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Cat Relocation

Little Gatto
January 22nd, 2009, 04:06 PM
Hello everyone.
I would really appreciate some advice/tips about my cat. I have never owned a cat in my life (always dogs) so I don't know much about them. Here is the situation:

I have been living in Italy and about two years ago a cat came to my door (I live on the ground floor of a building). She kept meowing and I thought she was a stray so I gave her some tuna and milk. She loved it!
From that day on she was always hanging out outside and I would feed her out there.
Eventually I let her come inside the house. For about a year she was living with me, inside almost all of the day and she would meow when she wanted to go outside (where she would also go to the bathroom). One day I was outside and started talking to a guy who lives in the building behind me. I asked him if he knew anything about "my" cat. I brought the cat out and he said "yeah, that's my sister's cat. It is about 10 years old". I asked him if the cat ever comes to stay with his sister and he said "occasionally in the winter when it is cold". I was shocked, my cat seems like a little kitten, even her little meows sound so young!
Well, you can just imagine I am now a cat lover (more than a dog lover!)and the cat has been living with me for more than 2 years. She is constantly in the house with me and sleeps here every night (there have been a few nights when she disappears).
So, the issue is, I am moving back to Canada soon. I am going to live in a Condo. I love my little cat and would LOVE to bring her with me. BUT I don't want to bring her with me for my own selfish reasons. I would only want to bring her with me because she would be happier. One of the problems is that she is an outdoor cat here and in Canada she would have to be an indoor cat. Another main problem is her age. Like I said, i have no idea about cats so I don't know if she is too old. And no, I don't think her real owners would care if she left (of course I would ask them first).
Just a little background on her: All she does is sleep! I have never seen an animal sleep more than her! She probably spends maximum 4 hours awake a day and during that time she is either outside (more in the summer) or looking out the window inside. Her other favourite thing to do is eat! She CONSTANTLY cries for more food! She is also VERY anti social. I thought maybe cats had the tendency to be like this but when I did some research online, she seems to be a little extreme. She doesn't like to play, she will only be held for short amounts of time (before biting or clawing at you), and I even bought little catnip furballs for her to play with- nothing!
When I call her name (I renamed her- but not intentionally! Remember, I thought she was a stray at first) she will look at me. Sometimes when I leave the house she follows me down the street and cries. She does cuddle but for limited amounts of time. And she does spend most of her time sleeping in spots near me. I just can't figure it out! Although it does feel like this is the first time she has really gotten "real" affection (kisses, talking to her constantly, cuddles) from a person. (In the Italian culture it isn't very common that you treat your animal like its your "child")

Any advice would be great. In conclusion, would she be happier left here or coming with me?

Thank you!

Little Gatto
January 22nd, 2009, 04:11 PM
ps this is my cat! :) (

January 22nd, 2009, 05:27 PM
Tough decision. On the one hand, she is happy living a certan kind of life that you admit you could not replicate back home. And if she is indeed 10+, I think her age probably would factor into her ability to adapt to a new life. But if she sleeps 20 hours a day, what's the difference between a walk-up in Italy and a condo in Toronto? Are you sure she doesn't make her rounds at night? Does she sleep with you?

To be honest, in your position, if (if) I could find someone of like mind, who would be as kind to her as you are (since the sister doesn't seem to be on the same page or even reading the same book), I would leave her there. If there are any animal rescue groups where you live, I'd look into that as well. Maybe she could retire to a fabulous place in the Italian countryside.

Has she been spayed, at least? If I was in your position and had the money, I'd have her checked out by a vet. If you end up bringing her back, you'll need a vet certificate and a rabies shot in any case.

Little Gatto
January 22nd, 2009, 05:42 PM
Thanks for the advice.
She sleeps here (aside from during the day!)probably at least 5 nights of the week. And she sleeps through the night. She doesn't sleep with me in the bed but on "her" cushion with her blanket. She is so good ...she used to wake me up early to feed her (and I mean EARLY) but I have trained her so that she waits until I wake up.
I don't know if she is spayed but I wouldn't be surprised if she isn't. Most animals here are not fixed at all. As for animal rescues, there don't seem to be too many here either. Although of course people generally do care about animals here, they also don't seem to be cared for as well as many owners of pets in Canada (from what I have seen at least).
Maybe a stupid question, but how long do cats generally live for?
I was thinking I could ask my boyfriend's friend who is a vet his opinion on this also.
I don't know if this matters but something that makes me feel like i shouldn't take her with me is that she is cranky. Like I said, REALLY anti-social. I just worry about her when I leave. Not about food or shelter (she is a bit sneaky and she goes to an old lady near us and gets some scraps sometimes!) but more about the love and attention I give her. Although she is a cranky girl it is obvious she loves all of the attention and maybe just not used to so much of it!
For sure if I take her back to Canada I am going to take her to the vet and get everything needed to bring her back with me!

