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Help: How to make an outside cat and inside cat?

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Old 10-12-2008, 05:21 PM   #1
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Unhappy Help: How to make an outside cat and inside cat?

Last Monday, my cat was diagnosed with feline AIDS. He has been our family cat for about 3 years and he was full grown when we got him (he was a stray), so I would say he is somewhere around 5-6. He got tangled up with another cat that had feline AIDS in the summer and that is how I imagine he contracted it.

I LOVE my cat with everything I have. He is my baby, he hangs out with me the most, we have cuddle sessions, he I believe loves me the most. I am trying to break him to be an inside cat because I have to. I don't want to put the other animals in my neighborhood at risk now that I know he has it. He is an otherwise healthy cat.

He has been inside for just under a week now and is about to drive me crazy. He is feeling 100% better since his small surgery he had at the vet Monday. But his demeanor is not the same. He doesn't jump up on my desk (or anything else really) anymore and demand I pay attention to him. I know he is unhappy that he can't go outside, and even sits on my bed and looks out the window and meows. He sleeps underneath the beds alot now, he used to never do that unless there was a thunderstorm outside.

It breaks my heart that I have to keep him in, but I know that it is for the betterment of him and the other animals outside. He is using the litter box fine except for 2 isolated incidents. He whimpers a lot. I have gotten a water bottle to spray him when he insists on sitting by the door and going out. I am trying to get my family to help in "disciplining" him, however most of them say: "Well its your cat you deal with it." or just give the meh ill think about it face but everyone claims it to be a family cat. I think my cat also feels like his best friend has turned against him because I am the only one disciplining him, giving him his meds etc. I think he hates me a little, OK more than a little I think he hates me alot.

He isn't amused by normal cat toys because he has had outside to play with for so long. He has been a sort of inside/outside cat. 99% of the time he sleeps outside at night but comes in during the day and takes naps and feeds, and we love on him etc.

Help?!?!

any help for me to get through this would be great too. I feel like a such a bad person for doing this to him. It hurts my heart.
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Old 10-12-2008, 07:01 PM   #2
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Greetings,

Sorry to hear that your cat contracted FIV. Good on you for doing the right thing and keeping him inside. I have an indoor cat as well. We bought her a small dog harness and a lead so she can go outside. She gets harnessed up, leashed to the back step railing, and wanders around the yard while I sit out there with her. You could always give that a try if you like. He gets to go out every so often but is safely contained within the yard under a watchful eye.

Oh and in regards to medicating I find they take to it better if you treat them after its done. I started giving my cat a bit of tuna before and after and now I don't have to hold her down while she fights and bites.

Hope everything works out for you and him.

-Meghan

Last edited by meghan714 : 10-12-2008 at 07:06 PM.
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Old 10-12-2008, 07:58 PM   #3
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You may NOT like my response...I am a BIG time animal lover. I have three kitties and I belive animals are way more "human like" than us humans really want to admit. I would never treat my animal in a way that I would not want to be treated. That being said..if it were me..I would find someway to let this kitty have some time outside. Maybe a fence...or even go out with your cat..I know this sounds far fetched but your cat's sanity and SPIRIT is at risk.

I am sorry your baby is sick.
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Old 10-12-2008, 08:15 PM   #4
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Our cat KeeKee (In April, she died of an undiagnosed heart defect. She was only two when we brought her home from the Humane Soceiety and only four when she died), had been allowed to go outside in her previous home. We don't know how much time she spent outdoors, but we do know that the previous owners had allowed her to go outside every eveing at precisely 7:00 pm, because every day within 10 minutes of 7:00, she would come and beg to be allowed out. She would paw at the door. We didn't punish her, we just ignored it, and the behavior eventually disappeared, though when she was stressed sometimes the behavior would come back again for a while. She even learned that the deadbolt had to be turned before the doorknob to leave the apartment, so she'd jump on the couch near the door, paw at the deadbolt and then paw at the door handle. She didn't have the strength to turn the deadbolt, which is good, because the door handle isn't a knob just a lever, so she could theoretically have learned to open that door if we didn't lock the deadbolt. Of course, soft pawing at the door was easy to ignore. Yowling or crying or actual scratching would have been harder to ignore.

