Some cats are perfectly content to live an indoor lifestyle without ever going outside. It’s possible, however, to give cats a taste of the outdoors and fresh air without putting them in danger. Here are some tips for you to help your cat enjoy the world at large safely.
Window Perches, Screens and Boxes
Cats love to watch the outside world go by. It's their version of TV, but unlike regular TV, watching squirrels and birds stimulates a cat's mind. Window perches, double screens and window boxes are all good options for getting your cat fresh air in safety. An adjustable sliding screen that rests under the window sash adds a second layer of protection and prevents a cat from getting out through the window. Window perches attach via suction cups and provide a perch for the cat to lay on or in. A window box extends past the windowsill to the outside and offers enough room for a cat to get outside without letting the cat get out.
Install a Catio
Catios are a great way to let cats outside without putting them at risk. They range in size from huge enclosures off the back of the home to walkways that lead to an enclosed structure. A catio is easily built from 2x4s and a screening material of some kind. All you need is to designate a space, an access point and a size. Catios can be enclosed with a fine mesh chicken wire, window screen or even glass. You can let your cat come and go from the catio with a cat door.
Get a Large Dog Crate
If it’s not possible to build a catio, you can buy a large dog crate and put it outside, then place the cat in the crate. If the bottom tray is removable, take it out so your cat can experience the grass underneath its paws. Getting a cat used to being in the crate in this fashion can take time, so be prepared to make short journeys outside, then increase the time as the cat becomes more comfortable. Bring bowls for water and food to help your cat get used to the idea. Never leave your cat unattended for its safety.
Leash Train Your Cat
Cats can be trained to get comfortable with a harness and leash. It does take a little work because cats can be stubborn about the concept at first, but gentle persistence pays off and you can get your cat to walk at the end of a leash. Walking your cat on a leash works best living in an area that doesn't have a lot of dogs, or a time of day when people are less likely to be walking their dogs. The leash also allows you to retain control of your cat in case something goes wrong.
These are just some of the ways to help get your cat outside and keep them safe. Always keep an eye on where your cat is, make sure that the enclosures are secure and check that the equipment you use is in good shape so you and your cat can have the best outdoor experience possible. And don’t forget: Check that your cat is up to date on its vaccinations before venturing outdoors.