A few weeks ago, a plank fell out of the back gate to our yard. The apartment management will not repair it, and if I call them and make an issue of it, they’ll just send the maintenance man out to rebuild the whole back fence sans gate. So, at least for the time being, we’re living with a back gate with a big opening in the middle.
That’s the background. Here’s the plot exposition:
A couple of weeks ago, while I was making breakfast, I saw a small-ish (young adult) cat creeping through the slot into our back yard. Kayla, who loves kitties, was completely charmed, and opened the door leading to the patio. I expected that the cat would take that as his cue to skedaddle, but instead he came up to Kayla when she called to him. He even let her pick him up and bring him into the house, where he was perfectly friendly with everyone (well, he was a little shy about Valor). We gave him a little bowl of milk on the floor, and he drank it enthusiastically. He stuck around for an hour or so, then went on his way.
After this, he started showing up, first every couple of days, then every day. Last week, I went to the store and bought a bag of dry cat food to have on hand for him, and of course, now he comes for breakfast every day (and usually for dinner, too).
He’s a gray and white American shorthair, seems to be in good health, wears no collar, and has not been neutered. I would estimate his age at about ten months, based on his size. Kayla and kaylasmom think he smells faintly of paint, making me wonder if he’s been spending some time hanging around some of the units that are being remodeled. I have the sense that he has at least one other family (possibly more) that he gets meals from, and possibly even has a litter box and bed. I have never seen him urinate or defecate, and have not followed him to try to. When he comes around in the morning, he doesn’t have an appearance that suggests he spent the night exposed to the elements.
All in all, he’s pretty much becoming a fixture chez '99, and I’m happy to have him around for as long as it suits him to continue showing up. kaylasmom and Kayla seem more than mildly interested in converting him to a full-time family member/resident of the apartment. I’d be okay with that, although neither kaylasmom nor I have any interest in obtaining an indoor litter box.
On to the main point:
This morning, a friend came around to help kaylasmom and me with some cleaning. She’s a cat owner (or staff member, if you prefer) from way back, and she told kaylasmom something I’d never heard before: that once an adult cat is used to living as an outdoor cat, it’s not really possible to convert it into an indoor cat. You might be able to persuade him to drop in for a visit, and maybe even take a nap in the house, but he will never have any interest in staying the night.
Is this generally true? An overstatement? An oversimplification? Total bs? What are we in for if we decide to try to get the kitty to throw in with the family for the long haul?
Thanks for any insights y’all can provide. Mods, if this strikes you as more MPSIMS-y than GQ-esque, I’ll not be offended by a move.