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Advice on letting cats out for the first time

(30 Posts)
user1471530109 Thu 30-Apr-20 09:44:46

Hi all,

We've had our two cats since end of January and it was never the right time to let them out. My dd is very anxious about them running off and now we are in lockdown, she has convinced herself that we wouldn't be able to look for them.
She's been at her dad's for a few days, so I've been letting them out first thing before breakfast. I've done this for a few days.

What's the next step? How long do I let them out first thing for? The youngest isn't quite 1 yet and she has been the one more reluctant to come in. She wants to go and explore bless her!

We live in a v safe village with allotments behind us. They can easily get out of the garden. I have toetal gates they can just walk through. Plus at the far end of the garden (big garden), there is a fence panel down. But her anxiety has kind of rubbed off on me. Plus she would never forgive me if they didn't come back in.

OP’s posts: |
gamerchick Thu 30-Apr-20 09:47:58

Are they neutered and are they chipped? Some insurance doesn't come in wrong as well.

If they're not then keep them in and if they are just keep doing what you're doing.

user1471530109 Thu 30-Apr-20 09:50:33

They are chipped and neutered yes. The kitten is crying at the door now sad.

I feel so bloody soft. They are definitely very much part of the family. The dds are besotted.

OP’s posts: |
Anthilda Thu 30-Apr-20 09:52:57

My dad advised me to put a bit of butter on their paws at first. Not sure why or if this Is even a thing?

neverknewsomany Thu 30-Apr-20 09:53:11

Little and often is the best thing to do. Maybe even sit in the garden with them too.

YinuCeatleAyru Thu 30-Apr-20 09:54:18

agree only let them out at all if neutered and chipped.

we got ours last August and started letting them out in late Feb/early march. we started off with just letting them out for an hour at a time just before they were due for food so when it was food time they came back as they were hungry and we shut them in again. after a couple of weeks of that we moved to having the cat flap unlocked between 9:30 and 16:30. they have been fine.

YinuCeatleAyru Thu 30-Apr-20 09:57:23

butter on the paws is for when you move a cat to a new house. they don't like the sticky feeling on their paws but they do like the taste of butter so they sit down for a thorough wash. washing themselves is very self-soothing for a cat so by the time the butter is all gone they are feeling a lot more relaxed and comfortable and are less likely to freak out at being somewhere new.

the down side is butter all over the carpets.

AnnaMagnani Thu 30-Apr-20 09:58:15

1. Call their names whenever you feed them. They won't exactly know their names but they will know 'food is coming'

2. When you have established that they always turn up you are ready to go.

3. Let them out when they are REALLY HUNGRY.

4. Call them back in.

And that's it. Be prepared for several incidents where they have more exciting things to do than return home, especially when they are young and haven't got their brain switched on yet.

However eventually they get hungry and rock up looking a bit sorry for themselves wanting breakfast.

Even my 16 year old will sometimes decide nature is more exciting than a warm bed after all these years ( we don't let them out at night) and after a sleepless night for us there will be a straggly but shameless cat on the doorstep in the morning.

It is just the way of being owned by cats.

tillyteatowel Thu 30-Apr-20 09:59:45

Wtf - you don’t actually put butter on a cat’s paws, it’s really bad for them to eat it.

LockedInMadness Thu 30-Apr-20 10:00:29

The butter thing is an old wives tail, they don't need it. It was supposed to be so they could smell their way back the way they came like Hansel and Gretel and the breadcrumbs grin

They'll be fine. Can you hang around the garden or keep popping out so they'll see/hear you and won't go too far?

And don't feed them so they come back for food if they don't catch a mouse instead

user1471530109 Thu 30-Apr-20 10:00:59

Thank you!

It doesn't help that the kitten isn't bothered by food. She will often leave the bowl for later. Her mum is the opposite.

I need to work up to an hour then grin. They've only been out 5-10 minutes. Mum normally just comes back in on her own accord. The kitten would definitely love to be out longer.

Do I ignore the unsecure garden? Or should I be trying to sort that? No idea how with everything at the moment!

