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Introducing rescue cats to great outdoors

(17 Posts)
crje Sun 04-Jan-15 19:06:47

We have two cats ,brother & sister, six months old but only with us 4 weeks.
To date they have been inside.
Any tips for allowing them out & how to ensure they come back if they wander.

chockbic Sun 04-Jan-15 19:28:14

Leave them a bit hungry so there's a reason to come home.

crje Sun 04-Jan-15 19:46:26

Plan is to have them out by day & in during the night.
I'll start feeding them in the evening for the next few nights.

AngelCauliflower Sun 04-Jan-15 19:58:32

Hi, my rescue cat has been out exploring by herself twice. She went out yesterday for the first time and again today. I had taken her out with a lead and harness on a few times to show her the garden and have a sniff around. I was so nervous yesterday about letting her off the lead but it went well. She didn't venture very far and spent a lot of time hiding in a bush.

I let her out for one hour yesterday and two hours today. She has not ventured very far and keeps coming back to her favourite bush and the back door. So I am beginning to feel confident she knows her way back. I will be doing the same as you and only letting her out during the day.

Fluffycloudland77 Sun 04-Jan-15 20:03:42

Saturday mornings are good. It's quiet and you'll be home to anxiously clock watch.

Try letting them out before breakfast. Rattle the dreamies when it's time to come home.

givemushypeasachance Mon 05-Jan-15 10:01:08

I was a bundle of nerves with my two rescue boys I got last summer - I let them out on supervised visits to the garden first and would shoo them back in after fifteen minutes or so, but after a couple of days they got confident and frolicked off next door leaving me having kittens as I wondered if they'd ever come back! They did; although I had some troubles when they decided to camp out under my decking rather than coming back indoors. I eventually solved that problem by blocking it up.

I keep them in at night too, and if they're not in by 10/11pm I call them and they usually come running - I got into a routine of calling them when I fed them in the mornings, and used to call them over to hand feed them some chicken too, so they associated being called with nice things.

crje Mon 05-Jan-15 12:16:56

As I type they are out for their first time.
The male is far more curious , female is sitting on the step.
I have bells on the collars do I can hear them.
Going to introduce a treat in the evening to lure them in thanks mushypeas(yummy)fo the tip.

AngelCauliflower Mon 05-Jan-15 13:15:02

I hope it goes well smile . My cat is refusing to come in today. This is the longest she has been out, nearly 5 hours. I brought her in an hour ago but she kept running up to my leg and biting it because she wanted back out. I am worried she will never want to come back in sad .

givemushypeasachance Mon 05-Jan-15 14:49:00

It is tough Angel, but if she knows where she lives and where food and attention and a warm place to sleep is, then she should want to come back in eventually - the outside is just super exciting and novel right now! Even if it doesn't look it, being all dank and grey... that's what we've got here anyway! grin

My little buggers stayed out from mid-afternoon till gone midnight a couple of days into their initial supervised excursions; whenever I went near them outside they would dart off. And a day after that the more timid with me one stayed out for 36 hours straight - when he was camping under the decking. Everyone said he'd come back when he was hungry but the flap was set to entry only so he didn't come in once during that time. I actually kept both boys in for several more weeks after that till Monty got more confident with me, but now both are fine and just come and go as they please during the day. Sometimes they'll pop in and out every few hours, or have a sleep during the afternoon, but it's not uncommon for them to go out at 8am and I won't see a hair of either of them till 5pm - possibly because they're used to me usually being at work then, so they often don't get treats or attention!

To start with they sulked when I shut them in at bedtime, but now they're pretty used to it and after a little bit of pestering or late night playtime if they have excess energy they settle down to sleep. On the rare occasions I haven't let them out first thing, like when I need to take one to the vet mid-morning, I get proper cold-shoulder treatment from both of them combined with glares of feline outrage. They both enjoy being outside, after growing up at a rescue centre from kittenhood till they were 9/10 months old, so are rightly not pleased when their usual adventuring outside is curtailed!

