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Cruel for saving a kitty and keeping him indoors?

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
Hulloo all,

About 6 weeks ago, I found a cat lying behind a bush next to our house. I appraoched him slowly, knelt down and petted him; he huffed but did not raise his head, and I could see some blood in the fur around his neck.

I fed him some tuna, then went and bough cat food at the store, and over the next few days fed him in the morning and evening. He was very weak, and at night I could hear him fighting with another cat or some other animal, and the next day there would always be a fresh wound or some such on the poor guy. His eye (the blue one; the other is yellow) was half-closed with conjunctivitis, and was leaking brownish pus. He also had a large gash and a thick black scab on his upper nose.

I managed to get him to walk into a large carrying case and brought him to the vet. After 3 days there and a very large vet bill, I was told he was clean for parasistes and heart worm, FiV and FeLV as well. Fleas had been dealt with using Revolution.

Since then, Plucky (an estimated 1 year old by the vet's estimate) has gotten healthier and healthier, and is a strapping, muscular all-white bundle of joy. However, I know that if I let him out, he would fight and get hurt again...and possibly run away.

Am I being cruel for keeping him confined to my home? He spends time sleeping (of course) and playing, and loves playing with toys....but he also spends a lot of time roaming from window to window, upstairs and down, calling in the loudest most plaintive voice I have heard a cat use. He sounds like he is in pain, or at least about to cough up a hairball (that "I'm gonna be sick!" mewoling they do just before coughing one up).

I want to keep him safe indoors...but I don't want his life to be miserable either. I don't quite know how best to make him happy.
post #2 of 25
Your boy was not safe outside. You saved him. Not all cats can handle themselves out in the big world. He obviously couldnt.

I rescued a cat that was outside that I saw almost get run over by a car. She just was not an outside kind of girl. She would meow for a while to go back out, but now, she doesnt. She adjusted. He will be ok,inside where he is safe, warm, loved and fed. He will be fine.

Do you have any pics of your miracle boy to share?
post #3 of 25
Is he neutered? That would help.

My cats are strictly indoors and spoiled rotten. Think of the windows as kitty TV. Mine are interested in what goes on inside and out.
post #4 of 25
First thing is to have him neutered.
Since you really want to keep him indoors, provide toys, cat trees, videos, to keep him occupied.
As for your question about him being miserable, members with indoor cats (majority in this site) will say no and those with outdoor cats (like me) will say yes.
post #5 of 25
Thread Starter 
Hulloo and thanks for the reply.

I am quite certain he is better off and will live a longer life. But he has just gotten more and more plaintive about going outside. It used to be a bit more "understated" but now he will spend a few hours each day roaming from the downstairs basement windows to the patio door, calling out in that sad loud voice, then coming to paw at my arm to get my attention...and then lead me to a door and sit and wait for me to open it.

I guess I am just letting the sad little quality of that meowing get to me.

I will try to find a site where I can post some pictures of the little guy.

EDIT: It is also probably harder for him to deal with in that I get the feeling he was born outside and lived that first year of his life there. He is quite trusting and will even let me pick him up (briefly- then it's a nip if I don't put him down!), and he sleeps on a chair next to me when I am at my PC.

EDIT #2: He is scheduled for a trip to the vet's to be neutered next week, and also to have his claws trimmed...since there's no way in heck he'd allow me to do it without biting me if I tried.
post #6 of 25
the neutering will help.
i have 5 cats, 4 of which are rescues/strays. all 4 lived outside at some point, some longer than others. none of them go outside any more except on very rare occasions. doesn't seem to bother them in the least. only 3 show any interest at all, & they don't "rush the door" when i go out.
post #7 of 25
If you honestly feel he would be happier being allowed out some, look into building him an enclosure. There's sponsor links on this site and past threads about building them. That way he can have both and be safe.
post #8 of 25
Those funny sounds he's making should definitely disappear (within a month) once the neutering's done, and as long as you keep him occupied inside, with toys, a cat tree, maybe even another cat, he should be fine. What about getting him an enclosure, where he can be 'out' but safe? Or leash training him (though you'll then be stuck having to walk him whenever he meows).
post #9 of 25
Thread Starter 
Well a small part of the mystery became clearer this morning. My little guy came rushing down the stairs frantically and ran into the laundry room, calling loudly as he has been doing of late. I woke up and went to investigate, and there is Plucky on the window ledge, pacing back and forth...and a brown striped cat just sitting very quietly right in the window looking at him..well, both of us. I've seen this cat in the neighborhood before, it wanders around.

I dunno if Plucky fought with him/her before, or if it's a female (it wasn't displaying any signs of being hostile or in heat...just sat there), or a littermate, or maybe even his mom.

I closed the open slit in the window, and within minutes he calmed down a little bit. Until he found another open window and started calling out again.

I'm looking forward to having him neutered now, maybe this will calm him down a bit and let him relax more. I'll also be going to buy him more toys today. Thanks very much everyone for the information!
post #10 of 25
I am glad you are going to keep this guy indoors. It really isn't safe for him out there. He maybe sad until his neuter is complete, but think about all the dangers and diseases he won't be exposed to because you took him in! I think it's the right choice. As far as the other cat, being in-tact makes him want to fight or breed. So it doesn't supprise me that he is reacting to seeing another cat in the window. Is there a rescue group in your area that might be willing to take in the other cat and make sure it gets a good home?
post #11 of 25
He's possibly used to being outdoors, so it's natural for him to want to go out. If he was lossing fights that badly & that sick....then obviously going outside isn't a good thing for him. I know it's hard right now, with him so obviously wanting out....but part of that is time of the year & him not yet being neutered.

