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When Your House Cat Dashes To The Door, Don't Panic: Pet Experts

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posted on Jul, 20 2009 @ 10:05 PM
canadian press

It's an awful feeling when your indoor cat dashes past you out the door. But it's even more distressing to realize that you've just made matters worse by giving chase.
That's what happened to some clients of pet detective Laura Totis in Clarksburg, Md. She helps find lost pets via phone consultations and a trained search dog.
"They saw the cat 20 feet (six metres) away, and they went after it," she says. "It went another 20 feet away and they did it again, and it disappeared."
When your cat gets out, the first thing to remember is not to panic, Totis advises. Even if you can normally pick up your cat, don't expect it to behave the same as when it's in the house.
"If you walk directly toward it, it will run away," she says. Instead of giving chase, "leave the door open, circle around and herd it in."
In many cases, that simple step is all you'll need. But if your cat has vanished, try these strategies:
-First, be positive the cat's not in the house. Totis once helped search a friend's one-bedroom apartment for several hours. Just when they were convinced the cat must have got out, they found it had crawled up into the draperies and gone to sleep.

This is an interesting article for people who have indoor cats. Open the link for the whole thing.

We had a cat run out the door when it was just a kitten. We ran after it and, just as the article says, that caused it to run further away. Finally we saw it disappear in a wooded clearing and did not see it again for a month. We were worried sick, but every day went to the clearing where we last saw it, left some food, and called his name. The next day the food would be gone but we couldn't be sure if it was him that was eating it or some other animal. We also posted flyers around the neighborhood.

We were about to give up when a neighbor told us she had seen a "small black thing" run out from under her car when she was getting ready to go to work one morning. Another neighbor also reported seeing a little black blur rushing by in the vicinity of where we had last seen him. So we continued to go to the clearing and leave food and call.

One day, four weeks later, I heard to my surprise an answering meow . I called his name again and he came meowing across the clearing to me, rubbed against my legs, and stood there looking at me. I approached him very slowly and then picked him up and carried him back to our condo. He got frightened once and jumped out of my arms. I was afraid he'd be gone for another month, but I sat by the bush where he was hiding and talked to him a little while. Finally he let me pick him up again and carry him inside.

He was very, very hungry and thirsty but otherwise fine. He has never tried to go outside again for two years. Recently, though, I have seen him inching toward the door when it has been left open. If I could trust him to go in and out like other cats, I'd let him out sometimes. But I just don't want to go through losing him again!

[edit on 20-7-2009 by Sestias]

posted on Jul, 21 2009 @ 02:48 PM
This is a good read. I've had cats dart for the door plenty of times.
My big male cat has done it twice with success. Both times I gave chase and he ran from me. Thankfully he's a 20+ pound cat and can't run very fast (his name is Tank for a reason).

This is a great article to all of us cat owners.

posted on Jul, 22 2009 @ 04:26 AM
People who can't afford to let their cats out into the open should not, in my humble opinion, own cats.

posted on Jul, 23 2009 @ 12:19 PM
reply to post by Astyanax

There's quite a debate about that. Many people and veterinarians believe indoor cats live longer and are often more healthy than outdoor cats.

Our kitten (now a cat) was a feral kitten and basically is terrified of going outside. I've had another feral cat before and it, too, didn't like to go outside once it had been inside. We used to take the kitten in my story outside sometimes and stay with him and that's how we lost our kitten in the first place.

If he shows continued interest in going outside we will let him, but for the most part he just goes to the door, looks out, and runs back in. A few days ago my husband held him in his arms and walked him around outside for a little while. He seemed happy to get back in.

Different cats have different temperaments. I've had both indoor and outdoor cats. The outdoor cats did not live as long, as a rule. Dogs or cars got most of them. Not to mention getting lots of fleas and ticks. But I guess you could argue that a short, happy, adventurous life trumps a boring indoor one.

We make decisions on a cat-by-cat basis.

[edit on 23-7-2009 by Sestias]

posted on Jul, 23 2009 @ 02:12 PM
My cats fear the outdoors more than the vacuum cleaner. I could leave the door open all day and they'd never cross the threshold. They much prefer shadowing me wherever I go and accidentally being stepped on.


posted on Jul, 24 2009 @ 07:16 PM
Sorry for my lack of knowledge on the subject, but how would you train your cat to be outdoorsy and know they will find their way home? (Or is it simply their own choice?)

We had cats when I was young, they went out and came home all the time, the only time we lost one of them was when she went under a bush to die, and our neighbors found her. The other had to be put down due to illness.

A friend of mine has kittens, and they sit outside his front door with their older bro's and sisters and mother.
He has many cats, but he's just letting them grow old enough before he can give them to a pet shop. (just the youngest kittens).

[edit on 24-7-2009 by Chukkles]

posted on Jul, 30 2009 @ 11:54 AM
reply to post by Chukkles

I believe cats leave a scent trail that they can follow back home. Then, too, I think they've just got keen homing instincts.

Sometimes outdoor cats will leave for weeks at a time and then show up unexpectedly. Maybe they get lost, but maybe they're just having too good a time to come back.

Generally speaking, if a cat can survive its first year outdoors then it has a good chance of living to old age. There are just so many things that can get an outdoor cat, especially when they're young and inexperienced.

posted on Aug, 4 2009 @ 02:58 AM
reply to post by Astyanax

Well lets see here.... When I got my cat, I was in a humble rented house in a nice area. We would let our cat Tank go out and enjoy.

Now, years later, we had to move into a condo, lots of people, cars, and other cats around. I kept my cat inside because he's a big cat and aggressive towards other cats. So not letting my cat out, is a good thing.
He doesn't miss the outdoors, trust me. Don't want my 20 pound cat hurting others cats or getting hurt him self. We let him out on the porch often, so he can look around and lay down and chill out.

I mean, living in a 2 story house with 3 bath rooms, 5 bedrooms, and having to move to a condo with 2 SMALLER bedrooms and 1 bath room, with the economy the way it is here in the U.S.? What do you expect me to do? Throw my cat, my pet... No... MY FAMILY member out into the street to get hit by cars?

""People who can't afford to let their cat's out shouldn't be cat owners""???


When you walk in my shoes, you'd understand. Things change, people move, situations change. You expect me to give up my cat, no, my family member, because we won't let him out side? After we've had to move to a smaller place?:shk:
I dunno, there have been people killing cats in my area, I'm not letting mine out to roam. There are too many cats around here and I don't want mine getting into fights and getting hurt/hurting other cats. It's bad enough having a neighbor banging on your door because she saw a huge cat in your window and automatically assumes it was the cat the ripped her cat apart the night before. (True story).
I'll let my cat out on the porch some times so he can enjoy the air and look around, but I'm always with him, to make sure he doesn't dive at another cat that's walking by.

Is that reason enough for you?

[edit on 8/4/2009 by Slash]

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