Etiquette Hell

Etiquette School is in session! => "What an interesting assumption." => Topic started by: Bottlecaps on April 20, 2013, 09:36:02 AM

Title: Assumptions about the happiness of my cat
Post by: Bottlecaps on April 20, 2013, 09:36:02 AM
BG: I have a cat. He's a vibrant, active, one-and-a-half year old black cat named Petey.

I also have neighbors, one in particular. For all intents and purposes, we'll call her SIL. (She's Mr. Bottlecaps' brother's girlfriend. Even though Mr. Bottlecaps and I are not married, for simplicity's sake, I sometimes call his brother my BIL.)

We lived with them for a short period of time after moving to Alabama. BIL has cat allergies, so Petey was outside most of the time - pretty much from the time we got up until we went to bed. That way, BIL didn't have much exposure to the dander. He did seem to enjoy the outdoors, and I didn't mind him being outside per say, but I was always hyper-vigilant of him being outside because Mr. Bottlecaps' first chihuahua got hit by a car and killed right in front of our houses not long after moving down here. Once we moved into the place next door, where we are now, I decided Petey would be indoors-only once again. There was no reason he had to go outside anymore, and it didn't seem to bother him that he wasn't going outside anymore.

End BG.

We have a gap between the floor and our front door. It's not a huge gap, but big enough to where Petey likes to sit by the door and look outside through it. He also enjoys looking outside through the windows. Basically, he enjoys looking outside period.

Every time SIL comes over, if he's looking out the door or out a window, she makes comments like, "He wants to go outside so bad," "He seems so sad since he can't go outside anymore," and "Why don't you let him outside? He really liked it out there."

I don't know how to respond to shut the comments down. It honestly makes me feel bad, I feel like I'm being accused of being cruel to him simply because I don't let him outside for his own safety and for my own peace of mind. I know it's really not cruel, as I'm just looking out for his safety and he still gets plenty of activity indoors, either by Mr. Bottlecaps and I playing with him or by him and the chihuahua we have now playing (or, as the case may be, Petey trying to play with her while she ignores him, LOL), but the constant comments still bother me. Any suggestions on how to shut her down? I'm especially worried because I'm going back to West Virginia in a little over a week, with Mr. Bottlecaps following after everything is in order up there, and he'll have Petey for that time down here. Mr. Bottlecaps is pretty blunt, and I want to try and shut the comments down before then so she doesn't say something to him that makes him snap at her about it.

Or am I just overreacting to all of this?
Title: Re: Assumptions about the happiness of my cat
Post by: Black Delphinium on April 20, 2013, 10:12:13 AM
"Eh, he's cool. Letting him look out the windows is way easier than teaching him how to work the remote."
Title: Re: Assumptions about the happiness of my cat
Post by: Bottlecaps on April 20, 2013, 11:32:34 AM
"Eh, he's cool. Letting him look out the windows is way easier than teaching him how to work the remote."

LOL! Love it! :)
Title: Re: Assumptions about the happiness of my cat
Post by: Black Delphinium on April 20, 2013, 11:41:03 AM
"Eh, he's cool. Letting him look out the windows is way easier than teaching him how to work the remote."

LOL! Love it! :)
A bit of humor usually works for me. And cats love windows.
Title: Re: Assumptions about the happiness of my cat
Post by: Figgie on April 20, 2013, 10:21:50 PM
I actually just had a discussion with our vet about this very topic.  Dear friends of ours moved from a rural area to a very urban area and brought their indoor/outdoor cat with them.  They were very concerned that Pearl would miss the great outdoors and found that what she likes to do is look outside, but has shown NO interest in actually going outside.  :)  In fact she is more relaxed and more playful than she was at the other house.

Considering that she had spent the good part of the day outside for almost 10 years on their previous property, I asked the vet why she now seemed to prefer watching the busy street (one window) and the bushes in the backyard (other window) to going outside.

The vet told me that being outside is stressful for cats.  That every day Pearl had to go and re-mark her territory and chase intruders off.  So, rather than being outside having fun, she was outside working because that is how cats brains are wired.  Now that she is inside, she can enjoy the activity of outside without the responsibility of defending/marking her territory.

