Relocating with barn catsgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
I have a friend who will be moving soon and they are very worried about their barn cats. They have 4 healthy, friendly cats, males & females, all fixed, who spend all their time either sleeping in the hay or roaming & hunting their fields. We've heard stories about how cats will walk for miles to go back to their original homes. Please don't suggest leaving the cats and getting new ones at the new place. This is something that they would never consider. Just wondering if anyone else has had to deal with this.
-- Charleen in WNY (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 06, 2001
Charleen, you dont mention if the cats, tho friendly are ferral. This would make a BIG differance. If per se the cats are what I like to call "Roamers", that is cats that are considered PETS, that come and go as they wish in and out of your home, then you still have a shot. I would recommend caging them (together would be ideal) for 3 days before you actually leave for your new place. When you load the cage in your truck make sure thats its covered during the trip. Once you get to where you're gonna stay , unload the cage and keep them there for another 4 days. Then release them, they wont go any where. Good luck, Ralph P.S. water and food during caging is a given as well as taking the cover off during the last 4 days of being caged.
-- Ralph (email@example.com), September 06, 2001.
We had to do just that a few years ago when we moved to this farm. Pretty much what Ralph said except that we had a shed we could lock them in on the new farm rather than keep them caged. If you cage them, use a very large cage (like a big dog one) so they have as much room as possible. This is hard on cats that have never been contained before.
Once they get used to the idea that they have a new home and are fed there, they stay. We didn't lose any of ours and we moved 6 of them.
-- beckie (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 06, 2001.
Hi, I HATE the thought of caging cats. If there's some other way to contain them, like in a room in the barn or in a room in the house until they move that would be better. Then move them in a cage but then contain them in a room again when they get moved for the first three or four days.
Then let them out and feed them in what will be their new home.
When I was a little girl (many many many years ago!) my mama gave away my pet cat and her three kittens. The next morning the mama cat was scatching on the back door as usual wanting her breakfast! She had walked ten miles and left her kittens to come back home! So she stayed with us!
-- Suzy in Bama (email@example.com), September 06, 2001.
HI.. i MOVED WITH THE SAME CATS 7 TIMES.. a GREMAN WOMAN TOLD ME ONCE TO KEEP THEM IN A TACK ROOM OR A PLACE LIKE THAT THAT THEY CAN'T GET OUT OF.. FEED THEM ONLY TUNA WITH OIL EVERYDAY FOR 4 DAYS AND I PROMISE YOU THEY WON'T LEAVE YOU... I DID THIS MOVING TO THE COUNTRY TO THE CITY AND BACK TO COUNTRY AGAIN... GOOD LUCK..LET US KNOW HOW YOUR FRIEND MADE OU....mAUREEN
-- maureen (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 06, 2001.
A friend of our just moved and she had 2 outside cats. She put them in a carrier to move them and when she got to the new house she kept them in a barn with the door shut for 3 days. Every day she went out several times to feed them and play with them. On the 4th day when she went out to feed them she left the door open and after they had eaten they took off like a shot. The cats,one male and one female were gone for 3 days and then they returned in the morning of the fourth day at the back door of the house wanting breakfast. I guess they just had to get used to thier new surroundings and check the place out. They were used to being in town and she moved to the country. That was 2 months ago and even though some days she rarely sees them, they are always there at feeding times.
-- Bar in wc Il (Barb43@countrylife.net), September 06, 2001.
Roger Caras (he died recently, but was head of the ASPCA for many years, and did the announcing for the Westminster Dog Show every year), wrote a book about his home farm, and part of it was about moving the cats and "resetting" their idea of home. He speculated that animals recognize the magnetic pattern of their particular area and need time to adjust to the new one and recognize it as "theirs". Whether or not that is true, he kept his confined for TEN days and had no problem with them leaving after that. He had some sort of room where they were confined. I think it was sort of a laundry/mud room, but a shed would work or a "caged in" area of a barn, as long as there was good air flow, and light.
Of course, confinement means litterboxes will be needed, and should be kept especially clean for cats who are not really used to using a litterbox. Another problem might be that these cats "get along" by being able to avoid each other. The friends should be confident they will not fight in close quarters or will have to figure out separate places to put them. Mr. Caras was quite committed to keeping all of his pets so for the short period they had to be confined, so he devoted various rooms to the cats that would fight if confined together. It's only for ten days. Yes, a pain in the butt, but doable. If they have children, they'll have to be instructed carefully on not letting the cats out.
Another consideration is access to the confinement area. I highly recommend that there be TWO doors to get into their confinement area, so if the cat(s) bolt, they only can get into the next area -- not off for the horizon.
If you are interested in the book, you might see if it can be gotten from the library or something like Half.com. It's still in print. I looked it up on Amazon, and there are 13 used copies available. The title is The Cats of Thistle Hill : A Mostly Peaceable Kingdom by Roger A. Caras.
I don't know whether it would be a good idea to try to accustom the cats to carriers ahead of time or not. Some cats this is a good idea. Others, it just tips them off ahead of time that something BAD is happening . . . . Hopefully, they know their cats' personalities well enough to decide which is the right way.
If they're "handy", perhaps they could put up chicken wire areas to make large temporary cages. The wire would have to go quite high to keep them in though, and be quite tight to the ground so they couldn't get out underneath. A lot is going to depend on what their resources are at their new place.
-- Joy F [in So. Wisconsin] (CatFlunky@excite.com), September 06, 2001.
lack of time forced me to only scan the above answers. But I must tell you that cats will travel many miles to locate their OWNERS, not their previous home. In my humble opinion. Or dishumble. Or unhumble. Whatever.
-- Brad (homefixer@SacoRiver.net), September 06, 2001.
When we moved here five years ago, I couldn't bear to leave my cats behind. All I did was grab mama kitty and her 5 almost full grown kittens, put them into a large cage, drove them here (7 miles away) and showed them the barn. I made sure to visit them a lot in the first few days, but I had no problem with the relocation. Cuddles has since gone to better places, but I have her daughter and her grandchildren all over the place! Best of luck to you!
-- Lisa in WI (lehman16NOSPAM@vbe.com), September 06, 2001.
We moved 3 cats 10 years ago. One we were worried about as she was more "wild" than the others... Follow above suggestions, GOOD food, attention, a room or shed to keep them in and it will work. I'd also let them return there after you let them loose... I thought our cat had vanished, it started pouring down rain, about 8 hrs. later, she let us know she was HOME!!! GOOD LUCK
-- DW (email@example.com), September 06, 2001.
Charleen, You have all thsi great advice so I will only offer one suggestion. When I have to move my cats, I go to the vet and get some cat tranquilizer. My cats hate to be in a moving vehicle and they need the kitty "downers" to help them cope. By the time they get back to their normal selves they are used to the new place and I have never had one leave. P.S. I hate moving so seem to do it alot.
-- Karen in Kansas (firstname.lastname@example.org), September 07, 2001.
We moved eight barn cats when we moved here seven years ago. We moved their hay first, stacking it in the hay barn making sure some of the hay they slept and laid on was on top where they could smell it, when we moved the cats here, we set up their food bowls and water dishes near the "home hay", they recognized "their" hay immediately, and felt right at home!
Remember, with animals, scent and territory is everything, we made sure we brought their "territory" here. They knew it was their new home.
-- Annie Miller in SE OH (email@example.com), September 07, 2001.