or Connect
TheCatSite.com › Forums › Our Feline Companions › Cat Behavior › Teaching cats their boundaries?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Teaching cats their boundaries?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Some friends of ours had their 3 older cats trained to stay within the fenced boundaries of their back yard. 2 of those cats have crossed (old age illnesses), and they now have the remaining oldster, a 2 year old and two 10 month old kittens.

They asked me the other night if I thought they should start training the young ones about the backyard. They like the option to allow their babies to be outside, but want to train them to stay within their fenced yard.

When they trained the original 3, they were older, had never been outside and were frankly intimidated by the outdoors at first. It made training easier for them. In training the younger ones, my first thought was that it will be harder on them since their kittens are very adventersome. I suggested initial harness training, and I also suggested an enclosed play area, which they can't currently afford due to recent unemployment difficulties.

Does anyone have any experience with establishing boundaries for outdoor kittens/cats? There is a wooden, 5 foot tall fence that surrounds their back yard, but not too tall that they can't jump over it.

Any tips that I can offer my friends?
post #2 of 9
hmmmm....I have no idea other than putting cat-proof fencing around the top of the current fence.
post #3 of 9
First of all, if the cats are neutered/spayed they won't wander far. All my 3 outdoor cats stay within the boundaries of home even if there are lots of temptations to leave(like running after the passing ferals/strays).
Also,the kittens will probably follow the cue of the trained 2 year old.But I suggest they keep a constant eye on them the first weeks when they go outside.
It will also be a good idea to keep toys, water and some treats ouside.
Finally,it is very important that they be trained to come when called.
I hope I helped.
post #4 of 9
Originally posted by yayi
First of all, if the cats are neutered/spayed they won't wander far.
I don't mean to pick on you yayi. In my experience with neighbourhood cats, I've known cats to travel far from home. Though my defnition of far means beyond five streets away. And when Russell managed to escape from our last place, he was found in a different area of the town from where we lived.

And male cats have been known to travel up to 5km, (8 miles), to answer the call of a female on heat.
post #5 of 9
I have to disagree with yayi too, neutered cats wander just as far if not further just like intact cats do. It is part of their nature to do so. The only way to stop the cats from going over the fence is to cat-proof the fence or keep the kittens indoors.
post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
Yes, they are all neutered. They brought them out for the first time the other day. Elwood walked around very confidently. Jake and Voodoo were intimidated. They were fully supervised and were brought in after 10 minutes.

I suggested that they start training them to come to their dinner by using a distinct sound. If they do get over the fence, they can use that sound to call them back.

I'm nervous about all this, but they are determined and was successful with their last crew. If this works, I'll pass along their techniques. Actually, if anyone can get this to work, these friends of mine can.
post #7 of 9
Amy,glad to hear things are going well with your friends!
As to my comment on "wandering" fixed cats, it was based on my own experience and of my friends who have cats. NONE of our kitties left home after neutering them whether they were male or female. Perhaps their instincts told them life would be hard beyond the fence.
But I respect Mags and Mary Ann for their wider experience and knowledge with cats so it may be better to take their advice.
post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
3 months have gone by and the 3 new cats introduced to the back yard are learning very well! Before they are allowed out, they are put on a harness (no leash) to serve as a reminder that this is a special treat. Once outside, they are supervised like a hawk and anytime they even begin to look up (e.g. towards a tree or fence), they are quickly reprimanded - hand claps, no's and the sacriligious water bottle squirt.

They have them trained to go back into the house when told to go. The first few times one person stood by the open door and the other simply herded the cat into the house saying "inside, inside, inside" the entire time. They now know what inside means and they obey. They get treats once there.

Only once they had a scare when the neighbor's dog suddenly leaped up against the fence. Voodoo (3 year old) got shook up and tore across the yard away from them. But all it took was an "inside" to turn him around and he ran into the house in terror. The others were herded inside and they all gave poor Voodoo the cold shoulder for ruining their fun.

As of this weekend, Jake (younger boy) went outside while everyone else was napping and hung out by his dad while he worked in the yard. One on one, he didn't need any real supervision - he was happy to be in the sun with his papa.

I knew that if anyone could pull this off they could! Don't anyone attempt this unless you are prepared to give it 100% of your attention!
post #9 of 9
So glad to hear everything worked fine.
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Cat Behavior
TheCatSite.com › Forums › Our Feline Companions › Cat Behavior › Teaching cats their boundaries?