Many owners with indoor cats are concerned when it comes to letting them out of the house, so we wanted to provide a few tips and tricks for outdoor safety for indoor cats.
First thing’s first: allow your cat to get used to its new environment
If you just brought your cat home for the first time to welcome he or she into your family, it can take several weeks, if not months, before your cat adapts and realizes that your home is permanent for them. A cat who has to get used to their new home must be able to create scent and visual cues to help them feel comfortable in this new, exciting environment. If a cat goes out too early without having any landmarks, it is more likely to get lost once it leaves the house.
Their first outing
So you are ready to let your cat explore the great big world (okay, maybe just your backyard). Firstly, it’s critical to make sure your kitty is equipped with a way to be identified in case you can’t locate them. A collar with their name and your contact information, or a tracking chip are two options to consider before any outing, and should work well if your cat ever goes missing in your neighbourhood. Vaccines against certain feline diseases, in addition to preventative treatments against ticks and fleas are also things to remember before letting them out.
It’s important to provide a calm and safe environment for your pet on their first outing. If you take them out, make sure you’re able to watch them at all times. Closely observe your cats behaviours to make sure they’re at ease and aren’t showing signs of stress. The first few outings should be kept rather short (15-20 minutes), and can be increased as your cat gains confidence outside.
If you find your cat to be more anxious or nervous in nature, taking them outside with a harness to make sure they don’t wander too far away from you is recommended. If you choose to put them in a harness, make sure they are accustomed to wearing it before they head out. It may take a few weeks before he or she is fully comfortable, but you could speed up the process by rewarding them with treats when they are wearing it and are remaining calm.
So you took them outside and all was well. When you return back inside, give your cat some treats! That way, he’ll associate the outing with something positive and rewarding, and will be less reluctant to come back inside in the future.
Why you should take your cat out (if they like it)
For the “outdoor cat” type, there are certainly benefits of letting them outside.
If your cat is comfortable outdoors, one obvious benefit is that the outdoors is one giant, natural litter box! More importantly, being outside will satisfy your cats natural hunting instincts and allow them to expend their energy in a different yet always-stimulating environment. Not only is this great for their physical health, but like humans, cats reap the great mental benefits of getting some fresh air and connecting with nature.
Every cat is different. Not all cats are ones that like to be outdoors, and indoor cats can still live a long, healthy and happy life by staying inside.
If you ever have any concerns or questions with taking your cat out, it is always best to contact the veterinarian who takes care of your companion for advice.
Store Manager, Windsor NS