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To keep an indoor cat?

(130 Posts)
AnneNonimous Tue 02-Apr-13 12:11:49

DS and I have lived in our new flat for a few months now, and as a person that has always had cats I feel that's what's missing! I'd love to get a kitten for us but I don't have a garden so would need to keep it inside with a tray. I know people do this so I'm just wondering if people thinks it's fair? And I'd be very interested to hear from people who have inside cats and how they keep them happy and healthy.


EmpressMaud Tue 02-Apr-13 12:16:56

Perhaps find a breed more suited to the indoor life. We once tried to keep a domestic shorthair (moggy, well variant) indoors and it was impossible. Also friends with breeds like Bengal and British Shorthair have found similar.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Tue 02-Apr-13 12:18:34

I had an indoor cat once. I got him from the cats' protection league. He'd never been outside and was very happy to stay indoors. He would lay across an open window but was never bothered about going out.

A few years later we moved from a flat into a house and simply assumed he'd continue to stay indoors. He didn't. grin he started to venture outside, first into the garden and over time, further afield.

But there was no difference in his health or his display of happiness/contentment. He was the same old lad indoors and outdoors.

As long as you give your cat good food and toys etc, then there's no reason why not going outside will be a problem.

Are you only interested in a kitten or would you consider an older cat from a rescue, who, like my old lad, was already a house cat?

Snoopingforsoup Tue 02-Apr-13 12:19:58

We have an indoor cat. Look for a quiet temperament and definitely don't choose a hunter as they will spend their time trying to escape.
If you're not at home a lot during the day, rethink this. Cats get lonely on their own and are likely to trash your home with no company and they'll be bored and frustrated.
Ours is content, but he's a laid back pedigree chosen specifically as an indoor cat. We have to give him a lot of attention.
Our last was killed on the road.

lovemycat Tue 02-Apr-13 12:22:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Snoopingforsoup Tue 02-Apr-13 12:23:18

Should've said - Rag dolls and Birmans are good indoor breeds and plenty of rescue cats only stay indoors.
Keep the litter spotless and neuter a male as soon as you can so they don't spray on your furniture.

seeker Tue 02-Apr-13 12:24:49

Dissenting voice. If you can't let a cat out, don't have a cat. Sorry- but cats need to have freedom and independence.

lurcherlover Tue 02-Apr-13 12:24:57

I'd be cautious. A flat is quite a small environment for a cat to never leave, and you don't want to basically be keeping it in a prison. It could work, but pick the cat very carefully. Personally I think it's unfair to get a kitten in these circumstances, as you don't know what its personality will be like when it grows up and it might turn into a cat that's desperate to go outside. Plus, if you're not going to be moving for the forseeable future, you're basically condemning a cat to potentially 18-20 years of the same environment, which does seem a bit cruel. After all, a lot of people who have indoor cats have runs in the back garden for them too so they can at least get some fresh air and smell the outdoors as well as being inside all the time.

If you're going to do it, why not adopt an elderly cat from a rescue that doesn't want to go outside? That way you get all the benefits of a cat to sit on your lap and cuddle, and you also give a moggy a nice life in its twilight years - potentially one that other prospective owners will overlook, too.

AnneNonimous Tue 02-Apr-13 12:26:29

I would prefer a kitten as I have a toddler and so the kitten will be able to get used to him! He's very gentle with my mums cats so I'm sure he will be good with them but when I looked into the local cats home they don't like to give cats to people with young children and especially with no garden.

Greydog Tue 02-Apr-13 12:26:29

We had an indoor cat for years. She loved the house, had the run of it in the day. She would go out into our small back yard - I think the high walls made her feel secure but she had no interest in going out. Speak to a reputable cat rescue people. We tried to get another indoor cat, and the rescue place we went to assured us the ones we wanted were used to being indoors. They weren't. After much upset they had to go back, and we found out that they were farm cats, used to living in a barn, and wandering round the farm! We live between 2 main roads so their lifespan - being used to the country - would have been short.

SilveryMoon Tue 02-Apr-13 12:31:23

I have 2 indoor cats. No problem at all really.
We got 2 males about 3 or 3.5 years ago. I had looked into rescue centres etc but they wouldn't let us have a cat because I had dc under 5.
I bought our 2 privately when they were about 6 months.
Sadly, about 6 months later, one of them died from severe urine infection sad (I don't think connected to being indoor) so then we had 1 cat. he was fine on his own, he wasn't overly social and when his brother had died, he stopped miowing and purring. About a year ago we got another cat, a female, much younger so I was worried she'd annoy the older cat but they are truly in love! Boy cat now occasionally miows and they are always together.

We have a juliet balcony and when I have the door open, boy cat will walk along the outside window ledge (we are first floor) but he'd never jump.
I've not opened the door since getting girl cat as I suspect she'd be off in a flash as she shows lots of interest in open windows and has hooked birds in. She seems happy though, she craves attention but is very wary of children and strangers so we don't see her much int he day.

