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I adopted my 2 year old cat 5 weeks ago and since then he has been begging to go outside. I live in an small studio apartment with no yard, and no balcony. I want him to be an indoor cat, since the winters here in Montreal are harsh, and since being outdoors is what probably got him "in trouble" and picked up by the SPCA in the first place. I have tried taking him outside with a harness and leash but hes too frighten to leave the hallway of our apartment building.

But I cant help but feel bad when he stares out the Window and cries. My apartment is small but Im home all day to pet and play with him; he has access to the closet, under the bed, and the much visited the bathtub, he has many toys, what else can I do?

Will he get use to being inside? How long will it take? I just want to make him happy. Thank you.
 

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Quite opposite. It's cruel to keep your cat outdoors, especially living in a big city. Sounds like he's scared to go out anyways. Cats love watching outside but doesn't mean he wants to be outside. Yes he will adjust, there's no set time but he will adjust at his own pace, don't push him. I'm sure he is happy and you have done everything to make sure he is... You are doing a great job. :)
 

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Quite opposite. It's cruel to keep your cat outdoors, especially living in a big city. Sounds like he's scared to go out anyways. Cats love watching outside but doesn't mean he wants to be outside. Yes he will adjust, there's no set time but he will adjust at his own pace, don't push him. I'm sure he is happy and you have done everything to make sure he is... You are doing a great job. :)
I second this.

My cat loves to look outside and feel the breeze through the screen. But, it is safer inside :)
 

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I'm going through something similar with Twiddledee.
Twiddledee was abandoned in January 2012, at which time he found the feral/stray cat colony I take care of. So, he's lived outdoors for the last nine months. I removed him from the colony because he wasn't putting any weight on his front right paw, and I was concerned he couldn't run fast enough to hunt for food. He's in my second bedroom, I plan to adopt him out when I resolve the paw issue(s).
He still cries and yowls to get out, especially at night. But less so. I've ignored his yowls at night time and try to spend time with him when I'm home (I'm gone 11 hours M-Friday). But he is very affectionate, head butts and scent marks me a lot, and lays in a submissive position (even when first meeting Ritz, my resident cat). He clearly wants to be around people.
Do you know the background of your 2 year old cat? Does your cat seek you out or ignore you? Does she seem happy otherwise? I would try to play a lot with him, especially hunt and prey type of games.
And as the other posters pointed out: outdoors is really dangerous and it sounds like he is scared to venture far. I would experiment with opening the windows--do you have a screen door, window? In Twiddledee's case, I actually think it makes it worse. Twiddledee clawed open the screen door on Saturday, but came back on his own 12 hours later--to the FRONT of the house. He's only seen the back of my house. Miracle.
 

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I've had people go on and on about how much happier their cats are being in and outdoor cats, but they always seem to have ground-floor house/apartments with gardens and trees in the surrounding areas.

I live on the 2nd floor of an apartment complex in the heart of Glasgow with no gardens or trees for about 3/4 to 1 mile away and have busy streets all around the block.

Apart from the practical side of letting my cats come and go which would entail me either physically opening the apartment complex' front door each time or tearing a whole through it for a cat-flap, something my neighbours wouldn't be thrilled about, I hoenstly don't think they 'd enjoy dodging cars and some of the nasty dogs my in the area.

I would think it EXTREMELY negligent of me to expose them to a dangerous habitat which isn't even their natural one.

Furthermore, 2 of my friends lost one of their babies this year, 1 ate some lilly plant (they'r either all or most of them extremely toxic to kitties) and the other got a very nasty toxic infection to a wound that the vet didn't get to early enough to treat properly.

Needless to say they are still devastated about this and I don't think I could ever forgive myself if something bad happened to my boys.
 

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My kitties are purrfectly happy indoors and love to sit in the open window. Cats who have spent time outdoors may miss it though. Can you fit a cat tree or shelves next to the window to give some vertical space and a perch?

