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So Torn!

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
I'm sorry to bother you with this long post, because I know most of you have strong opinions about my problem, but I have to admit I am so torn about having my 11 month old Javie be an indoor cat or an indoor/outdoor. I'm really agonizing about it and driving myself nuts.

Here is the situation. Javi is a very playful, athletic, aggressive cat. He runs around the house literally growling like a dog and can almost fly when he wants to reach something. He was being really aggressive to us, biting and scratching, and it was unbearable so everyone said get another cat. So we fostered another cat thinking we would keep her. After slow, proper introductions and three months together, he wouldn't leave her alone and she couldn't eat, sleep, or live without him constantly chasing and attacking her. I was losing my hair (literally) from the stress of protecting her and keeping them separate as much as possible. So I found her a wonderful new home as an only cat with a middle aged woman in a condo who will love her forever. So another cat is not the answer for Javi.

I fixed up the backyard like a fortress with netting on the fence and metal flashing on the trees so he can't climb them. He loved being out there, chasing bugs, etc. and all has been well out there since April. But last month, new people bought the house next door with 4 indoor/outdoor cats. That was the end of the safe, backyard play. In spite of all my efforts, they jumped the fence to come over to visit. They are all very friendly and sweet, but Javi cries when they leave. He is still too small to jump the fence, so has dug two tunnels under the fence and gotten out. So I decided this is it. I'll just let him out. So for three days, I let him out while I was out there, and he went next door to play with the cats, explored around and seemed really happy. Then I noticed a hole in his thigh, which the vet said was an absess. It was an old wound though, probably from before I let him out in front. But it might have happened from something in the back, so now I'm worried about letting him outside at all. He's on antibiotics, etc.

If I never let him outside, he will probably be so bored and lonely. He gets lots of play and attention now, but in a year, all my kids will have moved out for college. And I work half days. Does anyone else out there have an only cat that seems happy indoors? I have had two other cats in my life who were indoor/outdoor. They both lived very long lives and I assumed Javi would be one too when we got him. But that was before the internet and all the rescue orgs that say don't let your cat outside. Please . . . I need some encouragement to keep him inside and reassurance that he won't be miserable.
post #2 of 10
You gave up too soon on another cat. That female was just not up to his energy or anything else - try another young(er) male. I was so afraid of bringing home our tiny kitten 2 yrs ago because of my other cats, but especially the then 11 yr 'alpha' male who thinks he and I are a couple :-). Well, the baby just launched himself at Plato, Plato sat down, grabbed the baby and they've been inseparable since! Sure they get into it a bit sometimes, but basically are each other's most fun when they run out of toys and me, and Goblin watches everything Plato does and copies him - specially whatever he thinks Plato does (smoojing with me!) to get food.
post #3 of 10
Amen to everything Larke said! Please keep your baby indoors and find him a companion... and the more playtime you can provide, the better.

You can also mount a birdfeeder outside a window -- high enough, of course, that the next-door cats can't get to the birds. Endless entertainment for your kitties! (Give it a few days for the birds to find it, though... I was surprised how long it took before our neighborhood flock discovered a new restaurant had opened in our side yard. )

Did you see the thread in the Cat Lounge about the "Dipsy Doodle Tiger Toy?" It looks like it would really help keep kitties interested:

post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the tip about the toy. Sounds like fun. Larke, I don't think I could attempt another cat. My kids told me they could not handle it again and I think my boyfriend would break up with me! He would think I was really out of my mind because it was such unbelievable stress the last time. And we also tried one other time when he was very little and he was a monster to the other cat too. I think he is fine with other cats outside (the neighbors), but not fine inside because it's his territory. Oh well. I figure without stopping with us first, little Sophie (the last female) would not have found her way to the perfect home and loving mom she now has. I'm glad that your cats worked it out though. How sweet the way your 11 year old cat accepted the new kitten.
post #5 of 10
Hi there,

