My cat won't go outside

Discussion in 'Cat Chat' started by GenieCat, Mar 17, 2016.


  1. GenieCat

    GenieCat PetForums Newbie

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    My rescue cat Genie who is around 1year mostly refuses to go outside. She has been a stray most of her life, I rescued her 3months ago. She has come leaps and bounds from a once feral cat, but the only thing I can't seem to make a break through with is getting her to confidently play outside. I leave all doors open whilst I'm at home, during the day, and once or twice she has stepped out of the door but come racing back in as soon as she hears a noise. The weirdest thing, is that on two occasions late at night, when someone has left the door open for a short period, she has gotten out and then not come home again for 12 - 24 hours. I have tried to research this on the internet but it doesn't seem to be a very common problem. I am hoping someone on here might be able to help me.
    Thanks
     

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    #1 GenieCat, Mar 17, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2016
  2. Ceiling Kitty

    Ceiling Kitty Not available for comment

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    Many cats are too afraid to go outside during the day, when it's noisy and more busy - but some of those cats will happily go outdoors at night under the cover of darkness, when it's quieter.

    If she disappears for ages once she goes out at night, it's possible she ends up hiding somewhere once morning comes and only returns home once she feels safe.

    I think if she is happy staying at home, I'd leave her to it. During the day, my own cat only goes out for a few minutes and even then not every day. If he gets out at night he goes off roaming for hours, but as a rule I don't let him out once it's dark.
     
  3. GenieCat

    GenieCat PetForums Newbie

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    I just think its strange considering she has lived outside most of her life and now she barely steps out the door.
     
  4. buffie

    buffie Mentored by Meeko

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    I think you have answered your own question,she is probably worried that if she leaves the safety of her new home it wont be there when she gets back.
    If she is happy as an indoor cat I would be grateful and just leave her to it.
     
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  5. Paddypaws

    Paddypaws PetForums VIP

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    My Woody was a stray for many many years and nowadays shows no sign whatsoever of wanting to go back out there! If I go into the garden he will accompany me and even sit out quite happily but I don't think he ever goes out on his own.
     
  6. vivien

    vivien PetForums VIP

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    I agree. If she is happy to be indoors I too would let her be. You don't know what could of happened to her when she was a stray. And at the moment there are a lot of copy cat cruelty cases after the London cats that were killed. In our evening echo there was an article of someone's cat had an elastic band on its neck. It came in chocking and when the owner took it off it had cut into the skin. Once she had been to the vet she put about what happened on social media. And found out that a couple of other residents had it happen to their cats :(. There are some very evil people about.

    Viv xx
     
  7. Peridot30

    Peridot30 PetForums Member

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    Our cat meows to get out and when we let her out she scuttles back in as soon as she hears a noise. She never ventures further than the garden and most days doesn't go out. She seems happy enough and must just feel safer in the house.

    However for some reason one of the vets at the practise we go to is shocked that she doesn't go out and thinks all cats should go outside!! Surely he knows all cats are different , we now see the lovely female vet who s very helpful and not opinionated either! Lol
     
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  8. Jesthar

    Jesthar PetForums VIP

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    Oh, you'd be amazed - the innie/outie debate is one of the most heated you will find.

    Some are adamant that all cats should be allowed out and that keeping an indoor cat is cruel. And they are wrong.

    Others are equally adamant that all cats can be made to be happy as indoor cats, and all cats should be kept as indoor cats to protect them as exposing them to the dangers of outdoors is cruel etc. And they are equally wrong.

    In the end it is all about the needs of the individual cat. My Lorelei, for example, does go out but displays no overwhelming need for it (sometimes declining the offer for days in a row), so I think she'd be happy as an indoor cat if circumstances demanded it.

    Charlie-girl, on the other hand, gets genuinely depressed if she doesn't get to go outside for a few days, and her default reaction to me coming home is usually "Oh, you're back are you? Let me out!" Keeping her in for a few weeks when necessary always results in one very withdrawn, unhappy, bad tempered girl (especially as she isn't very interested in playing with toys of any kind), so in her case forcing her into an indoor life would be cruel.

