I hope you love cats. I guess a lot of people do, considering how many people own them. A lot of people love cute cat videos and kittens doing sickeningly sweet things like falling down when they are learning how to jump. I am not one of those people. I’m not heartless, okay? I just don’t love cats.
I hope that you love cats; wait, didn’t I already say that? Sorry to repeat myself, but I want you to know why you are here.
Here’s the thing … I need some help. I am begging you. I do not want to spend hours pouring over cat websites or reading cat books. I have no desire to have a bunch of “in real life” conversations about cats.
So, dear person reading my blog, lend me your expertise. I know nothing of kitty etiquette, and I don’t know a whole lot about what makes cats the amazing, furry, lovable, obnoxious, super-irritating things that they are.
Maybe you’re wondering why I even own a cat at this point. I have always considered myself a “dog person” except we don’t have a dog anymore. If you don’t follow my blog, you can read here all about why we don’t have a dog anymore.
We had a bit of a traumatic experience with our dog last year. I begrudgingly agreed to a cat as a pet that would be less bitey, jumpy, and homicidal. I have a family that loves this cat. So, we have a cat.
Here’s my dilemma: We got this cat to be an inside cat so we could love on it and all that good stuff. Well, I didn’t anticipate the cat having his own agenda.
Every day was sad kitty day, where he would gaze longingly out the window screen, which my children dubbed “kitty-vision.” He badly wanted to be an outside cat. He would try to sneak out every time we walked out the door.
I tried my hardest at getting four kids aged seven and under out the door with cups, snacks, books, and gear without letting this ninja cat out. I failed most days. So I gave in to adding thirty minutes to every trip just to wrangle the cat back to where he was supposed to me.
I finally hit my limit when he decided that he wanted to be outside so badly that he would just sit at the window and howl like a heartsick lover over this momma cat that runs around the neighborhood. Who am I to tell him that she is no good for him?
I finally relented after many days of ceaseless howling and let him outside. I worried that he would never come “home.” After all, did he really think of this as his home yet? He’d only lived here for four months or so.
Much to my surprise, the cat came back. He came back day after day, and we entered into a kind of peace. He did his thing, but the kids got to see him enough to know that he was “our cat,” and he ate here.
Then, it started getting really cold at night. I started making him come in at night so he wouldn’t freeze outside. He didn’t agree with this new arrangement, and one night he snuck out, never to be seen again. Okay, well at least not for the whole night.
I figured that he had found a warm place to hunker down for the night, or he would’ve been howling on the porch to be let in before I went to bed. He wasn’t, and I honestly wasn’t that worried. It’s cold here, but I live in Phoenix, not Alaska. It turns out he did find a warm place to hunker down: my neighbor’s house.
The next morning we get this call from the guy who lives two doors down. He is genuinely concerned that our cat got left out last night.
We went over to pick the cat up and I got grilled. Did we even miss the cat? Was I worried? The cat was so scared and lonely … I smiled, tried to be patient and kind to him and swooped my cat up to take him home.
Apparently, they have another cat and my cat thought he’d be cat buddies with their cat and sleep over at the house where no small children chase him to try to play when he’d rather nap. He had a little kitty vacation. And I was now a negligent pet owner over the whole thing.
Here’s my question: Is it wrong of me to let my cat outside when I know he runs around with this other cat and doesn’t just stay in our backyard? He is fixed, so he’s not out knocking up all the neighborhood cats or anything.
He is also very sweet, so I’m not worried about him hurting anyone. Do some cats just do better outside?
Is it really necessary for me to continue to wrestle this cat back into the house every time he sneaks out? I have a lot on my plate to be worried about this cat, who, by the way, was so upset over me making him stay inside last night, that he peed on my feet at about 5 am. So there’s that.
What would you do, cat-lover? What is the humane, loving, or the right thing to do? Please, help me out here as I am at my wit’s end with this little furball we call family.
**This post was originally a Featured Member Post on BlogHer January 20th, 2015.**