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keeping cat inside permanently (need help)

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
i've been taking of an outdoor cat for almost 2 years now. she's been spayed, but not vaccinated yet. here's my dilema. i've been trying for the longest time to have her (looka) stay inside my home permanently, but she don't want to. she comes in everyday, eats, and sleeps for 5-6 hours, but after she wakes up, she wants to go outside. so i just let her out and she doesn't come back until next day. i've just been following this routine regularly until about 7-8 months ago, when i noticed after i come home from work she would be waiting for me to let her in. so now i let her in the morning around 7-8am, let her out when she wants to go usually 3pm, let her in after i get home from work which is around 11pm and let her out once again around 2-3am because she just doesn't want to stay in.

for the past few days now, i noticed she hasn't been eating as much, and has been sleeping way more than usual. last night she kept meowing like she was in pain. she slept for a long time, but eventually woke up and wanted to go out as usual, in spite of the very cold weather. so i let her out around 4am. i woke up 7am as i always do to let her in and first thing i noticed was that she jumped onto the sofa and kept licking around her tail. she didn't want to eat. i went to see what was wrong with her and sure enough she was hurting. there was a bald spot by her tail and upon closer inspection, there was a bloody bruise around 1 inch in diameter. i took looka to the vet. when the doctor took a look at the bruised and squeezed it, lots of pus spewed out. she told me it was abscess from a fight with another cat. surgery was $564.

i want to have looka stay in permanently now. i can't afford to have this happen again. i can't put up a fence right now, it's just way too expensive. so what should i do? do i lock her in a room? what about the nonstop meowing if i dont let her out, should i just ignore it? oh, she is not litter trained. any advice would be greatly appreciated.

thanks
post #2 of 14
It is tuff trying to change an outdoor cat to an indoor cat. When you say lock her in a room, can't she have the run of the house? You say she is not trained, do you have a litter box in the house? has she gone elsewhere in the house? Maybe she goes out to go to potty, maybe litter in the house will help her stay in. I would say keep her in, give her litter, and put up with the meowing which will surely go on for months maybe. when she does want to go out, can you open the blinds or somehow let her see more? I do that with mine who wants out. I pull the blind up when I go to bed,(it is in then living room) so he can see the neighbors cat if it is [out.
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gailuvscats View Post
It is tuff trying to change an outdoor cat to an indoor cat. When you say lock her in a room, can't she have the run of the house? You say she is not trained, do you have a litter box in the house? has she gone elsewhere in the house? Maybe she goes out to go to potty, maybe litter in the house will help her stay in. I would say keep her in, give her litter, and put up with the meowing which will surely go on for months maybe. when she does want to go out, can you open the blinds or somehow let her see more? I do that with mine who wants out. I pull the blind up when I go to bed,(it is in then living room) so he can see the neighbors cat if it is [out.
hi, thanks for quick reply. yeah, she can basically roam where ever she wants to go cause my house is not to big. the problem is i think she gets bored. as for the litter, how do i train her to use it? she has never pooped or urinated in the home. when she needs to go, there is a distinctive meow i recognize indicating its time then i let her out. her timing is pretty consistent too. and she weaves around the blinds many times just to look outside. i am truly clueless on what i should do.
post #4 of 14
They know instintively to use it. put out a big box with good litter, and place her in it a few times, and especially if it is time for her to go. She will use it. Scoop after she uses it. get a clumping kind, and put it on top of a plastic runner or an old rug in case there is a spill and to catch litter she might kick out. Scoop it into a small trash can with a plastic bag in it, I use a big metal slotted spoon as a scooper, purchased at then dollar store, works great.

As far as being bored, cats generally sleep a lot, get some balls and toys to chase, play with her in the morning and when you get home, she will adjust. She is neutered, right?
post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gailuvscats View Post
They know instintively to use it. put out a big box with good litter, and place her in it a few times, and especially if it is time for her to go. She will use it. Scoop after she uses it. get a clumping kind, and put it on top of a plastic runner or an old rug in case there is a spill and to catch litter she might kick out. Scoop it into a small trash can with a plastic bag in it, I use a big metal slotted spoon as a scooper, purchased at then dollar store, works great.

As far as being bored, cats generally sleep a lot, get some balls and toys to chase, play with her in the morning and when you get home, she will adjust. She is neutered, right?
yes she is neutered. this might sound stupid, but i gotta ask, how often do i change the litter? looka will actually be my first true cat. i've fed others, but never really had one, so i really don't know what to do. thanks gailuvscats.
post #6 of 14
What concerns me the most is that you say she is not vaccinated. Why? Shots are much cheaper than taking care of a sick cat.

I know how hard it is to keep an outdoor cat in. Our Dusty was a stray that we've had for 2 years. She uses the litter box, and I don't let her out at night at all, but I still let her out during the day. She just loves to sleep on the patio furniture. But if the weather is bad I won't let her out.
post #7 of 14
Everyone has a different routine. With a clumping litter, you are removing the fouled litter and the rest can remain for quite a while. I Don't have a regular routine of dumping the whole thing and cleaning out the boxes. Usually when the urge moves me, or it is summertime and things need to be freshened up, or someone pooped on the side of the box. Some people do it weekly, some monthly, some every few months, I think I read someone never changes the whole thing. Cats like a clean box though. Sometimes I can tell because mine will look at it, and then look at me and say, you've got to be kidding? You will keep adding fresh litter every time you scoop. I have a plastic cup and put a scoop in for every scoop I remove.
There is a sticky on this site that gives detailed info on how to keep the litter, and change it. You could read that. There is also a ton of different types of litter to use. That will be another lesson, but you just need to get started now.
post #8 of 14
It's so very difficult to snuff out the desire to be outside in a cat whose had a taste of the great outdoors!!! Be prepared for a pain in your rear, for quite a while, although I do believe you're doing the right thing by keeping her safe indoors with you...all of my cats have only ever been strictly indoor pets, and it will always be that way around here. Too many risks!

