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thoughts on letting an inside cat go outside for the first time...

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
More info...

I have recently moved from a downtown 6th floor apartment to a house with a 7 year old cat and a one year old cat.

The seven year old is a neutered fat male and is clearly afraid to go outside having been in apartments his whole life... minus the time he was a stray kitten living hungry and scared under a loading dock at work for the first two months of his life.

The one year 4 month old cat on the other is a very active and curious spayed female who is just itching to get out. She, unlike the male, still has all of her claws and is thin and in good shape. With two young kids, 5 and 6, it is a matter of time before she gets out on her own.

I want to let her out. The male will remain fat and happy as an inside lap cat. But what should I do, tags, etc and what should I expect in regards to letting the female out?

Thoughts, comments, stories are all greatly appreciated
post #2 of 19
Are you planning on letting her out on her own and not watching her and letting her come back on her own, or taking her out on a collar and leash?
post #3 of 19
Thread Starter 
I plan on letting her out on her own and coming back for food or attention.

The collar/leash thing on sparked her curiosity more
post #4 of 19
I highly don't recommend letting her out and letting her come back on her own. Granted, she may come back - but what scares me, is the dangers of the outdoors - cars, dangerous people, other animals, ect. The point is that she may not come back due to the great dangers of letting her go outside unsupervised.

I personally would not let Harley outside unsupervised, I would be terrified if something happened to him. Pets are our responsibility, once we bring them into out homes, its our job to keep them safe. Just like children.

I'm sure your kitten would enjoy being outside on a leash and collar and enjoying the outside in a safe way
post #5 of 19

I would never let my kitties go out on their own- too many dangers. I was reading a thread earlier today about a cat that died after getting hit by a car.

Lilly loves to go out and explore. I have a harness that she wears- she doesn't mind wearing it because she knows it means she gets to go outside.

I attach the harness to a retractable leash- that way, she can have a little freedom while we walk around.

The other thing to look into is Frontline to protect against fleas, ticks, etc. Check with your vet about this.
post #6 of 19
When you let a cat go outside you run the risk of bringing diseases back into the house and possibly infecting your other cat too. Also if there are other cats in the neighborhood that have established their territory already then you run the risk of cat fights and trips to the vet for draining abscess's and antibiotics. These are just in additoin to getting hit by a car, stolen, being attacked by another animal (neighbors dogs, predators (we have fox's here that will eat a cat given the chance)). I am in the process of building an outdoor cat run for my cats to go ouside in an enclosed area and being safe from other dangers.
post #7 of 19
I used to let my cats out, thought it was a natural thing to do. They came back. One came back with a bee bee gun pellet lodged in his shoulder.

Since that wasn't enough of a lesson for me I let my next pair of cats out. They came home with feline leukemia, had to put them both down.
After that I got two female cats that I kept indoors all the time. ONce they got elderly and I knew they wouldn't go anywhere other than the yard, I would let them go out with me when I gardened. Guess what? My old girl drank plant saucer water with bird poop in it and just about died from the bacterial intestinal thing she got. Diarhea for weeks, vet bills.

Now I have three young males and THEY WILL NEVER GO OUT. I think I have finally learned my lesson. It is far too dangerous. When I see all the cats roaming the streets on their own, all the dead cats that have been hit by cars, I wish I could go speak to the owners and try to convince them to keep their cats in.

Another aspect is the impact cats have on other wildlife. They kill songbirds and are negatively impacting the enviorment. How about your neighbors? My neighbors' cat kills the birds in my yard, goes to the bathroom in my yard, and upset my cats who are trying to enjoy sitting by the window, not bothering anyone.

I think you should do the enviorment, yourself, your cats, and your neighbors a favor by keeping your cat indoors.
post #8 of 19
I wouldn't let 7 of mine out at all, I have 1 that goes out 2 times a day on a leash in the back yard, My hubby takes him out in the morning and the evening, he knows he's not going without the leash. I feel that they can't miss being outside if they have never been there, They all love to sit at the patio door or the front door, but they never try to get out.
post #9 of 19
If you let the female out make sure she's microchipped.

My cat wants nothing more than to go outside. But he would kill my chickens, and I am paranoid of him never coming back, getting burned [someone posted pictures of themselves burning a cat alive... I almost got sick], someone taking him in [even though he is microchipped] him getting hit by a car, a dog eating him because he's so dog friendly. Not to mention there's so many tom cats around I don't want him to end up with FIV or FELV.

