BiteyCat and the great outdoors

(23 Posts)
TheGirlOnTheLanding Mon 15-Feb-16 12:33:59

So, big rescue boy is still here smile, still a bit bitey but we are working on it (don't know if our reflexes have improved or he's not really trying any more but this week he hasn't actually made contact with human flesh, though he's managed to rip apart some more mouse toys pretty comprehensively). All in all we're happy with progress and its half term so we were thinking this week would be a good time to start letting him outside (he's had his first lot of vaccinations, he's chipped, he has our phone number on his collar) and I'm looking for advice on that now!

LandingCat and his predecessor liked to go outside for short spells but were pretty cautious so stayed either in our garden or, if feeling extra brave, the adjoining gardens, but I suspect BiteyCat, the swaggering ex Tom that he is, is going to wander further afield. He knows his new name, comes for treats in the house when called/treats rattled, but I'm not sure if the lure of the Great Outdoors will be stronger than a handful of Dreamies. I've read a lot of conflicting advice - first jaunt outside should be on a harness (just not going to happen - I'd like to keep all my digits, thanks) or that you should walk round the garden with them and then lift them back indoors after a short while (ditto) so I think we're going to have to let him go free range but - do I start with the cat flap or leave the door open and then try to train him to use the flap later? Vet said let him go out when hungry - is mid afternoon too early? (I would rather it wasn't getting dark and it is by his usual dinner time.) I am possibly over thinking this but I have visions of him dashing off into the sunset without a backward glance. Wise words of greater experience welcome.

Seawig Mon 15-Feb-16 12:44:35

Huntercat is (as you can guess) a rescue who likes his exploring and culling local wildlife. We kept him in three weeks as advised, then left the back door open and let him out just before dinner.

It is unnerving as they hop over the fence and disappear from view for the first time, but what a life of excitement and instinct before they potter home for food, central heating and duvets! This time of year is good at encouraging shorter forays, but it sounds like you have done what you can and just have to go for it.

Sometimes Huntercat is gone for hours, sometimes I am out at work and don't know if he popped home, snacked and went out again. I am worried he will get in trouble but I'm happy trading the risks of outdoor life with the benefits for him. He has a microchip catflap so comes and goes as he pleases.

Feistycat is more of a home cat though I've seen her down the road at times and on neighbours sheds so I know she does go further at times.

Seawig Mon 15-Feb-16 12:46:48

Oh and we have fields behind so I think that is where he mostly hunts, he is also huge, fluffy and must use tons of energy up with jumping, stalking, climbing, pouncing etc so hopefully your bitey boy will use those skills outside and you will get a calmer beast indoors! He sounds a real character :-)

RoosterCogburn Mon 15-Feb-16 12:59:23

I agree with let him out hungry - you could feed him early today, then let him out tomorrow a couple of hours before normal feeding time - that way he'll be extra hungry.

Those two hours will be long! You'll learn you cannot track a cat smile but hopefully he's come home for tea.

When we let out our last new-to-us cat I was worried sick. He came back half an hour before feeding time and put himself to bed!

Good luck.

TheGirlOnTheLanding Mon 15-Feb-16 22:16:51

Thanks Seawig and Rooster. It's a bit daunting but I'm excited for him, I'm sure he's missed getting outside the three months he was in the shelter and the couple of weeks here: I'm looking forward to seeing his reaction to getting outdoors again but I want to get it right so he happily trots back to us after his adventures. I've stocked up on treats and have been practising the rattle technique to call him home!

YouSaffBridge Tue 16-Feb-16 10:44:46

Following with interest, and slightly hijacking if that's ok? Our rescue will be ready to go out this weekend. She's been out before, but we've not had a cat before so I'm scared of letting her out grin

Plus we don't have a cat flap yet - waiting to see what her habits will be before we spend £100 on a flap and putting it in - so I have no idea how she'll get back in if she tries when we're out!

RoosterCogburn Tue 16-Feb-16 12:04:22

Good luck.
It'll be the longest hour of your life when he goes out first. grin
I've been know to try and stalk cats, don't bother, they'll always win!

TheGirlOnTheLanding Tue 16-Feb-16 14:36:19

Good luck with yours too YouSaff - I don't think you need a cat flap if you're around during the day: our previous cat just asked to be let out the back door and shouted through the window once he was ready to come in but we have a cat flap now as I'm going to be put at work during the day and want to let BiteyCat back in as needed.

TheGirlOnTheLanding Fri 19-Feb-16 09:41:33

Hah! Well that was an anticlimax. We let him out yesterday afternoon. He wandered out, did a circuit of back and front gardens, had a nosey over next door's wall, then hopped back and asked to be let back in. Immediately headed back to his favourite sleeping spot and went back to sleep. This morning he seemed interested so encouraged him to try the cat flap - he sat on the back steps for five minutes, did another circuit, and was back within ten minutes! Maybe he'll get more adventurous in time but maybe, just maybe, his swagger is all show.

cozietoesie Fri 19-Feb-16 10:16:51

Better an 'anticlimax' than him disappearing for 5 days and you pacing anxiously! He clearly likes his home and is happy to be inside once he's got all the craic outside.

