Notes from an Introverted Outdoor Cat

A few of my friends have this shorthand of talking about different folks’ approach to polyamory, “indoor cats” vs. “outdoor cats.” I’m not sure where they got it, but as I understand it, “indoor cat” basically means that you tend to like to spend a lot of time with partners, and you might like a primary or nesting partner model of poly. “Outdoor cats,” by contrast, tend to be less anchored to partners, to hop around a lot, and to be comfortable spending less time with partners. You might think that these would be aligned to introversion and extroversion, but it’s my experience that they’re not, and this creates some interesting poly dynamics (and sometimes assumptions that require busting).

Personally, I’m a highly introverted outdoor cat. I find that more than a couple of dates a week can be really draining, and I tend to always revert to my own home base, which I don’t share with any partners. While an extroverted outdoor cat might have limited partner time because they enjoy going to various social events, spending time with friends, etc., for me it’s all about that alone time. Being alone gives me energy to spend dedicated chunks of time with a partner and focus on them, whereas too much time with a partner sometimes makes me distracted and inattentive.

Indoor cats also can be introverted or extroverted, of course. I have one friend who, as far as I can tell, is a fairly extroverted indoor cat. She likes relationships that involve a lot of shared time, and feels more secure when a partner enjoys spending significant time together. She might ideally divide up most of her time between romantic partners, and enjoys attending social events with partners. An introverted indoor cat, on the other hand, might like nesting with a partner or spending most time at partners’ houses, but be really into co-introverting, spending time side by side on respective Internet devices or reading two different books.

So what kind of poly cat are you?

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