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Thinking about having an outdoor cat

33 replies

instantfamily · 13/05/2011 08:27

I would really like to get a pet and have decided that a cat would be good. Not based on any experience with any cats, so I need some advice, please.

Can a cat live mostly outdoors? We will be buying a house in a fairly rural area. If it had a cathouse/garage/shed to sleep in even in the winter?

DH says he has an allergy and I am not too keen on the hair in the house, but if she was outside most of the time it would be ok, wouldn't it?

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hester · 13/05/2011 08:30

Well, many cats do spend a lot of time outside, but they like to be cosy and warm, too. I'm sure a cat could survive in a shed, but not convinced it would be very happy.

How much of a 'pet' would it be if it never came indoors?

Why do you want a pet, if it can't come in the house? Effectively, you'll be feeding a stray...

Sorry, I'm just a bit confused as to what you're trying to achieve with this one!

pinkhebe · 13/05/2011 08:34

Quite a few rescue centres have feral cats for adoption, this might be what you need.

DooinMeCleanin · 13/05/2011 08:35

Erm, what is the point of having a pet if your not going to share your home with it? Confused

And no it would not be okay. My cat is an outdoor cat. He loves being out. He goes out on an evening and is sat on the windowsill every morning without fail, waiting to be let in for breakfast. He spends the remainder of the say asleep on the printer. Occassionally he will find Whippy dog for a snuggle in her bed.

There is hair everywhere. And I do mean everywhere, even in rooms he is banned out of. It breeds I think.

If you don't think you could cope with this then a cat is not for you.

hester · 13/05/2011 08:38

I honestly think you'd be better off with a terrapin.

SingingTunelessly · 13/05/2011 08:40

Disagree with other posters - I have two outdoor cats who are very happy and loving. They have do have cosy igloo beds under shelter though and plenty of hay bales to snuggle into which they seem to prefer in the winter months.

Speak to the CPL - I was after a feral cat but they asked me to have one who wasn't very well socialised and was unpredictable. They have all sorts of personalities that need good homes.

Maryz · 13/05/2011 08:40

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instantfamily · 13/05/2011 08:41

Ok, I see the general gist here. But aren't there tons of cats on farms etc who are not "lap" cats? Are they all neglected creatures who really need a better home?

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BluddyMoFo · 13/05/2011 08:41

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SingingTunelessly · 13/05/2011 08:44

instantfamily -of course there are lots of cats who live out all the time with the right conditions such as dry, sheltered space with comfy bed. And yes true feral cats DO live out all the time. Honestly people poster wants to give a cat a home not burn kittens at the stake.

BluddyMoFo · 13/05/2011 08:47

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instantfamily · 13/05/2011 08:47

Friends of ours took "in" 4 or 5 or even more strays. THey live outside and never get further into the house than the kitchen and even there they are chased out. THey are well fed, played with, taken care of in all senses. Of course, these friends live in southern Italy where temperatures are rarely below 10 degrees Celsius.

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instantfamily · 13/05/2011 08:49

Bluddy I would be giving them a home that is surely better than an animal shelter or a tiny flat that they are never allowed to leave?

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Maryz · 13/05/2011 08:50

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hester · 13/05/2011 08:50

Could you tell us a bit more about what you want from a pet? I think I am struggling with this idea because my motivation for getting a cat was having it in the house: the sheer physical pleasure I get from stroking it, having it sleep on my lap, watching it play... If I wanted a pet that I could be outdoors with, I'd be looking at a dog. If the cat lives outdoors, you'll hardly see it, will you? Or are you thinking it will pop in to visit, but spend most of its time out? Thing is, even that will still risk your dh's allergy.

I'm sure there are plenty of cats who live outside: farm cats, strays who have attached themselves to a particular home. But I bet in most cases there's something a bit accidental about them being there. To actually go out and purchase an animal with the intention of hardly seeing them just seems a bit of a waste of time and money! (And remember that cats really vary; some get the call of the wild, while others just love the sofa. And if you find you've got a sofa cat, will you have the heart to shut it outdoors if it's crying and yowling to be let in?)

BluddyMoFo · 13/05/2011 08:51

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hester · 13/05/2011 08:53

instantfamily, but are you talking about taking in a cat that needs a home? Because if this is a rescue of a cat that otherwise would have no home, and you are thinking this would be better than nothing, then I think I understand.

But if you're talking about proactively getting a cat who otherwise would have a home, I think it's not so kind. Not akin to drowning kittens, I wouldn't call it cruel, but a bit unkind.

And if you see yourself playing with/stroking the cat, you would be taking cat hairs back into the home and your dh may react.

hester · 13/05/2011 08:53

Why am I getting so involved with this thread? I'm not even an animal lover Grin

memphis83 · 13/05/2011 09:00

farm cats are cats that you wouldnt be able to trust with kids and they dont generally like human contact, my dad rescues a cat and when they got it home it crawled the walls and turned into cat from hell so became an outdoor cat, she wouldnt let you touch her and if you did then you come up scratched all up your arms and if you got your face near you were lucky to walk away with your eyes!

instantfamily · 13/05/2011 09:14

I think I am influenced by the friends I mentioned above and also my Dad: they have cats around just not inside the house (or not much) - which I think is great for the cat, the DC and I like it myself. I have seen the other extreme: a declawed cat that was never let out and totally neurotically charging through the house.

I would rescue a cat or two from neglect not buy a siamese that I would then leave to fend for itself. Maybe it's just not a pet. If I got an adult cat used to being outdoors from a shelter or a farm kitten maybe that would be the way to go.

The one thing that is difficult for me to judge is my husband's allergy. Maybe we need to verify it's existence Wink

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instantfamily · 13/05/2011 09:16

or rather its existence

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hester · 13/05/2011 09:22

But what will you do if it turns out to be a cat that craves love, and sofas, and airing cupboards, instantfamily?

I'm not saying it couldn't work, just that it's a bit of a risk.

Oh, and obviously research which cats are better for allergy sufferers. Mine has very short, dense hair - silky rather than fluffy - and he doesn't moult much. I'm fine with him, but notice I get very itchy when I'm around fluffier cats.

DrGruntFotter · 13/05/2011 09:23

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Maryz · 13/05/2011 09:24

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DooinMeCleanin · 13/05/2011 09:26

I'm allergic to cats (yes, really Grin) I am more allergic to long haired cats than short haired ones. Kittens don't bother me half as much.

I decided to get a short haired kitten because my mum rescued a long haired cat. I suffered badly everytime I went home to visit. I even started feeling ill around my nans short haired cat. I grew up with cats and had always been okay being in the same house as them, so long as they didn't sit on me for prolonged periods of time.

I could have either asked my mum to get rid of her cat, which would have broke her heart, stopped going home to visit unless I could afford a hotel, which would have broke her heart or get a short haired kitten, cope with being ill for a while and build up my tolernence to cats again. I chose the latter.

I'm now fine(ish) with cats. If I groom mine for too long my eyes start to stream and my skin itches and I'll need my inhaler. Unless he is actually sitting on me for too long I'm fine.

instantfamily · 13/05/2011 09:51

Thanks for all the feedback. I guess I don't want a pet, I want an animal close to the house. I like the expression "working" cat, DrGrunt. and I will check out DHs allergy.

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