Can you make a cat be a house cat?

(64 Posts)
Memom Wed 21-Sep-16 11:49:58

We are pondering getting a cat BUT I seriously can not handle it killing things/bringing things in - never managed to get over this fear with previous cat. It's not just worry of it happening it's avoiding coming home, avoiding going into rooms until they have been checked, lots of tears etc.

So, a house cat would be our ideal. Can you make a kitten/cat be a house cat? Do they always want to run for freedom the second a door or window is open?

My biggest question is, is it fair? I hate the thought of having a cat and us make it miserable.

We live miles from anywhere so it's safe but there is also lots of wildlife! Previous cat had 5 bells and an electronic cat flap and she still managed to murder!

Weedsnseeds1 Wed 21-Sep-16 11:53:31

Rescues often have cats that can't go outside for one reason or another e.g.deaf, blind. Have a look on a few websites near you

IAmAPaleontologist Wed 21-Sep-16 11:58:33

My sister has 4 cats, all house cats. No real reason for them to be house cats. She got the first 2 when she lived in a flat so no outdoors and we they moved to a house decided to keep them as house cats as they are posh and she didn't want the to be stolen. She plans to build a big run outside!

fruityb Wed 21-Sep-16 12:02:39

I have a house cat. He does tend to try and run for it if the doors are open but generally he sleeps upstairs - more so since DS was born!

The only thing I will say is be prepared to hoover cat hair up constantly. My house feels like it has a layer of fuzz all the time which drives me mental. But otherwise I'd rather he was inside as when I used to let him out he got fleas which was a nightmare. I still treat him with broadline just in case.

BertrandRussell Wed 21-Sep-16 12:04:47

No, it's not fair.

If you can't cope with a cat being a cat, don't get a cat.

What about a house rabbit?

Floralnomad Wed 21-Sep-16 12:07:40

IT really depends on the cat , my mum has a Ragdoll and he's a house cat , he's never shown any inclination to go outside and sits by open windows . We intended him to be a housecat and it worked out for us but I know people who have tried to keep cats indoors and they spend all their time trying to escape . Why not try a house rabbit instead , they can be easily litter trained and love being indoors .

Elephantsaremygods Wed 21-Sep-16 12:08:23

Bert there are actually some breeds better suited to being house cats. We have 2 birmans and they have access to the outside but they simply won't go out - they aren't interested. Many birmans are the same.

Or, as pp have said, there are plenty of cats who can't go outside for medical reasons. We used to have a FIV+ boy and he was just lovely.

It personally makes me nervy when I see cats all over the main road where I live.

Elephantsaremygods Wed 21-Sep-16 12:08:59

Surely an indoor rabbit is no better - they need grass no?

TranquilityofSolitude Wed 21-Sep-16 12:13:31

I'm not sure if this is helpful, but I have a white cat and he has barely caught anything. I think he is too visible in the garden. Also, we don't have a cat flap, so to some extent I'm in control of what he brings in anyway.

NightWanderer Wed 21-Sep-16 12:18:01

It's seems many rescues have cats who are FIV positive, and as such can't go out. It would be a lovely thing to adopt one. It's not like the cats at rescues can go out so they are probably used to it anyway.

NightWanderer Wed 21-Sep-16 12:20:42

My neighbour's cat has never been out, and is scared to go out. Another neighbour takes their cat out for walks on a harness (ok, I think they are a bit weird). It's really not unusual for people to keep cats indoors only.

Lanaorana1 Wed 21-Sep-16 12:31:33

Mr C was rescue and he loves being a house cat. He refuses to go out, to be honest, preferring his chaise longue and waitress service 24/7.

icandoscience Wed 21-Sep-16 13:08:17

My cat goes outside, we just don't have a cat flap so he has to be let in by one of us. If we can see that he has any sort of 'present' for us, he doesn't get to come in the house! It also means there is no 'reward' for him for bringing anything home as he gets no attention and has to sit outside, which may be the reason why he hardly ever brings anything home.

Nelleflowerpot Wed 21-Sep-16 13:17:40

We had a Birman we at first kept him as a house cat but he was constantly trying to escape. We did move to a rural setting and just gave up and let him out. He was a mass murder even local endangered creatures got dragged home despite bells. Don't get a Birman thinking they don't want to go out!
From experience most cats want to go out and most will try and hunt but not all are very good at it. A bell may help and boy cats don't seem to be as good hunters a girls but as I just said my male Birman was a killer. If you really can't handle it don't get a cat or get an elderly rescue cat who just wants to sleep.

