When Maoiliosa decided to get a cat, she wanted one that had already passed the kitten stage. She was delighted when she came across this handsome young adult cat, looking for a home because his owners were emigrating. Ginger had been an apartment cat all his life, but Maoiliosa felt that he’d enjoy life more if he had access to her back garden. She knew that he had never been outside, so she introduced him very gradually to the experience. She started by taking him out for only an hour a day, accompanying him to make sure he was all right. It was funny to watch his first forays into the outdoors – he was frightened of grass, pawing it anxiously and jumping when it moved in the wind.
He soon settled into the routine of a typical pet cat, going out in the day, and coming in at night. Maoiliosa installed a cat flap to give him the freedom to come and go as he pleased, and for a while, all was well.
After a few weeks, Maoiliosa noticed that Ginger had a few scratches around his head and on his rump. At first she put it down to the type of rough play that cats sometimes enjoy. He was obviously getting involved in a social life, finding his place in the local cat community. When he came in with a nasty bite on his foot that needed sutured, she decided that she should intervene. She started calling him in during the evenings, and the signs of fighting settled down.
A couple of months ago, Maoiliosa noticed that Ginger had started licking his plate clean. Up until then, he had always been a finicky eater, leaving a trace of food in his bowl. When she smelt the odour of an entire tom cat in her kitchen, Maoiliosa guessed what was happening: the cat bully was coming through the cat flap, stealing Ginger’s food.
She started to lock the cat flap once Ginger had come in for the night, to keep the intruder out. She set the cat flap up with a “one way” setting: Ginger could go out if he wanted, but he wouldn’t be able to come back in, and other cats would be denied access all the time.
The big tom cat outwitted her: a few nights later, she heard a scratching noise, and she saw a large cat pulling the cat flap towards him, then hooking his head under it to scramble through it into the kitchen. She chased him away, but she knew he’d be back. At the same time, Ginger began to suffer from fighting injuries again, with cuts and scabs all over his body.
Maoiliosa searched the internet for the answer to her problem She ordered a special cat flap that’s as secure as if Ginger had his own house key. The cat flap reads a cat’s microchip number as it approaches and it only opens if the number has been pre-programmed into its memory. The cat flap will allow Ginger to come and go as he pleases, but it won’t let the bully in, however hard he tries to push and pull the flap.
The bully may still stalk Ginger outside, but at least the harassed young cat will know that he’s safe once he gets back into his own home.
- Cat fights are a common cause of injury to cats that are allowed outside
- Keeping cats indoors at night helps to lessen the incidence of fights
- A lockable, programmable cat flap ensures that bullied cats are not chased into their own homes.
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