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letting a new one out

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
hiya all

we've had stalker for about 3 weeks now and are thinking about letting him out for the 1st time.

Any tips to make sure he doesn't run away?

Been told to butter his paws - is that just an old wives tale?

All advice welcome
Thanks
post #2 of 18
The only insurance is keeping him in. A cat who's been anywhere indoors for any length of time will either immediately try to go 'home', or get lost, and that's only if he doesn't first get hit by a car, a mean dog, someone who hates cats, etc. etc. Why not take advantage of the (disorienting, to a cat) move to just keep him indoors permanently, and add many years to his life? If you're determined that he should be 'free', at least get a harness with two collars and a leash and train yourself to go for walks with him, if not get him an enclosure. The old ways of being able to just let kitty out are long gone, as our cities have changed, and it's not safe at all out there now, plus about the only things 'hunt-able' are birds now, and they're disappearing fast too.
post #3 of 18
IMO its better to keep them inside all the time - too many dangers outside running loose unsupervised. If you have to let him out - build a cat enclosure or train to leash/harness.
post #4 of 18
You don't say how old Stalker is? Rescue centres usually reccomend 2 weeks minimum so 3 weeks for stalker should be fine. If he is happy inside and not looking ready to go outside yet, then I would wait longer. You know your cat best, and if he has bonded well with you it shouldn't be a problem. But I wouldn't let a kitten out until its been vaccinated and he's at least 4 months, and then only supervised until hes neutered. I have 3 cats (plus one too small to go out yet), all rescue and all have returned home after their first visit outdoors (and since), and all rarely venture further than the back garden. Note: If your cat is not neutered, he may well disappear so please consider this

Tips as follows;
  • Does your cat respond to his name? If not, you should train him to do so before you let him out. It doesn't take long to get a cat to respond to his name if you combine it with treats, and always rattle his bowls or another noise at feeding time. This is so you can call him inside when necessary.
  • Let your cat out before feeding, so that he is hungry and will come back for food.
  • If possible you should supervise your cat on the first few visits outdoors and only let him out for say 30 min on the first day, gradually increasing over a week.
  • When he comes back in feed him so he gets positive associations for returning.
  • ALWAYS bring your cat in overnight so the cat sleeps inside as thats when most car accidents happen.

I think the butter is a urban myth i've never needed it with our cats anyway!

post #5 of 18
If you are going to let your cat outside, you should either supervise your cat, purchase some type of enclosure so you know your cat is safe, or let him out on some type of leash system. Its awesome that you want to let him outside & its good for him to get fresh air but there are so many dangers if you just let him out by himself.

You can build enclosures from practically anything. Or if you prefer you can tie up a rope to from one area to another & put a leash/harness on your cat so you know where he is at all times. Its just not safe to let him out alone. It wouldn't be a good thing if you let him out & something happened to him while you weren't around. There are many ways of going about letting him outside, just have to find a way so hes safe.
post #6 of 18
Thread Starter 
Hi thanks for all the tips.

Stalks is 18months old and neutered but needs his vaccinations updating.

still working on the name thing with him but i think we'll go for a hasrness to start with.

He was allowed out with his previous owner and is already sitting at our patio door looking longingly at the outside world - unlike the girls who couldn't care less having never been outdoors cats.

Always feel guilty when he's watching the back garden
post #7 of 18
Hi, sorry to just interrupt the post, but we got a cat from a rescue centre about 2 months ago now, she's about 20 months old and is really skitty...

I let her out on the patio area the other day for about 10 seconds, and i don't think she knew the first place to run! I should dare say she still isn't ready to be let out?

apparently she was owned by gypsies and left in a field for about 4 months, then was at the rescue centre for about 6 months before we got her...

she's only just settled (about 3 weeks ago) here, and i don't know if it's just best to leave her inside, but she keeps miawing at me when we open the window a tiny bit, or walk out the door.

post #8 of 18
If she is skittish and doesn't come when her name is called, IMO its risky to let her out as she may panic and run and you won't catch her.
post #9 of 18
Stalker yes definitely get his vacs up to date as theres lots of nasties out there. But hey don't feel guilty, cats are adaptable, he'll get used to his routine and he can have just as good a life indoors as your other kitties prove! Hope it works out

Paulla-Tilly Well done for rescuing her . It does sound like the experiences she's had (poor kitty 6 months in a rescue centre) have made her a wee bit nervous. All cats have different personalities and you will be able to tell if she is not enjoying being outside. Sometimes timid cats don't like going outside and it probably seems v scary to her after being inside for so long. It's fine to leave her indoors. You will probably need to get a screen to secure the window or door when its open so that she can't escape but so she can look out and get some fresh air, and/or get a outside pen that you can keep on the patio. You could also consider trying to get her used to a harness so that you can take her out on a leash in the future and see if this makes her feel more confident.