    So, in the end, the only correct answer is: what is the cat happy to do? If they are happy being an innie, fine. If not, then forcing them to be one (in my opinion) is not fair on them. :)
     
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  9. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    @GenieCat - your cat's behaviour is not surprising, as it is quite probable that when she was a stray she hid herself away in the day time and slept. When darkness came she felt safe to be out and about, and began hunting for food, and was probably active most of the night. .

    Cats by instinct are crepuscular, which means they are most active at dawn and dusk. When a cat becomes a stray/feral they often revert to their natural instincts.

    However my neighbour's cats who have always been allowed access 24/7 to the outdoors through a cat flap, are also active mainly at night and sleep all day until dusk.
     
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  10. Ceiling Kitty

    Ceiling Kitty Not available for comment

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    Same with Bagpuss - a stray for goodness knows how long. Now all he likes to do is chill out on the sofa and take the occasional stroll into the neighbour's garden.
     
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  11. Ceiling Kitty

    Ceiling Kitty Not available for comment

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    Generally speaking (note the 'generally' there), most top feline behaviourists recommend allowing cats outdoor access - particularly in multi-cat households. While some cats roam freely, but outdoor pens can obviously provide an alternative in some cases.

    I can see the rationale, since outdoor access expands the territory in multi-cat households and can help with stress reduction by reducing the pressure on cats to share space. Maybe your vet subscribed to this theory and recommendation.

    However, it doesn't pay to be prescriptive about it, since some cats cannot safely go outdoors and some (like Genie) just don't want to!
     
  12. Peridot30

    Peridot30 PetForums Member

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    I only have the one cat and from having her I have realised that cats are not animals that do as they are told!! They just do as they please! Lol
     
  13. GenieCat

    GenieCat PetForums Newbie

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    Another question I have is when she did go out ( only at night) why does she go for so long? I also feel like she strays far from our section as the neighbours and I don't see or hear her (she's pretty good at coming to her name when I call) I get so worried that she will get lost or hurt. Is it normal for them to go on 24+ hour benders? i normally leave our door open all night if she does get out so she can get back in, in the safety of darkness.
     
  14. ALR

    ALR PetForums VIP

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    Aw Genie is lovely. Is she neutered? As she's a rescue I'm assuming she is. So it can't be that she's looking for a mate.

    12 to 24 hours is a very long time. Do you feed her more than once a day? Normally a cat would know her routine and come back in time for a meal.

    I'm wondering if she's hiding until she finds it safe to come back. She sounds like a scaredy cat.
     
  15. maisiecat

    maisiecat PetForums VIP

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    I would be pleased that she didn't want to go out. Much as I used to enjoy seeing ours outside climbing trees and being free, I remember the worry when they didn't come back. It is much worse these days with all the cruelty, thefts, dog baiting, poisonings etc.
    I used to have to traipse along the lane to retrieve my boy when he was missing for 5 hours, I knew where he was and he only ever came back from the same place when I stood outside and called him - there is always the chance that someone else will 'adopt' your cat. We stopped it by building an enclosure and they got their own cat.
     
    #15 maisiecat, Mar 19, 2016
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2016
  16. lorilu

    lorilu PetForums VIP

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    That's probably why she wants to be inside safe and warm. I rescued a stray who lived outside for a long time, raised a family on her own out there. She has never had any interest in stepping beyond the door again.

    Let your cat stay inside if that's where she's happiest. And certainly don't let her out at night, it isn't safe for her at all.
     
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  17. daisysmama

    daisysmama Wine, chocolate and animals are life

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    Another one here with a girl who spent much of her time outside before coming to us. Now it is a mission to prise her out of her radiator bed which suits us just fine as I know where she is and that she is safe and warm. Don't try to force her to go out as that will stress her out, leaving her in a tizzy