My neice's kitty, Kaly-cat, was born in a feral colony and wants to go out sometimes. She meows to be let out, but now its cold outside, so she takes two steps out the door and turns around to go back in. She still wants to try again later...with the same result. They live in a rural area with a fenced back yard, so its a little safer for a cat than city (but not completely safe, they lost the previous cat, Garfield, to roaming dogs who came into the yard). Now when they let Kaly-cat out, they leave the sliding door open just enough so she can get back in on her own if a dog is chasing her.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Do you know the background of your 2 year old cat? Does your cat seek you out or ignore you? Does she seem happy otherwise?
I have no background information on my cat :( Just that the SPCA picked him up during a nightly sweep of Montreal. He doesnt seek me as much as he seeks my boyfriend, I am home all day so I think I smother him. He really enjoys following my boyfriend around. We do enjoy playing together though, and he likes when I brush him. I believe he is happy, but hes my first cat so how can I tell?
 

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Quite opposite. It's cruel to keep your cat outdoors, especially living in a big city. Sounds like he's scared to go out anyways. Cats love watching outside but doesn't mean he wants to be outside. Yes he will adjust, there's no set time but he will adjust at his own pace, don't push him. I'm sure he is happy and you have done everything to make sure he is... You are doing a great job. :)
Thank you :) this makes me feel less cruel, after all I do really want whats best for him.
 

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I do not feel cruel keeping my boys as indoor only. Shepherd Book hates outside. I took him out on the leash once and the first car that drove my freaked him out so bad he hurt himself wiggling out of the harness. I was VERY lucky to catch him before he really ran off. Now he wants NO part of outside. When I open the front door he backs away and steers clear.


MowMow LOVES being outside when the weather is nice and always wants out. I'll allow him out on a leash in a harness and only that way. It's just not safe where i live to let them roam.

They are clear of fleas, safe from feline diseases, safe from the diseases that can be cause by immunization from feline diseases, safe from predators (animal AND human), and safe from cars.

They have lots of toys, I play interactively with them for long periods of time each day and even longer on the weekends, the windows are always open (sometimes it might only be cracked in the winter) so they can sit in the window and smell the outside, and they have each other to keep busy when I'm gone.

I don't feel bad in the slightest keeping them inside. Anymore than a parent would feel bad for telling their child they can't do something stupid like ski off the roof. I keep them in because it's safest for them and the best thing I can do for them.
 

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I have no background information on my cat :( Just that the SPCA picked him up during a nightly sweep of Montreal. He doesnt seek me as much as he seeks my boyfriend, I am home all day so I think I smother him. He really enjoys following my boyfriend around. We do enjoy playing together though, and he likes when I brush him. I believe he is happy, but hes my first cat so how can I tell?
If he enjoys your company and that of your boyfriend and enjoys being brushed, and doesn't run away from you, then he's happy. Ritz is my first cat, first pet ever actually; Twiddledee is my first long-time rescue (and very different cat and circumstances than the other cats I co-fostered).
I ask myself the same question about Twiddledee; on the one hand he seems content in my presence (he seeks me out), on the other hand, he stares outside the door a lot and meows. He seems quieter when I am in the same room. I tell him--and myself--that he will be glad he is inside when it's raining cats and dogs outside (Sandy) and 10 inches of snow on the ground.
 

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ET is my 1st cat too. It did also cross my mind too initially about whether he will be happy being 100% indoor cat cos my hubby kept saying the space is alot bigger outside as compared to the inside. I lived on a high floor apartment and ET likes looking out the window initially, he will look out from the top of my computer and massage chair. He bites and scratch alot too, and being so ignorant about cat behaviour, I thought he didn't like it being inside. But the thought of his timid personality, his FIV condition and the the nasty diseases he might catch outside,I wouldn't, no matter what, let him go. However, I did try opening the door (cos he is always so curious about what is behind that door), asking if he wants to go out (of course I hope he wouldn't). He ran off the moment I open the door wide. 10.5mths now, he is a happy 100% indoor cat, I am convinced now, he doesn't want it outside. He had a hard life, was skin and bone, got abused, NOW he get constant food source, safe place to sleep, safe place to hide from the rain, a safe haven from abusers, someone to play and massage him.
 

