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Making an Indoor Cat an Outdoor Cat?
Incredulous Joe | 9 July 2011 | Incredulous Joe

Posted on 07/09/2011 6:42:22 AM PDT by incredulous joe

I have two cats; one, Guinness, is a four year old female, the other, Finnegan, is a two year old male. They have always lived indoors.

We also have an outdoor cat, Thatcher, who lives in our barn and has a pretty good life. She walked onto our farm 3 years ago and seemed to have been dumped. She smelled of powders and domestication when she came onto the scene. We gave her some space in our barn and she seems to enjoy herself.

We have a small house. In my opinion, as the guy who cleans out the litter box, our indoor cats have become too big for our home. They are both pretty large; Guinness is overweight and Finnegan is simply a big "no-neck" pounder, who is also the biggest sissy the world has known. He thinks that he is a lap dog.

Guinness has made numerous attempts at escaping our house and even made good on her efforts on a few occasions ~ never traveling farther than a few feet. Finnegan does not seem to have an interest in living outside. We live in central Maryland and it gets pretty chilly in the winters, but we provide and care for our outdoor critters as may be needed when the weather is extreme.

I'd like to see how our cat will do outside, but once they go out and live out there, it is my opinion that they should stay.

Any FRiends with experience, positive or negative in turning an indoor cat into an outdoor.

Thanks for any feedback that you may have.


TOPICS: Pets/Animals
KEYWORDS: cats; kittyping
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1 posted on 07/09/2011 6:42:26 AM PDT by incredulous joe
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To: incredulous joe

We had an indoor/outdoor cat. She loved to go out and hunt at night, cozied up inside during the day, after lining up her little mousies in the hall for our enjoyment. She could have lived outside, because she was a wary huntress, but we didn’t want that. It is dangerous. As it was, even tho she was pretty savvy, something hunted her one night. i found her pelt the next morning in her favorite meadowy hunting area. I think it was an owl, but could have been a coyote. Next cat I get — after the Border Collie dies, because he is a cat-predator in the worst sense of the word — will sleep inside.


2 posted on 07/09/2011 6:47:11 AM PDT by bboop (Stealth Tutor)
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To: incredulous joe
It depends on a lot of things. Where do you live? I mean, are you near a major highway? Are you ready to come home one day and see one of your pets dead in the road? It's an ugly feeling, let me tell you. I transitioned some indoor cats to outdoor, and most were okay but a couple met sad ends, and one at least I'll never get over.

Now I live in L.A. and my three are strictly indoor. Yes, I have to scoop every day. Yes, they shed. Yes, it's a half-hour of clean-up and care every single day. But it's still less time than the amount of happy-time (purring on my lap, staring up into my eyes, chasing the string, pouncing on the catnip rat, wrassling with each other for my entertainment.) And I know they are as safe as I can make them.

3 posted on 07/09/2011 6:49:18 AM PDT by A_perfect_lady (Islam is as Islam does.)
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To: bboop

Sorry to hear about your huntress.

Our Guinness probably will never be a hunter.

We do have a small population of foxes.

My experience is that only the quick and the smart survive outside.

We don’t want to lose our fat cat. We just want her outside.


4 posted on 07/09/2011 6:52:15 AM PDT by incredulous joe ("No road is too long with good company" Turkish Proverb)
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To: incredulous joe
An indoor cat doesn't have the street smarts an out door cat has. The indoor cat doesn't understand fear. It doesn't understand predatory animals. It's been protected from those things all it's life.
Putting an indoor cat outside would be like letting your 5 year old hitch hike along a highway.
5 posted on 07/09/2011 6:54:09 AM PDT by concerned about politics ("Get thee behind me, Liberal")
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To: A_perfect_lady

Thanks.

No. We are on a rural farm nearly 200 yards from a main road.

My 2 indoor cats seem to get along pretty well, but I don’t think would have too much trouble with a separation.


