While we were on vacation we had two cat-sitters watching our boys. Lynn did a great job keeping us updated with texts and photos (see here) and Nancy was nice enough to bring gifts for the cats. Unfortunately, one of Nancy’s cats recently passed away and the other is not very healthy and does not use the items she brought over.
One of the items was a nice cat perch that I see the cats lying on now more than our other two small perches.
Next is a cat tunnel that everyone loves.
Finally she brought a nice scratching post. I will let Chris describe his feelings about that.
Our patio suddenly became too crowded so we decided to give Rose’s sister, Felice, the scratching post, one of our perches and a couple of other items. She said she could use them at the vet’s office where she works.
I started to bring the items outside on Saturday so I could put them in the car but the first time I opened the door, Chris came out of nowhere and zoomed out the door. I put down what I had and decided to leave Chris outside until I finished. He usually stays close and eats grass. I thought leaving him alone for two minutes would be easier that fighting with him every time I wanted to go out or come in.
Sorry about the quality
After I finished bringing the cat stuff outside as well as the garbage, I went back in and waited for Rose. She was involved in something, I don’t remember what, but it was probably another half-hour before we were ready to leave. When I walked outside I saw Chris lying there outside the door. I had completely forgotten he was outside. If he had wandered off, there was a chance we would not have known he was gone for several hours. I feel like such a bad parent.
We often do a cat count before we leave, mostly because they get into closets, so Rose probably would have discovered him missing but it is still a scary thought.
Chris was being very annoying this morning, crying at the door to go outside. Rose asked me to let him out for a few minutes so she could have some peace while she got ready for work. I complied, since I had things to do outside anyway and then brought him back in after a few minutes of him eating grass.
While he was out, Frankie was very upset that Chris was out and he wasn’t, so when I got back inside Rose said I should put Frankie’s harness on and take him for a walk. I didn’t really feel like doing that but I got his harness and my camera (just in case there was something worth sharing) and opened the door to let him out.
Frankie was a little nervous at first, for some unknown reason, but he soon was on his way. Within two minutes of being outside, Frankie managed to slip out of his harness. Fortunately I caught him in time. I brought him back inside, Rose put his harness back on and then I tried again. Chris slipped out the door at the same time and Rose said not to worry, she could see him from the door. It soon became clear that, despite Rose’s assurances, she was not watching Chris. I tried to keep Frankie close so I could also watch Chris but it wasn’t easy. Eventually I had to bring Frankie in, a little earlier than Frankie wanted, so I could go get Chris.
That was more difficult than expected because Chris pulled Frankie’s old trick that Frankie learned from Chris. He hid under Rose’s car. My efforts to get him out resulted in only growling, hissing and biting. It didn’t help that the lady across the street chose that time to take her two dogs for a walk.
Rose needed to leave for work so my only recourse was to turn the hose on and squirt him out. That worked, but then he got under my truck. Eventually, I was able to get him close enough to the edge to pull him out. He was not happy about that.
Saturday morning Chris and Frankie were being very loud and annoying in their efforts to be let outside. Since Chris was throwing up a lot on Friday and a little more that morning, I thought eating some grass might be good for him, so I let him out. He didn’t go for the grass as expected but instead went up the driveway and found Rose’s plants. He then did some nearby exploring before settling down and eating grass, which he soon up when he got inside. I guess he needed that.
It was then Frankie’s turn. He’s a runner so I had to put his harness on before going out.
I then grabbed my Canon Powershot camera and then walked out the door with Frankie. The camera is about six years old, ancient but today’s standards, but it takes good pictures. It was also close and my good camera was in the closet, too far away to make an excited cat wait. I turned the dial to video mode, pushed the shutter button and off we went.
Frankie is quite the explorer and we went here, there and everywhere. He even saw a bunny before I did and ran after it, surprising me and probably him too when the leash tightened up. Towards the end of the walk we came across a couple of neighbors which made him a little nervous and hastened our return.
Later, when Rose’s mother and sister came to the house, I cooked some hamburgers and hotdogs on the grill. As I was bringing in a plate full of food, Frankie ran out the door. I quickly put my shoes on and went after him. Eventually I ended up on the next street over trying to coax Frankie out from under a car. I actually was giving him space, hoping he would move on.
That is when Rose’s sister, Felice (our hero kitten rescuer), showed up to help. She kneeled next to the car to see where he was at. I knew she was thinking about grabbing him and dragging him out from under the car but I remembered when I tried to do that Frankie scratched up my arm and became even more entrenched and angry as well. Felice managed to grab Frankie and drag him out without getting a scratch.
