Our beautiful little tabby and white girl is being spayed next week and the time has come to show her the outside world. She looks longingly out of the window and don't feel we can keep her in forever (wish I could shield her from harm, especially after the sad stories today on here!) I'm so frightened of her not coming home or being hit by car. My kids (7 and 5) would be devastated too. Any advice would be appreciated. Is it a waste of time to try and secure our garden? There are a few gaps / lower fences that she could get through but I know she will prob find a way to climb up anyway. Thanks
let her out in evening, before dinner for 15 mins or so, stay with her, then call her back with food, do it every day, then build it up to half hour, at some point you will have to let her wander, it's hard, but she will come back!
That's a good idea thanks Foodie. At the moment she's on dry food which I top up when needed, so will have to make sure her bowl is clear a few hours before. Am scared she won't come back or she'll go out front near road, but in this road practically everyone has cats so we're all In same boat
I agree with Foodie - let her out when she is hungry for the first few times. The other thing that helped was having a signal that she associates with food. We ring a bell and when she hears it she comes running in, always to find her food waiting for her. She's nearly three now and it still works. We also make sure that she never goes out in the front garden (we are in a terrace). On the rare times she has gone out in the front we have been able to get her back by ringing the 'food bell'. Also, I always try to remember to shut the catflap when she has come in for her evening meal so she is not out at night. Good luck with her introduction to the outside world!
We started by taking ours out into the garden with us to let him explore for a wee while at a time. As he got bigger he was more and more keen to get out and recently we relented and just let him out as he would wail and wail at the back door. We have spent a lot of time standing in the conservatory watching him to make sure he is ok and most of our conversations start with "Where's the cat?" But he is loving being out. He runs in to meow at us periodically, just to check we are still here. Not sure what we will do when we got back to work as we are on holiday at the moment and we only let him out when we are in the house - no cat flap!
The first time we let our cat(s) out either from being a kitten or once when we moved house we put butter on their paws...not sure if its an old wives tale but supposedly it helps them come back because they like butter and lick it off their paws but not all of it so when they are outside it leaves a trail so they can smell their way back home. Like I said may be untrue, but my kittens always returned.
I have only just seen everyone's replies, thank you.
I like the butter trick, and will def think about getting a bell. The plan is to lock the cat flap after she comes in at night (and try not to forget!)
I have a little collar on her at the moment, but have taken off the bell inside as its annoying. I was thinking of putting it back on when I let her out. I thought it might protect her (other cats/foxes would hear her, and if she gets shut inside somewhere). Does anyone have any view on this? Is it a good thing to do do you think? Thanks
The butter thing is an old wives' tale I'm afraid.
Collars are generally a bad idea. If you must use them then only use the safety, snap-off type, but even those can do a bit of damage before it snaps if your cat gets one caught on something. Also, if your cat goes missing, if it has a collar people tend to assume it has a home and isn't stray and so won't try to help find the owners/feed. I presume your cat is microchipped?
If you are very nervous about her going missing you could always buy a tracking device for about £70 which fits onto their collar and has quite a long range www.loc8tor.com/uk/ The signal on your locating device gets louder the nearer you get to your cat. When one of my cats was going a bit senile she was forever wandering off and not being sure how to get home, so every evening I would start walking around the streets until the thing started beeping. I would then have to knock on someone's door if it was indicating that she was in their back garden. You will of course need a collar if you want to use one of those.
thank you Catneuterer,http://cdnmn.com/emo/te/thanks.png I have a safety collar at the moment on her, but it does take a bit of a yank before it comes open. On the other hand some I've tried in the shops take no yank at all. It's hard to know what is best.
The tracking device sounds good (but I would have to not tell DH how much as he would think an expensive gadget!), but guess it could easily get lost with the collar if it snapped off. I may just get a reflective one with a bell and see how we go.
Unfortunately I think I have to keep her in until after half term as we're going away and don't want whoever comes in to feed her to have to deal with trying to get her in for the night.
The thing about the locater device is that the main thing you pay for is the handheld locator itself. It comes with two of the little tags that fit on the collar, and you can buy more quite cheaply. And of course if they do lose the collar with the locator on, then you can just go and locate the collar using the device.
Our 6 month old has been spayed and been going outside for about 1 month now. I was really worried too but it has been fine. Initially she was a bit scared outside so stayed near the back of the house and us which was really reassuring as i was worried she would run off and not find her way back. She is now gradually wandering down the bottom of the garden and has popped over the fence a couple of times but has always come back as soon as we call her (neighbours must be sick of our crazy cat calling - a bell sounds a better idea!) Any ideas to teach her she can go to the toilet outside though as the other day she dashed indoors straight into her litter tray so obviously doesnt know she is allowed to go in the garden?
Hi Joey, your kitten is very similar age to mine so that sounds encouraging. I am teaching her to come to me when I rustle a pack of Dreamies and its very effective so far (what a surprise) am going to get a bell and ring that too to train her, as I think it's a great idea as a bell can be heard from a few gardens along).
I have a few gaps in fence / bushes that I'm going to shut off as I'm worried about them being an easy way for her to bolt out of the garden. Hubby says I shouldn't bother and I know she will shimmy up the fence and leggit over soon anyway, but I just want peace of mind initially.
Worried about her going near the road at the front of the house but was thinking of trying a water spray if she goes in that direction, to put her off! Sounds a bit mean but I thought if I do it a few times it could work.
Not sure about the outdoor toilet training though. I suspect we'll have same issue. We don't have a lot of earth / flower beds really and those we do have seem to be used by other cats so may put her off!
When The Lodger arrived, he came straight off the streets. As soon as he discovered that the litter tray was dry, warm, safe and cleaned regularly by the Litter Fairy (!) he actually started to use that and thereafter came inside to use it from his sojourns outside. And then went back out again.
If they like the tray, I'd keep it. Apart from anything else, it gives you a good overview on cat health, is great when they stay in on rotten nights, and makes for a very relaxing life if your neighbour complains about cats fouling their garden! It's not a big deal keeping them clean especially when you'd have to remove poo from the garden anyway.