Leeting Siamese cats out into the garden for the first time.

tigger01

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I've got two 6 year old Siamese cats who've been house cats all their life. Just moved house and they are obviously keen to venture into the outside world. Basically I'm really worried about letting them out - we are on a road (not a busy one and the garden is huge so I'm hoping there's enough to keep them occupied in their own space). Any tips? I have an old dog kennel which I could convert to acclimatise them.
 

Honey08

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We adopted two year old cats last spring. They had never been outside. Despite being very curious and very playful inside, they were terrified when allowed outside, and we have a funny photo of them both hanging off the back door handle wanting to come back in. They wouldn't even go half way down the garden for the first few days, then gradually got braver. A year later they adore being outside, they are constantly up trees or down at the stables, and there is a constant stream of field mice on the back doorstep!

We are on a lane that has a fair bit of traffic, although not stupidly busy. We always try and let them in and out of the back door, and always shout them in that way. They are naturally pretty wary of the road.

I wouldn't worry about them rushing off onto the road. And yes, the dog kennel would be useful - ours liked to rush straight into the shed/coal bunker when they were first put out, coming out ten minutes later when they felt braver. They also seemed to feel better lurking about in the dark for the first few weeks, rather than the daylight.
 

clippi

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When we 've first let out cats outside I put them in a harness and attached that to a lunge line which was fastened to the whirly gig, so they could adventure withour disappearing, did this a few times before letting them off. None have ever gone walkabouts, even when we moved house and they roam far and wide now but they know where the dinner is!
 

ofcourseyoucan

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let them out when they are really hungry and you have plenty of time! amuse them inside with the back door open and if they venture out go out and do some gardening jobs for 10 to 20 mins, talking to them etc, then go inside and fill their feed bowl and call in. repeat on a daily basis, gradually reducing your 'job' time. after a couple of weeks of accompanied trips you can let them out am and pm without accompanying them! a cat flap would be a very good investment!
 

hackneylass2

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Let them out in the garden on a cat harness and long lead if you want them to be absolutely safe.

As for roads, busy or not, my well respected vet of many years, who had a large assortment of 3 legged, brain damaged and no tailed cats which he acquired from emergency admissions after RTA's said to me 'it only takes ONE car'. Also bear in mind that 1 in 4 free ranging cats will die on the road, the Feline Advisory Bureau did a comprehensive census a few years ago to come to that conclusion. So in short, if you want to ensure that your cats reach a good age without the possibility, however remote, of being killed or seriously injured and dying alone and in pain, keep them on a lead. We don't let our dogs loose, so why should we expose cats to the same dangers?
 

s4sugar

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Let them out in the garden on a cat harness and long lead if you want them to be absolutely safe.

As for roads, busy or not, my well respected vet of many years, who had a large assortment of 3 legged, brain damaged and no tailed cats which he acquired from emergency admissions after RTA's said to me 'it only takes ONE car'. Also bear in mind that 1 in 4 free ranging cats will die on the road, the Feline Advisory Bureau did a comprehensive census a few years ago to come to that conclusion. So in short, if you want to ensure that your cats reach a good age without the possibility, however remote, of being killed or seriously injured and dying alone and in pain, keep them on a lead. We don't let our dogs loose, so why should we expose cats to the same dangers?
Absolutely. No reason to let cats roam. If you want them to have access to outside make provision for them to do so safely.
 

Blackwijet

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I have Siamese and Tonkinese, I took them on when they were 10 and 2 years old. Both house cats. Mine have access to the garden when I'm there but I catproofed the garden! Bit of DIY with Dad and I basically created AlCATraz:D. Imagine a lion enclosure where the top of their fencing angles inwards - that's what we did with garden netting and metal strips bent to make struts then attached to current fencing. Works a treat and the Tonkinese was really peed off ! Walked up and down the fence swearing at me but it also has the added bonus that other cats don't come into the garden :)
 

thewonderhorse

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I've got a siamese whose 21. To me, he iss the same as any of my other cats. I kept him in for about six weeks when I first had him (he was 7years old when I got him), then, I opened the cat flap and off he went...and came back...and went out..and came back. He can go out whenever he likes, but chooses to come back in to go to the loo in his litter tray.

He is still a cat, and in my opinion is a much happier old man for the fact he's been allowed out to be outside and have the freedom to choose.

I can understand the worry of first letting them out believe me but I'm much happier when my cats have their freedom and I think they are too. Good luck :) x
 

Honey08

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He is still a cat, and in my opinion is a much happier old man for the fact he's been allowed out to be outside and have the freedom to choose.

I can understand the worry of first letting them out believe me but I'm much happier when my cats have their freedom and I think they are too. Good luck :) x
I agree. I've had cats for 40yrs and only had one run over, he survivied. Cats seem to have a bit more sense than dogs re the road, and prefer their own company more. I understand that some cats can't go outside for medical reason, but other than that, they should be allowed freedom and to be cats.

Keeping them in "because they're safer" is like saying all african animals should be in zoos where they won't get hunted, or no horses should be free in the field in case they damage themselves...
 

hackneylass2

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Cats will not miss what they have never experienced. Years ago, people used to let their dogs roam, not so much now, same as 'putting the cat out' at night used to be the norm.

If you love your animals, you do your utmost to keep them safe - and happy. A cat will accept a lead with training same as a dog, and access to a safe garden is enough for a cat to be happy, cats will soon let you know if they're miserable. I used to live in a very quiet cul de sac, our neighbour had a gorgeous cat which, 'never strayed from the garden'. He did one day and lost an argument with a car right outside his front door. His owners were devastated when they came home from work to see him wrapped in a blanket on their doorstep.

