Have you noticed your cat peering out a window, seeming to long for something more? Cats are curious by nature and it’s only natural that your cat will want to explore the great outdoors. Also, when you think about it, a cat’s interest in roaming the “jungle,” outside is part of his instinct which can be traced back to his distant ancestors. How can you allow your cat to enjoy the outdoors safely but maintain that he will want to return home at the end of his great adventure? Here, a few tips that could help.
Tip #1 – Prepare, and Gear Up
If you were stepping outside for the first time ever, you would not go without some forethought, and the proper gear; running shoes, sunscreen, weather appropriate clothing, etc. The same rule should apply to your cat for her first foray into the vast outdoors.
Firstly, you make sure your cat is up to date on her vaccinations. Next, you will want to purchase a fitted collar for kitty with a tag attached listing her name, your home address, and phone number. This way, anyone who finds your cat can return her home to you safely, should she roam too far. You could purchase a light-weight harness for your cat so you can start her outdoor exploration in a safe way. This will ensure she doesn’t go running off, never to be seen again. Rather, you would put the harness on kitty, hook it to a leash, and venture outside to explore the area at a slow, controlled pace. Lastly, it’s a good idea to attach a small bell to your cat’s collar. While you want her to enjoy exploring her new surroundings, cats are natural hunters and will kill for sport. However, if you are a lover of animals, as most pet owners are, you may not want your sweet little kitty to become a cold-blooded killer of songbirds, chipmunks, and other yard dwellers. A bell will keep your cat from getting the jump on innocent critters in your yard so they can continue living harmoniously.
Tip #2 - Create Boundaries
There is a lot for your cat to see as he ventures beyond the safe indoors of your home. Rather than kick open the door and release the tiger, start to introduce him in small amounts. The harness and leash you have purchased will allow you to take him outside in a controlled way, starting the introduction off in small doses. First for 10-20 minutes, then extending the outdoor time as you see fit. Since traffic, other animals, and even some cruel humans are dangers to a roaming pet, you may want to set up a yard stake where you can attach your cat’s leash so that he isn’t able to leave your property. You could even set up a catio, an enclosure with escape-proof fencing that will give your cat some space to move while keeping him safe in your yard. Just be sure to keep a watchful eye on him while he is outside, as wild animals may come into his surroundings and you do not want to put him in harms way. You will also want to have your cat set up where he can enjoy some sunshine and some shade. Cats enjoy lazing in the sun but like humans, too much heat exposure can be dangerous.
Tip #3 – Join in on the Adventure
The best way to give your cat a safe and fulfilling adventure outdoors is to join her for the fun! Look at investing in an extra long leash that will allow you to sit at a distance from your cat and observe her as she explores the outdoors freely. You’ll enjoy seeing a different side to your kitty that you may not have noticed before. You might catch a glimpse of her playful curiosity as she jumps to catch a butterfly, or her slow, stealthy, inner huntress, as she sneaks up on a tall blade of grass blowing in the breeze. For a little extra fun, you could pick up a jar of soap bubbles and see how she reacts to the shiny balls as they float her way or invest in a good quality camera and start a new hobby of your own; snapping those lazy, action, or model shots of your born-to-be famous feline.
Remember to finish off the adventure with a nutritious treat. Snappy Tom has a wide variety of foods that are high in protein like a cat’s natural diet and have a taste kittens and adult cats find naturally delicious.
Before you know it, you will start to look forward to your outdoor adventures together and may even feel more bonded to your fur baby as the two of you make special outdoor memories.