6 posted on 07/09/2011 6:54:33 AM PDT by incredulous joe ("No road is too long with good company" Turkish Proverb)
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To: incredulous joe

Jeez, sounds like you’re running the GOP of catteries—the guys are overweight, inside sissies, while the gal is outside, holding down the fort, both carrying her weight and rounding up the ‘Rats for you.

Kudos to your Tea Party kitty in the barn!


7 posted on 07/09/2011 6:54:48 AM PDT by 9YearLurker
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To: A_perfect_lady

You do realize that cats don’t just sit in your lap and purr, they are getting close and acting nice so they can find your weak points, they constantly plot our deaths! heh.


8 posted on 07/09/2011 6:55:53 AM PDT by Bulwyf
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To: incredulous joe

Cats have super sensitive senses. If they’ve lived indoors for their entire life the outdoors is a sensory overload to them. If you could allow them to go out in a screened outdoor porch whenever they want to, then they can slowly, safely acclimatize to the new world impacting their nose and ears. Don’t force them out. When my cat was small I only let her out when I could go with her as I had eagles, hawks and owls, any of which will kill small cats. There was also a dangerous neighbor’s dog. But once she showed me she was alert to the dangers and could shoot up a tree, I ceased worrying.

On the other hand, if they have no claws don’t ever let them out. They’re defenseless, except they’ll still try to use their non-existent claws for defense.


9 posted on 07/09/2011 6:55:53 AM PDT by Gen.Blather
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To: incredulous joe

Just put them outside, the strong shall survive, the weak shall not!

*disclaimer*- make sure they have their claws.


10 posted on 07/09/2011 6:57:25 AM PDT by Bulwyf
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To: incredulous joe

The thing to know is, the average lifespan of an outdoor cat is very low. Something like a year or two. Obcviously there are exceptions, but the averages are bad.

Some cats are only happy outside and might prefer the tradeoff. But it would be cruel to force an indoor cat who doesn’t want to go out to change to outdoor life.


11 posted on 07/09/2011 6:57:32 AM PDT by oilwatcher
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To: incredulous joe

Don’t do it!

My outdoor cats cost me far more than my indoor cats. Between the fleas, ticks, and getting themselves killed, it’s horrid.

One of my outdoor cats is allergic to fleas. His skin and fur is falling out in patches. I can’t keep him in - he is a world class escape artist. Every time he gets out he brings a new flea load into the house, which he immediately spreads to all my indoor animals. He looks and feels horrid. He brings vermin in. Sometimes it’s dead, sometimes not. He brought in a dead rat once that my dog grabbed and ate, and she threw it up in my living room. Yuck.

My other outdoor cat got killed by a pit bull.

My indoor cat is sitting right now quietly on my lap. She has reached 17, and looks and feels nice.

Try and find a less stressful place to put the litterboxes. I love the tilty Omega Paws ones Amazon sells - I put them in the garage and find them much easier to use than the traditional ones. The motorized ones are a pain.


12 posted on 07/09/2011 6:58:08 AM PDT by I still care (I miss my friends, bagels, and the NYC skyline - but not the taxes. I love the South.)
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To: 9YearLurker

I like my sissy cat.

Technically, the outdoor cat’s name is “Lady Thatcher” ~ the “Lady” part is a definite misnomer. Lots of rabbit body parts around the old barn if you miss a feeding.

Maybe should have called her Governor Palin??


13 posted on 07/09/2011 7:00:02 AM PDT by incredulous joe ("No road is too long with good company" Turkish Proverb)
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To: incredulous joe

bfl


14 posted on 07/09/2011 7:00:39 AM PDT by Skooz (Gabba Gabba we accept you we accept you one of us Gabba Gabba we accept you we accept you one of us)
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To: incredulous joe

Domestic cats are food for wildlife.


