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Who let the cats out..... meow meow meow


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#1 bubskitkat

Posted 19 November 2018 - 06:44 AM

We have just moved 10 days ago and my cats are used to being indoor and outdoor cats (in by night fall).

How long do I need to keep them inside before they can go outside to explore their new backyard?

My over confident tonkinese male cat keeps on trying to escape and everytime he does he’s brought straight back in. My female ragdoll cat is very shy and skittles kitten.

#2 Sancti-claws

Posted 19 November 2018 - 07:01 AM

I do believe you have opened a can of worms here (which may or may not keep the cats in)...

My grandmother moved often and always had cats - she would butter their paws and keep them in for a week before letting them venture.

I could have cheerfully booted my cat out at 4:49 this morning!

#3 ali-song

Posted 19 November 2018 - 07:54 AM

View PostSancti-claws, on 19 November 2018 - 07:01 AM, said:

I do believe you have opened a can of worms here (which may or may not keep the cats in)...

My grandmother moved often and always had cats - she would butter their paws and keep them in for a week before letting them venture.

I could have cheerfully booted my cat out at 4:49 this morning!

How does buttering their paws help? I’ve heard of it before, but never had any idea about the science / superstition behind it.

To answer your question, OP, we kept ours in for two weeks before the little terrorist was making life too miserable. We had intentions of turning him into an indoor cat, but he was having none of it.

Edited by ali-song, 19 November 2018 - 07:54 AM.


#4 cvbn

Posted 19 November 2018 - 07:58 AM

I would be careful.

Our cats are strictly indoors cats but we when adopted our 6 month old Ragdoll, she got out after a month of living with us. She ran away and a neighbouring farmer found her in a fox trap, very lucky.  I still feel sick about it.

Perhaps stay outside with them, to keep an eye on them?

#5 71Cath

Posted 19 November 2018 - 07:59 AM

Our two like to sit on the deck during the day so when we moved, I kept them inside for a week, and took them out on a lead for 10 minutes a day for 3 days, then 10 minutes a day with me just standing next to them, and then put their favourite rug on the deck.

*Yes cats shouldn't be outside, but one of them was on the run for 2.5 years before the RSPCA found him and returned him and he gets very distressed inside all day. Both in at night.

#6 Literary Lemur

Posted 19 November 2018 - 08:11 AM

If you are considering making them indoor cats you could build a cat run. It means they can even sit out there in darkness .

#7 StoneFoxArrow

Posted 19 November 2018 - 08:12 AM

View Postali-song, on 19 November 2018 - 07:54 AM, said:

How does buttering their paws help? I’ve heard of it before, but never had any idea about the science / superstition behind it.

To answer your question, OP, we kept ours in for two weeks before the little terrorist was making life too miserable. We had intentions of turning him into an indoor cat, but he was having none of it.

What I've always believed since I was young (can't remember where I first heard it) was that when a cat licks their paws it means they're feeling comfortable. So, putting butter on their paws, makes them lick them, hence "tricking them" into feeling more comfortable in a new environment.

However, googling not only doesn't give that answer, it gives a whole lot of other answers, most of which don't make sense to me/are debunked by other websites!

#8 Illiterati

Posted 19 November 2018 - 08:20 AM

If they don’t know the outside ‘terrain’ does it matter if they go out day one or day 14? Or is it about making them forget their old territory a bit to reduce confusion?

#9 Kreme

Posted 19 November 2018 - 08:35 AM

My SIL let her cat out after about a week and he disappeared. Over a year later he was found, thin and sick and had to be put down. So it seems he couldn’t find his way home in the unfamiliar suburb.

My friend’s husband is a vet and he suggests putting some of their used litter outside around the boundaries of your property as they use the scent to find their way back.

We just keep our cats inside 100%. Indoor cats have a much longer lifespan.

#10 SeaPrincess

Posted 19 November 2018 - 08:54 AM

View Postali-song, on 19 November 2018 - 07:54 AM, said:

To answer your question, OP, we kept ours in for two weeks before the little terrorist was making life too miserable. We had intentions of turning him into an indoor cat, but he was having none of it.

Same. We had one that we let out for the first time and she immediately jumped the very tall fence and we had to go and get her back and keep her in for a bit longer.

View PostIlliterati, on 19 November 2018 - 08:20 AM, said:

If they don’t know the outside ‘terrain’ does it matter if they go out day one or day 14? Or is it about making them forget their old territory a bit to reduce confusion?

I think it’s mostly about forgetting, and in the case of a new cat, bonding with the owners. Cats can turn up back at their old homes from quite long distances.

