Cat not adjusting after move

Need advice from TTers in the know

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Mistress kitty
Ok, so here is my dilemma.

My boyfriend has had his cat for 9 years, when he moved from Holland to Germany in 2006 he brought his cat with him, and his 83 year old gran got so attached to him that when we moved to Holland last summer, we decided to leave the cat with her. However, in September she took a fall and ended up in the hospital, she is also becoming a bit forgetful and was over-feeding him and forgetting to let him out, so he was doing his business all over the house.

We decided that we would have to go back to get him, but since we live in an apartment block, I made it clear that this was only meant as a short term solution...before I get lynched for being an animal hater..I'm not...I love cats, but I don't feel it's fair to have a pet in an apartment block if they have previously been used to going outside their whole life, and I don't want a house cat because I don't like having a litter box and a 4 year old in the same place...again, just my view, but I made this very clear from the beginning and my boyfriend agreed (or seemed to)

The problem started when we brought him back. Firstly, he was huge, compared to what he had been a month previous. He has become spoiled and whiny to the extreme, and is so loud that he sometimes sounds like a newborn baby, it just goes on and on for hours, we have taken him to the vet, because I actually thought he must be in some kind of pain with the amount of crying he does, but they found nothing wrong. We have managed to get him back to a normal weight, and have been giving him time to adjust to his new surroundings.

When we first moved here, we lived in a house temporarily while waiting for our apartment to be ready, but whenever we tried to put him outside, he just cried and cried so loud that I finally had to let him in, because I didn't want other people to be annoyed by him. All he wanted to do is hide under the bed the whole time, and anytime I would try to get him out he just scratches (something he has never done before) Then he started doing his business in the house...once on a pile of clean laundry, and this really annoyed me, because my boyfriend seem to somehow think this is my fault for having the laundry sitting there...waiting to be ironed.

Since I was in Germany over Christmas, my boyfriend had not let him out of the house once, let him sit all over the couch...which is a nightmare to get the hair off, and completely ruined my cushions. So I asked him when I got back if he had made any arrangements to have him re housed, as this was after all only a temporary solution...he, of course said no, but that he would place an ad...so far we have had no interest.

This week has been the worst, I have had a neighbour at my door every single day.

Monday evening: A woman about my age knocks on the door with the cat, and he runs inside like he is running for his life. She asks if he is my cat, I told her he is my boyfriends cat, and explained the situation to her. She was quite cheeky and opinionated and seemed to be under the impression that I was abusing or neglecting him. I stood my ground and told her that my boyfriend takes him out in the morning and since I am not at home all day, it is not possible for me to let him in the building any time he pleases, I told her he is not a house cat and just needs time to get used to the situation, he said it is not acceptable for him, he has a home and should be able to stay in the house if he wants. I told her, I would send my boyfriend to speak to her when he gets home, because he can probably explain it better. They then agreed that it would be a good idea to put a picture of the cat and a letter explaining the situation to the other tenants.

Tuesday: I have another woman about my age, telling me that the cat had followed her to her apartment and was hiding under her bed, she was really nice about the whole thing because she had seen the letter. Though it took us ages to convince him to come out.

Wednesday: I again come back from collecting my daughter, the cat is sitting at the door of the people directly underneath us and crying like crazy, I had to carry him upstairs, and had a conversation with a German man about the situation, again he was very nice and I explained everything, but throughout our entire conversation the cat screamed constantly.

Yesterday: Come back with my daughter, and some old witch starts yelling at me in Dutch. I ask nicely if we can speak in German. I know she speaks it, because I have spoken to her on another occasion. She just waves her hand in my face and shouts no in Dutch. I couldn't even get a word in to explain anything, and someone had also taken down the letter. She said that he had shit somewhere downstairs as well. I was so angry and taken aback by her tone that I just snapped and told her to shut up and walked away.

Today: I have given up and kept him inside for fear of having the animal welfare or police at my door.

I am at my wits end, I really want to understand why he is so afraid of going out, but I am slowly losing my patience with him as well. I can say with all truth that I am a cat person, but this has honestly put me off ever having a pet again.

I also understand that my boyfriend is very attached to him, and of course, I don't think he should just throw him out to fend for himself, but we really need to find a solution that suits everyone, and that is good for the cat. I really stand by my decision not to have a house cat. But he also needs to understand that it's not fair to let me take all the crap from neighbours about it. I can completely understand why they are annoyed...I would be too, which is also why I don't think a pet should be living in an apartment block.

Sorry for the extremely long post. I would've posted this in the vent, but would really appreciate some opinions and ideas on how to resolve this.

Should I just give up trying and let him be a house cat, even though I don't feel comfortable with it?

Thanks
dreamer
Unless you are willing to have the cat in the apartment during the day, you urgently need to find a new home for it. It is in my opinion the only humane solution.

The cat just wants to relax indoors and snooze for a while during the day, they like their sleep. You can't just abandon the cat outside all day and not expect problems from the neighbours, or for the cat to cause problems due to the stress its under.

I can understand and sympathise with your dilemma, as we deliberately didn't consider getting a cat while living in an apartment. But what you are doing now is unfair to the neighbours, cruel to the cat and bringing stress on you and your boyfriend's lives.

Unfortunately at 9 years of age, the cat is not likely to find a permanent long-term home, as most people want to adopt kittens or younger cats. Try posting a photo of the cat here on TT and giving a description of his/her character. We adopted two different cats through TT and are delighted with both of them (no way are we adopting a 3rd!), so it can work out well if you make an effort to find a new home for the cat.
Krieg
Friday tread about a "cat person" complaining about a cat being a cat?
Mistress kitty
Thanks for the advice Dreamer. I agree that this is not a fair situation for him, and would like to find a new home for him asap. I also understand this is unfair to the neighbours, and really don't want to have problems with them..I have never had problems with neighbours in my life.

