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Old 07-28-2010, 10:38 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default Outdoor country cat moving to the city! Help!

Hi Everyone,

I'm so excited to find this forum...I've been googling non-stop to find help with my situation but thought I would ask the experts instead!

My cat, Jack, is almost 1 year old. Black and white with fluffy white hair and a funny, uneven mustache. He was an inside cat until he was 6 months old (my plan was to keep it that way), however, while re-locating to Denver I broke my leg and have been unable to walk for 6 months. I put my stuff in storage and we boarded a plane to Wyoming so I could get well with the help of my family.

We kept Jack inside for as long as possible. He is part Maine Coon and since he was a baby very intense about trying to get out. After a few months he escaped and stayed right in the yard. He was so happy! He hung out, smelled flowers, chased bugs and came in when we called. There's not a lot of other animals around here, a few cats maybe, and some antelope. Now, he's addicted. He is obsessed with being outside but as I said, stays very close to home. I knew I was opening a can of worms.....

Part of my struggle is that while I was in the hospital he was alone for almost 6 days (excpept for friends feeding him once a day) and when I returned we have been together non-stop. He cries when I leave, he massages my belly and sleeps in my arms like a baby. He's my best little friend and I don't know what I would do without him. The past 6 months have been a horrific healing process, very depressing and painful.

Ok, so the situation: we are moving to Denver finally! I have a house not right in the city, but in a neighborhood next to a large park. There's a small yard. My landlord told me his cat has been going out for years, but there are foxes in the neighborhood! He said it was ok to install a cat door so he can get in and out. So what should I do? I plan to install a cat perch that sits outside of the window for him...but I know as soon as I open the door he'll be flying outside. Should I get an electric fence and only let him out when I'm home? I don't want to keep that large collar on him while I'm gone all day. Should I install a "sonic door" to keep him away from the front door and again make him wear one of those collars? Then I could put him in a harness and take him out on a lead. Or should I make him suffer and never let him out? I would love to find a way to let him out only when I'm home. I can't really chase after him right now because of my injury so I have to make sure he stays close. Do cats just automatically know how to get home? Like I said, I don't know what I would do without Jack. He's micro-chipped and has an ID collar. He also has all his vaccinations. I desperately need a plan. I do have a little money in savings and can spend around $500 on supplies. Thanks for listening and I look forward to your replies!!!!! Thanks, Adrienne & Jack
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Old 07-28-2010, 10:40 PM   #2 (permalink)
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P.S.: Jack has become very attached to my mother who will not be moving with me. He's going to be depressed for a while with all the changes....so I don't want to make his life too miserable!
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Old 07-28-2010, 11:01 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Hi, and welcome.

You *can* turn outdoor and indoor/outdoor cats into permanant indoor kitties but it does take developing a blind eye, deaf ears and a hard heart to their pleas.

When introducing a new home and outdoor territory to a cat, I feel it is best to keep them inside 100% until they have grown comfortable in the home and are assured that *this* is home and *this* is where the food and love are. After that has been established and the kitty is comfortable with the home-routine, you can begin short trips outside to help him become accustomed to his new surroundings and how to navigate this new territory and find his way back home.

As for containment, I do not feel electric fencing works well with cats. IMO, only a zoo-like enclosure will ensure safety when outdoors. We plan to build one for our cats but are still in the planning and saving stages.
heidi =^..^=
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Old 07-28-2010, 11:02 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Copy/Paste of information about outdoor enclosures:

Link to CF topic about fencing…
http://www.catforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=67815&view=unread#unread
sally’s cat house
http://sallyscathouse.homestead.com/page1.html
HoofMaiden’s porch:
http://www.catforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=67815&hilit=porch

Outdoor Cat Habitat, Kennel, Run

You could purchase or build a sort of outdoor cattery attached to your home so the cats could access it from the home via door, window or cat-flap. There are also products available to add to the tops of existing fences to prevent cats from being able to leap out. I would want to check to be sure outside cats couldn't accidentally get over the barrier and become trapped in the yard with my cats, but that is an option instead of building a completely enclosed (5-sides) outdoor kennel area.
Using this kind of barrier, cats could safely enjoy being outside in a controlled environment and this would keep them out of your neighbor's yards and safe from any unknown dangers when not under your direct supervision or control.
Best of luck,
Heidi =^..^=




Fence add-ons:


Link to CF topic about fencing…
http://www.catforum.com/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=67815&view=unread#unread

sally’s cat house
http://sallyscathouse.homestead.com/page1.html

Last edited by marie73; 07-30-2010 at 03:12 AM.
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Old 07-29-2010, 07:13 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks for the info! I have an idea now...I'm going to talk to my dad and see if he can build something for me. I like the idea of keeping him inside 100% until he gets to know the place, however, I'm really unsure how to keep him from running out the door when I come in. Any suggestions on that? I know there's a "zone" you can purchase that keeps them away but I don't want to keep him in that collar all day. Again, I really appreciate your advice!
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Old 07-29-2010, 07:40 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Jack sounds like a really wonderful cat. My cats used to be outdoor cats. I moved to a horse barn and they had to get used to horses-big monsters. They loved living there. I consider myself extremely lucky that Razzle was not killed by a wild animal. At least once a year he got bite by something and I'd have to take him to the vet. I developed fibromyalgea and couldn't do the work anymore so I moved to an apartment that wouldn't allow outside cats or dogs. It took me 6 months before I finally brought my cats to my apartment because I felt so guilty that they would have to be indoor cats forever, but I felt so lonely without them. It took them a while to get used to being inside only but it's been 9 years now and have adjusted well. I'm so glad they are indoor cats and will never again let a cat outdoors. I would suggest to you that you put in a cat door that leads to an outdoor enclosure. Your cat will live a lot longer and the enclosure will give him some time outdoors while keeping him safe. A cat door leading to an outdoor enclosure will also let him go outside safetly while you are away if you choose to do that. You can control when he goes outside. I had to use a large piece of cardboard to keep my cats, especially Razzle, away from the door when I came in and out of the door. It took a while but he very rarely tries to go out the door. Also if your cat has an outlet to go outdoors he might not try to go out the other doors.

Kathy

Last edited by marie73; 07-30-2010 at 03:13 AM.
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