How to Ensure Your Cat is Safe Outside of the House
It might seem fun, but letting your cat out is dangerous given risks like predators, fleas, parasites, injuries or even losing your cat.
Is it Safe To Let Cat Go Outside?
Hi Simba, I have 2, 5-month-old kittens, Oscar and Lucinda. They are both climbing the walls to get out into the garden. They have had all their shots so there is nothing to stop me from letting them outside. I guess I am just scared they will run away if I let them out. I have taken them out tied to long pieces of string so they can acquaint themselves with the garden. What is the best way to introduce them to outside living. Julianne
One of the best ways to introduce your kittens to the outside is through a Cat Harness. Harness Leashes hold the kittens in safely by crossing their shoulders & torso. They are much safer than a regular neck leash, which as you can imagine, can choke a cat.
That said, I am a big believer in keeping cats indoors. Indoor cats live longer (14 to 20 years on average) and are more likely to be injury free. In contrast, outdoor cats usually live less than 8 years! To better understand why read through the letters in Wounded, Lungworm and General Health sections.
In addition, you can also review a study conducted in 2009 by a group of researchers that used cameras to monitor outdoor cats. The results were disturbing:
Risks for Indoors / Outdoor Cats and Kittens
I have got two lovely 3-year-old cats, brother and sister, they are used to having a free reign of the house and also being able to go outside via a cat flap. We have relocated recently. What are your thoughts on this matter? Are there any hard and fast guidelines as to how long they need to stay in?
they are desperate to go outside!, I am sure they just want to explore more of their "new" territory, but we are only on day 4 of being in the new home, although they appear to have settled in fine. We have not yet got a cat flap installed here ... I am nervous to let them go out incase they do not come back!! Paul S, UK.
Dear Paul S,
It is probably a good idea to let your friends get acclimated to their new home for 5-10 days before you take them outside. There are a couple of things you should take into consideration before you allow your cats outside in the new neighborhood:
I have a 6-month-old black Bombay kitty
I just do not know what to do, and no he starts whining and crying at the door. Should I let him out? Should I keep him in? More walks? I just do not know. Jennifer
You are absolutely right in wanting to keep him inside. As you know from the other letters having your cat outside is very dangerous. Letting a cat go outside to 'play' is as responsible as giving in and out privileges to a toddler.
Over 5 million cats get hit by cars each year, with most accidents taking place at night. I do not know the incidence for black cats, but can imagine that their accident ratio is hither. Cats are not stupid and they know cars can be dangerous. What happens is that they confuse car beams with cars so when the lights go by, a 'smart' cat will assume it is safe to cross. That’s when tragedy happens.
Stock your house with playthings for your cat. Exercise him. Also, you can condition him to not go crazy when he hears the door jiggle, by doing it frequently event when you are not going outside. He will get excited at first, but after a while of seeing no 'light' he will stop associating the sound with the lure of the outdoors.
Lastly, it is unclear from your letter whether Bubby is neutered. If he is not, please make sure he gets fixed, in addition to reducing Aggression, neutering your cat will reduce his urge run outside to seek the company of female cats. Your Pal, Simba
I am studying medicine in an island on the Caribbean. A friend and I were driving back to school when we saw 2 kittens by the side of road. We hit the brakes but do not know if we hit them or not.
Being unsure as to their condition, we got out of the car to make sure they were ok. By then there was just one kitten, since the other had run away. The other kitten was just laying there on its left side, with a small pool of blood next to its head. Its right leg was moving jerkily as though it might have been having a seizure. I put on a pair of gloves from my CPR mask pouch and picked it up move it off the road. It stopped shaking its leg, and I could see that the bleeding was coming from its mouth. It had a very faint pulse, which faded completely after a few minutes.
I petted the little guy for a few moments, but it did not seem to respond. Because there was nothing we could do I moved it further off the road and put it under a tree. He was so little and helpless.
I wish there was something I could have done. I feel really bad for all the stray cats on the island. I hope it was not in pain. Scorp
Sorry to hear about this. It appears as though the kitten suffered some sort of trauma. These things happen. Kittens are by nature playful creatures and often do not consider the dangers of being by the road. Millions of cats die like this every year. it is a tragedy that can only be alleviated by keeping cats indoors, or where there are stray cats by aggressive spay and release programs (you might want to consider starting one in your island…). You did the right thing by the kitten. I hope you and your friend are well. Your Pal, Simba
Predators Threaten Kittens
We have 2 Siamese cross kittens that are 6mos. old. We let them out in our garden. They are usually supervised during daylight. When we let them out in the evening they stay in the garden but a couple of times a fox has come into the garden whilst they are playing. My question is do foxes pose a threat to kittens or should we not worry? They are still quite small but very fast!!!! Thanks Mike, Jo, George & Nancy
Dear Mike, Jo, George & Nancy,
Foxes are predatory creatures that often hunt small mammals. Though their prey are often comprised of mice, shrews and voles, they ocasionally eat birds and small rabbits so kittens are not out of reach. Foxes are fast (they can reach a full speed of 45 mph and their hunting style is very similar to that of cats (they stalk and pounce).
So though your kittens are are quick and may be able to evade the fox, I would not chance it. it is generally better for cats that they remain indoor animals. the outside is very dangerous for them and other creatures. Check out this note for additional information. Your Pal, Simba
Protected Garden for Kittens
I need your advice on something. I live next to a busy main road so I do not want to let my two kittens out (they are both 8-months-old), so we have built a pen on the side of our house which is about 5 and a half feet high and 8 foot long, we have also laid some turf and put a few climbing objects, etc in the enclosure. They can enter the pen whenever they wish as they have a run going from the house to the pen via the cat flap. Do you think this is good for them or is it a tease to the 'outside world'? Joanna
I think that the pen is a great idea! Cats love fresh air. This is no more a tease than keeping the blinds up so kitty can look outside. Great job!
My only concern relates to whether the kitties will be able to make it over the fence. As you know cats are terrific jumpers and all they need is to get their claws up on the pen in order to pull themselves up. The climbing objects in the pen could help them 'escape' as well. My suggestion is to make the pen a bit higher if possible and to place all climbing objects away from the edges where they can be used as 'jumping off' points. Your Pal, Simba
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