Cat dilemma

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  1. Hello all,

    As some of you may know, I'm a 'mother' of a 6 year old pug. This past weekend, I was visiting my parents' home and a cat followed me home in their neighborhood. He's the first cat I've ever seen come when I coaxed him and he took a liking to me immediately.

    I told my brothers about the cat and apparently there was a backstory to it. Apparently, this cat was a housecat who was pawned off on my younger stepbrother a few months ago from a family who got pregnant and decided that they no longer wanted the cat. (I know, I know...)

    So my stepbrother took him in, but since my parents are not animal people and he lives with them, my brother set him loose thinking he would have a better chance at survival than taking him to a shelter. Again, I know... it's not my story, just repeating it.

    So I love this cat but know nothing about cats. He is an older tabby-looking cat kind of like Milo (another reason why I like him), but mainly I love him because he is so friendly and cuddly. The problem is that I live in an area right next to the canyon so there are coyotes literally walking in my apt complex. I don't even walk my pug at night alone. For the past few days, this cat has been inviting himself into the family home when the door's open and looking for me, but he darts right back out. So if I were to bring him to my apt, I'm afraid that he'll try to be that half-outdoorsy cat and end up getting killed --- quickly. I think he has a much better chance here if my stepbrother just feeds him outside everyday and lets him in the house when the cat feels like it.

    What would the cat owners here advise? I really want to take him home but I'm not sure how the whole indoor/outdoor cat thing goes. If I kept him indoors 24/7, will he get cagey and scratch everything? (So far he hasn't scratched anything except me while playing).
  2. If you can, the first thing I would do is get him to a vet for a checkup. Especially if you'd like to adopt him. He should be neutered if he's within a safe age range (not too old).

    I know that some people don't think cats should be relegated to indoors only, but the truth is that indoor-only cats live longer. And in an area where there are coyotes, that would be even more important. If you provide him with enough stimulation indoors, there is a much better chance that he will be OK with it. Especially if you have him fixed, because he will not be going on the prowl outside. Also, if he's already been an indoor cat, I doubt it will be too much of an adjustment for him.

    I'd see what a vet says about your situation.

  3. Thank you, and great advice!
  4. If you can't take him on, for GOODNESS sake take him to a shelter. DO NOT just through him back on the street. If I or my DH could get our hands on those people and your stepbrother… oohhhh I couldn't say what we would do.

    Taking deep breath…. Yes cats are fine indoors. I rescued a cat that was obviously outdoorsy and it did take some time and patience to get used to it. There will be crying, but if you interact with him as much as possible this will stop. Please get him desexed (if he is not already) so he doesn't spray on your furniture. As far as scratching goes, there are a tonne of things you can do..

    1. buy some cheap carpet rugs (preferable twist or plush styles) and put them around the house, cats are routine animals and will tend to scratch in the same place.
    2. get some toys, it make take a few to work out what type he will play with
    3. Feed him good quality dry food designed for indoor cats because they are made to reduce the odour of their stools and keeps their tummy healthy.

    The rewards of owning a happy and safe indoor cat are unmeasureable. I wish you all the best and again if you can't look after this cat please do the right thing by him and take him to a shelter.
  5. When you have a cat and move houses, you have to keep the cat indoors for a few weeks. Otherwise, the cat might try to go back to the old neighborhood and get lost. So if you decide to take him home, you'll have to keep him indoors for awhile anyway. After that time, he might be used to being indoors and not want to go out.

    It is very important to get him neutered because fixed pets have less wanderlust.

    It is hard to predict how scratchy he will be confined to your apartment. There are things you can do to protect your furnishings. I've put double-faced tape on places I don't want scratched. You only have to leave it up long enough for the cat to learn he doesn't like it. I've only have had two cats in my life. Both were feral cats rescued when they were very young. The first one scratched up the carpet and couch, but was incredibly loving and smart. The cat I have now rarely scratches the furniture, but isn't as cuddly. Every night he gets on my lap and kneads his paws.

    He'll have your pug to keep him company.

