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Outdoor cat becoming indoor cat full time

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
we have a cat that was 80-90% indoors but she occasionally wanted to go outside. In San Antonio there is a cat killer on the loose. he is slicing cats up and leaving them where people can find them. Me and my wife are terrified that our cat could be next. we recently moved from an apartment into a new house so I was thinking if we let her go outside she would be confused and run away or get sliced up. shes in a much bigger place now..she meows at night lookin out the window but doesnt do it too long. is she always gonna be like this? is there something i can do?
post #2 of 21
Yes, get a 4-point harness at the pet store and take her for walks. It's the kind with a collar around the neck and another around her tummy, just behind the front legs, attached with a little piece on the back, where there's a little loop to hook on a leash. Once it's fitted, you only ever undo the neck part for her to get in and out, the other one slides over her head (first), or off the back end (afterward). Try her just on that for a few minutes at a time indoors til she stops trying to get out of it - it should be tight enough to only let you get one finger under it - in other words snug-ish but not at all 'tight'. And of course get a leash to go with it. Once she gets that she can go out as long as you're around, she'll be quite happy to stand still while you slip her into it and do up the neck part. 'Walking' a cat is a bit optimistic - usually they end up mooching around, sniffing things a lot, and you end up standing around a lot, but you can also 'encourage' her to walk between sniffs. Be VERY sure she's comfortable in the harness before ever going out (hanging out with it on indoors as if she's forgotten it) so you don't run into any problem with her doing acrobatics outside trying to get it off, or being scared by e.g. a large truck going by, or a loose dog, etc. Don't ever just try her on a neck-collar-alone thing as it's too easy for her to get out of (unless it's too tight for safety), plus dangerous, as cats' necks are not strong enough like dogs to depend on the collar for sudden lunges, getting hooked on things, etc. The 'pressure' on the 4-pt. ones is transferred to the other collar and back when it's on - much safer.
post #3 of 21
The other poster has good ideas; and hopefully she will be indoors-only from now on, avoiding fleas, ticks, dogs, cars, and #*(@'s like you spoke of. Let's all hope this sadistic and depraved murderer is caught and given fined and made to do the maximum sentence. (I'd personally advocate for something much worse, but this is a nice site.)
post #4 of 21
You've already been given some great suggestions but I just wanted to add something. When she's really wanting to go out, it will help to distract her with something. Get out her favorite toy and play with her for awhile. It should make her forget all about wanting to go out... at least for a little while!
post #5 of 21
I feel that when owners want to stop worrying about the cat, they will keep her in.

Even without a cat killer on the loose. (I hope they catch them soon. This is sick, and might be a preliminary to worse things, ya know.)

I would urge you to keep your kitty in even after the emergency is over. Every time you let your cat out, you are rolling the dice about if she will come back. They get lost, they get trapped, they get diseases.

I have always kept my kitties in. We live on the third floor with a busy road out front, so it's a no brainer in my case, but even in a rural area with little traffic, things happen. My dad lets his cats out, and they've had to go to the vet three times this year alone! It's his decision, but it's one I wouldn't make.

If you do decide to keep the cat in permanently, invest in some toys and a cat tree, or other things that will make up for what she feels she's missing.
post #6 of 21
Thread Starter 
thanks. I think since we have a much larger place, she isnt fussing that much.

we recently got a 6 level kitty condo and they love it.
post #7 of 21
You can also buy/make an outdoor enclosure attached to your house with a cat flap so she can go out when she pleases or lock it if you don't want her to.
post #8 of 21
My cat was an outdoor cat and she was pretty rambunctious when I brought her inside at first, but she settled down after awhile.
post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 
well good news...the outdoor cat is full time house cat without fuss
post #10 of 21
hey,

I think your cat got used to being outdoors and she misses it. I can recomend you to buy a leash and take her out for some fresh air and in time she will get used to becoming a full indoor cat.
post #11 of 21
You can train her to a harness/leash and sit outside for awhile. Some cats do adjust in time to being indoor only. I'd be more worried about her escaping if given the chance since she's used to outside.

