Sharing an email from Mr GV.
Having moved with a cat four times (Bombay to Pune to Delhi to Gurgaon), I think the difficulty here is that the cat is an ‘outdoors cat’.
A cat who has always lived indoors, I know personally, can settle down in newer homes. Can adult ‘outdoors cats’ learn to live indoors?
What do you think?
I would request permission to use your blog to reach out to people who are knowledgeable about the behavior of cats and seek their advice.
I am having an unusual problem which I did not anticipate and would love to hear from your very knowledgeable readers.
Here is the story:
My wife’s elder sister (hereinafter referred to as C) and her husband (retired) are coming over from Mumbai to live in my apartment in Bangalore for about 6 months while my wife and I leave Bangalore to stay in California with my daughter, son-in -law and grandson at their specific invitation. My sister in law , C , has a pet cat and she insists she will bring it along from Mumbai to Bangalore. We have no issue with her bringing the cat along.
Questions: Will the cat cooperate? Will it accept this new place? Will it run away? How can they transport the cat? I presume they will either come by air or by train. Are cats allowed in trains or in aircraft? Or will they have to travel by road for the sake of the cat? Will it possibly run away on the way?
At Mumbai they live in a two bedroom apartment on the ground floor. Here they will stay in a three bedroom apartment on the sixth floor in a gated apartment complex of about 200 apartments.
At Mumbai the cat goes out easily and returns on its own for being fed and sleeps in the drawing room or on the sofa. Will a Mumbai cat agree to be cooped up in the sixth floor of an apartment here at Bangalore? I have two balconies, one attached to the kitchen, where the maid servant does the dish washing and another balcony attached to the drawing room. Can the cat be comfortable here? The balconies are enclosed by means of sliding glass panels and protected from the rain and wind.
For the cat, the building and its environs at Mumbai are familiar territory. Here the surroundings will be strange. Other stray cats in the neighbourhood and some dogs in the apartment complex may be hostile towards it. I heard that cats are loyal to the place they inhabit, not to the humans who take care of them. They don’t mind a change in masters but they do mind a change in place. Is this true?
I wonder if C is doing the right thing in bringing the cat over. I thought she had the option of asking one of her adult sons who lives with her to feed it. This adult son works at Mumbai and lives with them and will be staying there at night but will be out all day. Maids/watchmen in the building can also be told to take care of the cat (after being offered an incentive). But she pleads that her son is often away on tour and she does not trust friends/neighbours / servants /watchmen to take care of her cat during her absence. I also suspect that the son is not too receptive to the idea of taking responsibility for his mom’s pet cat and would be more than happy to bundle it off with his parents to Bangalore.
The reason for their coming over to stay here for such an extended period is not relevant here and is a family matter but for those who are curious, let me come out with it .
The reason is taking care of my aged mother-in-law (who is in her eighties) in our absence. Mil has been living with us for over 30 years and only spending a few days every few years with her other three daughters. (She has four daughters and no son. Fil is no more). My place has been her headquarters all these years. We can’t take her with us to USA. She is most unwilling to go to Mumbai to stay with C and my wife is also dead set against sending here there for such a long period. All earlier visits have lasted just a few days or perhaps a couple of weeks. There are other reasons too which prevent this solution and I would not like to discuss them.
Hence C and her husband are coming over (willingly) to be with my mother in law and also take care of our apartment in our absence. My co-brother is a retired gentleman and loves Bangalore and openly welcomes this proposal. I would not have considered this otherwise. His married elder son (V) and daughter in law (another career woman) also live in another apartment in the same complex in Bangalore where we live.
During our three previous visits to USA, there was no problem. We left Mother in law to the care of another sister in law (wife’s younger sister, hereinafter referred to as L) . L is a busy career woman and she too lives in the same apartment complex, on another floor. Mother in law’s health was much better then. She had no problem being alone in the house while living with L and could even be useful to L with minor chores around the house and supervising the maids, answering the door, receiving phone calls, accepting couriered letters/parcels/gas cylinders and generally taking care of the house while L was away at work. Her grandson (V) and grand daughter in law were also a just a few floors away and she did not miss us at all.
Since then her health has deteriorated sharply, and a few months ago, she was in an ICU in the Hospital. We thought it was all over but she scraped through and has recovered some of her former health. Today her health and physical condition is not alarming but not free from concern either. She is not bed-ridden, and can move around, but she simply cannot be left alone any more to manage the house. Neither can she be left to L’s care except on Weekends when L is at home, unless L gives up her career for her mom’s sake. I am totally against that solution. It’s just a six month period for which we have to find another way out.
The senior sis –in-law, C and her husband coming over to live in our apartment was unanimously agreed as the best solution and they are also looking forward to escaping the heat and dust of Mumbai for an extended stay in Bangalore with its famed weather. C also welcomes the prospect of spending some time taking care of her mother and also enjoying the company of junior sis in law L. and her son (V) and daughter in law who live a few doors away. Mil will also like having C over. She has lots of family gossip to share with her while my wife and I are away. C’s presence is needed only for managing the house and giving company to her mother who cannot be left alone. Mil does not need any nursing. She is old, but she does not qualify for assisted living as yet.
Doctors and hospitals are located just a stone’s throw away in case of need. Plenty of friendly neighbours are also there to help if needed and C’s elder son V is also near at hand. We also propose to stay in touch over the phone or Skype.
My only worry is this cat, to which C is totally devoted ! I have hesitated to raise the issue of the cat with C as I don’t want her to feel that I am hinting that the cat is unwelcome and I don’t want her to cancel her plans for the sake of her cat.
Meanwhile Mil’s fourth daughter R is blissfully unaware of the issue and we would hate to bother her. She can do nothing to help. She is a permanent resident and a citizen of USA for the past 35 years. Mil has visited her twice and suffered due to the freezing temperatures there. Sending her to USA is ruled out. She Skypes regularly with R using my wife’s Ipad.
Any thoughts/ideas/suggestions/opinions/advice from your readers is welcome.
When I last saw what my wife was up to, I noticed she has been googling “Cat Care” on her Ipad! I am sure your readers here can give me better advice.