summary: ~10-year-old female has been venturing outside for several months, after (per unverified claim) having been an indoor-only cat. She will come inside to excrete (urinate, defecate), then go back outside. How to train her to excrete outside?
I have lots cat experience, but have never hosted a cat who was able to go outside but would not also "go" outside.
In April 2018, my mother got a cat from the local pound. (I do most of the catcare as part of eldercare.) The pound folk said the cat was 9 years old, had been indoor-only, and been declawed (front only) by her previous owners (as well as spayed). She was also definitely box-trained (very quickly taking over the local box), but has some non-standard excretion behaviors:
- She will occasionally urinate (though not, fortunately, defecate) in the bathtub. This doesn't bother me--in fact, I prefer it, since it just goes down the drain without using up cat litter. (FWIW, she will not urinate in the adjacent shower stall, though she will go in there and look/sniff around.)
- She will not excrete outside: in fact, she will go out (unfortunately requiring someone to hold the catdoor (or another door) open--but that's a topic for another question), then come back in (which she usually does herself--i.e., she readily opens the catdoor from the outside but not the inside), excrete in litterbox or bathtub, then go back outside.
How to convince her to excrete outside?
Some additional data which may be relevant (or not):
- She's the only cat in the house, and possibly the only cat in the neighborhood, though I occasionally see/hear evidence of ferals.
- Fear does not seem to be a factor, as she readily goes out and sniffs around, or sometimes just sits outside and watches. (She's not much of a hunter--having caught only 1 of the abundant local pocket mice, of which one of her predecessors caught at least 1 a day--but when one of the local rabbits ambles by, she and the rabbit will sit and stare at each other for amazingly extended periods.)
- I currently let her go outside only during (or just before/after) daylight due to her inability to climb. She very much likes to go out at daybreak and nightfall, and would probably go out later at night if allowed.
- She has never, in my experience, gone farther than ~20 m from the house. This is not due to frailty--she's quite fast, and an excellent jumper, for a cat of her age and (rather small) size--but she's just not an exploring cat at present.