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Recently, I had to move back with my parents for various reasons, but one of which is to save up to buy a home. This process should take roughly a year or so. I don't have anyone with me so my cats (2 cats brother and sister about a year old now) have also spent their last year with me with 10 hours+ of me not being around each day during the week. My mom has 4 cats and both my parents work from home or spend the majority of their time at the house. I am worried that if I let them walk about my parents house, they will get use to having all these other cats and people around and when I go to move out again, they may have issues being back to a quieter simpler life.

Currently I am keeping them in my bed room during the day. It's a larger room than most that can fit a queen bed plus furniture plus a large cat tree and room enough to play on the floor as well. They have a window in my room that over looks the neighbor's backyard (which is always busy and has things for them to watch with dogs running around) plus it looks out into the desert as well. They also have one of their litter boxes in my bedroom and both their food and water bowls so that they can have all they need in my room. When I get home from work at night, I let them out to roam the house for 6ish hours before I go to sleep and bring them back to my room but essentially keeping the schedule of when they are around people and when they are not. Most of the time they follow me about the house anyways our hang out with me when I am on my PC.

I feel bad because my cats are probably bored being locked up in my room. They are use to an apartment to themselves though my apartment wasn't really much larger than my bedroom anyways (basically 2 of my bedrooms). Would it be healthy/safe to keep them in my room in this manner for a prolonged period of time? They would still be fairly young when I move out again but I don't want to screw with their comforts by having them have no one around to 1000 things going on back to no one around again. I also don't want my cats to end up lazy from boredom and crap either. The other main issue is that my mom tends to take over taking care of my pets. What I mean by this is.... if i am not around she will take it upon herself to feed them or sneak treats to them when I specifically ask her not to. She also lets them out of my bedroom before I get home or will go into my bed room to play with them several times a day. This bothers me because again it defeats the purpose of me keeping them in the room and I don't want them to become dependent on her.

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Are you asking recommendations on how to help get them activity or how to help in general or is this situation okay for them?

It's a good start that you are letting them out of the room for a few hours when you get home, but you are right in assuming they will get bored. A cats ability to run around is important to their mental state as well as their physical health (weight gain, cardiovascular health, musculoskeletal strength, hormone balance, and endorphin production).

Maybe to add some activity you can get some cat perches and ladders to put in the bedroom. You can purchase some or make your own! This will add surface space around your room for them to roam; adding height will make them happy too. When cats feel threatened, do to small space and not enough space to claim, it helps to have places up high where they can look down at their claimed space and feel like they have a get-away from chaos or cramped space.

If this is an investment that may be hard for you (I don't like to assume the status of anyone's finances), start by clearing off spaces and cleaning the room. Remove any items from the room you don't need or can be put in another room or stored elsewhere. Clear off tables, dressers, windowsills, chairs, beds, etc, so your cats feel more welcome to roam anywhere and everywhere in the room. If you have a closet, clear the bottom of it out and try moving their litter box in there with the door open so that they have more space in the main part of the room away from it. Cats prefer to cover and eliminate smells and it'll make their air quality somewhat better (and maybe even yours).

Look around your room and ask yourself, "is this room puppy proof or baby proof?". Being that they may get bored eliminate anything danger they can chew on, swallow, get their claws stuck in, or any other scenarios where playing in there could harm them.

Is there way to move the furniture around to make for more floor space, running space? If so do this.

You may not be able to avoid your mother giving them treats when your not home. Personally my mother doesn't respect MY wishes with sneaking treats,so I know how frustrating that can be. Have a talk with her and tell her anything that's totally off limits (diet restrictions, allergies etc), and if you suspect she's giving treats, cut back just a little on how much you feed them. It'll be important for you to keep a close eye on their weight.

Lastly, maybe while you're home in the evening you can start to try to train them to walk on a leash. Some cats react well to this but not all. Find the lightest weight leash you can and attach it to their collars n let them drag it around under supervision until you think they're no longer scared of it. If leash training works for them, you can walk them when you get home so they're not just being lazy during your "roam house" hours, and maybe, just maybe your parents could walk them too when you aren't home. If you choose to take them outside, I'd recommend checking to make sure they're current on all proper medications, vaccines,and preventions. Pick them up when a dog or threat is close.

Hope this help. I think this is a more common issue than is typically talked about. People don't want to openly talk about having to keep their pets in a single room, but I have much respect for you taking a step towards making it right and comfortable for them.

  • Thank you for your reply! I do have a window in there that they are able to jump to as well as they have a large cat tree (about 7+ feet tall) with multiple levels perches and condos. I also just spent all last weekend cleaning out my room for things that were just left there when I moved out and causes clutter space. My only issue I have with things you suggested is my walls and shelves are not cat proof. I have many baseball collectibles hanging on my wall including autographs and bats. They have not appeared to tamper with them yet but they have jumped on some of my shelving – ggiaquin16 Jun 7 '17 at 20:07
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    @ggiaquin the set up sounds good. I think keeping them separate for part of the day to keep them pair bonded is a good idea. Your mum treating them and letting them out early won't harm them in any way. I think you are a thoughtful pet owner and doing a great job – In loving memory of Dyani Jun 8 '17 at 15:08
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    @ggiaquin yes that's a good idea. Their overall happiness is important, although you want them to get used to the quieter situation. It's remarkable there's not been a lot of fighting among so many cats – In loving memory of Dyani Jun 8 '17 at 21:41
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    @YvetteColomb, This was prepped by having my cats come over to my parents house with me for sunday dinners about once or so a month. It was really rough at first but since they had those previous meetings, the move was a lot easier for all the cats. – ggiaquin16 Jun 8 '17 at 22:19
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    @ggiaquin Yvette has a good point.... I would keep an eye out and be cautious/prepared for a possible cat fight. Even though it hasn't happened yet, cats have a great sense of smell and although kept separate they all know each other is there, on the other side of the door..... The stress could get to them over time. I wish you the best of luck with your kitties – Christy B. Jun 8 '17 at 22:50

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