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Miss Gracie's behavior has changed....

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Miss Gracie is my beautiful spayed, long-haired, white cloud. She is gentle, mellow, affectionate, quiet. She's about 8 and she's always been an outdoor cat, since pets aren't allowed in this house. We live in the country on 5 acres and she has plenty of soft grass, trees, benches, etc., to hang out on. About 3 years ago, Gracie actually survived Cytauxzoonosis, which is almost always fatal. Other than that, life has been "routine". Suddenly, though, Gracie has begun leaving home, wandering far off into the fields, hiding in outbuildings. When I come looking for her, rather than run up to me and greet me, as she's always done, she looks frightened and runs from me. She seems almost amnesiac. I gather her up and bring her home because the fields are full of coyotes and other predators that we see all the time. Gracie is partially deaf and wouldn't know one was there until it was practically on top of her.

Out of desperation, I've now housed her in our huge, spacious garage. It's clean, we've set up a "hot box" with a low-wattage light bulb to keep her toasty on cold Winter nights, she has bottled water, dry and canned food, fleece and rugs to lie on, toys, a large daily-cleaned litter box and all the affection she can handle.

My question is this: is it cruel to keep her in the garage? There's no other outside cat that she is being separated from. But should I let her just run free, seemingly disoriented and fair game for predators or keep her confined to the garage? I don't want to be "mean" but I'm torn between letting her live in "Nature" or protecting her by imprisoning her.

Any advice?
post #2 of 16
I don't think you are imprisoning her. I don't have a problem with outdoor cats but she clearly shouldn't be one. She is partially deaf in an area with predators. Keeping her in a garage is too is not a great idea.

Why can't she stay in your house? Are you renting and not allowed animals? In that case I think you should move or give her away to some one who can keep her indoors. She sounds like a very easy target for predators.

You have to put your pets first.
post #3 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks, Sims2.

We just aren't able to move for at least another year and the thought of putting Gracie with strangers, after she's been with us for so many years is a little unsettling, but if housing her in the garage is mistreating her, then we want to certainly want to consider all options. She's so loving with us (except for those moments when she behaves so oddly out in the field) and we just love her so much. I guess I'm wondering if suddenly placing her in a stranger's house after so many years will just be one more trauma for her.

I can't think what could be causing this change in her. But there is one similarity I can point out, strange as it is: Whenever this happens, whether by coincidence or not, the wind outside is always "up" and whipping. Can a freakish South wind (or other barometric changes) affect a cat's demeanor? It never has before...
post #4 of 16
If you have a nice setup for her and a window in the garage or something I don't think its to bad. Certainly better than letting her out. By all means its no worse than putting a stud cat in an outdoor enclosure and that practice is generally accepted.

As far as the behavior change... My indoor/outdoor cat Clover sometimes I think has a run-in or osmething that really spooks him out. He isn't scared of us so much but ends up sulky for days and will refuse to go outside (very unusual for him). I think sometimes they have bad experiences that scare them. Also she might be extra skittish if she had a run-in because she couldn't really hear it. So if you startled her she might respond the same. Maybe her deafness has progressed.
post #5 of 16
Has Miss Gracie been complaining about her new room? If not, you can rest easy she feels happy and secure.
post #6 of 16
As long as she is warm and comfortable, and the garage is cat proofed then I see no problem with housing her in there. You may also consider building an outdoor cat enclosure if that is a possibility for you.

Concering her odd behavior, I believe I read somewhere that cats are much more accutely aware of the weather than we are. Perhaps that, coupled with her lack of hearing is making her more high strung.
post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks, guys, for the input. <----Gracie.

I appreciate it. I've been so torn between being overprotective and not doing enough
for her. She seems happy, though, as far as you can tell. Gracie is the queen of "mellow"
so it's hard to tell, but her purr is still there.

