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Indoor / Outdoor Dilema... Not sure what to do

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Hello Everyone!

This is a bit of a long post, but I want to give a background just so I can get the best advice possible from people

Recently my boyfriend and I moved in together and brought my indoor cat, Scout and his in/outdoor cats, Clinton & Nixon together in June.

They are all living together now, tolerating each "new" cat.

Nixon chases after Scout (which Scout doesn't like) and Clinton still hisses at Scout. Scout tries to avoid them both or walk as far away from them as possible when passing them.

Scout saw Clinton & Nixon coming in and out all the time, and wanted to know what was "out there". So my boyfriend and I decided to slowly let him start exploring, supervising him. This lasted about 1 1/2 - 2 weeks. He stayed close to the house and then branched out to exploring either side of the neighbors houses.

This past weekend I was out on the front porch and he went over to the neighbor's yard. Next thing I knew he was out of my site. He was gone all day, night, through the next moring and I was extremely distraught (I had a posting in the S.O.S forum). In that 24 hour time period we looked all over the neighborhood for him, went out with treats, into the wooded paths calling him. He was gone for 24-hours and then we put out fliers throughout the neighborhood. Someone had spotted him and we went there and he came to me out from under their porch. He ended up being 7 or so houses down the road from us.

During that 24 hours of not knowing where he was, if he was OK, if something had happened, etc., I was incredibly distraught, crying, not being able to eat, etc... I know that may sound a bit extreme, but he is my little guy. I got him (as a stray found) when he was a kitten and he had then been indoors for almost three years, this was because I lived in the city and had an apartment... Now my boyfriend and I have a house out in the suburbs.

Now I have 2 dilemas at hand:

When we brought him back home, Clinton and Nixon were acting towards him the same way they had when the cats were all first introduced (more hissing, not so playful chasing, etc). That is a concern to me and I am hoping will get better over the next week

The larger issue is what to do with Scout in regard to his outdoor play. He has been waiting at the door, occasionally meowing. If he sees any of us leaving, he'll trot over to the door, expecting to go out. I feel bad because he had a taste of the outdoors and seems to want it again.

We are getting him chipped on Friday, and he is up-to-date on all his shots. I also got an ID tag and collar that I am trying to have him wear (he doesn't like me putting it on ) but I am still not sure we should try letting him be an in/outdoor kitty again. Or should I only take him out on a leash? (I don't think he would let me do a harness on him). Do they have runners for cats? (Sigh) I'm not sure where to go from here.

I want him to be happy and explore but I don't want to go through that pain and worry I experienced this past weekend, nor do I want to put my boyfriend through that again either!

I have decided to keep him in this week & weekend, esp. where he has a vet appointment on Friday... But that aside, based on the above, does anyone have feedback or suggestions?

THANKS!!!! - Meri
post #2 of 12
The other cats are probably hissing at him because he smells different now.
He smelled like you, your boyfriend and the house before.
Now he smells like everything he came into contact with while he was outside.
When we take one of our cats to the Vet...even though they've been together for a very long time...when we come home the other two will hiss and spit at the one who was at the Vet, even if we were only there for 5 minutes.
It's the different smell that throws them off.
When this happens to us we put a drop of vanilla on the base of each cats tail and between their shoulder blades...that way everyone smells the same again.

As for letting him out...we never allow our cats outside, it's just to dangerous.
But, if you want him to be able to go out I think getting a harness and leash would be a good idea.
You'll probably have to train him to get used to the harness, but it would be better than taking him out with a collar...they can slip out of those very easily.

The Woman who live down the street from me has a cat and she hooks his leash to the clothes line...that way he has the whole length of the yard to roam but is out of danger from passing cars...she doesn't leave him out alone though...just in case a stray dog, cat or passing human should try to do him any harm.

