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Country Discussion Topics
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Outdoor cats
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Mosey    Posted 08-01-2002 at 11:33:52       [Reply]  [No Email]
We have 2 kittens that we got when they were about 8 weeks old. They will live outdoors (if this offends anyone, then please just stop reading this post. I tried posting a question like this on another forum and got lectured about how cruel I was to make them live outdoors. I'm not going to have them in the house, so please don't lecture me, it won't do any good).

They had already been "trained" to use kitty litter. How hard is it to "untrain" them to use kitty litter? If we just don't have any around, will they be able to figure out for themselves where to go? I was told they won't go anywhere they can't cover it up afterwards, so I'm hoping they'll find an area near the edge of the woods (we live in the country) where there is some loose leaves and topsoil. We don't want them using the flower beds around the house if we can help it. I don't care if they use the garden, since it will probably provide fertilizer. I thought of gradually moving the kitty litter tub until it's at the edge of the woods (about 100 feet from the house) and then once they're used to going there just eliminating the kitty litter. I don't mind tilling up an area behind the garden and keeping it tilled periodically, so would that help? I want to make this as easy as possible for the kittens, but I also don't want to have to deal with kitty litter for too much longer! We had cats on the farm where I grew up, but that was a long time ago and I don't remember the details about things like where they went "potty". Thanks in advance for any help.


chelsea    Posted 05-12-2004 at 12:58:17       [Reply]  [Send Email]
hey! i dont mind having cats live outdoors but i would much rather have them live indoor. im getting 2 kittens soon and i have to make them live outdoors. so im trying to figure out how to get them trained for that. if you have any idea for that please contact me. ps i live in the country too so you might know better than any one else. thanx chelsea


Mosey    Posted 08-22-2002 at 12:16:58       [Reply]  [No Email]
Hereís an update in case anyone is interested. They are still locked inside the playhouse at night with a litter box of kitty litter in case they need to go at night. We had to stop leaving the litter box in there all the time because it started to smell too bad. During the day, I put the kitty litter box where they can't get too it and have a second litter box filled with loose dirt in the area I want them to start using (about 50 feet from the playhouse). The male seems to be catching on and has used the litter box with dirt in it. The female has used the yard and a flower bed. It's only been a few days, so I'm hoping she just needs more time.

I would like to eliminate the litter box in the playhouse, but I'm afraid they won't wait until morning and just go on the floor (the floor is made of wood). I don't want to leave the door open because I'm afraid they'll wander off at night. But, Iím wondering if thatís true. If we keep feeding them every night and every morning it seems like they would stick around. They havenít caught a mouse yet, but have caught some horse flies. They stay close to the house all of the time, most of the time they are in the breezeway or garage sleeping when weíre not home or in the house. The kids have spent a lot of time with them, even in the hot weather. But, now that school has started the kittens are getting more time to rest Ė they lay around and sleep a lot!


Hal/WA    Posted 08-02-2002 at 11:02:17       [Reply]  [No Email]
In my area, if you don't have outside cats, you have mouse problems. I have 3 adult female cats that have never been inside my house, but frequenet most of the other buildings on my property. As a result of this, we have little problem with rodents.

I do feed my cats. I want them to stay around and consider this their home. I also want them to be healthy. I usually feed them in the late afternoon, inside my shed where the magpies will not be able to steal the food. This helps keep the cats fairly close during the night.

Over the years, I have had several cats disappear, presumably taken by coyotes. A couple of them have been real friendly pets and I miss them. I try not to get too attached to barn cats, but some have personalities that are hard to resist. I do not spay the females, as my experience in having this done has not been good--it produced lazy mousers and for some reason, they tended to be the ones that were taken by the coyotes. This does require me to get rid of some kittens though. I do not try to keep unfixed tomcats, as my experience with them is they always end up fighting other tomcats and being injured or just taking off. I generally try to have 3 or 4 cats here.

I do not have cats in my house due to my children's allergies. I also do not like the damage cats do to furniture or the mess they make. I hate the smell of a cat box, to say nothing of spraying.

But they are very useful and valuable outside and really earn their keep. I am kind to my cats as I am to all my animals, and they like me.

Some may criticize the way I deal with my cats, but it is practical and has worked for me for many years.


Saddlebum    Posted 08-01-2002 at 21:08:25       [Reply]  [No Email]
Any soft dirt will do. I don't think you'll have to go to the trouble of tilling up a spot for them, but your dedication is admirable! ;-)

We have indoor/outdoor cats (4)...they are particularly fond of the horse pasture, after the horses have eaten down a round bale. The kitties all sleep inside at night, so we do have a litter pan, but they'd much rather go outside. If nothing else, you could make your kittens a little mound of potting soil in a "private" spot away from the garden and the flowerbeds--they'd probably love that and it would be low/no maintenance.