We also taught KeeKee to walk on a leash. At first it was teaching her that the leash didn't weight a thousand pounds (she'd flatten herself to the floor and wouldn't move with it on). Once she got used to it in the house we took her outside (and apparently the leash got heavy again, as she'd flatten herself to the ground). We never were able to teach her to walk on the leash like a dog - it was more like teaching her to take us for a walk, because she walked at her own pace. Usually slowly around the apartment building very close to the walls, while she explored a bit. I got a very intense workout once though when I allowed her to run-walk me through the back yard to chase a squirrel up a tree.

Still, even if you decide to eventually allow outside access on a lead, you've got to teach him that you (or humans generically) have full control of the door. He doesn't get to go outside when he asks to, but when you decide he gets to, and at first if he's always at the door, it could mean that he never gets to go outside. When we first started taking KeeKee outside on the lead, even though it was months after she'd stopped begging to go outside, the begging at the door (especially at 7 o'clock) started up again, and we had to learn never to take her out when she was begging to go out, so she learned that we were in control completely of her outside time.

Another option would be to only allow him his outdoor time at a consistent time. Then he will eventually learn that only during that time does he get to go out. I think that's why our KeeKee so easily adapted to indoor life. When 7 o' clock came and went, she didn't think to beg at other times, at least not more than half-heartedly. At first it was nearly an hour of begging, and it eventually became 5 minutes, and for a while it was a few seconds. Even when the behavior came back, it never came back at full-strength. It was more a "testing" that the new rules were still in place.

I know your cat seems to hate you now, but cats and dogs don't hold grudges like humans do. Cat's hate change, and when he gets to understand the new routines, I think you'll see his love and a lot of his own self return. There are a lot of changes instore for him, not just the end to the outdoor exploring. I assume you meant by small surgery that you just had him neutered? Thats a big adjustment for him to make as well, but should eventually help decrease the desire to roam some. It isn't at all unusual for a cat to take several weeks to get used to a new routine, so I wouldn't worry much about that yet.

I've heard from people who've had cats that they have to medicate daily, that the cat sometimes will get used to getting the med and will stop fighting it, and others will always hate medication time, but they learn to forgive quickly.

I think it helps to think of the cat hating change, not you. The faster you make it a routine, the easier it will become (which is why you have to be consistent). But you might want to try to encourage some really good associations with you also. I think he will eventually learn to play with toys, especially if you're on the other end of them. Looking out the window may become his "tv" not necessarily missing outdoors, but living vicariously on the windowsill. Treats may help. One I'd recommend as our current cat finds it irresistable is bonito (tuna) flakes and catnip. The bonito flakes are low cal, so you can give alot of treats without ruining nutrition (as long as you dole it out in small pieces). You can get it at many pet stores, but it's cheaper if you can find it in a grocery store or oriental grocery store for humans (it's used to make broth for people - it stinks).

I know the hardest part is going to be patient and waiting for him to get used to his new routine, especially because it can take alot of time, and many cats don't "do" change very well. We were lucky that our outdoor/indoor cat adjusted pretty easily, but our new cat doesn't deal with change as easily (she's an old 8 year old, very fat cat). We're trying to make changes for her to help her lose weight, but she's alot more set in her ways. She hid under the bed for nearly a week after we brought her home, and it took us weeks to encourage her to spend time with us on the bed. We've had her since May and in some ways she's still adjusting to our routines.
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Old 10-12-2008, 09:34 PM   #5
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Thanks everyone for your advice.

The small surgery he had was a mass removal on his neck. The vet said that it could be a cancer from a vaccination that he had before we got him because it is in a popular spot that vets give the vaccinations. Our vet gives them around the leg area, she says that if need be she can amputate a leg but you cant amputate a neck. He has had this surgery before but I believe we waited too long to have it done this time. It took him 3 days to get moving around somewhat normally, where before it took him less than a day.

Once he gets the bandages off his neck in a week. I think I am going to invest in one of those harnesses. We also have a big back porch that my parents are considering trying to convert to where he can go out there and sleep and hang out a while.

The medications are just antibiotics to stave off infection while he heals so at least one of the meds will stop in about 2 weeks.