AngelCauliflower Mon 05-Jan-15 18:24:29

It sounds like your cats have a nice life givenmushy I was happy to see my cat running about outside but I don't like that she attacks me when she wants out or when I am trying to keep her in (nighttime). Hopefully she will settle down.

peckforton Mon 05-Jan-15 20:18:17

Are they neutered? As this has a great effect on how they behave outdoors.

crje Tue 06-Jan-15 22:52:58

Both neutered

Put chicken wire on the side gate and as we have high walls I thought we were escape proof blush

Cats made short work of the high walls and the chicken wire provides a super ladder for scaling the gategrin

Will spoil them rotten & hope they have it so good they never go far.

Clure Sat 10-Jan-15 10:31:57

We've had our two rescue cats since November. Kept them in for first 4-5 weeks as recommended by Cats Protection League. They are one year old sisters. They started going out very tentatively and are very nervous timid girls. One is more curious than the other. They don't stay out for very long and always come back, meowing by the back door. We don't as yet have a cat flap as we have a practical problem of sliding doors and need to get round this problem first.
My question to anyone who can offer advice is trying to get them to go to the toilet outside and become less reliant on the litter tray. Has anyone any advice on how we can do this? Many thanks

WhoKnowsWhereTheTimeGoes Sat 10-Jan-15 10:43:12

When ours came to us aged one (sister cats) we kept them in for a month or so and then just started opening the back door and watching them go, in the lead up to a mealtime. They were very interested in the garden initially, then next doors cats realised there were strangers in their territory and started intimidating them a bit, it took a few weeks for our two to get comfortable with being out much and there were a few skirmishes. I don't think ours ever go very far away and they do come back if we rattle the Dreamies, we keep them shut in at night and they have a flap for during the day. It's a nerve wracking time though.

As for the litter tray Clure, I don't know, we planned before we got ours that we were always going to use trays as they would be shut in at night and I didn't want cat poo in my veg. beds. Have you got somewhere undercover outdoors where they could have a covered tray as a transition?

cozietoesie Sat 10-Jan-15 10:49:30

There are some stratagems you can adopt such as putting a small amount of their litter outside on a flower bed (to give them the idea) and moving their litter trays nearer and nearer the doors - and it's also important to keep the flower beds or wherever you think they'll be going nicely forked over and fresh so that they're pleasant to use.

Frankly, though, it's real nasty out there at the moment eg my own flower beds are just a sea of mud and would be really horrible to use for a fastidious cat.

I'm also a bit of a busted flush with outside toileting. I've had several cats who came back inside to do their duty - and The Lodger, who had brought himself up on the streets before he moved in with us, actually decided that he preferred to go in a tray and started using one where he hadn't before. (He may have been caught short outside and done a quick pee out there but I think that that became the extent of it.)

If your girls are a bit nervous, they may actually prefer to go inside where it's safe and warm/dry etc, especially as cats sometimes feel at a disadvantage doing their duty outside where there might be other cats to interfere. I've never minded but then I'm OK with cleaning trays and their going inside not only avoids possible arguments with neighbours about poo in the rose beds but also enables you to keep a general eye (via their innards) on their health.

Do they stay in overnight eg for safety reasons? You're best to always keep trays around for that anyway.

WhoKnowsWhereTheTimeGoes Sat 10-Jan-15 11:01:08

My neighbours get cat poo in the garden problems and although they are polite about it and we get on well, I know it upsets them, as it did me in my pre-cat owning days. We still get it too although I'm hopeful that it's not ours in either case as they do at least one poo a day each in their trays, which is the same as when they were being kept in during the first few weeks. I would feel really bad if they stopped using the trays to be honest.

cozietoesie Sat 10-Jan-15 11:18:26

I've always been pretty certain - from the volume and the timing - that The Lodger always poo'd inside. I was happy about that to be honest. I like my flowers and it's disconcerting even to find fox poo in the beds when you're weeding (we have a big fox population here) - I surely wouldn't like cat poo as well.

(Nearly always someone home to let a cat in though. (We can't have a flap in this house.))

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