15 posted on 07/09/2011 7:02:15 AM PDT by CodeToad (Islam needs to be banned in the US and treated as a criminal enterprise.)
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To: incredulous joe

Well, it sounds like you’ve pretty much made up your mind and you want others to reassure you that it will be okay and you’re doing the right thing. Some will, but my own experience is it won’t and you aren’t. Dread regret when you are tempted to do something like this merely to escape such a minor hassle as the daily scoop.


16 posted on 07/09/2011 7:02:57 AM PDT by A_perfect_lady (Islam is as Islam does.)
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To: incredulous joe

My favorite cat was a 20-pound indoor/outdoor cat. He was sleeping under a tree in our yard when roaming dogs sneaked up on him and attacked him. He died in my arms at the vet’s office. The dogs had collars but we never found out who they belonged to. I still cry thinking about it.

Don’t switch them to being outdoor cats if you want to keep them safe.


17 posted on 07/09/2011 7:03:45 AM PDT by AirForceBrat23
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To: incredulous joe
An indoor cat can live for 15-20 years. The average lifespan of an outdoor cat is less than 2 years. Even if they stay close to home, there's all sorts of dangers out there that they'll be exposed to.
My cats have always been indoor cats and they have all lived to ripe old ages. We have attracted a steady progression of outside cats over the years and they seldom last very long, even though I provide them with a reliable source of food and water.
18 posted on 07/09/2011 7:04:52 AM PDT by Malone LaVeigh
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To: incredulous joe

I think both Gov. Palin’s and Lady Thatcher’s political opponents would consider that they governed with the ‘iron paw and velvet fur’.


19 posted on 07/09/2011 7:05:07 AM PDT by 9YearLurker
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To: incredulous joe
We are on a rural farm nearly 200 yards from a main road.

Because of that, predatory animals would be more abundant. (The noise and commotion of a city would scare them away.)

20 posted on 07/09/2011 7:05:53 AM PDT by concerned about politics ("Get thee behind me, Liberal")
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To: I still care

Our previous barn cat lived to 15 years. She was a ramblin’ wreck; lost her tale when it was stepped on by one of the horses. Her sister, also a smart huntress, only lasted 7 years. Both loved the life!

I suppose the easiest thing with regard to the litter is to finally and diligently saddle my son with this duty. During the fall, winter, spring months I basically work all the time (Barack’s New Economy). The box is neglected. It just needs to get done!


21 posted on 07/09/2011 7:05:53 AM PDT by incredulous joe ("No road is too long with good company" Turkish Proverb)
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To: incredulous joe

You might as well kill them now, because trying to turn an indoor cat into an outdoor cat is a death sentence. Their survival skills and natural distrust for everything have been muted by years of domestication. It would be like dropping a suburban housewife into a dangerous slum alone, and telling her that she’s on her own, but you’ll drop off some food a couple times a day so she doesn’t starve.


22 posted on 07/09/2011 7:06:32 AM PDT by Bryanw92 (We don't need to win elections. We need to win a revolution.)
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To: incredulous joe

My daughter-in-law decided their indoor cat, Louie, had to become an outside cat when she got pregnant. Louie had been declawed and didn’t even want to step on grass.

They started gradually and he started staying out all night, coming home exhausted. They said Louie seemed to become a teenager. Keep in mind they live in a large subdivision—really no predators.

In short, Louie has become the darling of the neighborhood because he digs up moles and lays them on the front porch of the homeowner. He also devised a way to fight with other cats in which he hold them with his back paws.

He still comes home for food sometimes and they let him hang out in the house, but he is mainly an outside cat.


23 posted on 07/09/2011 7:07:43 AM PDT by MRobert (MRobert)
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To: incredulous joe

yes, let them out!! My cats come in and out and no more litter box. Cats can defend themselves well, particularly if they’re not declawed.

You are going to let them come in and out, right?


24 posted on 07/09/2011 7:08:04 AM PDT by spacejunkie01
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To: Bulwyf

We would never declaw any of our cats.

