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One of my cats doesn’t want to come in anymore

Discussion in 'Cat Training and Behaviour' started by Phteven79, Aug 5, 2018.

  1. Phteven79

    Phteven79 PetForums Newbie

    Oct 31, 2016
    Likes Received:
    I have two boys from the same litter, had them since they were kittens.

    They’re now about 9 1/2 years old. In their first home, a one bed flat, they were house cats for most of their life. They occasionally went for a sniff outside the front door, sometimes late at night but they’d come back after a few hours and yowl to get in.

    I bought a cat exercise wheel but never really managed to get them to take to it (perhaps I didn’t try hard enough.)

    I moved two years ago into a bigger ground floor property. Last summer I had my window open all the time and they came and went as they pleased, no problems.

    A year ago I had a cat flap fitted in the window so they could do their own thing over the winter and beyond. One of the boys is fine, he’s a real daddy’s boy and a homebody so never disappears for more than a couple of hours, mostly just sitting on the windowsill.

    His brother though, he’s become a problem and it seemed to start ever since the elderly couple next door started feeding him along with all the other neighbourhood cats. He started spending more and more time out and I learned eventually that he was even going into their property and making himself comfortable. I told my cousin about this, a cat owner of a zillion years and she said I need to shut that down right away as he will think he lives there now. I had a word with them and asked them to stop feeding him and letting him in. They appeared to do so. The problem is, I think the little bugger has found another willing audience because he now disappears for 5-6 days at a time. He’s never around the front or back of the flats for that time and then I’ll suddenly find him out the front on next door’s windowsill. I have to pick him up and carry him each time. If I left him it would be god knows when, if ever that he came back in of his own accord.

    I will say the boys don’t really get along that well. They used to fight a lot in my old flat and it got quite vicious sometimes. Once in a blue moon they’d cuddle together.

    If I have them both in now and they cross paths, one might hiss or spit at the other, usually the one that wants to stay out. It used to be the other way round where the homeboy would bully his wandering brother.

    I got him back in again today, but I don’t know what to do. He beats the living crap out of the cat flap periodically trying to get out and if I don’t have it switched to full lock down he can prise it open and get out (when I thought leaving it on “in only” was enough to keep him in during the day once he came in.)

    I can resurrect the cat wheel and try to get them using that for exercise and help stave off boredom for when I’m not at home but otherwise I’m lost. It really feels like he just wants to “move out” for want of a better phrase.

    Any advice would be much appreciated. I’m tired of the worry that something might have happened to him everytime he goes off to his new family wherever they are.
  2. TriTri

    TriTri Standing up for cats

    Oct 31, 2017
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    Hi Phteven79 has he got plenty of things to do at home, like toys, and has he got his own bed, places to go and hide or sit in peace, if your other cat bothers him? Does he get enough company and attention at home? Does he like his diet you offer him? Has he got fresh water and do they have 3 litter trays between them? If all answers are yes, it could possibly be partly to do with the current weather, especially as cats love hunting in this lovely weather and can disappear for hours. You will know when the weather changes.
    Maybe someone is feeding him, or he has found someone who offers more fuss, or he isn’t so keen on being with your other cat. Or is your flat noisy eg music on loud? As cats hear 4 x as loud as us, I believe. If it’s to do with your other cat, you could try getting a feline friends plug in. Could he be ill and seeking out medical attention? Has he had a recent check up? I personally wouldn’t stop a cat from moving in with someone else if that’s what they want, so long as the other person can meet all It’s needs and can offer it a home for life. People often assume a cat is being fed elsewhere, but in fact they are just after somewhere more peaceful or somewhere where they get more fuss.

    The many cats that have moved in with me have done so, I believe, because it’s quiet and peaceful and they get lots of fuss.

    I’d try to find out where he’s going and if he’s being fed ask if they would be happy to keep him for life and pay all his vet bills etc. If the answer is no, then they are not being fair to your cat and should stop immediately. If the answer is yes, it’s down to you to decide, as he’s your cat, but he needs to have one home only. You can’t have him doubling up on medication which could be dangerous, and multiple diets and alternating different cat foods aren’t good for him at that age either. Good luck.
    #2 TriTri, Aug 14, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2018
  3. blizeH

    blizeH PetForums Junior

    Nov 11, 2011
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    So sorry to hear that :(

    As the person above alluded to it could be that your cat wants to get away from his brother - Feliway Friends is definitely worth trying I think, though I haven’t had any joy with it personally.

    Lots of play to tire them out so they fight less could also help, plus it’ll help associate your house with fun times and he’ll want to come back more. Always stock his favourite food and treats :D All of our cats love the cheap chicken you get from supermarkets, and Dreamies are always a winner too.
    TriTri likes this.
  4. kittih

    kittih PetForums VIP

    Jan 19, 2014
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    Cats often vote with their feet if their home situation is intolerable to them. As I was reading your words about your cat finding other homes to rest in and get food from I was thinking I wonder what the two cats relationship is like. And then you explained they fight.

    The home cat brother has established your house and the resources inside as his territory. He is not willing to share with the wanderer and is prepared to fight to defend that. The wanderer has tried to battle for access but lost. When cats lose this sort of fight the done thing is they move away and establish a territory elsewhere. Cats don't understand the concept of ownership or that they are both your cats. So Wanderer is just doing what cat society dictates he should do which is leave.

    Forcing the two cats together won't make them live together. If you do so then both cats will be very stressed and this can lead to health issues and worse fights needing vet treatment.

    If they have been practicing fighting for so long reintroducing them is unlikely to work though you could try.

    I lived in a situation where two if my cats were similar to your two and hated each other. My girl and boy cats used to fight - he tried to bully her off the territory and she was afraid but fought back. She used to move out in Sumner and live off mice and occasionally visited neighbours for food.

    I was never able to integrate them so my only solution was to divide the house into two and she had one half and he the other. He was not allowed in her territory ever. Occasionally if he did get in he would spray and also wee in her litter tray which stressed her a lot (and usually lead to a bout of painful cystitis).

    It wasn't a perfect solution. She was still more stressed than she should have been and in summer would still enjoy being out as much as possible but it worked as well as it could and she would stay home for food and cuddles.

    From a human point of view it was hard work. I had to make sure I spent equal time between both sides. Changed my clothes and washed my hands before I went to her side so as to not bring his scent into her territory and both had separate exits from the house.

    Some cats in multiple households can agree to divide a house up into their areas and neutral zones as long as there are plenty of resources, but some can't. Some do time shares where they are in and out at different times. This can work well when the weather is nice but becomes very tense when wet or cold weather keeps both in.

    So what to do. Your options are:
    Rehome your wandering boy to a single cat household
    Divide your house in two and make sure they are always separated by a closed door and you don't transfer too much scent between them. Each cat will need enough space to comfortably live and access to outdoors.
    Allow your wanderer to unofficially live with your elderly neighbours if they are willing. You keep cuddle rights (though you and your cat may want to establish an outdoor cuddle space away from home cat. You also pay for medical treatment and are responsible for flea and worming so as not to double up on health checks and medication. Essentially you are responsible for him but have less interaction.
    Lastly you could try increasing all the physical resources in your home like litter trays, feeding stations, comfy beds, high up resting places etc. The only down side is you can't duplicate yourself which is often a very valuable resource to cats. Then separate and slowly try the reintroduction process (post here for more details on this). However I am not optimistic it will work given their age and the fact they have been practicing their behaviour for so long.
    #4 kittih, Aug 14, 2018
    Last edited: Aug 14, 2018
    blizeH likes this.
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