The other thing is the smell from the litter tray. I scoop it out daily and clean then thoroughly once a week.

lurcherlover Tue 02-Apr-13 12:33:42

I think you have to put yourself in the cat's position and ask what you can offer the cat, more than what the cat can offer you. Clearly you can offer love, affection and food, but I think a kitten needs the opportunity to try the great outdoors, sorry. I can't really see the difference between ayoung cat being in a flat 24/7 and never going out, and a rabbit being locked in a hutch 24/7 and never getting to exercise. As I said, an older, more sedentary cat, fine - but not a young, active one with potentially 20 years of life ahead of them. Surely you could provide an older cat with a room he could go to where the toddler isn't allowed, to give him a break? You'd need to do that with any cat anyway.

EmpressMaud Tue 02-Apr-13 12:34:55

I think it's a gamble to get an ordinary domestic shorthair kitten from a shelter and hope you can manage to keep it indoors. You'd need a cat which has already lived an indoor life, or, as I've said, a breed with the temperament suited to living indoors.
E.g. we've successfully kept indoors Rex, Persian and Ragdolls. And it would be inadvisable to let them out into anything other than an escape-proof garden as they're not suited to the outdoor life (thinking of my Rex especially).
You'd also need to consider screens for windows in case they tried to climb out of those.

ImTooHecsyForYourParty Tue 02-Apr-13 12:35:20

A kitten though, is less likely to be happy to be in a small space than an older cat, who will likely just love to sit around and watch the world go by.

So while a kitten might be, for a while, more fun for your child (not that I am saying that you think a kitten is a toy for your child. I am not saying you think like that and I am sure you don't) an older cat, one used to being around children and living indoors, would probably be happier to just hang around.

CharlotteBronteSaurus Tue 02-Apr-13 12:40:30

I'm sure you'd be able to rescue an older cat/FIV+cat more suited to an indoor life. I wouldn't get a kitten though.
we had an indoor cat when we lived in a flat a few years back. we later moved to a house with a garden. When Dcat was offered the opportunity to go out, she did one lap of the entire garden, gave everything a good sniff, and never bothered again.

Caladria Tue 02-Apr-13 12:41:01

We have two indoor moggies adopted as such from one of the London RSPCA branches- admittedly we're lucky enough to have a largish flat with lots of stairs. I took some persuading because I used to believe that cats could not be content if they did not go outdoors. I was wrong, they are lovely purry affectionate creatures and as happy as any cat I've ever seen. For what its worth, in the States people often argue that it's cruel to let cats out because they get run over and because they kill birds.

Corygal Tue 02-Apr-13 12:44:11

I loathed the idea of an indoor cat for same reasons as seeker, but Mr Cory (vast British shorthair) has FIV and loves it.

His partic favourite are various slumber spots that turn into pigeon-monitoring watchtowers, and he does love a game, both of which use up energy.

ComposHat Tue 02-Apr-13 12:45:01

We got a cat feom the SSPCA amd she was an older cat who has only ever lived inside. She seems very happy and hasn't attempted to escape to the great outdoors. She has lots of toys and enjoy s racing around the flat with a lazer toy, even though she Is nearly nine. she has a very sweet temperament which was very important as my fiance was a bit nervous with cats (they are now inseparable)

The Sspca were able to advise on whixh cats were even tempered and would be well suited to a home with children. With a kitten It will be pot luck.

zukiecat Tue 02-Apr-13 12:46:15

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Skinidin Tue 02-Apr-13 12:47:25

A lot of Siamese breeders insist that you keep the cat indoors.

Having said that, my meezers insist on going out.

But I live in the back of beyond.

Floralnomad Tue 02-Apr-13 12:48:47

My mum has a Ragdoll and he's always been an indoor cat , they are very friendly and love people . Her house looks like some kind of cat play centre and he has baskets of different varieties in every room . He never tries to get out and in the summer often just sits by the window in the conservatory so could easily escape if he wanted to . He watches TV , likes to chase the odd toy and seems quite easily entertained .

EmpressMaud Tue 02-Apr-13 12:52:24

The Siamese cats I've encountered all seem to have had access to the outdoors, and we see one out and about in our area. Which has always made me avoid them as indoor cats.

seeker Tue 02-Apr-13 12:56:18

"A lot of Siamese breeders insist that you keep the cat indoors."

Which, considering he conditions many breeders keep their cats in is a bit rich.

And how are they going to enforce it?

I don't agree with indoor cats personally. Cats love to go outside, it's is unfair to restrict them IMO

Maggie111 Tue 02-Apr-13 12:58:37

We have an indoor persian. I really don't think he has enough sense to be outside - and every time I hear of a cat being run over I am so glad I keep him indoors safe!!

I agree with others who say to get a breed typically suited to being indoors - and make sure you keep him/her happy smile

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