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  1. #1
    Tigger AT a_tigger's Avatar
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    Cool What to do with my cats....

    I'm planning to do a southbound thru-hike this year (although it may realistically be in 2011) and the biggest challange that i can't come up with a solution is what to do with my two house cats. anyone else come across this delima. what options are there?

  2. #2
    Registered User ShelterLeopard's Avatar
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    Got any farm relatives they could live with? Of course, they may get really attached to the farm life. The only option for a thru is to do something a bit more permanent- I don't think it would be feasible to have someone just come a feed your cats for 6 months, and your cats would be sad.

    Maybe a friend of your's has always wanted a cat, but can't keep one forever, so they'd like to have one for a couple months?

    Ah, whatever. Least helpful post in the world.
    2010 AT NoBo Thru "attempt" (guess 1,700 miles didn't quite get me all the way through ;) )
    Various adventures in Siberia 2016
    Adventures past and present!
    (and maybe 2018 PCT NoBo)

  3. #3
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    As a cat person, I'm going to give you a very blunt answer, tho I suspect you already know what it is:

    You have three options here.

    *You can endeavor to find a responsible loving home for your pets (i.e. friends or family members) who will take care of them and their needs for the six months that you are away. This will be hard to do, but I hope you find a way.

    *You can give your cats to a shelter. There are indeed "no kill" shelters but they are few and far between and because of the present economic situation, some are closing or are no longer taking new animals. And older animals are notoriously difficult when it comes to finding adoptive homes. If you give your cats to a shelter that is not "No Kill" they will almost certainly be euthanized within a few weeks.

    *Third option is to postpone your trip.

    Sorry, but that's about the size of it. This is a very difficult thing, and it's one of the reasons I've postponed pet ownershop for 15 years, tho I'd love to have some kitties around the place. As soon as I give up long-ditance hiking, I'm adopting two cats and learning how to garden.

    Whatever you do, very best of luck and I hope everything works out for you.

  4. #4
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    No relatives to take in the cats ? Neighbors that could watch them ?

    If no , then ask your vet if he/she could help with finding someone to care for your cats . My cats veterinarians office has young eager assistants that have taken in stray animals that were brought for care.

    if nothing else place ads in local papers .
    Getting lost is a way to find yourself.

  5. #5
    Registered User ShelterLeopard's Avatar
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    Hey: idea. You might be able to find someone who will be hiking the year after you, and needs someone to take their cats. So, they take your cats this year, you take their cats next year! Not extremely probable, but would be cool. Best option is asking your relatives to take 'em for a bit. The problem 'll be getting 'em back.
    2010 AT NoBo Thru "attempt" (guess 1,700 miles didn't quite get me all the way through ;) )
    Various adventures in Siberia 2016
    Adventures past and present!
    (and maybe 2018 PCT NoBo)

  6. #6
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    SL:

    People who (like me and Tigger) know there is a special name in California for "farm cats." It's call, "Coyote food." That's different from what suburbanites here call outdoor cats, which is "Coyote snacks." (Coyotes in the 'burbs consider ankle biters and dogs to be entrees.)

    Tigger might look for 'cat rescue' homes or other cat owners in her/his area. I might also check the local Sierra Club (join!) which will have a lot of hikers who might sympathize and support a thru by being a cat partner for a few months or so.

    TW
    "Thank God! there is always a Land of Beyond, For us who are true to the trail..." --- Robert Service

  7. #7
    Registered User ShelterLeopard's Avatar
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    Hm... I live in farm area in Jersey, where farm cats are fat, happy mouse chasers and don't get eaten by wild beasts. So, I don't know California in terms of wild animals at all. Scratch the farm suggestion!
    2010 AT NoBo Thru "attempt" (guess 1,700 miles didn't quite get me all the way through ;) )
    Various adventures in Siberia 2016
    Adventures past and present!
    (and maybe 2018 PCT NoBo)

  8. #8
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    For others, and not just SL:

    "Farm cats" have a generally short life expectancy, and that is changing as coyote and other medium predators move back into suburban (former farmland) territory. I lost a 20# "mouser" to a barn owl, and that's not uncommon. Large raptors (including eagles and, I'm told, occasionally hawks) will attack cats, even large ones. Farm cats are a necessary part of farms and homes in the country, to minimize the rodent population. But they don't last as long as the happy stereotypes make it out to be.

    Jack is right: Responsible pet ownership is extraordinarily difficult for long distance hikers as it is with any other vagabonds: You can travel, you can have pets, but absent serious wealth, you can't do both. Not without extreme inconvenience to you, others, and, most of all, the pet you are abandoning for months at a time.

    That's the last part that a lot of pet owners forget whey they give Barko or Garfield to a friend to 'watch' for 5 or 6 months. Pets suffer extreme stress, even mental illness, from separation anxiety. Your cat or dog loves you, depends on you for food, for warmth, for play, for companionship, for everything. You are the center of its limited universe. It feels joy when it sees you, and wants nothing other than to be with you and be happy.

    Then you just leave it one day. You give it to someone on a farm or another hosue that doesn't know the type of toy it likes, or how it finds a place in the yard to pee that makes it happy, or anything. It's whole life is destroyed, and it has no idea why or that it will ever be the same. Or maybe you give it to a "shelter". Yeah, probably - maybe not, but hey! - it will be adopted. If it is, that means that about the time you get to Harper's Ferry it won't be taken from the cage it lived in for 90 days and put into a big tank with a few dozen other animals and the air sucked out as it takes 10 minutes to die.

    Jack wasn't blunt. Jack was being gentle. The reality is that if you have a pet, and you're not taking it with you, don't try a thru. Doing so is cruel to something that can't protect itself, especially from someone it loves unconditionally.

