Question about moving out door cats to new home...

How would one go about doing this with “country” cats who are very territorial and may try to return to their old home? We are moving 2 hours away and my fear is that the first time I let my cats out they will take off and get run over , they aren’t used to traffic. Any ideas? My vet was not much help, just said keep them pinned up for a few days… Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

Forget a few days. If you’re really worried about them running back home or getting hit by a car, keep them inside. Period. Forever.

We have a cat who was an inside/outside cat. When we moved, we kept her inside for a while, then decided just to keep her in all the time. Sure, she might hate us even more now (she was always a bitchy cat), but at least we know she’s safe. And we save a small fortune in flea/tick medicine.

This is a risk/reward situation to which only you have the answer. Risks: losing cat vs. unhappy cats. Rewards: happy outside cat vs. having a live cat in your house.

I’m sorry that I don’t have a solution to keeping your cats from running away. Maybe really excellent food in a bowl by the back door when they’re out? I guess you don’t have a well-fenced back yard.

Thanks, but that won’t work, we have cats not “cat”. And we are moving to a small ranch/farm so there is no reason they shouldn’t be outside where they want to be. Its just if they start to wander off that will be a problem. Someone on a pet care board suggested dipping their feet in milk. Sounds weird but I’ll try it! I appreciate your reply Jake4.

If you’re moving to a small ranch/farm, that’s a different story. That’s a perfect place for outside cats. Hopefully your road isn’t to heavily travelled. We moved 2 houses away from an interstate. :frowning:

I still think leaving food out (during the day, not 24/7) is a good enough attractor for keeping them local.

What does milk on the paws do? Was there any explanation or is that just an old farm wives tale?

You really need to keep them contained for at least a week. When I was introducing a new feral cat into an established colony, my boss’s policy called for them to be in a covered cage (monitored twice a day) for a week before release. Depending on how attached they are to you, they might not try to go anywhere. Then again, they might try to go “home” as soon as they are released. Keeping food out can be a problem - there are other animals besides your cats who like cat food - possums, racoons, stray cats and dogs among them. I wouldn’t keep food out at night, when the ferals and wild animals are most likely to approach.

I have been working with cats for many years and have never heard of dipping its feet in milk to get it to stay home.

Variation on old wives’s tale where butter is smeared on paws. I think it may just be a way of letting cat know that this is a good place for food so may stay around.

We have had a couple of indoor/outdoor cats both of which took to new homes with no problems with just a good feed.

I’m not sure what the milk does really. Its suppose to confuse their sence of smell I think. Old wives tale is the best explaination! Another suggestion was to transport them in a brown paper bag in the car to mess up their sence of direction. That would just piss them off. We’ve decided to do as suggested here and keep them up for a while and let them get used to the move, feed them well then slowly introduce them to the new place…thanks for all the suggestions. I’ve been really worried about how the move would affect these guys.

When you first move, keep them inside for a few days/weeks until they are comfortable with their new surroundings. If they are nervous about the inside of the house and then go outside, they aren’t likely to want to come back in, because they don’t know it and they don’t know that it’s their home. Once they’ve spent time inside, they’ll have found sleeping spots, and their litter boxes and they’ll have rubbed up against things and the place will smell like “home”.

Next, if they let you, introduce them to the outside of the house slowly. One at a time (or one per human available), put them on a leash (any old rope will do) and walk them around the outside of the house, so they can sniff and smell everything and maybe start marking territory. Make sure they walk (or are dropped at short intervals if they won’t move) into the house from outside, so they’ll know the path to come in again. Go around the outside of the house a few days in a row, then start showing them outbuildings, but you don’t necessarily have to do your whole property. This way, they will begin to find their scent in these areas, and will associate it with you. When you bring them back inside, give them a treat.

It depends on the cat, but the last time I helped someone do this (our cat now is indoor only) it took about a week before the cats were let out on their own, off the leash. They all keep coming home every day (or two!) If you aren’t sure, do this for two weeks, but try and do it every day, or even twice or more times a day. It’s a pain to do, but IME, it works.

I have now an indoor cat that was an outdoor cat for 2 years. She always came home with no problems (except fleas). When I moved she had to be kept indoors, and for the last 3 years has been always yammering go out. NO WAY! My apartment owner won’t allow stray cats and has the shelter come by every week to gather up strays.
When weather permits I pick her up in my arms and carry her around to sniff stuff and maybe eat a little grass. She still has the urge to do whatever cat’s do outside though.