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Moving an Older Cat

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Merlin (1996- - 2007)

Secretly Demonic
 
 
Purred: Sun Jun 11, '06 5:21pm PST 
Hi everyone, I may be getting a new web design job in Buffalo, NY to finally live with my fiance. I have lived in the Baltimore, MD area all my life, and Merlin was adopted from Animal Rescue in 1996 for my 13th birthday. Now he is nearing 10 years old next month - and I'm at a crossroads. He's always lived in this house, and the last time he was at a kennel was in 2001 when we went to Europe for 2 weeks.

He lived with our collie Quest all his life, since Quest was here before him. But Quest passed away in October, so Merlin has been the only animal in the house for a while.

I feel like I would miss him very much, but I am really unsure of what I should do. I have been his caretaker for his entire life. He's almost 10 and I dunno if that is too old/too much trauma for him.

Buffalo is about a 6.5 hour car ride, then the house has a dog - Kolbe, a young 40 pound mixed breed. Is this all a recipe for disaster? If I ultimately decided to make the move with him, what can I do to make this huge transition less stressful? Is this too risky and should I just leave him here with my parents?? Any advice is appreciated.
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Arthur (Miss- You!- '93-'09)

Bucket of Fuzz

moderator
 
 
Purred: Sun Jun 11, '06 7:01pm PST 
Hi Merlin!

As long as you don't suffer from any serious health issues, and new dog isn't aggressive toward cats, then I think you should be fine moving.

I'm 12 1/2 and my sister is 12 this month, and we've moved quite a few times with no problems. You probably want to go to the vet for a checkup if you haven't recently and make sure you're in good health. If you don't ride in the car much, your human might want to take you for some rides just to help you get used to it.

Since you've lived with a dog before, I doubt you'll have a lot of trouble adapting to life with the new one, assuming the new dog is nice to you. Has he/she lived with cats before?

Merlin (1996- - 2007)

Secretly Demonic
 
 
Purred: Sun Jun 11, '06 7:10pm PST 
Hi Arthur, thanks for your advice. Kolbe was a shelter dog we picked up in March. We do not know if she previously lived with cats. When we take her on walks, we often come across cats hanging out on front porch steps. She usually approaches with a lot of curiosity, but does not pull or try to chase after the cat, but just sort of calmly leans her head forward and sniffs, but shows no agression. My fiance's brother is renting out the lower unit of his house to three girls who have a chihuahua, and Kolbe is very gentle and affectionate with it. I know it's not a cat and all, but I thought I'd just throw that in there since it's a similar size...the only thing she's shown interest in are the squirrels outside...but she doesn't really chase them, more just alertly watches them climb the tree.

And yeah, Merlin screams bloody murder in the car, so maybe after work a few days a week I will start taking him on short 10 minute rides around the neighborhood.

We have a mobile vet that comes to our house, so I will give him a call to see if he can give Merlin a check-up cause I know it's been a while...I didn't even think of that until you mentioned it actually! Good idea, thank you.

Edited by author Sun Jun 11, '06 7:12pm PST

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Arthur (Miss- You!- '93-'09)

Bucket of Fuzz

moderator
 
 
Purred: Sun Jun 11, '06 9:30pm PST 
I have to admit, I'm not big on riding in the car, either. But sometimes the long trips are ok, I will wear myself out after a while from all the whining and crying (and whining and crying and whining and crying) and then I'm calm. The vet might be able to give you some ideas about how to relax on the trip.

When are you going to move?

Merlin (1996- - 2007)

Secretly Demonic
 
 
Purred: Mon Jun 12, '06 5:48am PST 
It may possibly be around the beginning of July or mid-July. I am also figuring he will probably wear himself out after 45 minutes or so, and then be (generally) quiet for the rest of the ride...

In the meantime, I'm going to ask my fiance to take Kolbe over to his uncle's house because he has a few cats - this way we can be more sure of her interaction with them.
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Karma Llasa

Purrs are love.
 
 
Purred: Mon Jun 12, '06 5:33pm PST 
In 1989 I was 3 and we took a 12 hour car ride to move to Phoenix. We lived in a house with lots of other animals so Mommy just kept me in a private bedroom until we got our own place to live. That worked out okay.

In 2000 Nikki cat and I moved from Phoenix to Dallas. It took us 2 days and an overnight stay in a hotel room. I was 14 at the time and Nikki was 6.

I cried for the first half hour and then settled down. I didn't eat or drink much for 2 days but that's pretty normal for a travelling cat. I suffered no ill health effects.

Nikki was tougher. The vet gave her some pills to calm her down but she still cried off and on the entire trip.

Hope that helps.
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Zelda

I am Zelda - worship me.
 
 
Purred: Mon Jun 12, '06 10:53pm PST 
Hi. My mom's other cat (Miss Kitty) moved when she was about your age. She HATED the car part, but liked snuggling at night and made it through just fine. I know this may sound weird, but someone told Mom to put a little butter on the bottom of Miss Kitty's feet when she got to the new house. They said that doing that would help her know she was home. Mom did it and it seemed to work. At least Miss Kitty really liked the butter!
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Darvalo

Unkie Darv
 
 
Purred: Tue Jun 13, '06 10:37am PST 
I'll be moving at the end of the summer too, not just to a new home, but with a new kitten! I have always lived in a house with lots of other animals and plenty of barn cats hanging around outside, so just one kitten is sure to be much quieter.

Give this new dog a fair shot and make sure you have a slow introduction phase where your mum gives you a safe place to be just yours while you get used to each other.

Don't worry about being too old. You may not be able to teach an old dog new tricks, but cats are smarter than that.
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Merlin (1996- - 2007)

Secretly Demonic
 
 
Purred: Tue Jun 13, '06 11:02am PST 
Good idea, I think the bedroom will be a good place where we can shut the door and he can be separated from the dog for a while until they get totally used to each other.

He also does not have any health problems, and hasn't in the past, so hopefully the hardest part of the move will only be him screaming in the car.

PS - and oh yes you CAN teach an old dog new tricks ;-)
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Sis - In Memory

Sweet Sissy
 
 
Purred: Thu Jun 15, '06 10:06pm PST 
I was moved at age 12 from being a full time outside country cat, to a tiny condo in the city of Chicago. You can read my story on my page. I stayed inside for the first 6 months in the city. It was torture, I had to use a litter box and hated every second of it. Now that spring is here, I go outside with mom to hang around the deck and roll in the grass once in a while, and use the dirt god gave me for my needs. I am actually in better shape now than I was in the country, except for weepy eyes which is a chronic problem no matter where I live.

Tiger (gone for 19 years) moved to 4 different locations from age 6 months to 5 years old. One trip was overseas to Germany where he lived in the country for 2 years, and did just fine. He then moved back to the US.

It is quite a story, he was a good traveler. We will post his history on my account when we find the old photos of him sitting on the seat of a 747. He sat on mom's lap the whole way there. On the way back he rode in the carrier underneath. Sadly, he was euthanized at age 8 due to kidney failure. Mom still misses Tiger the most.

Edited by author Thu Aug 3, '06 10:29am PST

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