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letting my boys outside...

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
I've got 2 cats, aww they're not kittens anymore , as of now they're strictly indoor cats. But I've been doing some thinking and considering letting them go outside -- although I do have some concerns, I want them to have some fun and go exploring!!

I got both Winston and Stanley beautiful army green collars today, because they're always looking out the window and trying to jump on bugs through the window and thought that maybe it'd be a good idea to let them run around a little bit outside.

But then, the worried mom in me acted up! I'm in Canada, so the majority of the time, it's pretty cold out here, so I wouldn't really want to be letting the kitties outside. Another concern is that I'm living in a basement apartment, where there is access to the backyard, but the backyard isn't completely sealed off by fence. My last concern is that I do live infront of the escarpment, aka forest! While there's no bears or tigers, there's foxes and deer -- a little more wild life than i'd like my boys interacting with.

So now, I'm wondering if there's a way to train Winston and Stanley to stay close to home, or just let them out when I'm out, and have them come in when i do... HA, it just doesn't seem like it'll happen!! So, should I let Winston and Stanley out.. or not?

any advice will be appreciated! thanks!
post #2 of 15
IMO they should NOT be allowed outside unsupervised unless you want them to be killed by stray animals, dogs; or get FELV/FIP from strange cats; or bring home fleas/ticks; or get killed/tortured by mean people/leg hold traps/poison.

Once a cat is allowed out, you will have a hard time keeping them inside. You can train them to a harness/leash or have an enclosure for them to sit in for a little sun.

But IMO they will a lot happier/healthier if kept INSIDE. Ling's from one of our barn cats and she was brought inside at 5 weeks old - she's an indoor cat and will stay that way. We lost too many barn cats to the highway.

Charlie's a pedigree - no way will he be an outside cat or even part-time outside cat. I only had one indoor/outdoor cat and that was the 1st one. The rest stayed inside all their lives.

BTW are your male neutered?
post #3 of 15
If you are worried about safety, there are options! You can buy a kitty enclosure. You can harness & leash train them. You can get a stroller to walk them in.

Remember, though. If they go outside, you will want to discuss what "extra" vaccines they may need with your vet(like FeLV). You will also need to keep an eye on them to see if they get worms or any other intestinal parasite. And keep them on flea/tick preventative year round.
post #4 of 15

It sounds like you have answered your own questions

In general I am an indoor cat advocate. But I too, love to see a cat interact with nature. Problem is, nature isn't always fair or kind

If you can ensure your cats' welfare in an outdoor setting (enclosures...outdoor times with supervision only...) then I am all for it.

If this were a situation where your cat was just unhappy being an indoor cat (this does happen), I would go so far as to say that I would prefer the risks (though I still say that with this depends on environment and weighing shelter life/odds).

Keep in mind that your concerns aren't only with outdoor critters but parasites and disease. Also---make sure your boys are vaxxed and neutered.

I take 2 of my 5 cats outside with me just for a quick roll in the grass, a nibble....a sun session. They are adopted island cats and though are now adults, still crave that outdoor feel once in a while. But I am with them, and they don't wander.
post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 
I've never brought them outside with me before. Winston has gotten out twice at my old house, and just hid in the bushes until we found him. If I do let them out, are they going to come back when i call them in?? Or will they just bolt off and come back they please. Both are neutered, and both come when they're called in the house... Perhaps I will start with them coming out on a leash while I'm in the garden. Maybe play fetch as well. I really don't want them to just run off, I'd be soooooooo concerned! i love them toooo much!
post #6 of 15
My neighbor lost her cat Christmas morn from dogs.
My other neighbor lost her small dog due to pit bull attack.
I lost my beautiful long-hair calico from pack of dogs.
My other neighbor lost a Siam. kitten due to unknown.

These are people I know about, I would have had many more stories from people who I don't know about.

We're in a woody area.

When Princess was mauled, I vowed to never have an outdoor kitty again. My cats are happy inside with their own TV: window with bird bath, bird house, flowers, etc.

Cats usually sleep 18+ hours anyway, so if a cat were an outdoor cat, it would only play for a short time and sleep away the day.
post #7 of 15
If you are willing to risk never seeing your cats again then go for it. Our kitty we had while I was growing up was indoor/outdoor (most were back then). During his 19 years on this earth he was lost a couple of times and even hit by a car once (had a broken jaw). Mind you, we adored and loved that cat but now my mother firmly believes kitties belong inside.

I understand how much some cats love the outdoors, I really do. But I myself, cannot be bothered with a cat that is constantly begging to go outside (which they will once they are used to it). I remember my mom wanting to go to bed at night and but had to wait for the cat to come home. Also, if you want to go on vacation of a few days, the cats may go stir-crazy without being able to go out during that time.

My hope is some day if my kids leave the door wide open, my cat will just stand there and look -- but never run out. So far, he is proving to be scared of the door itself which I think is an absolute good thing.

