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post #1 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-10-2013, 06:20 PM Thread Starter
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Outdoor shelter question

I hope someone can help me with this. I adopted two kittens from the shelter in July. They are now about 10 months old and are strickly indoor cats. I feel guilty that they can't experience the outdoors and was contemplating buying a cat enclosure so they could get fresh air. My concern is that once they get a taste of the outdoors, will they be more likely to want to run out the door or cry to go out? Thanks for any advice.

Last edited by marie73; 01-11-2013 at 02:44 AM. Reason: font
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post #2 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-11-2013, 06:44 AM
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I think that's one of those questions where the answer is "it depends on the cat". However, several years ago, I added retractable screens to my front and back porches. The screens go up and down at the push of a button, and my girls spend a lot of time outside on the screened porches. They love being outside on the porch. Before I installed the screens, I also wondered if I would have trouble getting them back in or trouble with them crying to go out all the time. That hasn't happened. When I want them inside, they come in, and they don't cry to go out.

They DO go to the front or back door whenever I go there (the doors that lead to the screened porches), because they assume I want to let them out. So I have visitors/etc. come in through my side door instead. The cats don't seem to associate the side door with going outside, so they never bother going to the side door.

All that said, that's what my cats do...I can't say whether other cats will react similarly.

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post #3 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-11-2013, 08:38 AM
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We put in a patio in our little townhouse backyard this year, partly for us and partly for Murphy, so he could romp around back there (supervised of course) and I wouldn't have to worry about flea and tick treatment. It has a 7' fence around it. He loves it, and he has not once shown the slightest interest in escaping the fence. As far as I can tell, he's completely happy just to be out there, and isn't a flight risk at all.

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post #4 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-11-2013, 08:43 AM
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There are lots of apartment dwellers that use window enclosures to let kitty get some sunshine. I like this idea better than a separate outside enclosure because it gives kitty a chance to come back inside if she desires. You could try a harness leash for a walk, or just put a perch by a screened in window. My cats have 24/7 access to a large screened in back porch using a small through the wall cat door that I had installed when we remodeled. They sit and watch the ducks and geese and birds for HOURS, even in winter!! I found this - it might be useful:

Outdoor Enclosures for Cats

For cats allowed to roam outdoors, danger lurks at every corner. Traffic, poisons, disease, run-ins with other animals-the list goes on. Outdoor cats also represent a major threat to wildlife in urban, suburban, and even rural areas. Many cat guardians are unaware of the impact and dangers their feline companions pose to other animals.
The greatest gift we can give our cats is the promise of a long, healthy, and happy life in the security of our homes. One way to enrich the lives of indoor cats is to offer them safe experiences outside, either by walking them with a specialized harness and leash or by providing them a secure outdoor enclosure off the house or in the yard (contact PAWS' free Behavior Helpline to learn more about working with your cat's behavior).
Commercially Available Enclosures

Enclosures range from the simple to the sublime. They can be furnished with old tree stumps and perches for climbing and scratching opportunities; tarps to provide shade and protection from the elements; even enclosed ladders for safe access to and from the house. A variety of pre-made pens, runs, and do-it-yourself kits are available. This list is provided as a resource and does not imply endorsement by PAWS.
  • The Cat's Den. www.thecatsden.net. Commercial kits for indoor and outdoor cat runs and enclosures.
  • My Pet Enclosures. http://www.mypetenclosures.com/. Provides custom and DIY kits for indoor and outdoor cat enclosures.
  • Purrfect Fence. www.PurrfectFence.com. Commercial kits and instructions for free-standing cat fence systems. Also offers professional installation in certain regions. And now offering "Cat-Proofer" system for converting existing fencing to make it escape-proof.
  • General Cage Corporation. A folding, portable, three-story pen available through mail order catalogs, or write manufacturer at 238 N 29th St, Elwood, IN, 46036.
  • C & D Pet Products. www.cdpets.com. Commercial kits and diagrams for enclosures available in various sizes and prices. Also offers kitten enclosures.
  • Safe Cat Outdoor Enclosure. www.just4cats.com. Detailed drawings and descriptions to create custom outdoor enclosures for cats and other small animals.
  • Kitty Walk System, Inc. www.kittywalksystems.com. Various commercial enclosures for cats and other small animals. Most enclosures are preassembled, portable.
  • Sears. Wire pet enclosures for approximately $49.99 - $69.99. Folding, portable pens, up to 24 inches high.
  • SunCATcher Enclosures. www.cagesbydesign.com. Free-standing outdoor cat enclosures for yard or patio.
  • CatsOnDeck. www.catsondeck.com. Modular indoor/outdoor cat enclosures. Expandable and portable for RV use.
  • Wild Whiskers. www.wildwhiskers.com. Portable, light-weight, non-permanent cat enclosures.
Window Boxes and Perches

Another option is to install a window box that provides a protected perch for cats to enjoy a panoramic view of the great outdoors. Window boxes can be ordered from the listed sources:
  • Anibode. Custom-designed window boxes. Write 339 Pape Avenue, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M4M2W9.
  • The Cat's Den. www.thecatsden.net. Commercial kits for outdoor cat window boxes.
  • Several online and neighborhood pet supply stores carry a variety of window boxes and perches as well.

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Last edited by Marcia; 01-11-2013 at 08:45 AM.
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post #5 of 6 (permalink) Old 01-11-2013, 01:03 PM Thread Starter
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Thank you!

Thank all of you for your help and advice. I'll mull it all over and make a decision by the time the warm weather rolls around.
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post #6 of 6 (permalink) Old 02-01-2013, 10:35 PM
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We're building a house so we had a unique opportunity to add a space specifically for the kitties. The house will be finished in 6 weeks so I don't have a completed project to share but you can see the kitty condo progress on our flickr set: Kitty Condo - a set on Flickr

The final space will have a wrought iron fence and gate covering the entire front. They access this super cool area via a kitty door in the hearth of the fireplace in our family room.

Last edited by donnat; 02-01-2013 at 10:38 PM.
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