#11 bubskitkat

Posted 19 November 2018 - 09:20 AM

We have moved 10 minutes from our old house. Hoping they don’t try to return there.

I’m concerned that they will take off.

The house we are in is a rental whilst we build a new house on the old block.

My vet told me that the best way to keep the cats safe is to have them inside but they are used to their daytime outside time and my son leaves the backdoor open all the time! They are now looking at escaping which mr tonkinese has already done twice and the straight to the fence.

#12 Mollycoddle

Posted 19 November 2018 - 09:44 AM

View Postcvbn, on 19 November 2018 - 07:58 AM, said:

I would be careful.Our cats are strictly indoors cats but we when adopted our 6 month old Ragdoll, she got out after a month of living with us. She ran away and a neighbouring farmer found her in a fox trap, very lucky.  I still feel sick about it.Perhaps stay outside with them, to keep an eye on them?

Flame me if you will but that's why she ran away - cats being indoors 24/7 isn't natural.  It's cruel.  Yes, a longer lifespan for an indoor cat but what sort of a life is it for any animal?  Unless you give them access to a cat run, imagine them never feeling grass under their feet or the breeze in their fur?  Yes, they are hunters and they will hunt.  It's the cycle of life and the wildlife numbers they supposedly kill are highly inflated.

One of my cats is out during the day and in on my bed all night, the older one only really comes in to eat in the evening, he yowls all night if I try to keep him in.  Both males, both were desexed as soon as they were old enough and kept inside only until such time, so no adding to the feral cat population.

OP I'd try to keep them in for a week.

Edited by Mollycoddle, 19 November 2018 - 09:54 AM.


#13 skicat

Posted 19 November 2018 - 10:35 AM

Many years ago we adopted an adult cat in Sydney from a No kill shelter. We intended to keep her indoors for 2 weeks (the advise we received  at the time) She escaped both the first and second nights she was in her new home ( we blamed the kids for accidentally letting her out) .
Each morning she was patiently waiting at the back door to be let in.We figured out she actually was escaping through a very high louvered window over the toilet!
She happily lived both indoors and outdoors for 15 years ,with us.

#14 MandaMama

Posted 19 November 2018 - 10:42 AM

We too have indoor/outdoor cats who come and go as they please via the catflap during the day but come in for dinner before sunset and are inside overnight - one tries to take up half our bed.

When we moved to acreage we kept them in for two weeks, before letting them out accompanied by us. They were very wary and sniffing at and examining everything at first. Having said that, our male cat did manage to slip out of an open door on about the second night after we moved in and was missing for 48 hours. We were worried sick, but the night he returned he showed up at the back door meowing to be let in as if we should've been expecting him at that time.

I watched a documentary recently, set in England, about what cats get up to at night if let out and from that study they didn't wander terribly far from their local area.

#15 marple

Posted 19 November 2018 - 10:44 AM

I kept mine in for a week after a house move. That worked out fine.
Mine are like yours OP, a little wander in the sun in the morning, inside for a sleep, outside for  a bit in the afternoon, then sleep all night in my room. I have heard that about the litter too. ( the litter you've used for the week you kept them in). You put it in the garden. Also butter or vegemite , a few dabs on their coat.

#16 FeelingcLucky

Posted 19 November 2018 - 12:14 PM

We are currently looking into making a cat run - I’ve seen you can buy the cat mesh by the metre. Could this be an option OP if you are concerned they may return home? Cats are really intelligent, I don’t think they would ‘forget’ their old turf after only a few weeks. It would be more down to the cats personality and how strong the drive to return home is - which obviously you won’t know until they leave (if they do)

#17 jayskette

Posted 19 November 2018 - 12:20 PM

it really will depend on the cat and their previous lifestyle.

#18 Mollycoddle

Posted 19 November 2018 - 12:23 PM

View PostMandaMama, on 19 November 2018 - 10:42 AM, said:

I watched a documentary recently, set in England, about what cats get up to at night if let out and from that study they didn't wander terribly far from their local area.

I remember watching that too, they put trackers on all the cats.  I know my older cat roams far and wide (unless he's just very good at hiding) but the younger cat usually doesn't stray far from our yard if at all ie. whenever someone enters the yard with an item of food, he appears lol.

#19 *Spikey*

Posted 19 November 2018 - 12:33 PM

Because dying from old age is much less preferable than being run over or mauled to death....