My philosophy on the outdoor cats has always been that they have been strays who adapt and adopt us. They get food, water and a warm place to sleep and are fixed ~ and that is that.


25 posted on 07/09/2011 7:09:15 AM PDT by incredulous joe ("No road is too long with good company" Turkish Proverb)
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To: incredulous joe
We had an indoor cat that we started letting outside for longer periods of time until she liked it and only came in at night. About a year later, she died from a snake bite. We had two others that we rescued and that spent a lot of time outdoors - one got hit by a car (probably trying to get home when he heard my wife calling him), the other ended up being an indoor cat and lived a long happy life.

We started feeding some strays a year ago. In that year, they have gone from 6 to 1. If you want your cats to live, keep them the way they were raised - there are very few outside cats that live to ripe old ages, especially if they started out as indoor cats and were spayed/neutered.

26 posted on 07/09/2011 7:09:15 AM PDT by trebb ("If a man will not work, he should not eat" From 2 Thes 3)
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To: A_perfect_lady

I’m not. I’m seeking out the experience of others to formulate my opinion. The nays are making a very strong case.


27 posted on 07/09/2011 7:10:48 AM PDT by incredulous joe ("No road is too long with good company" Turkish Proverb)
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To: CodeToad
Domestic cats are food for wildlife.

Especially coyotes. They'll even snatch a small dog right out of your yard - while you're standing in it!

28 posted on 07/09/2011 7:11:04 AM PDT by concerned about politics ("Get thee behind me, Liberal")
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To: AirForceBrat23; incredulous joe

“Don’t switch them to being outdoor cats if you want to keep them safe.”

Agreed! They will meet both other critters and maybe even humans who are predatory in nature. NOTHING good can come of this.

I have three cats; cleaning their litter box takes a minute or so a day. Just do it, and have peace of mind that your cats are safe.

You are their owner; they cannot adapt to outdoor living at this late point in their lives. Protect them inside and keep them safe!


29 posted on 07/09/2011 7:12:40 AM PDT by Joann37
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To: spacejunkie01

No. If they leave the house ~ they stay out.

All previous cats have been wanderers and wayfarers.

It seems to me, based on the feedback, that my fat cat should remain indoors.


30 posted on 07/09/2011 7:13:31 AM PDT by incredulous joe ("No road is too long with good company" Turkish Proverb)
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To: incredulous joe
I had three cats at once, years ago. One would rather freeze to death than come in, she would sleep by the door but not venture in. One would be in and out, the other when I put him out hung on the screen door and howled to be let in.
I finally put a cat door into the laundry room, so they could come and go as they pleased. There was a door I could shut so other assorted critters didn't get into the house at night.
All three seemed to like that idea, it worked well. The “scared cat” starting using the out side as his litter box but it always was a quick trip then back to the house. The other two liked laying in the sun. Kept the rats populations way down.
31 posted on 07/09/2011 7:14:24 AM PDT by svcw (democrats are liars, it's a given)
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To: incredulous joe

>>During the fall, winter, spring months I basically work all the time (Barack’s New Economy). The box is neglected. It just needs to get done!

I keep a couple spare boxes pre-loaded with litter in the garage. On days where I don’t have time to deal with the dirty one, I just swap it out with a clean one in about 30 seconds, and come back later to clean the dirty one.


32 posted on 07/09/2011 7:14:32 AM PDT by Bryanw92 (We don't need to win elections. We need to win a revolution.)
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To: Bryanw92

Uggh!


33 posted on 07/09/2011 7:15:36 AM PDT by incredulous joe ("No road is too long with good company" Turkish Proverb)
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To: Bryanw92

Now that is a smart idea ~ and just the kind of feedback I was looking for.


34 posted on 07/09/2011 7:16:22 AM PDT by incredulous joe ("No road is too long with good company" Turkish Proverb)
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To: incredulous joe

Well, with a domesticated cat being put outside where there is a population of foxes, I wouldn’t expect your cat to last long. Foxes will take cats and your cat doesn’t have outdoor skills. If the cat is too much, you would be better trying to adopt it out.


