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Indoor to Outdoor Cats

post #1 of 13
Thread Starter 
So, I may be moving to Japan sometime in the near future. This leaves my cats in somewhat of a pickle, since unfortunatly, they will not be able to come along. I could never take them to a shelter, that would be too hard to take. I have a couple of friends and family members that may be willing to take them, but only if they can be kept outdoors.

So I'm wondering how hard it is for indoor cats to adjust to being outdoor cats. The cats are 4 and 8 years old. The 4 year old has been an indoor cat all her life. I got the 8 year old from the shelter when he was 4 and he seems to have some experience being outdoors (I take them out in the yard on a leash from time to time). And they both have all their claws.

I (and my freinds and family) live in Iowa, so its can get up to about mid 90s and humid in the summer (sometimes even breaks 100) and down to about -5 (sometimes colder) in the winter. They would always have some shelter, like a garage with some boxes lined with old towels and blankets.

Some of the places I may be able to take them also already have outdoor cats living there. I was also wondering how much of a problem would this be?

It's a bad sutiuation, I know, just hoping to find a good solution. And if you have any other suggestions about what I could do, I'd love to hear them.

Thank you.
post #2 of 13
Have you considered adopting them out, an ad in a newspaper, or on Freecycle. Perhaps you could find a good home with people who will keep them inside. I see pets getting adopted on a regular basis on our local Freecycle website. Not sure which county you live in but I'm in Polk/Story county.
post #3 of 13
Hello and welcome to TCS......I am sure you'll get lots of ideas & suggestions on both sides on the indoor/outdoor debate

My cats are indoor/outdoor kitties and have been all their lives

So I am sure they will adapt but they do need lots of support, care and attention whilst going through this transition.

My 1st concern, is the 'new' home a place where cats can be let outside safely ? What predators are there ? Are there busy roads nearby ? etc...etc...
All these things would mean it would not be a good idea to let these kitties go from 'in' to 'out'

If you have satisfied yourself that they will be OK, then as I mentioned the new owners need to help the kitties with the transition.

Do the prospective new owners know how to manage an 'in' cat to being and 'out' cat ?
post #4 of 13
Not sure about other options but on the indoor to outdoor switch I can offer some experience.
We got a one year old cat a few months back and she had been an indoor all her life, when we first got her we kept her in for a bit to get use to the house and new family. When it came to letting her out she explored the garden only a few times a day then finally got the courage to explore the courtyard. Now she loves the outdoors except of course if its raining and I suspect cos of her indoor up bringing when its cold but even then it just means shes near the fire for a few hours after. We dont let her out at night however or during rush hour in morning and evening. Seems to work ok and she doesnt use litter tray much if at all.
Suggest they keep your cats in and likewise let it out only a few limited times at first.
As for other cats in the area, got a mixed opinion on this I'm afraid. Our oldest cat once got in a bad cat fight that resulted in a vet trip but a day or two after our other cat beat up the oposing cat and no problems since. So its matter of are your cats timid?

btw sry if this is long winded, didnt start that way,lol
post #5 of 13
IMO I would continue to search for friends or someone that is willing to take them and KEEP them indoors instead of letting them be outside cats after all these years.

You really risk them dying soon from a car, stray dog/animals, poison, traps, or being lost/stolen and tortured by uncaring kids or adults.

I'd do everything possible to find an indoor home only!

The one experience we had of trying to bring a friend's cat in with our barn cats (he was inside/outside to start with) was NOT good at all. The resident and TOP female cat hated the male and within a week's time chased him away so many times, he permanently never came back. We did see him in another neighborhood about 6-8 months later and he seemed fine and happy at the house. This was about 10 miles from where we lived - thankfully someone did take him in and keep him. We had no way of trying to find him and bring him back to try again. We lived on 160 acre farm!
post #6 of 13
Why can't you take them with you?
post #7 of 13
i'm also wondering why you can't take them with you? a friend of mine moved from the US to England, and she took her cats with. you need to check into quarantine requirements.
post #8 of 13
So sorry to hear you have to leave them behind. It must be very difficult for you. IMO, I think it's easier for indoor cats to become outdoor cats than the other way around. Animals can adapt better than we can to different environments. I wouldn't worry too much. (Easy to say) Hopefully they won't be near busy streets if they aren't car 'saavy'. I hope you'll get to visit them in the future.
post #9 of 13
IMO, making your cats that have lived for years inside, now live outside, is more cruel than taking them to the shelter and them being euthanized. Please find a home for them where they will be kep inside, or take them with you. I don't understand why they can't go.
post #10 of 13
That would be a deal-breaker for me. I've been to the rural midwest many, many times (my grandparents used to live in a tiny town outside Moline, IL) and the thought of my cats being a) eaten by a coyote b) killed by intact feral cats c) poisoned as pests d) hit by a truck or e) abused by some unfriendly humans would just make me SO uncomfortable with that idea. Not to mention the elements. I live in the midwest now and regularly see several feet of snow, hail, severe storms and tornados, extreme heat and humidity, etc.

No, I would keep looking.

Why can't you take them to Japan with you? Several countries now allow you to bring pets in without quarantine, provided they have certain vax. Why is this not an option?
post #11 of 13
I too think it just wrong to put indoor cats outdoors and expect them to do just fine. IMO it is actually cruel. Poor kitties.

I'm not sure what your friends were stipulating - that the cats be allowed to go outdoors or that they must live outside with a garage as shelter. There's a big difference between the two.

I think it is your responsibility to find good, loving, indoor homes for these cats.
post #12 of 13
Originally Posted by Yosemite View Post
I too think it just wrong to put indoor cats outdoors and expect them to do just fine. IMO it is actually cruel. Poor kitties.

I'm not sure what your friends were stipulating - that the cats be allowed to go outdoors or that they must live outside with a garage as shelter. There's a big difference between the two.

I think it is your responsibility to find good, loving, indoor homes for these cats.

Cant say for the OP .. but I know many familys cant afford to ship animals overseas and then the quarentine times are just shy of rediculus ... I heard a show dog spent 6 of his 10 yrs in QT
post #13 of 13
well, I think you have to consider your cats personalities, and the area they will be living.
If they had a nice big barn, could stay together, and live away from traffic and no bad dogs, I think it could work.
But if they are real shy, and just kinda get put out, they will get scared, and they might run off and hide.

someone mentioned feral cats too. it is a real threat. my cat has been injured by an in-tact feral. something to consider, although the ferals come out mostly at night. Maybe the cats could be put in a safe place at night?

it's a shame you can't take them, but I realize that sometimes you just can't.

Wouldn't it be great if you could find an indoor home that would keep them all together? maybe a local rescue could help you with that...
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