January 22nd, 2009, 07:06 PM
Maybe a stupid question, but how long do cats generally live for?

Not a stupid question at all. I think these days they say the average for a North American house cat is about 15-17 yrs or so, but many cats easily live into their 20s. I've even heard of a few that lived to be 30+.

You've got a tough decision to make and I don't envy your position. I honestly have no idea what I would do in your shoes.

January 22nd, 2009, 07:41 PM
I would bring her.. but thats me.. I have had almost all my cats live to 20 or longer, up to 24. She is cranky beacuse no one has loved her before, and she is coping that way. She will probably come around, if you just pet her, she will gradually get more affectionate. Sounds like life has not been that easy for her, and if she loses you too that may make her more cranky, she wont want to attach to anyone again. She feels your love and appreciates it I am sure, just not sure how to cope with it, I wouldn;t want to leave her... but that is just my:2cents: but hey, I am NOT good at parting with cats. If it is possible for you to get all the clearences for her, I would bring her. The trip will just be a fraction of her life, and she would have it so good here in Canada! Good luck with whatever you decide. Lucky kitty to find your doorstep!. and if you leave her, there are lots of kitties here that would love to have you for their mommy.

January 22nd, 2009, 08:14 PM
I read one of your concerns was that she is used to being outdoors and you would have to keep her inside when you move. One of my cats is a stray who lived outside for about 3 years. She's been living inside with me and my 4 other cats now since June of last year, and she seems very happy.

My concern would be if there is any kind of a quarantine and how long she would have to be kept there.

BTW, she's a gorgeous girl.

January 23rd, 2009, 01:28 AM
If it were me and the sister was ok with it I would most likely bring her to Canada, I'd worry too much and if the sister is ok with it then she must not really care for the cat and then who will. A lot of cats adjust fine to an indoor only life. You could alway construct some sort of safe outdoor enclosure on your balcony for her. It may make her feel like she's outside( if she really seems like she wants to go out) you can also find a good harness, make sure it fits well and then you could safely take her outside with you agian if she really wants to and tollerates(sp) it. You can also hide little treats around the house that she can hunt for to keep her busy(just keep an eye on the treats that they don't go stale). There are all sorts of way to mimic some of the things they do outside inside.

If you decide to bring her with you I would have her spayed if she isn't, vaccines and blood work done with a thyroid panel. Since they say she's about 10 and you mentioned she eats a lot(and she's small). She could be hyperthyroid, which is treatable and quite common. Some cats that have it can have a ferrousious appetite but don't gain weight and from my experience tend to be on the cranky anti-social side. Not saying she is as it could just be her personality and the start in life she had. Also if you don't have a litterbox for her I would get one now so she gets use to using it, if she doesn't take to it try a mix of kittylitter and regular dirt from outside, since dirt is most likely what she is use to going in. Once she start using it gradually add more kittylitter, until it's just litter(whatever type that may be) and an open litter box not a hooded one.

Just my :2cents: and she is adorable:cloud9:

Also some cats are just very independent and only want you when they want you, doesn't mean she doesn't love you, as long as she seems happy and you enjoy her that's all that matters. Over time her personality may change and she may decide that yah this touchy feely things people do is cool.

It's definately a hard decison but it also show's how much you care for her.

One last thing, I have met many cats who were into their 20's and one who was 28, and for the most part would have never guessed they were that age.

January 23rd, 2009, 02:56 AM
No question in my mind I'd bring her. Can you imagine what she'd do after you left? She'd continue to go to your door to be let in and wonder what was going on?!?!? Yikes.

I'm sure the cat would adapt, especially since you said she sleeps a lot. You could always build an outdoor enclosure or something for her to roam around in outside and get some sun.

I have a cat that was initially raised outside and he didn't bat an eye when I took him in and kept in him inside. Other people like ancientgirl, took in a cat that lived outside and has had no problem getting her to adapt. I know some cats are die hard about going outside but given this cat seems bonded to you, I think it would be worse for her to be w/o you than to be kept inside.

