My cats and the outside

I thought of this because of the thread I have about the cat that has been hanging around my house.

My cats, 'Stache, Banshee, Jet Jaguar and Patches are indoor cats. Only Jet and 'Stache have ever really lived outdoors. 'Stache was less than a year old when we got her. She lived in a barn where she was born, and given to us by the owners of the born. Jet was abandoned by his owners and left to fend for himself. He was maybe a year old at most when I took him in. Banshee and Patches we got as kittens.

But they all watch the cats outside. Some of the roaming cats in the neighborhood must have owners. But watching Jey look out of the window I can’t help but think he he misses being out there. He’s been an indoor cat for 9 years now, and he got lost once…(and came back hungry, cold and seemingly without the desire to go outside of his warm foodhole again) but still…I feel sorry for him at those times.

Does he think I keep him prisoner? He’s pretty affectionate towards me, but I wonder if some days he thinks “Man, if I could get out there I’d have some real fun! Screw this joint. That big guy never lets me go outside and wander!”.

I know where 'Stache and Banshee sit on this. Banshee is terrified of being outside. If you carry her outside of the door and put her in the grass she runs back to the door and curls up crying to get back in. She hates it out there. But she’s ALWAYS lived indoors. (she was only about 6 weeksold when we got her). 'Stache is nearly 15 years old. She is only interested in sleeping, eating and being petted. She has made a run for the door in the summers, but only to go eat grass. She’s content to not be outside since the wife will bring grass in here for her to munch. (why do cats like to eat grass? I dunno)

Patches, being only a year old and not fixed yet, is like Jet. She watches the other cats outside, but displays no real desire to go out there. Sure if I left a door open she’d wander out…but she doesn’t actively try to leave. I think the cats that do come by (even before we left food outside for them) began coming by because of her. She’s not fixed and goes into heat every so often. I think it atteacts the other cats. Theres a furry fat orannge cat we just call The Nemesis that comes by at night. He jumps on the window sill of the bathroom from outsiode and we’ve found him staring into the house at Patches or Jet. (one or both of them will sit on the other side) They don’t hiss or growl or anything. They just stare at each other. I’m positive the Nemesis has a home. He’s way too big to be a stray. (We call him that because Banshee, if she sees him goes apeshit. Banshee is fat and slow, but she hates any other cat that she doesn’t know. She only likes 'Stache because they were the original 2. She tolerates Jet and lets Patches alone as long as Patches doesn’t come too close to her.)

I wish these guys could talk. I would be interested in knowing what they think. I guess I wonder if they think of me as the guy that makes them stay inside or the guy that spends money on their well being and plays and pets them. I guess, I wonder if they really like me or they just tolerate me.

Bah…I wish I had a dog at times. At least I could always tell that my former dogs liked me.

My sister-in-law had 2 indoor-only cats. Then she got a roommate who had an indoor-outdoor cat, and the first 2 cats got very curious and envious of what they had been missing. They began pining at the window all day long. She finally gave in to them and let them come and go as they pleased, and now they are all 3 very happy indoor-outdoor cats.

That would never work here, unfortunately. The wife would never allow it, for one, and as I said 'Stache and Banshee would NEVER survive outside. 'Stache is far too old, and Banshee is only a year younger and too fat. (she has other health problems that have made her lethargic. Trust me, if I had the money I spent on her vet bills back I 'd habe enough cash to pay the rent and buy a new wide screen TV with some too spare).

Jet would be be unpredictable. Plus it would worry me too much. When he was lost (in GERMANY) I spent every evening for 2 weeks looking for him. I was so upset fearing that something bad had happened to him. I can;t go through that again. Patches…well, I’d get just as upset. She’s too dear to us for us to let any harm come to her.

Cats are territorial and they don’t care how large it is, as long as they have their own space.

But this doesn’t mean the space is constant. I had an indoor/outdoor cat and she’d have the front and back yard and half of my neighbor’s yard as her space. But every once in awhile I’d see her try to expand her territory to include the other half of my neighbor’s yard which was owned by Mitzi a cat who was twice my cat’s size. It never worked and the cats settled their space issues with my cat running behind my dog. :slight_smile:

If you continue to allow a cat out, it will most likely go out and have fun and slowly adopt more and more space as its own. Until another cat chases it back home or something happens.

I never could understand the appeal of going out. In the Winter my cat would never leave the house but as it got hotter, she’d go out everyday at dusk, and basically sit under the bushes to avoid being dive bombed by robins and blue jays. I don’t see the appeal of sitting in bushes for 5 or 6 hours at night but cats seem to like it :slight_smile:

In our new yard, I was able to fence it in so the ladies can go outside if they like (they’re old kitties, so they’re not challenging the fencing like young kitties would). They really do like it - they go out, they eat grass, they roll in the dirt and grass, they hang around in the sun. If I wasn’t able to fence them in, though, I’d be much more leery of just letting them roam - this street is pretty busy, and I think they’d get hurt.

I have had many cats over the years and not one of them was ever allowed outside. The cat I have now has never been an outdoor cat,we got her as a kitten. She loves the screened in porch and has stepped outside the front door when I accidentally left it open,but I think that may have been more out of curiousity than an actual desire to go outside.
You could let Jet out if you supervised him at first,just to make sure he doesn’t make a mad dash for freedom. I tend to think most cats are going to stay pretty close to where the food is anyway.

Jet as he is now may not run far. When we first moved in this house he got out…and followed me to the shed. I didn’t know it untill I saw him sitting there in there yard watching.

But he ran back to the door and curled up. Still, if I hadn’t seen him, he may have taken off. I just don’t trust him enough. He’d come back, I’m sure. But lord knows what he’d do without a safety net.

We’ve been owned by cats since about 1983. All have been the indoor-outdoor variety once we had a yard to let them run in. Each cat has had a different personality, but in general I think they’re happier to be able to go outside.

In the winter, our herd is inside almost all the time. They might be allowed out for a few minutes during the day on a weekend, but with the snow on the ground (I’m in Michigan) they usually don’t want to go very far. In the summer, though, 2 of the 3 would be happy to spend all day long outside, with only a quick peek inside to be sure that the food bowls are still there. Peanut Butter has a couple of favorite small pines where she can lay in the shade and watch the yard, nearly unseen. It doesn’t hurt that sometimes she spooks a rabbit from there, too.

But as I said, each cat has its own personality. And each one has been able to at least communicate a desire when it wants to do something bad enough - go outside, get fed, get petted, or have a clean litter box, if it’s not too much trouble and you don’t want me to do this on your pillow, thank you very much… I’d say that, in your case, you’re probably fine in leaving them inside. They sound like they’ve adapted well to this arrangement.

I found a kitty in the park while walking my dog. He was feral ,but a baby. Actually he found me. I have a sticker on my forehead that only animals can see. It says sucker / soft touch. In the animal world news travels fast. The kitty ran under my beagles belly and up a tree. I gave the leash to my wife and the cat came out of the tree, walked up to me and I picked him up and petted him. We were a team from that moment on. But it was clear from the beginning he would not be satisfied being an indoor cat.
I have had lots of cats that were indoor cats and pretty content. But I have had 2 that were absolutely not able to stand being indoors all the time. Watching cats and squirrels running around is TV for many animals. But for some, it is different. You should sense if they are at that level. I don’t think yours are.