Once neutered, & kept indoors for a few months, he'll forget he was outside and calm down drastically. Especially if he's white, he needs to be inside. White cats sunburn rapidly & also can sometimes be deaf (more common in whites with two blue eyes, but sometimes bi-colored eyed white cats are deaf also).

(BTW - Pics are a must! )
post #12 of 25
You did the right thing. Poor guy, he misses the outside, but look at what was happening to him out there! He is much better off in his future as being a spoiled indoor kitty cat.
post #13 of 25
He will learn inside....they miss outside but they learn. My feelings about inside, it is safer, LOL and cheeper too. How much have you spent??
I rest my case......LOL
post #14 of 25
Originally Posted by Trillcat View Post
You did the right thing. Poor guy, he misses the outside, but look at what was happening to him out there! He is much better off in his future as being a spoiled indoor kitty cat.
I agree and see what happens once he's neutered--that may make a big difference. if he's still longing for the outdoors, maybe you could take him outside sometimes on a leash? But I definitely wouldn't let him run loose. He's bound to have a longer, healthier, happier life indoors with you!
post #15 of 25
My Murray was a stray, so he had to adapt to being an all-indoor cat. At first, he would cry a little at night, wanting to go out. And he still does that from time to time, just a tiny bit. But I don't give in, and he is essentially over wanting to go out.

I keep him indoors because there are so many dangers out there - traffic, diseases from other cats, dogs, wild animals in some places, mean people who steal or torture cats, etc. I think cats are definitely better indoors, and if your baby enjoys toys and kitty condos and things like that, then providing it with those types of items should keep it as happy as possible.
post #16 of 25
Would he be amenable to being harness trained? Some cats can be, others can't.

Do you have an enclosed screen porch or something like it, so he could be out in the outside air, but still safe?
post #17 of 25
Others have already said this general idea, and sounds like you're feeling at least OK about keeping him inside but I wanted to emphasize that, even if you eventually decide that this cat should go outside, this is not the time to let him outside. Now he's a healthy tom, and ready to go do his business; that's why he's crying to be let out. He's also most likely to be hurt when fighting other toms over a female. He doesn't want to get out because cats need to be outside, but because all organisms want to breed. If you had a fertile cat on the other side of a door in your house, he'd be doing the same thing to that door.

I think it's inappropriate to call neutering and feeding ferals, or having an indoor/outdoor cat, or having an indoor only cat, "cruel". None of these things are cruel. People have differences of opinion about the appropriate risk/benefit analysis, and what really is a benefit and what isn't, but none of these options are cruel. Cats can be happy in many, many different ways. Personally, I think keeping pets indoors, especially in places with predators or cars, is the best option. But none of those options are "cruel".
post #18 of 25
Good to keep him cousin rescued a cat and he is happy inside. It takes time to adjust. Can you get him a friend??

He is lucky to have you...
post #19 of 25
Thread Starter 
Here is a link to 2 pictures of my little guy, for those who wanted to look. He looks dozy in both, but that is only because he would squint whenever the camera flash went off. He has some stud tail issues; that will also be taken care of when he goes to the vet for his neutering. His beautiful fluffy tail will probablu have to be shaved.
post #20 of 25
Aww, he's very cute- you're definitely doing the right thing by keeping him inside, getting him neutered and yay! for not getting him declawed! Nail clipping on most cats isn't a big deal, but there are some that should be done by professionals

If mentioned this earlier I missed it- is this your first cat?
post #21 of 25
What a pretty cat!
post #22 of 25
He's a handsome fella - and very lucky to have you now.
post #23 of 25
Oh, he's a beautiful boy!!! He will clean up nicely!
post #24 of 25
Oh my gosh, he is beautiful! He looks like my friends' cat, Sisko. Lovely.

We took our kittens in off the street, and they are very happy inside now! They have been with us for four months and especially after we got the speutering done with (two boys and a girl), no one has been begging to go outside. They look out the windows and chatter at the birds outside, but they are fine living indoors - I'm sure once your boy fully adjusts, he will be fine as well! It will just take a bit of time for him to adjust to his new (and wonderful) life.

Definitely get some toys - this will also help develop your relationship with him. Try DaBird. We ordered one and our cats go crazy. I am sure others will attest to its lure! If possible, a friend (after he recovers from his neutering) might be a good idea. Sometimes its not possible, but if you can get another cat, they do keep each other company. Our three are siblings, so they have never been away from each other and they love their cuddles but they spend a lot of the day playing with each other. It's nice because if we are gone all day then we don't really have to worry about them getting bored.

Good luck at the vets!
post #25 of 25
Originally Posted by wendyr View Post
Definitely get some toys - this will also help develop your relationship with him. Try DaBird. We ordered one and our cats go crazy. I am sure others will attest to its lure!
My Zane gets up on his hind legs and hops like a small, fat, fuzzy, grey kangaroo for it.
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