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My cat, indoors or outdoors?

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Supercalifragilisticexpiali... Supercalifragilisticexpiali... QLD Posts: 199
1 17 Sep 2011
She's about 5 yrs old and has always been kept indoors, except for outside walks around the garden on a leash (we used to do this a lot but not so much since having our daughter).

She always wants to get outside anytime anyone opens the door, usually just runs to a warm spot on the concrete outside and rolls around before we catch her and bring her in again. We also let her out a few months ago and she ran and hid under nextdoor's house for hours and would not come out.

So I just don't know what to do... on one hand I think it's cruel to keep her inside, on the other hand she could get in fights or get hit by a car outside, and on the other hand (wow three hands, freaky!) there's the wildlife to consider -- she's very agile and very much an attack cat, kills any lizards or bugs indoors and is actually quite vicious to us too lol

She's a very special cat to us all though, and we'd be devastated if anything happened to her but I feel so sad for her seeing how desperately she wants to go outside.

What would you do?
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Clud Clud VIC Posts: 1559
2 17 Sep 2011
Can you get a cat run?
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carmielee carmielee SA Posts: 16
3 17 Sep 2011
I adopted my ginger tabby almost 5 years ago from the RSPCA as a kitten. He has been an indoor cat since day one. It is certainly a hard one isn't it! I too have struggled with worrying if I am being cruel by keeping him indoors and worrying if I am preventing him from engaging in natural behaviors.
I live in a particularly busy area and therefore the thought of him being hit by a car freaks me out!!!! I am lucky that Bodhi is not particularly interested in going outdoors as yours is. He will come out into our courtyard under supervision, sniff around and then head back indoors. There has been to odd occasion where a loud noise or something spooks him so then he does bolt and hide. Maybe this is what your cat is doing considering she was not raised with an understanding of the outdoors? Does she get along with your children?
Do you keep your cat active? This is crucial and can be easily neglected, especially now you have children. I find when i get busy with work and dont take the time to keep Bodhi mentally stimulated, there is a change in his behaviour. He gets pretty stroppy for a usually placid, loving cat.
Get some big lovely scratchy posts, balls to chase, toys to "hunt"...but as with kids, it's usually the more simple things that they love the most! For example, his favorite treat is a small branch brought in from outside....he'll spend ages having a good sniff, chew and then drags it around the house...his little taste of nature I suppose!
First and foremost, they need the attention above anything else since they are confined to the house. Maybe try to consciously give your cat playtime, as you used to e.g. as you explained with walks around the yard. Some old routine may calm her down. Don't forget that cats are a creature of habit and while addition of your daughter was a huge life changing experience for you....your cat has to adapt to that too.
Best of luck xxxxx
love
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Supercalifragilisticexpiali... Supercalifragilisticexpiali... QLD Posts: 199
4 17 Sep 2011
Thanks for your replies.

Can't do a cat run unfortunately.

Our cat is a funny one. She's only affectinate occasionally, on her terms of course. She is quite vicious actually and if you try and pat her without her coming to you first you're going to end up bleeding. Playing with her inevitably ends up with us bleeding 9/10 times too, she just gets carried away. She does have a cat tower and plays with anything and everything so keeps herself entertained pretty well, we did have to take away her cat tunnel because any time someone walked by she would claw them - her idea of fun, but bleeding is not my idea of fun unfortunately.

Our daughter is three and has sustained pretty big scratches from our cat many many times even though the cat has plenty of areas she can go that our daughter can't get to and I've always done my best to keep them apart. They seem to have sorted things out now though ie daughter can read the cat better now and the cat has learnt to like daughter as daughter feeds her breakfast, come to think of it our daughter is one of the only ppl who can pat the cat mostly without getting scratched, but the cat is unpredictable and still scratches her accross the face for seemingly no reason.

We got the cat very young and very unwell, she spent a long time in the cat hospital and never really seemed the same after that, never wanted much of the attention we gave her from a young age.

I know i must make her sound horrible, and she really is a lot of the time, but she is gorgeous (the pretty ones are always crazy... in every species! lol) and has her moments and we love her regardless.
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..1 ..1 TAS Posts: 2265
5 17 Sep 2011
My cat is indoors only. And he's happier than any other cat I've ever known. You need to be able to mentally stimulate them if you have a rather small house though. Lots of toys, scratching furniture, etc. My cat seems to be happy just to have people around.

