How to keep new cat from running away?

Discussion in 'Working and Companion Animals' started by Mauidreamer, May 28, 2007.

  1. Mauidreamer

    Mauidreamer Member

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    How long do we need to keep him confined until the point where he will call this home and stay?

    We just got a new cat. He is a black, siamese, fixed, male cat, about 1.5 yrs old. He needs to be an outside cat (landlord rules and allergies) We have had him for two days now. We keep him in the storage unit of our carport with lights and ventilation, food, water, littler box, rug. We have five children. So between the seven of us he has been getting lots of attention.

    At first he would not come out from under the shelf he hid under immediately, but would let us pet him, scratch his head, while he purred the whole time. Then he would stick his head out and allow the same thing. Now he slowly ventures out. He has been eating, drinking, using the litter box.

    Yesterday I carried him outside and walked halfway around the house. He obviously wanted to get down and meowed repeatedly (poor guy). So i put him back in the unit, worried he would jump free. This morning I took him out in the sun again and walked him around the entire house, while talking to him and holding him tight. He meowed and wanted to get down again of course, but didn't push on me as much.

    How often should I do this each day? and for how many days? I'm anxious to let him out free right now, but worried he will take off and never return. What do you think of using a leash on him for a couple days? We have a rabbit leash we could try. It's also been suggested to put his rug outside when we do set him free, so that he can smell his way back to it.

    Oh and he has always been an outside cat. So he won't be missing "the good life" of an inside cat.

    Thanks!
     
  2. Janis Sauncy

    Janis Sauncy Well-Known Member

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    I'm glad you're trying to keep him from running away by keeping him confined for a while.

    Cats, like any other living creature, are unique to their own personalities. I knew someone who would take her cat camping (in a motorhome) with her. The cat would go outside but stay with the motorhome and would attack strangers (human and/or dog) that would venture too close to the.

    That, though, I think, is the exception to the rule. I don't know how many days to recommend for your kitty, though. Sometimes you just have to follow your instinct. If you think it's too soon, then probably it is. I would continue to give him as much time/attention as possible. Can you not bring him into the house for short periods of time so he knows that's where his "people" live? A leash might be a good idea, too, although I've never used a leash on cats. Lots of people have and do, though. I imagine it would take some training and patience.

    Anyway, good luck. (I love ALL my kitties!)

    Janis
     

  3. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    There's an old saying about feeding a stray cat... he is yours. When he comes to you when you call, or of his own accord, he is probably feeling like he fits in. The fact that he is using the litter box is a good sign: he knows what it is; and he respects the big cats (you). I'm assuming the storage unit is a a very small unit, like a cage. He's not going to want to keep going in there. I think you should place the litter box outside where you want it, and bring him in the house where you feed him. Keep him confined to the room the family is in, then go outside with him to the litter box. Knowing where the food is will keep him close to home. Continue to allow him inside to eat, give him some affection, then put him back outside. When you have him on an eating schedule, you can start to leave food out for him, but don't free feed or you will be feeding more critters than your cat. Feeding him several small meals a day will keep him coming back. When you are certain that he's going to stay, you can reduce the amount to twice, then once.

    If you want him relieving himself outside, not a litter box, then dig up an area, loosen the soil, and put kitty litter over the top. He will recognize this as the outside bathroom and learn to use the dirt.
     
  4. Janis Sauncy

    Janis Sauncy Well-Known Member

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    Just out of curiosity: when you do move him out of the storage unit, what do you have set up for housing? He will still need to get out of the weather and have a safe place to sleep.

    My kitties are all inside/outside cats (in other words, wherever-they-want-to-be cats). And, they certainly choose to be inside when the weather is bad. And, most come in at night, too.

    Janis
     
  5. Mauidreamer

    Mauidreamer Member

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    Our carport is pretty much enclosed by three walls. The storage unit, which is part of the carport is normally always open. It is not too small either. It is like a room, insulated walls, concrete floor. So we could actually keep his food and rug in there and that could be his house for nights, etc.

    There are not many critters here except for birds, including daytime owls, and mice (our main reason for adopting him)

    We have talked about bringing him inside so that he can see where we live. We can do that too.

    I didn't know that I would need to "prep" a place in the dirt for him to do his thing. I thought that he would seek it out. Our yard is mostly lawn. But i guess it would be wise to designate an area with his litter so that we don't find any surprises in the garden or where the kids go!
     
  6. suburbanite

    suburbanite Well-Known Member

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    If he's a siamese mix then he should take to a leash quite readily. You can look up how to do that training on the web, then you'll be able to take him around the property on the leash so that he can learn the scents of his new home.

    It is important if he starts trying to take off that you stop him immediately--don't let him get up to speed before he hits the end of the leash, he could hurt himself. If you ride horses, keep the leash at a tension that you'd use to keep *light* contact on the bit--the sort of thing where there's no active tension but if the horse even *thinks* about reaching down for grass he's gonna ding himself. You need to watch the cat and move with him as he explores but if he bolts he needs to hit the collar immediately so that he's not going very fast when he's stopped.

    Animals new to leashes have no concept that the leash between you and them can get tangled on things. So--no tree climbing or fence walking on a leash--the cat could fall and be hanged (even with a harness).
     
  7. suburbanite

    suburbanite Well-Known Member

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    For this purpose let the cat walk you, not the other way around. They wander and sniff, you follow, keeping the leash under control so that if they get silly and decide to bolt they don't hurt themselves.