When should I let my girls outside?

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Cagney_Laceys Mum
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When should I let my girls outside?

Post by Cagney_Laceys Mum » Sat Sep 28, 2019 10:36 pm

Hello

Sorry this is a bit long winded but I wanted to give the whole story...

7 weeks ago we adopted 2 kittens who at that time were 18 weeks old, so they are now almost 6 months. Their Mum was feral and they were born in a recycling centre where they lived for the first 12 weeks of their life and then 6 weeks at a local rescue centre.

We live in a remote area, surrounded by fields and on a single track road, but my previous rescue cat was killed in the summer. We had him for 5 years and I cannot begin to tell you how loved he was, he too was feral and I was told he would never be tamed but we managed it and he slept between us most nights, so we are devastated. Strangely, he had really good road sense normally and many times we saw him cross the lane to get to the field on the other side and he would actually stop and check for cars. However, he was a real hunter and I can only assume that he was chasing something and lost focus, because it happened between 4-8am on a Sunday morning when there wouldn't have been many cars at all. He never went too far from home, and if I whistled or shook his treat tin he would always come back.

Cagney and Lacey are settling in well with us, Lacey is smaller but she is the more adventurous of the two, Cagney is a little more reserved at the moment although this is changing regularly as the is getting used to us. My husband works from home so they always have company, they come running if I call "sweeties" and love to play. We have plenty of space for them to bomb about inside … and they do! They are very happy girls and have just started sleeping on our bed with us.

I've had a lot of cats while growing up, but I haven't had kittens for many years and I am not sure when to let them out. They have ventured outside with us a couple of times when the weather was nice recently and they didn't go very far, however within 10 mins of a trip outside last weekend, Lacey went into the field and then climbed the dry stone wall and made off down the field. It was clearly a big adventure and no amount of calling her, tapping the food bowl etc would get her attention. I began to panic and my husband went into the field to encourage her back to the house. This has really worried me and I am now concerned about letting them out again. (We never left them outside on their own). I am thinking that given their feral background I should keep them in for a couple more months, they are bonding well with us, but the lure of the open fields was obviously too exciting for Lacey … did I panic too much? Would she have come back OK?

They are very happy in the house, they get a lot of attention from us so they make no attempt to go out and don't seem that interested at the moment.

Unfortunately keeping them as indoor cats is not an option, because we are surrounded by fields there are a lot of mice so they need to do their thing!

I would be grateful for your comments, and if you think it would be a problem keeping them in until they are 8/9 months old before letting them out? I guess if they are not trying to get out they wont mind.

Thanks in advance for your help
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Kay
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Re: When should I let my girls outside?

Post by Kay » Sun Sep 29, 2019 8:34 am

you don't say whether they are spayed yet, and I certainly wouldn't let them out until they are - but the good news then is that spayed females rarely wander as much as males, neutered or not, as the intinct is not as strong in them - I have part of my back garden enclosed and the two males I have had have tried to get out, but the two females never bothered

the second basic rule is to shut cats in between dusk and dawn, as those are the hunting hours, and car headlights confuse them, so no feeding during the day so they are hungry when it's time to get them in

love the names by the way

Catotum
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Re: When should I let my girls outside?

Post by Catotum » Sun Sep 29, 2019 9:54 am

I do agree about not letting them out if they are not neutered (they are already old enough to have an interest in the opposite sex & a male will hare off towards the scent of an on-heat female) nor, of course, until they are vaccinated, which I imagine has already happened.

It won't be harmful to keep them indoors but I'm a fan of the supervised introduction to the outdoors. The reason is that cats won't know what the outside will look like or smell like if they have been indoor only. I use a good cat harness at first. These should be fitted & used indoors until the cattens get used to the feeling & realise they can actually walk in them. I'll carry them out at first & walk around outside. Then, trips out on harness & lead for a week or two, until they are familiar with home from the outside, recognise the scents & know how to get back in. I assume there is a catflap for them to be confident they can always get back inside.


I hope this helps & that you enjoy many happy years with your new housemates.

Mollycat
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Re: When should I let my girls outside?

Post by Mollycat » Sun Sep 29, 2019 10:46 am

Definitely agree about taking them outdoors not just opening the door and letting them go. At 6 months it may be a bit harder but should still be of value to set boundaries for them, giving them a fright any time they go in the direction of the road and lots of praise and encouragement any time they go in a safe direction. Last time I had a kitten it was a long time ago and things were different, she was 6 weeks old and I started taking her out straight away, before she was spayed and before she had her jabs.

And yet somehow she survived :roll: and kept away from the road

Cagney_Laceys Mum
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Re: When should I let my girls outside?

Post by Cagney_Laceys Mum » Sun Sep 29, 2019 6:41 pm

Thank you for your replies, sorry I should have mentioned that they are spayed and have had all their jabs.

We have accompanied them when they have been outside so far but I think I was just so worried when the smallest took off to explore so soon. ... she seems to be fearless! We will continue to go with them and look into a harness, I didn't really want to do that, but a couple of people have mentioned it now so that could be the way forward, but I think I will leave it another month or so before we try again. Thank you.

Catotum
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Re: When should I let my girls outside?

Post by Catotum » Mon Sep 30, 2019 7:19 pm

Have a look online at Mynwood Cat Jackets. I've my 3rd on order & they are very good. Lots of colour choice & they'll be made to fit your cat's measurements.

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robincooper
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Re: When should I let my girls outside?

Post by robincooper » Thu Oct 03, 2019 10:45 am

So cute cats!

Cagney_Laceys Mum
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Re: When should I let my girls outside?

Post by Cagney_Laceys Mum » Thu Oct 03, 2019 5:36 pm

I will take a look, thank you
Catotum wrote:
Mon Sep 30, 2019 7:19 pm
Have a look online at Mynwood Cat Jackets. I've my 3rd on order & they are very good. Lots of colour choice & they'll be made to fit your cat's measurements.

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