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Any Experienced Cat Owners...advice Please...

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muchlovex | 18:37 Sun 20th Jan 2013 | Animals & Nature
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I have recently adopted a rescue kitten. SHe's 6 months old and has been with us just over 2 weeks. SHe is my little ray of sunshine, I just couldn't imagine life without her.

She's soooooo affectionate and purrs all of the time...

Anyway, I took her to the vet for her first injection and to be microchipped and vet recommended having her as a house cat as there are so many dangers outside for cats.

I am wondering whether cats can live a happy and content life being a housecat. I play with my kitten about 3 times a day to keep her occupied and stop her from getting bored.

She's not yet been outside, only via a cat carrier for a trip to the vets.

I was wondering if there are any tips an experienced cat owner can give me as to whether to allow her to go out or not. We do have a back garden, but she'd climb over the fence.
Some friends have recommended putting her on a harness, but I am not sure.

My thoughts are to keep her in for as long as possible, then when I evenutally let her out she wont stray too far.

She's such a friendly little kitty that I dont want her to come into harms way as I always hear of cats going missing etc.

Thanks for any advice offered.

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You could start to get her used to the environment by waiting until she's hungry and feeding her outside.
I wouldn't keep a cat indoors. They are hunters and there are only so many things round the house they can pretend to catch.
My daughter has two cats that are house cats, they have had them about 6 six years. They do now go out but never wander far usually staying in the garden.
They also want to come straight back in when the door is shut. They were first let out around 1 year old.
If she wants to be a house cat, then she will automatically come back when put outside. I think it cruel not to let her have a taste of the outside in your garden. Perhaps when you yourself are out in the garden, would be a good time to try it. If she stays out at night, then thats when the dangers would occur. She sounds adorable.
Your vet is irresponsible to suggest that you keep your cat indoors!! My cats are spoilt and whilst the are not out all the time they go out if they want even if it is mainly during the summer!!

Take your kitty out in the garden and play with her bring treats bring her in after a while, do this a couple of times, then let her out to explore with you watching when you call give her a treat, finally let her out on her own and call her in a while later again giving her a treat.

She will then be happy in going out and you will be happy that she will come in.
I also have a new kitten who hasn't been out and I'm having the same worries as you. I have lost quite a few cats to the road over the years and it is devastating. However unless you live above ground level it will be really hard to keep indoors. My kitten has never been out but is aware that it's out there and is desperate to get out. The only time I kept a cat as a housecat she got out of a window after a few months and was dead within a couple of hours on the road (it was dark and I couldn't find her). I feel if I'd let her out at a younger age, gone with her at first so she became aware of cars, she'd have been more careful.On balance I think it's a bit cruel to deny them the joys of being outside, I certainly wouldn't go with the harness idea.
I have had house cats, when I lived in a flat, but mine love so much going outside and mooching around, and sitting in the sun in the summer. I wouldn't do it again. Of course there are dangers for cats outside, but do you live in an area where it needs to be emphasised? Is there a history of cats going missing in your area?

Cats and harnesses don't go well together, they want to walk in places you don't want to go. Anything that hinders the cat is an even greater risk to them. You've had her chipped, please don't put a collar on her - our Rover nearly hung himself twice on his collar, and once was indoors when he caught it on a window handle.

After Rover went missing, our vet got a bit paranoid about it and he bought for his own cat a GPS transmitter - hugely expensive and quite chunky round the cat's neck, IMO. This means he knows wherever she is (I must admit that if we'd had one for Rover, it would have taken a lot less time than seven months to get him back!)

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If someone suggested keeping your kids imprisoned for their own safety, you would think that totally weird. Well, in my opinion, exactly the same applies to a cat, only more so. Over the years, we've had some scares with our cats disappearing for a while, and we had one seriously injured, but that's simply a fact of life.

How dangerous is it where you live? Are you near a busy road, for example?
I have known many contented house cats and also two that enjoyed going out on a harness when they were introduced to that as a young kitten, so if your environment is particularly hazardous you might want to weigh up the risks. If you're afraid of your cat getting lost, the microchipping and perhaps a collar with your telephone number would help.
Ideally cats like to have access to outside space, particularly when young, but they are very adaptable.
Take her outside when she is a little older and keep calling her name, keep close to her if you can, she is only a baby yet. She will get confident that you are not far away and possibly won't roam too much. Leave the door open if you can so she can get back in whenever she wants. When you are out for the day you can leave her indoors perhaps with a cat litter tray, she will sleep, cats sleep a lot. Good luck, she sounds lovely. Make sure she has her injections every year, especially if she does go out, there are a lot of diseases she can catch from foxes, other cats, etc. If my cat is out, I tap a plate to let him know I am home, so he comes in for dinner. When you feed her, tap the plate before you give her food, she will get to recognise the sound! You could get a cat flap, but I found when I had one my cat brought in all sorts of 'presents' for me through the cat flap, birds, frogs, etc so he just sits by the door until I let him in.
I have rescued older cats so a bit different to a kitten who doesn't know anything of the great outdoors so always let them have the choice, after the initial settling in period.

My cats have known my routine and are given a choice whether they want to go out or not (they are never forced out) and often happily go out by choice.

As young cats with a great amount of physical ability and agility, it helps keep them fit and active and there is far more chance for them to use their natural instincts outside than indoors.

It does depend on the area though. I don't like mine being out overnight (and they never are save the few occasions they refuse to come in - usually if they are too busy on the hunt or something).
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I live in a cul-de-sac, but it's just off a main busy road. I wonder that once the summer comes I will let her in my back garden.

My friend has 2 house cats. SHe lets them out, but they generally stay in the garden. I wonder if my 'theory' is true of keeping a kitten/cat in as long as possible, then they won't stray too far once allowed out.
God knows what mine gets up to but he always appears when he hears my car.
He's probably crapping in my garden ummmm.
Lol...I'm very sorry about that :-)
Ours always appear as soon as they hear our keys in the front door....

We've always had a cat flap as cats love to go out at night, but they always come in again well before breakfast time. You can get a flap which is programmed to your cat's microchip, so strange cats can't get in. You can lock it, too, if you don't want her to go out for some reason. (Which is fine when they are little, but mine have been known to shoulder charge the door, and later I find the bits in the garden....)
...and PS make sure you have some cat insurance to cover your vets bills, etc., it's well worth it.
I always hear/read cat-haters going on about cat mess in their gardens but have only ever found cat mess in my flower beds once in the last 7 years. We have a neighbour with a cat and they have no flower beds, yet it never comes in ours to do it's business.
Well they are probably just taunting my dogs.

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