How can I make sure my new indoor cat stays an indoor cat, while allowing her free roam of the house?
A week or two ago I adopted my first cat, Tibbers who, like arnicae's
cat, is FIV+, and must be an indoors cat, despite having been semi-feral before being rescued. I've seen the surprising number of AskMes about indoor cats and have learned a great deal from them, but my problem is quite specific: I need to be very sure that she won't get out of the door.
My house has no porch or other airlock-type structure on the front door, so I'm very concerned that if I allow her free roam of the house while I'm out, the instant I open the door to get back in, she'll try to bolt out of the door, and I won't always be able to stop her. Then she'll never come back, and will die on the street after infecting numerous other cats with FIV. Guilt guilt guilt.
On the other hand, my current strategy of shutting her in the front room (where all of her stuff currently is) when I go out, and trying to limit the length and number of my excursions, seems a bit mean, and clearly isn't viable as a long-term solution anyway.
So: is there some strategy I can employ to keep her inside of her own accord? Will time accomplish this for me?
If it helps, she's neutered, and around a year or 18 months old. She seems intelligent but is quite dependent - follows me around, often demands attention, does lots of head rubbing etc.. However, paradoxically, she doesn't really like to be touched (she does the touching): she'll gently move away from unsolicited stroking and doesn't ever just hang around in my lap, for example. She definitely seems interested in the outdoors at the moment though I've never really tested how interested.
I understand that cat psychology is complex and varied; "maybe, maybe not, there's no way of knowing" would be an acceptable answer to the question above. Hopefully some of you experienced and knowledgeable folk out there will have helpful feline insight that can put my mind at rest, and make wee Tibbers' days that much more interesting.