Let Your Cat Outside! Sort of…

by The Pet Care Guy on September 3, 2011

As a long-time cat owner, my personal preference has always been to keep my cats indoors at all times. I like not having to worry about my cats running into traffic, encountering loose dogs, cats and other wildlife, getting foxtails in their ears and fleas hitching a ride on them.

The most I’ll do is set up perches in front of windows inside the house so they can sit and watch the activities going on outside through the screen.

I’ve found through one client, however, that not letting your cat loose outdoors doesn’t have to mean confinement indoors. She does two things that lets her cats enjoy the great outdoors in a limited way.

Her first outdoor activity for her cats involves a leash. She has trained her cats since they were young to get used to a harness and takes them for short walks around her house. If this sounds like something you’d like to try with your cat, be sure to take it slow.

You must be very patient if you want to keep your cat happy and calm when they are exposed to a leash or harness, and especially after you put it on him. You will have to take it slow, step-by-step, using treats and toys to get your cat to associate being on a leash and walking outside wearing it as a good thing.

Here are a couple of informative articles about leash-training your cat: http://www.wikihow.com/Leash-Train-a-Cat

http://cat-training.suite101.com/article.cfm/leash_training_cats

If you don’t want to bother with leash training, you might want to consider a cat carriage or stroller. These strollers look essentially like baby strollers, but they are enclosed so your pet remains safe and confined while still being able to enjoy the fresh air and moving around outside.

These special pet strollers can also be used by small dogs. Just google “pet stroller” and you’ll get an idea of what this contraption is like.

The second way my client accommodates her cats’ desire to experience the outdoors is a well-made outdoor cat enclosure. She built hers using wood and chicken wire, and it’s built to fit perfectly in her back yard.

To let her cats outside, she simply opens the living room window to which the enclosure is attached. The enclosure consists of a smaller section that the cats walk through to get to the larger area that has built-in perches and a door large enough for a human to easily walk through.

If you’re handy with tools, you can build one like she did, or if you google “cat enclosure,” you’ll see a wide variety of ready-made enclosures for your pet. You’ll find anything from a smaller, perch-like enclosure to good-sized cages that can accommodate large cat condos for your cat’s happiness and comfort.

So, if you’re like me and don’t want to let your cats roam free outside, but want to them to experience the outdoors in a limited way, consider leash-training, an enclosed stroller or cat enclosure. I’m sure your cat will love you for it!

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

Cyndi Cicero September 3, 2011 at 7:40 am

I use a cat stroller =) And my big guy loves it. The people you encounter will always stop and talk to you. And everyone says how clever it is.

It is a great way to get yourself some excersize too by taking your furbabies in a protected stroller for a stroll!

Reply

The Pet Care Guy September 3, 2011 at 7:02 pm

Cats do well to get a change of scenery too. And, like you said, lots of people will want to talk to you about your favorite subject… Your kitties!

Reply

Mellany September 3, 2011 at 8:17 am

We did short leash training with our two cats, then graduated to long leash training ( 20 or so feet tied in our yard). We moved & then this became to dangerous due to tree with branches in our yard. We purchased & had installed an invisable fence. The BEST MONEY I have ever spent on anything for any pet ever!!! They stay in the yard, can use the kitty window to get in/out, but most of the time come in/out through the front door. They are only out during the day when they or we want them to be. We all love it. When we pick up their collar in the morning to put them on, they patiently wait at the door while we do it.

Reply

The Pet Care Guy September 3, 2011 at 7:06 pm

This is a great way to exercise your kitties and help keep the weight off of them Mellany. Cats can be more difficult to keep the weight off, but by allowing them to roam more freely, or on the leash, this can only help them. I’m glad you have been able to help your cats in this way, and I know they love you for it!

Reply

outside cat enclosures January 17, 2012 at 8:37 am

Nice article..i just want to share my idea…
I am planning to build a catio for my two cats. However, I want to enclose my catio with pet proof screen over the wire to keep out mosquitoes. My vet said that cats can get heartworm disease just like dogs can and for cats there is no prevention medication. So why don’t I ever see anyone’s catio covered with screen? Just wondering why no one thinks it is necessary.

Reply

The Pet Care Guy January 29, 2012 at 4:49 pm

You are correct in that cats can get heartworm. It is, however, much less common in cats than in dogs. If you are in an area with mosquitoes, you very well should enclose your outside enclosure with a fine screen to prevent them from getting to your cats. Your cats could snag it with their nails, and you will have to repair it frequently. I have found a great article that answers a lot of questions about cats and heartworm. http://www.aspca.org/pet-care/cat-care/cat-care-heartworm.aspx

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: