Expect the Unexpected

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The Hobbes Experiment: The Great Outdoors

Hobbes flaunts his plumage during his first stroll in our backyard.

Hobbes flaunts his plumage during his first stroll in our backyard.

You can take the cat in from the outdoors, but you can’t take the outdoors out of the cat. That’s my convoluted way of saying that during week three of the Hobbes experiment, we let him outside.

After being all rested from his nip/tuck operation a couple weeks ago, Hobbes has been chomping at the bit to go outside. During this past week, he scratched incessantly at the front door, and chased poor Tuxedo cat Frankie upstairs, downstairs, and all around the house. I could see he was full of pent up energy. “Let me out, let me out, let me out,” he meowed.

But I wasn’t ready to let him out just yet.

Frankie gives Hobbes the lay of the land.

Frankie gives Hobbes the lay of the land.

So far things have been progressing well with the attempted rehabilitation of this feral cat. Baby steps.

Hobbes was eating up a storm, purring, and would even let me brush him a little bit (which he badly needs). Despite chasing Frankie (or perhaps because of it), he and Hobbes have become fast friends — eating at the same time, sleeping in the same area, and following each other everywhere.

Minx, our dilute calico, is still ignoring Hobbes. But there’s been no hissing. So I think she’s begrudgingly accepting him.

Hobbes and Frankie sunbathe.

Hobbes and Frankie sunbathe.

Since my husband and I work during the day, we knew we would need to keep a watchful eye on Hobbes if we were going to let him out.

My fear was that once out, Hobbes would just run off.  That could be very dangerous. Our home is on two acres, but is bordered in the front by a very busy road with a lot of traffic, and on one side there is a secondary driveway to a school that sometimes has traffic. Since our property is not closed, if Hobbes runs off, he could be a goner.

Minx and Frankie  know the hazards and don’t go near the front road. But since Hobbes came from the streets of Bridgeport, he may not be intimidated by cars. Who knows?

While I would love to keep Hobbes inside all the time, for his own protection, deep down I know that doesn’t suit him. Being an indoor cat would be like putting him in prison. And our yard is a cat’s paradise. Minx loves running on the lawn and up the trees, and standing guard on the terrace to look for anything that moves in the bushes. There’s plenty of nature for a cat to explore and embrace.

Minx watches Hobbes from a safe perch.

Minx watches Hobbes from a safe perch.

With us both home this weekend, and perfect warm and sunny weather, we decided to let Hobbes out. We propped open both the front and dining room doors, but to my surprise Hobbes didn’t race out. He looked around a bit and then stepped out carefully. I told him gently to come with me for a walk around the house, and being a cat, he only kinda listened.

He thoughtfully smelled every plant and shrub in the yard, and at one point raced into the woods behind the house. If he kept running, eventually he would come to a school and a parking lot. Fortunately, he didn’t go very far and came right back. Frankie was by my side, and I think he helped draw Hobbes back in.

It turned out to be a great day! Hobbes spent most of his time outside, coming back for a little lunch. Late afternoon, I closed the doors when he came in for dinner. I don’t want him out at night — ever.

Today, it’s another beautiful day and Hobbes is meandering in and out. I don’t think he’s going to run off. Just maybe, this will work.

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