Wild by nature, cats love freedom and outdoor activity. Introducing your kitten to the great outdoors and allowing them to roam freely over time will have a positive impact on their mental well-being. But before you introduce your little kitty to the big wide world outside of your home, there are a few things you should consider.
Make sure your kitten is microchipped. This is the safest form of identification for pets. Microchipping is a simple process that needs to be performed at the vet. A small device the size of a grain of rice is implanted under the skin on the kitten’s neck. If your kitten is lost and ends up at a vet or rescue center, the microchip can simply be scanned. By storing your contact details in the database, you can be tracked down and contacted quickly.
Another way to make your kitten identifiable is to put a collar on it. This has the advantage that your kitten can be so easily distinguished from a stray cat. Just make sure the collar is a safety buckle collar. This can prevent your cat from getting trapped and unable to free itself.
Diseases that cannot be seen by the naked eye can pose the deadliest threats to your kitten outdoors. That is why it is of great importance that he gets all the necessary vaccinations before he goes outside for the first time. This usually happens between the ages of 8 and 12-13 weeks.
As an extra safety precaution, it’s a good idea to cover your kitten – you never know what might happen when your kitten starts exploring the great outdoors.
To ensure your kitten doesn’t become more kittens, it’s a good idea to spay them before they go outside for the first time. This is especially important when your kitten starts exploring outside of your yard. Castration is possible at the age of four months.
Secure your garden
The outdoor environment cannot be controlled. However, you can ensure that your kitten’s immediate outdoor area is safe. Plug holes under sheds, porches, and other places that a small kitten may be tempted to crawl in. Lock away toxic substances like weed killer and cover ponds to keep your kitten from falling in.
Plan the rules
Will your kitten be outside during the day and inside at night? Should he be able to go into the house on his own or do you want to open the window or the door so that he can get in? If you are planning to install a cat flap, you should do this before your kitten goes outside for the first time. So you can teach him right from the start how to go into the house yourself. The advantage of installing a magnet and microchip flap is that it can only be entered by your kitten. This will keep other cats away from your home and your kitten’s food.
Going outside for the first time
Choose a day when it’s not raining and a time of day when your neighborhood is quiet so your kitten won’t be startled by loud noises. Don’t feed your kitten before going out, go outside before mealtime. As a result, your kitten will likely return indoors when hungry.
To help a kitten that has never been in the yard, you can collect some urine and feces from the litter box and spread them around the edge of the yard – this is how cats normally mark their territory. Hopefully this will keep other cats out of your yard.
Let your kitten peek out the door or cat flap and find their own way out. If he seems scared, make sure he can see the way back to the door while you walk him outside. Walk around with your kitty as they explore the area. You should do this until you know for sure that it will find its way back into the house. This may require several trips outside.
Complete the outdoor experience by calling your kitty in and feeding them a tasty meal. Kittens can be trained to come into the house at the sound of a tinkling bell. This saves you from yelling loudly from the neighborhood when you want to bring your kitten into the house.
Keep practicing by spending time together in the garden. When it’s time for your kitten’s first solo run, you can leave them outside for 30-60 minutes. It might be hiding under something the first few times, but don’t worry – that’s part of getting used to the great outdoors. Just remember to feed your kitten when they come back home!