Well for many years I always felt a cat should be able too be outside whenever they want...after all my 10 and 7 year old have been fine all these years.....then I got 2 new kitties, about 6 months ago now...finally let them out ( supervised ) for the afternoons...then one day I decided right ! time to go out all night too ( if they wanted ) and they did !...The 4th night along, I woke to a horrifying sight, of My Special one, just outside my gates....dead on the road it destroyed me and my faith in having ( outside cats ). This is not too say some cats are fine outside, but after that pain I felt I personally decided I will do whatever ! it takes too avoid anything like that happening again. So her brother, whom also got hit just 1 week after My Special one left me...BUT he was lucky, he had only got *nicked*, by the car, broke a tooth and was sore for a week...he is inside now always. Since that horrible time I have since obtained 3 more kitties, all under 4 months old, and as much as I know they would love my garden...they would NOT love being run over, or attacked by other dogs or cats. Cats deserve too be free, true...but they do not deserve too be attacked and killed. So now my 2 older boys, sure they go out when they want, they are seasoned and more than this, they have earnt their right too be out when they want...and frankly, if I tryed to force either of them inside permanently, they would be miserable. My other 4 are inside cats now, and always will be, plenty of walks on the harness and leash, and many many toys and posts, and of course me and eacother too play with, and stay entertained. They get full view of the paddocks out the back, and watch the pigeons and starlings and magpies digging at the dirt...* kacking* away hehe My opinion is just mine, I decided I wont let that fate take another of my kitties, I felt so guilty I let her out at night and now she is gone, she never even caught her first mouse or seen a xmas ...I hope this helps and best of luck. Maybe obtain some cat furniture...and the Tiger Toy sounds marvelous ! and try a leash and harness...they get used too it, and it will allow him too play outside but under supervision from you
post #6 of 10
I would look into the cat enclosures (like a tent) to put him in for awhile. It would be safe for him and prevent another cat from getting to him (fighting).

Or teach to walk on harness/leash.

And get a more elaborate treehouse with plenty of jumping shelves (not just one or two). Get a laser light pen and help him use up the energy.
post #7 of 10
If the he gets along with your neighbor's cats, could you maybe set up a kitty "play date" with 1 of them in your house, to see if the problem was he was territorial about the house, or if it was just a problem with the other cat? If it works, maybe you can try to find another cat with the same temperment, or just see if you can borrow the neighbors cat a few times a week to give him a playmate.
post #8 of 10
Just the fact that your boy has tunnelled out of your yard to engage with the neighbor cats tells me that he is social to other cats and needs a companion. I agree with other that have suggested that you adopt a young male with a high enough energy level to keep up with your boy. And keep them both inside.
post #9 of 10
I agree on another cat as well. Go to a rescue, where their cats are fosted in people's homes. They will really know the personality of the cat, and be able to match you and Javi up with one. Outside cats are just a bad idea. They are much safer indoors. If you want to have supervided playtime outside, that's fine. Or build and enclosure that he cannot get out of. But I really think another cat is the best route, one of the same activity level and about the same age.
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
Wow, the consensus seems to be to get another cat, but it is such a scary thought. When he was really young, like about 3 months old, after being here for just a few weeks, I brought another male kitty his age home from a shelter to keep him company. He attacked it constantly, chasing it and biting it's butt. Because they were so young, and we had only had Javie for a few weeks, I introduced them right away. The other kitty just wanted to play with the toys, but Javie wouldn't let it. We ended up having to take it back to the shelter after a few weeks because Javie would not let up. Nobody could believe he was like this at such a young age. Most kitties love to play with each other. I could have kicked myself so many times for not getting one of his siblings at the same time we got him.

So we tried again with Sophie about 3 months ago, and it was also a disaster. I really wanted it to work out and basically rescued her from an abusive situation. She was so sweet and gentle and wanted to play with Javie. But he constantly chased and attacked her and was only happy if she was hiding in the laundry basket (which he guarded so she couldn't get out) or stuck in a corner. After a few months of this, she was so nervous and depressed she couldn't even eat. One time she absolutely freaked out and ran through the house yowling and hissing, which was totally out of character. You could have heard her a block away. And I was losing my mind. Standing in the middle of the room with a squirt gun trying to protect her, when I was going crazy because I had so much to do. If they were unsupervised, we could hear the loud thunder of running paws and her screaming. I couldn't get any work done and I have an auto-immune disorder that was getting worse from the stress. It was horrible, horrible. But it worked out in the end because I found her a perfect new forever home.

This is why the thought of another cat sends shivers up my spine and my daughter gave me a look of utter disbelief when I even mentioned it. She said, You're kidding, aren't you? There is one particular cat next door who comes over all the time to look for Javie. He has even wandered in the front door after him a few times. So that's a really good idea to see if he wants to come over to play. When he did come in, however, and saw me he freaked out and ran out the door. But we could try something like that. Thank you all for your ideas. If I lived here alone, I might try another cat but my kids don't want to do it again. One of my daughters was in love with Sophie, so the whole experience was very traumatic.
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