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Converting combo cat to indoor

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hi all. I tried to do a search for this topic, but I wasn't successful--so I hope this isn't too repetitive.

As I wrote in my intro, my boyfriend and I just got a new cat, Chesty. Chesty is very sweet and loves to cuddle with us. He's probably 1-2 years old, and he loooves to explore.

Chesty was a returned adoption to the SPCA, and they have no history on him. I have, however, noticed a few signs that he might have been an indoor/outdoor cat. We have two closets on either side of the apartment, both of which are not insulated like the rest of the place...this means that the air in both is very much like the air outside right now--cold, and probably full of whatever smells must be outside. Chesty has shown a lot of interest in both of these closets (we keep both doors shut): He sticks his paws underneath the doors, rolls around, and meows. This morning as my bf was leaving for work, he opened the door and Chesty BOLTED towards it. We were able to stop him, and it wasn't really a problem, anyway--our door goes to a single flight of stairs, which leads to our downstair's neighbor's door and the door to outside. Even if he ever got out of our door, he wouldn't be able to get outside, so I'm not worried about his getting out (he's also breakway-collared, tagged, and microchipped).
Neither of my other cats show any interest in these closets, or in getting out the door.

I'm wondering if there are ways that I can make him more comfortable with being an indoor-only cat (I'm *not* going to let him outside). He loves to spend time with us, so that's not a problem. We have three (smallish) cat condos and lots of toys, plus my bf's huuuuge fish tank. We also have a lot of windows, all of which have wide ledges, perfect for lounging (my other cats love sitting in the windows). I've also got a package of Cat Grass that needs growing.

Does anyone have any other ideas of what I can do? Also, should I expect that there may be problems with this in the future--will he try to get out more at different times of the year, or will be be cranky when he can't go out? He IS neutered.

Thanks for all your help so far, I'm looking forward to your responses!

post #2 of 7
Hiya! I'm afraid I don't have much to offer except my own experience. When I moved from my house to my flat, my indoor/outdoor cat (also a neutered male) was MISERABLE despite all my efforts. He was so unhappy that he got very aggressive--would yowl, hiss, attack randomly. Eventually, I had to rehome him with friends who would let him go outside again. Once they've been outside--especially from an early age--they don't seem content to stay in. My vet said this was particularly true of male cats. I wish you more success with your new cat than I had with mine!
post #3 of 7
Hi. Take him outside, under your supervision or on a harness 15 minutes a day. That's what I do with my former indoor-outdoor cat.

post #4 of 7
Not sure if this is a good suggestion.. but what about airing the house/apt. out enough so that it 'seems' like the outside? Maybe an open screened window or two for a nice breeze or maybe even a small window fan somewhere? Just a thought.
post #5 of 7
I have converted several indoor/outdoor cats to indoor only cats. They will always have an interest in going outdoors and will seek out windows and doors that have air flow around them. Kcowan had the solution that I used. I would take them outside for walks on a leash and harness - each one for an hour or two a day (it took a lot of my time, yes:-) ). The secret about walking a cat isn't that you 'walk the cat' but that the cat walks you. They like to sniff and explore and poke into things so you meander all over the place. I got a very long piece of lightweight rope (about 25 feet long) that I could lengthen and shorten as the cats walked up to bushes and hedges, then back towards me. I often took a book with me as well because sometimes all they really wanted to do was just to lie down on the grass or under a bush and 'be', so I would sit or stand beside them at the time and read. When I moved to a new city walking the cats around the neighbourhood was actually a great way to meet my neighbours because everyone stops when they see a cat being walked.

One point - none of them appreciated the harness at first and objected to having it put on. Soon, however, all I had to do was pick up the harness from its hook and I would have happy eager cats entwining themselves between my legs and reaching up for the harness with their paws, purring madly the whole time I was fastening it. They knew it meant they were going outside and it was now a 'good' thing.

Hope this helps, and good luck.

post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone! For Kathryn and Kelly especially: What sort of climate do you live in? Here in Pennsylvania, I can definitely see taking Chesty out during 3 seasons of the year, but there will definitely be times when it is extremely uncomfortable, and even nearly impossible. We had a few snowstorms that resulted in a lot of snow and ice. Do you take your cats outside even in this kind of weather? If you don't, do they express discomfort? Or do they realize that they probably wouldn't like that weather, either?

Cirque, I'll definitely use your idea when the weather is more cooperative. It's still in the 40s here!
post #7 of 7
I lived in St. Catharines Ontario and Chatham, Ontario at the time - both of which have similar temperatures to Pennsylvania. There are times when the weather was too wicked and none of us wanted to be outside - especially during blizzards and such - but yes, they went out when it was snowy and cold. They didn't stay outside as long in that type of weather but they enjoyed the snow (it was funny to see them walk in it after the first snowfall of the year though - they would pick up each foot and shake it in turn while they walked:-) ). Usually, they would decide when they were cold and had had enough and would turn back to the door. If I got too cold, well, then I decided they had had enough and we went back inside then too:-). After they were outside in the cold weather and came back in, they would race and tear around the house, energized from the weather so it was good exercise:-). I kept a towel by the door to wipe off their feet if the weather was wet - and took care in the winter to make sure they didn't end up with rocksalt on their pads too.

There were a few times when they really really really were insistent that they wanted outside and the weather was bad, so I basically 'indulged' them - put their harness on, went to the door and opened it to go outside. They would race the first step or two - realize what it was like out - sometimes sit for a minute or two trying to decide how bad it was, but usually just turned around, came back inside and meowed at me to do something about the weather:-).

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