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I have to fix him or he might have to go... please help!

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Hi there!

I have a male 4 year old cat, who is desexed and is the most loveable thing on earth, I raised him from when he was just a tiny kitten and he would go outside and do whatever cats do and then come home at night. That's pretty normal I know but I just wanted to state his behaviour before.

Now my sister and I moved to Adelaide (about 3 hours drive where where we used to live) and Asterix (my cat) got freaked out as they usually do when they move, he would hide everywhere but after he got used to the place he now thinks he owns it.

Anyway, we let him settle in for about a few months and now he wants to go outside but whenever we go to let him out, he just sits there and wont go out because he is afraid. I'll close the door and he will start meowing to caterwauling to go out and I'll open the door and he will just sit there sniffing the door but wont go out. I stood there for perhaps a half an hour, hoping that after he got used to it he would go but no, he either walked away or just stood there looking outside. Before we moved he wanted to go out every five seconds and it was a pain to get him to stay inside. We don't mind if he does not go outside but the fact that he sits there and meows all the time is very annoying.

We have tried to ignore him for months now but as soon as we get up he will meow, follow us, meow, head to the door, meow. It is starting to drive my sister mad, who is not generally fond of cats and she is starting to threaten that he may have to go if I don't figure out what to do with him. I love him dearly but he is starting to get on my nerves also. I comfort him every day and he seems content at times but at other times he will just suddenly get up and start roaming the house meowing.

I did take him outside one day but he just ran back to the door and started to freak out so I let him back in. Yet he still wants to go out.

I do have a theory though: before we moved he lived in a house with my mothers cats (about four others) and I think now that he has no other cats around he is lonely as I do see him look under the door and try to play with the stray cat who comes to our door at night. I don't know if getting another cat might help but I don't think we would be allowed to have another cat (as we are renting) and if we were I don't think we could afford it.

Can anyone help?
post #2 of 16
Cats can become horribly distressed by any change in their territory - he probably feels more insecurity than he used to due to the move. In your previous home he knew where everything was, and if he was allowed outdoors he likely had secured a patch of territory that was 'his', it smelled of him, and other cats nearby knew it was his. Now he has gone somewhere new - he remembers having territory outside, but now he would have to claim new outdoor territory from other cats and he feels nervous and displaced. Even if he wants to interact in a friendly way with the cat he sees through the doors, the outdoors belongs to that other cat, and to claim it himself would require confrontation.

I would either ignore his cries and keep him indoors (it would take a while for him to give up, but it does settle down eventually!) or build an outdoor enclosure or catproof fence so that he can have his own territory without having to struggle to claim it from other cats. The friendly interaction you see between the 2 cats may be because your cat knows that the other cannot come in and take his indoor territory so feels fairly OK about it, but to have outdoor territory of his own would mean taking it from the resident cat, who is likely the more dominant of the two because his territory is already established, and filled with strong scents telling your own cat that he should not trespass.
post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 
Hmm I know what you mean when it comes to territory and the move was pretty distressing for him. Though he does not mind the other cat, as one day I opened the door and she walked right in! I had so many things in my hands I could not stop her so she walked in, sniffed around and then started to rub against my legs. She is a very friendly stray and I asked around if she had an owner but everyone else knew her as a stray.

Anyway, Asterix saw her and at first they were all hiss hiss at each other but as soon as he saw me pat her he got more curious than intimidated and then he started to want to play with her but she wanted nothing of it but to be petted by me or my sister. They don't mind each other at all but he still wont go outside even when she is not around.

I know ignoring will take some time and I would make an enclosure for him (if it were allowed if I asked) we have no where to put it. The back is ruled by my dog who loves to play with anything in her sights.
post #4 of 16
Chances are if there is one friendly stray who doesn't seem threatening, there are others who are. Even if it was the previous tenants who may have had a cat, or a neighbors indoor-outdoor kitty, or another stray who is territorial, it sounds like he is distressed by the presence of another animal, it could even be the scent of one. I wouldn't openly invite him to the outdoors till you know its safe, the last thing you need is for him to be attacked, become seriously injured. Try Feliway in your home, should help him feel more comfortable indoors, and some indoor entertainment, like window perches, toys, kitty posts/condos....

PS.....Love your user name!
post #5 of 16
Could you set up some sort of outdoor enclosure where he would be safe from other cats (and wildlife--you have a lot of venemous snakes and other fauna in Australia, don't you?)? (Something along the lines of www.thecatsden.net?)

