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
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!