She's probably meowing as she wants attention or to look outside, so if you haven't got one you could get her a cat tree (or make her some sturdy shelves out of wood) to climb on so that she can look out of the window, as cats love to watch the world go by Rotating play with lots of different toys will also keep her stimulated and build her confidence, try and play with her for two 15 minute sessions twice a day. Good luck
post #10 of 18
I wouldn't feel bad when they look ouside longingly. It's better to keep them inside. My cats do like it when I open the windows (they have screens), and they like to lay or sit and just watch the world go by. Sometimes they do cry out at things, but usually I think it's because they see some kind of prey.

My front door doesn't have a screen, and sometimes I see them edging towards the door when they know I'm going to go out. I just push them out of the way. Loki was a stray early in his life and Possum was born outside before he was rescued. Loki may remember how to take care of himself, but I doubt Possum would be able to. But I think I know better than them in this instance (and I have the power of opposable thumbs), so they are staying inside. Also I doubt either would be able to make their way back here.

My sister's cat, Minion, just developed a longing for the outside this summer. He's 6 years old! So we had to start watching the floors when we went outside. Sneaky little thing!

Paulla-Tilly - Not all cats are meant to be outdoors. It's not a requirement of cat ownership to let them outside. She may be happier staying in the house.

Tricia
post #11 of 18
A lot of cats look outside longingly. Doens't mean that they have to go out. I want you to carefully consider just how safe it is where you live? Also, make sure his vacciantions are UTD(rabies, distemper, & FeLV) before he goes out. You will want to test for FeLV frequently(a friend with indoor/outdoor vaccinates & tests every 6 months as that is what the vet reccomends).

Several of mine were outdoor cats before I got them & stay inside happily, whether they want to or not sometimes! It is a matter of safety. I actually suggest waiting 6 months after adopting before letting a kitty outside.
post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by white cat lover View Post
I actually suggest waiting 6 months after adopting before letting a kitty outside.
Gosh things sure differ over in the states to the UK . I love my cats & I found some of your comments a bit hurtful There are a few cultural differences that I have become aware of when reading your posts that I would like to share if I can. As I said in my post, rescue centres here recommend 2/3 weeks and in my experience of rehoming 3 rescue cats, all have returned home safely. We get home checked by rescue officers for approval before adoption here and it is not a case of bad or irresponsible ownership to let cats outside. Infact in the UK some centres only let you adopt cats if you can give them outside access (i.e. you must be able to let them outside.) They will check this in home visits. I understand in some areas of the US and Canada the opposite is true. I appreciate why people keep their cats indoors and theres nothing wrong with that. I agree that cats should not go outdoors if it is an unsafe environment or a overly timid/unsocialised/FIV or FELV positive/unneutered cat, but we generally have the choice to let the cat into our gardens here, as we have fewer dangers in the UK and it can be done safely and they are locked in overnight. Most cats enjoy long lives (15+ years).
post #13 of 18
she knows her name though,or at least she does when there's food about! haha... i think i'd just be a bit worried about her being out side

plus, the bad thing is at the moment there's a building site out the back, so i'd feel even worse!!




she sits on the bay window now, or the top of the settee to look out the windows when she can't be bothered to jump onto the window cill... we also got her a new scratching post with 2 baubles attached to it, she tore them to shreds!!

thanks for all your advice, it helps as i've never owned a cat before!!
post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by stripeytiger View Post
Gosh things sure differ over in the states to the UK . I love my cats & I found some of your comments a bit hurtful There are a few cultural differences that I have become aware of when reading your posts that I would like to share if I can. As I said in my post, rescue centres here recommend 2/3 weeks and in my experience of rehoming 3 rescue cats, all have returned home safely. We get home checked by rescue officers for approval before adoption here and it is not a case of bad or irresponsible ownership to let cats outside. Infact in the UK some centres only let you adopt cats if you can give them outside access (i.e. you must be able to let them outside.) They will check this in home visits. I understand in some areas of the US and Canada the opposite is true. I appreciate why people keep their cats indoors and theres nothing wrong with that. I agree that cats should not go outdoors if it is an unsafe environment or a overly timid/unsocialised/FIV or FELV positive/unneutered cat, but we generally have the choice to let the cat into our gardens here, as we have fewer dangers in the UK and it can be done safely and they are locked in overnight. Most cats enjoy long lives (15+ years).
Stripeytiger, I'm in the UK and have just rescued a moggy too - and I feel the same as you do regarding letting cats out - I was shocked that so many people recommend keeping them in! I don't exactly think its wrong to keep cats indoors, but I quite strongly feel that they need their freedom and independence outside too. Do you guys in the US have people that hang around on street corners waiting to hurt cats?

I have been offered some great advice on this forum, and will be taking most of it. However, I will be letting rupert out as soon as I feel comfortable doing so - I want him to play, explore and socialise, and then use us as a haven where he can come and relax.

