Tell me about house cats.

My experiences. I’ve never had a true indoor/outdoor cat. We let our cats out supervised, sometimes on leashes.

Our female is neurotic (and has been since birth) and never leaves the steps outside the apartment, she just leans over to eat some grass and when a car drives by (100 yards away) she runs too the door and mewls to be let in.

The boy cat is a door rusher, but he gets out and rolls in the sun or he runs to the tree and stops, stupified by the sheer ‘nature’ surrounding him. He get the leash, most of the time.

Neither of them suffer from not being allowed to roam freely.

I’ve got an indoor cat, and I swear sometimes he’s agoraphobic. I’ve tried leaving the door open to see if he wanted to go outside; he usually steps onto the back porch, realizes he’s outside the friend;y confines of the kitchen, and immediately flips out and runs back inside to hide under the sofa. On the occasions I’ve had to take him outside (moving apartments, the time they bug-bombed my old apartment and we both had to vacate the premises for the day, etc.), he really hated it - started yowling and hyperventilating and trying to find something to hide under.

This is post-neutering, thoiugh; pre-neutering, he would try anything to get out of the apartment and go wandering. Now he is super-affectionate and mellow; he doesn’t seem to miss going outside at all.

I have 8 cats, and none of them go outside. I converted a two-car garage into a “cat suite” which contains my office, so I do my Web surfing with a lapful of cat. They also help me type, but they can’t spell.

There are many valid reasons listed above to keep moggies indoors. I don’t think they miss what they have never known.

I’ve tried a harness, but the cats just flop over on their sides when I put it on, and I’m not going to have the neighbors stare while I drag a cat around the neighborhood. I do have a “baby sling” pouch, but Cricket is the only one that will ride in it. She loves it! And I love the looks on people’s faces. They see a redheaded woman with a “baby” sling. Then they notice the baby has jet-black hair. Then they notice the funny ears…then…

Yeah, cats have to get used to a harness pretty young. I trained Feather to the harness since I got her at around 6 months (she was 6 months, that is; I was considerably older). Doesn’t bother her at all now. We’ve tried to train Max, Jim’s cat to the harness, but she’s less tolerant. I think Max wouldn’t mind riding around in a baby sling on Jim - he has to carry her around like a baby when he comes home, or there will be no peace in the house.

Oh, and I HIGHLY recommend two females. :smiley: No spraying, no marking, no litter box “accidents.”

Now, now, featherlou. We have 4 cats, all boys. I have never had a cat that was an inside/outside cat, or an outside cat. They are always indoors only. Safer and healthier, IMHO. As said above, they cannot miss what they have not known.

Mixed genders in the house is tough. For a while we had 3 males and Ashley. She was an emergency adoption from a friend who had to get rid of her. The boys were rough on her, and after a few months of separating her in our bedroom, she was adopted out to an aunt who looooooooooooooved her for years till she died. ( The cat. Not the aunt. :wink: )

Neutered ( spayed? Which do boys get?? ), the boys are fine. Never ever had one that sprayed anywhere. There’s a real pecking order and the big black cat is definitely the Alpha. It takes a lot to get his dander up ( so to speak. :smiley: ).

I do agree with the more-than-one-cat thing. Get two, not one. They will need companionship while you are not around. Even if you work out of your home, it is healthier (IMHO) for cats to live in prides, not alone.

Cartooniverse, proud father of Dobby, Bumper, Thunder and Lightning.

He’s not by any chance an Angora, is he?



I have two females, and one does sometimes have litter box “accidents”. We have to clean the litterbox two or three times a day, because little miss princess has to have the litterbox *just so * before she’ll use it. We had to switch to a fine litter instead of anything chunky or gravelly… little priss wants to feel like she’s stepping in *beautiful white Caribbean sand * before she takes a dump. Seriously. She’s spoiled rotten. But I’d rather spoil her than clean cat piss out of the carpets. :frowning:

Our other cat had an accident once - however, it turned out to be a good thing she did, so we could catch it - she was peeing blood. Turned out she had a bladder infection, but the sight was enough to freak me out. This is going to sound a little weird, but it’s kind of an advantage to having indoor cats: chances are, if there’s a urinary problem, you’ll catch it quicker, because often if there’s a problem, a cat will urinate where they’re not supposed to. In males, urinating blood can be a sign of a blockage, in females it is rarer, but should still be checked immediately by a vet to rule out anything life-threatening. If my cat had peed in the litterbox, I probably wouldn’t have noticed the blood, since it wasn’t bright, shocking red. Obviously, I picked her up and put her in her litterbox when I saw what she was doing, cleaned the mess up immediately while my husband called the emergency vet. We took her out to make sure there wasn’t a more serious problem, found out what it was, she got some antibiotics, and she never peed outside the litterbox again. A diet change for her, as well, to help prevent future infections.

