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post #1 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-26-2009, 03:44 PM Thread Starter
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Murphy and the Great Outdoors

We've been brainstorming how we can get Murphy a little outdoor time. Our little fenced-in backyard was an option, but that brought up the issue of, as I said this morning, teas and flicks. The other option is our deck off the second story of the house, but since it's adjacent to the neighbor's deck, and his neighbor after that, we had visions of Murphy jumping the ledge and bouncing off to other people's decks, never to be seen again.

That led to the greatest discovery at Lowe's, this stuff called "chicken fence." We now have a cat-proof deck side next to the neighbor, and Murphy can otherwise roam the deck and roll around to his heart's content.







And then he actually wants back in the air conditioning.


And back into his favorite shoebox.


Holly and Murphy
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post #2 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-26-2009, 04:04 PM
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Re: Murphy and the Great Outdoors

What a great idea!

I love Murphy's tail and little white feet.

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post #3 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-26-2009, 05:47 PM
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Re: Murphy and the Great Outdoors

What a great idea!! I wish I could do more at my location. Between home owners association rules and just logistics of our particular house and dogs, the best we can do is harness walks in the front yard. If we ever move houses, one of the priorities will be the ability to put in a cat run!!

Hope Murphy enjoys his new digs!

Erin

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post #4 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-26-2009, 07:10 PM
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Re: Murphy and the Great Outdoors

October-

I'm sorry, but I'm just going to say it. That will not keep him on your deck if he really doesn't want to be there. I think the most important thing that you can do, especially if this is his initial period outside, is to harness him until he knows the boundaries. You must be with him supervising his outdoor time. You have to spend enough time with him outside to learn where his hideouts will be, and also to learn his favorite haunts. I think you will find, as we have with our two guys, that they really prefer you to be outside with them. It gives them confidence. How will he react if a rabbit comes into the yard, or a squirrel? Worse yet, how will he react if another cat comes by? We also have a fully fenced back yard, but no deck, as our house is only 1 story ranch style. We are in the country *somewhat* with developments around us....but our road just has houses on it.....no development. We get rabbits, other cats, squirrels and have had skunks in the backyard too.

If Murphy has claws, he could easily jump up onto the fence and walk across, or even slide under......our guys get into our garden that way. You would be amazed what a cat can do. I guess just make sure you are supervising his time outside. We still do with ours, and they are going on 7 years old. We can let them out for periods of time, but we also are always keeping notes on where they are.

One last thing, make sure he has somewhere to go to get out of the sun. Our guys love the bushes, and will get under them to cool off.....the dirt under a bush is always shaded and cool. They also love hiding from us and can be tricky to find. Please be cautious and please spend enough quality time with him outside so that he can safely enjoy his new territory. Peace.
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post #5 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-26-2009, 07:44 PM
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Re: Murphy and the Great Outdoors

What a nice set up for Murphy. I wish there was a way we could connect to the outdoors for our cats but there just isn't. Murphy is such a handsome boy. That last picture really shows what a pretty cat he is.

Sue



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post #6 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-26-2009, 11:33 PM
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Re: Murphy and the Great Outdoors

Looks like he likes boxes , what a cutie.
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post #7 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-27-2009, 07:06 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Murphy and the Great Outdoors

Bryon, thanks for your response about his safety. While I know cats are somewhat unpredictable, we're being very careful with him. He has never been out there alone. That boy is fully chaperoned. I don't think I would ever reach the point where I could send him out there alone. I'm a protective worrier type and have always wondered how one of our other neighbors sends her cats out to the deck unchaperoned.

The longest we've had him out there is for about 10 minutes, and there is about one-third of the deck area that's always shaded from the house.

I'd like to hear from other people who have decks. Do you let your cats out there?


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post #8 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-27-2009, 09:33 AM
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Re: Murphy and the Great Outdoors

Excellent! I think without a doubt that what you are doing is the correct way. Our fence (i'll take a pic of it later) has places where the distance between the vertical slats is enough for Coco to squeeze his butt through. We put up deer netting in that one area, (like your chicken net) and that solved that. Stray cats that come into the yard always do so by jumping over the fence. That is also how they leave, and when my guys are chasing the strays out, I always worry that they will try to jump over the fence. So far they haven't tried.

Literally 3 weeks ago, Coco went missing after being out for some time. It was getting dark, and we were both getting worried. I hopped on the lawn tractor and did a lap around the yard. (The lawn tractor is the one thing we can do to get them inside, they are both somewhat afraid of it, and if they are being stubborn about coming inside, all we *usually* have to do is turn it on, and they come running. So it isn't like I am chasing them with it or anything like that...lets just get that straight now.) But Coco likes to hide, in fact one of his favorite things is to make you find him outside. The shed doors had been open all day, and we both looked in the shed and didn't see him. We closed the shed doors and then she went over the fence into the field behind us, and I got in the car and started searching. I made a lap with no luck and came back. I got out of the car and then back into the yard and was calling him, she was still in the field calling him. I heard something over by the shed, opened the doors again, and there he was looking up at me, as if to say what took you so long. Wow what a relief. But I had to calm my girlfriend down and tell her not to yell at him, because in reality he did nothing wrong. He didn't leave the yard. He was rotten as all get out playing hide and seek, but she has sort allowed that to develop. It was frightening to say the least.

So my motives in sharing our experience with you is to hopefully save you some of the panic that can arise. Thankfully it has only been that 1 instance in almost 7 years. Come to think of it, for as rotten as they can be, our guys are pretty good overall.

Keep spending time with Murphy outside. Watch and observe him carefully and learn his behavior. I know our guys appreciate that they get to go outside, and I believe it enriches their lives. Don't be surprised if he brings you a mouse or mole every now and then.
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post #9 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-27-2009, 12:00 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Murphy and the Great Outdoors

That was another one of those "I've looked everywhere, they're gone, oops, there they are" situations we've all had. Cheeky monkeys!

But I totally understand, it's the dilemma between not wanting to take a risk versus really wanting to enrich their lives in whatever way you can. I feel like this is a small way to expand his horizons and give him some sensory experiences he wouldn't have had. As an indoor cat his whole life, it seems so limiting to restrict him to the 4 walls of the house, day after day, when there are little things we could do to enrich his experience. This is all short of saying he could be an outdoor cat, of course. That'll happen the 12th of never. But the deck is the next best thing. At least he gets the feeling of sunshine, wind, different smells, a few bugs, and then back into the A/C.

By the way, I LOVE Frederick. I used to live in Germantown and got up there every chance I got. You've got some beautiful country up there and from what you're saying, you live in the middle of it!


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post #10 of 11 (permalink) Old 07-27-2009, 12:55 PM
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Re: Murphy and the Great Outdoors

Actually, we are outside city limits, between New Market and Frederick. There are developments all around us though, we happen to be lucky enough not to be in one of them. Spring Ridge and Winding Knolls? I think are the big ones. Holly Hills golf course is also just down the road. That being said however, we also do not have access to FiOs yet, we are on our own private well for water, and we have a private septic tank. No natural gas access either. ALL the developments around us have that stuff, except I'm not sure about the FiOs yet. We trade a water bill every 1/4 for the worry and periodic maintenance of the well pump and septic tank.

If we could have afforded a place closer to work, Gaithersburg, we still would NOT have moved closer to work. When we finish paying this place off, another couple of years, we can then start to think about the final house.

I'll post the fence pic when I get home.
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