The weather helps of course. smile

RoosterCogburn Fri 19-Feb-16 10:52:47

Ahhhh. He's definitely your cat.
I'm sure he'll get bolder, especially as the weather improves but at least you know he'll come home

coffeeisnectar Fri 19-Feb-16 11:06:31

Ah that's great, he's clearly happy to be home with you. Cat3 was supposedly an outdoor cat when we got her in November but although she pesters us to open the door, she won't get off the step and if she actually goes out the door and we close it she wants straight back in. So we have two girls who choose to stay in and two boys who like going out. But one insists on using the back door and the other uses the front door. It's all fun and games trying to get them in at night and one sneaks out as you try to call another in. grin

YouSaffBridge Fri 19-Feb-16 11:10:55

Ah, that's good to here! SaffCat is having her stitches out and her last vaccinations this evening, and then on Sunday I think we're going to brave letting her out in the morning when she's hungry. We're currently taking bets on how long she'll disappear for!

TheGirlOnTheLanding Fri 19-Feb-16 12:39:13

Exciting weekend ahead for SaffCat! Hope it goes well (and the weather is ok - I'm sure the cold encouraged BiteyCat home but I'm not complaining!) He is still stretched out on DD1's bunk bed, where he can see out the window that the rain has come on, so I doubt he'll be asking to go out for the rest of the day.

YouSaffBridge Sat 20-Feb-16 18:46:45

SaffCat braved the outside world! And then came rushing back in case we weren't going to let her back in - did it 8 times in total today grin

TheGirlOnTheLanding Sat 20-Feb-16 18:48:51

Brilliant! She looks as though she'll be into everything before too long. Clever puss.

ShutUpLegs Sat 20-Feb-16 18:57:54

Our kits went out yesterday for the first time. DD2 stalked them round the garden in a state of high anxiety. We helped them get used to the microchip cat flap and they then spent the afternoon going in and out and in and out until they crashed out exhausted. We kept the flap locked overnight.

Tonight they have gone out in the dark for the first time. Boykit is popping in and out - he is proving to be a bit more spooked by the outdoors and Girlkit is still out there. If they are in by the time I go to bed, I shall lock the flap overnight again but if they are out and won't come in, then it's a sleepless night for me.

They are loving being out - I just sit by the French doors and watch them gallop about like loons.

TheGirlOnTheLanding Sun 21-Feb-16 10:56:38

Did they come in before bedtime Legs? I have been locking the cat flap as soon as it's dear as I don't fancy BiteyCat being out all night (like you, I wouldn't get any sleep for worrying.) I hope they come home and slept well, exhausted after their adventures.

ShutUpLegs Mon 22-Feb-16 16:16:48

They came in on Saturday but not last night! I left the flap unlocked and slept uninterrupted. grin They were waiting in the kitchen this morning.

THey LOVE being outside and their indoor behaviour is massively improved as a result. Much less manic galloping about and Girlcat hasn't climbed the curtains once. They are also very purry and affectionate when they come back in - "OH! Its YOU! We LOVE you!" and lots of leg-leaning and weaving and general excitment.

I think we'll leave the flap open now. I want them to poo outside and gt rid of the litter tray so they will need outdoor access all the time.

drivinmecrazy Mon 22-Feb-16 16:34:30

We have 2 kittens, Castiel (boycat) & Artemis (his sister). they are almost 5 months old and have had them for 6 weeks. Two weeks ago Castiel was neutered but his sister is much smaller so have to wait til next week when she'll hopefully have a trip to the vets.
We made a decision that neither should go out until they could go together (although Castiel has had a few very short escapes). So far so good.
Until last night/
DH & I were woken by the cries of both kitties outside our bedroom window. Somehow they had got out. we suspect they got out of the loo window, onto the porch and jumped down to the garden. Have no idea what time they let themselves out but it was 3.45 am when we heard their cries, and let them in. They were drenched, not a great first experience of the great outdoors!
But I was very very relieved that they knew to yowl to come in. Not so happy that the first thing they did was a very smelly poopee in their tray. It would seem that in the big wide world they couldn't find a comfy toilet spot.
Today has been a battle to keep them away from windows and doors. have a feeling its going to be a looong week!

cozietoesie Mon 22-Feb-16 16:43:05

I suspect that the sooner you have Lil Sis spayed, the better. grin

drivinmecrazy Mon 22-Feb-16 17:32:23

Definately! Am counting down the days, particularly as she and her brother are a product of an ilicit affair. Their mother is a long haired oriental and the father is not. They are a beautiful hybrid but not history I want to repeat wink

cozietoesie Mon 22-Feb-16 18:23:01

Whatever happened, keep those windows and doors tight. If she's to be spayed shortly, one likely problem will be out of the way but female cats can be daft as a brush if they're in heat and you don't need any sudden dashes in front of cars.

Best of luck.

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