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Cat wants out at night - should I worry?

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
We've had our cat since February. Soon after we got him (adopted from a friend moving to another state) we moved to a house in a quiet street, with a big garden surrounded by fences and trees. The cat was very wary about going outside, and sometimes we literally had to pick him up and put him outside the door.

He would go out for a couple of hours in the morning, then sleep until about 8pm, when he would go out again and come back in at bedtime, about 10.30pm, and curl up with us and sleep through the night.

In the last few weeks, though, his confidence has grown by leaps and bounds. At bed time he will scratch at the door, and when we open it he will shoot out into the garden where he happily stays till 6am, when he scratches to come in again (I'd like a cat flap, but we live in a rental). Then he spends most of the daytime asleep under the bed (he obviously likes dark, quiet places).

Apart from this, he's behaving normally, eating and drinking, he seems very happy, if not happier. As I say, our place is quiet, no traffic at night (though he can't get to the front garden from the back). We have an outside storeroom with the washing machines and stuff, and I leave the door open for him so he has some kind of shelter (though so far it has been warm and dry at night).

I know cat owners are divided down the middle about whether to keep cats in or put them out at night, but I just wanted to know whether this is normal and whether we should really worry?
post #2 of 4
I have one in/out cat and one indoor only (kitten). The older cat was a stray, so when she adopted us, she was already accustomed to going outside. Rather than put up with her annoying howl to go out, we just gave in and let her out, but only during the day.

Night time is definitely the most dangerous time for an outside cat. It is when preditors are on the prowl, especially if you live where there are coyotes, owls, wolves or large birds of prey. Then there is the danger of cars and people who hate cats, as well as cats that hate other cats.

My advice is if you feel that going outside is important to your kitty, then try to change him from his night prowl to daytime. If he is without food for most of the day, he will be anxious to come in for an evening meal. Just don't let him outside again until morning.
post #3 of 4
Most cats I have had have been indoor/outdoor, but I have never allowed them out at night. They do sometimes complain for awhile, but they soon get used to your schedule. Mine do not go out again after dinner. It is at night when most accidents happen, when predators are around and when cats get scared and run, even though they are naturally nocturnal.
post #4 of 4
While it is true that the most dangers exist at night for your cat it is also true that most of the fun happens at night as well.
All the little critters come out at night and your cat has probably discovered how much fun they are to chase and catch.

If you live in an area where you don't have to worry about neighborhood problem cats or traffic or stray dogs or whatever than it isn't really going to hurt anything.

One thing I would do is make sure that your cat is up on all of her shots. Cats can catch things outside so even if its safe basically to be outside its still a good idea to get her shots to protect her from things you can't see.

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