35 posted on 07/09/2011 7:17:59 AM PDT by Truth29
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To: incredulous joe

We have an indoor/outdoor cat, but she’s harness trained. She knows if she wants to go out, she has to stand still to have the harness and leash attached. We tether her to a stake in the yard, or to a door handle, but only when we can be watching her. We have coyotes, hawks, and owls in the area, even though we live in a suburban neighborhood. Even had a family of owls earlier this spring in one of our trees in the back yard. Her front paws are declawed, which was done after we realized nothing was stopping her from ripping up furniture, and the frame on our patio door has lots of deep scratches.


36 posted on 07/09/2011 7:19:31 AM PDT by knittnmom (Save the earth! It's the only planet with chocolate!)
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To: incredulous joe

Thanks for the excellent feedback FRiends.

I feel like I will have to adapt for my indoor cat ~ which I believe is how it should be ~ because I know that I can.

My indoor cat may do very well and adapt to being an outsider. There is also an outside possibility that she may not, which, even if it is a small chance, I suppose I do not want to take.

My son will not touch a Wii after school until the cat turds are cleaned out and I also like the idea of the fresh box waiting in the wings.


37 posted on 07/09/2011 7:21:49 AM PDT by incredulous joe ("No road is too long with good company" Turkish Proverb)
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To: bboop
If its the litter box that's getting you down, think about a Cat Genie. ANYONE with cats should think about these machines. They don't work for everyone, but when they do work they are an absolute life changer. Click on the picture.


38 posted on 07/09/2011 7:21:51 AM PDT by FlJoePa ("Success without honor is an unseasoned dish; it will satisfy your hunger, but it won't taste good")
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To: incredulous joe

Glad to see this thread, I am facing this decision right now. My previous cat wandered around this country neighborhood and ended up getting shot, crawled home alive, tried to save him for nine days (the vet and I) but in the end we couldn’t save him.

Now have two little ones. But my place is so small! One big room. I want them to go out sometime, I guess if I were out there with them, going for walks etc. it might be all right. They riot and gallop around and shoot up the curtains and are just full of it. I know they need to go outside but am in a quandary, I don’t want to lose them.


39 posted on 07/09/2011 7:24:34 AM PDT by squarebarb
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To: incredulous joe

There is no way I could live with an indoor cat because of the box of cat poop as a permanent fixture. It would not be ok in the worst room of my house. How anyone can tolerate live animals crapping in their kitchens is beyond my comprehension, but some people actually do keep litter boxes there.

If you love them so much, buy a farm and put them in the barn. They’d probably prefer it anyway.


40 posted on 07/09/2011 7:26:33 AM PDT by 668 - Neighbor of the Beast (UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT)
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To: incredulous joe
Well first you have to teach them self defense.

Photobucket

41 posted on 07/09/2011 7:26:59 AM PDT by SkyDancer (You know, they invented wheelbarrows to teach FAA inspectors to walk on their hind legs.)
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To: oilwatcher

He is exactly right Joe. As my vet said to me “outdoor cats live short violent lives”.


42 posted on 07/09/2011 7:28:45 AM PDT by Ditter
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To: incredulous joe

Life expectancy for an outdoor cat is about four years. Don’t do it.


43 posted on 07/09/2011 7:29:46 AM PDT by Forgotten Amendments (Days .... Weeks ..... Months .....)
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To: incredulous joe

I’m a dog person.

But I’ve known several people with indoor/outdoor cats, and they seem to do fine.

But I think the key to that is that they have to start young. It wouldn’t be fair on an older cat who has always been in the house to shut them out. I doubt it would last very long, and it wouldn’t be very happy.

