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my indoor cats want outside... really badly!

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
I have two 7 1/2 month old kittens who are, as of about a week ago, completely obsessed with getting outside. They are indoor, fixed cats and have never really expressed an interest in this before. Now, every time we open the door they both dart outside. One cat, Mittens, begins eating plants immediately, and the other, Tate, just pokes around skittishly. We can't do anything to deter them--we've tried spray bottles, mostly. It is dangerous because we live close to an alley where people go too fast, and they are intensely afraid of cars.

In the past two days, Mittens is constantly mewing at the door, extending himself up on it, etc. He is doing it right now! And it is beginning to worry me because he mews incessantly for hours in different tones. Is there a reason why they would want outside so badly? And what can we do, if anything, to keep them in?

post #2 of 13
you could try putting them on a harness and walking then into the yard. You could buy cat grass for them to nibble, bring in autumn leaves for them to play with, get a window bird feeder to distact them. If you are really ambitious you can build an outdoor atrium for them. If you place it around a window they can come and go at will!

There is the coins in a can to startle them when they approach the door, the squirt bottle, spray lemon air freshener around the door frame, or just remove them to another room before you leave the house.
post #3 of 13

I have the same thing with my cat Russell. The spray bottles worked for me though.

This is what I tried. One person would be inside walking outside and opening the door. As soon as Russell primed for that dart, he'd get sprayed by someone outside. So that he'd get the idea and not like outside as that equalled wet sprays of water.

He was really persistant. And it took weeks for the idea to sink in as he had got out the door before and knew that it was the way to the outside world.

The only time Russell does spend outside is on a harness. He sulks at first but then realises he's outside anyway so he might as well enjoy it while he can.

I haven't tried the catgrass inside yet. There's no nursery nearby that I can get to that sells it. But I have heard that it helps the situation.

post #4 of 13
I agree with Dragon Lady
all those things are a good way for them to enjoy the outside but in a safer environment. I'm not altogther about the harness though and whether it will solve the problem or make it worse. We tried that with my brother's cat and it only made him want to go out even more - he got the feel for the outside and just wouldn't take to the harness. But I think it all depends on the cat, no two cats are the same. Trying it always a step !

And a_loveless_gem I bought my catgrass at a local pet store, perhaps you can get it there
post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the good advice. I have thought about the harnesses for them, and it would be fun to take them on walks. There are just two reservations, 1) like hyperkitty said, they might want to go out more, and 2) we live in an apartment complex, so we don't have a yard. We can only walk them along the sidewalks where they might encounter other cats or dogs, and I'm not sure how that would turn out. They live with a dog, though, and get along pretty well.
I think the grass and the leaves are a wonderful idea. I get so worried about them eating the plants outside because I don't know what kinds of things the apartment maintenance has sprayed on the foliage.
I tried to train my cats the other night with the spray bottle... I felt so bad! I stood at the door with the bottle and began opening it. Every time they came to the door, I sprayed them. So they would hesitate, and then lurch at the door again. Needless to say, they were very soaked, persistent kitties when I finished, and then I had to towel dry them for awhile so it didn't really work.
post #6 of 13
Hi again adrienne
I personally don't think it's a great idea to use a harness if you have to walk them on a sidewalk. it's true what you say, they may encounter dogs on their walk and although you say they live with a dog and get along, you can't be prepared for how another dog might act with them.

Definitely try the grass and the leaves and anything else you think might keep them distracted from the outside world.

If you don't fancy spraying them all the time then try some of the other options Dragon Lady mentioned. Good luck
post #7 of 13
You can make your own by planting bird seed in a little pot. Pet stores sell it too but it's cheaper to make your own. You can even get catnip seeds to grow fresh catnip! If there is a petshop near your home, buy the oat groats for birds. This grows the fastest for me!
post #8 of 13
I've read the labels of all the "cat grass" sold in pet stores. It is invariably oats, barley and wheat. It's easy to grow your own shoots! They don't live too long in a planter (for us!), but it is easy to grow, and they love the tender new shoots the best anyway.

Can you purchase or make a cat-seat to go under the window? There are several on the market. We didn't need one as our couch is right up against the window. As you live in an apartment, you can purchase a bird-feeder that sticks right to your window. I don't know how your windows are arranged, but you should be able to reach up enough to get at it. Cats don't care what kind of birds show up. We call it "Cat T.V." - they are enthralled for hours.

