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Transition from Indoors to Outdoors

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
I don't need the whole "outdoors is death". I need advice. If you haven't got anything useful, this is hard enough.

Molly has to go outside. Not my choice. I was not given any options. She is starting mega fights, & attacked my mom last night(who had to go to the ER because of existing health conditions, she couldn't stop the bleeding). She is miserable inside, tries to scratch her way out the windows.

I've set up the 20' x 20' shed. Got netting on the doors on each side to create airflow. Setting up the bean bag chair out there, blankets, food, water, litterbox. On Friday, Molly moves out to the shed. I plan to keep her in there for 2 weeks, deworm her again, then she gets released. (Molly was a feral livetrapped at about 10-12 months in Nov. She had no one to feed her, care for her, she lived on her own. She will be fed 2x a day, dry & canned, as well as be vetted. She is spayed & UTD on shots already)

My concern is about the existing cats. I'm afraid they'll go after her. How do I introduce her to them? I'm thinking about putting Billy Bob & Tony Bob in the shed with her once she settles into the shed. They don't care about anything....they love everyone.

I've searched & read a bunch of old threads on transitioning to the outdoors. Just not entirely sure at all how to introduce cats outdoors. I mean, I can't quite do the same intro as I would inside. Should I put out blankets that the outside kitties can sleep on, then give those to Molly after she settles in the shed so she can get their scent? I imagine, being cats, they'll walk up to the screen doors while she's in the shed & go "ha ha! You're locked in there & we're out here!"
post #2 of 15
With feral or semi-feral you almost have to let them out and hope for the best. Is there any kind of enclosure she can be in besides the shed so the other cats will get to know her before releasing?

As long as she's spayed that's the important thing. Many ferals are trapped, neutered, and released back so I will not condemn you for what has to be done.

Hopefully she will be accepted and not picked on too much.
post #3 of 15
How many are outdoors? Is it a feral colony or just a few? Have you found them to be territorial in the past?

How long has she been indoors, is it since she was trapped in November?

My outdoor kitties are more laid back than the indoor ones. The indoor ones are very territorial.

If it were me I would indeed let the indoor kitty get the scents of the outdoor ones especially, and also it would be good to do the same for the others.

If you can brush your kitties, then put their fur for the other ones to have in their lairs.

I like your idea of the shed; it makes a lot of sense.

Is there any way she could be an indoor/outdoor cat? I have thought about doing that for my 2 ferals, since I am not sure they could completely transition to indoors. I think one of them could but the other one sounds like your Molly.
post #4 of 15
This is out of my league but I stumbled on a blog one day that might be useful. Feral Cat Behavior is its name. I don't know if she has something about this topic in her posts but if not you could email her. I've chatted with her before. She's very friendly and knowledgeable. Hope this helps.
post #5 of 15
You don't need to introduce a cat to the outdoors. Once a cat gets out there, instinct should tell them what to do. I needed to put Rocket out at the beginning of the summer, and all I had to do was make sure his vaccinations were up to date (including FeLV), he had a collar and tags on, was dosed with Revolution and Heartgard, and then let him out the door. Chances are your cat will hang around the house and go into hiding underneath some bushes, and then show up for mealtime.
post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 
She lived in a cage at the shelter from Nov. 1-mid Jan when I brought her home. She's been indoors since then. It's a recent thing that she wants out so badly, but she was vet checked & there is no medical reason for the behavior. I unfortunately do not have any other type of enclosure to put her in.

I worry because Fafeena, who is 14, is on her last legs, but she is still territorial. I fear she may try to drive her off. My hope it that Goat-Head, who likes to headbutt the same way Molly does, will accept her. I believe Goatie in the new alpha cat.

There are 7 others, ranging from semi-feral to pets. Plus a stray, a feral, and a litter of feral kittens who I guess really aren't anywhere near my place.

I'd like her to be indoor/outdoor, but my Damita, who is completely indoors, has absolutely no immune system. She's be sicker than normal all the time from anything Molly brought in.
post #7 of 15
Outdoor enclosure?
post #8 of 15
Could the shed be set up to be a permanent outdoor enclosure for her?
That would be the safest thing I can think of for her and would still allow you to see her.
post #9 of 15
Just wondering how any of them survive a Minn. winter decently?
post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 
They survive the winter by being kept in the garage or the heated shop, unless they really want out(I won't leave them stuck in the cold, I do care about them). These guys lived outdoors their entire lives. Molly's lived outdoors her entire life, except these past 8 months I've had her indoors. Fafeena has lived 14 years, Slinky 9 years, Tabitha 7-8 years, Goatie 6 years, Cow 5 years, Billy Bob & Tony Bob have lived 2 years. They were born outdoors, as was Molly. So many ferals, semi-ferals, & "pet" barn cats survive outdoors. My guys get more than most.

The shed is 20' x 20' I cannot imagine her living happily out there forever. She's miserable in the entire 1800 sq ft basement. I've been pestering mom/dad for an outdoor enclosure for almost 2 years now. They aren't giving any, especially with the cost & the sheer size I'd need for all of these guys so there aren't any fights.

I do not want this turned into a debate. If anyone wants to come here to adopt Molly, that is fine by me. I've been trying desperately to find her an indoor/outdoor home where she'd be happy, but she doesn't like to be touched & is still quite semi-feral.....everyone wants a friendly pet. Believe me, I am not happy about this. But I cannot come up with another viable option!

(Just FYI-I live on a 4.5 acres, not by a busy road, with a lot of outbuildings, no livestock.)
post #11 of 15
I have to agree intinct will take over...

Zoey was feral and I kept her in till she got out about 8 months after we got her ... from there out she was indoor / outdoor ... I trained her to the back yard ...
post #12 of 15
I would think the most important thing is that she has a place she can consider her "safe area" . Hopefully she'll consider the shed her safe zone and hide there if the other cats give her a rough introduction.

I think she'll be OK. As others have said instinct will take over... for her safety, and for you.
post #13 of 15
Well mostly I hope you don`t live near a highway....that is probably the biggest danger.
I`d start her out in the shed, with food and water, so she knows it`s there, but I would`nt lock her in. If she runs right out after you have shown the place to her then she`ll most likely return to your home to be fed when she gets hungry (cats seem to have a built in homeing sense....they`ll go to where they know they can find food)....just carry her out to the shed when she does come back in a day or so, and feed here there. Keep an opening in the shed so that when cold months come she can get inside.
She will most likely have made friends with some of the other outdoor cats by then and they will keep each other warm in the shed when it`s too cold to be outside. If you can create a little 'fort" within the shed out of a few bales of straw it will give them a place to huddle together and confine their body heat to help them to keep warm. Remember that heat rises, so the 'fort" should have a top on it....and could be made of another bale of straw. Straw is a good insulation against the cold.
Good luck!
post #14 of 15
All I remember is my Mom always kept our cat in for a few weeks before letting them out after a move or adoption. After that, she just kind of opened the door. When I was growing up our neighborhood was not busy and our backyard was bordering corn fields and cow pastures. We didn't have air conditioning, so the cat would get to know smells and sounds of the neighborhood before getting to go out. Kind of like what you are planning with the screened in shed.

Being that we were in Minnesota, there was a cat door on the garage, food & water always available in there. And Dad built the cat a very well insulated cat house so if they ever were out and we weren't home, they had a warm hidey spot.
post #15 of 15
Thread Starter 
I signed a contract stating I would keep her enclosed for at least 5-7 days. And that still applies after living inside for 8 months.

And if instinct doesn't kick over, I'll come up with another alternative. If she isn't doing well, I am not going to leave her out there to die.
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