I'm glad your little guy is home safe and sound.
post #3 of 12
I can only speak of my own experiences, and they are simple. For many years I always thought it is only natural for a cat too be outside. I grew up with a Mother who bred Persians in enclosures ( nauturally ). However upon my first cat whom turned up as a stray ( Whiskey ) of course I assumed outside it is. Indeed for him outside is fine, he is approx 10 years now I have had him for 7 of those, since he turned up, sick, and with the flu. Then I got C'For, he was 8 weeks when I got him, destined for the SPCA, I was glad too take him at 8 weeks, and he has been mainly outdoors, never looked back, comes in on cold days and nights, if I tryed too force him in ( like I have ) he would tear down ALL of my wallpaper These 2 have earnt their rights in my eyes too be outside when they wish. A while back I got 2 kitties brother and sister...the sister my Special one is gone now, I was ignorant I assumed she would be fine by this road since the other 2 were......NO I was wrong, now I have lost her and have guilt for it. Her brother was hit as well, but survived He is indoors now too. I have since adopted 3 more kitties all under 4 1/2 months old, they will be indoors only as well....my reason is simple. IF I could go back in time and NOT have let my Special one out .....IF I had made the right decision too KEEP her in...even though at the time I felt it was mean too deprive her of the out side world....well obviously she would be with me now, I would not feel too blame and I would not have this horrible feeling that I could have saved her....and MOST important , she might have at least caught her first mouse !!! or seen her first xmas!! or continued too eat her favorite cheese cats deserve freedom..but DO they deserve too be attacked by other cats, dogs..and hit by cars or beaten by evil people ? This is just MY opinion, I will NOT let any outside hazards take any more of my furkitties, if only I knew then what I know now....My 2 older boys as stated above, sure they are allowed out, it is a given, and I STILL worry, but they are seasoned boys, and frankly if I were too force them in, it would make them stress more and be more unhappy, it is all they have known As for my other 4....IN it is. If you let your cat out, many risks...dogs...other strays...people...cars...disease...rats...etc..in time your kitty WILL get used too being inside, they adapt very well...lots of play toys and cat furniture, and of course you too play with kittie, will in time, be plenty. This is just my story and my opinion, it is all I can offer you, but I know you love your kitty and that is all that matters
post #4 of 12
I would honestly keep them all in, but that IMO. If Scout has never been outdoors before, he has limited to no survival skills, unlike the other two. If you want him to go outdoors, I suggest harness/leash training him or building an enclosure.

Honestly, Scout would be fine indoors all the time. He'd forget having gone outside, & will eventually quit trying to go out if you keep him in all the time.
post #5 of 12
IMO its better to keep the cats inside. I'd wash the cats so they all smell the same again and just keep them indoors.
post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks to everyone that has taken the time to read my very long post and reply with their experiences and feedback, I appreciate it very, vrey much!!

Also - Thank you ShakaDaka for your story. It was a nice story to read and nice to know you have cats that are a mix of in/outdoor and indoor only all under one roof

The more thoughts and experiences the better so please keep them coming. Again I appreciate it so much!!!!
post #7 of 12
I agree with the others. I would keep Scout in, if it was me. It's just way too risky. When I was younger, my dad didn't like indoor cats and made us keep our cats outside. I would sneak them in when I could, but when he found them...well, out they went. After losing one of our cats to a car and seeing how many cats have been hit by cars and are lying along the road frequently, I just don't want to risk it with my girls. Cars are my biggest fear for the cats, though, because sometimes no matter how careful you are, accidents happen. I say this, because I had the most horrible thing happen in my own driveway a few years ago. A solid white deaf cat had gotten up under my car one day and I had no idea. I always look under my car because of the strays around here, but I didn't see him. Well I didn't know he was there until I hit him backing out of the driveway. I felt horrible. I had broken his leg. I got him taken care of, but no owner was ever found, so he did find a good indoor only home. I know that it wasn't intentional, but I still feel horrible about it. Also, I don't want to worry about what others have mentioned....dogs, cat hating people, kids being mean, anti-freeze (in the winter), rat poison, etc. I'm thrilled to hear that Scout is back and if he was my handsome fellow, I'd keep him in.
post #8 of 12
Since you have your own house, you might want to look into building a cat enclosure for your cats. You can even put in a cat door so they can go in and out as they like and hang out in their own Florida Room.
If I didn't live in an apartment this is what I'd love to do! They have plans on the internet for building your own, or you can hire someone to do it. They don't have to have a huge footprint either since cats love vertical space. You can put lots of perches and toys and fun stuff out there for them. I've even seen some with fountains!
That way, they can go outside where they love to be, and you don't have to worry about outdoor dangers.

post #9 of 12
Please don't let Scout roam the neighborhood. In my experience, most neighbors do not appreciate people's cats on their property (like your cat was doing). It is totally unfair to your neighbors and to your cat who obviously can't take care of himself outside.

Lastly, why put yourself through the worry? You obviously love him and give him much attention -- he will lead a full and happy life if kept inside.
post #10 of 12
You are most welcome Meri ! I am glad it helped you a little bit At the end of the day it is up too you to decide what is best for your Scout, and other furkitties, and I know you love them dearly
post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 
Hi Everyone,

I think keeping him inside will probably be the best way to go. While I get sad when I see him go to the door and meow because he wants to go out (and he sees the other 2 can go out), I don't think I could handle him being gone again.

We are getting him chipped this Friday and I have a collar with ID Tag I want him to start wearing, in case he ever did slip out - so I am covered there.

To those who mentioned an enclosure, I would love to do that. We currently rent the house we live in, so I wouldn't be able to build anything permanent there. My boyfriend jokingly suggested a runner, and I actually thought that would be a cool idea, but I don't know if they do those for cats.

We will be looking to buy hopefully summer of 2008 or 2009 so once we own hopefully I can have something permanent put in for him

Thanks again for the info and advice/opinions!
post #12 of 12
They do have more portable cat enclosures - sorta like a long tent that would work. It can be moved. Maybe look into those for Scout.
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