We also have loads of cats coming into our garden. I think we are used as a cut through to the allotments. Should I be concerned about this in any way?

OP’s posts: |
LockedInMadness Thu 30-Apr-20 10:01:29

Tale not tail 😂

user1471530109 Thu 30-Apr-20 10:03:05

They definitely don't know their names! Will certainly do the name.calling thing around food time. Thank you, that's a good tip.

OP’s posts: |
user1471530109 Thu 30-Apr-20 10:04:24

LockedInMadness grin

OP’s posts: |
thecatneuterer Thu 30-Apr-20 10:05:36

Ha ha. I knew that butter on the paws would be mentioned. That is indeed an old wives' tale.

The best bet is to let them out when they're hungry - they're less likely to go too far then. Of course ideally you should have a cat flap. They go out when they learn to use it and of course are always able to get back in.

As for securing gates etc. I would do my best to make getting on to the road difficult but not bother with trying to secure access to anywhere else, such as the allotments.

user1471530109 Thu 30-Apr-20 10:16:13

Thanks, thecatneuterer
Now I have this gorgeous old iron gate (with obviously loads of holes in). Do you think chicken wire (if I can bloody get it) will look a complete mess? grin

They are currently chasing each other round the house. They sound like a herd of elephants. They do this every time they are fed. It's like they've got to burn off the calories!

OP’s posts: |
lifeisgoodmostofthetime Thu 30-Apr-20 10:20:03

Stay out with them and keep an eye on them as they want to explore. They may just stay in the garden to start as I'm sure there is so much to see. Keep calling them so they recognise this.

thecatneuterer Thu 30-Apr-20 10:24:12

It will look less messy than a squashed cat in the road.

Does it matter if it looks a bit messy?

ChillOutChick Thu 30-Apr-20 10:26:33

When I first let mine out I was convinced they would run off and get lost. But they didn't. They cautiously explored the garden and gradually went further and further. I worried when they first went out of sight - I was convinced they would never remember which house was ours but they did! Cats are amazing, they'll be fine.

NewCatMummy Thu 30-Apr-20 11:30:42

Our 9ish month olds have been going out since the end of March, started with five minutes with us out with them and worked up to the cat flap being open all day. They were scared initially but a week later one was all the way up a tall tree and last week the really timid one wouldn’t come back in all evening then vanished (child in tears, three of us out with torches calling for her, dh checking the roads for a body)- by 1.30am she was asleep on the landing. They’ve been into the adjacent gardens but no further that I know of (apart from when she disappeared!). Its been a scary process but they’re so much happier having adventures outside. And only one dead sparrow on the patio so far.

70isaLimitNotaTarget Thu 30-Apr-20 17:18:00

We got our Bro/Sis pair last May (about a year old) and let them out in the July .

They were neutered , chipped , used to a routine and obviously keen to explore .
We sat in the garden with them , kept the door secured open so it didn't move and scare them.
We followed all the advice - let them go out hungry . They respond to the sound of the biscuit tin, ignore their names grin

Our cats started life in a garden, spent their younger months in CPL so we were worried they'd have a massive Call of the Wild and go feral .

Once they twigged with the microchipped catdoor a whole new world opened up. They love it .
Sometimes he's a little dirty stop out who wanders in , hours after his sister .
She is the bolder one but he likes the garden more .

And my cats run inside to pee/pooh in the tray then out again,

SuperficialSuzie Thu 30-Apr-20 17:25:38

The first time I let mine out one of them disappeared for 5 hours. I was beside myself.

I got them tracker collars after that grin

YinuCeatleAyru Thu 30-Apr-20 18:36:05

the great thing is that since they started going out the litter tray has been used less and less - I think it's more than a week since it was last used.

user1471530109 Thu 30-Apr-20 19:22:56

You see, I can't wait to not have to think about the litter tray. Or at least as often.

Tracker collar you to Google.

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Fluffycloudland77 Thu 30-Apr-20 21:40:52

You always need a tray. On a cold night they’ll wee in the house rather than go out & they won’t be worried about a lack of tray.

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