How shall I introduce my cats to my house?

BREAKING NEWS

Mamma wrote this post yesterday. Haha, she freaked out in the meantime, because Kajsa had diarrhea. Mamma is too tired to write a poop post now, but she promised to write a summary tomorrow. Urg, she mentioned some vet appointment tomorrow as well??? Check the liveticker on her Facebook page if you want to join the fun (DON’T calm her down, Kajsa and I are enjoying her nursing behavior!!) / Tessa

Dear servants to cats,

I need your help! No, for once I haven’t freaked out, and I’m pretty sure my cats will survive tonight. I need some opinions on my house.

I live in a very strange house from 1890. It’s a semi-detached house, but the house is divided in a very odd way.  My neighbors don’t have a second floor, but a very big apartment on the first floor. My first floor is very small, but I’ve the whole second floor (don’t ask why). I’ve shown the first floor before:

when-the-cat-is-away-house

So far, so good, but my 2nd floor is a real challenge! Let’s start with the easy part on the right side: The staircase ends in a small hall with two doors. One is my bedroom, the other one is leading to the rest of the house. Until now, my cats have only been in the bedroom and staircase.

forbidden rooms for your cats

Trouble is: I can’t heat the cold rooms on the 2nd floor (under no circumstances). I live in Finland, so I can use the cold rooms only in June, July and August. I have to close all doors during the rest of the year; it’s otherwise impossible to keep my house warm. I can’t install any cat flaps (under no circumstances). I don’t always heat the study, even though I can if the doors to the cold rooms are closed. I’m not often there, but I’ve to heat it about 1-2 days a week. (And yes, it’s freaking cold to get new clothes). I could therefore open the doors to the study on most days, but I’ve to close the door of the first cold room and the hall.

I don’t know how I should introduce the second floor to my cats. Summer is coming soon. During summer, I can keep all doors open, and they’d have a lot of extra space. Both cold rooms are a cat paradise: a lot of joists to climb on, many boxes, other stuff and hiding places. (My neighbors, my landlord and I use these rooms as storage).

  • 1st option: I wait until it’s warm enough to keep all doors open. They’ll have about 3 months of unlimited access to the rooms, but I’ll limit their freedom in autumn.
  • 2nd option: I introduce them to the autumn plan now, but keep the doors open during summer.
  • 3rd option: I don’t give them unlimited access in summer time, they’ve the same rules during the whole year.

I would love them to have unlimited access during summer time, but I’m afraid I’ll face a major challenge when I limit their freedom in September. Would it be easier if they had already experienced some weeks with limited access? Would they remember in September that the doors were closed in Mai?? They have to accept that they can only use the first cold room on those days when I want to keep the study warm. I don’t want to run and open three different doors.

Next problem: what the heck am I doing in September? When I’m downstairs, I can’t hear when they want to come to the warm part of the house. I thought about getting a baby monitor, so I’d hear them meowing.

The main idea would be an ‘indoor-outdoor cat’ arrangement without a cat flip. They’ve to wait until I open the door for them. I’ll make sure they’re always on the warm side of the house at night / before I leave the house. (Good luck with that one, they’ve tons of places to hide)

What would you do? Would you keep all doors open during summer time and have different rules now / in the fall? Or is it better to always keep the door closed? My brain tells me that it’s better to limit their access during the whole year, my heart and laziness suggest to keep the doors open in summer.

It’s also possible that I won’t face a major battle during the cold months. Most cats like warm places, and those rooms are definitely NOT warm. They’ve the same temperature as outside, which may work in September and October, but I don’t know if they want to be there in winter.