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View Full Version : What would cause a cat to suddenly want to go outside?



katiebug
11-29-2007, 10:00 AM
My parents own three cats, all seniors at this point. The youngest of the three has to be about 11-12 years old now. We found her dumped in our front yard as a kitten, and they brought her inside and kept her. Since then, she has been an indoor-only cat for basically her entire life.

She never showed a big interest in going outside until just recently, although we used to take her outside holding her in our arms and let her sniff around sometimes. We'd never let her down on the ground though, and I had her trained to sit on my lap if I sat outside and not try to jump down or get up. She'd just sit there peacefully with me without a struggle. My parents stopped taking her outside about a year or two ago because she suddenly changed her behavior, and went from being calm and peaceful when they were holding onto her outside to being very aggressive. She bit my mom pretty hard one day, which is something she's never done before so after that they figured something must have changed outside, or maybe she didn't like it anymore, and they stopped taking her out. My parents live back on a secluded piece of land that is surrounded by woods, so there are not any loud noises or neighboring pets that could scare her too badly.

When I was still living at home, we had tried harness-training her so we'd be able to take her outside on a lead, but she wanted no part of it. My parents also thought about building a cat run outside at one point, but never did it because the other two cats want nothing to do with the outdoors at all and even the youngest who did seemed too scared to be put down on the ground by herself.

In the last few months, she has suddenly developed an interest in getting outside and has made a bolt for it a few times. She has managed to get out a few times now and my parents go out and try to catch her to bring her back in, but she will run back into the woods and won't come back to them. She has eventually returned to the house each time after being out for a few hours, but this scares my mom to death that maybe one time she won't come back or will get hurt or run out into traffic or something. They have recently started a lot of construction around where my parents live and there are busy roads there now, as well as tons of wild animals that they don't want her coming into contact with since they live back in the woods.

I was talking to my mom about it last night and we just can't figure out why after 12 years of being indoors she would suddenly want to get out like that. Now anytime that my parents are having to go in and out of the door a lot, like bringing in groceries or whatever, they have to put the cat away in a bedroom so she has no option to run out under their feet. She will cry when she's in the bedroom and claw at the door to try to get out, because she knows what's going on outside the door. When they have the windows open and the screens in, sometimes she will even claw at the screens like she is trying to get out. My parents don't want her going outside at all, but they don't know what to do to keep her in anymore.

BTW - She's been spayed and has shown no signs of illness during her life so far.

What could cause this?

ferJenna
11-29-2007, 10:57 AM
Has there been any roaming cats around? Sometimes if they pick up the smell they might want to make an effort to go check it out.

nanamouse
11-29-2007, 11:09 AM
I think Ferjenna is probably right, my indoor only cats have discovered my outdoor cats, and now Mitty and Tex bat at each other from opposite sides of the kitchen window! Cute, but rough on the ears if I've left pots and pans to soak! It seems like changes in the seasons get their attention too, it could be leaves falling that have her worked up, or migrating birds.

KathyW
11-29-2007, 02:48 PM
She must have seen or sensed something that piqued her interest. A cat run may come in handy now!

special
11-30-2007, 01:36 AM
I agree that there is most likely something intriguing her outside. My heart caught in my throat when I read that she has gotten out a couple of times. I'd be terrified too.

Also it isn't that uncommon for cats to get new personalityy quirks at any age, you just never know what they will get into their heads.

I have adjustable window screens attached by hinges (so they can be swung open if needed ) in my two entryways. They are the 18 in high ones. I don't even notice myself stepping over them anymore, nor does anyone who comes to my home.

I installed them many years ago after one of my indoor cats suddenly took a liking to dashing out between my feet. Now cats are smart, of course, but, after a few dashes where he bumped his face against the screen, the screen gave him just enough pause for me to gently nudge him away with my foot and get the door closed. He, nor any of th others, even try any more.

After all he's USED to having a screen in front of his face when chattering at the birds eatng the seed on the windowsill.

However I recommend a vet visit and a senior blood profile for her, just to be sure there isn't something else going on.

I always go for the better safe than sorry school of thought. It's one of the reasons I'm so poor<gg> But there is no price on peace of mind.

katiebug
11-30-2007, 12:00 PM
I suggested that my mom definitely take her to the vet to have her checked out. Besides, she is not up to date on her shots anymore - they have been opting out of keeping her updated on her rabies shot, for example, since she previously never went outside and never even wanted to go outside. So I know my mom is taking her in to get her back up to date on all of her vaccines again too. Hopefully there's nothing wrong with her.