BluishSky Wed 21-Sep-16 13:20:35

Cat proof your garden

MerylPeril Wed 21-Sep-16 13:27:48

We've had 2 mice (outside) and one bird (dead inside) - not had anything for months

I think our cat is shit at hunting to be honest

I think it's sad to keep them in - ours had to be the first 3 months, he was miserable and fat. After initial over excitement at going out (sometimes 20 hours a day) he has discovered warm beds and is in 20 hours instead

But he is happy, not fat, and doesn't use the litter tray!

eightbluebirds Wed 21-Sep-16 13:28:33

You can make a cat be a house cat but you can't make a cat want to be a house cat. One of my cats, not a chance in hell could we have survived if I insisted on keeping him inside. From a very young age, 14/15 weeks old, he would YOWL to be outside. Even now if he can't go out when he wants its yowl yowl yowl and he'll run for the door. He adores exploring and would feel utterly trapped being kept as a house cat. So no, it's not fair.
My cat does bring things back (rabbits, birds, voles, mice) but we don't have a cat flap so nothing has ever entered the house. We have a litter picker for the garden 🙈We tried a collar with a bell but only used easy release collars (incase the cat gets caught in branches/fence/tree etc) and they never lasted more than a week.

I always recommended rescue cats, perhaps an older cat would be better suited to you. Alternatively if you have money to spare you could look into getting a rag doll.

Mycatsabastard Wed 21-Sep-16 13:37:19

We have four cats.

Boy cat loves to go out and have a wander out the garden, round next doors house and then appear at the front door shouting to be let back in. He's 14 though and really not into hunting much any more.

Our girl cats though just choose not to go out much. Girl cat 1 will go in the garden if its warm, have a roll about on the path and then goes back in and upstairs.

Girl cat 2 likes to go out in the garden too, never ventures out of it but does have a great knack at catching flies/wasps/bees/butterflies/moths/spiders. Nothing bigger. She's brilliant at making sure our house is bug free.

Girl cat 3 is still in hiding upstairs four weeks after we got her. She's incredibly timid and I doubt she will ever go out very far either.

Like a PP we have no cat flap here so the cats are reliant on me letting them in and out. As a result boy cat has become a real home body since we moved and loves nothing more than snoozing on the sofa in the conservatory.

shouldwestayorshouldwego Wed 21-Sep-16 13:39:16

Maybe an older cat where the nature is known. We have one who does hunt but never brings anything back (have seen him in garden a few times but he never brings them in). The other is so daft and incompetent as a cat. She didn't hunt even when starving (before we took her on), she spends most of her time inside in the summer (through choice - door is usually wide open). In the winter she stands at the door and sniffs in disgust that once again her slaves have failed to deliver a hot, sunny day, before curling up on the toy box again. She would probably be quite happy if someone stopped trying to encourage her to have some fresh air.

cozietoesie Wed 21-Sep-16 13:41:24

Seniorboy has been a housecat from birth and when he cane to live with me - as an older cat even then - it was on that understanding. Luckily, being an elderly Siamese, his idea of having a good time is sitting by me and gazing at me so no difficulties. (He went outside for a couple of minutes in about 1997/98 if I recall and once (to next door's front garden for 3 minutes) about 3 years ago.) He has a roomy old house though and people around most/all of the day.

Perhaps a cat who was older or had special needs would be your best bet? They might be happier inside than going out?

shouldwestayorshouldwego Wed 21-Sep-16 13:42:19

We don't have a cat flap either, but they have generally free access as I work at home.

cozietoesie Wed 21-Sep-16 13:45:02

PS - it's worth remembering, though, that if your house has any mice, even an indoor cat might hunt them if they were so inclined. (Even Seniorboy has some notches on his belt from his youth.)

80sWaistcoat Wed 21-Sep-16 13:45:44

Had 4 cats from kittens (at different times) and they've all been desperate from the very start to go out.

Friend down the road had cats from kittens and they are perfectly happy being house cats.

Think asking rescues if they have a cat that needs to be kept inside is a really good idea.

SecretPeanut Wed 21-Sep-16 14:00:54

I have two house cats. Both adopted, one used to be an outdoors cat with its previous owner but fell ill and chose never to venture outside again and the other just doesn't like going out.

They are perfectly happy, i say this because i have my windows wide open and not once have they attempted to jump out because they think outdoors is much nicer. They know better!. They watch other cats outside fighting and i think are happy spectating and not getting involved.

Their coats are fantastic, they are healthy, do not suffer from any of the illness of ailments you would see with an outdoor cat. They have lots of stimulation, got a giant nearly to the ceiling cat tree, i grow indoor grass etc but to be honest they would rather sleep 18 hours of the day!

I do have to watch their weight as they obviously do not move around as much, but saying that 3am is 'hunting' time and downstairs normally looks like a tornado has passed through come morning.

I've also got a window bird feeder that keeps them amused

BertrandRussell Wed 21-Sep-16 14:02:23

"Their coats are fantastic, they are healthy, do not suffer from any of the illness of ailments you would see with an outdoor cat"

hmm Like what?

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