Do your cats get to go outside? How do you keep them safe from harm? How would you go about transitioning an exclusively INDOOR ONLY cat to life on the outside? What can you do to make certain your kitties are always safe? I wrote this post back in 2013 and have updated it extensively. Read on to learn options for how to keep outside cats safe!
Why Keep Cats Inside? & How to Keep Inside Cats Happy
Seren used to stand at the door or window, meow, and dig against the glass with her paws as if she couldn’t wait to escape the plush indoor lifestyle. Karma-Kat watches Bravo-Dawg when he takes a break outside and has started stalking the door to dash outside–but then acts terrified once he finds his paws on the patio. Folks who live in the UK think we Americans are cruel for not allowing kitties the joy of grass between their toes–many cat lovers in the UK have back gardens and the whole neighborhood of cats comes and goes.
Here in North Texas, coyotes come and go from my back patio and turn into land sharks patrolling for kitty treats. Although in her younger days Seren went out on a leash to sniff roses, I’d never feel comfortable letting her out without that safety net. Karma once escaped his harness while outside, and only returned when Magical-Dawg brought him back. We don’t have kitty outings these days o9n a regular basis. I’ve made the choice to keep them inside and keep my cats safe. Instead, I offer lots of indoor enrichment like multiple cat trees and condos–and a best friend dawg for playing chase.
How to Keep Outside Cats Safe
I do offer some options for creating safer outdoor environments in my Cat Competability book:
CAT CONDOS and tents, like Purrfect Play Tent. You can get modular units like the KittyWalk net tunnel and create an outdoor cat-safe playpen. Or you can actually build a more substantial Catio yourself or purchase kits online.
CAT STROLLERS come on all sizes and shapes, from those that serve as standard cat carriers with wheels, to actual strollers purr-fect for your cats.
HALTERS & LEASHES and of course cat leash training.
More Cautions to Keep Outside Cats Safe
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do not invest in an “electric fence” type of product that purports to protect cats (or dogs) using shock collars. Such things are not the plug-and-forget-it answers you want–it requires training to use correctly and even then can result in the pet “breaking through” the invisible barrier and then being prevented from returning home. You simply create lost cats that way.
Such products also don’t keep strange dogs or cats (or other critters) from invading your pet’s home turf. You gotta hope that your kitty has proper identification (is your cat microchipped?) to help the pet get home.
I do agree, in the best of all possible worlds where cats could be safe, the best thing in the world would be for them to chase butterflies and sleep in the sun-puddle on the back patio. When you can’t provide a safe outdoor environment, maybe you’d want to take Kitty for a safe outing in a cat stroller. The next best thing is to bring the outdoors inside with lots of hidy-holes, climbing ops, kitty grass for munching, and fun toys that float your cat’s boat.
When Inside Cats Want Out
Today’s Ask Amy video is a heart breaker. It’s a composite of some of the consults that I’ve dealt with over the past several years. Every home and person’s circumstance is different and I’m not in the other’s shoes so can’t judge–and only seek to offer some insight and help. I hope you’ll share some of your suggestions (positive ones, please!) for any lurkers out there who have ever found themselves in such a dilemma.
How would you transition an indoor-only cat to the outside? And then, how would you transition an outdoor cat BACK into an inside cat? I know this is a controversial subject–but we all want the best for our cats so let’s see what creative ideas we can develop!
I love hearing from you, so please share comments and questions. Do you have an ASK AMY question you’d like answered? Do you have a new kitten and need answers? NOTE: Some links to books or other products may be to affiliates, from which I may earn a small percentage of sales, but I do not recommend anything unless I feel it would benefit readers. Stay up to date on all the latest just subscribe the blog, “like” me on Facebook, and sign up for Pet Peeves newsletter. Stay up to date with the latest book give aways and appearances related to my September Day pet-centric THRILLERS WITH BITE!