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Cats that have been outdoor or indoor/outdoor cats often take some time to adjust to being indoor only. They might be antsy or cry to go out, but most will adjust eventually. I've only known a few cats that never really could get used to being indoors only. I think cats are kind of like some people that way... Some are perfectly content being inside all the time while others will always have that urge to get out and explore. Ultimately it's up to you to decide what's best for your cat based on your situation and the risks involved.

It sounds like you've been giving him a lot of attention, so I'm sure that makes it easier for him. Be sure to provide him with plenty of other stimulation in the form of toys and climbing areas. You can add a lot of living area to your apartment for your cat by providing him with vertical space, like cat trees or shelves. Depending on your apartment and lease agreement, maybe you could even put up some shelves he could climb on (see the recent post about DIY projects for some ideas).
 

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so she takes two steps out the door and turns around to go back in. She still wants to try again later...with the same result.
I looked after a neighbour's cat some years ago and, as he was an outdoors cat, I let him out in the mornings. One day it was pouring rain; buckets of rain. I told him he wouldn't want to go out. "Meow" "Meow" I opened the door and he walked forward, then stopped. What was funny was that his front legs turned to come back in and his real legs didn't get the message and didn't move so that he bent double.

I'm not sure that gives the picture, but it was really funny.
 

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Cats that have been outdoor or indoor/outdoor cats often take some time to adjust to being indoor only. They might be antsy or cry to go out, but most will adjust eventually. I've only known a few cats that never really could get used to being indoors only.
There's a lot of validity to this, I think. My previous guy was in/out for the first half of his life and he was a bit of a hunter. For the later part of his life I had places that weren't conducive to him going outside and he got fat and depressed. He hated being cooped up and was always sitting in the window, longing for fresh air and freedom.

The two I have now enjoy the kind of situation I'd hoped to be able to provide the previous guy someday. They're inside, but have a protected balcony they can enjoy when the weather is nice. These guys have been indoors only since they were rescued as scared and starving kittens, and I think they're not so impressed with outdoors. Their associations with it are totally different and they seem to quite happy being inside kitties.
 

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Emily was abandoned in our neighborhood and wandered around for a week or so before becoming so hungry she came to me. She has been an indoor cat ever since. Our neighbor has two indoor/outdoor cats and Emily always likes to watch them through the window. But she seems happy to remain inside. Perhaps I will get a harness and take her outside some day.
 

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Miley runs out the door every chance she gets. Then she runs and hides under the car and i have to fish her out and carry her back in the house, where she sits at the window and cries to go back out. She is spayed, so it's not that, and she was born inside and was kept inside before I got her. She's just curious, I guess. My husband keeps telling me to just let her out but I know she is unable to make wise decisions, the one time she ever spent any amount of time outdoors she snuck out unseen and was gone for a week. Came back half starved and scared to death. Ollie likes to look out the window but shows no interest in actually getting out.
 

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I think you're doing the right thing for him! Outdoors he could get hit by a car, attacked by the local wildlife or another cat or a dog, could get picked up by the wrong kind of person, etc... Tugs wants outside and tries to sneak out, but I do my best to prevent him and always scoop him up right after he gets outside.
 

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How long does it take for an abandoned cat now indoors to quit meowing, scratching at the window/doors to get out? Twiddledee is a sweet, submissive, affectionate cat. But he really wants out. It makes me sad I can't make him happy. He did escape for 12 hours (in a totally unfamiliar area) and came back 12 hours later (12 hours before Sandy hit).
 

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Try getting a few of the bird feeders? You can get them that they attach onto windows so your cat or you can watch the birdies :) it keeps our cats quite occupied just staring at the birds for hours.... It gives him something to do, bob is the keen hunter so he usually uses it as a game to see how close he can get without them flying away and if he can touch the glass to scare them himself. The birds always come back too.
 

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My older cat, Onyx, loves to watch outside, and before we moved to a big city into an apartment, we were living in the midwest in a house. We used to let onyx out, (on leash) to hang out in the backyard since he would always stare out the window. Just like you, we felt like he is missing something....he didn't last 20 minutes outside, before sneaking back into the house. We tried it at least a dozen times, putting him on a leash when we were having a drink outside...he would always sneak back in. So no, only because your cat is staring out the window, doesn't mean he will like it there more. Maybe he is thinking to himself how the outside must suck.
 
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