When everybody left, I was excited to upload the video I took of our walk but I had an unpleasant surprise. I discovered that the video was set to the smallest resolution possible. It was so small that it was essentially worthless except for maybe an iWatch.
I did find another video though. It was Frankie and me walking around the neighborhood for the first time about two weeks ago. That day Chris escaped when I took out Frankie. He normally stays close so I was trying to watch him while I was walking Frankie but he wandered too far and I had to put Frankie away and get Chris. When I came back out I couldn’t find him at first. When I did find him, I brought him in and took Frankie out again.
Walking a cat is not like walking a dog. They go where they want and if you try to influence them too much the resistance increases. The best I could do is keep him from going to far into people’s yards.
I knew it wouldn’t be long before Chris and Frankie figured out how to slip out the door in our new home. It happened on Thursday when both escaped on separate occasions.
I don’t worry about Chris because he is mostly interested in eating grass and hunting lizards. I do worry about Frankie because he is an explorer and I fear he will get lost in an unfamiliar neighborhood. We also live in a neighborhood where cats are not allowed outside. I am not sure you can legally allow dogs outside but not cats, even leashed cats, but I would prefer not to draw attention from busybody neighbors.
When Chris got out, I didn’t try to catch him right away because it was clear he was not interested in leaving the area. I probably should have, because before I knew it, he had a lizard in his mouth and was ready to go in. It was a real pain trying to get him to give up the lizard. Three or four times I got it out of his mouth, only to have get away from me and him catch it again.
I recorded the first attempt but had to put the phone down so I had a better chance of saving the lizard, which I eventually did with one slightly shorter tail.
When Frankie got out I was lucky. He was disoriented and while he was trying to figure out which way to run, I grabbed him and put him inside.
It seems our cat’s weekly romp in the back yard has come to an end, thanks to Frankie. The last couple of times we let them out, Frankie led me on a wild goose chase, hiding under cars along the way so I couldn’t catch him. Last week was the final straw and Rose decided she did not want to let them out again. Of course, not letting them out and not letting them get out are two different things.
Three times in the past week Frankie got out the front door when we were trying to leave or come in the house. Two of those times Chris ran out the door at the same time. They double team us. When we try to block one, the other cat sneaks around us and out the door and then when we shift our focus to that cat, we end up losing both of them.
It seems weird that I am saying this but Chris is good. He always stays close to the house, at least for a little while. Frankie runs like the wind. The first couple of times he got out I was able to grab him right away because he was distracted by a lizard. The last time was on the weekend when Rose and I were leaving to catch a movie. Frankie led us both on a long chase.
On my last post on this subject, Nellie suggested a Super Soaker might get him out from under the cars. With that in mind I grabbed the squirt bottle that we sometimes use to help us get into the house and to also stop Frankie from picking at the screen by the front door. I used it on him several times to try to dislodge him from the cars he was hiding under. Sometimes it would work but he would just run to the next available car. Other times I kept squirting him but he seemed not to notice.
I was starting to get worried because, despite our attempts to “herd” him the other way, he kept getting closer to the busy road we live near. Finally I was able to get him out in the open where Rose grabbed him and brought him home.
What concerns me now is we are planning to move to a new place. One without the big back yard and one that may be less tolerant of cats running around outside. I want to keep them inside but I also want to bring them out so that if they do escape they will know where home is.
We let our cats outside again on Sunday for some backyard fun. This time nobody caught a lizard and Frankie did not get on the roof (although he came close), but there was trouble nonetheless.
Both Frankie and Chris went through the fence to the property next door and the both came back on their own but then Frankie went through the fence again and led me on a drawn out chase like last week. During these chases, I have discovered that Frankie tires a lot faster than I do and then I think that I can just wait until he is too tired to run and then scoop him up, but it is not that easy. This is because Frankie has discovered a trick from Chris’s old playbook. He crawls under cars where I can’t reach him. He did that last week and he did it again on Sunday.
At one point I noticed that he was panting very hard and I worried he would overheat. I was also tired of playing his game so I made a decision that I regret. When I saw that he was close enough to me, I decided to grab him and pull him out from under the car. I knew it would upset him but I thought it would be quick and he would get over it. I didn’t realize how much fight he had in him and I only managed to scare him and piss him off. After that I was his mortal enemy which made me feel like a real jerk. You can watch what happened at the 9:45 mark on the video.
When I was finally able to bring Frankie inside, the first thing Rose said to me was “No More! I’m not doing this again!” Apparently, while Frankie was playing hide-and-seek with me, Chris and Puck were playing hard-to-get with Rose. Perhaps if we do let them out again, I will have to put the leash back on Frankie.
