I don’t have indoor/outdoor cats. They are indoor only. This doesn’t bother Lokii a bit; in fact he gets really scared if we hold him near the sliding glass door. Which we do on occasion, trying to help him bug-hunt. It usually ends in bloody shoulders…
Spot is a different story. I used to live in a house with a balcony and when I was out in the sunshine, Spot and his Good Dog Shade would come out with me. Spot also loves walks on the harness and car trips (if we stay under 30MPH/48KPH).
The problem with Spot is that he gets overly excited and starts demanding to go out on the harness. Loudly and often. When thwarted, he starts becoming very intent on escaping the house – and he usually manages it, no matter how careful we are. He will be outside in a fraction of a second if the door didn’t close fully. He can even move the sliding glass door with his arm if given a gap wide enough to get his arm into.
So, I feel bad a bit by denying him his fun, but I cannot bear the noise and the bad behaviour that always comes after a harness walk.
I did notice that he doesn’t misbehave when it comes to the car trips. He will cry when he thinks he’s about to get to go, and he is usually right. Because car trips only happen on the weekend mornings, you see. He knows it, he’s a smart little bugger. So I put my noggin to thinking of how I could take Spot outside and avoid all the resulting drama.
First: it needs to be a routine he can understand and predict. Second: I need to be in control as I refuse to let him dictate my habits. Lastly: it has to be fun for both of us.
When the weather is good, I sit right outside in my beloved Coleman camp chair and enjoy my morning coffee. I’ve started keeping the chair in the kitchen, all folded up, because I can’t fit into my shed-house anymore (iDJ has taken it over with his bicycle and big-ass Weber grill, sigh). Spot usually comes down with me in the morning and begs for attention, nicely and quietly. Why not combine a happy cat with sitting outside in my chair?
I set the chair outside, and called Spot to me. By that I mean he jumped into my arms (I must video this one day, it’s adorable). We went out, I sat down with my knees together to make a good lap, plunked him down and held on to him loosely. It didn’t take long before he made an attempt to jump down. I immediately got up and put him inside. Total outside time: maybe 1 minute.
The next morning, he lasted about three minutes. The next, over six. He caught on so fast! Soon I didn’t have to hold on to him physically and just made a ‘fence’ with my arms.
The weather has been miserable for weeks, too cold or too wet or both, so we haven’t been out together in a long time. Yesterday was lovely, as you can see – bright enough to make us both squint – but he hadn’t forgotten a thing.
I know a few of my friends here have cats that would love a bit of safe outdoor time. I hope this helps!