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Indoor Cat ate screen door -- WHY??

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Yesterday I came home 8:30PM to find that my 11 year old Vinny scratched/ate a softball size hole in my screen door and got out. Luckily my husband and I found him 2 houses away, but he is a strictly indoor cat and in the 4 years we've had him has NEVER wanted to go outside, even when we left the door open. I have a 4 year old that we've had almost as long as we've had Vinny, and a 10 month old that we got a few weeks before Christmas. My husband thinks Vinny is stressed out by the other two cats and that's why he went outside. I think if that was the case, he would have acted strangely MUCH earlier than just now. He and my middle cat are very cuddly and lovable toward each other, but he just seems to co-exists with my kitten. He's never, ever hissed at him, but doesn't go out of his way to groom or cuddle. They'll sit next to each other but that's about it, and that's rare.

Also, I've recently begun taking him out on a harness and leash, and my husband also thinks because I gave him a "taste" of being outside that it could be that he's just interested in being out -- and that if we stop taking him out and make it seem like being out is bad (IE - knocking on the glass on the screen door to scare him from the door, shaking a can of pennies before we walk out to make him run away from the door etc), that he will no longer want to go out. But, what if he chews into a window screen???

My question is -- why did Vinny do this? He was just at the vet for his checkup on Monday so I know he's perfectly healthy, and he just got his round of shots then so I'm not worried about diseases he may have got while outside -- I just can't understand why he would want outside so badly and how we can make sure it doesn't happen again.

FYI - My other 2 just sat and stared at the hole in the screen and had no interest in going outside.

Any help is MUCH appreciated!
post #2 of 4
Your husband is right in that you gave your kitty some outside time and he loved it. Maybe something outside riled him up and he really wanted out?

If you're truly worried he'll go through more screens you can get a wire mesh called hardware cloth. While it might be easier to put it on the outside, if you want your screens not to get clawed you would need to put in on the inside. It's a bit of work, but that should fix the problem.

Do you know if he literally ate any of the screen? or does it look more like he just shredded it? If there was a hole and no pieces from making it, you need to really watch him - or better yet get him in to see a vet. Screen, and this is probably the thread type, could easily cause a serious blockage in his stomach or intestinal tract.

I wouldn't stop taking him out, he loves it and that is good for him. But you do need to be careful with doors. Another option is to cat proof a backyard or make a small enclosure that he can go out in at will (baring terrible weather).
post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the response! I'm hoping that's what it is, too, since being outside is new to him but being around the other cats is not.

We are going to buy a new screen door with glass on the bottom so that they can still look outside but can't claw through the screen. And we will look into replacing the screen on the windows so it doesn't happen there, too. Our house is all on one floor so all of our windows screens will need replaced.

There were shreds of screen in front of the hole, and my husband found a sizeable chunk of screen stuck to his sock, but it doesn't look like it's all of the screen that's gone so that's kind of why we think he ate some of it but aren't 100% sure. He's had blockages before so we've been able to watch his behavior and he isn't acting the same as he did previously when he had intestinal blocks. His poop so far is coming out normal, too.
post #4 of 4
FYI, I live in a 3rd floor apartment, and I put baby gates in all of my open windows for that very reason. They work great, have excellent visibility, and may be a more cost-effective solution for you, as opposed to swapping out all of your windows(?)
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