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My babies are breaking my heart!!

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Two of my boys, Mr. Gray and Jacques, have started standing by our back and front door and meowing to high heaven because they want to go outside. They are both a little over a year old and aside from a couple times they've been taken outside just for fun, they've been indoor cats. Now they keep begging to go out and its breaking my heart because I can't and don't want to let them outside. Our backyard meets up with other peoples yards and houses and there is only a small road behind us so that doesn't scare me. However the front of our house has two major roads that are both busy almost 24 hours a day. I know that cats are "wild" animals but there is no way I'm letting them be indoor/outdoor cats. There are two many risk factors (disease, fleas, being turned into a kitty pancake) for me to think its safe. I've had bad luck also in the past with having an outdoor cat. At the same time though I know they're bored to death inside my little house and I want them to have the chance at having territory, giving them a purpose. Their daddy was a stray that got one of our neighbors cats pregnant (why she's not neutered I don't know) and then we adopted them from her when she had her babies, so that may be why they're more inclined to beg to be let out. What do I do though?! Is there anything I can do to make them want to be inside more? It just tears me up to see them unhappy
post #2 of 16
I'm assuming your boys are both neutered. If not, they obviously would want to go out cat-ing around!

I have indoor-outdoor cats, but I've been keeping them in the past week because my neighbor put fertilizer/weed killer on our lawns and I want to make sure that it is thoroughly watered in with rain before I let my furbabies out again. So I've been having some of the same issue you have this week. One thing that seems to help one of them a lot is he wants grass to eat. If I have a little pot of grass inside that is just the right tenderness, that helps. I have to plant another little pot about every week or ten days to have some that will please him at all times, though. Unfortunately, sometimes I forget.

Another thing for me is that when I see they are particularly anxious to get out, especially during hours I don't normally let them out, I think they want the grass to help them throw up a hairball (or to pass a hairball) they feel developing. So if by chance I don't have the grass for them, I give them Laxatone. That gets them out of the mood for begging to go out for a bit, as one of them considers Laxatone to be a special treat, and the others find reason to hide from me if they see me coming with it and again after I've given it to them.

Other than that, I think your main solutions will be to find more things for them to do. Sometimes I leave closet doors ajar and rearrange some things in the bottom of the closets so they have some where "new" to explore. I'm sure others will offer additional ideas.
post #3 of 16
All of our cats have only been inside cats. We have deterred them from going out by (holding them tight so they can't get away) only taking them out when it is bad weather. We take them out in the snow and the pouring rain and let them get all wet and say how "Yukky" and "Nasty" it is outside. Then we bring them back in and rub them and cuddle them and say how nice it is.
When watering the lawn we will also spary the doors with the hose. We leave the windows as nice places for them to sit in.
So after a few months, they come to learn that both the front door and the back door are gateways to a horrible place. Even if they are sitting near the door, they will run when you go to open it. Of course, we reinforce it occasionally by taking them out when it is raining.
Other than that, the only other reason they leave the house is for the vet.
Our one cat, Phoebe, was once a stray (got her from a shelter) so she wasn't that bad. She has had no desire to go outside - she knows what a rough place the outside world can be.
post #4 of 16
Originally Posted by jekyllhj7
Our one cat, Phoebe, was once a stray (got her from a shelter) so she wasn't that bad. She has had no desire to go outside - she knows what a rough place the outside world can be.
Wow! Aren't you the lucky one! All three of mine had lived outdoors for months or years before I got them. And they think the outdoors is really a c-o-o-l place to be. Even Sheba, who came from a large starving colony where the cats were being shot at and were to the point they were eating each other , tries to get out every chance she gets.

I like your idea of showing the cats how nasty it is outside with the "rain." That would definitely work for Red Cat. He's a chicken. But Purdy just sits out in the rain and tries to escape me if I try to get him in before he is ready, unless it is a total downpour.
post #5 of 16
Buddy was also a Stray and has stopped trying to go out. I think he realizes how much nicer having a home is.

I had a girl that used to go outside, and she was stolen in front of my eyes. My neighbor told these kids to leave my cat alone, she called me out and all I saw was these kids drive away with my cat never to see her again It broke my heart. At the time I lived in a very quite street with very little traffic and plenty of place for her to run around, but this still happened to her. I will never make that mistake again.

