I had thought of that possibility, but the rods are SO high, and there is no foothole from the first horizontal bar where a cat could propel herself up. The cat would only be able to hang onto the horizontal bar with her hands, and heave and rotate her body forward. She cannot jump upwards anymore. I had considered all this.
But after the comments came, I was totally freaked out.
Thank you, all, for considering this possibility and sharing all that you know. I appreciate the extra pairs of eyes and hearts.
Yesterday, I thought I'd buy ping-pong balls, cut in hole in them and use them to "protect" the rods. My husband suggested eggshells.
Anyway, first thing this morning, I asked the workers for advice, and voila...we are going to use the rounded plastic studs. Yay! I'll get the studs in the next two days or so. Let's hope no untoward incident happens before that.
Meanwhile, Pole tried her stunt again last night, TWICE, but only got as far as hooking her paws onto the first horizontal bar, heaving her body up only to discover she could no longer go through the gap now. She then gave up and let herself fall back to the ground. She tried twice, and has not tried again since then. But she continues staring at the sidegate, probably thinking up other options.
But the other two girls, Tabs and Cleo gave us a few scares last night.
I had a cat-grille specially made and installed at the door of their room so that I don't have to close the wooden door all the time and the cats would get to see us in the dining area and the kitchen or look out to the patio. The cat-grille is made of vertical rods and is only three-quarter way up (something like a child-proof door, only higher as cats can jump). The deal from my husband when we moved is that Cow & Bunny be confined in their room and the backyard (Bunny's Place) because these two spray urine. So, I actually only have to make sure Cow & Bunny don't get out from their space. But for now, nobody gets out because it's a new place and I'm worried they might try to run back to the old house OR wander a bit too far and don't know the way home.
Well, the contractor, as kind as he was, understood my urgency and quickly got the grille made within one day. However, he is not a cat-person so he does not understand how flexible cats can be. I told him strictly "not more than 2 inches", but he made the rods "slightly more than 2 inches". One look at it and I know Tabs can probably stroll through the gaps effortlessly.
True enough, the little one did, and had a wonderful time exploring the rest of the house, including upstairs. Luckily she wears a collar with a bell, so I managed to track her down and get her back. But nightfall, Tabs had got into a "I want to play dashing around" frenzy and was playing with my husband. Suddenly, she dashed out of the grille, straight upstairs and before I could say "hello kitty", she jumped out of the window upstairs and landed on the roof! It was pitch black outside. We called her, but heard no bell.
We brought torches, surveyed the entire roof; we went downstairs and checked the garden with bated breath, in case she had fallen down from the roof, but there was no sign of Tabs anywhere.
We searched for half an hour. There was no sound of the bell. There was no Tabs.
I thought the worst had happened and resigned myself to accept it.
After searching for half an hour, I thought I heard the sound of the bell, but from very far away.
Wait...I must be imagining it. Did you hear it, I asked my husband. He said no.
I heard the bell again...from a distance.
After another ten minutes, Tabs came trotting in through the bedroom window, from the rooftop.
Tabs was safe, but looked visibly shaken.
I carried her downstairs and put her back into the room.
NO MORE coming out, Tabs.
The grille would have to have added reinforcement now.
Later, Indy also walked through the gap, but with some squeezing required. Cleo just looked, but did not attempt. If Indy can go through, so can Cleo and Pole. This means the grille is only Cow-Bunny-Tiger-proofed.
The grille WOULD have to be reinforced.
So that's the Tabs Adventure.
In the middle of the night, we heard mewing outside. Oh no, what's wrong now?
It was Cleo this time. She had probably jumped from the shelf to the top of the clothes line and from there, to the 8-foot wall (just a narrow strip), and she was pacing to and fro, trying to get down. She was too scared to jump down.
So, another small rescue mission there, and as dawn broke, there had been no further mishaps..so far.
Take a look at the photos:
So far, Indy has been the most "cooperative'" as in not throwing any fuss at all. He eats, stretches himself, sniffs at the grass, then goes back to his "apartment" and is VERY contented with his blanket.
Breakfast this morning.
Cow was on guard duty last night.
I brought his food out for him, at his sentry post.
Bunny gets the chair. It is no longer the "sick chair" now. Rather, it's a lounging chair now.
See what I mean?
Bobby got up late. Bobby, despite his blindness (or because of it!) is adjusting well.
No one has used this top shelf so far as it doesn't have a scenery, so I'm going to relocate it so that it is not wasted.
Pole hasn't given up; I can feel it in my bones. She's planning something. If only I knew what...sigh.
The neighbour's cat came to look-see from the roof.
Tabs dashing to and fro again.
This is where Cleo got stuck last night. It is only a narrow strip of wall, but she got up. She can't get out, though, it's completely sealed off save for a small gap in the far corner.
This is the cat-grille whose gaps are "slightly more than 2 inches".
Of course I could have rejected the grille on first glance as it wasn't made according to my specifications, but the contractor is such a nice person, I didn't have the heart to. I said I'd try it first. This morning, we told him it didn't work, and he was very concerned. He said he'll add the additional rods, but it might take a few days because it is powder-coated. This grille, on the long term, is to prevent the sprayers (Cow & Bunny) from coming out to the living area, so it works as it is now, but for now, I also need to prevent Tabs and the rest from coming out, just to be on the safe side.