Walking cats and not have them door dashers

SDerailed

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I have a part Bengal cat named Tattoo who (despite being indoors only his whole life) wants out so bad. We have a catio and all the windows catified for maximum stimulation. The other day he door dashed.
So, I put him on a harness later that weak and gave him a quick walk. He absolutely adored it. Now, he is obsessed with the great outdoors. It's 20 degrees out and he still wants me to go out all night with him. He is just crying at the door and waiting by it to run out. (Yes, we are trying to get him to stay back by screaming bloody murder and scaring him). I hate that we have to take him out the same door that we use regularly, but the way our house, the fenced yard, and the main road is, it's not an option to do that.
Is there any way for me to let him have the enrichment of the outdoors, but on my terms?
 

ArtNJ

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Many (most?) cats prove the motto that no good deed goes unpunished. Give them an inch, they want a mile, every time. So what happened wasn't a surprise.

You can try to fight this through the power of rituals and cues. For example, if you want to walk your cat, do it only at 8 pm every day, set an alarm on your phone and let your cat hear the alarm. That sort of thing.

I've had indoor only cats be very interested in dashing as well, but usually sooner or later a family member, often one of our kids, was careless and it reinforced the thing. I do think if you can be really consistent for long enough, the behavior will go away.

Other than a catio, a walk or a perch by a window, I've never heard of people talk about other options. Electronic fences don't work well for cats, and a traditionally fenced in yard would have to be unusually constructed to keep a cat in.
 
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SDerailed

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Many (most?) cats prove the motto that no good deed goes unpunished. Give them an inch, they want a mile, every time. So what happened wasn't a surprise.

You can try to fight this through the power of rituals and cues. For example, if you want to walk your cat, do it only at 8 pm every day, set an alarm on your phone and let your cat hear the alarm. That sort of thing.

I've had indoor only cats be very interested in dashing as well, but usually sooner or later a family member, often one of our kids, was careless and it reinforced the thing. I do think if you can be really consistent for long enough, the behavior will go away.
Ugh. Sounds like what I was afraid of. We have walks every day even if its -20 degrees or pouring, or no outs at all.
 

ArtNJ

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Well, maybe linking it to the alarm on your phone will be enough. Worth a shot. That way you can vary the time somewhat and skip a day, potentially fooling your cat.

Cats don't generally seem to like rain or snow as far as I've seen, so maybe that part isn't a big problem, but yeah, they can be very tolerant of extreme cold. When we had indoor/outdoor, there were times when we realized it would be (and already was) crazy cold and had to look for them because they weren't bothered enough to come back.
 

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I also have a cat who was born and bred indoor only who wants to be out a lot more than I can be out with him. When he was an only kitten I brought him out in the yard with me on a leash for a couple hours a day and maybe that is what got him attached to our large rural yard and orchard. He has a catio that is a lot larger, and has more options for fun than many. He spends a lot of time out there, but it hasn't seemed to help much. He also enjoys walking on a leash, though as he gets more mature and more risk adverse he is seeming like he'd rather stay in the yard. (he is really shy) Thankfully he has never been a door dasher and just the gentlest "no" is enough to send him scurrying off in shame. But my other cat that hasn't spent as much time outside and isn't that attached to going out, is a recreationnal door dasher and just does it for cheap thrills, because I try to stop him. ( he never gets further than the back room off the screened in entry way, but he still loves it as a game) One thing that may have helped with this never becoming a problem, with the cat that wants out, is I have always carried him out the door in a ziped up carrier, so when he wants out he just meows and gets in the carrier. And I also built a screened off entry way in front of the door I use. Maybe you could build 4x4x7 screened frame - like a freestanding piece of furniture that would sit in front of the door, and if the bottom was weighted it would probably be substantial enough to attach a lightweight screen door on a hing without attaching it to the wall?
 

Tik cat's mum

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A alarm could help when I am taking my cat out he hears me get his harness and jumps onto the kitchen table well away from the door. But I am lucky he will go to the door but doesn't dash out. I tell him no you need your lead he seems to get this and is happy sniffing the fresh air hopefully yours will release no outside without his harness.
 

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hey man you should talk to your vet BEFORE starting cat walks like a dog.

my vet previously worked in a zoo & is a expert in felines, he told me cats are simply not physically built for endurance activities like walking because the cats entire body is designed for short explosive bursts of power attacks.
the vet told me cat walking is a form of animal abuse as it takes a heavy toll on cat bodies especially over a longterm.
 

jcat

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the vet told me cat walking is a form of animal abuse as it takes a heavy toll on cat bodies especially over a longterm.
A cat isn't walked the same way a dog is; you let the cat meander, stop and watch potential prey, sun itself, etc.. That's why it's helpful to take along some reading material or your smartphone - you're going to be doing a fair amount of standing and waiting.

I walked our last cat every day for years and years, and yes, he wanted to go out even when it was bitter cold/snowy, but usually decided to cut his walk short then.

To discourage door dashing, we had a ritual: a schedule (4 p.m.), his harness was put on in the living room rather than near an exterior door, and I always carried him outside. We went out the back door rather than the front. He was rewarded for coming back in without making a fuss by my thoroughly combing him with a flea comb, which he loved, and then giving him his dinner.
 

ArtNJ

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I'm sure that is true about not forcing a cat to walk long distances without meandering. A cat can definitely walk a bit though, when they want too. My cat used to accompany me when I would jog for the first 2/10ths of a mile or so (unleashed). Granted, he would often dash ahead to cover and wait for me. Eventually he got less scared and seemed willing to go past the end of the street at 2/10ths, but I wasn't willing to encourage that so would turn around and go back for like 4/10ths total, get him to go inside then continue my jog. The neighbors thought I trained him to jog with me, but no, he just liked to do that. I jog very slowly, not so different from some people's walking.
 

Willow's Mom

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Willow can trot along at a brisk clip for two miles when she wants to.

The important part of that sentence is "when she wants to". She enjoys all day hikes once or twice a week, but she sets the pace. When she tires herself out, she's perfectly happy to snuggle up on my shoulders and can even sleep there, snuggling and purring against my cheek, while the dogs trot along companionably behind like little ducklings.

It's the most wonderful way to walk through life. For errands in the city, we usually use an astronaut-style bubble backpack for her, so she can safely come with us to pretty much any pet-friendly establishment. Recently she has even preferred to come into the dog park in her bubble than waiting in the car.

It's a good life for a cat, but she is a major door dasher. Willow cries piteously whenever the dog has to do out to do what doggies do or whenever I have to care for the garden. I close off the laundry room before I open the back door and only take her out the front door in my arms or a carrier, but this is still an issue.

She was born outdoors in a feral colony and had literally never been in a house before I brought her home. I can't have indoor/outdoor cats at this house or perhaps ever. This is our compromise. My understanding is that Bengals have an even higher need for physical exercise and intellectual stimulation than my little moggie and that we need to rethink "indoor only" as the gold standard of responsible cat parenthood.

So I'm right there with you and bumping the thread. I haven't done anything aversive to make her fear the door yet, I just don't ever answer doorknockers.
 
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SDerailed

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[QUOTE="Willow's Mom, post: 5050387]
My understanding is that Bengals have an even higher need for physical exercise and intellectual stimulation than my little moggie and that we need to rethink "indoor only" as the gold standard of responsible cat parenthood.
[/QUOTE]
Yes, it's TRUE. Savannas and Bengals typically need to have access to wide open spaces and LOTS and LOTS of exercise and stimulation. Because of him the whole house revolves around catification. Even when I take a bath I throw in mechanical fish for him to play in there with me. He is a full time job.
 

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