Roaming Kitten Dilemma
I could use some advice. My husband and I are owned by two Labrador Retrievers and three cats. We have a dog door for the dogs to access the outside during the day while we are at work. We have a cat door for the cats to access their litterboxes in the garage. The two pet doors are located within three feet of each other in our laundry room. The dog door is installed directly into the wall, and so immovable, and the cat door is installed in the only door leading to the garage. So there is no way to block access to the dog door and still allow access to the cat door.
Our two older cats, Philbert and Jack, have always been indoor cats. Philbert enjoys laying out in the back yard and occasionally brings us a critter, but never leaves the enclosed safety of our back yard. She came to us declawed (something we are vehemently opposed to) and so cannot climb the fence. Jack enjoys the screened in patio, but is not really interested in the outdoors.
Theadorable, our 6 month old male, is another story and the heart of my dilemma. Theo is an excellent climber and figured out how to use the dog door about two months ago. We find Theo in the front yard on a regular basis. He knows that if he meows at the front window we will meet him at the door. And on Friday, he brought in a dead bird that was almost as big as he is.
Theo's outdoor roaming causes me worry on several fronts. First, we are not done with his vaccinations. Theo had a major reaction to his first round of shots which were given all at once, so we are spacing them out one at a time. Second, his safety. I am hoping that his fear of cars will keep him out of the street, but I know that there is no guarantee. Third, we live in an area in which skunks, raccoons, and possum are abundant. I can't even bear the thought of what a run-in with the local wildlife may bring. Then there's the small wildlife, like the bird, who are in danger from Theo.
The positives of this are that Theo is neutered and he seems to have peacefully established his position in the brood of neighborhood cats that hang out in our front yard.
Does anyone have any suggestions? I can't really deny the dogs their outdoor/indoor access - it's pouring rain now and the summers get to be very hot, over 100 degrees. That covers our two seasons here in No. California. And I am not really comfortable with Theo being an indoor/outdoor kitty. I would prefer that he be an indoor/back yard kitty if he must be outdoors. Should I just get over it? I know that there are many cats that lead a wonderful indoor/outdoor existence. I'm worried for him and I just don't know that there is a solution...
Thanks for the input!