Little Gatto
January 23rd, 2009, 04:42 AM
Thank you,
For the most part it looks like everyone thinks I should take her with me!
Of course this is good news to me because I always thought that if I take her I would be being selfish!
I am going to get her checked by a vet and see if she can even go first.
As for the owner of the cat, I don't even think they would notice too much if she was gone anyway :(
Like I said, she is here everyday...

January 23rd, 2009, 08:40 AM
Definitely take her with you. Cats do not like a change in ownership and it sounds like she is very attached to you. Think of this kitty as your child, would you leave your child behind because you were moving and thought your child may not like the new place? I have moved across Canada many times with cats and they adjust easier to new environments than they do to new owners. Plus, in general, older cats will adjust to an indoor only lifestyle much easier than a young cat.

It sounds like a typical female cat in my books, likes to be close and a cuddle every once in a while, but that is it.

She will need a current rabies vaccine to be brought into Canada and best to have a health certificate too.

Little Gatto
January 25th, 2009, 12:29 PM
Hi everyone, thanks again.

I spoke to my boyfriend's friend who is a vet. He said it is a good idea to take the cat to Canada! I am SO happy!
He said that cats usually have a problem adjusting to people, and it is generally easy for them to adjust to their surroundings! He is going to give all of the shots and examinations she needs free of charge!
I found out that my cat's real owners live in the apartment building behind us but on the THIRD floor! My boyfriend saw our cat (a long time ago, before she lived with us) waiting outside the main aparetment building door to be let in by someone :( Then she has to wait outside the apartment door to be let in :( It just isn't right, so with all of this advice and information I have decided for sure she is much better off with me :)

Does anyone know of a site that I can find out what documents, shots etc she needs to come over the Canada? I would appreciate any help!

January 25th, 2009, 01:44 PM
Whoa! Free vet!
Did he say whether or not she's been spayed?
Good decision. Sounds like her life there is just too uncertain.

Little Gatto
January 25th, 2009, 01:50 PM
Yeah! Lucky me!
And he is a great vet, he works out of his big house. He lives in the country and has his own bunch of dogs that he loves a lot. And i remember in the past he told me he charges people very little because he does it out of the love for animals :)

I haven't taken her into him yet, but when I see him he will tell me everything.
I did some research online and so far i have only found that she will need a rabies certification...but I have heard so much about pet passports I was sure she would need one...

January 25th, 2009, 01:52 PM
It just isn't right, so with all of this advice and information I have decided for sure she is much better off with me :)

Woohooo! I'm happy for both of you.

Does anyone know of a site that I can find out what documents, shots etc she needs to come over the Canada? I would appreciate any help!

This site has some good info:

Other than that, you might want to get in touch with the airline you'd be flying with to find out what regulations they have.

Little Gatto
January 25th, 2009, 02:39 PM
Thanks!!! :)

So, thanks for the link to but I am a little bit confused now!
I checked out the CFIA site and it only said she will need a rabies shot/certification.
But then the pettravel site said she needs that and a health certificate and all documents must be sent to the CFIA before hand!
I am confused!
Since the vet has never done this before (the overseas stuff) he told me to find out what he needs to do!

January 25th, 2009, 03:01 PM
The site I posted is the Canadian government site, you can take what you find there as gospel. If you have any other questions, call the embassy or consulate. Good luck!

I have a feeling you're looking at the commercial information instead of information about bringing in a dog or cat.

January 25th, 2009, 04:28 PM
Little Gatto,I am so happy she'll be coming with you,I would never have left her,I've seen cats waiting buy the owners door after they've moved without them,a heartbreaking thing:cry:
I hope she gets a clean bill of health and if your free vet would spay her that would be great.
She might change her roaming nature,once she's spayed:fingerscr
Hopefully she's not pregnant...
10yrs is NOT an old cat,she could live 10 more great years with you.
Good Luck!!

Little Gatto
January 25th, 2009, 04:37 PM
thank you!!!!! :)
I am SOOO happy! she is like a part of our family and I think we would both be heat broken to be apart!

I hope she gets a clean bill of health too!

I am fortunate because my boyfriend's vet friend is apparently one of the best vets in Italy (people travel all over just to see him and he has published books)

I will keep you posted!

January 25th, 2009, 05:12 PM
I'm so thrilled she's going with you. I'm sure she'll get a clean bill of health.