I don't like to suggest drugs, but could your vet give him some sort of anti-anxiety medicine to calm him down? Perhaps by the time the medicine will have run its course, he will have settled into his new space/routine.
post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 
Yes I believe you are right and I did have that suspicion before hand. Though Asterix did get into a lot of fights when before we moved.

I'll try Feliway, we have plenty of toys but he seems to ignore them besides the straw on string hanging of a door o.0 (he is so weird) and hopefully that will help. He does every now and again start hissing at a wall for no reason and so I suspected there might be a scent there he did not like. I might try some scent cover ups to try and help with that too.

I had recently given him a kitty scratch post to get him to stop clawing at the carpet, so far, no success lol.

Thanks for your help guys and thanks, I love my username too
post #7 of 16
If he's hissing at the same wall, mix some BioZet detergent with water and spray on the area - that will get rid of any previous cat scent that might be there.

Also for toys, try some feather teasers. Mine prefer those to toys they have to play with alone. I get them from here http://www.bubblesnscrubbles.com.au/...y105.inetstore

And welcome to Adelaide
post #8 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheKitteh View Post

I had recently given him a kitty scratch post to get him to stop clawing at the carpet, so far, no success lol.
Something that worked for me was taping one of those clear plastic carpet runners upside down so the little prongs that stick out are facing up. You may find this at discount stores like walmart.

Hang in there and keep trying until you find something that works.
post #9 of 16
We actually found that our boys prefer the back of carpet to the front. So we took some carpet scraps and stapled them to a board back side out. We have one on each floor and I also put some on the cat tree I made--its definitely the favorite here! Jack loves sisal rope for scratching as well.

Leslie
post #10 of 16
I too suggest you build/buy a cat enclosure. Maybe he will feel safer sitting outside.
post #11 of 16
How about taking him outside on a harness so he can get used to the new area explore the area with him.
post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shanynne View Post
How about taking him outside on a harness so he can get used to the new area explore the area with him.
I was going to suggest that too. It is safer anyway. There could be a pretty dominant feral Tom hanging around who he instinctively knows he is no match for. Plus it is all so new.
My cats aren't big into toys either. They like interactive toys but they find ordinary household items much more exciting.

My cats love different posts. I have some carpet ones, the sisal ones and some of the cardboard ones. I sprinkle catnip on each from time to time. They are very good about using their posts.
If he likes carpet, get one that is carpeted. Mary loves carpet and loves the carpeted scratchers best.
post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 
Alrighty I'll give all your guys ideas a try and thank you so much. My sister says she will hold off her threats for a while since her galah annoys the crap out of me in the mornings lately. I deal with her bird, she deals with my cat

I tried the harness idea but he did not like the harness too well, he just laid there and then started to attack it and himself, so I took it off and tried another idea. I sat outside with the door open (its the middle of winter so its really cold lol) and called him and comforted him and finally he came outside to explore for a bit. He did not go too far, not down the steps of the small porch we have but he is getting there. Hopefully after a few more tries he will be more confident to roam a little more, he may even go onto the lawn!

I'll get some carpet scratching posts and definately some scratchers for the ground as we used to have one where he used to live and all the cats used it. Though if I place any carboard on the ground he just tends to sit on it and that's about it. He preffered his cushion to that piece of carboard. They do the most silliest things.
post #14 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheKitteh View Post
I tried the harness idea but he did not like the harness too well, he just laid there and then started to attack it and himself, so I took it off and tried another idea. I sat outside with the door open (its the middle of winter so its really cold lol) and called him and comforted him and finally he came outside to explore for a bit. He did not go too far, not down the steps of the small porch we have but he is getting there. Hopefully after a few more tries he will be more confident to roam a little more, he may even go onto the lawn!
Harness training has to be started as a kitten. Most cats, and I mean most, will flip out if this is introduced after 5-6 months of age.
It we be grand if you could get him comfortable to come out on the porch when you are around, stick close to the house for his safety. Have you tried the Feliway yet?
post #15 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheylink View Post
Harness training has to be started as a kitten.
Not always, I've trained cats from kitten to 8 years old and they've ended up enjoying it.
post #16 of 16
I would try the harness again and take him out with it to start. I am training my new 2 year old, Milo to it, and it was awful at first but now he walks all round the garden on a lead. Put the harness on him in the house a number of times and leave it on (under supervision) until he will tolerate it for half an hour or more. It will take a few days, but he will get used to it - many cats 'bellywalk' at first, but don't worry. You will eventually be able to take him out and may find out what is scaring him. With Milo, he hated walking across the wide expanse of gravel between the door and the grass in the garden. It took a lot of encouragement before he would step on the gravel. Now he runs across into the garden proper.
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