Pearl has only done one naughty thing and my friend said it was totally her fault.  When my friend forgot to scoop the litter box for three days, Pearl walked up to her, squatted and pooped on the kitchen linoleum.  Since then my friend has scooped the box daily and there hasn't been a repeat. :)
Title: Re: Assumptions about the happiness of my cat
Post by: Nikko-chan on April 20, 2013, 10:47:30 PM
I actually just had a discussion with our vet about this very topic.  Dear friends of ours moved from a rural area to a very urban area and brought their indoor/outdoor cat with them.  They were very concerned that Pearl would miss the great outdoors and found that what she likes to do is look outside, but has shown NO interest in actually going outside.  :)  In fact she is more relaxed and more playful than she was at the other house.

Considering that she had spent the good part of the day outside for almost 10 years on their previous property, I asked the vet why she now seemed to prefer watching the busy street (one window) and the bushes in the backyard (other window) to going outside.

The vet told me that being outside is stressful for cats.  That every day Pearl had to go and re-mark her territory and chase intruders off.  So, rather than being outside having fun, she was outside working because that is how cats brains are wired.  Now that she is inside, she can enjoy the activity of outside without the responsibility of defending/marking her territory.

Pearl has only done one naughty thing and my friend said it was totally her fault.  When my friend forgot to scoop the litter box for three days, Pearl walked up to her, squatted and pooped on the kitchen linoleum.  Since then my friend has scooped the box daily and there hasn't been a repeat. :)

Actually it was Pearl saying "Clean my litter box!" lol. Cats get testy when the litter box isn't up to their specifications.
Title: Re: Assumptions about the happiness of my cat
Post by: camlan on April 21, 2013, 11:37:26 AM
Fred, the cat in my avatar, was rescued from the Great Big Outdoors when he was about 6 months old. I'd been seeing him around in the woods for at least two months prior to that--he'd been surviving on his own during that time.

Fred is now 17. He has shown no desire to step foot back in the Great Big Outdoors in all those years. Lay on the windowsill and watch squirrels? Sure. Sit in an open window and warn birds that he's a great, big, bad hunter? Absolutely. Recline at his ease on the screened-in porch and take in the scent of flowers wafting on the breeze? You betcha.

Go outside and get wet and muddy and have to dodge coyotes and foxes and owls? Hunt mice and chipmunks for food? Cower in the dark at every strange noise? Nope. Not happening.

Not all cats want out. Many prefer in.

Now, as to your question. I don't think you can control if Mr. Bottlecaps snaps at SIL. That's all on him.

And you can't stop SIL from making silly comments about the cat.

What you can do is focus on your reaction to her comments. You can ignore them, or you can develop a line that you deliver every time she makes a silly comment, like, "No, he prefers indoors." Just say the exact same thing every time she mentions the cat and outdoors, then change the subject. Either she'll get bored of the subject, or you'll just get used to delivering your one line.

Or you could confront her on the matter. "SIL, why are you so concerned about my cat going outdoors? You bring it up every time you come over. You don't listen to my explanations. What's really going on here?" It's a bit confrontational, but it's not rude.
Title: Re: Assumptions about the happiness of my cat
Post by: Pen^2 on April 21, 2013, 12:36:05 PM
Our cat (who tragically died of sudden cancer a month ago), was rescued from a physically abusive owner (we found her in a rubbish bin, having not eaten for over a week according to the vet). She was an adult but weighed under 2kg (typical weight being 3.5kg) and looked like a POW camp survivor. You could see all her bones, including her sternum and neck bones, and it was awful. She hid constantly and was terrified of noise. It was really sad. We looked after her and slowly she stopped cowering for as long as as easily, and eventually lived a pretty normal life as a chubby fluff-ball.

One of her favourite things was to sit and look out the window in the warm sun. Her eyes would follow pedestrians and cars and things. But if I opened the door right next to her to go out, she would flee and not return until the door was closed--she hated the outdoors, possibly due to another awful past traumatic experience. Loved watching things from the safety of the house, but would not go out even if carried (she'd go stiff and make a beeline for the house as soon as she could).

It's like astronomers and astronauts: some little boys dream of going to the stars. Others dream of watching the stars. Both can be perfectly happy doing those things. I, for example, love watching cycling, but hate riding a bike. Nothing wrong with that. And Petey enjoys watching the world from his little crows-nest.

