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Going Outside

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Hello! My problem is that my cats want to go outside. We have a small upstairs apartment, with a deck and a staircase that goes down into our landlord's backyard, which is gated. The conditions are perfect for letting them out by themselves for a little while. But they inevitably slip out of the gate and into the neighborhood wilderness beyond. Or they like to climb from the deck onto the roof of the house.

So, I don't like to let my cats outside by themselves because, even as smart and strong as they say cats are, they can easily get distracted by another cat or dog and get hurt by a passing car. I don't like them to go onto the roof for the same reason. Several years ago I lost a cat when she got into a fight on the roof and fell off.

Among my friends, I've always been the strange one who doesn't let her cats go outside. I try to take them out for a fifteen-minute walk, chaperoned grazing in the backyard, about twice a day. But they're driving me crazy! When they're not outside, they meow at the front door every half-hour to go out, even a half-hour after they've been out. When I take them out, I put their collars on, open the door, and one jumps onto the roof and the other one runs down the stairs. I can't keep up with them. But if I don't let them outside, they fight with each other for attention and meow at the door almost all night.

Our place is small, I'm afraid if I stop letting them outside altogether, they'll get too stir-crazy. I try to play with Zachary and Fanny about twenty minutes each, but they never run out of energy! Am I confusing them by letting them out for only fifteen minutes? Can cats be happy without ever going out?

Thanks for any advice!
post #2 of 4
It is in their blood to go outside, and because of more people and more danger, many cats are now consigned to staying indoors. It is not natural for them, although it makes perfect sense to us! Is there some way you can take chicken wire and fence off the part of your deck- building them a small enclosure that you can put rocks, tree limbs, and water in? I had one feral shipped to me and she was so traumatized being indoors, I converted one of our closets into a nature sanctuary. She had tree limbs to climb and rocks to hide under. I took a tarp and lined the bottom of the closet with it- using wooden braces to keep it place. I even brought in dirt from outside so she would simmer down. It worked, and today, she is a barn cat on our property, never straying to far, but we live in a rural area and have a lot of property for her to roam on. If you can trick them into thinking they are outside by doing a closet conversion, then that is the best thing you can do for them.
post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
You have some great ideas. Thanks! I think we can convert some space in front of my bedroom window into an outdoor experience. It's a part of the room that has always been reserved for them anyway. I can't wait to go foliage hunting tomorrow!
post #4 of 4
When we lived in the city, we made our cats an enclosure on a window sill. We had the air conditiner's compressor under that window, so we covered it with some boards and them wraped the whole thing nicely with chicken wire. They loved it! There was a tree right next to them and they used to sit there for hours in the open air and look at the birds
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