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Leaving 'outside' cat?

(30 Posts)
OneMillionScovilles Mon 10-Aug-15 20:15:28

Hi all,

I posted on AIBU around a month ago when a stray followed me home. Having exhausted all avenues for finding her owners slaves we've decided to keep her (smilesmile). Thing is, she's my PFCat and I haven't a clue what I'm doing really...

She's definitely an outdoor cat (miaows pitifully if kept in during the day, and likes to roam), but we always bring her in at night, when she has a couple of 'spots' where she likes to snooze. She's fed on wet food 2-3 times a day depending on when she shows her face.

We stayed at friends overnight this weekend - we were gone about 22 hours and fed her normally immediately we left / came back. I left water and dry food for her to free feed and she seems untraumatised by it... We don't have a cat flap, so if we aren't here she's stuck outside.

Two questions really:
1. Were we total assholes to leave her overnight?
2. We're due to go to a DH family commitment next w/end but will be away for 2 nights (c. 40 hrs out of the house). Is this too long? It feels too long.

Please advise - I can cut my bit of the visit short if it's best for DCat.

mineofuselessinformation Mon 10-Aug-15 20:24:37

If you're going to get flamed for this, I am too. smile
I leave my cat out if I'm going away for 24 hours or so.
Longer, and I'd get someone to come round and feed. Have you got a neighbour who would pop round and make sure food /water bowls are topped up?
(My cat is fed in the house as the local cats tend to come round and scoff it - but I leave food out when away.)

OneMillionScovilles Mon 10-Aug-15 20:36:06

Thanks mine! We feed PFC inside, but she's never shown any inclination to 'go' in the house so we don't currently have a litter tray - so unless we change that, we won't be able to lock her in...

We have an okay (chatting/parcels etc) relationship with the neighbours on both sides, so I'll make enquiries smile

IAmAPaleontologist Mon 10-Aug-15 20:41:19

one night is fine, 2 then I'd see if a neighbour can put some food down.

thecatneuterer Mon 10-Aug-15 21:04:27

Firstly it's great that you're looking after her. You have check that she's spayed haven't you?

I don't think 24 hours is out of the question.

However, if you don't have a cat flap, and she comes in at all, you have to have a litter tray. Cats aren't like dogs, they can't hold it in until it's convenient. If she is inside at all she needs a tray.

What you really need though is a cat flap. Is there a problem with getting one?

OneMillionScovilles Mon 10-Aug-15 21:15:09

Thanks paleo. Neuterer - the vets say they can't tell whether she's spayed, so the only option would be to operate and try to find a uterus (or not) which they described as 'extreme' sad Do you know of another way to tell, or should we just bite the bullet? We definitely couldn't care for kittens for 8-12 wks...

Re. cat flap - we only have double-glazed doors, so cost is the impediment - apparently they need to make a whole new pane of reinforced glass with a cat flap hole in(?) so we're looking at c. £400. Given she isn't currently peeing inside and we're attentive if she miaows at the door it feels like a lot of money confused

Floralnomad Mon 10-Aug-15 21:19:46

Do you have a shed or garage that you could put a flap in so that she has shelter ? If not could you get a kennel / cat house .

thecatneuterer Mon 10-Aug-15 21:25:16

Take her to the vet immediately. You need to get her neutered, if she isn't, right now - really this week. The vet should be able to tell by just shaving a patch of fur and checking for a scar. That's how we do it. Perhaps call a different vet and see if they will do that. If not, just book her in to be done. But don't wait!!

Yes it is a lot for a cat flap - I wouldn't be without mine though. In that case then you have to get her a tray. You cannot leave a cat all night without a tray. Even if you have had no accidents so far it will be causing her discomfort.

OneMillionScovilles Mon 10-Aug-15 21:27:43

Floral definitely on my list - DH already thinks I'm obsessed with the cat, but meh. I was looking at something like this:

Will she be ok free feeding if she has a shelter outside? And in the short term, ie next weekend, should I come home sooner? I should, shouldn't I? She hates being inside other than at night, but it's two nights and it feels like a long time for her to be outside even in the balmy weather.

thecatneuterer Mon 10-Aug-15 21:32:18

I would get her a tray, keep her inside when you go away and ask a neighbour to feed.