A cat's territory is quite small - usually the size of a small home, which is why they do adapt to having that territory indoors. However, they will fight over the 'best' territory, which means that stronger cats will chase your cat out of your yard (if it's weaker) or search for better territory, if it's "stronger". The artificial environment they find themselves bears little resemblance to nature, and it is wise to remember they are domesticated animals and have thousands of years of adapting to living with us. This anthropomorphic belief that cats need to roam is simply you, not understanding a cat's basic needs, and substituting your own feelings for a situation that isn't parallel.

Butter has been debunked. Outdoor cats are likely to roam, especially if you are in the same neighbourhood as they probably know the area you are in anyway.

Short of putting in temporary fencing, or a temporary outdoor enclosure (you could try hiring one), I don't think there is a lot you can do about preventing an outdoor cat from jumping the fence and going home.



View PostMollycoddle, on 19 November 2018 - 09:44 AM, said:



Flame me if you will but that's why she ran away - cats being indoors 24/7 isn't natural.  It's cruel.  Yes, a longer lifespan for an indoor cat but what sort of a life is it for any animal?  Unless you give them access to a cat run, imagine them never feeling grass under their feet or the breeze in their fur?  Yes, they are hunters and they will hunt.  It's the cycle of life and the wildlife numbers they supposedly kill are highly inflated.

One of my cats is out during the day and in on my bed all night, the older one only really comes in to eat in the evening, he yowls all night if I try to keep him in.  Both males, both were desexed as soon as they were old enough and kept inside only until such time, so no adding to the feral cat population.

OP I'd try to keep them in for a week.


#20 *Spikey*

Posted 19 November 2018 - 12:36 PM

View PostMandaMama, on 19 November 2018 - 10:42 AM, said:



I watched a documentary recently, set in England, about what cats get up to at night if let out and from that study they didn't wander terribly far from their local area.

The definitive Australian study shows that cats roam a lot more than you think. "Local" meant within 1-2km from home. Others went a lot further.

#21 Mollyksy

Posted 19 November 2018 - 12:47 PM

My Bengal who had never been outside on her own was perfectly fine to sit on a window sill and chatter at the birds. She never felt grass under her feet but I'm sure the minkey blanket she favored would have been preferable anyway! I tried to take her on a harness outside but second time she walked through a spider web and freaked. So she never tried to get outside. In fact, if I was outside she'd sing a song of meows to get me inside. My current cat also is indoor only and perfectly happy.

OP, its hard as you have a child and its temporary accommodation. Feliway may help the transition if you decide indoor only but they'd likely still make a run for it. Good luck!

#22 bubskitkat

Posted 19 November 2018 - 01:09 PM

Thanks for the advice. I think I will try and keep them in as long as possible.

The female ragdoll cried the entire night we moved and she is bullied by the male cat. She can not cope with my son with autism. A loud screaming meltdown is just too much for her. I think this is why she takes off when she’s let out. She needs her own time (feel like joining her).

#23 bubskitkat

Posted 19 November 2018 - 01:14 PM

The next part of the post is that my father is moving with his 19 year old cat into an apartment.

He is looking at ways to allow the cat to enjoy the balcony without climbing onto the roof of the apartments.

This cat is very very social. If dads out the cats out looking for friends.

What should dad do? He’s thought about a cat run on the balcony or adding cat netting

#24 Mollyksy

Posted 19 November 2018 - 01:18 PM

I think a cat run for sure for the balcony. Maybe if there is enough money/room one where kitty can have permanent access. Maybe cat mesh as a second level of defense if allowed. Some apartments don't even let you hang washing on the balcony so I'm sure some would forbid cat mesh. What a sweet kitty. My first cat lived to 20, sweet thing she was.

#25 cardamom

Posted 19 November 2018 - 01:27 PM

View PostMollycoddle, on 19 November 2018 - 09:44 AM, said:

Flame me if you will but that's why she ran away - cats being indoors 24/7 isn't natural.  It's cruel.  

My two indoor cats are perfectly happy. They have plenty of toys, space, places to cuddle up, open windows to enjoy breeze. One has 5 minutes of supervised - ie. we sit with her - outdoor time every now and then. The other one has no interest and wouldn't go outside if you made her.

Far less cruel than being hit by a car / bitten by a snake / deliberately injured by some random cat-hater / mauled by a dog (all things that happened to my childhood outdoor cats). Less annoying for the neighbours and local wildlife too.

I get that some cats might not adapt well to being indoors and those owners will make whatever decisions feel right/work best for them but to claim keeping a cat indoors is unkind is ridiculous. It's not cruel, it's responsible.




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