Indoor vs Outdoor Cats

by Andrew
(London, England)

Happy Indoor Cats<br> photo by

Happy Indoor Cats
photo by

My sisters told me about a very friendly, actually affection-starved cat that a friend feeds but doesn't take in. They were told that it was someone's pet before but she has since been abandoned.

I would like to rescue her but the problem is that I'm moving into a second floor apartment. I'm reckoning it's highly unlikely but I'm wondering if there's any way an outdoor-living cat can become an exclusively indoor cat.



Dear Andrew,


Many, many years ago, I lived in an area with acres and acres of land around me and therefore thought it was safe to let my cats outdoors. There were no roads anywhere in sight. It seemed perfectly safe.

Unfortunately, that turned out not to be the case. Two went far enough away to get hit and die beside the road and a third just disappeared. She was one that had never left the front porch, but one night I went to bed and she was there and the next morning when I got up, she was gone.

That was SO painful. It is so much harder not knowing what happened than dealing with death. When her brother disappeared a few weeks later, I had had all I could take. I took my 13 remaining cats inside and they never went out again. Fortunately, her brother came back a few days later, but my mind was made up and so I had 14 cats that were to never go out again.

They all lived to a ripe old age and had a great life and I had far less heartache after that.

Were they happy about it in the beginning? No. Did it take some time to adjust? Absolutely. But they did.

Cats have a sort of built-in knowledge about using a litter box. That shouldn't be a problem. The most she will probably do is cry a bit by the door from time to time or as she looks out windows. I certainly encourage you to give it a try.

The worst thing that happens, if anything happens at all, is that a cat may start to urinate in places other than their litter box out of frustration. Out of my 14, one of them did that, but the other 13 didn't.

I hope it works out for you because it's much better for her. Write back if you have further questions.

Thank you for writing!

Dr. Neely

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