Friday, February 19, 2010


I have some questions for all of you cat lovers out there. But first, some facts.

  1. I like cats, but Katherine and I are horribly allergic to them.
  2. Our neighbor puts out tons of birdseed and corn and peanuts every season but winter.
  3. This food attracts birds and squirrels and rabbits and voles and various other critters, who all poo in our yard/on our swingset.
  4. There are several feral cats in our neighborhood.
  5. Some of them are quite scary.
  6. One beautiful, sweet, collarless tabby cat really likes our house.
  7. He/she hangs out on our back deck and front porch a LOT.
So, can we adopt this cat as an outside cat? Is that OK? I really, really want to encourage it to stay around because I like it, and because I'm hoping it will feast on/scare away all of the rodents and birds our neighbor provides.

What do I do? Put out cat food and water? Will all of the scary, nasty cats come, too?
What about... litterbox issues? What if it belongs to someone else? (I think the chances are slim, but still.)

Next time, we can talk about keeping a hawk as an outdoor pet. That's right, so many critters came to my neighbor's yard last summer that we had a HAWK as a regular fixture on our swingset.


  1. im a total cat lover and have been known to feed just about anything that walks by my house. collarless or not.

    my thoughts? if he's already and outside cat, he's probably not going to mind continuing to be so. in my experience, most free range cats arent all that interested in coming inside anyway. i fed a stray for about three years before he moved on to some folks in the neighborhood with better cat food. every now and then i could get him to come in the house, but mostly he wanted to be outside. and he NEVER used our cat box. he wanted to do his business outside.

    i think its wonderful that you want to feed him. but yes, he'll probably bring his friends.

  2. An already outside cat shouldn't have any litterbox issues/etc.

    Try putting food out specifically when that cat is around but bring it in at night if you don't want the scary cats too.

  3. Yeah, adopt the nice kitty! Do what Miss Grace said and put the food out when the cat you like is around. And don't worry about the litterbox, that's an inside cat fixture.

    I don't THINK you should have a problem with the scary feral cats but even if some of them start coming around they are probably really good hunters of the small woodland creatures.....

  4. My cat stealing adventure ended when a neighbor stole her from me right when I just got her. *Sigh* Oh well. Hope your luck is better than mine!

  5. My mom did a very similar thing w/ a cat she now keeps in a screened in porch area under their house (it's on stilts). There are some wild cats around their house that are mostly mean and fight w/ ea. other, but this one was nice. B/c it's enclosed she can feed just that cat and not worry about the others.

    Litterbox wouldn't be a problem, outside cats find places to go and bury it. I like the other recommendations to just put the food out when you see that cat so you don't attract the mean ones.

    And what in the WORLD about your neighbor!? I remember the horror stories last summer. But I love that they feed the birds and stuff every season BUT winter... "Hey guys, I'm gonna feed you EXCEPT the few months you need it the most - you're on your own!"

    Good luck!

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  7. Don't feed it! Cats, believe it or not, aren't as independent as they seem. They will hang around for companionship and attention and you don't need to feed them a bit. In fact, feeding them will not only start attracting other cats, but it will also change the relationship with that cat (they may come around begging instead of just hanging).

    My husband is a cat-aholic, so we have a lot of experience with "adopting" outside cats. We give them attention, pets, play, etc. but have never once fed a cat but our own ... and they always come back daily. Surprisingly, most of them do have homes, but they just like other homes better :)

  8. An outdoor cat used to pee everyday on my friends window, her window always stunk of pee, even on the inside of the house. I have seen cats pee at the children's park near us. A cat used to poo everyday in our garden, never caught the offending cat, would have had clean up instructions for the owner.

    I have an indoor cat that does not pee or poo on other peoples gardens, and have had leash cats in the past.

  9. We have neighbors that have adopted some random cats. Two have become indoor cats, but they may have been indoor/outdoor prior to their owners moving. The others they just feed when they are there. We aren't sure where one is coming from, but he shows up most days for food. As long as you put it out only when that cat is there, the others probably won't hang out much (unless they are very smart and think if they hang out enough they will get fed too).

  10. We have a cat that hangs out(side) at our house too. He/She is really cute and we like that we have an outdoor pet. J is allergic to everything so we don't have any indoor pets.

    I say go for it and adopt it. You probably won't need to put out any food though (which may attract the nasty cats). Our comes back anyway.

    Good luck getting all the nasty critters to stay away.

  11. Hey, that hawk is a great idea. It sure would keep the squirrels from digging up the bulbs. It could be a reality show! You could film it and you would be famous! The Hawk Whisperer! It's a great idea! It would be like the Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom, except with hawks, mice, and squirrels. Cue music, "And the hawk has dined again on its favourite dish. Tune in next week to (dum dum dum) The Hawk Whisperer."