Toby - safe supervised outdoor playing? - Cat Forum : Cat Discussion Forums
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post #1 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-12-2007, 09:28 AM Thread Starter
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Toby - safe supervised outdoor playing?

We have a relatively small garden at home with a good high fence in some places. There is a nice apple tree and an old oak tree and a lawn as well as a concrete bit.

We have lots of wildlife. Squirrels live in the oak tree and there are birds and even a fox (a vixen who lives in the school next door).

I would love Toby to be able to go outside supervised in the garden with me. We tried getting him used to a harness but it didn't work too well and since that day when he got out as soon as I release him from my arms in the garden he makes a bolt for the flat! . Not only that, but even when I carry him around in my arms he starts shaking .. wait for this .. he starts shaking as soon as he hears bird song!

Something has obviously frightened him at some point and he has associated bird song with whatever terrors he has encountered - presumably when he escaped that day.

I think it would do him the world of good to be able to potter around the garden supervised . Theres so much exciting stuff out there for kitties!! But how might I convince him that (1) its safe to be in the garden with Mummy and (2) its NOT safe to explore outdoors unless supervised by Mummy in the garden (in case he gets houdini-like ideas at a later date).

Any comments/tips appreciated.
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post #2 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-12-2007, 09:44 AM
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Rembering that even the most sluggish cat is capable of eluding their owner at any given time, I think you need to make sure that the area is completely secure. Otherwise he may be chasing a bug, bird or squirrel and you won't be able to catch him.

As for his fear, I would say that he needs to approach going outside on his own, rather than having you carry him out. Leave the door open and you go stand outside to encourage him to come out. Maybe have some treats with you.

But be prepared...once he likes it outside, he is likely to become a door dasher.


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post #3 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-12-2007, 11:31 AM
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We let the kids out in our backyard usually when I am grilling dinner. Molly Brown, the youngest one likes to have the door open so she can come out and go back in as she likes. Maybe you could do that for Toby- just let him see that he can wander out if he wants.

I do have 2 door dashers, but all the others will only circle around the door when I light the grill. It's their signal...lol.

I hope that Toby learns to like going out. I know mine get such pleasure out of it.


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post #4 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-12-2007, 11:58 AM
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Personally, I wouldn't take the chance with my cats. With my luck, one of my girls would get up the tree and get stuck, or get over the fence. You showed us how Toby can get up into places like on your shelf the other day. But if you think it's safe, then maybe very closely supervised.

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post #5 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-12-2007, 12:29 PM
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I've let mine out a few times this way and I don't have any sort of fence to keep them in, I just watch them and round them back towards the building if they start drifting too far. I think it would be fine and that he'd enjoy it. I mean, sure, it's not 100% safe, but what in life is 100% safe (including our homes)? I think it's pretty safe as long as he's supervised.

As for door-dashing: hard to say. I think it depends on the cat. Misty hasn't started door-dashing even though she seems to enjoy being out the few times I've let her out. Stormy door-dashes incessantly and started before I let them out (in fact, that's WHY I let them explore a little: Stormy obviously is not on board with the plan to be an indoor-only cat.) One thing to remember is that cats are territorial, and your home is Toby's territory. It's his home, too, not a prison he's trying to escape. Certainly there are some cats who roam quite a bit, but I think that's a lot more common in cats thats spend a lot of time outside unsupervised and can work up to it gradually as they get to know the area.
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post #6 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-12-2007, 04:37 PM
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Unless you are absolutely sure there is NO way he can get out of the yard and absolutely NO way another cat can get into the yard, I wouldn't do it.
You know you're just asking for trouble, right? Most of us have been driven crazy by our cats who are dying to go out and we'd LOVE to have a kitty that's content being indoors. What can you be thinking?!

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post #7 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-12-2007, 04:58 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nanook
Unless you are absolutely sure there is NO way he can get out of the yard and absolutely NO way another cat can get into the yard, I wouldn't do it.
You know you're just asking for trouble, right? Most of us have been driven crazy by our cats who are dying to go out and we'd LOVE to have a kitty that's content being indoors. What can you be thinking?!
Awww ..... . Hmmm ... maybe I should just get hom one of those cat pram things or something.
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post #8 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-12-2007, 05:18 PM
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I understand that generally, UK mindset regarding indoor/outdoor cats is more casual towards outdoor. That said, doesn't your Toby have FIV, and isn't FIV highly contagious?

Unless you can positively secure your garden from other cats that may wander in, then you have a risk issue of incidental exposure to Toby's FIV. I don't know anything about your neighborhood surroundings and/or cat population, but if there is any risk of exposure, might it be prudent to err on the side of caution?
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post #9 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-12-2007, 07:08 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by uminchu
I understand that generally, UK mindset regarding indoor/outdoor cats is more casual towards outdoor. That said, doesn't your Toby have FIV, and isn't FIV highly contagious?
No - FIV is not highly contagious. Its very difficult to catch and is only transmitted though deep biting, mating or maternal transmission. You may be getting confused with Feline Leukemia which can - i believe - be transmitted though casual contact.

No other cat would be remotely at risk of Toby being in my garden supervised. But theres no way I would allow him to roam unsupervised - that would be risky for him (infection from other cats) and other cats (fighting).

Anyone who has been here long enough will know I'm absolutely in favour of cats being indoors/outdoors. In Tobys case sadly its simply not possible unsupervised - because of his FIV and also because we live very near a busy road. Oh well.

I may be looking into the 'cat pram' option. My flatmate nearly had a fit the last time I mentioned it though. . thanks for your reply, much appreciated
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post #10 of 12 (permalink) Old 09-12-2007, 07:28 PM
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The only downside I can see to the cat pram option is that, for Misty and Stormy at least, the best thing about being outside is wandering around sniffing all the interesting smells. As a human, I don't have a very good feel for which places smell the best.

Of course, I live in an apartment complex which also is home to a small colony of feral cats, so there's lots of interesting stuff to smell. For a home with a yard it might be a different story.
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