Letting your cat outdoors will expose her to more dangers, but also more stimulation. Find out how to do it as safely as possible.
Whether to let a cat outdoors is a common predicament, and a question that we are often asked.
Many breeders will only let their kittens go to indoor homes. We do not take that approach. We feel that a cat’s life is enriched by being allowed outside. Of course, there are more dangers for cats outdoors...but there are more dangers for us outdoors and that doesn’t stop us venturing out into the world! In fact, if someone suggested that anyone who was going to let their children outdoors should not be allowed to have them, we would probably find that very strange!
Of course, sensible reason should be used. If you live on a very busy road, you may not want to let your cat outdoors, or you may invest in a cat harness and lead so you can supervise your cat outdoors.
Whether your cat is an indoor or outdoor cat, there are some useful tips for you:
Indoor cats can get very bored. Boredom can cause behavioural difficulties. It can also cause stress which is bad for your cat’s health. If you have an indoor cat, engage in active play sessions with them, consider getting them a playmate if you are out all day and they are bored, and male sure to provide cat towers and plenty of opportunities for them to climb and scratch their claws.
Precautions for letting a cat outdoors
If you let your cat outdoors, use common sense. Take certain precautions to reduce the risks to you cat. Never let your cat out until at least 2 weeks after she is fully vaccinated, and she has had plenty of time to get used to her new home.
1. Spay or neuter your outdoor cat
Make sure your cat is neutered or spayed: unneutered and unspayed females will roam great distances looking for a mate, they will be at risk of fighting with other cats and being injured and infected, and they will be at risk of feline sexually transmitted diseases.
2. Get a multiway cat flap
Invest in a cat flap that you can set to open one way, the other way, or both ways, so that you can make sure your cat stays in during certain hours. With these cat flaps, if your cat is outside and you want him to be indoors, you can set the catflap to allow him to come inside through it, but not to allow him back outside once he is in.
When you feed your cat make a certain noise each time. For example, tap a knife on the side of the cat food tin, shake the bag of dry food whilst calling his name, or tap two pieces of cutlery together. Cats have excellent hearing, so should be able to hear you from some distance. If you do this every time you feed your cat, he will associate the noise with dinner time and it will train him to come running home when you do it.
4. Insurance is essential!
Letting your cat outdoors exposes him to a much higher risk of accidents, loss and theft. Keep your cat insured. We all know that insurance companies can be a nightmare to deal with, but if your cat is hit by a car, goes missing or is stolen, then you will be thanking your lucky stars that you kept him insured. If a cat is hit by a car, the resulting treatment can run into the thousands. An insured cat may have to face being put to sleep if the funds are not available and there is no insurance policy to cover the treatment. Insurance policies are very reasonable, usually around £10 per month, and could literally be a lifesaver if your cat has a serious accident.
If your cat is going outside a microchip is a must. Cats can roam large distances on their own. When I was a child one of my cats climbed into the plumbers van! The poor thing was in the van for more than 24 hours and more than 50 miles away by the time the plumber found him. He was not microchipped and If he had managed to escape from the van, we would never have been reunited. Pedigree cats are also sometimes stolen, and a microchip means that if the cat is ever taken to the vets, the thief will be found out!
6. Worm and flea treatments
If you let your cat outdoors, make sure you worm and flea your cat regularly if is an outdoor cat. He will be eating mice, frogs, birds etc, and he will pick up worms and fleas.
7. Reflective collars
Consider a reflective collar for your cat. It will ensure that if your cat runs across a road in the middle of the night he is far more visible to cars. Always use safety collars if you can - if they become snagged on anything they simply detach, rather than trapping the cat in a dangerous position.
Find out if we have any British Shorthair kittens available on our kitten page.