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The area where I live is extremely lethal for a domestic cat. There are scorpions, tarantulas, poisonous snakes, dogs, foxes, eagles, vultures, larger wild cat species, and even sometimes leopards. My cat (Bhutu) only has experience being outside back in the city where the streets only had weak and unfed stray dogs as the only danger to cats (which still was a significant danger).

Our house is a huge two storey house in which we only live in a part of first floor. Very recently, Bhutu managed to get onto a sloping, slippery metal roof. Had she fallen from this height, it could have been fatal. We always keep all windows closed and most of them are the olden days wooden windows with no glass. So the light always has to be on, resulting in an increased electric bill.

Moreover, there is no door at the front entrance of our part on first floor. Instead there is a huge collapsible gate through which a cat can easily pass.

In the past we've always kept her on a leash to restrict her free movement but the cat doesn't enjoy this. We have also tried other methods like putting a large object that the cat is fearful of (like teddy bear) next to the entrance but she always has the tendency to venture outside.

How can I ensure that my cat will stay inside without the requirement for a leash?

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There's not a lot you can go behaviorally speaking that's going to give you any level of surety.

The "teddy doorman" approach is likely to be highly hit-and-miss - she's afraid of the teddy not the outside, so may be inclined to try a quick dash past the fearsome teddy and end up precisely where you don't want her to be!

Far better to physically prevent her getting out - I've had good success with screen doors of pet-resistant mesh (UK link but hopefully there is an equivalent in your locale) in the past. They stop the cat getting out but let air and light in (which gets you around the closed window issue).

Of course the downside is that it's not cheap and if you have a lot of windows and doors to cover off the cost mounts quickly - but it is a one-off cost at least!

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  • I agree with this answer - but there are also alternatives to cover your doors and windows that are much cheaper. I've used chicken wire on a balcony and it's extremely cheap and easily available. Even a regular roll of window screen is low cost (and slightly more "house" looking haha). If you have a home supply or building store, you should be able to find it easily, and install it with nails, a staple gun, etc. – Gwendolyn Feb 13 '19 at 19:50
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First, you should trust your cat some more. You write:

Just two days back, Bhutu had escaped to a part of roof which is slippery and has slope. A fall would have meant sure death and I had to risk my own life to safely bring her back.

That was very dangerous for you, but a cat has claws so they don't slip as easily and can climb very good. When you fall down from a roof, you'll probably get badly injured, but cats can rotate during falling and land savely on their feet without hurting themelves. There are reports of cats surviving falls from 10 meters high without breaking any bones.

If there is no way for Bhutu to leave the house, you should think about allowing her to go to the part of the house you don't use. Think of it as her playground.


Now to going outside. Most cats love going outside because there are so many interesting things to see and do. But many cats cannot go outside for different reasons.

You could put nets in the windows to let the light and fresh air in but keep Bhutu inside. There are different types of nets:

  • Mosquito screens: Keeps insects outside as well. Cats cannot squeeze through, but can easily scratch it apart. Can be glued to a window or added in a second window frame.
  • Commercial pet nets: They look like a fishing net, but small enough that a cat cannot squeeze through. A cat can bite it apart, but not scratch it. Some are complicated to install in a window.
  • An actual fishing net: You need to choose one with small enough holes. The head of your cat must not fit through the holes. You must find a way to install it in a window.

You can install a similar net in a door. It's basically a second door right inside your "real" door, but with a net instead of wood.

If there's a place in the house where you never go and you don't want Bhutu to go, you can block the door with such a net as well.

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