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Needing advice from cat lovers....

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Needing advice from cat lovers....

Postby evepet » Nov 23, 2008 12:14 pm

My cat 'Missy' who I adopted about 2 months ago, still loves to go outside even in this cold weather. I keep her in overnight, but let her out from time to time through the day. I keep an eye on my balcony and let her back in to get warmed up when she reappears. Sometimes she stays out for only a few minutes, other times she may be outside for an hour or so. Do cats have enough sense to come back in when they get cold? I'm assuming this is the case, but being a bit of a novice with having a cat who is an indoor/outdoor cat I'm seeking some advice.

I've also noticed that she will easily eat beyond the amount recommended on bags of cat food I buy. It says a cat her age (about 8-9 months) should only get 2/3 - 3/4 cup of food daily. She'll easily go through 1 cup daily, probably more if I put it out for her. I'm wondering whether she needs the extra food because of using more energy while she's outside - both due to running around and because of the need to burn more fuel to stay warm in the colder weather? Each time she comes in from one of her 'outside visits' she heads straight for her food bowl and has a snack and some water.

If those of you who have years of 'cat-care' behind you could give me some reassurance/advice I'll appreciate it. I want to feed her enough but not too much so she gets fat. And I definitely don't want to let her outside in cold weather if I might be potentially harming her.

The picture below is from earlier this am. She'd just returned from an outside run and was letting me know she's ready to come inside again. :)
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Ok.... I'm cold! Let me in please.
'If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There's no use being a damn fool about it.' W.C. Fields
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Re: Needing advice from cat lovers....

Postby Grannygardener » Nov 23, 2008 12:24 pm

It's been years since we had cats but you'll be doing yourself and your cat a favor by making her an indoor only cat. There are so many dangers outdoors.What if someone accidentaly locks her in a shed or she crawls on a car engine to get warm. These were always my biggest fears. Then there's the predators- dogs ,foxes and other cats or even some people. Your cat will love you and she'll reward you by living a long healthy life. As for feeding, can't help you there because our cats were all nibblers. They only ate little bits at a time plus a few treats. Edie
I've spent most of my time in the garden,the rest I've wasted. Edie Zone4A, Ont.
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Re: Needing advice from cat lovers....

Postby green thumb guy » Nov 23, 2008 12:35 pm

Hi Evepet,

We have 5 cats. All are indoor cats but, if you were to ask a couple of them I'm sure they'd tell you they were outdoor cats.

We've trained the older ones to stay in the backyard; and most of the time they do. One of our cats is an excellent hunter and gets lured out of they yard periodically. when we call she'll come running knowing that she's in trouble.

Our younger ones are not there yet. I'm going to build a wooden fence around the rest of the yard to keep them in.

Recently, we have had visits from some type of bird of prey that resembles a Peregrine. This bird could easily take a couple of our cats.

When we let them out, we'll keep checking on them. They do enjoy being out.

As for feeding, we fallow what is one the bag. One of our cats is quite big. She's proof that owners can easily spoil their cats. When we got her, she was already an adult. The rest have been kept on regimented amounts and have very good condition. They beg for more but we distract them with toys or new boxes etc. Catnip is good also.

Keep her on a diet and she'll stay healthy and happy. Maybe a bit grumpy from not being spoiled. :)
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Re: Needing advice from cat lovers....

Postby evepet » Nov 23, 2008 1:09 pm

GrannyG, thanks for your suggestion. I guess I'm being a bit of a wuss, since part of me knows that I should try harder to make her a 100% indoor cat. But since she was a stray until about 2 months ago when I took her in, she was used to being outdoors most of the time and so obviously still enjoys it that I feel bad keeping her inside. I was hoping that she wouldn't like the cold weather and prefer to stay inside more, but no luck. She almost demands to be let out first thing in the morning, and if she sees me at the balcony door later in the day she generally comes running, wanting outside again for a while. But everytime she's out I worry about her. When she was spayed I kept her inside for a week to make sure her incision was healing well before I let her outside again, and I probably should have continued on that path. I'm also worried about how she's going to fare when I go away for 2-3 days over Christmas.Not only will it be strange for her to be left alone for that long, but she'll not be able to go outside at all for that time, which will definitely frustrate her. If I bite the bullet and start keeping her in all the time now, at least she won't be going nuts trying to get out when I'm not around. :?

Greenthumbguy, thanks for your comments about your family of cats. I wish I had an area outside that I could somehow restrict her to, but for me it's going to be a decision to either keep her in 100% or accept the worry of this in/out situation. I'd be worrying about that bird - peregrine? too. And I'll take your suggestion to stick with the amount of food that's recommended on the cat food bag. The only other cat I've ever had as a pet was one I inherited from a nephew who moved into a no-pets condo a few years ago. He was an indoor cat and unfortunately was a little too big for his own good. The vet told me to watch his food intake to help him shed a few pounds. Remembering that experience got me concerned about Missy's appetite.
'If at first you don't succeed, try, try again. Then quit. There's no use being a damn fool about it.' W.C. Fields
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Re: Needing advice from cat lovers....