My cat used to try and run out too, I taught him 'stay' by saying it every time he went to the door when he wasn't allowed. (Some times he is allowed to go outside, only if he's got his collar and lead on, though.)
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carmielee carmielee SA Posts: 16
6 17 Sep 2011
Awww supercal that sounds like a difficult situation. I can only comment based on my experience and clearly my cats personality is very different. He thinks he is a dog...or human....and unusually affectionate most of the time.
Perhaps it is time to give her the freedom outside? As sad as it is for you, she sounds like a little one that is full of energy and mischief. A few hrs outside might be what she needs. I guess you have to do what is right for the temperament.
Don't fret about what we think. You must love her dearly to post your views and be so worried. Despite her character flaws, she is lucky to have such a patient human mum. Some people wouldn't take the time. Good on you for trying to do what is best and safest for your cat....even when it's not easy.
I hope you find some good advice that works for both of you xox
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KittyLover KittyLover VIC Posts: 281
7 17 Sep 2011
My 6 are indoor cats but the do have a huge cat run too but they spend most if the day sleeping on their bed!! Typical cat!! Haha.

I also worry about the dangers of letting them out, I wouldn't cope if something happened to them.  I give them lots of toys. Recently got them frolicat. A laser toy which they love.
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Aimee Aimee VIC Posts: 957
8 17 Sep 2011
I'm against having cats indoors except for unique circumstances like a blind or deaf cat that would be disadvantaged when it comes to their safety (or white cats who must avoid the sun). I know there's cars and there's wildlife. But if you have a set curfew (bring them in before dark) and try and use techniques to deter them from road I believe that an outdoor life is best for a cat. It is what's natural for them.

My cat Charlie used to go on adventures all day and come home covered in cobwebs and dirt, she'd scratch her claws on the trees outside, she's hiss other cats off her territory, she'd sleep in the garden in the rain, and she'd roll around on the concrete in the sun. She lived 19 happy years happy
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Pegs Pegs VIC Posts: 1538
9 17 Sep 2011
I am strongly against letting cats outside unless they are on a leash or something. My dad let my cat Mozzy out all day, and he would come home with dead birds and everything. One time he killed a baby possum, and despite all this, he had almost 4 bells on his collar.

I plan to get cats when I move out, despite being allergic to some, and they will have a large cat enclosure, which will be entertaining and try to include all their needs and wants, as well as inside the house, which will provide the same thing.

I don't like the idea of letting cats run loose because of No.1 the 'extra' damage they do to wildlife, and No.2 them coming to some harm. Many people complain that people are killing foxes and rabbits because they are destroying habitat and animals (not to mention farmers jobs, but who cares about that) and those people say it is our fault in the first place, but isn't letting your cat run around 'wild' all day almost the same thing?
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Supercalifragilisticexpiali... Supercalifragilisticexpiali... QLD Posts: 199
10 17 Sep 2011
Thanks for your input everyone.

Aimee said:
I'm against having cats indoors except for unique circumstances like a blind or deaf cat that would be disadvantaged when it comes to their safety (or white cats who must avoid the sun). I know there's cars and there's wildlife. But if you have a set curfew (bring them in before dark) and try and use techniques to deter them from road I believe that an outdoor life is best for a cat. It is what's natural for them.

My cat Charlie used to go on adventures all day and come home covered in cobwebs and dirt, she'd scratch her claws on the trees outside, she's hiss other cats off her territory, she'd sleep in the garden in the rain, and she'd roll around on the concrete in the sun. She lived 19 happy years happy
Thanks Aimee, but how do you deter a cat from going on the road? When she's on the leash we've just been encouraging her to stay in the backyard, is there something else to do? Also she is mostly white but I think as her ears and some of her nose are not (just uploaded a pic for you to see)  she should be ok, what do you guys think?

We're on a relatively quiet street so in a good enough position to do this I think, but I keep reading online about indoor cats not being able to adjust to the outdoors... but as I've explained she is no lap cat... such a big decision sad
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