It sounds like you need something new to say to your sister if her presumptuous behaviour isn't changing. If she isn't the type to respond well to being told neutrally and matter-of-factly that she's overstepping the line, you could maybe get a vet to say that this is normal and healthy, and that keeping him indoors is perfectly fine, and then use the power of authority (vet trumps sister) to void any of her arguments to the contrary.
Title: Re: Assumptions about the happiness of my cat
Post by: Minmom3 on April 21, 2013, 01:06:06 PM
Rude alert:

Nothing quite makes the argument for an indoor cat being safer than an outdoor cat is than that outdoor cat being road kill.

I've had indoor/outdoor cats all my life.  No longer.  I live on a very busy and high speed road, and I live rurally with raccoons out and about.  My cats might WANT to go out, but I'm the adult and I say NO.  Too bad, so sad.  They might not even get more exercise outside than they do inside, since at least one of them would just hide under the house the entire time (and then I'd have to spend an hour or so grooming him once he came back in). 

My cats have each other to play with - vigorously.  They have the windows to sit in and look outside, front (trees and birds and squirrels) or back (road and dogs and people).  They can talk to or yell at the birds at the bird feeders.  They can yell at the squirrels.  They can look at the kitty video (fish tank) and attack it as the mood hits them.  They can go to the top of the 7 foot cat tree and thence over to the tops of the bookshelves.  They cannot go outside, ever.  I'm not living with the medical bills and the heartbreak again. EVER.  Not when it's avoidable.
Title: Re: Assumptions about the happiness of my cat
Post by: POF on April 21, 2013, 09:29:15 PM
I do let my cats be indoor outdoor. But only when we are at home and only during the day. Both of them like to go out and lay on the patio bricks when they are warmed by the sun.  They are terrifically lazy and will sit under the bird feeder for hours trying to get the birds to land on them. They will also lay on the patio and cry for someone to carry them in.   

But we are on a quiet road, our dog keeps away wildlife and I've never seen them leave the yard.

Busy street, no way.  Night time ... no way.

Your cat, your choice and I do not think the cat is in anyway sad.
Title: Re: Assumptions about the happiness of my cat
Post by: Catananche on April 22, 2013, 05:24:40 AM
We have a mostly indoor/sometimes outdoor cat. She used to take strolls outside but she's getting on in years and doesn't do that any more. We only let her outside after using the litterbox, just to prevent her from leaving a mess in the garden. She's moving more and more to an indoor cat. Until the sun comes out! She loves to bask in the sun and we have a chair set up for her. But we live in The Netherlands, a country not known for lots of sunshine.

When she seems bored we put up this: http://www.youtube.com/Videosforyourcat (http://www.youtube.com/Videosforyourcat) Our cat loves watching these. It totally depends on your cat if they enjoy these videos or not.
Title: Re: Assumptions about the happiness of my cat
Post by: Venus193 on April 22, 2013, 06:15:45 AM
I get this once in a while and I live in a 4th floor walkup.

My mother's last cat, Tiger, was indoor/outdoor until I inherited him.  In the last year of my mother's life he was more in than out so he adjusted to being indoor only when I took him home.  He lived with me for seven years very happily as an indoor cat until he died of pancreatitis and renal failure last year.  I can't even recall any incident of him trying to go out the door when I'd open it for any reason.

I have no problem shutting down nasty remarks by invoking the safety issue.  I then change the subject. 
Title: Re: Assumptions about the happiness of my cat
Post by: FlyingBaconMouse on April 22, 2013, 06:57:00 AM
My mother says things like this when she comes over. In my case, I know the history of each cat, so it's easy to say "Yes, I'm sure Jasper really misses being abandoned in a parking lot as a small kid, and Inky attained adoption age living in a bathroom bigger than my kitchen. I'm sure they're both really feeling The Call of The Wild, there."  ::)

Title: Re: Assumptions about the happiness of my cat
Post by: katycoo on April 22, 2013, 08:08:43 AM
I too have mostly indoor sometimes outdoors cats.  Trust me. When the cat wants to go outside, you know about it.  None of this sitting quietly and looking business.
Title: Re: Assumptions about the happiness of my cat
Post by: POF on April 22, 2013, 10:59:34 AM
Mine will get really angry and urinate in the dogs water dish if I don't let her out at midnight or in tropical storm winds  (she loves wind ).  ( Cause I am hateful and unreasonable ).  Still doesn't work, she gets to sleep in the bathroom when that happens.
Title: Re: Assumptions about the happiness of my cat
Post by: BeagleMommy on April 22, 2013, 11:19:05 AM
Miss Bitsycat, my late kitty, was an indoor cat.  She would move from window to window and just gaze out at the world.  She used to sit so still a neighbor asked why I moved the white cat statue to a different window all the time.

