Newt’s journey: Letting your cat outside
For the past six months or so, Newt has been attempting to scoot out the door that goes into the garage and leads to the backyard. We’ve had to catch her on many occasions in the garage. Not good. Not safe. For one thing, there’s a hole in the wall (of course.) that leads to the space underneath the house, which you might recall has a mystery rodent, possibly armadillos, and a host of lizards and insects. The other thing is that, while we try to be diligent about closing the door to the yard, sometimes it pops open, and her getting out would be bad, bad, bad. Feral cats, all the aforementioned wildlife, loose dogs, lots of traffic, and so on. (The garage itself isn’t an issue because it doesn’t work. Of course.)
So, I posed the question on Twitter: Is letting your cat outside on leash a good idea? Or does it inspire increased escape attempts? The resounding response was, “Leash her up!”
And, so we did.
Since I filmed that initial sojourn, we’ve taken her out two more times. We quickly realized that crossing from the garage into the yard is her big challenge, so John carriers her past that threshold. The second time she found a good spot in the sun and reclined for a bit, but the washer and dryer were running (in the garage) and the sound spooked her, and she fled inside. The third time outside she wanted to creep around and explore. She made it to the patio area (like, 10 feet), saw the grill, panicked, and ran back inside.
We’ll keep trying with short trips and lots of cheese. If she doesn’t seem to relax after a few repeats, we may call it off… unless she re-ups her escape attempts! Then I don’t know what we’ll do!
But, if you’re thinking about letting your cat outside, I’d definitely recommend a leash/harness combo like we got (I think it was $9 at Petco), just to keep her safe. Start slow, give lots of praise and rewards, and gauge her interest. We’re going to also work on getting her more comfortable with the harness indoors, so hopefully that’ll help too!
I’ll let you know if we have any breakthroughs!
Have a great weekend, everyone!