House cat(27 Posts)
Please can anyone tell me what it is really like keeping a cat in the house from a kitten, and how it works and how the cat copes/enjoys/lives etc, please?
Can't speak from kittenhood, as mine were around 1 and 2 when they arrived. But apparently starting from kittenhood is even easier as they don't know the difference. Would you be keeping it indoors by choice or necessity? I feel like if it's going to be a constant 'don't let the cat out!' then that would be annoying, for you and them. With mine, there is nowhere for them to go, so it's just how it is.
How big is your house? The smaller the house the more effort you have to put into keeping them happy. I've got 2 in a 2 bed flat. It is slightly less than ideal, but nobody's gone mad. Aside from the one that's already mad.
Trays. 1 per cat + 1 is standard, though I just have two because of space, and because I'm at home most of the time to scoop on demand. You will be surprised at their excretion levels.
Toys/Interaction. They do need it. But toys are cheap and it's no biggie, plus they do invent their own games.
Windows. Especially if you're at ground level, because it is a pain in the ass in the summer. I'm on an upper floor and do open windows, because they like it, I like it, and I trust them not to be idiots. Obviously I'll regret this massively if something happens.
They do seem to bond with humans more when they're indoors, which is nice in lots of ways but also means you're more responsible for them than with an outdoor cat. They need chatting to, and paying attention, and in The Lamb's case a lengthy bedtime patting routine.
I do think that some kind of outside is helpful - mine have a concrete balcony walkway thing and that helps, they can sit on the wall, smell the breeze, gawp at things. I have a pot of grass out there for them to munch on, which stops them
doesn't stop them eating the plants.
I'd consider two, if your space can handle it. Especially if kittens as they can play together.
Importantly, cat personalities vary and can be unexpected. The madcat was my worry, because she is Very Active. The lamb was supposed to be a 'perfectly happy indoor lap cat' as she has a disability. The madcat will sit outside for a minute until she sees anything move, then wail and bolt back in to happily carry on with her parkour routine in the living room. The lamb has made several escape attempts, and I feel regular and mounting guilt about it.
erm, that's probably enough to be getting on with. Questions?
I had two - last one recently pts. It worked but they never knew any different. Company for each other and lots of toys as kits. As old ladies they were rather Bette Davies and Joan Crawford in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane. Lots of attention from me. Lots of high up hidey places.
I tried them outside. They were very nervous and didnât have the skills . Then neighbours bought rottweilers that weren't tied up properly so that sort of decided it.
shaska just testing the water really! Our amazing 2 year old cat was killed on the road last week. I want a new cat and someone said they thought it was irresponsible to do so when the road was there. But other people round my way have cats.
My dd wants a rabbit so we may end up doing that but I will, one day, have a cat again! I feel sure. Our house is three bed detached with a medium sized living room, small dinning room, small kitchen and brick built utility.
In my heart of hearts I am sure they would get out, our last cat was with us from a kitten and could not wait to get out!
Thanks sparkysparkysparky what does last one recently pts. mean?
Our neighbour has a dog but when our ginger pudding and the dog met first time, cat showed her who was boss!!
Sorry for the mumsnet jargon, pts means "put to sleep" - a silly phrase I didn't use when discussing it with my Dd, by the way. Gently told truth only.
These are brilliant for placing in the windows you don't want your cat to leap out of. I have them in my upstairs windows.
Have you thought about cat-proofing your garden, Italian?
I wouldn't get one from a kitten. Rescues generally have 'flat cats' available. These are cat that can't go out for some reason (they're deaf and wouldn't be able to hear traffic/ they have less than the normal number of legs etc etc), or who don't show much inclination to go out - generally these will be middle-aged/older cats.
So I would recommend one of these cats - preferably one of the ones that doesn't really want to go out as it will be less trouble when it comes to leaving doors open etc - and it should all be fine.
Mantra no idea how I would if the new cat was anything like my ginger pudding. He could climb each fence! Even on utility roof. He was like spider man!!!
thecatneuterer flat cats, I love it!
I had an ex farm cat an no one could prevent him from going outside. He was not an escape artist, he NEEDED to go out and if he was locked in no one was allowed to sleep.
But I had cats that were inside all their lives and it was not a problem.
You can train them not to go close to the door when it is open.
I have been forced to order a mynwood walking jacket and cat proof my garden because my cat who I have had since she was six weeks old is desperate to go outside and races outside at every available opportunity.
I'd go for an adult who prefers indoor only.
We had three Persians who the breeder said should be indoors but went out because it made them stir crazy.
Rubbish these window protector things look great. Thanks for that tip
Claudia, mine flings himself at it and uses his claws to stick to it like velcro-kitty.
Italian, you've just reminded me, I used to have a spider cat. He got shut out by mistake once, and he climbed up the wall and hung bat-like off my bedroom window, yowling to be let in. I still miss him...
