An opinionated feline in Edmonton, Canada who lived with a retired cat behaviourist, Greyce provided behavioral advice to cats in need until her death in July 2014. Because her entries are useful even today, the blog remains posted.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Keeping Cat Safe from Cats Outdoors

Dear Eli,

Finally I get to the last installment of my advice to you! This time, I'll deal with roaming cats.

As I recall, there are several toms who have the nerve to visit YOUR property. And this can be of concern, since you like to attend to your toilet needs outdoors via your own purrsonal cat door.

I've offered advice about roamers before, particularly about discouraging them (see, for example, my entry, The Invading Stranger). But that advice applies largely to North American situations where the cat in question is an indoor-only cat and is bothered by the visual or olfactory presence of another of his species.

In your case, the very methods I would suggest could backfire, that is, they could end up being used against you as well and thus make the use of the yard quite distressing for you. You wouldn't want to wander about and suddenly be sprayed with water or come to a favourite area and find it sprinkled with awful citrus smells, for example.

However, I do have a few suggestions for your consideration.

The first is an electronic cat door ( click here for an American site or try one of these for the United Kingdom Cat Flaps or Infra-red Cat Doors ). If there is a strong possibility that one of the visitors might very well try to enter your home, then you best lock the door. An electronic cat door can do this. Keyed to your collar, it allows you to open and close the door by your very presence near it. But others, who lack the key, cannot. As long as you don't decide to play host to a party of cats by standing near the door while they let themselves in, all would work well.

The second is a cat enclosure, a dedicated, safe space for your purrsonal use that cannot be broached by others. Such things are ideally directly linked to a cat door or cat window of your home. An enclosure would be ideal for your favourite outdoor lounging area (inclusive, of course, of your toilet). You would, of course, still see other cats but they would not be able to get at you. If interested, consult my entry: An Outdoor Room for Cats. And if Themselves and you wished for more outdoor experience, that could be provided in other ways.

Sorry that I could not be more helpful in this regard.

I do wish you the best,

Sunday, March 18, 2012

New Cat Introductions: A Plan for Eli

Dear Eli,

When I last responded to you, I promised to get back with ideas about introducing you to a new cat companion, assuming that Themselves would be bringing one into your territory in the not-too-distant future.
So here goes.

First and foremost, follow my entry, May I Introduce . . . A Cat! It is a slower-than-most introduction process because I find most humans to be in too much of a hurry and thereby they set the stage for future trouble.

So take my advice and go slow. You are the resident cat and the elder, and thus you set the pace for the process. Tell Themselves to be patient. The newcomer (likely a kitten or very young cat) will be more adaptable.

Other than following these instructions, there are only three things to keep in mind. First, you need unrestricted access to important parts of your existing territory to the extent possible. This means that if the living room is a key viewing area for you, it should not be the newcomer's domain. Instead the newcomer should be set up in another, safe room. And second, you will need assurance. So at least one of your purrsons should commit to giving you sufficient daily attention of the kind you desire - regardless of how tempting it may be for both of them to focus on the newcomer. Besides, this will be a good way to monitor your status so that the process proceeds at a pace you can handle. And third, the best time for a newcomer is when things are stable in the household - no renovations, no emotional crises or anything else to turn everything off-kilter.

That's it for now, dear. As for you question on roaming cats, I should be able to get back to you much more quickly on that.

Purrs to you,