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Advice wanted re: Cat, Divorce and Moving Far Away... :-(

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Advice wanted re: Cat, Divorce and Moving Far Away... :-(

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martin2345ukmartin2345uk Forumite
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Hi guys

So 6 years ago I made a thread about getting my first cat, Derek...


Well, sadly, I need advice again and not for nice reasons... my partner decided to leave me in October, so we are selling the house in Manchester and going our separate ways. My work have been kind enough to offer me a transfer to a depot in Essex, where I'm from, so I will be going back home... at first I will be living with my mum, until I am able to get a mortgage and buy a place down there, though I don't know how long that will take.

My main issue is - what to do with Derek. He's been all I've had these past couple of months. I will not give him up under any circumstances. So the options are:

1. He comes with me to live at my mums... issues here are that she has 2 cats, a brother and sister, the sister is timid as anything but the brother is a bit of a bruiser. Also they have a cat flap and come and go as they please and obviously I wouldn't want Derek to do that while living here, he might never come back!

2. He moves in with my husband and his new partner in their house in Cheshire, until such a time as I have my own place down here he can come to. 

Husband has shown no desire to keep Derek long term, and it sounds soooo stupid but I don't like the idea of him living with the husband's new boyfriend - but I will do whartever is in Derek's best interests, he's an easily stressed cat who doesn't deal well with strangers and I know whatever happens is going to be really hard for him in the interim :-(

I feel like such a bad cat dad, I hate this whole situation.

Any words of wisdom for a sad soon-to-be divorcé..?


  • Savvy_SueSavvy_Sue Forumite
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    One question, is Derek currently an outdoor cat? If not, then is it possible to keep him in one part of the house at your mum's? And if he is, then he'll surely have to go out through the catflap sometimes? 

    Is looking for a cat foster home near your mum a possibility? 
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  • onwards&upwardsonwards&upwards Forumite
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    Why don’t you rent your own place in Essex rather han going back to your mum’s?

    It’ll take you longer to save, but solve the cat issue. 
  • martin2345ukmartin2345uk Forumite
    658 posts
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    Thanks for the replies. Yes Derek is an outdoor cat, so no I wouldn’t keep him inside indefinitely but for at least 8 weeks which I think would be tough to manage while still allowing mums cats their freedom...

    And I’ve deffo considered renting but it’d have to be a house so Derek could get out, and they’re just soooo expensive round Chelmsford way I just don’t think I could afford it, we’re talking almost £1,000 a month and that’s before bills are added... plus the number of ones that say “no pets” is quite depressing!
  • Robin9Robin9 Forumite
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    I've never kept a cat indoors for a week (one went out the first night !) let alone 8. Moving with you and all his usual bedding, toys and your smells he will be fine. 
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  • kazwookiekazwookie Forumite
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    Can Derek go to a cattery which has large out runs?
    Personally I would NOT send him short term to your ex's
    Do you have any siblings / family members who do not have cats who could take him in for a while

    :) Sun, Sea :)

  • mothertoben10mothertoben10 Forumite
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    Take him to mums, change mums cat flap to one that only opens for chipped collars, put appropriate chipped collars on mums cats but not Derek. He won't be able to get out cat flap but they will.
  • ShrikeShrike Forumite
    66 posts
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    You can get catflaps that work on the cat's own chip - I hope Derek is chipped? 
    There is plenty of advice out there for introducing new cats to resident ones - here's a link from Cats Protection:
  • edited 14 February at 1:18PM
    hb2hb2 Forumite
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    edited 14 February at 1:18PM
    I'm sorry that you are going through this OP :(

    Yes, Derek should certainly be chipped, especially with a move on the horizon, so I would suggest . this done ASAP if needed.

    I was also going to suggest a cattery as a last resort. Somewhere near to where you live/work would allow you to visit frequently. I think that I, personally, would prefer that to trying to integrate a cat into another household as that process could take longer than anticipated and unsettle everyone.
  • KiKiKiKi Forumite
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    I also have a very stressed, nervous cat, and have a lot of experience of stressy cats.  I wouldn't even consider moving him into a house with other cats; it's potentially a recipe for disaster.  They *might* get on, but generally, the other cats will see him as new, hostile and an intruder.  The risk of bullying, fighting and creating behavioural issues is always there.  There's then the issue of smells - the new place won't smell like you, and will smell of other cats, which can cause problems for nervous cats that rely on smell for reassurance.  You'd probably have to manage introductions to the other cats, which can be stressful, and takes time, and requires everyone in the house to do the same (eg, keeping him in one room initially etc).  And, like you, I wouldn't want to risk him getting out.  Three weeks is the absolute minimum I'd have a stressed cat inside before consider letting them out, and only under supervision.

    Personally, if it were me in your situation, the thing I would compromise on would not be about letting him go to your ex's, or to be with other cats.  I'd compromise the outside access.  I'd rent a flat and keep him in, until you're able to afford somewhere with outside access.  In my experience, stressy cats adapt much better to environment than people or other animals, and the move will be the least stressful for him to be with what he knows.  That is, alone with you, with your smells, your furniture etc - rather than new smells, people he doesn't know, other animals.

    Of course, you could move to your mum's and it will be fine.  But I've done this several times with very nervous cats, and integration with other animals can take months of time and patience.

    If a flat really isn't an option, then I'd go with the ex.  Putting him with other animals would be my absolute last resort - so much so, that I wouldn't even consider it with my current boy, it would cause too much distress for him (and the other cats), and stress for me!
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  • edited 15 February at 12:36PM
    martin2345ukmartin2345uk Forumite
    658 posts
    Part of the Furniture 500 Posts I've been Money Tipped!
    edited 15 February at 12:36PM
    Again more great points guys. Thanks. 

    I should have said, regarding renting, the main issue there is that I might have to move down here before the house in Manchester is sold. In which case I’d still be paying the mortgage up there and would make renting at the same time almost impossible. 

    Why can’t life be simple! 6 months ago I was excited for my future, now I’m just miserable and uncertain about where my life is going 😞

    edit: yes Derek is most certainly chipped 👍🏼
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