If you want to keep your cat inside the home full-time you have to consider him/her as a Houdini escapologist. The skill and desire to escape must vary between cats but in general cats are amazingly good at escaping confinement. They find a way. They move very quickly. They are supremely athletic. They are smart. This all adds up to great danger if your objective is to keep your cat inside the home and away from danger.

I’m sure that there are many American cat owners with well-honed skills at keeping their cats inside the home. They must have methods and systems in place to make it easier to achieve the objective. I myself am just embarking on the process.

I am in the process of commissioning a company to build an enclosure around my back garden (backyard) to turn it into an outside enclosure. While I’m waiting for the enclosure to be built I have to keep my cat inside because I used to let him out but he wandered. I lost him. I eventually found him at my previous address even though I had moved three months earlier. The mental anguish (mine!) was horrible.

On one occasion my cat sneaked through a tiny opening in a small window in the bathroom on the second floor of my home – he must have had great difficulty in getting through the window – and down onto the roof. But manage it he did. He eventually became very adept at coming in through the bathroom window on the first floor after climbing numerous difficult objects. At one time I found him on the apex of the roof at 1 am.

I am in the process of looking for a mesh to put over the windows so that I can leave them open while preventing him going through them. I think this sort of product is quite common in America. It also allows air to flow through the building without the worry of your cat escaping through a window.

Eventually, full-time indoor cats tend to reject going outside because they have been trained to live their life within the confines of their owner’s home. However, it must depend upon the personality of the cat. Some cats are content to live their lives inside – one cat breed comes to mind: the Ragdoll. Apparently, the American Shorthair is also a good indoor cat.

One cat which I would consider to be very difficult to keep inside would be an F1 or F2 Savannah cat. I can remember well the death of an F2 Savannah cat labelled the world’s largest domestic. His name was ‘Trouble’. He escaped his home. I believe that he was run over on the road. It was an utterly tragic event. He had recently beaten another internationally well-known female F1 Savannah cat, Magic, who was the previous holder of the title ‘the world’s biggest domestic cat’ (actually the tallest). I presume that she regained the title although Guinness World Records have discontinued these sorts of records. The more wild there is in a domestic cat (and mine was born feral) the more tricky it is in keeping him inside the home and content.

I would love to hear from people, particularly Americans, who have successfully managed to beat their cat’s Houdini escapology skills.

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Michael Broad

Hi, I'm a 71-year-old retired solicitor (attorney in the US). Before qualifying I worked in many jobs including professional photography. I have a girlfriend, Michelle. I love nature, cats and all animals. I am concerned about their welfare.

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