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Cat woe

What do you do with a cat who's pining for the fjords?

He got out while I was trying to bring in the mail, and took off down the hallway. The only reason I caught up with him was that the hall ends in a large landing, right before the (open to the outside) stairs, and Jack was distracted by the sudden opening up of space.

He fought me all the way back to the apartment. Then, he paced back and forth before the closed door, wailing, before trying to reach the doorknob with his paws.

Someone who I can only describe as his caseworker called a week or so back to check on how he was doing. She told me he had previously been an outdoor cat. Well, that explains a lot!

I really don't know what to do. This place is all parking lots and identical corridors: I could never let him out on his own. And I've heard horror stories about cats on leashes slipping out of their harnesses. All I can think of is taking him out on the balcony, under supervision.

(Why supervision? Because some of the tree branches are just close enough than an ambitious cat might be able to reach them with a leap. I wouldn't recommend it, but I'm not a desperate cat.)



Mar. 19th, 2010 12:12 pm (UTC)
Outdoor cats can and do become used to indoor life. First off, is Jack snipped? That helps a lot. Second, just don't let him out, at all. He'll get used to it. It just takes time.
Much better he is annoyed at you then becomes a cat pancake. Indoor cats statistically live twice as long as outdoor cats. No risk of being attacked by an animal, eating poison or getting hit by a car. Plus you don't have to worry about him bringing home fleas or some other unwanted insect problem.

Mar. 20th, 2010 12:13 am (UTC)
Jack is definitely snipped. So you would suggest not even letting him out on the balcony?

Thanks very much for the guidance! My late cat, despite being born in a barn, was very happy living indoors and never wanted out. Perhaps that was because he moved in with me when he was still mostly a kitten. Jack is almost six!
Mar. 20th, 2010 06:56 am (UTC)
Since he's an older cat, I would recommend him being 'taught' to associate the outdoors with bad things. Maybe you can spray right outside your door with hot pepper sauce? Unless your cat actually likes hot, it should make him stop wanting to go near the door. I've never done it myself, but I have seen it recommended on pet shows.
My Spot had to learn the hard way that going outside was dangerous. My poor boy actually fell through the window screen while having an argument with the neighborhood loose cat. Spot was so scared that now he won't even try to go outside unless one of his humans is with him. That was over 5 years ago. Spot is still healthy and happy, the loose cat was hit by a car years ago.
Hope that helps.