Dover they shared with us and our two kids! As if a move in its own right was not stressful enough!
- A bowl of water and a bowl of dry food was kept in their cage.
- We had bought special "cat leashes" from the vet, because we were concerned they'd do a runner at the motorway service station. They hated it and one managed to get off her collar and leash, but fortunately jumped straight into the car.
- In the end we had a litter tray and we did a few breaks, where we put the litter in their cage. The cage was a dog cage, so they had more space than us humans!
- In the new home, we kept them just a week inside and, on the advise of the vet, had rubbed a bit of margarine on their paws, it gives them, apparently, a trail to find their way back if they get lost. Could not tell you effective or not it is, they certainly knew where the food was kept!


All the best!
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Old 20.12.2017, 16:07
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Re: Rehoming a cat

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I think it all depends on the cat. We've moved 3 times with our moggy (who's now 15, I think), the 2nd and 3rd a year apart and to completely different communes. She was absolutely fine. The first was probably the most traumatic and that was literally up the road.
We also brought a cat with us when we moved over here in '95; Oxford to Fribourg via the ferry and she too was fine after aclimatising for a few days.
It's different with your own cat.
This cat will take a long trip, it will end up with people it doesn't know in an enviroment it doesn't know (with - if it's like here - nasty cats in the neighbourhood it doesn't know) and do they speak Dutch at amogle's house? No? So two new languages (English inside, Swiss-German outside). Everything will look, smell and sound wrong. And the cat is old.
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