I want one of those Mynwood jacket thingies for little monsieur! He chooses not to leave the garden, but loves meeting people. So we were going to get him a harness to take him for walks on the heath. They look much nicer, and will keep him warm. (He's semi hairless)
Oh, forgot to say Italian, Protectapuss are well recommended for cat proofing your garden.
Generally speaking I don't think it's fair to keep a cat indoors through choice. I have 9 of them and in our last house we had to keep them indoors as upon moving in we found out the garden had an established fox den, but that was only short term until we moved again, but it made me feel awful.
Cats are hunters, they thrive on outside activity and freedom. Having said that, a couple of years ago we had kittens (10 of them) from both our girlies within 3 weeks of eachother. I was very lucky that I managed to home them all with family or friends. One of our friends was in exactly the same situation as you. They had just lost their 2 year old cat to the road and really really wanted another, but rehoming centres turned them down on account of wanting an indoor cat. I gave them one of ours as I knew they would be true to their word. The 'kitten' which he is not anymore, has his own room, lots of toys which get swapped round, puzzle toys, a massive cat tree, indoor cat grass. He gets fed a fantastic diet, he never seems bored, he has a beautiful coat and is very very well cared for. I do have to say if it wasn't them I wouldn't have let anyone keep one of the kittens indoors though.
Thanks sugarplumfairy28 I have such mixed feelings about all this. I think an indoor cat who likes indoors and is only used to it, from a rescue centre, might work, or we may just get a kitten and start over again raising our new cat. I cannot feel guilty our beloved cat got killed by a car. There are masses of cats in rescue centre and kittens born all the time and so if we choose not to have a new pet out of fear of the roads maybe one more cat will just end up living in a centre and never being part of a family. We will see what seems right.
Thanks for all your contributions.
Thanks so much. The cat we were thinking of was older and a house and garden cat, she looked lovely but was quite a long way away (geographically). We looked into it more locally today and if you want the latest, please pop to
Can I hijack this thread please to ask some more Qs about indoor cats? <waves to Italian>
My two elderly boys have become indoor cats for a variety of reasons. They have taken to it v well but...
- Is "indoor food" really necessary? One variety we tried made one of them very sick, and they aren't keen on another one we tried
- possibly linked to the above... They have no interest at all in the pot of grass I bought. Does this matter?
- they also have no interest in any toys! Perhaps because they are old / lazy all they want to do is sleep... But what about scratch posts? And how on earth can I encourage them to use them?
- do they still need flea and worm treatment?
Indoor food generally gives them the extra nutrients that would get from being outdoors, and I believe be a little less calorific in light of a less active lifestyle. Indoor and senior food is also meant to help with urinary health, less salts which can calcify in the bladder. I'm no expert though, we had to change food as one of our boys ended up at the vets for 9 days with a blocked bladder. Our friend gives Iccy a variety of different things, oily fish for Omega 3, butchers off cuts (that have been cooked), wet food and dry. Cat grass is more of a stimulant for them rather than diet related as such.
At present we have 5 cats that go out an 4 that don't (we have recently moved) I give them all wet food and dry in the mornings, and just dry indoor at night. I also give them fish once a week.
We have a cat tree, that does get very well used, for sleeping, playing, scratching/scenting and general pretty look at me perch. I would get one anyway. We also have quite a few cat nip toys, and several laser pens which they love.
Still keep up with Flea and worming treatment, just perhaps less frequent.
Having said all that, before we lost our old lady cat, I say we, I mean my family cat at my mums. She gradually became an indoor cat, she would only leave the house via the kitchen window and use the window flower box as a litter tray. She had no toys, was insulted at the idea of them, no special food, no post or anything. She accepted my offering of a snugglier cat bed and a bit of cheese every now and then.
Try what you can, and go with what sticks.
I don't feed indoor food, but I do have a pot of grass for them to nibble on. They mostly seem to prefer chewing the houseplants though. I think grass is something they'll eat if they need/want to
or if they need/want to be sick on your carpet rather than a necessity but maybe someone else can say otherwise.
Toys, if they don't want to play, that's fine. If they're elderly they might be more interested in a warm snooze and there's nothing wrong with that imo.
Good luck with the scratch posts, I never had much luck. Mine get 'NO!' for clawing the sofa, but the doormat is fair game, as is a wicker storage basket thing we've got.
Flea and worm... I don't do mine. In theory you could bring fleas/worms in with you I suppose, so it's worth keeping an eye out for signs of either, but I've never had it happen.
We have three house cats. All very happy the first was an outside cat and still goes out very occasionally . The second her son was born in our house and is a lazy bugger . He does like watching out the windows and lastly my baby who is far to precious to mess up his feet by going outside !!!! He is my Velcro cat and always with me. They do have a cattery in the garden as we found it very difficult in the summer with 6 dogs !!!
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