She was found, abandoned, behind a dumpster in Baltimore.  Once she became part of the family she had no desire to return to the outside world.  Anyone who tried to tell me she wanted out because she was sitting in a window would have gotten "Try opening a door.  She'll run the other way."
Title: Re: Assumptions about the happiness of my cat
Post by: Mal on April 22, 2013, 11:26:42 AM
I'm incredibly lucky:
The small garden of the apartment I moved into already had been secured for cats. There's a tall wall at the end of the garden and high fences, bent inward at the top, on both sides. Which is a blessing because my cat loves the outdoors, but gets really stressed out by other cats (and sometimes people) and likes to remain close by. Sometimes she even ushers me outside so she'll feel safer :)

This new situation is pure bliss and I can only recommend it to any cat owner.
Title: Re: Assumptions about the happiness of my cat
Post by: magicdomino on April 22, 2013, 12:04:40 PM
Nani would be happy to go outside.  She has gotten out accidently a couple of times, and has been known to hang around an open door.  However, Nani is a happy, easy-going cat in general, and perfectly content to stay inside.  It may help that the cats have access to a screened porch for their fresh air needs.
Title: Re: Assumptions about the happiness of my cat
Post by: RooRoo on April 22, 2013, 03:34:50 PM
When I lived in New England, I rescued a fully mature feral tomcat. He became interested in me because I never chased him, but would talk to him - and through his "conversing" with my indoor cat through the window.

It took a long time until he trusted me, but eventually he would let me pet him. I debated with myself about adopting him; if I did, he would be an indoor only cat, and I was thinking like your SIL. Then one early spring day, I saw him lying in the sunshine and went to pet him. He was gurgling when he breathed, and I knew that upper respiratory infections in cats can be deadly. So I said, "Your days of freedom are over, buster;" picked him up, carried him inside, and took him to the Vet's.

He settled in just fine, and hardly fussed at pills being shoved down his throat and having his ear mites treated. But he was one happy cat. He would look out the windows, but never tried to beat me out the door. I knew his time was short - he carried the feline leukemia virus.

A year or so later, in the middle of winter, he asked to go out. I picked him up and carried him onto the porch. I was not about to let him go; I was prepared for a fight, if necessary.

It wasn't. He looked calmly around at the 1/12 feet of snow, then looked up at my face and tucked his head into my chest. "OK, I've seen enough. Take me back in!" The leukemia virus attacked the next summer, and he died in my arms.

RIP Gentleman Jackson, well-beloved survivor of the streets. Thank you for blessing my life.

And, if a former free-roaming, free-breeding tomcat had no further yearning for the great outdoors...

Your SIL is wrong!
Title: Re: Assumptions about the happiness of my cat
Post by: Nora on April 22, 2013, 04:29:03 PM
We have a Norwegian Forest cat. A stray kitten Bob ended up keeping because...big eyes. I keep thinking; we're in Norway, there is the friggin forest! I love her, I do, but she talks a lot. Preferably while humans are extremely otherwise occupied, and she does not get the concept "In a minute, Kitty".

Anywho, so yeah. There the forest lies, just a few hundred yards! Does she stare at it all day? Yes. Does she follow you around kvetching about all this potential she is wasting on you at home, while she could be out getting the most out of her hysterectomy? Of course she does. Does she paw pathetically at the door until you open it? Fo shizzle my nizzle. What does she do when you finally, FINALLY open the door???

...


Anyone who guessed "huffs at slave insultedly and flounces off to hide under heavy furniture" can come pick up waffles at my house.
Title: Re: Assumptions about the happiness of my cat
Post by: Bottlecaps on April 22, 2013, 06:05:50 PM
To those of you who have lost your beloved kitties, you have my deepest sympathies. :(

All of these stories remind me of how we got Petey. Mr. Bottlecaps, not long after we first started dating, were walking home one night. It was pretty cold and rainy, and out of someone's yard came a small, black kitten, about six to eight weeks old. He had a flea collar on that was too tight (signaling, to me anyway, that he had been out and about on his own for at least long enough for the collar to become too tight). I had seen him before from a distance but I thought he belonged to someone in that neighborhood. Apparently he didn't though, because I thought, "Who on Earth would let a small kitten stay outside on a night like this?"

