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Introducing Your Cat to the Outdoors

posted Jul 21, 2013, 10:22 PM by Siva Ho   [ updated Jul 25, 2013, 1:45 PM ]
If you are introducing a newly adopted adult cat to the outdoors, WAIT! 

Do not let them outdoors immediately. Give the new cat at least 2 months inside first. Allow them time to adjust and get used to their new home. Slowly introduce them to the outdoors. Just don’t open the door and let them out. 

Cats do not have to go outside ever and will be just as happy. It’s usually the humans that want them to be outdoors. An outdoor cat can become an indoor only cat and be content for the rest of its very long and healthy life. Reconsider an indoor cat. For one thing, they live longer and stay healthy. They won’t get hit by cars. Your vet bills will be less. Birds will thank you and coyotes won’t. 

If you want to keep your cat an indoor only cat, that is GREAT! However, make sure your cat or kitten knows his/her outdoor home space by using the same protocol below just in case they accidentally get out. 

There are some different circumstances with cats: if they were barn cats or all the time outdoor/sometimes indoor cats. However follow the same protocol below to give your new family member a better chance of finding his/her way home or staying near home. 

Before they go outside: 
  • Get them vaccinated for RABIES and FeLV. This is a must in order to keep your cat healthy. Talk to your vet. 
  • Introduce them outside by using a harness or leash for at least 2-3 weeks. Allow them time to explore and become familiar with their home outside. Yes, I said use a harness or a leash. Some cats will resist but be convincing and patient with them. 
  • If you want your cat to remember his/her home with his/her scent, here is a clever trick: dip their paws in liquid oil and have them walk around outside on a leash for the two weeks. You will see paw prints which will fade after awhile, but their scent will remain. This will give your cat a home tracing device invisible to humans. It can work. 
For Kittens: PLEASE WAIT until your kitten is at least 10 months to 1 year old before having him/her explore the outdoors. Follow the same protocol for adult cats when introducing them to the outdoors.