Anyway, females do seem to have less litter box “accidents” than males do, but I just wanted to pop in with my experiences and say, “but not always.” :smiley:

I just want to clarify this: I think it might come across as sounding arrogant or preachy in attitude, when that was not my intention. Though I’m an advocate for keeping cats indoors, I know many perfectly healthy outdoor cats, and indeed, growing up, my family always had outdoor cats. Ours didn’t live long, which I’m sure influenced my decision to keep my own inside, but as I said, I know many that are well over 16+ years old, outdoor cats all their lives.
Though having a cat pee inside on one’s furniture is hardly a thrill, I called it a possible “advantage” only because when a cat urinates outside, the world is their toilet, and it may be hard to know when their bathroom habits have changed. I am certain there are some people who will notice their outdoor cats change in behaviour and take them to the vet immediately, and I am speaking from my personal expriences only (when I wa sa child, we lost our male outdoor cat to a urinary blockage when we did not catch it in time, since we weren’t monitering his bathroom habits outdoors).

Anyway, that’s what I meant by my statement, and no offense to healthy, happy outdoor cat owners intended.

And it’s so much fun to watch them stalk and pounce on each other!

The two Neville kitties are both indoor cats. One of them is somewhat overweight, the other isn’t (but we’ve put them on diet food, so she is losing weight). They’re both spayed females. They seem pretty happy.

I’ve heard that, if you want to take your cat on walks with a harness and leash, you pretty much have to start training them to the harness when they are kittens.

One of my cats is fairly harness/leash trained, but taking a cat for a walk is not like taking a dog. Feather will go wander a little with me, but she gets freaked out very easily and wants to bolt back to the safety of the house.

Okay, my current kitties are indoor/outdoor kitties, however I have lived in places before where my (other) kitties had to live indoors. In my experience, a kitten will adapt to whatever it is raised to know as “normal”. If it never goes outside, it won’t know what it’s “missing”. If the kitten will be home alone for extended periods, a playmate is a good idea. Young kittens, spayed/neutered, can be taught that the scratching post is where they sharpen their claws, they are an inexpensive item, and a couple placed around the house are nice for them. Particularly the type with a platform on top which they can get up on and survey their kingdom from, and a toy or two dangling from the edge will grab their attention. (yes, declawing is something I abhor, jmo)

Feeding a premium kibble will help prevent urinary troubles as well as weight issues, easy on the treats! A lot of neurosis, imo, comes from the breed. Siamese, for example, are just weird cats! One of my favorite breeds, and I currently have a siamese mix, but as a breed they are definitely off the wall, and their cry is eerily similar to a human baby’s cry. I love them, though!

I would have to say that, with the exception of my current male, who is an attention sponge, females tend to be more affectionate, and I have only encountered spraying with unneutered males. My three were all rescues, and while not fully grown, they were not kittens either, and we have some dominance issues. My suggestion would be to find a young kitten/s if possible.

It is very easy to grow both grass and catmint indoors for the kitty to enjoy, and with window perches and other indoor cat furniture/trees and toys an indoor cat need not be lonely, bored, neurotic, etc. And s/he will always look forward to your return, and make you feel as though you were the best human in the world. Which, of course, you are!

I love my kitties, and I hope for the very best for you in your search for a new companion!

Don’t forget, too, that the average housecat sleeps what, 20 hours a day? I’ve heard that two 15 minute play periods a day is about all a cat needs for enrichment. And if they have a little buddy, they play all they want. Sure, some cats want to go outside, but they also want to each chicken bones and house plants, too, and I don’t let them do that, either.

Jayjay and I have 4 female cats here, all adoptees, one outdoor and three indoor. Our first was Princess Chocolate Pudding (Pud). She was a stray who was hanging out in our small backyard, during the winter. Once she walked right into our house, when we were bringing in groceries. I shooed her out, not knowing if she was somebody’s pet or not. Twice she climbed our walnut tree and stranded herself. The second time was the coldest day in the winter. We decided to take her in then and there. A week later, she ran out the front door. We were devastated. A few days later, she showed up on our stoop, when I came home from work. She has been here ever since. Every once in awhile she does go out the front door, but then she is back, waiting to be let in.

Scraps and Macy were kittens in a litter that Jayjay’s uncle’s cat had. He asked us to help him determine the sex of the kittens, on a visit. We decided to take one home for us, but when we got there, we could not decide between the two sisters (we wanted all females). So they both came home with us. We planned ahead about separating the three, not knowing how Pud would react. She hissed. Cats do that we learned. We had several ilarious hours dealing with the newly separated pint sized balls of fur. We tried to “kitten proof” our bedroom so they could stay there, while we acclimated them and Pud. It worked for about five minutes. They found holes in our cardboard walls, and then found their own safe spots, under our bed, behind our bookcases and dressers, and just about anywhere out of reach. Pud was outside our bedroom door, hissing like a maniac. But with time, friendly advice, and experience, we found ourselves with three wonderful affectionate and fun playmates. They occupy each other’s time, and look for each other when they are alone.

