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every moment is a gift
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Discussion Starter #1
I've just spent the last hour and 1/2 searching for my mostly outdoors cat. I find myself in this position occasionally and know that I'll worry about him until he comes back home. I keep him enclosed on our screen porch during bad weather while I'm working or if I'll be working late - he doesn't mind too much. The porch is large, get's a good bit of sun, and, although the lower 3 feet are enclosed, the upper portion is screened in.

I'm thinking of trying to transition him to indoors/screen porch completely. I'm sick of the worry. However, the last time he was enclosed for an extended length of time (in recovery from a bite wound), he started hissing and attacking furniture. He's got a bed (it's even heated/covered in the winter) and a bench to lounge on out there, some toys, and a scratching post. I put a bird bath and feeder near the porch too. I've just found a tree that has large perches (he's about 16 lbs) and hope to pick it up next weekend.

A little background on him. He was a wild cat that took 3 years for me to get close enough to grab him - that was three years ago - he's about 6-7 now. When he's inside at night and when I'm home, he's usually very loving with me.

Any advice/suggestions? I've thought I could do an every other day thing or just cut to the chase and keep him closed in.

eta - he's usually reliable and comes home between 4:30 - 6 - hence my current worry :(
 

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Lost Her Mind
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Maybe you could just try bringing him right in and see how he does after a while? Maybe leave little piles of really good kitty treats hidden around the house/his area so he can feel like he's hunting... Might make him feel more outdoorsy. I think getting a bunch of stuff to climb on is a great idea too!

Good luck!! I hate the worry feeling too. :(
 

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Premium Member
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We had a little black cat named midnight when I was growing up. We thought it was a girl until we realized it was a boy :) That being said midnight was an awesome cat, my first real pet. He was an outdoor cat and I remember being 10 or 11 always worrying when he wouldn't come home, Id start crying if he didn't come home at night. The week before halloween he never came home and we found his body beaten in the creek close to our home. Very traumatizing and I don't mean to scare you! Now with Jesse, he will be 8 in June and has only ever been outside for short periods of time with us and he is on a tie out. I won't be able to ever have an outside cat again, makes me worry way too much. As for the transition I think like Jen said, hiding treats could work but also heating blankets around the house can work! I know Jesse LOVES to lay on anything warm. We keep the fireplace on a lot during the winter so thats where he is most of the time, when he isn't there he can be found laying in the sun, or on my computer! Also it could sound mean but maybe just cut him off cold turkey and bring your kitty in and thats it. He will meow and meow and meow and drive you crazy at first (i remember midnight would when he hadn't gone out for a day) but they do quite down.

Goodluck!
 

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I am a huge fan of indoor cats. Here in Australia we have an array of smaller native animals and biodiversity that is at risk and destroyed by cats. We have native species that are now extinct as a direct result of cats. Feral cats and pet cats can and have caused alot of destruction, which is why I am a huge fan of having indoor cats.

There is a considerable amount of controversy concerning this issue, for instance a local conservationist John Wamsley bought a dairy farm and started a wildlife sanctuary in the Adelaide hills called Warrawong (it's the most amazing place). Feral animals poised a huge threat, so he built an amazing one of a kind fence that cats could not climb. Wamsley was in the media talking about the issue and some cat lovers took offence, so they threw a cat into Warrawong. Wamsley shot the cat and made a hat out of the skin! You can imagine the response this got! Out of interest can anyone tell me if there are similar issues within the USA?

Transitioning your cat into an indoor cat is not going to be easy, but it's about insuring your much loved pet is safe. I think you are best just cutting to the chase. I would be worried that if you do it slowly and the cats not happy with it he may just stay away. I think the key to sucessfully transitioning your cat is persistence and consistency. If this where me I would sit down and write out a concise plan of how you are going to achieve the transition. Make sure everyone in your house is involve and is willing to put the effort in or at the least is they are willing to not sabotage your efforts.