Fortunately, since that incident, Frankie has forgiven me and we are now friends again.
Sunday, Rose and I went out to do a few errands and have lunch. When we returned, Frankie ran out the door again. This time, by pure chance, I happened to be carrying my GoPro camera and turned it on as I gave chase. He led me on a bit of an adventure and I actually lost him a couple of times but the chase was cut short when Frankie caught a lizard and wanted to bring it home. I think he is more like Chris then he would care to admit.
Rose and I came home a little later than usual on Tuesday evening. It was a bit colder than it had been recently and I forgot my jacket at work, plus I had to go to the bathroom, so I didn’t wait for Rose while she got the mail. I noticed the squirt bottle was not outside the door like it was supposed to be.
Since we bought that bottle, Frankie has been better about trying to run out the door. I try not to squirt him with it because I don’t want him to associate me with unpleasantness, but I will squirt it at the ground just so he will hear the sound and stay away. It has worked well lately. So well, in fact, that Frankie usually stays away from the door so the bottle is not even necessary. That is what I was hoping for when I opened the door but it was not to be.
I opened the door and held the bag I was carrying low to block any would be escape artists but a gold flash slipped under the bag and into the bushes next to the house. I looked to see who it was, hoping very much that it was Chris, but then I saw Frankie and yelled to Rose, “Frankie’s out! This is bad.”
We spent the next ten minutes trying to catch him without success. I kept trying to get on the other side of him to force him in the other direction but he was too fast and smart for me. We eventually lost sight of him and decided to go back to the house and regroup. I still had hope that he would tire and head back toward home. I fed the two cats that were not naughty that night, went to the bathroom, put on a jacket, grabbed a flashlight and a paper plate with some cat food, then Rose and I were back outside looking for the trouble maker.
We walked a little past where we last saw him but he was nowhere in sight. The last time he escaped I stood in one spot and waited for him to show himself so I thought that might work again. We walked back a little toward our house and stopped and waited. It was then Rose heard our next-door neighbor calling. She was standing at the edge of our property with Frankie in her arms. We hurried back because we knew Frankie didn’t like to be held and wouldn’t last long.
As expected, he struggled until he broke free and was loose again. He ran to the condos next to our property and hid under a vehicle there. I was able to coax him out with the cat food and slowly put my had out to “pet” Frankie while he was eating but he didn’t trust me and was off running again. This time he didn’t get far before our neighbor grabbed him and held him until Rose could pick him up and bring him home.
While I don’t exactly appreciate having to chase Frankie around at night in the cold, there was a positive side to this story. Frankie came back to the house on his own, which is a bit of a relief knowing that I can worry less about losing him.
Frankie has been a real pain lately. If you read my post, We’ve Created a Monster, you know it started when Frankie escaped briefly on Thanksgiving and then got worse after I decided to put a harness on him and let him outside.
It seems that whenever we are in the living room, Frankie is there batting at the vertical blinds or digging his claws into the screen. I decided after that post to stop bringing him outside. I thought he would eventually forget about it and stop being such an annoying pest but things don’t always go as planned.
When Rose and I come home together it is easier to double team the cats to keep them from running out. Chris has always been great at sneaking out the door but we have adjusted to his little tricks. Unfortunately, now that Frankie is aggressively trying to get out as well, keeping them both in has become much more difficult.
A little over a week ago I came home without Rose. It is very dark by the door since we don’t keep a light on all day so I knew I would have to be extra careful. I opened the door, which swings open from my right to my left, and put one of the bags in my hand down low and pushed Chris back, away from the door. Just then Frankie came around from the left. I moved the bag over to block Frankie but he slipped under the bag and under the door and was free.
I put everything down, closed the door and went after him. Frankie is not a cat like Chris, when he gets out he runs and keeps running away from the house (see Frankie’s Big Adventure). Since it was dark and did not have Rose’s help, I really worried I would lose him. We nearly lost him twice before during the daytime.
I pursued him past the condo building next door and he then disappeared between two buildings. I thought that was it, he would either come back on his own or he wouldn’t. I didn’t want to give up but didn’t know what to do so I decided to stand near the street and wait. My hope was that he would venture back toward me.
I waited about five minutes and suddenly I saw a flash of gold. It was Frankie. I moved toward him but he hid under a car. I tried to coax him out and it worked at first. He come out close enough to smell my hand but when I moved to grab him he was gone.
I then tried to think like a sheep dog and basically “herded” Frankie toward home. When I got close, I saw my neighbor and asked for his help. Together, the two of us forced Frankie to our front yard where he gave up and rolled on his back in surrender.