Tommy Girl is another adoptee, but I think she adopted us. She is a big beautiful orange tabby who started to show up in our back yard when we first had Pud. We found that she was living underneath our small outdoor deck. She was very skittish at first, but again with time, she has warmed up to us. She will not come inside and tends to flee to a safe distance when we open the back door, but once the door is closed, she comes up to us and greets us with head nuzzles. The other cats like watching her from the windows sometimes. Scraps even made a game of trying to chase Tommy’s tail if Tommy walked by our back door. Tommy Girl was originally named Tommy, bacause when we fiorst saw her, we saw something swinging beneath her. Upon closer inspection, we found that she was female, a big tough Tabby female. She is not fixed yet, because we are not certain how we would even get her into a carrier.

Tonight Jayjay spotted another cat in our yard. Time will tell if this one will join our home here.

I honestly don’t think gender matters much with neutered cats. I have 3 boys and a girl, and the boys get along great. The girl, not so much, but she loves people and is the most social of my cats. I’ve seen cats of both genders have litter box lapses. I think as long as your cats are happy and well-adjusted it won’t matter if they’re male or female.

9 cats here. Let’s see:

two males and seven females
five of healthy weight, four too fat
two longhairs and seven short
two dumb as posts and sworn enemies, two really smart, and five just plain cats
two tabbies, two tuxedos, three solid colors, a calico, and a torti
zero who go outside, even if you accidentally don’t latch the screen, but nine who will yowl at the door if they can see you in the yard


The older of our 2 black cats is indoor/outdoor, but he rarely does much other than explore his favorite trees and bushes to see if they need to be freshly peed upon
and then to lie about in the flowerbed or under a lilac or peony bush the rest of the day and just enjoy no annoying little cat and ferret. He gets very cranky when its too rainy or too cold to go outside and picks fights with the little cat.

Our “little cat” came to us as an abused kitten that one of my stepsons snatched out of the alley shortly after the former owner’s boyfriend hurled him out the door–cursing and screaming that he was gonna kill his mother-f—ing ass if he did whatever he did to get thrown out again.He was horribly thin when we got him and was such a nervous type that we didn’t think indoor/outdoor life would suit him. He doesn’t seem so little anymore after 2 years of eating well, unless he’s side-by-side with the older one, who’s a brute.

I think that really nervous, twitchy animals and cars, bratty neighbor kids, the occasional stray in the yard, etc. are not a good fit. Whether to let an animal outdoors is largely a function of the animal’s self-confidence.

The younger cat grew up with our ferret, who’s 3 year old now, and for a while we wondered if he knew whether he was feline or mustelid. Young ferrets and young cats raised together are a good fit. Older cats merely tolerate ferrets because not to gets them soaked by a water gun and confined to certain rooms of the house.

Because of the older cat’s antagonistic attitude and the natural theiving tendencies of the ferret, the ferret goes back into the cage overnight and whenever we leave the house.

Both of my cats are indoor cats. The adoption papers I signed when I got them from the Humane Society and SPCA respectively both specify that I’m not to let them out–both cats were declawed when I adopted them, but I believe that the papers would say the same for clawed cats.

Austen, whose history I know, was always indoors in her previous home as well. She’s 10 and has never been out of the house except for trips to the vet. She likes to sit and look out the windows at the birds and squirrels, but otherwise takes no interest in the great big world outside. She seems perfectly happy as an exclusively indoor cat.

Lucia was picked up by the SPCA as a stray, but had obviously belonged to someone before; she was already declawed and spayed, and is a sweet-tempered and very friendly kitty. The shelter thought she must have been lost or abandoned. They didn’t know how long she had been outside fending for herself before she was found, but that experience must have given her some taste for the outside world, since she does sometimes try to get out when the front door is open. My front yard is a tiny fenced-in area (about 20 sq. feet), most of it covered by a stone-paved patio. On nice days, I used to let her venture out onto the patio for a minute or two under supervision while I watered the plants or took out the garbage, but was worried that she might try to squeeze out under the front gate. Earlier this year, I bought her a foldable soft mesh cage that’s about six feet long and two-1/2 feet high that allows her to go out on the patio for longer periods. She can sit out there on the warm stones in the sunlight and I can keep an eye on her through the windows, and it seems to make her happy.

I’ve offered Austen the opportunity to go out in the mesh cage too, but the fraidy cat won’t try it and I won’t push her if she really doesn’t want to.

Of the two cats, Lucia’s had more difficulties–she’s a chubby girl, and has had some litterbox problems–but I don’t know how much of that is attributable to keeping her indoors. It does mean that I have to monitor her more closely.

When I was growing up, we had indoor/outdoor cats. We lived out in the country, and it was relatively safe for them. But when I moved out and wanted my own cats, I was living in a second floor apartment in a big city. So I kept my two kitties indoors all the time.

It’s worked out just fine. Both the cats are perfectly happy being indoors all the time. They like to watch the birds and the squirrels through the window. They’re frisky and active, even now that they’re a few years older.

If you do decide to get kittens/cats, I second the theory of feeding premium kibble. Not only does it reduce the chances of UTIs, it really makes a difference in the aroma from the litter box.