Keeping your cat challenged and entertained will make a huge impact on the outcome of the transition, hopefully some more experienced cat owners can make suggestions, as all I can think of is a kong and I don't think a kong would cut the mustard (though you never know a cat might like a kong!). The hiding the treats is a great idea! Does your cat like to chase a laser light or maybe a remote control car?

I am sure your cat won't be happy to start with and I am sure the process will have it's challenges, but remember you are doing this for your cats own good! Good luck!!!
 

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every moment is a gift
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3,127 Posts
Discussion Starter #5
Maybe you could just try bringing him right in and see how he does after a while? Maybe leave little piles of really good kitty treats hidden around the house/his area so he can feel like he's hunting... Might make him feel more outdoorsy. I think getting a bunch of stuff to climb on is a great idea too!

Good luck!! I hate the worry feeling too. :(
Thanks! Hiding treats is a good suggestion.

We had a little black cat named midnight when I was growing up. We thought it was a girl until we realized it was a boy :) That being said midnight was an awesome cat, my first real pet. He was an outdoor cat and I remember being 10 or 11 always worrying when he wouldn't come home, Id start crying if he didn't come home at night. The week before halloween he never came home and we found his body beaten in the creek close to our home. Very traumatizing and I don't mean to scare you! .... I know Jesse LOVES to lay on anything warm. We keep the fireplace on a lot during the winter so thats where he is most of the time, when he isn't there he can be found laying in the sun, or on my computer! Also it could sound mean but maybe just cut him off cold turkey and bring your kitty in and thats it. He will meow and meow and meow and drive you crazy at first (i remember midnight would when he hadn't gone out for a day) but they do quite down.
He's been missng up to 2 weeks before (he was stuck under a neighbor's house and actually the last time he was closed up it was for almost 3 months while he recovered from a injury likely from an encounter with a dog. The last 3 weeks he went BONKERS! I'm thinking cold turkey might be best anyway though.

I am a huge fan of indoor cats. Here in Australia we have an array of smaller native animals and biodiversity that is at risk and destroyed by cats. We have native species that are now extinct as a direct result of cats. Feral cats and pet cats can and have caused alot of destruction, which is why I am a huge fan of having indoor cats.

There is a considerable amount of controversy concerning this issue, for instance a local conservationist John Wamsley bought a dairy farm and started a wildlife sanctuary in the Adelaide hills called Warrawong (it's the most amazing place). Feral animals poised a huge threat, so he built an amazing one of a kind fence that cats could not climb. Wamsley was in the media talking about the issue and some cat lovers took offence, so they threw a cat into Warrawong. Wamsley shot the cat and made a hat out of the skin! You can imagine the response this got! Out of interest can anyone tell me if there are similar issues within the USA?

Transitioning your cat into an indoor cat is not going to be easy, but it's about insuring your much loved pet is safe. I think you are best just cutting to the chase. I would be worried that if you do it slowly and the cats not happy with it he may just stay away. I think the key to sucessfully transitioning your cat is persistence and consistency. If this where me I would sit down and write out a concise plan of how you are going to achieve the transition. Make sure everyone in your house is involve and is willing to put the effort in or at the least is they are willing to not sabotage your efforts.

Keeping your cat challenged and entertained will make a huge impact on the outcome of the transition, hopefully some more experienced cat owners can make suggestions, as all I can think of is a kong and I don't think a kong would cut the mustard (though you never know a cat might like a kong!). The hiding the treats is a great idea! Does your cat like to chase a laser light or maybe a remote control car?

I am sure your cat won't be happy to start with and I am sure the process will have it's challenges, but remember you are doing this for your cats own good! Good luck!!!
Goodness! Made a hat out of a cat! I can't think of anything like that here, but I do know that cats kill millions of songbirds every year.

I was thinking the same thing with a cat kong - he's a weird cat - I guess since he was an adult when I finally caught him - all those years as an intact tom catting around and he's definitely a wanderer. He's not too interested in toys, but we'll see.

He's still not back this morning. I'm hopeful that he's just stuck in someone's garage and once others get up and out to work he'll come back home.

