How to ensure "indoor' cats are happy?

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zachandzoey
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How to ensure "indoor' cats are happy?

Post by zachandzoey » Sun Aug 24, 2014 5:55 pm

Hi all!

We recently adopted 2 young kittens from a shelter - brother and sister - who have just turned 4 months old. They will be neutered/spayed in a month's time. (They are adorable!!!)

We have a patio and access to a garden and were intending for the cats to be outdoor cats when they were old enough - we planned to get a cat flap.

The kittens make a dash for the door when they see us coming/going, so have been allowing them to explore the patio area under strict supervision for 10 minutes a day all of last week. They still havent stepped on to grass/soil.

We have just found out that my husband's job is taking us to Hong Kong - totally unexpected move but a fantastic opportunity - a no brainer for us to accept. We are delighted and the kittens will obviously come with us! Luckily the process to take them along is really straighforward and no quarantines.

However given the nature of the city, it is next to impossible to find a flat with a garden/any outdoor space. After reading some blogs, it is apparent that even if we do find outdoor space, it is recommended that cats are kept indoors due to traffic, snakes, poisonous pesticides etc.

My question is - if I ensure they are not let out at all so that they don't get used to being outdoors, is that enough to make them "indoor" cats? I don't want them to be unhappy, so any advice on how to ensure cats are happy indoors would be much appreciated.

Thanks
Aditi

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Lyn from Australia
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Re: How to ensure "indoor' cats are happy?

Post by Lyn from Australia » Sun Aug 24, 2014 11:31 pm

When I had to change Lily and Poppy from indoor/outdoor to totally indoor cats, I was relieved that they adapted very quickly to the unexpected change. I wish I had adapted as quickly; I was SO angry with my neighbours! :evil: All these years later Lily still makes the odd unexpected dash for freedom, but with the addition of a cage then an enclosed courtyard they all do very well - except for SUMMER! Her story is a long one, but basically she had a traumatic early life and when I got her she lived on top of the hot water heater or the stove for a number of years. I introduced her to the outdoors along with the rest of them, on a harness and leash, just as a treat, and 2 or 3 years down the track Summer would NEVER adapt to an indoor only life. She will only accept being indoors during daylight if it is wet or extremely cold, and only stays indoors at night under sufferance, and occasionally I can't bring her in as she will hide from me.

So what I'm saying obviously is it depends on the cat. I'm not 100% sure what I'd do in your particular situation, but I tend to think I'd continue with the short periods of supervised outdoor play on the patio, but wouldn't take it any further. Once you get to Hong Kong I'm sure they'll be so happy to get out of the cargo hold of the plane that they'll be happy anywhere. I would just ensure that they have high perches near windows - cat towers or whatever - and LOTS of toys and play with mum and dad each day.

Congratulations on the move. It must have been a relief that taking the cats is going to be so easy (is pet friendly accommodation guaranteed?).

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zachandzoey
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Re: How to ensure "indoor' cats are happy?

Post by zachandzoey » Wed Aug 27, 2014 9:01 am

Thanks for your reply Lyn!

Yes - we will look for a pet friendly place and ensure there is enough space for the kittens to run around. (They are running up and down the stairs as I type this!)

And we will make sure they have access to window perches etc so that they can gaze out when they like.

(What did the neighbours do?)

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Re: How to ensure "indoor' cats are happy?

Post by Lyn from Australia » Wed Aug 27, 2014 6:14 pm

I moved to this rural area from Sydney for a variety of reasons, one of which was so my then only 2 cats could go outdoors relatively safely. These neighbours never told me they had problems with outdoor cats, blamed my two cats for every wildlife death in the area - when there are dozens of free-roaming cats here, reported me/the cats to National Parks and Wildlife and the local council and I was threatened with legal action for letting my cats leave my property (how do you stop a cat from leaving a property which has no front or back fence and short side fences and is VERY large and open?).

I really have no problem with the fact that they were using the law, even if these laws don't make sense to me - my problem was with people taking action behind my back without even the courtesy of a knock on the door to explain their concerns and advise me of the laws in force here - just assuming that I know everything they know - and dissing me to the other neighbours.

The icing on the cake is that the weekend this all came to a head my old girl Lily disappeared and I had a total nervous breakdown and had to be medicated and go on sick leave because I was such a mess. She reappeared 6 days later none the worse for wear, in fact looking very well fed and happy, and the circumstances indicated to me that these neighbours had kept her locked up in one of their many garages to "punish" me. This was confirmed as correct a couple of years later by another neighbour.

Having written all of that, and after having totally ignored these people for over 6 years, I swallowed my pride for Summer's sake (traumatised "problem" cat who absolutely has to be outdoors during daylight hours) and asked that I be able to let her roam due to her condition - and the fact that she yells non-stop and pees everywhere if I don't let her out. They were very gracious, did not refer to the other incidents or 6 years of silence, and we now all get on quite well.

Fortunately it seems Summer doesn't leave the property terribly often and hasn't been sprung killing anything - I don't believe she hunts at all, certainly she's never brought me anything and I've never found anything to indicate she does.

I suspect you didn't really want to know ALL of that, but the story doesn't make much sense without it all.

On a positive note, the fact that I had my cats indoors and therefore didn't have to worry about where they were or cars or ticks meant that I adopted more cats (I now have 9). :lol:

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Re: How to ensure "indoor' cats are happy?

Post by Baggypants » Fri Aug 29, 2014 1:11 pm

Hi there, we have three cats and before we came to Portugal we lived in the countryside in Devon - our cats could roam (almost) freely and in fact 2 of them were born on the farm next door to us.

We knew that we when we brought them with us to Portual circumstances would mean they'd have to change to being indoors and we were quite worried how they'd deal with it.

Fortunately the long journey and the different house (with a road out the front and a dog out the back!) has meant they settled down fine and don't seem to miss going out. We have secure nets on the windows so we can open the windows for fresh air without them going out and we try to keep them active and stimulated - they've enjoyed chasing a few grasshoppers and lizards that have gotten into the house and generally seem fairly content so it is managable.

Good luck with the move :D

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