In fact, you don't even really need birds and a feeder if you have activity out your window. Our guys love watching falling leaves, other cats roaming by, squirrels, etc. Anything moving. For your guys, it might be cars - who knows? It's worth a try to help distract them until they've finally had enough of the water!

post #9 of 13
If you're thinking about taking your cat outside, consider my story first. When we first got our cats Twig and Zen(now departed) we took them outside on leashes not knowing any better. they seemed fine but then Zen got sick conrtacted FIP from some source we exposed Twig to it too but he is fine. Zen passed away and we had to wait to get another cat and we had to change the litter pans, bowls anything that Zen touched in anyway. moving forward to a couple of months ago, we started to take Twig outside on a harness and leash again after searching months to find a harness that'd fit him(16+ pounds now).
I finally find one so I decide to take him ouside one night while talking to a friend. Well something freaked him out and I do mean freaked, he started to roll around and scratch at the harness finally ripping it and my hand opened(I was trying to get ahold of him to find out what was wrong) he got loose and ran(thankfully inside) away. I called for my fiancee and told him that the cat got loose and freaked but he comes out on the porch with Twig saying he came inside.
I was bleeding pretty badly everywhere and finally came inside washed off my hand and everything settled down, so I thought. Twig was growling at the other cats but Ifigured that was from him being frightened, earlier but I decided to check on him just to make sure.
There was blood on the sheets and bed everywhere(spots not covering it) and I knew it wasn't from me, so I picked Twig up and gave him a good once over. Well it turned out he ripped out four of his back claws trying to get out of that harness. This happened around the end of Sept and we are STILL putting topical meds on his claws trying to get them to grow back. If this fails( this is the second round of drugs for him, we got pain killers and anti inflamitories the first time) he will have to loose those four claws. I have never put that harness on him again. He is an indoor cat forever now. he still has his porch to sit on and smell the outdoors but that is as far as he goes ever though he STILL wants to go outside again.
post #10 of 13
hi there,
I can imagine your frustration..I think cats are general explorers..they love fresh air,the outdoors the exploring..they love grass under their feet..they like to eat grass they like dirt to roll in..have you ever thought of building a cat enclosure..I did the same for Becker..he is very scared of outside so its Ideal..I didnt have the money to spend on a fancy professional one..so with caring friends we pulled together and built Becker a 12ft long 8ft high and about 8ft wide enclosure out of sturdy secure wire..we used star pickets for the foundations..a good strong metal wire door supplied by my neihbour ensures easy access for me and for Becker to be put in and out..it is anchored down to the lawn outside..he has logs to climb on..a box for naps..a bit water dish..a scratching post..and it was all put together for about 50 dollars.. now Becker is safe and secure and happy cause he can be outside..I know his safe away from harms way..its ideal..Im a single mum with not much money..but if you can enlist the help of friends and do some hunting at second hand supply shops and the generosity of friends you can do it too..good luck Lexy and Becker..
post #11 of 13
Oops sorry wasnt paying attention.. forgive me..yes being in an apartment is a dilemma..the harness i guess is the best bet..I guess we will never cure the desire for felines to experience outdoors..good luck..
post #12 of 13
what a GREAT idea! I never thought of building an outdoor enclosure. Jedi too is an indoor kitty, but he spends HOURS staring longingly out the windows and sliding glass doors.

I know partly he is just curious and interested about what is going on outside (people walking by, animals, etc), but I also know that he would LOVE to go out there! He loves to splunk and being in a one-bedroom apartment, I am sure it took him no time at all to become "bored" with his surroundings.

Mike and I will be buying a house and getting out of here next year. I had suggested we could let Jedi out in the backyard, as long as it was fenced, but Mike told me that they had a cat when he was younger that climbed the fence and ran away! Needless to say I wasn't going to let Jedi out if there is any possibility that he could get out of the yard. I don't know what I would do if he ran away and couldn't find his way home...or worse!

I love the idea of the outdoor enclosure, and I am sure Jedi will be SO grateful to you for bringing the idea to my attention!

I can't WAIT to build one for him! :tounge2:
post #13 of 13
One other thought for those who want to walk kitty outside and don't want them to still make a run for the door is to take them outside in a carrier. Perhaps take them to a park or somewhere like that, including the car ride. This would be good for 2 things - they would associate the carrier and car rides with something positive so the trips to the vet would be a snap, and they wouldn't associate the door with outside (as much).
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