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Cat won't go outside on his own

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
We recently adopted a 4-year old male cat from a friend who was moving away to another part of the country. She had had him since he was a kitten, and kept him as an indoor-only cat.

When we took him on we lived in an upstairs apartment, so continued to keep himi indoors. About 3 weeks ago we moved to a house with a garden, and since he was always up at the open windows eagerly watching the birds and squirrels in the back garden, we decided to try and let him outside.

We checked the garden, 7-foot high wooden fences all around, with no way for him to jump up on them.

The day came, and we opened the door. Naturally he was very wary, standing on the doorstep for ages before venturing outside. We were out in the back garden putting up some patio furniture and just left him to it. Eventually he slinked off around the garden stalking some birds, and he seemed to be in his element.

So we left him out there and closed the door. About 5 minutes later there was a crash at the bedroom window, which overlooks the back yard, and an angry meowing. He was desperate to come in. If we leave the door open he comes and goes, but with no screen door and the hot weather on the way that's not going to be practical. We are in a rented property, so can't install a cat-flap/doggy door.

Now he demands to be let out, but as soon as you open the door he thinks about goin out, and when he eventually does he keeps looking back at you; if you go to close the door, he rushes back inside.

It's only been over a week since we first let him out. What I'd like to know is how long it will take him to get used to being out on his own, if he ever will? Has he been kept indoors for too long and the outside world is a bit much for him? Any advice would be very welcome.
post #2 of 11
I've had some indoor cats accidentally get outside and they immediately panic and want back inside. It's almost like the world outside is too big and too scary of a place for them. He seems safer when you are with him. What if you let him out when you are out and you can monitor him more closely?

And btw - my friend has a fenced in yard (6 foot fence). One of her cats can easily scale that fence. I wouldn't be certain that the 7 foot fence is safe.
post #3 of 11
He might never adjust. My cats are indoor cats but we go for supervised trips into the yard. Friday is bold as sin so long as I'm there but has no interest in going out without me. He's really a big chicken. Why not establish a time of day for outside activities like in the mornings when it won't be so warm. That way you can still leave the door open while he's adjusting. Once he gets used to the routine he may not even notice a closed door. The thing you want to avoid is something frightening him and him making a mad dash over the fence (I bet he can get over the wooden fence; they're good climbers) and getting lost. Give him all the time he needs before keeping the door closed. We see so many pets at the shelter where I work, you don't want him to end up like that. I recommend microchipping too, just to be safe.
post #4 of 11
I'm with the stay out with him crowd. My kitties who like the great outdoors know they can't go out unless I am out there with them. Their favorite activity is "helping" with the gardening. I use the term helping loosely here.

Now that the weather is getting nice the bad thing is that every time I go out the door they think its outside time
post #5 of 11
I don't see how this is a bad thing. After all, you adopted a kitty for companionship, right? I would expect nothing less from a kitty who has always been indoors, actually it is rather cruel to lock them out with no regards. You mentioned 7 foot fence around your yard, I have yet to see or hear of any fence protecting those from escaping and/or keeping predators out.
post #6 of 11
Cats can jump 7 feet fences.
My fence is at least 8 feet and the neighbors cats jump it easily.
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
Well, I would agree with you about the fences, but this cat is no athelete. He was pretty fat when we got him, but he's losing weight now we've got him on to a sensible diet. But with his bulk I couldn't imagine him jumping onto a counter-top, let alone balancing on the top of a fence!

As for being cruel wanting to keep him out, I think he ought to be out regularly, cropping a bit of grass, stalking birds, etc, just to keep him sharp mentally. I do try and play, but his patience is alot better than mine, and I can only stand in the middle of the room dangling a string or pointing the laser pen for so long before getting bored.

We're on a budget, but we're looking at a screen door with a cat flap in it, so he'll be able to come and go, at least in the warmer evening hours.
post #8 of 11
My little Yota (9 yrs) is an indoor kitty by choice. I've had her since she was 6 weeks old after her momma stopped feeding her. She can go out if she wants to but seldom does. When she does, it's not for long. She's a timid girl at the best of times and will also freak if the door is closed behind her. Some kitties like Yota just never adjust to the whole outdoor thing especially if they've been raised indoors. I just pick her a handful of grass every so often or most of the time I have a container I grow grass in indoors. I wouldn't force your kitty out, just let him/her take it at his own pace. If that "pace" ever comes. My Yota is completely happy being a boring indoor kitty. She certainly is Momma's little love!
post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gannett View Post
Well, I would agree with you about the fences, but this cat is no athelete. He was pretty fat when we got him, but he's losing weight now we've got him on to a sensible diet. But with his bulk I couldn't imagine him jumping onto a counter-top, let alone balancing on the top of a fence!
That's what we thought about Zane, the Furry Rugby Ball With Legs. Not so!
post #10 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gannett View Post

We checked the garden, 7-foot high wooden fences all around, with no way for him to jump up on them.

So we left him out there and closed the door. About 5 minutes later there was a crash at the bedroom window, which overlooks the back yard, and an angry meowing. He was desperate to come in. If we leave the door open he comes and goes, but with no screen door and the hot weather on the way that's not going to be practical. We are in a rented property, so can't install a cat-flap/doggy door.

Now he demands to be let out, but as soon as you open the door he thinks about goin out, and when he eventually does he keeps looking back at you; if you go to close the door, he rushes back inside.

It's only been over a week since we first let him out. What I'd like to know is how long it will take him to get used to being out on his own, if he ever will? Has he been kept indoors for too long and the outside world is a bit much for him? Any advice would be very welcome.
Why do you want him outside? The safest and happiest place for him is inside; count your blessings that that is where he wants to be, out of danger from predators, cruel people, cars, disease, and parasites.

And if you think a cat can't easily get over a 7-foot fence, you haven't known cats very long!
post #11 of 11
I agree with the others about the fence - a cat can easily climb/jump over it... The garden in my building is not fenced, and I take my kitties out with me 2x a day now. Whenever they are scared, or get startled, they RUN home; I am afraid that if you leave the door closed he might run over the fence when startled.
Anyway you can at least leave the window open for him?
I strongly advise supervision when letting him out though. You don't want to find out his athletic capabilities the bad way...
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