He got ouside, now he's crazy! - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-04-2012, 10:06 AM Thread Starter
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Calgary
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He got ouside, now he's crazy!

Hello, I'm new here! I've joined because I'm a bit concerned about my cat. Here's the story:

We have two cats: Jables, a Bengal/tabby cross who is 4 years old and Kage, a mystery black & white (he was a rescue). We live in a city where it's illegal to leave cats outside unsupervised, so both of ours are indoor cats. My sister recently moved in with us and accidentally left our back door ajar. It doesn't latch easily. Jabes, the Bengal X spent half an hour outside before we finally found him. This was on Thursday last week. Now he's gone through a complete personality change. He's been attacking his brother, meowing constantly...we're unable to sleep because he tears around the house all day/night. He's flinches away from me and my husband when we bend down to pet him. He hasn't been keeping all his food down...

My husband suggested that we start letting him into the backyard, and building an inclosed area for him to roam around in - but I wonder if he'll want to be outside all the time...and we'll have to deal with the meowing and disruptive behavior everytime he's inside. We're also ripping our the backyard to grow vegitables next year so it's not something I want him getting used to as he won't be able to roam around out there next year. I'm also worried he'll get out - as a cat whose spent his entire life inside he has no street smarts.

I need advise! What would you do? Will this behavior pass and will he forget it and settle down...should we start taking him on walks? Letting him into the backtard? Any advise would be greatly appreciated! Thank you! Below is a photo of my brats.

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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-06-2012, 07:29 PM
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I'm no expert, but I'd recommend letting the cat be and waiting it out. My DLH got out for half an hour a few weeks ago and displayed a few of these same traits as your kitty. She was skittish (she normally jumps into laps and lets kids pick her up like a rag-doll), she didn't like her brother being next to her or smelling her, and she kept trying to get outside again! I let her be for a few weeks, and she's fine now! Back to her old, loving ways.

How long has it been since this incident?
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post #3 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-08-2012, 09:52 PM
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Our cats have always been indoor cats. I think as traumatic as it is to see your cats behavioral changes and unhappiness, I would wait it out.

I have considered before wouldn't it be nice to have a screened porch or something my cats could enjoy the fresh air or the feeling of being outside. Well my sister has that and her cats keep trying to get out. One did and and a dog h killed it (it was declawed). I think once they get used to that "taste" of being outside they will hang around the doors and it becomes hard to keep them from darting outside.

Our cats are never by the doors. They love to watch the birds outside but I don't feel sorry for them. They are happy and safe inside.

But that is just what I think. You have to decide. I think a leash is really risky too. Good luck.
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post #4 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-09-2012, 06:23 AM
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Building any kind of enclosure brings with it the risks that the cat could escape from that, or escape while being transported to and from the enclosure.

There's also so many risks for a lifelong indoors cat to have ANY contact with the outside world, even through an enclosure. What if some other wild critter stops by the enclosure and passes on some kind of disease, or tries to attack Jables through the fencing?

Jables would need to have all his vaccinations, if he doesn't already. He'd need to be on flea and heartworm prevention. He'd need a collar with ID and a microchip. (Actually, he should have a collar/ID and microchip now, at all times, since it's now possible that he could get out again. Kage should wear ID as well.)

Cats, although they have feelings and memories, aren't human. Jables isn't going to be depressed for the rest of his life because he got a "taste" of the outdoors and now wants to be Elsa the lioness from Born Free. Cats don't really "need" to be outside, nor do they need to taste the outdoors or even smell it. We provide for all of a domestic cat's needs, and the addition of "outside time" would just confuse them and complicate their routine lives.

What it sounds like is that he actually had a bit of a bad scare while he was outdoors. Maybe a loud noise spooked him, or he saw another critter that he's never seen before, and got scared. Maybe he just got freaked out by being out of his familiar environment and away from his kitty brother. Now he's super jumpy and a little scarred from the experience. But, basically, he will get over it. It is unlikely that his personality will be permanently altered by this experience. If he'd spent a week outdoors alone, then maybe, but I think he'll be all right.

My own cat got trapped in a neighbor's backyard when she was a very tiny kitten, and the neighbor's kids terrorized her. I think it actually did affect her personality permanently, but she was very, very young at the time.

Just keep Jables' routine the same - feed him the same food, at the same time, offer him affection and attention at the same rate as before - and he should settle down. You may want to consider a trip to the vet for a checkup just to make sure he was not injured or exposed to any toxins or diseases while he was out.

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post #5 of 5 (permalink) Old 09-10-2012, 10:10 PM
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Bentonville, Arkansas
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Cats are interesting. My kitty, Mr. Wilson, was actually out side for most of has baby years. My mom had him dumped at about 6 weeks of age at her house and she does not like indoor cats. I adopted him a month later. He has been with me for about 4 or 5 months and, with the exception of one time, has NEVER been outside with out me taking him somewhere. I absolutely forbid it. (I worry living in town in an apartment) Wilson did accidentally get closed out once (Just for a 20 mins at the most) and when I found him, he couldn't wait to get in the apartment. Since then he has show some interest at trying to get back out, but I mostly wonder if it has to do with the curiosity factor.
Today he had an appointment with the vet, and when I "took" him outside the poor guy wigged out on me! There was nothing out there, just him and I. When we got back from the vet he now will lay behind the door, if I go out it, to wait for me to come back, otherwise, he will not even get near the door, but he loves his window. lol. I am not sure that helps your problem, I am new to having a cat indoors all the time, but it seems that they tend to forget with time. (:
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