I know I do sound very harsh, but I really can't have a house cat, my boyfriend sees no problem with it, but I don't want it, especially when he doesn't even use his litter box.

It is very difficult to get someone to take an older cat, though my boyfriend hasn't made a huge effort. He also won't consider the option of a shelter, which I get, but I am running out of ideas.

Thanks again for your input.
Mistress kitty
Friday tread about a "cat person" complaining about a cat being a cat?
I'm not complaining about him being a cat, I am just concerned about the overall situation, because he was never like this before, and this is not fair for him. But at the same time, I also have a 4 year old, and do not want a house cat, nor do I want problems with my neighbours...hence the dilemma.
RickMunich
You CAN have a house cat, you just don't WANT to have a house cat.
dcgi
I've never owned a cat myself, although our neighbour here did (since moved on) and it was a bit of a nightmare to go over there; they'd recently moved within Berlin and the cat obviously wasn't liking it at all (even to a non-cat person myself), you would walk past it and it would lash out scratching at you, I ended up wearing my shoes in the house round theirs. They admitted something was very wrong, behaviour changed right after the move.

Have you checked online to see if what you're experiencing matches the signs of 'cat depression'? From what I hear cats (outdoor ones I guess even more so) are very territorial, sometimes having up to 1km of ground which they cover when out and about, if you take them away from that as I understand it can really have a big affect on them.

Beyond a net-diagnosis maybe you should speak to a vet and look at things you can try to help the feline adjust to the new environment.
Mistress kitty
You CAN have a house cat, you just don't WANT to have a house cat.
You're right I don't WANT to, and I made this clear even before we picked him up. I am the one who has to pick up after him when he does his business in the house or on clean laundry. I don't want a a house cat when I have a child here. I am sorry if that offends anyone, but it is my opinion.
Krieg
I also have a 4 year old
And? I have a 2,5 old kid and a 2 months baby and a cat.

You do not want a cat, no need to make excuses. Not wanting to have a cat is OK, no need to convince us you are a cat person and you like animals.

Your nickname makes the whole situation very ironic.
dreamer
No problem, I'm a softie when it comes to animals! In your case I really think the only option is to look for a new owner. You could always look for a new owner even if your boyfriend hasn't made a huge effort. But he has to be willing to let the cat go if you do find a new owner.

I see you're based in the Netherlands - is there an expat community where you live, or an online forum where you could look? Cute photos really help, and an honest to-the-point explanation of the situation. Talk to the shelter to ask them if they know how you could find a new owner. Maybe you could keep the cat at your place while advertising through the shelter's website for a new home, a bit like fostering.
Mistress kitty
I've never owned a cat myself, although our neighbour here did (since moved on) and it was a bit of a nightmare to go over there; they'd recently moved within Berlin and the cat obviously wasn't liking it at all (even to a non-cat person myself), you would walk past it and it would lash out scratching at you, I ended up wearing my shoes in the house round theirs. They admitted something was very wrong, behaviour changed right after the move.

Have you checked online to see if what you're experiencing matches the signs of 'cat depression'? From what I hear cats (outdoor ones I guess even more so) are very territorial, sometimes having up to 1km of ground which they cover when out and about, if you take them away from that as I understand it can really have a big affect on them.

Beyond a net-diagnosis maybe you should speak to a vet here and look at things you can try to help the feline adjust to the new environment.
Thanks for that. I will check this out, It could very well be the problem. In Germany, he had a big garden and lots of space, and a cat flap to come and go as he pleased.
Mistress kitty
And? I have a 2,5 old kid and a 2 months baby and a cat.

You do not want a cat, no need to make excuses. Not wanting to have a cat is OK, no need to convince us you are a cat person and you like animals.

Your nickname makes the whole situation very ironic.
I do like cats, I have grown up my whole life with pets, and always had a cat, but does your cat shit all over the house, on your kids clothes and make more noise than they do?
dreamer
Does your cat shit all over the house, on your kids clothes and make more noise than they do?
The cat is stressed and unhappy. It used to be the boss with a house and garden and someone to feed it so much it grew fat. Now its stuck in a flat with a noisy child (cat's opinion, not mine) then stuck outdoors in the cold all day and restricted to a diet to lose weight. It can't understand why this has all happened, and is protesting every way possible.

We understand that, you understand that which is why you're looking for a better solution. I really hope you do manage to find a new owner, then everyone is happy and the cat can become the boss of another house.
Krieg
I do like cats, I have grown up my whole life with pets, and always had a cat, but does your cat shit all over the house, on your kids clothes and make more noise than they do?
If he is pissed about something, yes, he shits in the wrong place. And definitely he makes noise, sometimes during the night he cries like a baby and we have to let him in on our room and let him sleep in our bed.

And he has a bad character and bites people if he gets angry.

But it is our cat, he is part of the family and I will never kick him out of the house because he is having a bad time. And I made this very clear to my wife before we've got married.

Last time he was sick my daughter was very sad about it, it broke my heart.

He is 10 y/o now and I know he will not last long but I pretend that day will never come.
Mistress kitty
The cat is stressed and unhappy. It used to be the boss with a house and garden and someone to feed it so much it grew fat. Now its stuck in a flat with a noisy child (cat's opinion, not mine) then stuck outdoors in the cold all day and restricted to a diet to lose weight. It can't understand why this has all happened, and is protesting every way possible.
Thanks Dreamer, your opinions are very helpful. I guess I have some reading up to do on cats.
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