When I was growing up, I knew a few barn cats on farms, used to keep down the rodents. As long as they have a hayloft where they can cuddle up and stay warm, they should be OK. They won’t normally mess where they sleep, but it just needs to be changed once in a while.

But I don’t think you can expect a cat to change its ways at those ages. I’d see these ones through to the end, and maybe start the indoor/outdoor pattern with the next kitty.


44 posted on 07/09/2011 7:30:49 AM PDT by Cicero (Marcus Tullius)
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To: incredulous joe

ya, that’s a good philosophy:)


45 posted on 07/09/2011 7:35:54 AM PDT by Bulwyf
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To: incredulous joe; Slings and Arrows; Lady Jag

46 posted on 07/09/2011 7:36:20 AM PDT by martin_fierro (< |:)~)
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To: incredulous joe

If you want to let your cats have a taste of the outdoors, why not build them a cat run? That way, you can put them out and know that they are relatively safe. You need to make sure they have shade out there.

I have made outdoor cats into indoor cats, never the other way around. I even managed to make a feral cat into an indoor cat, which was interesting, especially when it was time to take her to the vet.


47 posted on 07/09/2011 7:43:28 AM PDT by exDemMom (Now that I've finally accepted that I'm living a bad hair life, I'm more at peace with the world.)
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To: incredulous joe

Too many dangers outside. If you don’t want to lose your cats, keep them inside.


48 posted on 07/09/2011 7:47:04 AM PDT by patriot08 (TEXAS GAL- born and bred and proud of it!)
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To: 668 - Neighbor of the Beast
There is no way I could live with an indoor cat because of the box of cat poop as a permanent fixture.

So, I guess you have an outhouse instead of an indoor toilet to keep the "live creatures" from crapping in your house?

49 posted on 07/09/2011 7:47:29 AM PDT by twhitak
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To: incredulous joe

The solution that worked for a friend who moved to a smaller house in Colorado was to build a cat room onto the house.. Well, truthfully, more a cat shed. They used a pet door with magnetic flap that leads into a shed room with screened upper walls.

First lesson they learned - Make sure you have plenty of cat towers. They didn’t - the cats decided the screens were the best toys ever. After replacing screens the third time, they finally got the clue and there’s enough towers + 1 for all the cats.

Second lesson - Only the upper walls of the room should be screened - A raccoon just tore through the lower screens when they had them and ate the cat food. The cats just sat up on their towers watching in horror as the intruder fed and then left. Screening material is also important - if the screen is big enough for wasps to get through, you’ve made the best nest site they’ve ever seen.

Third lesson - winter - they had planned to only use the cat room during the summer - it’s the time of year when they’re least at the house, and it gave the cats a measure of safety, and something to do, not to mention moving the cat boxes outside. The cats adjusted to it, and very much enjoyed it, and protested quite vigorously when they were brought in for the winter. They eventually used a heating pad in the rounds of each tower, and the cats were extremely happy, warm, and eventually the furniture was repaired inside.

All in all, it’s worked out nicely for them. The room is 4’ high wood panels around the bottom, the top 4’ uses metal screen. They built a door into one of the panels to access the litter boxes for easy cleaning with a lock on it. The floor is vinyl tile, wood covered with exterior paint, and the roof is the same tar shingle as the house with gutters. The heating pads are attached to GFL sockets and are usually replaced mid winter and kept on low setting. A metal panel slides into the inside frame of the pet door and also includes a lock for when they leave the house.

Latest acquisition they’ve added this spring was a small planter box with ‘cat grass’ in it, watered by a timer and micro emitters, and a ‘wind spinner’ which seems to absolutely fascinate the cats (and has finally cut down the number of birds who bounce off the screens.)

They went through the city permit process to build it, though calling it a ‘cat room’ was a huge downfall for the process. Renaming it a ‘screened porch’ made things a heck of a lot easier.


50 posted on 07/09/2011 7:50:16 AM PDT by kingu (Everything starts with slashing the size and scope of the federal government.)
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