JohnnyB    Posted 08-01-2002 at 19:03:22       [Reply]  [No Email]
We have never let any animals in our house, and have never fed any of our cats store bought food, they might get a few table scraps every once in a while. I got a big barn about 50 yards from the house and our old mama cat keeps the mice in check out there. She also works the round bales for mice and catches a few birds. We raise more kittens than we can hardly give away. Got one more to give away from the last litter of five. Only them spoiled rotten indoor cats get eaten by coyotes, these country cats around here are too smart and quick for them, they have to earn their living around my place. Cats have been living outdoors for at least 2000 years, they ought to have a handle on it by now!


DeadCarp    Posted 08-01-2002 at 16:53:26       [Reply]  [No Email]
We have 2 cats (mostly indoor) and 2 grandkittens (mostly outdoor). Outdoors is healthier for them, but they won't live as long. We live right by a beach, and they all love to use the sand and roll in it and stuff, so i say make yours a little sandbox and let them figure the rest out. I hope you like dead birds for presents. The vet has some little tiny squeeze packets to rub into the back of their necks for fleas. Safer/better than collars. :)


WallSal55    Posted 08-01-2002 at 14:13:37       [Reply]  [No Email]
If the kittens are litter trained, then they
are pretty tame. I feed my outdoor cats twice a
day, once in the morn, once at night. Feeding
them at night makes them less apt to go hunting
farther from the house--and meet up with coyotes,
etc. They usually hang around their food source
and do not go too far. Most of mine hangout within earshot of the sounds of the cat food
pouring onto the back patio tiles! Good Luck.


Les...fortunate    Posted 08-01-2002 at 12:24:01       [Reply]  [No Email]
All our cats were outdoor or barn cats all the while I was growing up and until maybe 20 years ago. They were in the house at times during the day but never at night.
Nowadays, you can't let your cats run free outside. If you do you won't have them long. Coyotes and fishers will get them. Just a couple of weeks ago a coyote ran across the road in front of me right in the middle of the day with a cat in its mouth. This in a fairly thickly settled residential area by Lake Winnipesaukee.
Once your cats get outside, they won't have any desire for that cat litter box.


ger    Posted 08-01-2002 at 13:10:29       [Reply]  [No Email]
coyotes have been taking cats out here for years we lost some an all our neighbours have too , just yesterday i happened to look out back an here was one starting to come after one of our cats , well i ran for the gun by the time i got back the horses were taking care of the coyote for me , they hate them , well what was left of him crawled throught the side fence, but what we do is lock the cats up in an old shed at night an let them out in the daytime , they can be just pets to some but i think for people in the country they become a necissity to keep the rodent population down an theres all the risk of diseases from mice etc, mine even kill the gophers they clean out half the field every year, so they earn their keep too, so i try to treat them right too later ger


Mosey    Posted 08-01-2002 at 13:39:31       [Reply]  [No Email]
We have been, and intend to continue, to lock the cats in at night. We've been putting them in the kids' play house (which is a 8'x8' play house that I built for the kids last year) and they like it there. If we're going to be gone overnight, we'll put them in the garage so they'll have more room, and the neighbors can check on them for us. I guess I'll have to keep some kitty litter for those occasions. If I see any signs of coyotes getting too close, then I'll get a couple of dogs, which we plan to do sometime anyway. I also won't hesitate to shoot a coyote if I get the opportunity.


ger    Posted 08-01-2002 at 13:52:04       [Reply]  [No Email]
usually you don,t have to actually shoot them i have over the years but they learn pretty fast where danger lies for them an they stay away its usuall some young one thats the problem till they learn just a shot or two in their direction once or twice usually does it , gotta watch your dogs to ive seen them take down the neighbour sheperds until their rotwieliers got into the action to help they usually send one out to lure the dog away they a bunch attack they learned to leave the sheperds an rotties alone too , id lend ya my horses but i need them here lol they do a very effective job on them haha ,there good ponies lol later ger


Salmoneye    Posted 08-01-2002 at 11:54:59       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Have had two outdoor cats since 94.
Same as yours they were trained to litter but forgot it the second they got outside.
Will never have an indoor cat.
They get lazy and bored easily.
I used to have a problem with Red Squirrels...not anymore ;-)


EIEIO    Posted 08-01-2002 at 11:48:04       [Reply]  [No Email]
Hi Mosey, we have two indoor cats and two outdoor cats and the four of them are spoilt rotten. The outdoor cats just go wherever outside, although they are quite a little ways from the house plus I don't have any flower beds around. They should not have a problem adjusting to no litter, in fact the two inside cats used to use litter and it was so messy, expensive, etc that I know use shreaded newspaper and they took to that right away. So now I am saving money and recycling. Good luck with the babies, we got ours to be mousers. Mr. Mischief got his first mouse the other day and was so proud that by the time he got through carry it around there were only pieces left. He cried like a baby when he couldn't find it.


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