I couldn't really say if anything has changed over there, since I don't live with them anymore, but I will suggest that to my mom. The screens are a good idea, and I think maybe after my mom has her up on her shots again and proves her to be healthy, I will suggest that they go ahead and build her that cat run again. I was considering seeing if they would try to harness train her again, because now that she has a true desire to go outside maybe she will be more receptive to it?

mzdolittle
12-01-2007, 02:14 PM
My cat Salem is almost 11 years old. He showed up at my house when he was approximately 6 months old. I am assuming he was an outside kitty until that point. I have always kept him inside, but about twice a year, he gets it into his head to make it his mission to escape into the great outdoors. This is always during the cold months and never in the summer time. He has actually spent the night out before because we could not catch him, coming back on his own the next day. Salem doesn't care if Mama is worried sick the entire time he is outside. He doesn't always make it out the door when he tries and eventually he gets over whatever it is that causes him to do this. I always make sure his vaccinations are up to date along with my other cats who never show any interest in the outside because I never know when Salem might get away from me again and what he could possibly bring back to his buddies.

dagny82
12-05-2007, 03:29 PM
I suggested that my mom definitely take her to the vet to have her checked out. Besides, she is not up to date on her shots anymore - they have been opting out of keeping her updated on her rabies shot, for example, since she previously never went outside and never even wanted to go outside. So I know my mom is taking her in to get her back up to date on all of her vaccines again too. Hopefully there's nothing wrong with her.

I couldn't really say if anything has changed over there, since I don't live with them anymore, but I will suggest that to my mom. The screens are a good idea, and I think maybe after my mom has her up on her shots again and proves her to be healthy, I will suggest that they go ahead and build her that cat run again. I was considering seeing if they would try to harness train her again, because now that she has a true desire to go outside maybe she will be more receptive to it?

Rabies is not what you need to worry about . . . Feline Leukemia is what you need to worry about. If the cat has decided to go outdoors, she (and the other two cats because they will have contact with her) will need to be vaccinated against Feline Leukemia first.

Rabies is rare these days, and the boosters for the combo vaccines . . . probably not as important at her age. Most research now shows that for many animals, a complete set of kitten/puppy vaccines (dont properly) is enough for lifetime protection (or, at the very least, boosters are only needed once every 3 years).

But I have seen a lot of cats die from Feline Leukemia because their owners were not aware that their outdoor cat needed an extra vaccine.

special
12-05-2007, 06:49 PM
Rabies is not what you need to worry about . . . Feline Leukemia is what you need to worry about. If the cat has decided to go outdoors, she (and the other two cats because they will have contact with her) will need to be vaccinated against Feline Leukemia first.

Rabies is rare these days, and the boosters for the combo vaccines . . . probably not as important at her age. Most research now shows that for many animals, a complete set of kitten/puppy vaccines (dont properly) is enough for lifetime protection (or, at the very least, boosters are only needed once every 3 years).

But I have seen a lot of cats die from Feline Leukemia because their owners were not aware that their outdoor cat needed an extra vaccine.

Meaning no disrespect but rabies is NOT rare, and rabies vaccinations are extremely important whether your pet is strictly indoor, outdoor supervised only, or allowed to roam free. Rabies vaccine is extremly important.

I agree that FelV is making a big come back recently, (and more and more FIV also) but rabies is just as serious as ever it was.

FeLV is spread by interchange of body fluids from an infected cat (or carrier) and a non infected cat. The vaccine is not 100 % effective, but if your cats go outside, or you are raising a FeLV cat with other, non infected cats, they should definitely be vaccinated annually.

Merial makes a non adjuvanted FelV vaccine (called Purevax Felv vaccine) that is given by the "vet jet" system, (no needle) so is virtually vaccine site sarcoma proof. (as is the Purevax rabies nonadjuvanted one year feline rabies vacine)

I do not work for Merial or sell Purevax or have any connection to Merial or Purevax. Just getting the information out there to those who haven't heard of it yet

I may have already posted these links in this thread, but here they are again:

general informaiton on what vaccinations are needed:

http://www.vas-awareness.org/vaxreccs.htm

Information on the Purevax FelV vaccine


http://purevax.us.merial.com/purevax/faq.asp

http://purevax.us.merial.com/purevax/faq.asp