playing catLet’s face it, if it was up to most pets, the great outdoors would be free to all, and roamed by many a fur friend. Afterall, time outside can provide much needed mental and behavioral enrichment—from watching birds to breathing in the fresh air.

But, as responsible cat owners, we know being indoors is generally safer for our pets, protecting them from disease, predation, and accident.

The good news is this doesn’t mean you can’t ever allow your cat outdoors. With some added safety precautions, you can enjoy the fresh air and sunshine with your favorite whiskered companion.

Here’s how!

8 Safety-Minded Suggestions Before Allowing Your Cat Outdoors

  1. Make sure your cat is microchipped – Before you attempt to introduce your cat to the outdoors, prevent a lost pet scare by having him microchipped and making sure those identification tags are current.
  2. Provide fresh water and plenty of shade – Fussy felines like clean water sources, and during the warm months that may mean replenishing the water bowls a few times a day to keep your meow pal cool and hydrated. And, don’t forget to take breaks in the shade, away from harsh sun rays.
  3. Try a cat harness for a fun stroll – Although the thought of putting your cat on a leash may seem laughable, with practice many cats adapt to the feeling of the harness and enjoy a leisurely walk, sniffing all of the plants and flowers (just remember that some plants are toxic, so no chewing).
  4. Consider a mobile cat enclosure or screened in porch – Temporary enclosures are an awesome way to set up outdoor space without putting your cat at risk of wandering off. Park your catio somewhere cool, like under shade trees, and watch your cat stalk, pounce, and play. A screened-in back porch is another good way to allow fresh air and sunshine without compromising safety.  
  5. Avoid nighttime or noisy holidays – Car accidents, predation, and other threats to cats are great at night. And, holidays often bring loud noises, like fireworks, which can cause your cat to dash off. Play it safe, and opt for non-holiday outdoor playtime and times of day when it is both light out and the temps are cooler.
  6. Make sure all vaccinations are current – If there is another kitty in the neighborhood, your cat will be sure to find her. Outdoor playtime exposes your cat to other animals and the many diseases that can be transmitted, so play it safe and vaccinate.
  7. Protect your pet from fleas, ticks, and heartworm – Time spent outdoors, too, can make your cat a walking host for local bloodsuckers, including mosquitoes which carry the potentially fatal heartworm disease. Inquire with the team at Leon Valley Veterinary Hospital about parasite prevention that’s best suited for your pet.
  8. Remember to supervise your cat while outdoors – While it may be tempting just to open up the door to a meowing kitty, the outdoors exposes your cat to many dangers. It’s understandable to want to let your cat enjoy all of those cat-like behaviors, but supervision is important to preventing your sweetie from encountering the risks the outdoors bring.

And, when the days are too hot you can have a purr-fectly great time playing with your feline friend indoors, too.