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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Built a outdoor catwalk & cats won’t go thru door

Hi I’m new here.

I spent the last two weekends building a catwalk to a future habitat but the cats are too afraid to go use it. I had to build the catwalk out a second story window across a patio cover, because I didn’t have a better window to exit and I did not want to cut a hole through the wall.

The only window available was already being used by a cooler and fortunately there was just enough space to build an offset out and around the cooler.




Anyway I've tried coaxing them out with treats, toys and even tried pushing them out, but they just will not go. I leave the door flap open during the day but i have to close it at night because of mosqutios. What am I doing wrong?
 

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I am no expert, but my instinct says they are nervous about being exposed or about having no obvious places to hide if they walk out and something startles them. I would use a cloth or tarp to create a cover or a tunnel-effect near the window exit, and maybe start out with only allowing access to a short length of the whole cat walk, until they are comfortable with venturing out of the first part.

Our kitty is now allowed out on our secure deck, via doors propped open, but every once a while before it was permitted she would sneak out. At those times, she was so nervous that she skulked right along the length of the wall, and would hide under the covered grill if a noise bothered her. She is more confident now, but she still ducks for cover under the patio chairs or the grill if anything startles her. Your kitties would probably be happier if they could see and gauge areas of cover to use for safety...

Fran

P.S. Oh, and welcome to the Cat Forum! :) That cat walk looks amazing, I hope you post pictures when your gang starts using it!
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I am no expert, but my instinct says they are nervous about being exposed or about having no obvious places to hide if they walk out and something startles them. I would use a cloth or tarp to create a cover or a tunnel-effect near the window exit, and maybe start out with only allowing access to a short length of the whole cat walk, until they are comfortable with venturing out of the first part. .................................... QUOTE]
Oh wow! Thanks Fran, it never occurred to me to cover it and I’ll bet your right. I have just the piece of shade material that tore of a much larger patio cover. I’ll give that a try tomorrow. Thanks again

And I plan on making a video for YouTube when they actually come out.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I struggled with the idea of the cat door because I have a dog door that they have access to and I don’t want them to go out that door. They are curious about the dog door, but it has two flaps to keep the cold weather out which confuses them. And also every time they get near the door, the two dogs get excited and want to play which scares them away. I intentionally chose a cat door that was different from the dog door so that they wouldn’t tie the two together.
I was looking for a solution to eliminate the flap and have some sort of automatic door opener and I found a electronic one that required a collar, but we haven’t been able to keep collars on 3 of the 5 cats. I wish they would wear collars because I have a real hard time telling them apart, because they are all black from above. The male is all black and the females have white patches on their bellys. Luckily one of the females has a crooked tail, but it’s hard when they are laying down and you can’t see those identifying marks. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Well I covered most of it until I ran out of material. I still need to fasten it down and thinking of sewing it on, but that’s going to be a real chore up on the roof. I wonder if maybe hot glue would work with the weather and all.








Also do you think I may need to cover it more? If so I'll need to buy more material.
 

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Just an idea, but maybe tack it down ever so often with a thin peice of wire. Loop through, twist and cut the ends. Might be eaiser. Make sure to keep the pointy ends to the outside.
 

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Just an idea, but maybe tack it down ever so often with a thin peice of wire. Loop through, twist and cut the ends. Might be eaiser. Make sure to keep the pointy ends to the outside.
Thanks, that worked sweet.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
Try putting some smelly treats a few feet out into the run. Then just ignore them.

I have to say that you're taking a HUGE risk w/ that dog door. Cat door or not, eventually they would figure that out. I would get rid of the dog door or replace it w/ one of the ones that is activated by the dog's collar (so it opens only for them). Too risky otherwise!
I supose your right and I should look into a new electronic door. Thanks
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I may have made a mistake by adding carpet.

They are just waiting in line to looking out the door, but they don't go out. :blackcat

 

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You have better patience than I do. I'd just shove one of my cats out, probably my Siamese. Lol.

Which cat seems to be the bravest? Or the one that follows laser beams most? Perhaps leading a cat via laser pointer might work. Otherwise, they'll get there eventually.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
You have better patience than I do. I'd just shove one of my cats out, probably my Siamese. Lol.

Which cat seems to be the bravest? Or the one that follows laser beams most? Perhaps leading a cat via laser pointer might work. Otherwise, they'll get there eventually.
The White cat, but I don’t know if its braveness or if she just doesn’t understand fear.