Not worth the trouble IMO.
post #8 of 15
You can buy the screened-in enclosures and put them there. But like the others said, once you let them out, they will want to go out all the time - and then you have another problem

The closest my two will be to "outside" is when we eventually enclose the patio to a screened in porch. Then they can go out with us during the summer and sit on window ledges and be happy. They are content to sit in the windows when we have them open now

Meow - I've had SEVERAL cats like that. We taught some, others just had no desire to go outside in the first place. The one we taught was a 4 month old from the SPCA. He was a kitten and when we brought him home, everytime he went near the door we clapped hands, scared him and generally gave him the idea that being around the door was not a good thing.

In a few months you could open the door and he'd run to the couch on the other side of the room and sit and watch you. Reds also was a big chicken when it came to thunderstorms - he'd open a closet door and hide at the first sound of the storm
post #9 of 15
Ironically, after making my last post I picked my daughter up at friends house after a play date. My daughter showed me their cat (curled up on the bed). I asked the mom if the cat was good with kids and she said "yes they are." I said, "oh, you have two?" She said, "well, we used to but the other one ran off somewhere and never came back."

No, thanks. My kitty stays in.
post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 
Alrighty, so today I let each kitty out with me and a string attached to their collar just to see how they'd reaction. Stanley was scared to death, and I have the scratches to prove it... on my arm, shoulder and back!! Stanley didn't venture too far off of the porch. Winston on the other hand, russian blue mixed with siamese was very excited and curious to be outside. He liked it and wanted to go back out. The siamese in him was meowing... CONSTANTLY! lol, he even managed to open the screen door by himself today!! What a smart little kitters!

I'm still undecided, although, the boyfriend and I were talking and we think that Winston could handle it, I just want to make sure that he's not out when I stay out over night once in a while. So we shall see.. I'll update if anything changes. As of now, they're indoors. Stan forever, Winston may get outdoor privledges sooner, but probably later!
post #11 of 15
my cat and all of my mothers cats have been indoor/outdoor cats. we haven't had any problems, aside from Had going into heat, but we got her fixed so that's not an issue. she is perfectly happy and healthy. she was an inside cat for about 4 months and she was not happy.
post #12 of 15
I have had indoor and outdoor cats in my time. We started off with outdoor as it was the norm and we hadn't considered keeping them in. But we quickly lost 2 boys to cars, and that was on a little village rd with a speed limit of 30mph. It is hard t protect them anywhere. My 4 now go out on our fully enclosed patio, with supervision (just in case one of them finds a way put i haven't anticipated!) I honestly think you should consider harnes training or an enclosure as it s heartbreaking when they go missing or get killed. Just my opinion though, i am sure you will make the rigth decision for you!
post #13 of 15
I understand your concerns about letting your cats go outside, it can be done and they will enjoy the freedom and a more natural life style

I have 4 indoor/outdoor kitties and live in an area where I feel its ok to let them out. To be honest I don't think I could have cats if I had to keep them in. Don't get me wrong I totally understand and agree that in certain circumstance, they must be kept in, but in those circumstances it wouldn't suit me. I have been lucky to be able to consider this when moving home, so fortunately cats have always been a part of my life since I was 17

Outdoor kitties need to be up to date with all the necessary vaccinations, and your vet will advise you about that.

You need to take the transition bit by bit - when you 1st start letting them out , it is best to be there to monitor them - have some toys or kibble that you can use to attract them back to the house. When you think they have had long enough, just pick them up and take them back to the house, or use the toys/kibble to attract them in.

They will smell the area bit by bit to get the scent of home logged into their memory If they feel scared they will /should run back to their comfort zone - that is why it is best that you are about for the early ventures.

As time goes on the area they explore will widen and widen.

My eldest cats are both over 13 and have always gone out, Dino not so much now as he's a lazy old boy but he has his moments and goes hunting for dead leaves and such like Pepsi is an outdoor girl through and through My other two Moofi & Teddy are in and out all day long

You know I also think that if you fuss & stress about them to much when you let them out, they can sense this tension in you and I am sure it makes them skittish which of course you do not want.

If you panic and rush to get them, what do you think they will do ?? yep, they'll run and of course you would interpret that as bad, but hey, you'd run too if some big thing came lurching at you you do have to relax, which I know is hard, but over time it will be as normal as anything else they do.

Keep us posted !!
post #14 of 15
My two are strictly indoor cats. While I would love to let them out to explore and be more like the cats they were when I got them, one is feral and the other was an outdoor cat its not safe in an urban area. Too many cars and other dangers. IMO indoor cats live longer and are just as happy.
post #15 of 15
My PHX is really 'curious' about the outside as well. I got him a collar and a leash to bring him outside with. I honestly do not recommend a breakaway collar if he's on a leash because one time PHX got scared and started to run off (while on leash) and with the stupid break away collar on--- he got off leash and I had to seriously 'chase' him down. I know everyone here recommends those break away collars- but I dont recommend it while on leash! Anyways to my point. I would recommend trying a leash/harness my PHX loves it
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