Robin is still doing ok. She managed to get her mouth on one of the cats this morning trying to play, but backed off when we got onto her. Her recall is improving tremendously, as is her general impulse control. We just have to keep a pretty close eye on her.
But now I have a little twist to add, and wanted to throw some ideas out there...
We have one outside cat, Bella; she's a sweetheart that showed up as a stray and never left, so I got her spayed and all her outdoor-kitty shots. I had just helped my mother socialize and re-home 2 litters of kittens left under her house by strays, so I wasn't about to let that happen at our place. She's great, but we cannot fit another cat into our tiny house.
She tends to stay on the front porch (and we bring her in when it's super cold in the winter), but if it's storming, etc., she goes into our garage. Right now, the only way for her to get in is through the backyard. Last night I let Robin out to do her business, and she became obsessed with Bella's scent at the fence and garage; then she found her behind a piece of plywood in the garage and went apeshit. She whined, paced, sniffed and trembled wanting to get to Bella. Bella would growl from inside the garage, and Robin would scratch and bite at the siding on the outside of the wall where Bella was hiding. While Robin loves to try and play with the inside kitties and is fully capable of ignoring them, sleeping with them, etc., I have very little doubt as to what would have happened if she'd gotten hold of Bella. She killed a bluejay the other day (a young one that got out of the nest and never had a chance, really). Although Bella is quick, agile, and has lots of hiding places, and she is clearly not a bird, these 2 incidents reminded me how strong Robin's prey drive can be.
This morning, I ran Bella out of the garage and Robin and I went onto the front porch and played look at the kitty-- she'd look at Bella and then I'd ask her to look at me, and she got treats. She was interested, but more the way she is with the inside cats and less frantic. So it seems to be a lack of generalizing Bella as the same thing in front of the house vs. in back of the house.
First things first, I'm going to make it so that Bella can get into the garage from the other side of the fence; I was going to then block backyard access, too, but I want her to have somewhere to run if she's in the yard. That way she'll have less reason to even be there. I'll continue to play look at the kitty on the front porch. But I was thinking that I might put Bella in her carrier and put Robin on her leash, and play look at the kitty in the backyard...? Associate the front porch activities and my sanctioning of Bella as a member of the family with those same smells in the backyard. It might help Robin make those connections and simultaneously make Bella scared enough to stay out the backyard
So if you made it this far, congratulations! What do you think of our gameplan? I know she may never be totally ok with an outside cat, but I'd like to do as much proofing as possible.
"In these bodies, we will live; in these bodies we will die.
Where you invest your love, you invest your life." --Marcus Mumford