I'm thinking that her deafness may be getting worse, after all. I think it's time to
take her in to the Vet and have her checked out.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!


post #8 of 16
But but but... why not the house?
post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by CarolPetunia
But but but... why not the house?
We're just not allowed to have indoor pets in this house. We won't stay here, I'm sure,
but it'll be a while before we're able to relocate. So I'll just spoil Miss Gracie more than
usual and try to make her garage stay fun. My husband picks her up and puts her on
his shoulder and "slow dances" around the garage with her. HA! He used to be a
dance instructor, so he's got the moves. She seems to love it, you can hear her purr
all over the room. It's just that I loved seeing her float around outside all over the
grass and it's sad to me that it's not safe out there for her, anymore. Something's just
changed for her, I don't know what it is, but she's not the same cat out there, anymore.
She's nervous and spooked and actually doesn't seem to recognize us once she gets
like that, and we've had her for years. After the holiday, I think I need to take her to
see the Vet, maybe he's seen this type of thing before.


post #10 of 16
I hope it all works out for you! You obviously love your cat
post #11 of 16
Ah, I see...I'm so sorry you can't have her inside. I hope you can move soon!

Tell your husband I dance with my kitties, too! I adjusted an old, old song to sing for our little two-steps... er, four-steps...

Grab your coat and get your cat
Leave your worries on the doorstep
Just direct your feet
To the sunny side of the street
Can't you hear the kittycats
And that happy tune is your step
Friskies at your feet
On the sunny side of the street...

:-)
post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by yayi
Has Miss Gracie been complaining about her new room? If not, you can rest easy she feels happy and secure.
I agree with this.

I have no problem with outdoor kitties (mine are outdoor) but I think for Gracie, considering what you have said that the garage is the perfect place for her. It is possible that her hearing has gotton worse and that she infact doesnt hear you and therefore gets scared when your "just there" if that makes sense.
I think a trip to the vet is a wonderful idea - Gracie sounds like a sweetheart.

Keep spoiling her until you can get her to the vet and get her looked at - I dont think your being cruel to her at all by keeping her in the garage - infact she sounds like one big spoilt kitty to me

GOOD LUCK - keep us posted
post #13 of 16
I agree with the other posts. I think it would be irresponsable to let her remain free outside when she could be hurt by predators.

I have two kitties living in my garage, at their choice! We have two barns, one that is full of bales of hay, but they are living in the garage. They can come and go at will, but they are both totally healthy.

I do think a vet visit is a good idea, just to rule out any health problems. But it is possible she had a run-in with a predator on a very windy day, and now is afraid when the wind blows.

If she is healthy, and you stay in that living sitation, maybe you can try adding a kitty door to the garage in the spring, so she can get out to play. You would have to observe her closely to see if she still seemed spooked outside.

Also, you can buy a heating pad for animals that only heats up when they sit on it. It might be safer than the lightbulb.
post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thanks, everyone, for your support. I literally went to a search engine just to find a forum (and found this one) just because I was so concerned about this. This is a great board and I can tell everyone here really loves their cats! That makes me feel a lot better, since I know all the advice I'm getting comes from people who understand what I'm going through.

(Just a note: I smuggled Gracie inside last night. I know we're not supposed to, but I wrapped her up in a little towel, since it was cold and we camped out in the recliner and watched "A Christmas Carol". HA! If she can't live inside, at least she can "visit" me.) I'm taking her outside today to watch us decorate for Christmas.)

Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!
post #15 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by gbsothere
... I smuggled Gracie inside last night. I know we're not supposed to, but I wrapped her up in a little towel, since it was cold and we camped out in the recliner and watched "A Christmas Carol". HA! If she can't live inside, at least she can "visit" me....

Ahhh, I was hoping you'd do that! How much damage could a little white cloud do, anyway? :-)
post #16 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by gbsothere
(Just a note: I smuggled Gracie inside last night. I know we're not supposed to, but I wrapped her up in a little towel, since it was cold and we camped out in the recliner and watched "A Christmas Carol". HA! If she can't live inside, at least she can "visit" me.) I'm taking her outside today to watch us decorate for Christmas.)
sounds like something I would do good on you!! I bet she loved it. Its so sad that she can not come into your home at least at night... but these things happen...
smuggled LOL I love it!!
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