I picked him up and pet him, then set him back down. I felt so guilty, but I thought about the fact that I could be risking taking someone's pet (even though it was pretty obvious by the collar being too tight and his size that he probably wasn't being well-cared for, not to mention the fact he was stuck outside on a cold, rainy night).

Then he started to follow us. :) We got to the bridge just a little ways down the street, and I said, "Mr. Bottlecaps, we can't just leave him out in the cold like this." So I picked him up, wrapped him into my coat against my chest, and carried him home. We put a post on Facebook (it's a very small town) with his picture asking if anyone knew him or his owner. I secretly didn't want to find his owners though, since as I said before, I don't think he was being well cared for. But I decided to give them the benefit of the doubt, thinking that maybe he had run off on them (although there were no posters or anything for him, either). Luckily though, no takers. A few people said they'd seen him around that area though for a good couple of weeks, so my suspicion was right. He had been on his own all that time. :( Originally Mr. Bottlecaps didn't want to keep a cat, so we rehomed him to some good friends of ours, then a month later they found out they couldn't keep him so we took him back, and he's been with us ever since. :)

I think he still remembers that experience being out in the cold. Every once in a great while he'll express a desire to go outside, but that's only if he sees another cat invading on his turf. Other than that, he's perfectly content inside where he's well fed and gets plenty of love. :)

I think the next time she brings it up, I'm just going to firmly but politely say, "Eh, letting him look outside is easier than teaching him to use the computer for entertainment. And besides, his safety comes above all else. I want him with me for a long, long time."
Title: Re: Assumptions about the happiness of my cat
Post by: Bluenomi on April 22, 2013, 08:21:43 PM
Isis has always been an indoor cat and but still loves windows. She knows where the property boundaries are and get cranky if anyone comes into HER yard. Plus she's a cat, they have to know everything that's going on so of course she's going to watch the outside world.

She does change windows though based on the sun, morning it's the back of the house, afternoon it's the front. I quite often come home to find her sitting in the front window.
Title: Re: Assumptions about the happiness of my cat
Post by: Minmom3 on April 22, 2013, 08:47:19 PM
When I lived in New England, I rescued a fully mature feral tomcat. He became interested in me because I never chased him, but would talk to him - and through his "conversing" with my indoor cat through the window.

It took a long time until he trusted me, but eventually he would let me pet him. I debated with myself about adopting him; if I did, he would be an indoor only cat, and I was thinking like your SIL. Then one early spring day, I saw him lying in the sunshine and went to pet him. He was gurgling when he breathed, and I knew that upper respiratory infections in cats can be deadly. So I said, "Your days of freedom are over, buster;" picked him up, carried him inside, and took him to the Vet's.

He settled in just fine, and hardly fussed at pills being shoved down his throat and having his ear mites treated. But he was one happy cat. He would look out the windows, but never tried to beat me out the door. I knew his time was short - he carried the feline leukemia virus.

A year or so later, in the middle of winter, he asked to go out. I picked him up and carried him onto the porch. I was not about to let him go; I was prepared for a fight, if necessary.

It wasn't. He looked calmly around at the 1/12 feet of snow, then looked up at my face and tucked his head into my chest. "OK, I've seen enough. Take me back in!" The leukemia virus attacked the next summer, and he died in my arms.

RIP Gentleman Jackson, well-beloved survivor of the streets. Thank you for blessing my life.

And, if a former free-roaming, free-breeding tomcat had no further yearning for the great outdoors...


Your SIL is wrong!

The all time best cats I've had and my IL's had were funny enough, two nearly identical black and white tuxedo boys, both in their early teens when they decided to move in with me (and them), both short hairs with deep raspy voices who had to be neutered at that late age.  Both THRILLED to have a HOME that fed them and brushed them and let them sleep on beds.  Mine found us in Los Angeles in the 1970's, MIL's found her up in San Jose in the early 1980's.  Wonderful, wonderful cats.  Gobs of personality.  Everybody cried when those cats got sick and old and had to be put down.  Both were indoor/outdoor until they died, but they knew exactly where they lived and never strayed far once they found us.
Title: Re: Assumptions about the happiness of my cat
Post by: Minmom3 on April 22, 2013, 08:58:51 PM
We have a Norwegian Forest cat. A stray kitten Bob ended up keeping because...big eyes. I keep thinking; we're in Norway, there is the friggin forest! I love her, I do, but she talks a lot. Preferably while humans are extremely otherwise occupied, and she does not get the concept "In a minute, Kitty".