    TW
    "Thank God! there is always a Land of Beyond, For us who are true to the trail..." --- Robert Service

  9. #9

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    no matter how much he begs and pleads, no matter how caring and responsible he may sound......do not, i repeat, do NOT let warragyi'mgay cat sit for you. he will eat their brains.

  10. #10
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    I agree with most of what Weasel just said, but cats are more adaptable than dogs.

    One caveat, tho: Whoever takes your kitties might become quite fond of them, and the cats might in turn discover that they're very happy in their new home, so keep in mind that when you have someone "sit" for your pets for six months, it might turn out to be forever. And this is not necessarily a bad thing, as many A.T. hikers discover that their thru-hike is not the last of their big travel adventures and it'd be REALLYunfair to do this to your pets every other year. What I'm saying is that if you turn your pets over to someone else, be aware that you may well be saying goodbye. And this might be for the best, but in any case, it's important that you realize this.

  11. #11

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    Outdoor cats get run over by cars more often than they get eaten by coyotes or other animals. Either that or they just disappear.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Appalachian Tater View Post
    Either that or they just disappear.
    eaten by warrgies....

  13. #13
    Formerly "Totem"
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    ShelterLeopard, just an FYI, in August I was biking through Suburbia, East Brunswick NJ (Not too far from you) and I saw a Coyote run across the street. Followed him a bit to make sure I saw what I saw. Sure enough. They're this far down south now. No doubt picking off the strays.
    up over the hills, theres nothing to fear
    theres a pub across the way with whisky and beer
    its a lengthy journey on the way up to the top
    but it ain't so bad if you have a great big bottle o'scotch

  14. #14
    Registered User ShelterLeopard's Avatar
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    Hmm- we have a couple wolf dogs that occasionally escape from a local breeder, and a couple farmers have had trouble with coyotes and their sheep last summer, but we honestly don't see them much.
    2010 AT NoBo Thru "attempt" (guess 1,700 miles didn't quite get me all the way through ;) )
    Various adventures in Siberia 2016
    Adventures past and present!
    (and maybe 2018 PCT NoBo)

  15. #15

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    They make a delicious stew. . .

  16. #16
    Registered User ShelterLeopard's Avatar
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    But in New Brunswick? That's crazy- I wouldn't have expected them to be there.
    2010 AT NoBo Thru "attempt" (guess 1,700 miles didn't quite get me all the way through ;) )
    Various adventures in Siberia 2016
    Adventures past and present!
    (and maybe 2018 PCT NoBo)

  17. #17
    Garlic
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    I agree with the general flow here, that pet ownership and thru hiking are mutually exclusive. If you love a pet, don't thru hike--yet.

    You're young--you can hike later, at a time when there aren't pets in your life. Many hikers work for many years, sometimes decades, to arrange the circumstances for their hike. There are lots of gray-haired hikers out there, and many of them just didn't wake up one day in their 50s or 60s and decide to try out the AT.
    "Throw a loaf of bread and a pound of tea in an old sack and jump over the back fence." John Muir on expedition planning

  18. #18
    Registered User ShelterLeopard's Avatar
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    That's what surprised me so much! (Did he get there by commuter train???) But East Brunswick makes more sense.
    2010 AT NoBo Thru "attempt" (guess 1,700 miles didn't quite get me all the way through ;) )
    Various adventures in Siberia 2016
    Adventures past and present!
    (and maybe 2018 PCT NoBo)

  19. #19
    Registered User ShelterLeopard's Avatar
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    Another thing (that I just thought of), is that you need to make sure you want to do a thru. Go do a weeklong section somewhere that is similar to the AT in both terrain and difficulty. That way, you won't blow all your money on getting to GA, realize you don't want to do it, come home after a week and have no cat to comfort you.
    2010 AT NoBo Thru "attempt" (guess 1,700 miles didn't quite get me all the way through ;) )
    Various adventures in Siberia 2016
    Adventures past and present!
    (and maybe 2018 PCT NoBo)

  20. #20
    aka -OvertheEdge- :)
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    I guess I'm a cat person. My wife has 7 of them (OK I like them too).Even when we were moving around a lot we had cats. I grew up with a lot of cats as people dumped their cats out in the woods when they were done with them( all 7 of our current cats are rescue cats). I have had to give up cats to farms and I have lived in the Mojave desert in California. Sooo here is my opinions.

    Cats are better than dogs if you like to travel with out them for short times. If you have good friends/neighbors/family, to check their feed change their water and maybe clean the box. they are good for a week maybe a day or two more.

    If you have to give them up long term the kindest thing is to take them to the vet for the "needle". Then go shed some tears in the corner and convince yourself it was only a cat.

    Cats on a farm do have a high mortality rate and it is very high for a "pet" left there. I had to do that with two and they did not last a week. I also worked farms and saw the same.

    Multiple cats in a house: One cat is a nice friend, two cats are a lot of fun. After that they become a lot of work. The house always smells like a litter box, you can not keep ahead of the fur, the clawing of furniture and corners is unstoppable, and someone is always having "issues" that result in inappropriate peeing and pooing outside the litter box. Keep this in mind before you give your cats to someone else that has cats.

    SheLep, coyote's do eat pets and they have invaded the east and they are coming your way I saw one just north of Eckville Shelter in early Sept.

    Read Jack Tarlins and The Weasel's post carefully as they make a lot of sense. Yes, Jack you forgot option # four. See my option # 1.

    I'm going to go hug and scratch the ears of my crippled saddle back kitty.

    Over The Edge
    Alcohol was involved!

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