Post # 1
I am going away for two weeks over Christmas and have someone lined up too look after my cat. The couple lives nearby and they are stopping over daily to make sure he has food and clean water and little. However, he is an outdoor cat and spends more time outside than inside. He has a pet door and comes and goes as he pleases and generally don’t worry about him unless it’s been a few days since I’ve seen him. Even so, I know he’s been in the house because I’ll have to refill his food.
So my question is, especially to you other outdoor cat owners, do I close off the pet door and keep him in the house for two weeks while I’m away or let him continue coming and going as he pleases. I already hate leaving him behind, and that he’d hate being stuck inside for two weeks, but it would probably make me feel (slightly) better if I knew exactly where he was.
Post # 3
Have them keep him indoors and the keep him in there when you get back.
Post # 4
I don’t see any reason to keep him from going out if that’s his usual way. Knowing where he is may give you peace of mind, but I don’t see anything else it really accomplishes, other than disrupting his usual habbits. He may even get cranky about it and act out.
Post # 5
If I let my cat outside, it would terrify me that he might not come back one day and I’m too far away to do anything. I keep my cat indoors so luckily I’m safe there, but in your case I would be way too scared that something might happen while I’m away.
Post # 6
Definitely keep him inside. There’s much less chance of anything happening to him while indoors, and if you are not there, what if he needed medical care? Just make sure to leave a couple extra litter boxes for him along with plenty of food and water.
Post # 7
Have you ever kept him inside before? Might want to do a dry run to see how he handles being kept inside. Our friends did this and their cats peed and pooped all over their couch, and they had to throw it out.
Post # 8
@JenniferG: good point. :-/
Post # 9
It really, really depends on the cat. I am currently trying to keep one of mine indoors at night, and only let him out during the day (long story). It is a real uphill struggle. He is extremely distressed at having to go to the toilet in a litter tray, and has even sprayed inside the lounge once, something which he has never done before.
On the other hand, one of my other cats (who is now missing) could always take or leave the great outdoors, and didn’t mind using trays. In fact, if she comes back then she will be kept as in indoor only cat from now on.
I second PPs… you need to see how he reacts first, before making a decision.
Post # 10
I would definitely see how he reacts to being kept inside before you leave. I would be more worried about forcing him inside then having him bolt as your neighbours are looking in on him, since then he would be less willing to come back if he thinks it will just happen again. My one cat was like this, we lived in a sub division when we first got him (he was a stray, but cats had to be indoors) and we had to throw treats downstairs to distract him as we were walking out the door or he would run outside.
Post # 11
Thanks for all your replies!
He was an indoor cat for a short time when I lived in Quebec, because we had no choice. He wasn’t a fan, but he never acted out or did anything bad. If I could, I’d like him to be an indoor cat, but when we adopted him he was already attached to going outside.
Post # 12
Keep things normal for him. If you’re happy to let him be outside most of the time when you are there, what difference does it make if you’re not?
Post # 13
@NewfieBullet: I tried to make my outdoor cats indoor cats when I went on vacation, once.
I had to replace THREE ROOMS OF CARPETING when I got back! They got vengeful. I would reccomend letting your cat come and go as usual!
Post # 14
I grew up with outdoor cats and we always just left them outside. Like…they lived outside 99.9% of the time (only came in during extreme weather, and then they were just in the laundry room and would cry until we let them back outside). We just had a family friend stop by and refill their (outdoor) food and water containers. One time we were all out of town during really cold weather and my parents had the cats boarded at the vets because our cats didn’t use litter boxes. They hated it, ha!
In your case, I wouldn’t mess with the cat’s rythm. Thing about it – it doesn’t matter if you are home or not, if there’s food/water/whatever, your cat will still keep coming back in. It’s not like s/he will be like “welp, owner’s gone – guess I better go find a new home!”.
Post # 15
If I were the catsitter I wouldn’t take resonsibility for the cat if you wanted it outdoors. However it’s your cat, so if you were willing to absolve me of all responsibility for its outdoor behavior I’d be happy to come by and add food and change the litter and such.
To warn you, there is a serious stigma in the US against having an outdoor cat in some places and you might get some flack. I’m mildly against it myself, I would personally never have an outdoor cat, but I don’t see it as abuse at all, and short of abuse I don’t really feel entitled to tell other people how to keep their pets.
Post # 16
@StL.Ashley: I like the way you put it!
@Bebealways: I think most cities have bylaws against outdoor cats, and that’s why he was kept inside when I lived in Quebec (he came home with a nasty note around his neck). I’ve been here almost two years and all our neighbours think he’s great, so it’s been good so far. I’m not against it outdoor cats but I do wish he was indoors. The next cat I get I want to get from a kitten and train him as in indoor cat.
I am really grateful for all of your replies. It’s nice to get some different perspectives but I still haven’t come to a conclusion. I’ve got about two weeks…