Cat problem

I am planning to get married next year and I will be moving into my fiance’s house. We’ve been working on ways to blend our households, and it all seems to be working out, except for my two cats. I’m hoping y’all can come up with some fresh ideas because I’m just about out.

For the sake of conversation, let’s pretend that the cats will go along with whatever the people decide is best for them. :dubious: Here’s the problem. I want to keep my cats. At this time, they are allowed both indoors and out. They are both neutered, and have all their claws, which they sharpen mostly on their favorite chair, but also sometimes on the carpet.

The neighborhood my fiance’ lives in is very dog friendly. Most people seem to have them, and are frequently out walking them (rarely on a leash). I have seen one or two cats, sitting placidly on the steps of their houses, but my kitties don’t do a whole lot of placid step-sitting when they’re out. My fiance’ (I’m already tired of typing that…let’s call him “Dave”, because that’s his name.) Dave has a lovely house with a big screened-in porch (good) and Berber carpet (bad, if your kitties have claws.)

I am trying to figure out if I should make the kitties all-indoor, all-outdoor, or let them come and go freely.

Indoors: The carpet problem. Also, Dave likes to open his sliding doors on nice days. It seems unlikely that I could ever keep them from getting out, especially since I know they’re going to try.

Outdoors: Dogs, pooping in other people’s nice yards, etc.

I read the recent thread about Soft Paws, so that’s something to think about…can any of you tell me about outdoor runs, or are there any other options I can try?

Indoor cats are the only responsible way to go. It’s better for the cats, the wild bird population, people’s gardens, and children’s sandboxes.

Personally, I’d just get rid of the cats. But since you seemed attatched to the things, declawing might be in order to live more easily in a house.

If you have a leash law, a few calls during peak dog walking hours to Animal Control might be all it takes for the unleashed dog problem to be solved.

This site describes what is involved in declawing a cat. I personally do not support it. And that’s all I have to say on that subject.

Outdoor cats can become indoor kitties, and there are also cat runs available. The screened-in porch sounds like a good idea, too. My cats are both indoor cats; my cat goes outside on the leash with me, no problem. If you leash train them, you must always keep a close eye on them while outside; cats can get spooked easily, and hurt themselves if you’re not watching them, or the unleashed dogs could see them as an appetizer. And of course they get themselves tangled up regularly, so you have to go untangle them.

I agree that the dogs should not be walking without leashes; it doesn’t seem likely that Dave’s neighbourhood doesn’t have a leash law. It’s not sporting to put cats out on leashes, and have the dogs wandering freely.

And just a quick comment about de-clawing. We’ve had a few threads recently about this that disintegrated into horrible screaming messes. Declawing has come a long, long way from the once-barbaric practice that it used to be. It you choose to go this route, be sure to find a vet that does it by the newer laser method. The vet pops out the claw (like when you trim it) and just lasers off the claw itself. Just the claw.
No bone removal, no sutures, no amputation - it’s quick and relatively painless for Kitty. All that is removed is the claw itself.

Of course, once you have this done, they must be indoor-only kitties from then on!

I had my cats declawed (fronts only), and they just spent one night at the vets, and that was for monitoring for effects from the anesthesia. When I picked them up in the morning, they didn’t have any sutures or bandages and ran around and jumped all over the furniture as usual.

Just a little more info to consider.

So that would be three votes for “indoor kitties”. The de-clawing worries me, but I won’t quite rule it out, thanks to Bibliocat.

Please reconsider the de-clawing, Dung Beetle.De-clawing thread started here.

For many, many reasons, indoor cats are much safer and healthier than cats that go out. There are so many known risks (dogs, other cats, disease, cars…etc.) and others you just don’t know about in a new neighborhood. An outdoor run would not be at all difficult to build, but you will want to make sure it is secure - both from the cats trying to get out, or something trying to get in.

SCL and her 8 cats vote for indoor only.

Well, the main reason I don’t like the de-clawing is because I think the cats might get out one day and not be able to defend themselves. Maybe I could have them wear little slippers when they’re in the house. :slight_smile:

Not the first time and probably not the last that I’ve linked them to the boards, but here’s KittyWalk. Couldn’t tell you how well it works sadly as my cats are all afeard of the out-of-doors anyways.

