How do I know she'll come back?

(10 Posts)
Almostalwayshappy Sun 23-Jun-13 17:08:19

We adopted Martha, a black two-year-old cat, three weeks ago. She's settled in well, eating well, using her litter tray and giving the dog regular death stares. We have installed a cat flap and, as she has now had her second round of jabs, have let her out for the last two days. I read the advice on here and since we've had her, have been calling her and rewarding her with Dreamies when she comes, which has been every time. We let her out hungry. She was out for about five minutes each time, but when I called her and rattled her treat tin, she ignored me. She seemed very excited/distracted and tried to jump over the fence into next door. They have two cats and a dog. I managed to catch her both times and put her inside and filled her food bowl. Usually, she gobbles her food immediately, but both today and yesterday, she ignored it and cried to be let out again. She was attacking the patio doors and the cat flap, trying to get outside. I told her not to in a stern voice and she stopped, but has been staring out of the window and crying. We have no idea if she was allowed out in her last home. I know I have to bite the bullet again tomorrow, but I am terrified she'll run off and we won't see her again. She is chipped and has a collar with our contact details on. I've taken a photo so we can put up posters if she goes AWOL. Is there anything else I can do to make sure she comes home?

cozietoesie Sun 23-Jun-13 17:15:52

Keep your fingers crossed.

It's nerve-wracking isn't it?

Iseeall Sun 23-Jun-13 17:24:04

I think you have let her out too soon. You have only had her three weeks.
Where was she before, in a rescue centre or have you re-homed her from friends who didn't want her.
If she was a stray from a rescue centre, and therefore not knowing her history I would keep her in for several months.
It can take a long while for cats to settle and realise where 'home' is, especially if she was a stray, used to roaming.

Also you said she was two and she has just had some injections, is she neutered. She should be, before she goes out.

Almostalwayshappy Sun 23-Jun-13 17:32:54

Thank you for the replies.

cozietoesie, it is VERY nerve-wracking. We love her so much already!

iseeall, yes Martha was neutered by the charity we adopted her from. She had been fostered for a couple of weeks in a private home. She wasn't a stray...her previous owner just didn't want her any more.

The charity recommended we keep her in for between three and five weeks, but because she is so settled and obviously desperate to get outside, I felt she was ready. Maybe time for a re-think!

lljkk Sun 23-Jun-13 17:48:24

Cats are territorial, very few cats like new places. Will probably take her ages not to completely freaked out by the outside. Even our kittens took weeks before they wanted to explore further than about 10' from our door.

One of our cats has been here 7 months & only started going willingly outside in last 3 months, finally crossed to neighbour's side of drive the other day. That's as far as he wants to go.

lljkk Sun 23-Jun-13 17:49:19

ps: one trick is to let them out when you know they're hungry, they'll not go far when they know where sure food should be.

cozietoesie Sun 23-Jun-13 17:49:37

It's a difficult time of year to be facing First Outing - if the weather is good where you are. Birds fluttering, warmth, lots of interesting smells and so on.

I'm conscious of her desperation to get out and while I would keep her in as long as you can, there will come a point where you have to let her go out or she'll go stir crazy.

My own personal tactic with outdoor cats has always been to go with them at first (in good weather) - say, taking a book to read on the back doorstep so that they can see me from across the garden. One good way as well is to first let them out, during the day time, mainly in bad weather. ( I think my cats have always thought of the outside as did the inhabitants of the valley of Shangri La - a mean and nasty cold, windy (and wet) place.) Home is just so inviting by comparison.

In the end, though, you just have to let them take their chances. sad

Try to keep her in at night if you possibly can - ie unless she simply hasn't come home by dusk. That's when they have the most problems.

Almostalwayshappy Sun 23-Jun-13 18:00:23

cozietoesie we plan to keep her in at night and let her out yesterday and today in the early morning before feeding her as we thought she would be hungry and it's quieter. Her crying to get out is quite heart-rending.

Iseeall Sun 23-Jun-13 18:20:22

We do something similar to cozietoesie. Our big boy cat is an indoor cat, however in nice weather we will take him into our garden and stay with him for a while.
We have made our garden as escape proof as possible but we still have to vigilant. We really didn't want an outdoor cat so that is our compromise.
Our new kitten will not be going anywhere near the garden until next year.
It is worrying that they won't come back and I hate to see missing cat posters sad

Almostalwayshappy Sun 23-Jun-13 18:41:56

Me too iseeall. There are at least three missing cats in our neighbourhood at the moment. Fingers crossed they all come home.

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