    I have no words for people who decide they no longer want a pet.
  6. Just a word of warning not all cats can be converted to indoor living. I went through hell when I stopped the cats from leaving the garden never mind permanently inside. Give It a couple of months and see how he gets on. He might enjoy being indoors again :smile:
  7. Our oldest cat was adopted from the shelter. He was young and very energetic. We had an older much more timid cat so keeping them inside together 100% of the time wasn't really a good option. I was advised by a local cat adoption person to make sure he knows where home is before just letting him out all day. He was in for the first month or so due to quarrantine (he had upper respiratory infection). Then I let him out on a limited basis. He was so happy climbing the trees and running around the yard.
    Eventually we started letting him out when I went to work in the AM and calling him back in the afternoon well before dark. It took a while for him to be totally reliable about coming back on time but now (years later) he comes in looking for dinner at 3pm.
    I agree with the other posters - don't put him back on the street.
    He may have a good chance of being adopted at a no-kill shelter if he has such a nice personality.
    Or, with patience, you can train him to be in at night and out in the daytime.
    We have coyotes around here too and there have been times when we saw them in the daytime but mostly they're around at dusk, dawn and night.
    If your area is so infested with them that you don't even feel safe having the kitty out in the broad daylight, you may want to look for a no-kill shelter
    Bless you for wanting to take care of him.
  8. Thank you all, my bf and I are still debating if we can take him on

    Spare your judgement please, my stepbrother called some no-kill shelters and they were not taking any more cats at that time so he did what he thought was better than sending the cat to the pound. I'm aware setting the cat loose was not the brightest thing he could have done but my brother is young in the mind.

    What do you think about the pug and the cat getting along eventually? The pug is very interested in the cat and wants to play but the cat keeps hissing and swatting at her. It's more amusing than anything else but I don't want my dog (particularly her eyes) to get injured by the cat's claws.

    Yeah - I hear the coyotes yipping even in the daytime right across the street so that's a concern for me. If you know of any no-kill shelters in SD will you please pass them along to me? Perhaps they will be taking in new cats... the shelters up where my parents live are all full.
  9. I haven't put cats and dogs together but from what you're saying I think the cat will set boundaries and they will at least tolerate each other.
    Helen Woodward is a no-kill shelter. They charge a fee to take your cat in. I don't recall the amount but I'm thinking it's over $100. They will put your cat on a waiting list if they don't have room. When we first got our oldest, he was on their list and they did call us. But by then we had decided to keep him.
    In east county (Blossom Valley area between El Cajon and Alpine) there is Friends of Cats.

    Not sure if the Humane Society is no-kill.
    There is an organization called FOCAS (Friends of the County Animal Shelter). They rescue adoptable animals from the shelter. I don't think they would take your kitty but years ago I was able to talk to them and they gave me some good advice. They have a dog branch and a cat branch. The cat ladies are really knowledgeable and LOVE kitties.
  10. Thanks!!!
  11. I think that eventually they will learn to tolerate each other. When cats hiss and swat, I think it is because they are scared rather than overly aggressive. Once the cat learns the pug isn't a threat, he will calm down. In some situations they will just tolerate each other; in others they will become close. Since you describe this cat as loving and cuddly, I think the latter is more likely. When I had my first cat, we had a hamster and a cockatiel. Even though the cat would naturally attack creatures like this in the wild, she knew these were off-limits. I think that if the cat sees the relationship you have with the dog, he will figure out how he should act. Plus the dog was there first, so that is also to your advantage.

    I see tons of posts on Reddit r/aww of people who show pictures of their dogs and cats cuddling, along with a caption along the lines of "I never thought they would get along."

    If I were you, I would figure I have nothing to lose. If it doesn't work out, you can find a shelter later. As long as you supervise them in the beginning, I think your pug should be safe.
  12. Give your cat high places to escape to if she is getting annoyed by your dog and she might feel a bit less threatened and more tolerant of him, maybe even a baby gate to a certain room so that the cat only has access?

    That is about all I can suggest I am afraid, never owned a dog.
  13. Thank you. Today the cat didn't hiss or swat at the pug but I did hear one loud yelp, most likely caused by my dog being annoying and pushy like she is. I think there's a good chance for those two.
  14. Good idea!
  15. Update: We are taking the cat home as we speak and going to find him a no kill shelter. If none are taking any cats, i'm keeping him!