To get a cat or not, am I being selfish?

VioletStripe

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Hi all,

I've never ventured in here before! Bit of a weird question I guess...

My partner and I currently live together, and later at some nebulous point in the future will be moving. We were planning on it hopefully being within the first half of the 2021, but due to Covid and not needing to be in an office for a while yet, we have decided to sit tight and wait as we don't *need* to move. This could be in a few months, or depending on what's happening, maybe at the end of 2021 or into 2022... So, there is no set plan on when we would be moving by.

We would love to get a cat. He has had cats his whole life, where as I have always had dogs as my mother was allergic to cats. The plan was always to get a cat when we moved into our new house, however obviously we now don't know when this might be.

My partner isn't keen on getting a cat until we move, as he doesn't think it is fair to move cats. I would really love to have one, as we don't know when this might be anyway - so I would rather get our pet and enjoy it! However, if it isn't overly fair and cats don't tend to adjust well to moving, then obviously I would prefer to wait.

So, seeking a second opinion - what are people's thoughts? Would it be unfair to have a cat where we are for a few months at the minimum, to then move them?
We would be moving to a similar environment, just a different location to accommodate where my new job is. I know cats are territorial and sensitive to their home, do they not adjust well to moving? Would it be utterly selfish of me/us to not hold off?

Cheers!
 

HufflyPuffly

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Mine have flourished since I moved!

The original two moved from my first house, to briefly with my Grandma's (approx 6 months) when I sold the house but was still looking, to the cottage I'm in now. They adore where I am now (much more rural, fewer other cats overall to impinge on territory though there are still a few!), Lillycat even turned into the most prolific hunter here whereas neither really ventured out before and certainly not past the garden fence!
 

Equi

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I’ve taken in cats who’s owners were moving or otherwise couldn’t keep them and they always settled here very well with no issues. All the upheaval of packing furniture and the like it’s probably more stressful than the actual moving itself so it wouldn’t be a bad idea to find someone able to keep it for a week or two/cattery so that they basically leave a home and come back into a set up home.
 

smolmaus

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There are ways to minimise stress when moving cats, Jackson Galaxy has a good starting point with his Cat Basecamp. His channel is a great resource if you haven't had a cat yourself anyway, my partner found it very helpful before we got our two! If they have a secure place with all their familiar things that you can then replicate in the new home it will make things as easy as possible for them.

The cats would be stressed but they'll cope with the right support. And if you're planning on rescuing then a home with a future move is nicer for them than sitting in a cattery for longer! But if your partner isn't happy then I personally wouldn't push it. You could see if a solid Basecamp would alleviate some of his misgivings but him feeling rushed into getting a cat might take the shine off the process a little bit for him, which isn't fair. It's supposed to be positive for everyone!
 

Sussexbythesea

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I wouldn’t wait unless moving was imminent cats adapt fine especially a young one if you’re looking to get a kitten.

Even moggies are not cheap at the moment though so that may factor in unless you are looking for a pedigree anyway.
 

SOS

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Without sounding horribly negative I always think it’s a good idea for partners to have their ‘own’ pets. Therefore if the worst happens it saves a lot of arguments and heart ache. Get the cat under the pretence it’s yours. When you move in with each other of course let your partner love him like their own. Get the cat, enjoy it!
 

claret09

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definitely agree with the get two. i have a brother and sister who i had as 18 month old rescues from team cat rescue in birmingham. they are the best thing i have done in years. i can't imagine life without them. they are indoor cats and have the run of the house/garage. i normally come in having been to the horse and find them curled up together. they sleep on my bed every night (except if it's too hot for them).
 

ycbm

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I have 2. A brother and sister, same litter. They hate each other and haven't slept together since they were a year old. Two is not always better.
 

Cloball

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Cats will do what cats want to do 😉 sometimes they move without you! My family cats have moved multiple times with no issues.

When one got super ancient (didn't want her to die in the cattery 🙄)she came on holiday with us to my grandparents (up the road from our old house from several years ago). She remembered which neighbours had fish and chips on Friday much to their shock when she rocked up. That warranted a very concerned phone call thinking our geriatric cat had walked from Cumbria to Hampshire for 🐟.
 