Postby Trailblaze1 » Nov 23, 2008 2:13 pm

I have three cats and live on a country road. One was a barn cat, so must go outdoors; will stay out most of the day, with short forays indoors to make sure the dry food is still available. He is overweight, has an eating disorder cuz of being starved for the first year of his life. I get criticized for leaving food out. I measure out 3 cups per day for 3 of them, and I don't worry about who gets more. They can work it out amongst themselves. I also give them one small can of canned food at day's end, portioning out a lesser amount for the little female. She weighs 8 pounds, the big boy over 15 lbs. They self-feed and keep themselves whatever weight they want. (as do I)
If big boy gets diabetes, he'll be put down. We don't have money for large pet bills. It is so very easy to replace a cat, as the local humane society has over 100 at any given time. I do love my big guy, but I try not to stay overly-attached. When he goes, he goes. Life goes on. Sounds cruel? I call it realistic. I see a lot of death out here, as critters eat other critters, hunters shoot the deer; farmers trap coyotes and foxes; bigger birds eat littler birds or their eggs. I even saw a beaver grab and drown an otter one time, right on my front pond while I was watching through binoculars!

The newest guy cat I brought inside this fall eats a lot, but stays slim so far. I think he's hogging most of the food, but that's ok - big boy will get slimmer.
All three go in and out all day; I bring them in at dusk, as I don't fancy fishers or coyotes getting them.= a horrible death.
The little female prefers to be indoors most of the time, but she will go out for bits at a time. The boys mostly come in when cold, but have been known to disappear for as much as 24 to 36 hours.....worrisome, but I try to harden myself to it. (don't always succeed, lose sleep and fret a bit)

I try to remind myself: I don't really 'own' these cats anymore than I 'own' my children, or my husband. They are pretty free agents.

It's a personal decision for each cat owner. Everybody gives me dift advice. I listen politely, then do what I want. Good luck to you and yours!
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Re: Needing advice from cat lovers....

Postby bluewillow » Nov 23, 2008 4:33 pm

I have kept my cat indoors since she was a little one but last Summer I did let her out only in the backyard. She enjoys watching the birds (birds are far smarter than she) but does creep up on the squirrels but hasn't outrun one yet. She's never out for long though. As far as feeding mine just grazes and seems to be just fine at 12 years.

Green Thumb Guy, I have seen twice (only this year) a bird which I presumed to be a hawk. Never have I seen a bird this size but for this year. He appeared several weeks ago looking for prey. I never thought that it could have been a Peregrine. I noticed as well that the little birds spend much of their time in the cedar hedge and only fast trips to the feeder since the tree is bare of leaves. When at the Mall last year I saw one of these birds swoop down and catch a black squirrel. It was a terrible sight and extremely upsetting. Only took but a mere second.

Your kitty has a lovely face Evepet. Verry pretty indeed. Love the colourings.

bw
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Re: Needing advice from cat lovers....

Postby evepet » Nov 23, 2008 6:40 pm

Trailblaze & Bluewillow, thanks for your comments. I'm going to start keeping her inside. I do worry everytime she's outside, and I am also concerned about this inside/outside business while I"m away for almost 3 days at Christmas. If I start keeping her inside now hopefully she'll be adjusted to it by then. So she'll still have to contend with being left on her own for a couple of days, but hopefully not also panicked/frustrated by not being able to get out while I'm gone.

BW, I also think she's got a pretty little face. Who could leave this sweetie to fend for herself in the cold? Not me.
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Re: Needing advice from cat lovers....

Postby skwij » Nov 23, 2008 7:07 pm

Wise decision, evepet. No cat needs to go out. That's a common misconception. Sure, they "want" out, but they don't "need" out.

Indoor cats not only live longer, but are healthier, less prone to accidents and injuries, and have far less chance of picking up disease and infection.

Missy may whine about your decision for a while, but stick to it! She's better off indoors.
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Re: Needing advice from cat lovers....

Postby Trailblaze1 » Nov 23, 2008 8:10 pm

Cats DO get lonely when left alone, believe it or not. This is why I went to the shelter and got a second cat. They make funny little brrrt-ing sounds to one another in the night; they look for one another when one is outside. My little female comes and gets me when the male is sitting at the door to come in. I never knew this before it happened to me.
I could not imagine leaving one alone for 3 days without someone coming over to check on it, at least once. A cat alone can get itself in trouble inside an unfamiliar place, as they explore.
I have heard some rather sad stories: about a strangled cat, a smothered cat locked in a drawer....they get dehydrated if there is no water too.
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Re: Needing advice from cat lovers....

Postby sunkeeper » Nov 23, 2008 8:29 pm

Hi Evepet, I cannot stress enough to please keep your cat indoors. She'll get use to it. I have two cats, Miss Eve and K.C. I have had K.C. for 12 years and Miss Eve for 5 years.
Outdoor cats live an average of 3 years. Indoor cats can live up to 20 years.
I also volunteer at a cat rescue. Cats can get a disease called FIV, yes, it's the same as HIV in humans and there is no cure for it. They die!!! Also in winter cats will crawl under the hood of cars to get warm and guess what when the human starts his/her car your cat will get injured. They also could get into antifreeze which is sweet tasting and die from poisoning. Not to mention wild animals, rabies, etc.etc.
We received a male cat at the rescue and he had to have his leg amputated. He was found outdoors.
Please refrain from letting your kitty outdoors, you'll save her life.
As for food I have dry food out all day and they are not fat. My cats are on Royal Canin. I get it at Global Pet Foods. Nothing but the best for my babies. I would never buy cat food at Box Stores as I call it McDonalds of the cat food.
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Suburbia is where the developer bulldozes out the trees, then names the streets after them. ~Bill Vaughn
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