Dear internets, I would like your advice about my cat.

Sigh. I am now officially one of those people.

Anyway. We rescued Snag from the semi-feral, flea-and-worm-ridden state that is common to many (increasingly many, since they’re not getting spayed or neutered) of the neighborhood cats.

We got him fixed, rid him of fleas and worms, and determined that he would be An Indoor Cat. Which was really not even a problem, until the weather started turning nice. Now, any time a door to the outside is open, he lunges for it.
He got out last night and had an excellent adventure involving asserting his territory in front of the other cats that showed up in the yard; said other cats being his mom and sister, ladies of the street who take what they can get.

sara *special sweet-talking-to-cat voice*: snag! c’mere! come on! pspspspspspspsps!

snag’s mom and sister *winding selves around sara’s legs*: purrrrrrrrr?mrwowr? i can haz cheezburger?

sara *drill sergeant*: NO! NOT YOU!
sara *sweet voice again*: sna-ag? c’mere! come on!

snag:  *is oblivious*
snag: *eats grass*
snag: *vomits*

He came back in eventually, but boy, does he ever want to go outside again.

Indoor cats live longer. If he’s an indoor cat, he’s not gonna get more fleas and worms, and he’s not gonna fight or attempt to have congress with anything except, well, Steve’s and my limbs.

But if we let him out, maybe he gets less stir-crazy? Maybe he enjoys his little feline life more?  He is definitely still a kitten, and perhaps he will be less zingy and zany and more content with inside and quiet as he ages, but right now it is feeling like I am a terrible jailer to deprive him of the enticements of the great outdoors.

Cat people of the internets, tell me what I should do!

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  • Jeff C
    May 17, 2007 at 6:46 am

    We have the same problem, to a lesser extent, with our cat Kenobi. I found him in the bushes staring at our bird feeder when we still lived in Madison. He’d been someone’s pet, since he was neutered, but had obviously been on his own for awhile based on the number of fleas he had. Kenobi still tries to bolt, but these things have helped:

    1) He has another cat and two dogs to boss around.
    2) Bird feeders right next to windows so that he can watch the birds and make his little “eh, eh, eh” sound.
    3) A crawl space in the basement which he lets himself into at times so he can roll around in the dirt (I don’t know why he does that).
    4) Catnip

    I think having other animals to boss around is the big thing. You need to get another cat.

  • Stacey
    May 17, 2007 at 9:30 am

    I would definetly keep him inside, there are too many dangers outside for kitties, not to mention they are not good for the native bird population! When he is older you might be able to take him out supervised. My kitties are 3 and 2 years old and both started out as strays. The older one is very good about laying down and not eating things when I take her out, she keeps me company when I garden. (I also vote for the “getting another cat” idea, cat’s like company!)

  • Mim
    May 17, 2007 at 1:07 pm

    I vote outdoor cat… I feel like the modern climate for everyone — both pets and kids — has gotten to be so overprotectionary (hmmm, is that a word?). We always had outdoor cats when I was growing up, and yeah, the world is full of dangers, but i think in most suburban-ish neighborhoods (which I think we qualify as, even though we’re in Portland proper), it’s fine for a cat to be outside. Usually they stay pretty close to home, and they enjoy being out in the world. (I also hope that when he’s 7 or so, my kid will be able to ride his bike around the neighborhood, go to the park by himself, etc, fwiw).

  • Scott Vandehey
    May 17, 2007 at 1:12 pm

    We keep our cats indoors, too, and while they go a little stir-crazy at times, I’m confident that it’s the right decision to help them avoid getting run over by cars or killed by other animals. Because, let’s face it, our cats are kind of dumb. Taco got outside once, and just froze in the middle of the yard, totally overwhelmed.

  • Dawn
    May 19, 2007 at 6:37 am

    I let Annabelle go outside. She was a stray young in life too, and I just can’t bring myself to deny her the pleasures of the outside world.

    Do the other cats have a home? I’d be more worried about them giving Snagglepus fleas etc.

  • Talya
    May 19, 2007 at 7:07 am

    I could never bring myself to let my cat outside, but that’s not so surprising since we lived in suburban Philadelphia, Philadelphia proper and New York City. If you want to keep Snag inside (which I would do if for no other reason than to prevent a flea infestation in your house – bleah!) I suggest a window screen with a bird-feeder nearby, a collection of little tinfoil balls for in-house antics, and catnip. Vicky also really liked playing on my rocking chair – but she’s the only cat I ever met who did.

    In other news … I have no news. I am juggling four different potential plans and will let you know when I have a better idea what I’m doing…

  • Rebecca
    May 19, 2007 at 11:39 pm

    My cat, Tigerlily, just recently tried to get her but out the door. She’s gotten out 2 times, but only to the point of being on the door step then sitting and looking around. A good way to fix the problem is with a spray bottle. Give Snag a spray every time he’s near the door. Then he will learn, it works like magic! My little Lily Monster hasn’t gotten out since, and sits nicely by the stairs where she now knows is safe from the bottle.

  • Dawn
    May 20, 2007 at 10:32 am

    Then again, perhaps some sort of compromise could be worked out. When I lived at my old place and didn’t have much a yard I did two things to keep the cat happy and under control.
    1) I would only offer to let her go outside unsupervised when it was raining. This made her less interested in the great outdoors, to a degree.
    2) We developed a morning ritual, where we would go out together, I would tend to my container garden, and then go back inside to feed her. Since she was always hungry at this point, she always wanted her food, and wouldn’t wander off, and I’d have her trapped inside for the rest of the day.
    Not perfect solutions, but they eased my mind some at the time.