Equi

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Cats will do what cats want to do 😉 sometimes they move without you! My family cats have moved multiple times with no issues.

When one got super ancient (didn't want her to die in the cattery 🙄)she came on holiday with us to my grandparents (up the road from our old house from several years ago). She remembered which neighbours had fish and chips on Friday much to their shock when she rocked up. That warranted a very concerned phone call thinking our geriatric cat had walked from Cumbria to Hampshire for 🐟.
Cats are funny old things. Many years ago when we moved (i was 2) the family cat snowy was fine with us for years and i remember him well so i must have been about 5 when he disappeared. I remember being told he went to the old house to see who lived there. Ages later i asked my dad drive me to the old house to check on snowy (him knowing that the cat was likely long dead/gone but was humoring me) and lo and behold there was snowy haha he was happy with his new family in his old home so thats where he stayed.
 

Equi

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I have 2. A brother and sister, same litter. They hate each other and haven't slept together since they were a year old. Two is not always better.
This can happen with opposite sexes i often find. Always better to have two males, or one female. So if you want two...get two boys.
 

Sussexbythesea

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I got two kittens both times. I find they get on as kittens but not so much as adults. My old girls were from the same litter and they tolerated each other their entire lives living to 16 & 18 years. My two boys from different litters got on as kittens but then fell out. The ginger one has moved out to live with an old lady. The remaining black cat loves being top cat.
 

scats

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I have two litter mates. They were adorable together as kittens but the male bullies the female now and it’s horrible. It’s not all the time, but she’s terrified of him as a result. They were so close as kittens, it’s really sad to see how they are together now.
 

Cloball

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My old ginger cat adopted a stray. I have never seen an adult cat clean another cat and be tolerated so well! He lost his other pal a few years before and had been quite depressed and got bullied by the neighbour kitten. My parents still have the stray 3 house moves later. Cat and westie play hide and seek in the garden and go on walks together.
 

ownedbyaconnie

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My OH is military so moving every few years is the price I have to pay for a man in uniform ;) we rescued our cat in July 2019 and moved April 2020 and will be moving again August 2021. When we move we keep him in for a week/10 days/2 weeks depending how relaxed he seems then when I do let him out I sit in the garden with him with some treats and watch him explore. It's always nervy that first time they jump over the garden fence but they know their way home.

And then for the next few weeks he battles it out with every poor cat in the new neighbourhood for top cat status. The amount of times Mabel (dog) kicked off during the night because she could hear Teddy fighting. I can now pick his specific yowl out from a chorus of fighting cats.
 

HufflyPuffly

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It's interesting cat family dynamics, Tiger and Lilly are litter mates and still happily cuddle up, groom each other etc, they are 6 now. Tiger will play and wash the two younger ones, but doesn't snuggle them. Huffle and Squirrel adore each other so far, always curled up together, playing, washing each other etc, they are about 16 months and 9 months now. Lilly does complain to me a lot about the influx of nasty kittens :p but she tolerates them well, just judges them with a hard stare from somewhere high up normally, then tells them off when they bounce on her! Maybe because they're all girls they get on well?
 

Shady

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From personal experience i'd have to say the mixed sex pairs get on better, including my 2 newbies but really much depends on breed/ character and lifestyle. Many indoor only cats will remain close all their lives as they never really develop past a certain point. Usually a change in relationship occurs when young cats start going out into the world and meet other cats and challenges. They then have 2 separate lives and that impacts on their home life and relationships they have with their owners and other cats.

As to moving . I made a quick add up and iv'e moved with my cats about 40 times and had cats for 35 adult years . Iv'e never had a problem, but again much depends on the cats character and it's relationship with its owner and other family pets and where it moves from and to.
So I wouldn't bother waiting if you both really want a cat but there is no certainty that he or she won't be affected when you move. Equally they might be like most of mine over the years and absolutely love exploring each new home.
I'm not going to say whether you should get one or two as I think that depends on your lifestyle and whether the cat will go out or not or be left alone all day.
There's a poster on here who decided to adopt 1 adult cat as she's at home all day, and by the look of it both are extremely happy.
 

