Indoor Cat is Outdoor-Obsessed! - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
 
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post #1 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-24-2010, 02:40 PM Thread Starter
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Indoor Cat is Outdoor-Obsessed!

Long story here... bear with me!

When I first got my cats, my boyfriend (at the time) and I went to great lengths to prevent them from knowing the wonders of the outside world; we wanted them to be indoor cats, for their own safety. Unfortunately, Ender, my Maine Coon, is a fast little bugger and figured out exactly how to hide behind the door and zoom between my ankles when I opened it. After he got his first taste of "outside", he was an absolute terror until he got back out -- howling and scratching at the door for hours on end.

Our last apartment was in a safe neighborhood, so we kept a window open for Ender to come and go as he pleased. He greatly enjoyed his freedom and was a very happy, content cat. We lived there with this routine for three years, and we didn't foresee a point at which we would not be able to keep it up.

Unfortunately and unexpectedly, my boyfriend and I broke up a couple of weeks ago, and I had to move myself and the cats into a bedroom in someone else's house. I live with a roommate now, and I feel it would be inappropriate of me to ask him whether we can keep a door or window open for Ender; it would be tantamount to asking him to risk the security of his belongings and personage.

However, Ender's turned back into a brat: he scratches at the door (doesn't make a mark, though, thanks to his SoftPaws), meows piteously and ceaselessly, and terrorizes me in the middle of the night by zooming around the room, including all over my sleeping form. I can't even let him have free run of the house because it would mean I'd have to give Valentine, his sister, free run as well, and she's been known to pee on things... and as none of the furniture in any other room in the house belongs to me, I can't risk it, lest she destroy any of it. I suppose, if I figure out a way to know for sure that Valentine wouldn't pee on anything, I could let him at least roam the house... but her patterns are unpredictable. She does it rarely -- once every couple of months -- but it's still a huge risk with furniture that isn't mine.

The end result is that Ender's been confined to my room, and even though he's fed and cleaned and played with and has his sister with him, he's clearly unhappy, and I feel awful for him.

I realize that I may have made an irreparable mistake in allowing him to be an indoor/outdoor cat... but what, if anything, can I do to teach Ender to like being an indoor cat again?

(Conversely, what, if anything, can I do to be absolutely sure that Valentine will not pee on anything? Please note that I can only have one litter box in the house, and it must be in my room, per the terms of my lease agreement.)


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post #2 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-24-2010, 02:48 PM
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Re: Indoor Cat is Outdoor-Obsessed!

My Vet told me that a cat should forget about the outside in about a month. But if it's a very small area he may be unhappy because he's not getting enough exercise. Can you dedicate some time each day to playing with him?

The last time people tried to elimate free roaming cats it resulted in The Black Plague.
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post #3 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-24-2010, 03:12 PM
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Re: Indoor Cat is Outdoor-Obsessed!

In my experience, my former strays converted to indoor cats have all wanted NOTHING to do w/ the great outdoors once they learned about the cushy indoor life. It's the cats who have never had to find out about the hard, cruel world who thought they wanted to go out.

Currently, Calvin (former stray) wants nothing whatsoever to do w/ the outdoors and is even reluctant to go out on the screened porch. Lincoln (former stray) loves the screened porch but is otherwise not interested in the doors. Jonah was, granted, found in the middle of the road, but he was 3 weeks old and barely toddling, so he really had NO clue about anything and is, for all practical purposes, an indoor-since-the-start kitty. And he is a TOTAL PITA about doors. I have to really watch carefully when I let the dogs in and out.

That has been borne out by every cat I've ever had, back to Lenny (stray). Once they convert to indoors, they want to STAY there. It's the ones who are ignorant of the dangers who think they want out.
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post #4 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-24-2010, 03:18 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Indoor Cat is Outdoor-Obsessed!

Ender's the opposite of Calvin and Lincoln: he was born an indoor cat and desperately wants to be an outdoor cat! He actually used to barge into our neighbors' apartments when they had their doors or windows open, but they all loved him: he'd sit on the couch with them and watch TV for a while and submit to belly rubs before returning to our apartment. He's had too good a life "outside" to ever want to be confined!

That forget-in-a-month bit is good news, if it holds true with Ender!

I do play with both of them for about an hour every night -- more on weekends, when I'm home more. And they wrestle each other as well.

In addition, when I'm at home for extended periods of time, I do let Ender roam the house and keep the bedroom door nearly shut so that Valentine doesn't escape (she's a hider and would insist on spending her time on my bed anyway); when he's bored, hungry, or needs the litter box, he just comes back to the room and nudges his way in.

We have an enclosed porch on this property, too, with a high fence. I may consider letting him roam that on weekends, when I have the time to monitor him.

I hope that's enough.


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post #5 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-24-2010, 03:29 PM
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Re: Indoor Cat is Outdoor-Obsessed!

"I do play with both of them for about an hour every night -- more on weekends, when I'm home more. And they wrestle each other as well."

That's so embarassing. I don't play with my cats enough.

There were complications with my cat, she was in heat, so I don't know if my Vet was right about the timeframe but she's pretty cat savy.....a cat specialist and cat rescuer.

The last time people tried to elimate free roaming cats it resulted in The Black Plague.
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post #6 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-24-2010, 03:50 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Indoor Cat is Outdoor-Obsessed!

Quote:
That's so embarassing. I don't play with my cats enough.
Don't feel bad, Dave! I'm a student, so time at home is time reading or watching videos anyway -- stuff that doesn't require the use of both hands. It's all about multitasking for me: I hold a book or scroll through a computer document with one hand and dangle their feather toy in the other.

Plus, only one of my cats really likes to play; the other prefers that I just give her lots of love and petting, which is even easier to do while reading. They're pretty low-maintenance fluffs.


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post #7 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-24-2010, 08:30 PM
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Re: Indoor Cat is Outdoor-Obsessed!

Valentine might be prone to UTI's... and every so often he gets an infection that hurts, associates the pain with the litter box, and decides to try the couch. You can prevent infections by getting him more moisture, which can be easily achieved by feeding him a canned food diet. A vet check up can rule out UTI's, so it might be a good idea for a check up!
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post #8 of 8 (permalink) Old 02-24-2010, 10:43 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Indoor Cat is Outdoor-Obsessed!

I had Valentine checked recently, and she's clean. Still, it's a good theory.

The other theory that's been suggested to me in the past is that, because she only pees on things that are inundated with my scent, she pees on my things when she's nervous or upset because mixing her scent with mine comforts her. Does that sound at all plausible?


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