The other night, as I was coming into the house, Annie made a mad dash out the front door and into the night. I wasn't frantic, just annoyed. I finally managed to catch her in the back yard with some good canned cat food. She was very disgruntled at me for making her come in so early.
I believe that life must be lived, and that living life comes with a set of inherent risks, and that applies to cats, too. So, with a prayer for her safety, I taught Annie to use the cat door, and let her loose into my back yard. Oh. My. God. She was in heaven. Rolled in the dirt, played in the plants, peed on the tree, you name it. I set the cat door to close behind her when she came in, and about 9 that night she came in. Smart cat, one time in and out and she learned how the cat door worked.
Last night I let her out, but she wouldn't come in. So I set the cat door to close behind her and went to bed. I slept poorly, partly because I'm fighting off a cold, and partly because I was waiting to hear Annie come in. She never did. This morning I opened the back door and called for her, she came rushing in. Now, I'm not sure why she wouldn't come in the cat door, but she seemed to object to it. I'll just have to see how we do tonight.
Once Annie is quite comfortable with this setup, I'll start to let Howler do the same. He isn't quite as smart as Annie, it may take a little longer to get him used to this idea.