Try to give her more attention inside - toys, laser light, good tall treehouse to watch out the window. Hopefully she will forget about the outside soon.
post #12 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnTS71 View Post
well good news...the outdoor cat is full time house cat without fuss
That's good My sister made hers indoor after loosing 3 to a cat hater, a year later one boy still needs a daily dose of Rescue Remedy to help him chill out.
post #13 of 21
If your cat is used to being outside, I would let her out again when the cat killer is caught! An outdoor cat is going to be miserable if she's feeling cooped up inside against her will. Cats are wild animals, and they can handle going outside. In the meantime, I would definitely keep her inside. I looked up the "cat killer", and I'm assuming it's this guy? Creepy!

Anyways, good luck and it's good to hear she's keeping entertained.
post #14 of 21
I was able to successfully change my cat, Sammy, from an indoor/ outdoor cat to an indoor cat many years ago. I had moved, like you. I think the move actually helped the transition because he had to get new habits in our new space anyhow.

Even after I moved again and he could have gone out, I kept him and indoor cat to keep him safe. He lived to the ripe old age of 18 - and he had kitty AIDS from when he had been an outdoor cat. He probably wouldn't have lived that long if I'd let him go out.
post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by angryrectangle View Post
If your cat is used to being outside, I would let her out again when the cat killer is caught! An outdoor cat is going to be miserable if she's feeling cooped up inside against her will. Cats are wild animals, and they can handle going outside. In the meantime, I would definitely keep her inside. I looked up the "cat killer", and I'm assuming it's this guy? Creepy!

Anyways, good luck and it's good to hear she's keeping entertained.
The modern domestic cat is NOT a wild animal, and in fact it has no niche in the ecology in most places. It's too small to deal with most predators in America, not to mention dogs and cars. Keeping a cat indoors is not cruel; it's lengthening the life of the one you love, on average by a factor of more than 25!
post #16 of 21
My daughters cat is an indoor cat. However when she would go to our camper she put him on a leash so he could be outside. Now when he's at home he tries to escape. He even pulled down the screen from the top of a window and jumped out. Once they get the taste of outside its hard to keep them in. Its worse for her since she lives in a no pet co-op.
post #17 of 21
Our Elliott was an outdoor cat.
He was a stray, born outside and lived his whole life outside.
We moved into this neighborhood almost 2 years ago, at that time Elliott was 18 months old and had never known what is was to be inside and he'd never laid eyes on a litter box.

I heard car brakes one day and looked out just in time to see a car miss him by a whisker...that was it for me...he was coming in no matter what.

He screamed for the first 15 minutes he was in our house and that was it.
After that he never made any kind of attempt to get outside again, in fact he'll run a mile from an open door.
Also he was in the house for about half an hour and used the litter box, he never had issues with that either.
He was in the house for three days before we could have him neutered, he never spayed before he was neutered and has never sprayed since.

Maybe that's not common and Elliott was just born to be an indoor kitty boy, but just wanted to tell you that at least for us making an outdoor cat an indoor cat was a snap.

ETA: After I posted all of that I realized that you'd already has sucess in making your baby an indoor kitty, that's great news!
post #18 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrblanche View Post
The modern domestic cat is NOT a wild animal, and in fact it has no niche in the ecology in most places. It's too small to deal with most predators in American, not to mention dogs and cars. Keeping a cat indoors is not cruel; it's lengthening the life of the one you love, on average by a factor of more than 25!
I don't know.. I disagree. Most outdoor cats I know are the healthiest cat I've ever seen, and are completely capable of coping in the outside world. Cats are good at being stealth, and can outrun most inner-city predators pretty easily.
Not to mention an indoor cat is going to be far more prone to obesity than an outdoor cat! My cat runs AWAY from loud noises and big scary things (such as cars) not at them. I don't see how keeping it inside will lengthen it's life span at all, unless you're a neglectful pet owner and don't take care of your cat.

