Last Updated on July 8, 2021 by Jenny
Questions for our Guest Vet and Ragdoll Breeder, Dr. Jenn, have become quite popular. Jamie, owner of Rufus and Druscilla sent in the following question from Australia:
Dear Dr Jenn,
I have two 16 month old ragdoll cats, a Seal Mitted Boy called Rufus and a Blue Bi-Colour girl called Druscilla. They are absolutely beautiful but I am having some trouble as they can be very vocal and desperately want to go outside, despite being raised from babyhood indoors. They have plenty of toys to play with, and I rotate them so they don’t get too bored, favourite currently being three small toy mice tied on hat elastic –they recently broke into the toy bag & pulled everything out! They play together quite happily at times.
Unfortunately Rufus suffered from Nutritional Secondary Hyperparathyroidism as a kitten due to his breeder feeing him inappropriately, but my vet assures me he is now healthy and happy. They twins follow me around the house constantly involved in all activities – except they hate the vacuum cleaner. Unfortunately at times they will both scream and cry when well fed and after a good bout of
play. When I have to work late “Grandma” will come play for a couple of hours. I take them outside as often as possible during the week–more of course of weekends – on the harness and leads. They both hate this as the want to be free to roam but I know this is not possible. They have perches near windows & plenty of birds to watch but this seems to only create frustration.
Any ideas for me? I’m feeling like a bad Ragdoll owner.
Dr. Jenn replied:
“A scientist named Pavlov concluded that the strongest kind of reinforcement is intermittent as versus constant reinforcement. So by letting them out sporadically you are making them desperately want to go out. In order for them to stop or at least not get worse your going to have to decide if they are outside or inside cats and make it so all of the time. It goes without saying that they really should be true indoor cats as there are all kinds of bad things they can catch outside. Even if they are on a leash they can get parasites and respiratory disease to name just a few.”