My 14 year old rescue cat has been with us since the beginning of December. Has two litter trays, is very settled and eats well despite having a lot of teeth out. My question is because he is a rescue cat and was with the sanctuary for five years (and possibly re homed and returned previously) when I have let him out he seems totally overwhelmed, climbing trees and racing around. I am worried he will run away in a panic. I have tried him on a harness and lead which he does not like. He is used to being indoors and I don't want him to be an indoors cat but he is crying now to go out. He won't run away will he?
Maybe let him out before a meal and hungry (so that you can ping a bowl or rattle a treat bag and appeal to his basic instincts to get him back) and also go out with him the first few times so that your smell is outside and he has an image of you against the house/back door in his mind's eye to come back to.
Other than that, it's lap of the gods I'm afraid. We've mostly all been in that place where you see backside and tail disappear over a wall and wonder whether you're going to see them again - which you nearly always do. Cats are great pragamatists - why should he turn down a great billet with warm, food and a loving family?
Once he's allowed out he may be more content to spend most/all of his time inside, given his age. (The apparently forbidden is sometimes attractive to them and once they're allowed it, it loses its allure. Winter is also a good time to let them out as well if you're uncertain - not so much a-doing outside and a big contrast with the comparative luxury inside the house.)
Thanks Cozie, you are right of course. I think it's me that is doing the panicking! He wants breakfast at 5.00(!) every morning so I'll let him out then before I feed him. I'm sure it won't be quite so exciting once he's explored the garden.