Would my indoor/outdoor cat be happy only indoors?

electra

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Hi everyone,
I have a cat I got as a rescue, from a shelter, years ago. He's 10. He's wonderful, and we live in an area where he goes outside about half the day, and loves to hunt voles and roam around. He returns to nap, eat, and sleep with me. But going outside is definitely his 'thing'. I understand the dangers of it, but I prefer that the quality of his life is good, rather than needing him to live a super-long life (though if he does, great!).

I am moving to a city, and the idea of living in an apartment building is barely agreeable to me, but mostly I hate the idea of my cat not having outdoor access. So, I'm looking for places with little yards, etc. Of course these places are more expensive.

My question is, can cats become happy as indoor cats, if they've been indoor/outdoor cats? He spends most of the winter (snowy, here) gazing longingly outside, if he can't go out. I feel he gets a little depressed when he can't go outside.

I think we will find a place with outdoor space, but not sure, and to but to be honest I wish I lived on a lot of land, for him to roam, or I (as much as i love him and would miss him), almost wish I could give him to someone who has that land. I just want him to be happy!

I guess there are a few questions embedded, here. Any advice, welcome! And if I can clarify the questions, just let me know...;)
 

di and bob

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I had one just like him, he was absolutely miserable inside, and though I tried several times to make him an inside cat after my precious Chrissy was killed on the road, my husband and I decided he would NEVER be happy indoors. He spent ten years outside in the city, sleeping inside at night. We thought he was so street-wise......finding his little body on the road was almost incomprehensible. A car will get them eventually, it is just not worth it!!!
I suggest building a 'catico', an outside pen with access from a window in your house. Even one of those chicken coops modified would be good. It has to be easy for both of you, and it would give him a taste of the outside. Even an apartment with an outside balcony would be nice, a cage could be put out there. You might also train him to walk on a harness, my cats have always loved that. Though at first they really fight it, be persistent, and eventually they will get used to wearing the harness, if put on for longer and longer times several times a day for a few weeks. Only take him around close to your neighborhood, it's amazing how quickly they can escape when rushed by a dog.
I tell you this because it is just not worth the heartache....there has to be some kind of solution!
 
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electra

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Thanks so much. And so sorry about your cats who died....:(

He doesn't tolerate harness/leash, but perhaps a balcony would be acceptable to him, etc.

I am just heartbroken thinking about it...I feel like he shouldn't have to move to the city and live indoors...Ugh. :(
 

di and bob

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Believe it or not, he WILL adjust, like you will. My Chrissy actually fell over on her side and laid still for15 minutes when I first put the harness on her. She ended up loving walks the most. But it took several weeks to get her used to the harness.
Don't feel bad, being with you is the most important....
 

FeebysOwner

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Hi. I agree with the above. If you do manage to get a balcony, they can easily be secured with chicken wire to keep a cat from venturing off, and although it won't give him as much roaming space, he still will be able to enjoy the outdoors. A cat tree or other type of perches on the balcony would be helpful for his entertainment as well. You could even install a cat flap door in the door to the balcony which could enable him to enjoy brief periods on the balcony even in the winter time!

Given his age, it is getting close to the timeframe when he might be better off being confined. As he ages, it will be harder for him to run from or fend off other animals that he might be able to do today.
 

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I feel you. My cat also goes out to the yard and it’s stressful to even think what will happen when/if we move.

Not to scare you but just to prepare you for potentials.. my cousin’s cat got blocked twice in a month when they moved and he couldn’t go out anymore. He’s use to moving and always has been quick to adjust. It was the becoming indoor-only part that was a first and depressed him. The vets said he may not handle a third blockage so they sent him to my cousin’s MIL’s house. He was familiar with her and could go out there. My cousin moved 2 months later to a house where he could go outside again and took him back.

I suggest making the new place as outdoorsy as possible with cat-safe plants, things to climb, etc You may get some new catnip toys, maybe hide a mouse toy for him to hunt sometimes to give a sense of what he normally does outside. And discuss calming products for the transition period. Something to prevent urinary blockage might be useful too, another thing to talk with the vet.
 

stephanietx

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He will adjust just fine, but it will take time and you'll have to be vigilant around the doors. Get him a cat tree and make sure you play with him every night/day so that he doesn't become a chunk. You might need to cut back on his food consumption to keep him at a nice weight.
 
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electra

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Thank you so much, everyone. I actually found a place that has a yard! So, perhaps an easier transition for him. Of course, I will be watching him and won't let him out at first...actually, I need some advice on moving a cat to a new home, so I'll create separate thread. Thank you so much!!!
 

ObeseChess

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Thank you so much, everyone. I actually found a place that has a yard! So, perhaps an easier transition for him. Of course, I will be watching him and won't let him out at first...actually, I need some advice on moving a cat to a new home, so I'll create separate thread. Thank you so much!!!
I just did something similar - I moved my indoor/outdoor cat from her home to a new, third-floor apartment, which means no yard time. I took some time before she moved in (I left her with my housemate at my old place) to fully enclose the balcony in chicken wire. A catio is a great idea and I think it cost me less than fifty dollars in supplies and about two hours of work.
 
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