It's just like a kid - of course you worry about them, but too an extent you have to let them get on with it and make their own mistakes.
post #15 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by stripeytiger View Post
Gosh things sure differ over in the states to the UK . I love my cats & I found some of your comments a bit hurtful There are a few cultural differences that I have become aware of when reading your posts that I would like to share if I can. As I said in my post, rescue centres here recommend 2/3 weeks and in my experience of rehoming 3 rescue cats, all have returned home safely. We get home checked by rescue officers for approval before adoption here and it is not a case of bad or irresponsible ownership to let cats outside. Infact in the UK some centres only let you adopt cats if you can give them outside access (i.e. you must be able to let them outside.) They will check this in home visits. I understand in some areas of the US and Canada the opposite is true. I appreciate why people keep their cats indoors and theres nothing wrong with that. I agree that cats should not go outdoors if it is an unsafe environment or a overly timid/unsocialised/FIV or FELV positive/unneutered cat, but we generally have the choice to let the cat into our gardens here, as we have fewer dangers in the UK and it can be done safely and they are locked in overnight. Most cats enjoy long lives (15+ years).
I agree, I posted a question about collars and received various responses from people telling me that I shouldn't let my cat outside, etc. I am in the UK too and we live in a cul-de-sac near an open field, I know my cat will be safe. I have been reading the forum to try and find out how old she should be before I start to let her out (she is four months) but I have also found some of the posts quite critical of us UK cat lovers who want to give our kitties freedom to roam.
post #16 of 18
I wonder if one of the 'cultural' differences between the UK and over here (I'm actually in Canada) is that your 'gardens' are likely to be enclosed, at least giving the cats a psychological barrier if nothing else til they're oriented to being out there, whereas our yards ('garden' here means dedicated planting beds with flowers) tend to sprawl across many properties with no fencing at all (though lots of people do have some, effective or not). Plus our roadways may be wider (many lanes) and fast, with great distances (relatively) between exits and towns, but I imagine yours to be on a smaller scale all around and therefore easier to navigate (the land, not the actual roadway!) for cats. Whether or not any of this has any bearing is a question, I guess, but I just wondered if there are reasons why our approach is so different.
post #17 of 18
There are big differences. Most gardens in the UK are quite enclosed (often they have around 2m high brick or stone fences and they're not very big usually either). Also there are pretty much no natural predators for cats here (apart from humans I guess) and because most cats go outside it's assumed that any cat you run into outside that seems healthy is a cherished pet.

That means that random people stealing or hurting cats is probably more rare than when it's assumed that an outside cat is a stray or feral.

In addition to that cats are protected by "free spirit" laws in the UK. Basically they're legally recognized as a free spirit that can't be controlled so the owner is not legally responsible for any damages a cat may cause. I.e the potential legal liability for a free roaming pet cat is zero. Not that most people worry about that.

I've just had a discussion with my vet about inside/outside cats and she said that the live expectancy was about the same although slightly less for cats that went outside but not by that much. Most of her oldest patients went outside. However behavioural problems were much more common in indoor cats and a lot of behavioural issues were practically unheard of in cats that went outside and one of the first suggestions she brought to me when I was having an overgrooming problem in Nikita was if I could possibly let her go outside since that has solved the problem with other cats in the past (it has after that turned out to most likely be allergies rather than behavioural overgrooming though)

However it's perfectly possible keeping cats happy indoors, it's just involves quite a bit of work sometimes, especially if the cat is a single cat. Same with going outdoors, it depends on the situation. Sometimes it's really not safe and sometimes it's safe enough. It's never 100% safe but then again nothing is.

Edit: Also for example here is a map of the city I live in (just a part of it and not where I live). You can see how the houses are built together and completely enclose the garden areas behind them. There is no way a cat that is let out into that area will be run over by a car.

http://maps.google.com/?ie=UTF8&t=h&...,0.004689&z=18

In addition to that there are fences and stone walls within the green area to mark off which bit of garden belongs to what house.
post #18 of 18
Hey Siggav, Can I come visit you???? Just kidding, but Scotland is the top pick on my list of where I need to go.

I am on Vancouver Island in Canada, and grew up in a small town. It was unheard of to have indoor only cats in my childhood. These days I see it a lot more as people are bombarded with cat-education through various media.

I did have a conversation with a dog trainer about a simliar phenomenon recently however. She is 60+ and raises spaniels and shepherds, all enclosed in pens or in the house. She remembers back in the day, all dogs were allowed to roam the neighbourhood, and were happier and better socialized than the dogs of today are. The number one reason people bring dogs to her for training is aggression towards other dogs. They are kept on leashes and in yards, and never get to form the correct social skills from puppyhood and up. With cars going faster, more roads, and crazy people stealing pets these days, we don't have a lot of choice.

I personally allow my cat to go into the yard, but he doesn't like to stay out for long. He has enough in the house to keep him occupied and happy. My new kitten will not go out as I need to ensure that his coat stays perfect for showing. I plan to build some cat furniture indoors for them to get their exercise on.
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