Would you keep a child or a dog cooped up inside all day every day?
post #19 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by angryrectangle View Post

Would you keep a child or a dog cooped up inside all day every day?
dog, yes, except for potty times.
child, no - but they're considerably more intelligent than dogs & cats.
it's really hard for your animal to be hit by a car if it never goes outside.
kids, too, but at least you can teach them not to run out into the road after prey.
post #20 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by angryrectangle View Post
I don't know.. I disagree. Most outdoor cats I know are the healthiest cat I've ever seen, and are completely capable of coping in the outside world. Cats are good at being stealth, and can outrun most inner-city predators pretty easily.
Not to mention an indoor cat is going to be far more prone to obesity than an outdoor cat! My cat runs AWAY from loud noises and big scary things (such as cars) not at them. I don't see how keeping it inside will lengthen it's life span at all, unless you're a neglectful pet owner and don't take care of your cat.

Would you keep a child or a dog cooped up inside all day every day?
No, but I'd keep a 2-yr-old child in my sight, and they're not likely to jump a fence and get hit by a car. And the dog would definitely be on a leash or inside the fenced yard.

Don't take my word for it. Ask a vet. You don't see how keeping a cat indoors might help it live longer? Are you serious? Most of the parasites and diseases a cat is likely to get, it will get outdoors. Strange dogs don't come in your house. Cars aren't driven in your house. Coyotes don't come in your house. Owls and hawks don't come in your house. Strangers don't shoot your cat in your house. Animal control won't pick up your cat in your house.

Researchers say that the average life of a cat who goes outdoors is 6 months. The average life of an indoor cat is 16 years. And yes, I know of exceptions to both. If you understand statistics, you know what those stats mean.

And an indoor cat is not going to be disrupting the local ecology. The two worst non-native animals currently wreaking havoc on America's wildlife are cats and pigs.

I've heard all the arguments, and I've made my decision. We haven't had a cat that went outdoors in 34 years. My mother, in that same time, has lost 5 cats, and my sister has lost 2 (and she no longer lets hers out, after the second one).
post #21 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrblanche View Post
No, but I'd keep a 2-yr-old child in my sight, and they're not likely to jump a fence and get hit by a car. And the dog would definitely be on a leash or inside the fenced yard.

Don't take my word for it. Ask a vet. You don't see how keeping a cat indoors might help it live longer? Are you serious? Most of the parasites and diseases a cat is likely to get, it will get outdoors. Strange dogs don't come in your house. Cars aren't driven in your house. Coyotes don't come in your house. Owls and hawks don't come in your house. Strangers don't shoot your cat in your house. Animal control won't pick up your cat in your house.

Researchers say that the average life of a cat who goes outdoors is 6 months. The average life of an indoor cat is 16 years. And yes, I know of exceptions to both. If you understand statistics, you know what those stats mean.

And an indoor cat is not going to be disrupting the local ecology. The two worst non-native animals currently wreaking havoc on America's wildlife are cats and pigs.

I've heard all the arguments, and I've made my decision. We haven't had a cat that went outdoors in 34 years. My mother, in that same time, has lost 5 cats, and my sister has lost 2 (and she no longer lets hers out, after the second one).
If you let your cats out when they're young, they'll adapt pretty well to their surroundings including having a natural fear of cars. My cat would never just leap under the wheels of a moving car! A cat that's been let out early enough understands the role of their predators in their own environment. It won't be hard for them to figure out how to avoid and escape from said predators.

Sure cats can get a disease from going outside, but if a cat is truly an outdoor cat he'll be getting so much exercise he'll be healthy enough to deal with any bacterias coming his way. Almost everyone I know with indoor cats are constantly taking their cat to the vet for various illness'. My boyfriend's got two outdoor cats aged 12 and 13, and neither of them have EVER been to the vet for being sick. They've been to the vet to be spayed, or maybe for getting a thorn in the paw. A cat is going to be perfectly healthy running around outside as long as you remember to keep it protected from things like fleas that cause alot of problems a cat can have.

Also, I'm curious to hear what researchers claim the average lifespan of an outdoor cat is 6 months?

As for ecology, it's easy to teach your outdoor cat not to hunt by putting a bell on it when you first let it out.. as many people with outdoor cats do.

Cats are far to intelligent to be stuck inside all day. They need to be able to explore.. even just to get some fresh air. Also, it's very important for a cat to have access to grass to eat when they need to vomit. Vomiting helps them get out all the fur that's stuck in their stomach.

Even if your cat is only allowed to roam your backyard, it should still be allowed outside.
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