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Question
Dear Kate,
I have one and a half year old male cat that I adopted from the street. (he is
not fixed) He has grown up as an indoors cat in a flats. I have moved to a
landed property 2 weeks ago. Initially he was very quiet and passive. He ate
his food and used his litter box after a day. The last 5 days has been difficult
because he has started venturing outdoor. I think he is all excited about
outdoors and other cats on the streets, talking to them and chasing them. He
didn't come home on one of the nights. There were painters in the house,
maybe the strangers and the smell of paint put him off. i stay in a linked
house with immediate neighbors. My worry is about causing inconvenience to
them as he keeps hopping into their compound. There are times when I just
cant see him anywhere and search the whole neighborhood. It is also difficult
to leave the door open for him at night as the neighborhood was known in
the past as a frequent spot for thieves. I just didn't know if I should leave it
open if he goes missing. I don't want to shut the door on him either. He did
come back all wet and tired after missing one night. Since then for the past 2
days I have restricted him indoors. He makes a lot of noise demanding to go
outside but I am strict now. I am reading about using walking jacket and
harness and am planning to train him on that. Do you think its too late as I
have already allowed him outdoors on his own. Also, am I right in saying that
he is always safer indoors and should be more of an indoor cat and not left
outside for days? I am torn between giving him freedom yet wanting to
protect him. You know how it is not knowing where he is, if he is alright,
hurt, or have not eaten.. Would really appreciate your advise. Sorry for the
long question. Thanks.

Answer
Hi
I live in the UK and have always always let my cats have their freedom. I have never lost a cat and have never had one hurt even though i live in a busy town/City. So for me i hate to hear of cats stuck indoor. however i do realise that there are some parts of the world where preditors are more prevelent and cats may get attacked, and that cat owners in these areas prefer to keep their cats indoors (I still do not agree but thats just my opinion)

It does sound like you are very anxious about letting your cat out. It is not unusual for cats to go wandering there natural territory can be upto i mile away if they wish. That is what their natural territory would be. So the fact that you can't always see him and that he goes into other peoples property is completely normal and expected.

I would say however that you should have him neutered if you do intend to let him out. It is not fair on the neighbour hood to have tom cat possibly causing fights, pregnancies and scenting everywhere.

As for the leash. I have never used one but i do believe that they work better if used from a very young age. Cats are not like dogs and do not walk around like a dog naturally and  you may find that it is difficult if not impossible to train your cat to use one.

I hope I have answered your all your questions. Don't worry so much, i believe cats are very intelligent animals and always retain their wild heart, so should be able to look after themselves.

best wishes Kate

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Kate Tilmouth

Expertise

I can answer most day to day cat problems encountered by owners. I have a good understanding of cat behaviour and problems which may arise from changes to their daily routine. I can advise on cat training including litter training and general day to day cat care issues. I am not a vet and therefore cannot answer medical questions.

Experience

I run my own cat website at http://www.our-happy-cat.com and have been a dedicated cat owner for over 20 years. I have encountered many different cat problems and situations and feel that i have a good understanding of cats and cat ownership.

Publications
I am a platinum member of Ezinearticles where i write mainly cat related articles.

Education/Credentials
Educated to High School level and have since worked for many years in a customer support based environment, gaining vocational qualifications.

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