Anywho, so yeah. There the forest lies, just a few hundred yards! Does she stare at it all day? Yes. Does she follow you around kvetching about all this potential she is wasting on you at home, while she could be out getting the most out of her hysterectomy? Of course she does. Does she paw pathetically at the door until you open it? Fo shizzle my nizzle. What does she do when you finally, FINALLY open the door???

...


Anyone who guessed "huffs at slave insultedly and flounces off to hide under heavy furniture" can come pick up waffles at my house.

And on the other end of the spectrum, you have my daughters ex cat Marty.  Marty was brought home at 6 weeks, straight from his mom's owners house.  Marty moved in with #2 and her 2 roomies to an apartment with a pitiful patio, upstairs.  Marty spent his first 9 months trying desperately to GET OUT and (go visit Napoleon downstairs) and being brought right back up inside.  Once he moved in with us (9 months old, got him neutered) since we were rural, he got to go out whenever he wanted.  He LOVED being out and Fierce and Bad Donkey!  He HUNTED (never caught a thing other than a moth or two) FIERCELY.  He walked #2 to the bus stop a block away.  And then, after a few years, we left rural and moved back to the city, in another upstairs apartment.  He HATED it.  Knocked potted plants (fairly heavy ones too!) down from the window sill.  Yowled.  Tried to jump out the 2nd story window (unscreened, darn it) and nearly defenestrated himself.  Figured out that he could jump up on the roof from our porch, and from there he could get down on the ground.  He didn't come home for a week...

Marty adored living in the apartment complex, and decided he now belonged to EVERYBODY.  He went to the club house to hang out during the monthly ukelele meetings.  He went to the quarterly HOA meetings.  He went to a Thanksgiving dinner party and had a bath in the front window until they called me and asked me to keep him IN the house until their party was over.  When a bicycling group met up before going out on a ride, and everybody was out on the grass fiddling with their bikes, Marty was being social and greeting everybody and talking and rubbing against everybody.  When we moved out, I gave all his medical info to the lady at whose apartment he spent most of his time.   
Title: Re: Assumptions about the happiness of my cat
Post by: Nora on April 23, 2013, 06:29:31 AM
Good for Marty! That settles it, I'm getting our next cat from the rescue group. If he likes the outside he will have access now that we've moved, but if he does not feel like roaming free and fierce like Marty I won't let anyone convince me he "needs" something he shows no interest in.

Title: Re: Assumptions about the happiness of my cat
Post by: That Anime Chick on April 23, 2013, 10:13:09 AM
Our cats are perfectly happy looking out the windows and actually get excited when we open the windows. I've had people say how cute our cats are looking out, but never had anyone tell us that we shouldn't keep them indoors. Our neighborhood has dogs, so if either of them were to wander into their yards, one would run as fast as she could back home when the dog starts barking while the other would sit and look at the dog as if to say 'Yeah, you bark, so what?' (she has no fear).

We even built a small set of stairs for our older cat since she's getting older and sometimes jumping is hard for her.
Title: Re: Assumptions about the happiness of my cat
Post by: NyaChan on April 23, 2013, 07:14:51 PM
My sister's cat LOVES windows and sliding glass doors.  If you are the first person awake in the morning, watch out, cuz she will not leave you alone until you open something up for her to look out of.  Open the front door and she'll sniff around outside and enjoy it - but she always wants back inside.
Title: Re: Assumptions about the happiness of my cat
Post by: TootsNYC on April 23, 2013, 10:55:01 PM
OP, remember that you can choose the conversation topic just as much as SIL can.

So when she brings it up, change the topic. Change it to how often she makes that comment, and how repetitive it is, and even say that you feel it's disrespectful for her to keep making that comment when she knows that your decision about indoors-only was to keep Petey safe.

And then leave the room.

And after that, then just do the Ronald Reagan thing, "There you go again!"