I could not personally take the risk with my cats, who are all very happy well adjusted critters.
 

Honey08

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People and animals will live in whatever conditions they have to. I just prefer them to have a natural life. Like I say, I've only had one issue in 40 years of cats. If you live on a really busy road you shouldn't have a cat as your home is not suitable.

I think you've been given some shocking information by your vet and I don't believe that one if four cats is killed on the roads, leading to you being a bit over protective of your cats. Our vet is quite happy for cats to live a natural life.
 

hackneylass2

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The statistics are from the Feline Advisory Bureau, not my vet. They are a very well respected organisation, look on their website. I have participated in research with them in the past and they are on the ball.

Honey, your cats have been lucky and long may that continue. However, cats tend to concentrate on one thing at a time, two way traffic is very probably beyond their understanding, as well as anticipating and evaluating speed of oncoming vehicles.... and apart from that, if something is fixating them across the road from where they are, they will home in on that and ignore other factors. Its their instinct. Hence you see the mad dashes they make across a road.
We don't let dogs or horses lead 'natural lives' do we? Where is the difference? With pet ownership comes responsibility for their welfare, and I believe that exposing them to dangerous situations is wrong....apart from the fact that roaming cats get into other folks gardens ..I wouldn't want a random dog in my garden, crapping and such.

Also, if you are a cat lover, how would you feel as a driver if you hit and killed - or worse, catastrophically injured someone's pet cat? I know I would be devastated.

I'll stick with my 'overprotected cats', they are happy and safe and all but one lived into their early 20's, FIP took one at 18 months but the other 12 lived long and contented lives.
 

Gingerwitch

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Just make sure none of your next door neighbours have rabbits or chickens - siamese are fantastic hunters..... we have had many a good sized rabbit delivered as a thank you.
 

hackneylass2

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Touchstone, FAB may well have such an article, I have not read it as the link timed out, but the census was based on facts not opinions.

I would be interested to hear on the letting dogs v cats out point I made, where is the difference/
 

touchstone

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I think there is a vast difference between letting a dog and a cat out; they are totally different species. A dog is largely dependent on its owner, whereas cats can be fiercely independent, finding their own food etc. Cats tend to avoid strangers whereas dogs will wander up to people and could be aggressive or a nuisance. My dogs wouldn't last two minutes in the big wide world!


It is the inherent 'wildness' in the majority of cats that many find appealing, unless you've got a super soft breed like ragdoll that wouldn't have the instictual behaviour skills to look after itself, cats are better able to express their natural behaviours outdoors I feel, depending on location of course. Certainly my neighbour who is a well respected vet always lets her out and is against keeping cats indoors. I do have one cat that becomes super stressed outdoors and she remains a housecat, but would be allowed outside if she was confident enough.
 

ester

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where is the difference?
A cat is very different to a dog!

We have one cat, he is and has always been a totally outdoor cat and I think he lives the life or riley tbh doing whatever he wants whenever he wants with food and fuss provided as required (he isn't at all feral ;)-is partial to an icecream on the bench etc).

Like everything we do with our animals (frequently horses in particular) it is an assessment of risk what we expose them too on balance with the benefits of various lifestyles (eg my horse is free to run around a field and cause himself injury not in a stable) not a case of not loving them if you don't keep them safe at any cost.

So for our situation: access to 5 acres of immediate field to the rear, single track village road to the front with very limited traffic and unlikely to ever be cars coming both ways= suitable for a cat.
 
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Mrs B

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Have had cats all my life and they've all come and gone as they pleased. I absolutely adore them, but would rather take the chance of them having a short and happy life, than a longer 'safe' one where they never feel the wind in their fur, climb trees, sit out moon-gazing at midnight or dash through the rain back to the warm fireside.

I do, however, try to make their access to the road difficult.

I loved and cared for our yard cat. He had the freedom of the whole farm and had the most wonderful life. He was hit by a car and killed. Would I have done anything differently with hindsight? An emphatic 'no'.

Cats have no concept of length of life or any worries about how it ends - they live in the 'now'.

If I kept my cats in, I'd be putting my wishes and wants first. I don't think that's a fair way round to do things.
 

ester

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totally agree MrsB I couldn't deny our cat the life he lives and or the way he rolls around in the horse's dust bowls in the sunshine in complete bliss or sits in one of his favourite spots... the wall... in front of the garage.. on top of the spare wheel on the trailer :rolleyes:



(pic courtesy of Santa_Claus)

He did actually get hit as a young cat- he more ran into the hub of a car wheel while 'helping' dad with the bins. Thankfully he was absolutely fine and came home from the vets later that day as they were having to entertain him in reception (see wild I tell you!) but wouldn't have done anything different. He has been a lot more wary of vehicles since and will run away if you start an engine. He is 9 this year and was suppose to be gone a while ago according to the vet as he has a dodgy ticker.
 

Honey08

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Just what I was trying to say Mrs B, but so much better put!

Here is one of our cats, who spent the first year of their lives as housecats, now loving life as country cats. One adores hunting, the other adores being high up, I love seeing them love their new lives...

 

ester

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fab pic honey :)

squishy is no climber ;) though he is quite good at negotiating the post and rail with the eleccy fence on top- you just have to remember not to stroke him :eek: !
 
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