Thursday, August 18, 2016

A Working Dog

Soth has always wanted to be an outdoor cat. When we visit my parents, they have to keep their dog door closed because Soth figured out how to make it work about .2 seconds after watching their dog go through. 

Really what he wants to do is go out, eat grass, and then come back in and barf up the grass on my carpet, but sometimes he'll settle for watching the birds, especially when we visit my parents who have a ton of bird feeders.

At the apartment, I'd put his harness and leash on him and let him explore the patio a bit. Sometimes, he'd settle for being a lap cat if there were bunnies in the yard for him to watch or he'd settle for sitting next to me on my parents patio furniture.


At our house, though, Soth has decided he's not settling anymore. He wants to be outside--all the time. He paces in front of the back door and cries, screams, and howls until I scoop him up and relocate him or I let him out. This video gives a good example of what I deal with all day long. He's making me look forward to going back to work.

video

Even though we have the fence, I'll never let him out in the backyard alone. There are gaps under the fence that he could easily fit through (at least until my parents come and help me figure out how to block them off) and I don't know how the dino-dogs on the other side of the fence would react to seeing a cat through the fence. 

Luckily, I've got a trusty herding dog and she takes her job of cat herding very seriously. I've allowed Soth out a few times when Barley and I have been out with him. It took a little work to convince Barley that Soth was allowed in the yard, but she quickly quit trying to herd him back to the door.

Last summer, she was certain he wasn't allowed in Grandma's yard.

And shifted her focus to just keeping track of him wherever he happened to go. 






Soth does not think he needs a babysitter.

Soth was less than amused to have a shadow wherever he went in the yard (and really he had two because I was following him around, too). I decided we might all be a little more relaxed if I put on his harness and attached it to one of Barley's long lines, so I looped the long line through the patio furniture and clipped him to it.

Unfortunately, I was spending a lot of time getting up and untangling him, which always seemed to happen right before the most exciting plays during Pirates games. 


Then I looked up and somehow he'd squirmed out of his harness--how I don't know because I had trouble clipping it with his little belly and it was still hooked! He hadn't gone far--but he had crawled into the crawl space under the house that's full of spiderwebs, so crawling in after him was not my favorite thing.


Barley also felt compelled to keep a close eye on her brother even if he was tethered. 


Luckily for all of us, Chewy.com had a medium tent on sale last month, so we ordered one and everyone is much happier! 

Herding cats is a lot easier when the cat is contained.


Now Soth can eat grass to his heart's content and Barley and I can relax a little more.

17 comments:

  1. Our Cocklebur was an outdoor stray kitten when he ended up at our house, and did not take kindly to becoming an indoor cat. Our compromise: a screened-in "porch" made from chicken wire and PVC pipe that he could access free-choice through an open window (except in winter...), with logs and perches and access to grass. It was simple enough that unhandy I built it all by myself. 10'long x 10'wide x 8' tall. It worked great; he spent many, many hours outside and loved every minute of it.

    I'm impressed that Soth could wiggle out of his harness, and very impressed that Barley keeps such a good eye on him. Your solution looks good. Enjoy that yard!

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    1. That sounds like a great enclosure! I'd love for Soth to have something like that, but my mom's been building all kinds of things for the inside of the house (because I'm not handy at all!), so I didn't think I should ask for another project to be added to the list! Soth is definitely a little Houdini--so far, he hasn't found a way to escape the tent, but I'm sure the day is coming and then we'll be onto the next idea ;)

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  2. Our Cocklebur was an outdoor stray kitten when he ended up at our house, and did not take kindly to becoming an indoor cat. Our compromise: a screened-in "porch" made from chicken wire and PVC pipe that he could access free-choice through an open window (except in winter...), with logs and perches and access to grass. It was simple enough that unhandy I built it all by myself. 10'long x 10'wide x 8' tall. It worked great; he spent many, many hours outside and loved every minute of it.

    I'm impressed that Soth could wiggle out of his harness, and very impressed that Barley keeps such a good eye on him. Your solution looks good. Enjoy that yard!

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  3. Barley is such a good babysitter! That tent looks perfect though, and Soth looks pretty content. Sam doesn't try to escape the house like she used to, but I still think she'd love to be out there. I never dared to try a harness with her, because Luke would be weird when she had been outside; but since right now they're still separated anyway, I should give it a try!
    Jan, Wag 'n Woof Pets

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    1. She really is a good babysitter! I was surprised how much Soth loves the tent--but when it's not outside, it's been set up in the living room (I never thought I'd let my pets dictate my design aesthetic!) and he lounges in there inside, too.

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  4. You came up with such a great solution! I was going to recommend a run between two trees (away from the furniture of course!)

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    1. That's a good idea, too! If Soth learns to escape the tent, that will be on the list of things to try next :)

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  5. We know your pain. Our last cat Tom whom we adopted when he was probably close to a year old demanded to go outside. If he wasn't let out, he would start pooping and peeing by the door, so yes, he got his wish. We were living in Germany, and the area was safe for him to be out. Cats squirm out of harnesses all the time, so that wasn't an option. After moving to the US, he once again demanded to go out. Mom didn't want him outside because we live in a suburb with lots of roads and cars. He had to be let out, but he stuck around the yard almost all the time. One night he was sitting on the railing of the deck looking in the kitchen window, then he left. We never saw him again. We searched and searched for weeks. No one saw him, there were no clues, no idea. There are fox and coyote that may have gotten him. So sad, and it still haunts us, but if I cat was out before you had them you cannot always change them. Hope your solution for Soth holds out.

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    1. I'm so sorry about Tom! Soth has slipped out at my parents' house before and was out for a few hours unsupervised--seeing him sitting out on their porch by himself was horrifying! He also pees by the door if I don't intervene and carry him over to his litter box when he starts to squat. He really seems to like the tent, though!

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  6. Love all the pics! Bar is such a good sister :)

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    1. She is a good sister! Now if we could just get her to be a good cousin, too ;)

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  7. The tent is a great idea. It must give you much more peace of mind then having to detangle a leash.

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    1. It's much less stressful than having to get up and untangle the leash all the time! It's a lot easier to watch a ball game or read a book on the porch when you don't have to get up every few minutes to help a stuck cat ;)

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  8. Oh that is a great solution. I never could get my kitty to like the tent things, but she does like the screened porch at the cabin.

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    1. I'm surprised Soth likes it as much as he does, but he even lounges in it when I bring it inside! Soth would be a terror in a screened in porch, I think--he liked to climb my parents' screen door like he was Spiderman at their old house!

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  9. Aw, I think it's great that Soth gets to go outside. I always feel bad for kitties who are stuck inside all the time. Those are really great pictures of Barley & him!!

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    1. Soth loves to be outside--I think he'd stay out there all the time if I'd let him! My parents' cat wants nothing to do with the outdoors, though, so I guess some kitties are perfectly happy being inside all the time :)

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