As long as she knows where the litterbox is located, she'll use it...

Please get her vaccinated, in case she were to slip out accidently...there are many diseases and illnesses she can contract outdoors, and pick up from other cats.

She needs stimulation indoors. Go hunt for a large cat tree (or have someone make you one!!!) that is high, make sure she has access to windows (so she can "birdwatch"), and play with her several times during the day with interactive cat toys, such as the "cat dancer." The key is to make indoors as stimulating (or at least try to make it as stimulating) as outdoors to help her with her boredom...and also, give her freedom around your house. I let my boys and girl walk on counters, sleep in sinks, etc. Cats are independent, and will generally do all of the above while you are not home anyway...

Good luck, and again, you're making the right choice for the safety of your cat.
post #9 of 14
Do you have a garage??? I have indoor/outdoor cats that like to "go" outside for bathroom instead of litterbox. Due to it being very cold now I have a litter box in the garage which helps. When she starts to do the bathroom meow I would pick her up and place her in the litter box and hold her front paws and "dig" in the litter so she knows what to do. Don't be be to rough as you don't want to scare her. Praise or give treat when she is successful.
post #10 of 14
I brought in to kittens over the summer...they loved being outside but they kept wondering into the neighbors yard and I was afraid something would happen to them. I put a litter box on the indoor porch and they stayed there awhile until they got used to the litter box.

You may be surprised after she gets used to the litter box she may be happy being inside...maybe the only reason she wants out is to go potty!

Make sure to leave the blinds up so she can look outside. that keeps my two busy for hours!
post #11 of 14
Thread Starter 
it's will now be 2 days that looka has stayed in. so far it has been going alright. when i brought her back home, she went for the back door and could not stop meowing. it seemed like she wanted to go outside. fifteen minutes passed by, and she still continued with the meowing. i got so frustrated that i put her in the basement. the litter box was right there and she saw it and used it. after that she ran upstairs, laid down on the rug, no more meowing. that clumping litter is amazing, clean up was a breeze. there is one problem though, she can't stop following me, kinda annoying, but i'll put up with it, until she gets used to the home and staying in. thank you gailuvscats and everyone for suggestions and tips. thank you gailuvscats for telling me about the clumping litter, otherwise i would have picked up some cheap stuff making cleaning a hassle.
post #12 of 14
YOur welcome, glad things are working out. Now you have to make some toys to tire her out. A good one is roll up a small piece of aluminum foil into a tiny, tight , perfect ball. roll it in front of her, and she will bat it around for a long time. when she seems to want to do something more, make a bigger ball and throw it down the basement steps. She might bring it back to you, if she does,throw it again. I had my spikey running up and down the steps for an hour, just to tire him out so he wouldn't annoy my old lady cat. He was too pooped to pop.
post #13 of 14
You've done a WONDERFUL thing (just to begin with)...and I really believe that most all cats should be INdoors always. It's simply NOT safe for them outside...and they get flees and all sorts of horrible things from other cats, dogs, and creatures that are out there. If you provide a good enough home for this cat, she'll not even DESIRE going out...and she'll adjust quickly to being inside and happy. Almost ALL bad things for cats seem to come from OUTdoors: flees---hence tapeworms, wounds due to fighting, attacks by cats, dogs, and (God forbid---woves and skunks and other larger mamals!). Your cat is FAR better off being INside and safe. If she is spayed, she'll adjust quite quickly and have a MUCH longer and happier life...PERIOD.

Good luck!

Fr. Gregg
post #14 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by fr gregg View Post
You've done a WONDERFUL thing (just to begin with)...and I really believe that most all cats should be INdoors always. It's simply NOT safe for them outside...and they get flees and all sorts of horrible things from other cats, dogs, and creatures that are out there. If you provide a good enough home for this cat, she'll not even DESIRE going out...and she'll adjust quickly to being inside and happy. Almost ALL bad things for cats seem to come from OUTdoors: flees---hence tapeworms, wounds due to fighting, attacks by cats, dogs, and (God forbid---woves and skunks and other larger mamals!). Your cat is FAR better off being INside and safe. If she is spayed, she'll adjust quite quickly and have a MUCH longer and happier life...PERIOD.

Good luck!

Fr. Gregg
thank you very much for the saying that. it makes me feel good knowing that people are supporting and helping me out with this situation. but i gotta tell you, these past five days that she has been staying in is starting to make me wonder whether it is even possible to make her not want to go out. i may have spoken too soon about things being ok. the nonstop meowing in the morning and night is driving me nuts. she meows by this door i used to let her in from, waiting to go outside. the meowing goes on until she tires herself out, but when she wakes up, its starts again. i know nobody can tell me when this is going to end, but for those who have managed to turn an outdoors cat into a homebound one that only wants to stay in, can you tell me how long it took for your outdoor cat to adjust?

i've been trying to follow wookie130's advice about creating stimulation inside through playing, giving her freedom to roam around the house, and toys. i just purchased a cat tree from ebay a couple of hours ago. i don't know if that is gonna do anything to make looka want to stay inside, but i've spent over $600 on her since the surgery, what is another $50+.
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