Skip to comments.Making an Indoor Cat an Outdoor Cat?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
Cats have super sensitive senses. If theyve 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. Dont 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 neighbors 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 dont ever let them out. Theyre defenseless, except theyll still try to use their non-existent claws for defense.
Just put them outside, the strong shall survive, the weak shall not!
*disclaimer*- make sure they have their claws.
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.
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.
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??
Domestic cats are food for wildlife.
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.
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.
I think both Gov. Palin’s and Lady Thatcher’s political opponents would consider that they governed with the ‘iron paw and velvet fur’.
Because of that, predatory animals would be more abundant. (The noise and commotion of a city would scare them away.)
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!
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
I’m not. I’m seeking out the experience of others to formulate my opinion. The nays are making a very strong case.
Especially coyotes. They'll even snatch a small dog right out of your yard - while you're standing in it!
“Dont 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!
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.
>>During the fall, winter, spring months I basically work all the time (Baracks 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.
Now that is a smart idea ~ and just the kind of feedback I was looking for.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
He is exactly right Joe. As my vet said to me “outdoor cats live short violent lives”.
Life expectancy for an outdoor cat is about four years. Don’t do it.
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.
ya, that’s a good philosophy:)
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.
Too many dangers outside. If you don’t want to lose your cats, keep them inside.
So, I guess you have an outhouse instead of an indoor toilet to keep the "live creatures" from crapping in your house?
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.
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