Seeking kitty insight - Does an outdoor patio create "I want to go outside" issues?
DH and I have two cats, both young (ages 2 and 4, approx.) DH is active duty military and we're going to be moving to a home on an installation in a few months. The home has a huge, gorgeous wrap-around, completely screened in patio that runs the length of the house and around the front. The screening appears very sturdy, and my first thought was "wow, the cats will love this."
But - after the few years we will spend at this place, we will be moving back into the home we own/live in now, which has no safe outdoor are where the kitties can hang out. Right now they have ZERO interest in trying to go out the doors....if we begin to encourage this at at the new place because of the awesome patio setup, are we asking for trouble when we move back to the townhouse in a couple years? Thoughts?
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Well, I'm building a four season sunroom onto my house. It's mainly for me, so I can sit and watch what goes on in the yard better, but I have to admit that I'm thrilled that my cats will have this wonderful new place to look outside, and I'm having extra-wide sills put in, just for them. You'll just have to add the same to your house, when you do move back.
Seriously, two of my cats are ex-strays, and, so, well used to being outside. They have had no problem adjusting to indoor life, so I can't imagine that your cats would have a problem with enjoying the porch and then going back to a regular house in a few years. One thing I would caution was to be really, really sure that the screens are tough enough to hold up to a determined cat who wants to get at those birds and mice out there. You'd be surprised how quickly they can claw through regular screening in their efforts. I had all of the windows that I open in my house re-screened with special animal proof screening. It's some kind of plastic, I believe. It's somewhat thicker than regular screening, and takes a little getting used to, but, once you've had it in for a while, you don't notice the difference any more. The only think I can't do is take pictures through it, but, then, pictures taken through regular screening don't come out so good either.
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I think it will give your kitties a taste for the wild.
In your spot, I'd let them out there anyway and cross the next "all indoors" bridge when I came to it. They will adjust back to that life, though it might take longer than you'd like and be more of a PITA (the pain being your your booty, not theirs).
I brought two cats who used to go out for a couple hours/day up north to Florida where they ONLY have access to a screened in pool area. They LOVE it, no interest in great outdoors, and we get enough little lizards in to satisfy their hunting urges! That said they are both older - probably around 10ish.
We don't get less brave; we get a bigger sense of self-preservation........
I'd be careful because they are still quite young. We had to keep my 2 boys indoors for the first month after we moved, as recommended by the vet so they learned where "home" was. Needless to say they HATED it and one managed to escape when the door was left open a split second two long. In my (unprofessional haha) experience, I've noticed once cats get used to being outdoors they do not appreciate that freedom being taken away from them. Now my two are older they're quite happy to bask in the sun on an easy chair, and only go outdoors if we are outdoors. A screened porch will probably be different though.
"Choose to chance the rapids, and dare to dance the tides" - Garth Brooks
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They'll be fine, let them enjoy the porch. When we moved, our indoor/outdoor kitties became strictly indoors as the new house is next to a busy road. Their was maybe a month of door dashing and howling, then they got over it.
P.s. My indoor outdoor cats, with a self service cat door, love the second floor terrace the best. It's high walled, so no wind, they get direct sun, and I think the selling point is it's stress free. They don't have to keep an eye out for dogs or garbage trucks or people. I think your cats will love it, and it's a different thing than being outdoors for them.
My cats LOVE the screened in porch. You have to inspect the screens regularly though. One of our screens pulled away (that is the direction the wind blows from) - I was alerted to a cat SCREAMING on the porch & thought it was a stray outside. Here, it was my poor boy that got out & REALLY wanted back in. None of our cats want outside, but they all love the porch.