Recently, we decided to make Stan an outside cat. Well, more precisely speaking, we decided to make him an outside AND inside cat. Call me paranoid, but I was getting a little nervous about his relationship with Aiden. So if I have to put Aiden down for a nap and know that I'm not going to be in the same room for a while, I make sure Stan is outside.
I think it was quite the culture shock for Stan at first. We had made such a big deal of keeping him inside for so long that I think our about-face on this issue weirded him out. ( Wait- first you told me I couldn't go outside? Now you're telling me I can't come INSIDE?) He used to sit at the front door and look out the little side-window... now he sits on the doorstep looking in. I think he has made some friends in the neighborhood, but he's also made some enemies. Or maybe they're just friends with poor boundaries and odd ways of showing affection; he came home the other day bearing the scars of battle. There was this big ol' chunk of fur missing and a wound in his side. Oh my word, my stomach felt weak just looking at it. My innards quiver. I felt SO BAD. It was as if my child had returned home from school with a black eye. Here I had dumped this poor, innocent creature out into the wild and now he's been persecuted.
I feel like it's my fault. When I told this to Brad, he agreed with me. Yes- it is your fault, he said serenely. It's as if YOU had attacked him and gouged his flesh. Sigh. I know he meant this to illustrate the absurdity of my thoughts, but the mental image of me being in a snarling, biting altercation with my own pet was unsettling.
Brad grew up having outdoor cats and didn't think that the wound was anything serious. The only cat we ever had growing up wasn't mine- it was Liane's- and I think he had some fights too, but I don't remember much besides one ear being sort of bedraggled.
So now I face a dilemma. Should I keep tossing Stan out to face unknown, cruel beasts...? I think it has sort of mellowed him out, so he's not so hyper when he is inside...Maybe these wilderness ( and I use the word lightly because our subdivision is hardly a wildlife preserve) experiences will toughen him up and be the making of him...