This is the crirtical error in your discussion, people have to adapt to their cats needs and wants, not the other way around.
Let the cats go outside, encourage them to do so, they will be okay and they will come back. They will learn to deal with the dogs, cats are extremely adaptable, they put up with all of your strange behavior, don’t they.
Declawing a cat is cruel in the extreme, about like cutting someone’s tongue off because they talk too much and you do not like it. Just my 0.02!!!

I really don’t see the problem here. So there are dogs around? So what? Unless they’re feral and have formed a pack then I don’t see the problem. Cats have been dealing with dogs for millennia.

I have had cats killed by dogs before, long ago in a different neighborhood.

I am thinking of putting a kitty door on the screened porch, so hopefully if the cats got in trouble, they could get inside quickly. But to save the carpets, they’d have to stay out there all the time.

My mom’s suggestion is to let the cats ruin the carpet, then replace it with tile!

Now I can put a name on the system I saw in use around the perimeter of an RV parked at a campsite in SDak last week. Cat could go under the RV and in an approx. 5-ft. perimeter surrounding it.

Cat had shaded areas, sunny areas, toys & looked pretty content with it.

I have to say, this talk of saving carpets and such is a little disheartening to me. These cats are your pets - you took on the responsibility for their lives when you got cats, whatever way you ended up with them. Cats scratch things - anybody who thinks they can get a cat and scratching is not part of the package is kidding themselves. I have a real problem with people who have the attitude that their furniture or their carpet is more important than the fuzzy little lives that they have taken upon themselves to bring into their lives.

And finally, cats can be trained. It takes patience and repetition, but they can be trained, if something really has to be left alone by the cats. My cat was scratching at at a piece of wood trim that we had just re-finished; I used cat repellant on the wood time after time, and she leaves it alone now.

I like this idea! Carpet is overrated. I have scratching posts and trees, but I don’t flip out if my cats do scratch stuff once in awhile - furniture and carpet are replaceable, and by the time the cats have riuned it the stuff is out of style anyways. :stuck_out_tongue:

I am an indoor cat fan. No fleas, no parasites, no diseases, no dirty cats, no dead birds or rodents at my door, and best of all no dead cats (from dogs, cars, poisonings, sickos who kill cats, etc.).

I have relaxed my rules a little, though. My three year-old cat, Hanna, has always wanted to be out, so I do let her out under close supervison now. She goes out in out privacy fenced yard in the mornings while I am having my coffee. She eats grass and stuff but I always make her come in with me when I’m ready to go in. Our yard is fenced (for our dogs) but there are still a few places a cat could sneak out, plus there are trees along the fence line, so I am always out with her and watching her very closely.

Frankly, I agree. I’m just trying to show Dave and his carpet a little consideration, especially since he’s not a cat person at heart.

We recently had a rather ugly Pit thread about cats killed by a neighbor’s dog. The dog was confined to the backyard but the cats got into it. It does happen.

I’ve owned cats for 47 years and have yet to see one ruin a carpet with its claws. With its pee, yes, but if that’s not a problem now it’s not likely to be one in the future. I’ve also seen them accelerate the ruination of an already deteriorating carpet. But to ruin one outright by themselves by scratching it? Never seen it. Of course, YMMV.

Now, the furniture is another matter, which is why I’m a big believer in slip covers! :smiley:

You need to understand, also, that, outdoor cats will scratch inside as well as outside.

As far as declawing? Well, all I can say is, I’d rather see a cat declawed than abandoned (which is what I consider throwing a previously indoor/outdoor cat to the outdoors to be, not just surrendering to a shelter).

Berber carpet is a bunch of nubbly loops. A friend told me that it’s bad if a claw gets stuck in a loop and pulled on. I could protect most of it by keeping the bedroom doors closed.

We have berber in one room here, and there has been no cat damage. The dogs have torn it up a bit (one likes to make a “nest” where he sleeps - scratch, scratch, scratch), but even that took a lot for it to look bad. Berber can hide a lot.

Keep the cats’ claws trimmed to a blunt tip and that will help minimiize the damage.