Or alternately (now that I'd read your update about him), "Eh, you know, he really doesn't want to go out. He likes looking, but he doesn't want to go out. Maybe you're just projecting your own reaction onto him, or thinking in stereotypes. But Petey's happy how he is."
Title: Re: Assumptions about the happiness of my cat
Post by: lurkerwisp on April 24, 2013, 01:29:34 PM
Our cat, Willow, loves to sit at the window and watch birds.  We have a fenced in patio and she's pretty clumsy so I thought I could take her outside back there to give her outside playtimes.  She freaked out.  Willow did not want to be outside, not one bit.  She climbed over my shoulder (quite a feat since she'd been declawed by her first owner) and right back in the door to stand in the kitchen and meow at me with big sad eyes of "how dare you!"

Willow is a rescue, who was abandoned in an apartment closet when her first owner was sent to prison.  Apparently she had some kind of brain damage from being left without food or water for who knows how long, and new things like the different food, different litter, and rearranging furniture stress her out too much for her to handle.  Turns out that the great outdoors, even just about 10x18 feet of it, is also definitely on that list too.

So saying something along the lines of, "Petey feels safer inside, it's much less stressful for him." and then giving some evidence such as, "See how relaxed he looks?" (And he's a cat, so that's probably true most of the time) could help.  If it doesn't, then just repeat the same things over and over again until she stops asking because she'll know the exact wording of your answer.  :)
Title: Re: Assumptions about the happiness of my cat
Post by: Twik on April 24, 2013, 03:56:01 PM
Just a side note that no, not all cats are happy outside.

The Sabre-Toothed Siamese (mother's cat) is an indoor cat, all his life. And he does stare pensively out the window quite often. However, one day, I didn't close the front door properly while Mom was out, and realized it 15 minutes later. Searched the house - no cat. Ran out the door, prepared to scour the neighbourhood calling his name...

... Only to nearly step on a ball of grey fluff two feet from the door. Every hair was on end, so he really did look like a ball, with two wide, dilated blue eyes in the middle, which seemed to be saying, "Help me ... please...."

He was too frightened to even walk the two feet back inside. I had to pick him up (feeling his little heart thumping) and carry him, and he didn't relax until I'd closed the door.

He still sits at the window and acts deprived, though, the little stinker.
Title: Re: Assumptions about the happiness of my cat
Post by: EMuir on April 24, 2013, 04:15:49 PM
Even if the cat is happier, there will be a human who isn't.  I used to have a neighbour who swore her cat never left her townhouse yard, but we often saw it over looking in the window at our cats, and the basement window to the room where our cats looked out was YELLOW with cat pee spray. I have stopped to remove the body of a cat from a roadway, and it wasn't pleasant. 

I say lots and lots of beandip will save you.  Have several other topics ready to switch to.
Title: Re: Assumptions about the happiness of my cat
Post by: wolfie on May 04, 2013, 09:18:52 AM
I had an indoor feral for a few years (didn't realize she was feral when I caught her and then she had kittens - took me a year to catch her again and take her to the vet - at which point I figured she could just stay an indoor feral). She loved looking out the windows and smelling the fresh air but would run when you opened the door. She didn't want to go back out there! She knew the inside was much safer and more comfortable.

I also have one cat who I took in when he was about a year old. He likes to go outside and sit under the trees and watch the world go by. I hate letting him out but can see it does make him happier.

You know your cat best - if you can keep him inside and happy then good for you and blah on your SIL for sticking her nose where it doesn't belong.
Title: Re: Assumptions about the happiness of my cat
Post by: Shea on May 18, 2013, 08:50:36 AM
Fred, the cat in my avatar, was rescued from the Great Big Outdoors when he was about 6 months old. I'd been seeing him around in the woods for at least two months prior to that--he'd been surviving on his own during that time.

Fred is now 17. He has shown no desire to step foot back in the Great Big Outdoors in all those years. Lay on the windowsill and watch squirrels? Sure. Sit in an open window and warn birds that he's a great, big, bad hunter? Absolutely. Recline at his ease on the screened-in porch and take in the scent of flowers wafting on the breeze? You betcha.

Go outside and get wet and muddy and have to dodge coyotes and foxes and owls? Hunt mice and chipmunks for food? Cower in the dark at every strange noise? Nope. Not happening.

Not all cats want out. Many prefer in.


My cat (also black and 1 1/2 years old, actually) is just the same. She had been a stray before I adopted her from the local shelter this winter, and she displays no desire whatsoever to go outside. She loves looking out the windows, especially if they're open, but actually leave the house? Not interested, gonna stay right in here with the toys and food bowls and humans to pet me, thanks.