I think if you give it some time they might stop. If you have the room in your yard, you could build a cat enclosure for very little money, which would be a good way to let them out without them running loose.
post #6 of 16
Our Toby has been an idoor cat since he was 8 weeks old when we got him. He`s the one that will try to sneak out if given 1/2 a chance. (Luckily i`ve been able to grab him each time...howbeit not very gently....gotta grab where you can grab!)
Tedy on the other hand did`nt come to us til he was 6 months old and had always been an outdoor cat....he NEVER tries to get out!
post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thank you so much everyone who has responded! I thought I was being a bad parent for keeping them locked up inside. I'm definitely liking all the ideas I'm reading! For the first time in my life I can't wait till it snows or rains!! I'll still take any other ideas that people have though
post #8 of 16
If no one has suggested it yet - build an enclosure so they CAN go out...

The enclosure would have four walls and ceiling. In an enclosure they can be purrrfectly safe AND have the illusion of being out of doors and enjoying.

- if you are fancy add some shelter area - to keep out rain or bad
weather so they can stay out while you are inside or maybe running errands.

It doesn't have to be fancy at this point - just some chickenwire, 2x4s
a basic saw, nails and screws... et voila!! Instant small enclosure for kitties!
Carry them out and put them in it, or put a pet door in your window/door, and run a tunnel to the enclosure...

If you are handy type with tools and have some buddies help, you can make some pretty darn impressive things!!

There's a couple of places that do custom enclosures for cats, depending on your budget...(the best ones are overseas tho )

Here's a few web links with examples of what people made/make and or you can buy:

Hope this helps you!!

Other option is to put on a leash/harness on a run...
(just like a dog). Would depend on your cat tho...
post #9 of 16
I just have to say that your being a wonderful parent by keeping your furbabies inside. It's the best thing for them & the less they go out the less they will want to go out. My last cat was born in a barn & it was a chalange to keep her in when she was a kitten, but by the time she was a year old she was terrified of the outside world. Just like a baby who may really want to play with a light socket, your cats really want to go outside. In either case it would be bad to let them have what they want. It's just so dangerous out there for them. Your doing the right thing!
post #10 of 16
I am personally against letting cats outdoors. There are just too many dangers. poison, kids, other animals etc... The best thing you can do is to make your house as fun for a cat as possible. I live in a VERY small apartment in NYC with my two cats and bought 3 cat trees and 2 cat condos to make it interesting and utilize space thinking vertically. Get more cats toys to. I think cat trees are the best way to entertain cats inside. Dr. Fosters and smith has an excellant selection.
post #11 of 16
There are kitty runs you can get, there are enclosures that attach to your windows outside where your kitty can get out but still stay safe.

If you go to and look under Basic Cat Supplies and then Enclosures you will find some really neat ideas

Or you can build one from scratch like we did to keep our crew safe
post #12 of 16
I raised a kitten (born inside) who acted just like your guys for SIX YEARS straight. It finally broke my heart in half. She was so clearly miserable without the freedom of being able to go out, even though she was perfectly social and happy inside with me and friends I had over - and with the loads and loads of attention and stimulation I gave her inside. When those doors and windows opened in the spring, she cried endlessly - and loudly! She nearly learned how to open the door herself! I tried the bad weather trick, letting her out in snow and rain - it totally failed. I finally gave in and started letting her out. It could not have turned out better. I got her one of those injected, scanable ID tags and a collar with ALL my info on it. By that time, she was 6 or 7, so far less bold. I went out with her and she just wanted to stay with me, so we started taking unleashed walks together around the block! She'd lag behind about 20 feet and then sprint to catch up. I'd let her out alone (ONLY when I was home), and she'd come back to the door every 30 or 60 minutes like she was checking on me. When I first started letting her out, I would go out on the porch and shake my keys or the treat box every 10 minutes; it got to be so that there were times when she would hear those noises from houses away and bound home just to see what I wanted. She made tons of friends in the neighborhood but always came back to me. It was amazing. The point I'd make then is just that every cat is so different. Just know your guys and know them well. If they can get over it and be happy inside, great! If they can hang out in a cage outside and be happy, great! But if everything fails even after a bunch of years, I can only say from experience that letting my kitty out only made our relationship better, and she was clearly a happier cat. Of course, it's risky - VERY risky - and not every cat would do it the way mine did. But at least in this one case, it was the best decision I ever made.
post #13 of 16
If you don't give in, they will eventually figure it out and stop. It may take some time, but you need to remember you are doing what's best for them whether they know it or not. If you can't build a cat enclosure, consider harness training them and taking them out for supervised walks. If not, then don't ever let them out again, even in bad weather because that will not be a enough of a deterant for some cats. If you break down and let them out, you will be reinforcing their desire to be outside. When they cry to be let out, try redirecting their attention some how. If you can get them to play with their favorite toy and then reward them with a treat hopefully you can get your interest away from the outside.
post #14 of 16
Festus was born in my house, and never stepped outside once, except the one time she got out a window screen! She kept trying to get out. I kept a broom by the door, and if she was sitting close, I would just sweep around the area (which scares her). She no longer tries to get out.

