The road in front of our house has a 25 MPH posted speed limit, but few people go less than 45 MPH on the street. This street has been awful to cats – we used to have a next door neighbor who had an outdoor cat. This cat had kittens and the road ate them all. My sister worked as a vet tech for years and said that the life expectancy for a cat is around 10-15 years, unless they are an outside cat, then it is 2 years.
When we first moved here, our cat Gremlin was allowed outside, but this was due to vocal torture. We tried to keep that dude inside, but he really wanted to go outside and if he couldn’t go outside, he would just sit at the door and meow.
Will once tried to outlast him, and Will is impressively stubborn about some things. After about 6 hours of nonstop meowing from Gremlin Will realized that Gremlin had nothing on his schedule, nothing better to do all day than meow at the door. Meanwhile, Will had school and work and sleep and couldn’t just listen to a very loud cat screaming all day. So Gremlin was allowed outside and we just made peace with the fact that he might die sooner because of it. When he passed at 9 due to kidney failure we decided that all future cats would be inside cats.
He would meow to be let in and out so often friends would open the door for him. It took Will a while after Gremlin to not just open the door when he heard a meow.
Will created a cat balcony for the cats, so they can go outside without getting hit by a car or attacked by another animal. They love the balcony, even in the rain and during winter. Our thought is that they should have a secondary balcony that allows them to see the backyard. Will got two very large animal cages from somewhere, and we are trying them out to see how they like them.
They love them. Well, they love going outside, and if that means being inside a cage, then ok. Well, Cecil and Joey Bear Scarface are pretty content with the cages.
Shadow is not a fan and is pretty sure that we are going to murder him. He doesn’t like being in the pet carrier when going to the doctor, either. I feel like this little dude has a fairly traumatic backstory of being put in a cage and dumped. Will did find him at the side of the road.
The thing is even cats cats have FOMO (fear of missing out) and when two out of three cats get to go outside the third cat has strong feelings about it. When we do let Shadow outside he goes to the side of the house, he keeps the door in sight, and he runs back inside if there are cars anywhere around. Will put the cage by the back door, and sat next to it, with his hand inside the cage, so that Shadow knew we were not going to murder him. The first few times, he just freaked out so we put him back inside.
Then waited a week.
A week of all of the cats, both human and furred, going outside without him was too much. He started following me everywhere (which he does anyway, there’s a reason for his name beyond him being a black-ish cat) and sitting on me. He was very underfoot until we allowed him back outside. This time, after a week of watching the other cats in the cages, he was more mellow. Will put the smaller of the cages behind some tall grass, and he hunkered down, basically hiding in the grass. With the grass as cover, he had a pretty good time – as long as someone pet him when he meowed.
And I get it. I wouldn’t want someone – even someone I liked and trusted – to put me in a cage unless I could get out on my own again. And even then, probably not going to happen.
Several years, I had low vitamin D and so I was told to go outside and sit in sunlight a couple times a day. I bought a cat harness to see if one of the cats would even wear it. Out of 3 cats, only Cecil would wear it. So Cecil got to go outside with me until it became apparent that no harness could hold him.
I don’t even know how he does it. I’ve been staring right at him when he Houdinis out of the harness and I STILL don’t know what he does. My leading theory is he phased out of it.
When it became apparent that he was going to jump out of the harness and hide under the front porch, I stopped letting him go outside with me.
It has been over 4 years, but the cats have not forgotten that they were once upon a time allowed outside and therefore should be again. The quarantine has made this true.
We do not leave them outside alone. A cat in a cage by itself seems very vulnerable in my mind, and people do talk about pets going missing from the backyard. Growing up, someone poisoned our dogs more than once, so I pretty much never leave them outside alone out of deep paranoia.
Also, Joey Bear Scarface is already studying the cages, looking for weaknesses. The entire reason he has a scar on his nose is from escaping one of the previous balconies. Will secured it and Joey was so determined to escaped, he cut his nose on the chicken wire. Balcony 2.0 doesn’t have chicken wire for Joey reasons.
ALL of this is to show some pictures of our cats enjoying the spring, eating grass they will later puke up on the carpet inside, and smelling the air while watching birds.
Oh, and Cecil will meow at us if it is too sunny until we either move the cage to some sun and some shade, or we put a board on top of the cage giving him the shade he needs. I think I may have spoiled him.