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Old Cat On Field Trip ?

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
I adopted an elderly cat. She is probably close to 18 years old. Shes very healthy considering her age. She has arthritis and some stomach difficulties, but has a very healthy appetite(harrasing me right now). She lived at a friends house for most of those years. Due to a new dog they could not offer her a very pleasant place to stay. She was mostly an outdoor cat and a very good hunter. Im house sitting for a week at this very home in the near future. I want her to get some sunshine, and fresh air. She is deprived of this at her present home. I feel guilty denying her the outdoors, but its too dangerous for an old cat in this area. I want to bring her along and let her spend some time hunting and laying in the sun. I realize this could be dangerous for her, and I dont want any harm to come to her. Would the benefits outweigh the stress she would experience initially ? I'd be curious to hear any opinions.
post #2 of 3
It sounds like this has been an indoor/outdoor kitty and has only recently become an indoor kitty.

Cats can be perfectly happy living indoors their whole life (mine were strays, but now they would not even consider going outside, in fact, I couldn't get them to do it if I wanted to), but if you're feeling really guilty (cats are good at making you feel guilt ), perhaps you could try putting her on a harness and leash. You would want to practice with it indoors ahead of time. This would make her outdoor encounter much safer. Also, when you take a cat into a new environment (even though she used to live there, it's a new environment because she lives with you now) they can get disoriented, stressed out and scared, causing them to run away. I would be worried about letting her out on her own for that reason combined with her advanced age. But I don't see why letting her outside in a controlled environment would be a problem, especially since she's used to being an outdoor kitty.

There are also things called the kitty walk (or something like that), it's a mesh tunnel, that you can set up oustide for the kitty to lay in the sun and be surrounded by natured, but prevented from roaming. I would not leave her unattended regardless of what method you use. She is a target for other animals, especially given her age.

At your house, if you have a back yard or a balcony you could kitty proof it for her.

A balcony could be enclosed with screen or have a kitty walk enclosure placed on it.

A back yard could have cat fencing put up, or if you already have a high fence, retrofit it with the stuff that goes on the top of the fence. It is angled inward so that the cat can't climb it.

I'm so glad you adopted this cat . All too often people only want kittens, but there are many magnificent adult and senior cats that make wonderful companions, and it sounds like you found one of them
post #3 of 3
Do you know what this cat's routine was when she lived at this house before? Would she be out hunting all day and night? Did she go out for an hour and come straight home? I would be worried about her leaving the yard. If you can take her along, allow her to go outside under supervision, and take her back inside when you can't watch her, she might be okay. From my understanding of what you wrote, she did live in this house before, so its smells won't be completely unfamiliar.

You can also get cat harnesses to allow her to get more regular outdoor trips. I have one that I have used with Willow for years called a walking jacket. She loves being able to go outside, eat the grass and roll on the ground. I like that she is only a leash length away if I need to scoop her up.
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