I noticed that things weren’t quite right when she was young because she stepped right off the upstairs landing and few 10ft. It could also be her eyes because she doesn’t see very well and has a hard time focusing on play toys like the laser pointer. I have to almost put it on her nose before she can follow it. She relies mostly on her nose to find things.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
We got a little rain and the kitties aren't interested today.

Well when they do venture out, they will have a surprise when they get to the end, because they can drop down under the patio roof to another long run hung from above for 30 ft.



I still have more work to do on it. I was working past dark just to secure it and I really could not see much, but I hope to complete it this weekend.




My original plan was to build a large fenced structure down to the ground with a litter box at the very end of the cat walk. Now it looks like I’ll be moving it to where the ramp is from above the roof so I need to figure out how I’m going to do it.
 

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Patience. Their curiosity will make them take the plunge sooner or later. One thing that helped mine try the new window cat patio was a dish of nice smelly tuna wet food. My greedy gut cat went right out and chomped it down. then she looked around and decided it wasn't such a bad place. Soon all the cats were taking turns on the window unit.
 

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wow this is interesting. I've never heard of these cat 'extensions' before. What are they for?

Living in my first floor apartment i considered creating some form of ladder from the window for the cats to access the outdoors whenever they needed to. But lol I never did it. :D
 

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Discussion Starter #17
wow this is interesting. I've never heard of these cat 'extensions' before. What are they for?

Living in my first floor apartment i considered creating some form of ladder from the window for the cats to access the outdoors whenever they needed to. But lol I never did it. :D
I was inspired by the YouTube video below.

There are many ways to do it. I did not want to make any holes through the walls because I plan on selling my home in a few years and moving out of CA and don't want a lot of repair work to do when I move. it would have been so much easier to go out a downstairs window, but the only window I have available is one that we set up our Christmas tree in front of. We go all out for Christmas and our tree display is huge and stays up for almost 2 months.
 

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Another thought - very random I know, but it occurs to me that cats love to climb up. Is there a way that your kitties can be allowed to explore this cat run starting at the bottom, rather than starting at the top? It may follow their natural instinct to explore from the ground up rather than top down.

Fran
 

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Another thought - very random I know, but it occurs to me that cats love to climb up. Is there a way that your kitties can be allowed to explore this cat run starting at the bottom, rather than starting at the top? It may follow their natural instinct to explore from the ground up rather than top down.

Fran
You know that’s funny you said that because I was thinking the same thing. I have not built the bottom section yet, but I was thinking about putting the cats or at least a few in the lower section after I build it and allow them to climb up and find their way back home. It maybe a traumatic experience for at least two of them and they may just have to do it on their own.

My daughter has me worrying about the section under the roof because it is possible that they could jump over and fall 10’to the ground. I don’t think they will unless they were really spooked. I’m going to run something along the top to discourage them, but I hadn’t planned on it for awhile.

Anyway on my way to work this morning at 4:30 AM I saw a cat running loose on the street that looked exactly like my Squirts. I stopped right in the middle of the road to catch her and she jumped over a wall. So I turned around and headed back home in a panic not know what I was going to do because I was going to be late for work. I struggled with my keys for what seemed like forever to get in and ran to the family room where she was snoozing on the couch.

After that I’ve decide to make the project of closing in the to of under hang my 1st priority.
 

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I was thinking about putting the cats or at least a few in the lower section after I build it and allow them to climb up and find their way back home. It maybe a traumatic experience for at least two of them and they may just have to do it on their own.
I was thinking of just throwing them out there too. That's the tried and true method for most cats when they need to get used to the outdoors. All the cats in my family are allowed outside when we visit the cabin, even the really scared ones eventually love it.

It worked out for Blaze in the backyard as well. At first he was terrified -- peed on us in fright -- but there wasn't any simple way of going about it, we didn't have a cat door accessible to him so he could debate on the merits of using (something that may have never happened if left up to him). We made him stay out there for a few minutes. Then we did it again a few days later, and again a few days after that, and eventually we made him stay out there with us for about 30 minutes, even if he wanted in... and after a month or so he started really liking it out there. At first he was really taking in the blue sky and everything, it must have been overwhelming for him. At the time he was a 15 year old cat that had never been outside (besides a few failed attempts several years prior) and was scared of everything. Now he loves it out there.

Some cats won't like it at first, it could take weeks/months to get them really liking it out there, but getting them out there and then getting them back in (on their own or going to get them again/staying with them if they're too scared) will eventually work out, probably faster than letting them do it on their own. Some cats may be too afraid to do it on their own and will miss out on a lot of great sunning experiences. :p
 
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