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Cat keeps running outside

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
My sister has two cats, Mouser and Minion. Minion is about 5 years old. He was originally adopted by my sister's ex-husband and his them girlfriend.

For the last few months he has been trying to escape outside. Minion has always been a strictly indoor cat. In the last 2 years there's been some upheaval in his life. He moved (along with his family) to my Mom's house for several months, and then to the house he lives at, now. My sister's then husband left for good leaving them all behind. Now my sister loves Minion with all her heart and is happy he's safe with her, so this is just for background information. Oh, he also stopped seeing me as much about the same time because I moved for school.

It was during the summer when he first started doing this (6 months after the walk-out). He's front-declawed (which happened before he was originally adopted), so he obviously shouldn't be outside on his own at all. He never tried to do this before, but now he has this overwhelming desire to go outside. My sister tries to be careful and watch him at the front and back doors, but he escapes a couple times a week. She has friends over sometimes, and I'm not sure they are as careful.

I've suggested that she put a bell on his collar so she has a better chance of hearing him. I think I might suggest that she consider building an enclosure in the future.

Does anybody have any other ideas on how to combat this? Anybody have any ideas on why he suddenly started doing this? Could it be connected to the upheaval he experienced, even though it started 6 months after the last major event?

post #2 of 8
Thread Starter 
So no one has any ideas? Okay.
post #3 of 8
I have no idea why he would start wanting to go out........ the only thing I could suggest is that everyone be super careful when they go out. The bell on his collar, like you suggested, would alert the people in the home when hes near, but other than that, I have no idea.

Maybe someone else can come with a suggestion for you.
post #4 of 8
i have the same problem with my cat... he has always done this so here a\
e a few things we do to keep him from getting out. it is a bit of a pain, but in the end it is worth it to make sure he is safe.

when someone in the house is going outside, check around and make sure he isnt around. if he is like our cat, and he runs when he hears the door open, or when he sees someone heading toward the door, then you will just have to put him in a different room and close the door.

we also have a problem when we let the dog out. bc everyone in the house is too lazy to just get back up and let the dog in, they leave the door open so he can just come back in, we will lock him in the bathroom until the do comes in the house.

i dont know if any of this will help you. but it works for us. he used to get out at least everyday. but lately he really doesnt unless my bfs sister is here, she is so ignorant that she just doesnt care that he will get out and she just lets the dog out.
post #5 of 8
We opened the door a crack and when we saw his face peering outside, we gave our 4.5mo old kitten a little squirt. Did 2, maybe 3 times, and now he doesn't get too close to the doors. He's still curious if he's in follower-cat mode, but he never bolts for the door or otherwise really cares about it. We can leave the door open and he'll just look at us standing there, not trying to move to go outside. He thinks he'll get squirted, after all.

Might be worth a try. You need to associate "open doors" with "bad things happening," or at least startling thing.
post #6 of 8
Another thing to do with cats that always bolt for the door is to get a tall piece of cat furniture (one of those giant scratching posts with a sitting spot on top somewhere) and place it in the room, as far away from the door as possible. Whenever you are leaving, give the cat a delicious treat *only on the cat furniture* and do the same when you get home. This will generally teach the cat that when a human is using the door, they need to be on top of the cat furniture. Obviously nothing works on 100% of cats 100% of the time, but it's worth a try if nothing else has worked so far...
post #7 of 8
My Zane trys this, too. I have developed a habit of sort of sliding my foot in first. Not really kicking him, but blocking him with my foot and perhaps pushing him back.
post #8 of 8
All the upheavals undermined his confidence and made him timid. Now, that he's feeling better and ready to investigate things, here's a big world for him to investigate!

Aversion to the door (like squirting them when they go near) works best when they don't know all the fun to be had outside. But it's certainly worth a try. Use a bottle that emits a fine spray, plain water, and a plan. Someone waits by the door, bottle at the ready, and someone else opens the door just a bit, enough for the cat to get his nose out, and then mist him. Don't trap any part of the cat behind the door, or he'll panic and might get hurt. Give him plenty of room to flee. If the neighbors aren't watching, it doesn't hurt to give the door frame a few whacks with the (plastic!) bottle and roar into the house.

Dang, the cat thinks. I didn't realize there were Squirty Monsters out there. Maybe the outside isn't so great.

We need consistency in not letting him out, and also upping the fun quotient indoors so he won't miss it so much.

By consistent, I mean every person in the house has to commit to keeping him in while he's being trained. Letting him get out even a few times just teaches him that he can get out if he tries hard enough. Then it becomes a game; he devotes himself to his goal for those times he succeeds, and he will always win. He has nothing else to do.

The outdoors is interesting because of what he can do there. Bring that part indoors. If he likes to climb, get a cat tree. Involve him in activities; if a show someone is watching is on, it's a simple matter to go and get him and see if he wants to sit around being petted for a while.

Things like this will regroove his brain and he will switch his interests. And that's key. Cats won't give up an interest, unless they have something else interesting to do.
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