Since then, he has been more annoying then ever. We decided to buy a spray bottle in an attempt to keep him from ruining the screens further and as a method of coming and going at will. We tried that before on Chris with little success (see Chris versus the spray bottle) but so far it has worked on Frankie. Now when we leave we point the bottle at him and then leave it outside the door for when we come home. I also spray him when he starts picking at the screen.
Does anybody else have a problem with keeping cats inside? i’d love to her about it.
Rose’s mom came to visit on Thanksgiving and accidentally let Frankie outside. If you read my previous post, “Frankie’s Big Adventure,” you would know that Frankie is a cat who likes to run and does not stay close to the house. Twice he led us on a wild chase and I fear we will lose him if he gets out again. Fortunately, this time, the three of us surrounded him and Rose’s mom grabbed him as he tried to go under our truck.
That short jaunt outside rekindled his passion for the outdoors and he spent a lot of time that day crying at the door and scratching on the window. I decided this would be a good time to put his harness on him and take him outside. I bought the harness a few months ago but Frankie refused to let me put it on him so I gave up and put it away somewhere.
It took awhile before I found where I put the harness but the lead wasn’t with it. I had to call in the help of our resident expert tracker and Rose located it with no problem. Again, Frankie would not let me attach the harness. I managed to get it over his head but he struggled too much and I couldn’t put it around his body and attach the clip. Finally, Rose helped me. I held him while she attached the clip. I then attached the lead and opened the front door. Frankie and Chris both ran out the door at the same time. Frankie took of in a sprint and was surprised when he reached the end of the rope and was suddenly stopped. He rolled onto his back and was quite cute when he suddenly go up and ran again.
This behavior repeated a few times and then, as if by magic, he had the harness off his head and was just being held around his belly. I knew that wouldn’t last so I scooped him up and put him inside. I then collected Chris and we stayed in the rest of the day.
The next day Frankie was at it again. He seemed to be desperate to go outside. It was a nightmare to leave the house or come back because he was right there trying to escape. We have put up with Chris doing that for years but never had to worry about losing him because Chris stays close. He will wander off after a while but I usually get tired of watching him and bring him inside before that happens. Frankie will run and keep running, stopping briefly to investigate whatever catches his eye, before returning in the direction away from the house.
I decided to let him out again but skip the harness and use a regular cat collar that I had in the closet. I bought a few collars four years ago when we moved back to Florida from Myrtle Beach. I wanted to put one on each of the cats with our contact information in case they escaped during our trip. Rose poo pooed that idea. She thought I was being weird and paranoid so the collars never got used.
I put the collar on Frankie. It had one of those plastic clips that are easy to put on and take off. I then hooked the lead and opened the door. Again, Chris went out with us and again Frankie ran until he reached the end of the lead. I tried to keep up with him because I didn’t want the collar to choke him but he was too fast.
He eventually figured out that running was not good and slowed down a bit but he had to investigate everything. He would walk around bushes or under our neighbor’s chairs and I had to keep moving his lead from one hand to another to keep it from getting tangled. After a few minutes he saw a lizard and lunged for it. When he did the color snapped open and he was free. I was able to grab him right away and pick him up only because the lizard distracted him. I carried him into the house and gave up for the day.
Saturday we tried again. I realized what we did wrong when attaching the harness and wanted to give it another try. Of course, he made it very difficult to put it on him but when I did we went out the back door this time. Frankie was becoming a real pain about trying to get out the door and Rose didn’t want him to expect to be let out that door. I understood her reasoning but I first wanted to get Frankie used to the area so he would know where home was if he got out by mistake.
I asked Rose to help because I wanted Puck to go out too. I felt bad that he was always left inside. So off they all went, Frankie on the lead with me and Puck and Chris under Rose’s watchful eye. Frankie immediately led me away and we found ourselves at the far side of the back yard where Frankie tried to slip through the fence. This time he couldn’t. I didn’t want to pull him like a dog or horse so I picked him up and walked him closer to our back door.
Rose was having a little trouble with Puck by then and decided to try to catch him and bring him in. Frankie was investigating the bushes by our neighbor’s patio when Chris stopped by to say hi. He and Frankie exchanged sniffs and then Chris noticed the screen door to their patio was open slightly so he decided to go inside to investigate. That complicated everything so I picked up Frankie to bring him inside. Meanwhile, Rose had put Puck inside and then went to retrieve Chris.
Whew! That was an exhausting eight minutes. I don’t think I want to do that again for a while. Now we just have to put up with Frankie picking at the window screen. I tried blocking it with objects today but that didn’t stop him. Hopefully that won’t last long.