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Turning my indoor cat into an outdoor cat - any advice? bit long

6 replies

womma · 06/11/2013 14:36

I have a five year old rescue cat, and we've had him for about 10 months. He was fostered before we had him, and the foster mum had an enclosure over her back door, so he had some time sitting outside and he loved it.

We adopted him because we live in a second floor flat, with no easy access for a cat to get in and out independently, and the cat charity thought he'd be a good match for us. He was re-homed because his owner got married and moved in to her MIL's and the resident cat really made his life a misery, so he's not keen on other cats.

I could easily get a cat flap put into our front door for him, the big problem is gaining access from outside into the communal hallway so he can come upstairs to get home. Our block is council owned and there's no way they'd indulge us by allowing to put a cat flap in the entry door downstairs.

There's also quite a lot of local cats (and dogs and foxes) around, and as he's only ever lived inside he's a bit limited on his knowledge of the world, poor fella. If I open a window he's straight there, I have to stop him jumping out sometimes. He looks so happy having a sniff of fresh air and watching birds, I really think it would make him a happy cat having some access to the great outdoors. As he is now, he's quite grumpy and pretty limited in what he can do, I feel sorry for him really.

I'm having a baby in April, so I'd be at home and could spend some time with him every day out in the garden (we have a garden but it's not connected to our property, we access it down a little path) so I'd introduce everything to him slowly, and he's have to suffer the indignity of wearing a harness and lead for a bit. And DH thinks now is the wrong time of year to do it because he might get cold!

Have any flat upstairs flat dwellers figured out a good access system for their cat? Or I could make him a little shelter outside the back door until he can be let in? I guess every outdoor cat has had to get used to going outside at some point. So I'm just asking for advice really.


OP posts:
issey6cats · 06/11/2013 18:08

i think you are going to find letting him back in through a door two floors down quite hard as you wont be able to see him waiting and with a new baby leaving the baby two floors up to keep running up and down stairs will be knackering to say nothing of leaving the baby on his/ her own, do you have a balcony in your flat you could cat proof this with wire netting so the cat can go on the balcony without being able to go downstairs, or as you said taking him out on a lead and harness i know quite a few people with pedigree cats do this but they stay with the cat

womma · 06/11/2013 19:48

Unfortunately we've no private balcony, that would be perfect for him.

OP posts:
cozietoesie · 06/11/2013 20:17


I'm afraid that, given your overall situation, it doesn't sound real practical to me.

Is there any way that you can enrich his environment within the flat and eg play more games with him/make him forage for some of his food etc etc? To help his contentment level.

cozietoesie · 06/11/2013 20:23

\link{\Here's} some guidance on the topic.

sashh · 07/11/2013 07:21

I don't think he will ever be able to access the outside independently but a harness and a lead to take him to the garden sounds fine. If he learns that harness = outside he should tolerate it.

womma · 07/11/2013 08:40

Thank you, all of you, for your advice.

Yes, it looks like my plan is a bit unrealistic, but a harness and lead is a good enough start for him now I think.

I may also have a chat with the lady from the cat rescue centre we got him from, just to see what she advises as well.

We won't live in our flat forever, so I'm hoping that one day we'll all be able to step out into a back garden but that's a long term plan.

He spends a lot of time just sat on the window ledge, mesmerised by the great outdoors and I'm starting to feel like I can't give him what he really wants. But for now, just going out of the front door is going to be a big enough adventure for him, so we'll start with that.

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