Hello Sue, I'm Dr. Deb.
I recently came online and see that your question about Scampi hasn't been answered. I'm so sorry that you've had to wait for a response,but if you still need assistance, I'd like to help if I can.
What a distressing situation this must be for you, to have to worry about what might be happening to him when he stays gone for such long periods of time. And, I know your concern is that a predator might find him or that he might come to some harm while he's away from you.I agree that someone else is probably feeding/taking care of him despite your instructions on his neck so at least he is getting fed.I also agree that the attitude of the girls may be what is triggering his desire to spend long periods of time elsewhere although I've seen this behavior in cats who have a very stress-free home life. Some cats just prefer to spread their love around, so to speak.And, to keep him inside 100% of the time would obviously affect his quality of life in a very negative way, I suspect. In his frustration, the tensions between him and the girls might escalate and he might start inappropriately urinating/defecating as a result.Other than trying to make his home life more pleasant with the girls (which is going to be very difficult to do at this point), it sounds to me like your options are limited.I don't know what more you can do to encourage him to return other than what you've done. Since you have another option with your dad, this is the option I would take. I wouldn't let him outside there for a while until he's totally acclimated and has adjusted to his new living situation. I might use Feliway, a natural pheromone, which may aid in the transition.I would then let him out during the day but bring him in at night as you tried to do at your home. If he repeats the behavior at your dad's house of staying away for periods of time, then this is a cat who has wanderlust and most likely will never change (unless you keep him indoors 100% of the time). This is the lifestyle he's chosen and which suits him the best.Would I like it if he were my cat? No, since I'd constantly worry about his welfare but I'd also try to realize that this is just his nature and would have to be content with it.I would hope that he has enough street-smarts to know what's best for him.I hope this helps. Deb
Thank you. It confirms what I think may be the best thing to do, at least if he is with dad I can see him often and I can still get him his jabs and make sure he gets his dental diet etc. He seemed to become a "man" last year so it may prove to be that this is the way he wants to live his life but I think he also likes to have a place of solitude and comfort. Oddly enough he is the one that I thought was the least independent and seemed to need the cuddles more-do male cats tend to do this?