Kitty Gurus, Enta Hyeah...

Why does my kitty all of a sudden have this burning desire to go outside? Yesterday he drove me and my S.O. crazy with her meowing and crying at the door. Anytime we’d open the door to go in or out, she’d make a desperate attempt to slip through our legs. All day long she just sat there, begging to go out.

So we took her out a couple of times. She doesn’t run away, just wants to wander around and explore a little. We follow right behind her, and when it’s time to go back in, she lets us pick her up, no problem. But then as soon as we get back indoors, she starts crying again.

The basics: Max is a Maine Coon cat, about a year and half old. She has been fixed. She is declawed and is an entirely indoors cat. She has always seemed perfectly content until now.

We have another kitty who is Max’s litter-mate, and Sophie has absolutely NO desire to go out. She fights you if you try to take her. (We wanted her to see the snow!)

So, any ideas? Should we keep taking her out for “walks” or will that just make her more discontented?

Even a fixed cat is going to have some urge to explore a meet potential mates. OTOH, cats don’t do well on leashes, in my experience.

more info

Thanks for the interesting link, Waverly.

I guess I should add that Max and Sophie were strays when they adopted us. They were about six months old at the time, completely rag-tag, covered in fleas, tangled and matted fur. So they’ve both already been exposed to the outdoors in a big way.

Here’s what we did (over the years my parents and I have had 8 M-Cs).

I hope to hell you have an elevated porch.

We just let the cats outside onto the deck off the kitchen (on the second story of my parent’s hosue) the cats won’t jump down [its too far] and they get to go outside. They won’t get flees, or attacked by animals.

If you can’t do this try to enclose a cat safe area on your back deck (think chicken wire) it’ll look insane to the neighbors but at you can then let the cat go out and you won’t have to worry about it.

On the other hand letting it go out periodically just makes matters worse.

CRorex has an excellent point here–I have a former alley cat and would not consider letting him outside. Part of it has to do with the area I live in (urban, lots of traffic) and the fact that outdoor cats are more prone to illness, but I also feel that if he gets that glimpse of what he knew in kittenhood, he may not be satisfied with indoors all the time.

My cat does absolutely fine on a leash, better than my ex-dog. Detailed instructions available to those who wonder.


Maine Coon Cats get that wild itch, maybe adolescence has struck.

We put our cat Myron on a leash once.

You would have thought that we had needle sharp spikes on the inside of it and fractured his legs, the way he rolled around on the floor in “agony”.

We let him outside every few days. Other posters are correct that it can be a pain listening to him whine to be let out more often.
On the other hand, I read the article that was linked to and it seems sad to deprive the poor kitty of the pleasure of rolling in the grass and exploring their immediate vicinity, as long as it is a residential, non-urban area.

residential non urban area? Just like where my folks live. We’ve had 3 cats eaten by coytes and 4 die from injuries or illnesses we suspect came from outside sources (a cat doesn’t get a nasty kitty disease inside with no contact with other animals).

However, I have the best arguement against letting a cat outside, especially a longhaired maine-coon type cat.

Seattle area (slugs, lots of slugs) cat rolls around on ground. Cat comes inside, you rub his belly and feel EVIL GOOEY NASTINESS.

Nothing like cuttign half a dozen slugs out of your cats fur to keep him on the back deck.

CRorex said:

“We’ve had 3 cats eaten by coytes and 4 die from injuries or illnesses we suspect came from outside sources (a cat doesn’t get a nasty kitty disease inside with no contact with other animals).”

First of all, I’m sorry to hear that you lost your cats in that way. Secondly, it is possible, especially in the case of strays, for a cat to “adopt” you and already be infected with some quite nasty feline diseases. Some of these present initially with no symptoms and indeed can take many years of living with an apparently healthy cat before the owners are aware of anything being wrong, eg: FIV.

I understand what you mean about slugs though! One of my longhaired cats would seemingly delight in picking those up - but then again, she liked fishing too, so, heh.

it could be that your cat is a little nervous of the great outdoors, having been exposed to all sorts of adventures when younger, and is now only feeling a little more confident due to your TLC to feel that he can now venture outside, but that he would still prefer to have you two in close proximity to act as his safety blanket. Remember that this cat is now unable to defend itself using its claws, so it’s only natural that he would be apprehensive if attacked. If you can get him to walk on a lead (it can be done, just needs a lot of patience), then try that. Building a run is also an option. Or, alternatively, get him into a routine: for example, go outside with him at set times, say just after feeding, and spend longer with him out there each time. Slowly build it up so that you’ll walk with him to a set path, then you stop and let him go a bit further. It’s about confidence building, but don’t push him into doing something he doesn’t want to do.

we take our kitty out on a lead too.
it took 3 or 4 times for him to get the idea that “when I wear this stupid leather thing, I get to go outside”.
try it.

Thanks for all the info, guys.

More important kitty data:

Max is a girl. Her full name is “Maximum Kitty.” Don’t ask.

We do have a screened-in patio attached to our apartment. We let the girls go in and out of this as they please, even built a kitty-door for that purpose. (We keep their litter-box out there. Keeps the odor down nicely.) That’s always seemed to be ample outdoorsiness for them before.

I think we’re just going to keep her inside and not let her out to roam anymore, even closely supervised. Maybe she’ll forget to want to go out after awhile. I just don’t want to set any bad precedents, and I worry about her getting out and getting hurt or sick. Hopefully, this is just a phase.

Thanks, again guys, for letting me talk about my cats. One of my favorite hobbies! :wink:

CRorex: Your location sounds a lot more “non-unban” than mine! @_@

We also have gotten out cat innoculated against feline diseases.

Of course, all cats do that. We leash trained our one cat, but our second hasn’t had the training treatment yet. In order to train them, you need to get them used to the harness. Put it on for about 10 minutes every day (or twice a day), and watch kitty roll on the floor frantically trying to get it off. After a while, he’ll realize that it’s not hurting him. After a week or two, he’ll just sit there with it on, or maybe walk around a bit. Then attach the leash, let him freak out about that, drag it around, etc…then the real fun starts with trying to make him walk…same thing, a little each day. Eventually, you’ll have a leash trained cat. They rarely walk like a dog will, but they will walk on the leash with encouragement.

Once, our cat walked 2/3 of a mile with us, just trotting along happily beside us. It was cool! Unforunately, we haven’t walked him hardly at all this year, and so he doesn’t walk too well any more, but he still doesn’t mind the harness.


My cat Bo was allowed outdoors when I lived in a rural area, but I had to move and poor Bo became an indoor only kitty. Every once in a while he gets a wild hair up his butt and wants to go outside, but there is no way I’m letting him out to roam. I think it is the ‘explorer’ instinct. Instead I let him down into the normally closed off (to cats) basement to explore, or when I had an attached garage I would let him explore out there. (Big door shut, of course). That seemed to satisfy him for a little while. I just have to be firm and say no when he scraches on the door to go outside. I have taken him out on a leash too, but all he does is eat grass and come back indoors and puke it up.