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Venturing out into the Big world

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
Hey everyone,

I was wondering whether anyone had any advice about letting Mackerel outside for the first time.

I live near a nature reserve, so I'm not really terribly happy about letting her outside- there are lots of birds and things around but I figure if I put some bells on her she hopefully wont do too much damage. There are other cats who roam around outside and so I know that they're okay... Mackerel's six or seven months old and microchipped with a collar so she should be fine.

I'm letting her out because she frequently escapes when I'm coming in and out of the house and she LOVES it outside.

I've never had a cat before, so this is the first time I'm going to be letting one outside.

So - what do I have to do to make sure that she knows where to come back?

I don't have a cat flap, so will she just let me know when she wants to come in?

Is there anything else I need to know?

Thanks for your help everyone. :-)
post #2 of 23
Could you take her out on a leash? That way you can lead her back home until you're sure she knows where home is.
post #3 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldyCat View Post
Could you take her out on a leash? That way you can lead her back home until you're sure she knows where home is.
She hates the leash. I put it on her and she refuses to move unless I'm actually dragging her around. x.x
post #4 of 23
You may know this, but the collar needs to be elastic. (I think cat collars are usually made that way, anyway, or so that they automatically unclasp if pulled on.)

Is there any way you can keep her indoors except for when you can go out with her? My sister's sweet cat was recently hit and killed by a car, and it's always so tragic when that happens. With outdoor cats, it's always risky.
post #5 of 23
Thread Starter 
She has a safety release collar.

And no- I don't think that there's anything else to do... she really wants to go outside and she loves it.

I know it's risky, but I think that maybe it's what she needs/wants.
post #6 of 23
All my 11 cats go outside. No need for a cat flap, just leave the most cat accessible window ajar (wide enough for a cat to slip in).
Oh, the most important thing - hope Mackerel is spayed.
post #7 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by yayi View Post
All my 11 cats go outside. No need for a cat flap, just leave the most cat accessible window ajar (wide enough for a cat to slip in).
Oh, the most important thing - hope Mackerel is spayed.
Yeah, Mackerel's spayed. XD

And unfortunately I don't have any windows that I can leave open. They're all security screened... and even if I could leave windows open it's not safe here... this neighbourhood sucks. XD
post #8 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jalindal View Post
She hates the leash. I put it on her and she refuses to move unless I'm actually dragging her around. x.x
Mine do the same thing. They think going for a walk means I do the walking and they ride on my shoulders. However, they do seem to know the second I make the turn for home, even if I'm doing a loop around and not just reversing course. Then they take off running. They know exactly where the house is whether they can see it or not.
post #9 of 23
If you really feel Mackerel will be okay outdoors unsupervised, she should be trained to come when you call her. My cats come running when I make a certain sound (they equate it to food).
post #10 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by yayi View Post
If you really feel Mackerel will be okay outdoors unsupervised, she should be trained to come when you call her. My cats come running when I make a certain sound (they equate it to food).
That's a good idea. How do I train her to come when I call? Call her when I feed her?
post #11 of 23
I've never had outdoor cats, but I know my sister would let them out in the morning without breakfast for a little while, then shake the food for them to come in and eat. They would also come back in for tea time, and wait on the doorstep to be let in.

How many times have you taken her out on the harness? It's not unusual for cats to just lay there at first or do an army crawl.
post #12 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by missymotus View Post
I've never had outdoor cats, but I know my sister would let them out in the morning without breakfast for a little while, then shake the food for them to come in and eat. They would also come back in for tea time, and wait on the doorstep to be let in.

How many times have you taken her out on the harness? It's not unusual for cats to just lay there at first or do an army crawl.
I take her out once every couple of weeks, I guess. She doesn't seem to really like it so I stopped for a while. I took her out earlier today and she actually seemed to get into it and enjoy it. lol.
post #13 of 23
Shadow used to dash for the door and a couple of times got out...then she just cowered under the porch refusing to come out - until her tummy got the best of her. So we bought a harness and when we were outside working in the yard she was allowed out on a rope. She didn't like it at first, but it she liked being outside more than she disliked the harness. This has worked very well for us. She is happy with her trips outside and we know she is safe and not going to get hit by a car or get herself into any other trouble.