I've also heard of putting the vacuum by the door, turned on, but unplugged. Then have someone open the door, and when the kitties go near, plug in the vacuum. Kitty gets scared of the door, and doesn't associate it with you.
post #15 of 16
You are SO RIGHT to keep your babies inside! There are just too many ways for them to get sick or hurt if they go outdoors. Fleas and other parasites, communicable diseases they can catch from other cats, cruel children or evil people who might hurt them, cars of course, and other animals that could attack them, from tougher cats to dogs to all sorts of wildlife, even in the city.

I live in Dallas/Fort Worth, a huge metroplex, but there are raccoons, armadillos, rabbits, opossums, even coyotes... brown recluse spiders and black widows and rattlesnakes... I've seen all of these critters myself, and I would never put my sweethearts outside to get attacked or catch some horrible disease.

In this area, the SPCA says that the average life expectancy for an outdoor cat is only two years. I just won't let my babies run loose.

Forgive me if I repeat something someone else has already suggested, but here's what we do to keep our little ones entertained indoors:

~ Comfy padded shelves that attach to the windowsills so kitties can bask in the sun and watch the world go by. When weather permits, we open the windows just a couple of inches so the kitties can enjoy the outdoor scents, too. (Never any wider than that, though, lest the screen give way and a kitty go flying...or a passing dog come bounding through!)

~ Bird feeders! I use a variety of types with different seeds to attract as many different birds as possible. I also have a couple of birdhouses, but nobody's moved in yet...must be a buyer's market...

~ Cardboard boxes, every size and configuration, duct-taped together with holes between to make a maze for kitties to climb around in. They LOVE this! I use a screwdriver to make a few small holes here and there so I can slip treats in for them to find along the way. Old boxes wear out and get replaced with new ones...I turn the whole thing upside down...the paths get altered and the kitties get to discover it all over again.

~ Another box trick: You know those wonderful little lightweight foam balls (they look like little colored golf balls) that you get in packs of four at PetCo or PetSmart? I put a couple of those into a shoebox, duct-tape the lid on, and cut a few holes just large enough for kittypaws, but not large enough to let the balls roll out. The kitties bat the balls around in there, become obsessed with getting them out, and eventually destroy the box altogether. Sure, you can buy toys similar to that, but the box is free AND they can tear it to shreds! What could be more fun?

~ Finally, have you ever seen any of the cat videos that are available? We have just one, a couple of hours of closeups on birds and squirrels in the wild, fish in an aquarium, and mice in a little habitat. If you play it too often, they get bored, but a couple of times a week, it's great fun. (Our Dylan, one of the smartest cats I've ever seen, stared at the video long and hard, then climbed up into the TV cabinet and inspected the back of the set to see if he could get at the critters!)

Bless you for taking such good care of your little ones...good luck!
post #16 of 16
I live in Dallas/Fort Worth, a huge metroplex, but there are raccoons, armadillos, rabbits, opossums, even coyotes... brown recluse spiders and black widows and rattlesnakes... I've seen all of these critters myself, and I would never put my sweethearts outside to get attacked or catch some horrible disease.

That makes me really glad that I live in the UK
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