And I would find another vet as any vet who describes checking a cat is neutered as 'extreme' is clearly incompetent. But do it soon! (Have I said that enough?)

OneMillionScovilles Mon 10-Aug-15 21:32:42

Neuterer - she's due to be going in for chipping, vaccines etc (she should have been in on Sat but we COULD NOT get her in the box) confused - I'll ask them to do that and take her elsewhere if no joy.

I feel really bad that she's been uncomfortable - thanks so much for telling me. I'll get a box tomorrow - poor Lola! sad And I'll think some more about the flap - it's definitely something I want for her, it's just a major expense.

OneMillionScovilles Mon 10-Aug-15 21:35:23

PS neuterer HOW do you get a reluctant cat into a box when she's going all cartoony with limbs splayed and straight up refusing to let go of the opening? I lured her with bacon last time but now apparently bacon = betrayal!

OneMillionScovilles Mon 10-Aug-15 21:37:26

Have I mentioned I don't have a clue what I'm doing?

thecatneuterer Mon 10-Aug-15 21:37:43

A tip for getting a cat in a box. If it's one of the standard sort of boxes with a door at the end, put the box against a wall so that if you push against it it won't budge. Hold the cat with one hand by the scruff of the neck, tightly, (it won't hurt) and put the other hand under the body. Then put the cat into the box BACKWARDS. It's the backwards thing that really is the key to this. And Bob's your uncle.

OneMillionScovilles Mon 10-Aug-15 21:39:30

At least she isn't skin & bone any more - I'm better than the alternative - but I really want to do it right. I'm committed to this little girl for the next 15+ years and I want her to have a happy life.

thecatneuterer Mon 10-Aug-15 21:41:48

Yes exactly. You've done a good thing and you clearly want to get it right. I'm so worried that she might be pregnant though (if she is, you can still go ahead with neutering incidentally - it would be a neuter/abortion - but obviously better to avoid that in the first place), so the neutering thing needs to be your priority.

BastardGoDarkly Mon 10-Aug-15 21:43:08

I leave my cat outside for up to 3 days in this weather. He's got a buggy with blankets in under the porch, that he sleeps in if he comes back, and my neighbour keeps biscuits and water topped up twice a day. It suits us, and him, he's NEVER in anyway!

thecatneuterer Mon 10-Aug-15 21:44:24

That cat lodge thing looks great by the way.

thecatneuterer Mon 10-Aug-15 21:47:47

A thought - if you are planning to leave enough food for her to eat outside for two days - don't you have foxes? Any food I leave outside gets eaten by the foxes every night, so there is no way I could leave enough food outside to feed a cat for two days as it just wouldn't be there the next day.

OneMillionScovilles Mon 10-Aug-15 22:16:15

Do foxes eat dry food too? <ignorant>

thecatneuterer Mon 10-Aug-15 22:23:38

Yes they love it

OneMillionScovilles Mon 10-Aug-15 22:24:52

Eep - bad idea then!

bonzo77 Mon 10-Aug-15 22:33:39

I leave mine indoors with 2 trays and huge amounts of food and water for up to two nights. She's very happy to stay indoors though.

Getting her into a box. Confine cat to one room, ideally one where she can't get on top of wardrobes etc. Stand box on its end, leaning against a wall with the door open. Grab cat firmly by scruff of neck and raise off the floor. They naturally curl up and tuck the paws in. Support the bum / back legs so not all weight is taken by the scruff. The quickly insert bum first into the box and shut door.

OneMillionScovilles Mon 10-Aug-15 23:18:46

Fuck - we definitely have foxes active; she's just had a scrap with one! Remarkably, she seems completely untouched if a bit shaken. Not leaving her outside after that - litter tray tomorrow.

Thanks for the tip bonzo - sounds like scruffing is the way to go next time we attempt it smile

OneMillionScovilles Mon 10-Aug-15 23:21:49

I'm actually shaking with adrenaline. I thought next door's baby was crying - then I heard her yowl, ran out and she was defending her territory against a fox twice her size! Took the sound of a can opening to encourage her back in wink

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