It’s commonly understood that dogs need to go on walks, sniff around parks, and run around outside, but the same cannot be said for cats. While some cats can live happy and healthy lives fully indoors, many cats enjoy a bit of fresh air. You might want to consider taking your favorite feline for a bit of outdoor adventure, but you’ll also need to do a bit of prep work.
You can’t just throw open the door and let your indoor cat roam free. Before you let your cat outdoors, you’ll need to make sure that your cat has a collar with proper identification and is up to date on vaccinations. Cats can find their way into some pretty dangerous predicaments, so many cat collars are made to break-away for protection against strangulation. Microchips are a very good backup in case something should happen to your cat’s collar and identification. You’ll also want to take precautions for things like fleas and ticks, which can be easily picked up outdoors, especially in the summer months.
There’s no need to go from an indoors-only life to an hour-long walk. It’s a good idea to get your cat acclimated to being outdoors. Try bringing your cat out with a harness and leash or even placing them near you in a soft pet crate. Keeping them close to you while still allowing them to get some fresh air may help them stay calm and comfortable. Soft pet crates are a great way to keep your cat safe without restricting them. Though many resist being restricted by leashes, cats can be trained to wear a harness and walk with a lightweight leash. Make sure you use a snug fitting harness and not just a collar, as cats are quite good at pulling and slipping out of collars.
Control the environment
Not only are cats incredibly quick, they can also squeeze through tiny spaces and jump over high fences. If your cat does not respond to leash training, you will need to find another way to ensure they are unable to get loose. Fences are a great option, but you will need a much tighter and higher fence than with a dog. It’s a good idea to add chicken wire to the tops of fences at a 45-degree angle, making it much harder for cats to jump or climb over. There are many outdoor cat enclosure options available depending on your needs.
Bring toys and treats
Cats love toys too! It’s not at all uncommon for cats to simply flop over and refuse to move when they are restricted by a leash. Toys and treats are a great way to get your cat excited and active. Cats are easily overwhelmed by noises and smells outdoors, so toys are great distraction tools to keep them calm. Small treats are perfect for encouraging your cat. You can reward your pet for things like coming when called and not pulling on the leash. Treats can also help your cat associate outdoor time with something positive.
Not all cats will love the outdoors, but many enjoy the fresh air! Start slowly with your kitty and give them a chance to get used to things like the leash and harness and the surrounding environment. Take your time and work your way up to more time spent outdoors with your cat.