Should I keep him or try to re-home?

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Should I keep him or try to re-home?

Post by LT-64 »

I rehomed a cat last year who took a fancy to our garden, it turned out he'd been on the run for a year! He hadn't been at his new home long (had been re-homed) and after keeping him in for a few weeks, he was let out and then disappeared a short while after. Since September last year I have taken him back to his owners several times (they only live about a mile away) but he keeps coming back and won't settle there and hates being shut in. I've been in constant contact with the owner who is upset because they were very fond of him. She went on holiday to Australia for a month back in June and I noticed the cat was around most of the time, I messaged her and she said before she left, she hadn't seen him for a couple of weeks and I offered to feed him as he hadn't been home and he looked a bit thin and she agreed and thanked me. Obviously since I've fed him he's not going anywhere.

My problem is our cat hates him and they hiss and growl at each other, she constantly chases him off. He's getting braver because he likes me and I feed him and sometimes they can be sat around each other and don't fight at all. I'm not able to have him in the house because she won't tolerate him. The original owner and I have discussed re-homing him, so I dropped him off at her friends house and the plan was for him to look after the cat at their house until we'd heard back about re-homing/fostering. This only lasted less than 24 hours as in the night, he ripped the cat flat out of the wall and escaped and was back at mine for breakfast and had clearly found his way back from somewhere he hadn't been before. He really doesn't like being kept in and likes the freedom to come and go as he pleases - probably the result of being almost feral for a year.

My dilemma is whether to keep him? He's adorable, he lets me cuddle him and he's affectionate but is it fair to keep him as an outside cat? He's recently decided he likes the shed and I've made up a bed for him and he's fed daily and now has somewhere to sleep that is dry and not too cold if he chooses. My fear is that if he's re-homed, he will be extremely stressed with the process of being kept inside for several weeks and I'm worried that once he is let out again, he may run off and get lost.

Does anyone have any experience or an opinion on whether cats like this can be re-settled elsewhere? My husband says he has chosen us and we should keep him, but I feel guilty as he would have to live outside. Any advice please?
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Re: Should I keep him or try to re-home?

Post by Mollycat »

I love that cats make their own choices. If there are a lot of roads to cross then to keep taking him back is putting him at risk every time. If he's happy in the shed and he has the choice to go find a warm cosy home then it's up to him I guess.

Just one thing, I think most people would overlook, as you say keeping him in would stress him - maybe that's exactly why he left his new home? Not realising he would be able to come and go, the thought he had escaped from a place he was going ot be kept imprisoned!
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Re: Should I keep him or try to re-home?

Post by Ruth B »

Cats can live perfectly happy, healthy lives outside as long as they have someone providing food, fresh water, shelter, and vet treatment when needed, some cats indeed prefer it that way.

You say your own cat hates him and hisses and growls at him, that is probably because she sees him as an invader into her territory. If you do decide to keep him then actually going through the full introduction routine might help. If he is settled in your shed then you could start by giving him old towels or bedding to sleep on that could then be brought into the house so you cat gets more use to his scent being around. The fact that she isn't being actually violent is a good sign, it could be just her way of letting him know she is in charge. If it is just hissing and growling it is often best to leave them to it and just watch to make sure it doesn't progress into anything physical. As many of us will attest hissing and the occasional bat is perfectly normal when trying to introduce a new cat to a household.

I would also add that if he is rehomed any charity that takes him will have to keep him inside, possibly in an actual pen, and then he will need to be kept in for at least a month at his new home with no guarantee that he won't come back to you as soon as he is allowed out.
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