When we first got our original cat, he was strictly an indoor cat. He came from being an indoor car and continued his indoor existence without much of a problem. Mr. J did not seem to be all that interested in going outside, occasional mad dash into the hallway notwithstanding.
At the time that we got our second cat, nothing had changed. We lived in the same apartment and we didn't want them running off into the busy roads that we lived on. Over time we did experiment with taking them outside on a tether (not a success) and letting them roam near the back door within eyesight (or further if they ran off), but mostly they were indoor cats.
When we moved into the quiet neighborhood in Baltimore and settled into the house with the big yard, the cats began to transition to outdoor animals. They stayed inside at night and most of the day too, but they certainly were free to come and go as they pleased. The cats seemed to enjoy this freedom, and when we moved to Vermont they definitely spent a lot of time outside, becoming one with nature and chasing snakes and that sort of thing.
So now that the cats are used to having free reign of their territory (which they define as "one day's walking distance from the house in all directions"), we have moved into a townhouse that is a part of a community that does not allow outdoor pets. It is right there in the papers we signed. No cats allowed outside except on leashes. And if you had seen my cat on the tether you would know that the leash thing was never going to work out.
The problem with this is that the cats, having been given a taste of the great outdoors, no longer wish to remain inside all the time. They spend their days skulking around near the front door, scowling, plotting my death, and trying to slip by whoever is coming in or going out. This is very annoying, but we thought we had a solution. We have a deck on the second floor that overlooks the courtyard, and the cats could go onto said deck without having any way to get down to the ground level. A perfect compromise! And it would have worked out perfectly too, if the cats weren't so ridiculous.
I guess the second story is not high enough that the cats find it to be a jumping deterrent. Since they always land on their feet, what's the big deal, right? And the wooden bars running around the deck are just exactly the right size to let a cat squish through them. Mr. J is not crazy enough to attempt this, but Mousey thought she would give it a try today. The only problem is, the slats are exactly far enough apart to let a cat squeeze through, but Mousey needed to make a big jump to get down, so she would squeeze halfway through, hunch up her back legs to prepare her big leap, start to spring forward, and then remain completely stuck, because she cannot fit through with her hind legs in jumping position. This caused a lot of meowling and whining, so I had to grab her by the scruff of her neck and pull her forward through the slats and put her back onto the deck. And then the stupid cat goes and tries it again! And again!
Three times I had to yank that cat through the bars of my deck because she had gotten stuck, and finally I just put her back into the house. Deck privileges revoked! This caused hissing and glaring, and finally some more skulking, but what was I supposed to do?! I am not going to spend my day pulling my cat out of the deck. I have unpacking to do!
I don't know if the cats will ever get used to the fact that they are once again indoor cats, or if they will seethe and hate me forever, but believe me, I wish they would go outside and leave me alone just as much as they do. And I don't think walking them around the perimeter of the building on a leash is going to make them any happier. So for now they are stuck here with me. I guess we'll have to wait and see how their parole hearing goes.