Lori, Rick, Shadow & Squirt
post #14 of 23
If your neighborhood isn't safe enough to leave a window open, I surely wouldn't let the cat out. Someone could hurt her. That would be my fear. My cats act like they want to go outside too but we don't live in a place that is the safest for them (busy street). I think of it this way...my kids would be sooo happy to eat candy all day too, but it just isn't whats best for them. It's just not in my cats best interest to go outside. I can't tell you how many outdoor cats I have had over the years, they always seem to disappear
post #15 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jalindal View Post
and even if I could leave windows open it's not safe here... this neighbourhood sucks. XD
Please, for the sake of the cat, the environment, and your own happiness, don't let her outside. She is exposed to the "four horsemen" of cat tragedy: Cars, dogs, people, and disease. She may THINK she wants outside, but she doesn't understand any of those four things.
post #16 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by AMYSCRAZY View Post
If your neighborhood isn't safe enough to leave a window open, I surely wouldn't let the cat out. Someone could hurt her. That would be my fear. My cats act like they want to go outside too but we don't live in a place that is the safest for them (busy street). I think of it this way...my kids would be sooo happy to eat candy all day too, but it just isn't whats best for them. It's just not in my cats best interest to go outside. I can't tell you how many outdoor cats I have had over the years, they always seem to disappear
Statistic shows that inside only cats live an average of 16-20yrs, outside cats live an average of 3-4years... Please reconsider letting him go outside... Take him on a harness - you can get him trained pretty easily to walk in one... That would be a good compromise...
post #17 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by mrblanche View Post
Please, for the sake of the cat, the environment, and your own happiness, don't let her outside. She is exposed to the "four horsemen" of cat tragedy: Cars, dogs, people, and disease. She may THINK she wants outside, but she doesn't understand any of those four things.
Also, poisons.

My first cat, when I was a teenager, was an outdoor cat, as many animals were way back then. He died of what I've always suspected was antifreeze poisoning, when he was only a year. It broke my heart.
post #18 of 23
Could you build some sort of enclosure, something like this?
post #19 of 23
I think that if you could get him to wear the harness and get him a lead with enough room to move but not go too far that would be a nice compromise. If he wants out bad enough he will wear it.

I LOVE the enclosure idea!!
post #20 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by AMYSCRAZY View Post
I think that if you could get him to wear the harness and get him a lead with enough room to move but not go too far that would be a nice compromise. If he wants out bad enough he will wear it.
I periodically take my more gregarious cat on a leash into the hallway of my apartment building, so he can meet and greet people and be less bored. (He thinks he's the hallway host.) I'm sure he wasn't thrilled with the leash at first, but knows that if he wants to go in the hall he has to wear it. So now he's actually happy to see the leash because it means hallway time. He gets so excited when he sees it, he can barely contain himself.
post #21 of 23
I've never tried it, but I've heard this for leash training:

1. Put the harness on and leave it on. The cat will object at first, but in time will learn that it doesn't hurt him.

2. Then put the leash on and let the cat drag it around. Again, he'll object at first, but then get used to it.

3. THEN practice at home with holding the leash and following the cat around.

4. Then try to direct the cat inside.

5. Then go outside.

Or you could try something like this.

Or this.

I have one of these; Zane doesn't like it much, but he puts up with it. "Oh, what a pretty kitty!" say the passers by.
post #22 of 23
Thread Starter 
Okay, so reading this thread and researching a little more I've decided to keep Mackerel inside.

I don't think the neighbourhood is one that's unsafe for cats... the problem I have with leaving a window open is that I have a few neighbours that are a little handsy. lol.

But even if there aren't people around who I *know* would hurt Mackerel, and even if the other cats around don't seem the worse for being outside... I think we're going to compromise by going out more on the lead and leaving the Great Outdoors to other, bigger, meaner cats. :-P
post #23 of 23
good for you!!!! I am happy you made this decision!
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