Thanks for the encouragement everyone :)
 

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Kate
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Good luck.... o_O

One suggestion I have is visiting the vet for a prescription of prozac or something to keep him calm. My cat gets mean when he doesn't get to go outside (jumping on furniture and deliberately knocking things off on the floor, jumping on my bird cages, attacking legs, going after my sister's face...).

My sister's cat was a street kitty (likely a family pet that either got lost or was dropped off in the middle of nowhere), and he's a lot more docile about staying inside even while he does try to get outside every chance he gets. So it can be done without kitty turning into catzilla. :)

*** I really hope he is neutered now. o_O
 

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every moment is a gift
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Discussion Starter #7 (Edited)
*** I really hope he is neutered now. o_O
Absolutely! :D When I finally caught him, I asked them to test for feline leuk/hiv and then he got shots and snipped! :D He'd outsmarted the hav-a-hart traps and other grabbing sort of actions. They felt he was either feral or dumped as a kitten, but, like I said, he's very loving with me most of the time now, but that's it - he's very skittish with everyone else, except at the vets and there he's sort of - catatonic, but purrs to soothe himself.

During the last episode, he was attacking furniture, Hannah's tail, and truly had a wild-eyed look. I'll have to check with the vet about a sedative.

Still waiting on him to come home. :(
 

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Nancy
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Our cat is a stray I took in 16 years ago. He has always been an outdoor cat other than in the coldest weather when I'd try to get him to stay inside, especially at night but he'd want in, come in for maybe 15 minutes then want out again. Then wants in, then out, repeat, repeat. Try doing that all night long!! I then started putting him in the garage at night (the garage is detached so I can't hear him). He has a bed and litter box out there and seems content. During the day though he's still outdoors. He can't be trusted indoors, he's peed on the carpet and a Christmas tree skirt plus is skittish in the house.

A.J. exhibits the same behaviors as your guy. ^^^
 
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every moment is a gift
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Discussion Starter #9
Our cat is a stray I took in 16 years ago. He has always been an outdoor cat other than in the coldest weather when I'd try to get him to stay inside, especially at night but he'd want in, come in for maybe 15 minutes then want out again. Then wants in, then out, repeat, repeat. Try doing that all night long!! I then started putting him in the garage at night (the garage is detached so I can't hear him). He has a bed and litter box out there and seems content. During the day though he's still outdoors. He can't be trusted indoors, he's peed on the carpet and a Christmas tree skirt plus is skittish in the house.

A.J. exhibits the same behaviors as your guy. ^^^
I know what you mean with the in and out business. When the weather's not super cold, I keep him on the screened in porch at night. Otherwise he's either meowing up a storm (first at Hannah and then me) wanting to eat at 3 am. When it's colder, I leave him on the porch until we're bedding down for the night and then bring him inside. He sleeps until about 5 am that way, which is good, but not great.

I wouldn't trust him unsupervised in the house. He won't use the litter box inside, he'll wait at the door to go use the one on the porch, but that's just as well. Thankfully, he's only had one "accident" inside (if you don't count him throwing up :yuck:).

He's still missing :( and I'm SO upset. I'm leaving work a bit early today so I can go knocking on doors and asking to prowl around my neighbors' properties. Even though Hannah doesn't like him that much, she keeps going on the porch to look for him, so I guess she likes him more than she lets on - or she's hoping he dropped some food while eating ;)

I've decided that when he comes back home (or when I find him) he's going to live on the screen porch (and come inside the house some when I'm home). I'm glad to know that your guy manages well in the colder temps - it makes me feel better about him living on the porch.
 

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every moment is a gift
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Discussion Starter #10
He's been found!

Thankfully I found him under one of my neighbor's houses late this afternoon! First he was crying, then clingy, then hungry/thirsty, then clingy again, then hungry/thirsty again, then clingy, then scratched up my arms - ran down the hall and under a bed where he's now dozing.

Wheeeew! We'll see how things go. :crossfing I appreciate all the suggestions and will be working to make his indoor/porch life fulfilling :)
 
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