FinnishLapphund

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When my Brother-in-law grew up they had a cat that moved with them from the Northern parts of Sweden down to their Summer house on Gotland island every year, almost without any problems. There was 1 year when the cat had gone out hunting, and didn't return for a few days, during precisely the same days as they were going home again. So his mum had to make two, or three extra weekend trips back, and forth, before she managed to find the cat again (a neighbour helped them put out some cat food during the weeks).
Before anyone thinks it's not the same when you do it regularly, there is always the first year it happens when you have a new cat. And that was back in the days when they had never heard about not letting out a cat straight away when you move it to a new place.

I have cat enclosures for my cats, but similar to B-I-L's cat, they have to move with me from city house to Summer cabin. So, a few months after that I get a new cat, it needs to move to for them yet another completely new place. It never caused any problems.

Who knows for certain with the Coronavirus/Covid-19 problems, you might get stuck at your current location for another year. Besides, if you get two, they'll have their buddy with them as support on a new territory, whenever you do move.
ETA As Shady mentions, the dynamic between 2 (or more) cats might change a bit with time, but as I recall it, it feels as if my cats seems to get more tight the first time in a new place.
 
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VioletStripe

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Without sounding horribly negative I always think it’s a good idea for partners to have their ‘own’ pets. Therefore if the worst happens it saves a lot of arguments and heart ache. Get the cat under the pretence it’s yours. When you move in with each other of course let your partner love him like their own. Get the cat, enjoy it!
I very much like this idea.


We've always thought about getting 2, to keep each other company. My new job is going to be remote going forwards anyway, with probably 2 days a week max. in the office. The days I'm away, partner will most likely be wfh for at least one of them anyway (mad how the world of work and expectations to go into the office has changed...)

My thinking is, we know it's going to be 3-4 months at the absolute minimum of us living here, probably longer, so I am tempted to just bite the bullet and get one. Life is short, and if cats adjust well and there'll be plenty of company then maybe it's not a totally silly idea. Moving is stressful but we're not moving many of our possessions over there - where we are now is pre-furnished, so there won't be much packing and unpacking for us to do...?

They would be allowed access to outdoors at both our current place, and wherever we move - we are only going to move to a pet-friendly property with appropriate outside space, away from main roads. Would that make a potential difference, if it's not an indoor cat?

Side note - is the trick to put butter on their paws when they first go outside/first go outside in a new place legitimate or not? Partner's mum said that's what they always did with their cats when she was young!
 

smolmaus

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I very much like this idea.

Side note - is the trick to put butter on their paws when they first go outside/first go outside in a new place legitimate or not? Partner's mum said that's what they always did with their cats when she was young!
Never heard that one myself! Can't say that I see any logic in it either tbh.

The advice I've always heard is to let them out just before you would normally feed them. If they're hungry they won't want to venture too far away and miss breakfast/ dinner. And to go outside with them for short periods in the beginning. I've also heard to sprinkle used litter around the garden so it starts to smell like them.

I have indoor cats so not an expert. If you're going to be at home a lot permanently for company you could consider just having housecats. Eliminates a lot of dangers.
 

VioletStripe

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Never heard that one myself! Can't say that I see any logic in it either tbh.

The advice I've always heard is to let them out just before you would normally feed them. If they're hungry they won't want to venture too far away and miss breakfast/ dinner. And to go outside with them for short periods in the beginning. I've also heard to sprinkle used litter around the garden so it starts to smell like them.

I have indoor cats so not an expert. If you're going to be at home a lot permanently for company you could consider just having housecats. Eliminates a lot of dangers.

That's a good idea, re the litter. I would worry about the cat accidentally getting out generally, so I think our plan is to have them freely out during the day, but in once dark?

I think the butter is supposed to help them track the scent? Who knows! My friend from university said her mum had said the same thing!
 

9tails

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Butter is at least 50 years out of date. Short supervised garden visits (echo the before dinner recommendation), then slightly longer while you stand wringing your hands at the backdoor with a bag of Dreamies. Then you just need to hope they like you enough to come back!
 
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