I don't want to break his spirit but I want to find ways to make it fun for him to stay inside.
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Old 10-13-2008, 02:02 AM   #6
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Our cat was an outdoor/indoor cat at one point, but we decided to make her an indoor only cat several year ago (for many reasons.) It was a bit difficult at first, but after awhile she adjusted. She still likes to sit in front of open windows and doors, but she no longer scratches at the door or meows to be let out. It'll take a little time, but your kitty will adjust.
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Old 10-13-2008, 08:00 PM   #7
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I'm so sorry about your cat! I know it's a hard time.

My cat was diagnosed with FIV when he was 2 years old -- his previous owners didn't get him fixed AND kept him as an outdoor cat only. I found out about the FIV when I went to get him fixed.

He hated being kept indoors (would stand on his hind legs and BANG on the doors & windows!), but in time he got used to it. For the first year I had to watch the windows-- there were several times he tore out the screens to escape. And I do admit, there was a time I gave up for a few months in that first year and let him go out (after the 3rd screen), but eventually we did train him to be happy inside.

You have to make sure he has things to climb & scratch -- I got a tree tower that went to the ceiling, as well as patches of kitty grass for inside (he was always a big grass eater), and made sure the house was very kitty-friendly with lots of things for him to do. He was a big hunter, and while it didn't give him the thrill of a mouse, sometimes I got him some crickets to chase and eat. Also I got one of those "treat balls" where you put the treats inside, and they have to play with them in order to get a treat out. He actually turned into a very spoiled cat!!!

He never did get trained to a harness, but first we made a little "catio" on the patio, and then eventually we "kitty-fenced" the backyard, and I let him go out during the day at a certain time. That helped a lot for his contentment. He didn't get to go into the backyard at night, even though it was protected, because he was too much of a hunter and if there was a way out I knew he would find it at night!

The main thing with having FIV is watching for cuts/inflammation. Any little scrape would get infected, so I kept a bottle of betadine from the vet on hand. If I cleaned wounds immediately he'd be great. I had two other cats, and in the 12 years they all lived together, he didn't pass the FIV to them. However, I never pet-sat other cats, just on the off-chance there would be a fight.

So, long story short, I think your cat will eventually forgive you for keeping him inside. Just make sure he has things to do -- climb, scratch, run, chase, eat grass. You might have to play with him more. If possible, I would enclose some part of the yard or patio so he can get some outside time. If you look up "cat enclosures" on google, you'll find a bunch of sites about outside enclosures. People are creating all sorts of things nowadays for cats! It's really great

Good luck and best wishes!!!
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Old 10-13-2008, 08:19 PM   #8
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My parents created a cat enclosures for their 4 cats. They love it, and designed based off pictures they found on line.
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Old 11-04-2008, 09:52 AM   #9
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Bee20Nine,

I am so sorry to hear about your cat's diagnosis but your kitty can live a long and happy life even with FIV.
I fostered 4 FIV+ cats over the years. I always had them in pairs and even though they were originally outside cats having an indoor companion helped ease the transition. Is there a chance that you would consider getting a friend for your kitty?
Lots of toys and interactive play will help too.
I now have a non FIV+ cat and he walks on a leash with a harness. Give it time and you and your kitty will work it out.
Feel free to PM me if you have any questions or if you just want to chat about FIV.

>^..^<
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Old 01-09-2009, 08:36 AM   #10
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I'm sorry to hear about your baby, I know how painful receiving the news can be. We lost our TC after 12 years. He was an outside/inside cat until we got the diagnosis.

We trained him to a harnes and fixed a screened-enclosure for him in the back yard. It was actually a small greenhouse frame that we put screening around. It took time, but once he learned that by being inside he got more "lap time" he was fine.

Keep your kitty occupied and he will do fine.
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Old 02-12-2009, 07:04 PM   #11
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Sounds like you really care about your kitty and that he is getting the best of care. Just be patient while he makes the transition from outdoor to indoor life. It will be hard on him for a couple of weeks, maybe more, but eventually he will adjust.

I did the same thing for one of my cats. She loved to go out and play in the yard for a while but then she started wandering off and disapearing. When she brought home fleas and gave them to my other indoor cats I said that was enough and made her an indoor cat.

She also went thru an adjustment period and absolutely drove me nuts about wanting to go out. She would walk up to me about 10 times a day and start meowing incessantly. Then when I got up she would make a beeline for the door hoping I would let her out. Eventually she stopped and yours will too.

Just keep giving her love and affection and he will adjust in his own time.
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