Maybe someday when he's old and crusty and dying I'll let him outside for a last hurrah. For now I let him out on a leash... but it's rare.
post #10 of 19
Both of my cats are young and one wants outside bad and the other one doesn't. I got two halters and two of the leashes with the sixteen foot leads. The one that wants outside was fine with this the other one wants nothing to do with it, she is perfectly happy to stay inside. I did get some Revolution and treat both cats monthly since the one is spending some time outside now. Before I started doing this I would almost break down and let him outside on his own then I would see a cat that had been hit by a car and resolve that that wasn't going to happen.
post #11 of 19
If a cat is raised outdoors, they usually have more street smarts....I have had several outdoor only cats(strays that *HATED* being indoors...they would sit there and dart out the minute you opened the door)...but to let a kitty out whose only been inside...uhh I don't know...I'd be worried! I live wayyyy out in the country, away from cars and such. We have one neighbor who LOVES cats...*they had close to 30 at one time, in their house*. My new kitties are now indoor only cats, and I don't plan on letting them go out with out a lead!

Best of luck with whatever you decide!
post #12 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the advice... I am sure in time snickers will thank you too
post #13 of 19
I know it is hard to keep a cat inside that wants out, but in the long run it is much safer for the cat. Maybe you could explain to your children how dangerous it would be for your kitty to get outside, and that you will all need to work together to keep her safe by making sure doors are always closed. I have lost count of how many cats my mother has gone through because she lets them out to never come back again (coyotes are very common in her area), her cats now do not go outside, but Spirits brother got outside one day (my father-in-law is not careful about doors) recently and never came back.
post #14 of 19
I know it is hard to keep a cat inside that wants out, but in the long run it is much safer for the cat. Maybe you could explain to your children how dangerous it would be for your kitty to get outside, and that you will all need to work together to keep her safe by making sure doors are always closed.
I'm in total agreement. I can't tell you how many times my SIL has adopted a kitten from the shelter, signed all the papers that say it will be an indoor-only cat, then it becomes too hard to keep the cat indoors, it goes out, and either never comes back or gets hit by a car. ( she also let her Mom's dog out & she was hit by a car) Please, if you want to let your cat outside, keep her on a halter & lead.
post #15 of 19
FYI, even with all of their vaccinations, a cat can still get Bartonella (cat scratch disease, spreadable to humans, children especially), FIV, FLV. These diseases are passed by bites, as well as rubbing noses. And we know how much they love to do that! My kitten had no fleas or ticks at all when we found her, not even evidence of fleas, and she had Bartonella disease. She was on meds for 3 weeks, $28 for 1 wk, and has to be retested again in 7 mos, cause the bacteria can harbor in their systems. If I had another indoor cat, she would definatley give it to that cat. Then you'd have twice the vet bills!
post #16 of 19
I agree that there is no best time for our cats to go outside. I strongly recommend that your kitties be inside only for their own health and safety.
post #17 of 19
IMO if you really feel your younger cats needs outside time, then protect him/her by training for a harness/leash and stay with them for 15-20 mins of outside time.

But seriously, I would not turn the inside cat to an outdoor cat. Ling is also a year old and she wants outside (she's spayed) but we are teaching her that its not an option. Spooky is 15 yrs old - been indoors his entire life and happy about it - he has NO desire for outside.

Ling will have to be content with sitting by a screened window and watching birds from a cat tree. She's too small to even find a harness that would fit her and she's too smart to encourage that anyway
post #18 of 19
You could always consider an outdoor cat enclosure if you have the room.

Here are some examples:




I'm trying to figure out how I can incorporate something similar to these enclosures in my yard when I move into my house that I'm working on.

post #19 of 19
Like many people on here, I don't like letting cats out doors to roam, or even the thought of it, for so many of the reasons listed.
I've lost cats to being indoors/outdoors, and I even lived in the "middle of no-where".
If you must bring her out, I'd personally try to do the harness/leash walks, or a cat enclosure.
With my gang I let them out into my fenced back yard occasionally while I'm standing with them for a couple of minutes.

Keep in mind, the more you let your kitten out, the more she's going to want to GO out. So in the middle of the night you could hear her yowling to be let outside and inside, over and over.
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