Monday, June 29, 2020

About Laz Going Out

TBT:  Laz has been here 7 weeks.  He was an indoor cat previously.  But he is beginning to understand that Ayla and Marley go out into a bigger world than he has experienced and I am not allowing him to do that.

He joins them now when I approach the deck door to let them out and it is frustrating him when I say "back" and let them out but not him.  I am resisting his desire to join Ayla and Marley because he doesn't really have a positive response when I call his name to "come".  Ayla and Marley (mostly) come when I call their names (though I suspect they both think their main name is "dinnertime"), and they have demonstrated they generally understand "our yard".  Laz surely does not have that understanding.

In the past, I have used a harness to lead new cats around the yard until I thought they understand "our yard" and "not our yard".  But they were younger.  And Laz is a bit less-socialized than my previous cats.  It HAS been a bit of an adventure with him.  He had a hard start in life.

He gets a bit better each day, but I suspect he will never quite be the same as a cat raised in a calm household as a kitten.  Well, I knew that when I accepted him into the house, but I thought he would adjust faster than he has.  I'll be patient.  He really does seem to like me, and Ayla and Marley too.

But "outside" is a concern.  He desperately wants to go out with Ayla and Marley.  If I open the deck door an inch, he is right there sniffing and sticking a paw out.  He sits at the deck door waiting for it to open.  It grieves me to not let a cat out in a protected yard to experience all of what nature can offer.

I can imagine the first time he catches a mouse and how excited and fulfilled he would feel.  On the other hand, I can imagine him jumping the fence just because he can and not remembering where home is.

So I had this idea of getting a small dog cage and letting Laz sit in it in the late afternoon shade of the deck while learning the specific smells of the yard.  A few minutes at first, and a little more each day for a week before strapping a harness on him and leading him around the yard a bit at a time.

Does that make sense?  I'm trying to be cautious but I don't want to keep him inside forever.  He's not the usual new cat.  With all the previous ones after harness exploration, there was a time when I felt confident enough to let them out (with me around) .  I'm not so sure about Laz.

Any advice/suggestions accepted.  Just want some thoughts.  Though making Laz a permanent indoor cat is not going to work.  He is practically beating down the door already.

Thanks in advance...


  1. NOT speaking from experience here, TBT - so please don't treat my comments as advice of any kind. But I agree with you that it doesn't seem right to try to maintain Laz as an indoor cat when he seems so eager to join the others outside. What you've suggested seems to make good sense. Another alternative is to erect some kind of caging around the whole balcony so that he has freedom to move around. It would probably be unsightly but as a temporary measure, you may be willing to tolerate it.

    Are you confident that he would tolerate a harness? Not all cats do. Might be worth trying to put one on him now to find out and then modify your plans if he fight you tooth and nail and simply won't allow you to.

    Sydney, Australia

  2. The enclosure sounds like a good idea. Also trying a harness and leash. Not all cats adjust to them. It took Binga watching me enjoy it before she really "got" it - at the age of 15. But give a cat a routine and an education, and they'll generally learn that's the way it is. I think you and Laz are still feeling out what "routine" means to him - and of course you are, he really hasn't been home all that long. I know you both will figure it out eventually.

  3. We do not have any advice as we do not go outside. He has really not been there long, so we think there is no big rush. Slow and steady would be the way to go.
    Purrs,Georgia and Julie

  4. Given his background we totally agree, we wouldn't let him out either. He'd only need to get spooked one time and he'd probably be gone. An enclosure might work though.

  5. We agree.... it maybe dangerous for him to just go outside. The enclosure sounds like a good idea.

  6. The blog "Hairballs and HissyFits has a cat, Frodo, that goes out inside a very unusual enclosure while the other two cats of the household roam around the yard. B we agree with your wish to be extra cautious. If something startled him and he bolted you would be in a bind.
    Is he microchipped ?

    Purrs for good outcomes !

  7. I would try a harness. My Angel Phoebe adjusted to one when she was 15 and loved it.

  8. A harness sounds like a good idea. Try putting it on him for a short amount of time gradually getting longer so he gets used to wearing it indoors before trying him outdoors.
    I am sure I have seen several things you have made or repaired at various times on the blog, so you are obviously good with your hands. Could you make him a wood framed and wire netting enclosure outdoors? It would give him more room to move around than a dog cage.
    You don't feel confident about letting him out so always go by your gut instinct. It is still early days and he could change completely in time and come when called.

  9. All the ideas and 'advice' in the other comments have valid words for you and Laz...nothing to add, though you can get kitty playpens/tunnels that can go outside...but he would still be safe in them.

    Best wishes as you 'work' with him...can you try clicker training to get him to come when called??

  10. I think the enclosure is a wonderful idea. Where I live going outside without a harness isn't an option because I live on a busy street with a high school on it.

  11. I agree with about all the comments. One and firstly, Laz has not been there long at all. Like the blink of an eye. He sees the other cats going ut and that is what impels him to also want out. As he was an indoor cat he has nothing to miss about the outdoors. This is just follow the leader. My thought.

    I would be very concerned about letting him out. It would be a nightmare if he got loose. And he easily could. There is no clear reason why he should be out there with the others now. We, and I am the master of it, tend to project our own human thoughts onto the cats. The cats don;t see things as we do, for certain.

    A leash and harness seems the way to go. Always. He is special, and his instincts are different. He can still enjoy the out of doors and still be safe. He can perhaps have a longer leash, as long as there is nothing in the yard to get caught on- even though you would be there- and he may be able to catch a mousie that way.


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