Lesson Learned (Finally)

I have 4 cats and 4 dogs. All my cats were once living a feral life and of the 4, Savannah is still semi-feral. She heads for cover whenever someone stops by. If cats could cringe, that’s what she’d do when I pick her up. When all the others gather in the family room in the evening, she retires upstairs. I’d say she’s a cat who enjoys her own company.Savannah on counter

During the day, the animals come and go through the pet door to enjoy the backyard. But then one day Savannah discovered how to access the front yard via the hot tub, a short leap onto the fence, a walk alongside the shed, then down into the front garden under the maple tree.

maple tree

Savannah’s garden escape

To Savannah, I suppose it felt like the feline version of the movie, The Shawshank Redemption. I am free at last

Each night around dinner, I get the cats in with food. Since the lot of them are gluttons, it’s pretty easy. I just yell, Nummers! and they come running. Then I lock the pet door so they’re in for the night. But one evening, Savannah didn’t come home when I called. Worried as darkness fell, I was in my office when I heard it…the screech of a car.

I looked out the window and saw a car turn around and speed off. Savannah was waiting at the door when I rushed to open it. A trip to the emergency vet determined the car had only clipped her leg. One lucky cat, she escaped with just stitches and a temporary limp.

Savvy sleeping


After that, Savannah stayed in the backyard. I stupidly figured she’d never again venture onto the street. Oh, was I wrong. Once again, she was hit by a car, this time breaking her jaw. What was I thinking, believing she learned her lesson when in fact it was I who needed to learn?!

Since that day, the cats were banned from outdoors. Couldn’t chance it. Oliver, Savannah, Jack and Dash attempted to bolt whenever I opened the patio doors for the dogs to go out (since the pet door was now locked). I became efficient at blocking them from escaping. No more casually opening the door since a cat was always lurking nearby.


Not too happy being indoors

Next thing I knew, my friend Loretta had her hubby, Chip, install cat fencing in my backyard since he escape-proofed their yard for their cats, Rascal and Gwyn.

Chip again


cat proof fence 2

My cat-proof fencing with invisible wire

Chip also built an incredible catio in their backyard for the ferals they’ve been feeding for 8 years. Once apartments were erected where the cats resided, we had to trap and remove them.

Loretta's catio

Chip and Loretta’s catio

In two days, Chip was finished making my yard escape-proof. So I let the cats out for the first time in a month. That night I came home late and who was sitting in the front yard? You got it. Apparently the escape artist, Savannah, found a hole at the bottom of the fence that I’d forgotten about. So I did a patch job. The next night I came home to find her casually relaxing in the front garden again.how did that happen

Turns out that damn cat found the tiny section of fencing we hadn’t escape-proofed, located behind a large, seemingly unclimbable hedge hugging the fence. Anyway, the cats are now banished from the yard until Chip shores up that section.

Now don’t get me wrong; I plan to double-check every square inch of my yard’s perimeter before allowing the cats back outside. I was an idiot for enabling Savannah to be hit by a car not once, but twice. She’s fortunate to have 7 of her 9 lives left, no thanks to me.

Luckily, I learned my lesson before it was too late.

Cats in backyard

Back in the yard today

savvy on bluestone 2

Safe and sound


8 thoughts on “Lesson Learned (Finally)

  1. Way to go, Janet. Live and learn. I only wish my neighbors would do the same thing and they have a very easy yard to cat fence. Two gates on each side of the house and just a square backyard that would be easily cat fenced and my friend was even going to offer to do it for them at a very reasonable price. But no, they chose to let their cats come into my yard and use it as a hunting ground and a litter box. After three years of that in finding dead birds in my yard and feathers and I could not enjoy my yard anymore, I finally had to ask animal control to go over and talk to them. Well, for the past 5+ years now we haven’t spoken. They haven’t done anything and one cat still comes into the yard. I haven’t seen the others. Who knows. Maybe they were all hit by a car. Seems like they won’t even learn the hard way.
    Glad you took the initiative and got it under control before you lost one of yours. There’s a page long list of the perils of an outdoor cat. People think they are bored indoors. Well, come and see my six. They never are bored. Jadie is going to be 19 in January. That just goes to show you how long they can live when they are protected and supervised.
    I have a happy habitat if I want to put them outside and they are enclosed in that and can enjoy the outside. Most of the time they start meowing and want to come right back in the house anyway. Go figure.
    The only two outdoor cats I have now is one that I trapped and had spayed after she had her kittens from an a neutered mail that was roaming that one of our neighbors owned. During Gracies pregnancy, he got hit by a car and unfortunately died. The other one I think is an abandoned big gray cat that has taken a presidency outside. That’s the only reason that I have those two outside. The other little feral that kind of followed Gracie here has disappeared. That’s what happens when cats live outdoors. It’s just not safe. Both of these kitties have their own little house Outside and also will be under a covered patio during the rainy season. That’s the best I can do for them. Plus they get the best food. It really warms my heart to see them both spinning around in their little catnip pot that I made for them.
    Sorry this is so long, but I just felt the need to share. Janet, you are a wonderful person and you do nothing but great work. I admire you. Your pets are the lucky ones.

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