As a cat owner, letting your precious kitty outside for the first time can be a really daunting task. But fear not! With some simple steps, you can make sure that your cat's first adventure into the big wide world is safe and fun. Here is our guide on how and when to first let your cat outside...
Make sure your cat is microchipped, vaccinated and spayed or neutered. Microchipping your cat is essential as it means they will be returned to you should they wander too far afield. Microchipping also protect you and your cat should they be presumed to be a stray as the vet will always scan for a microchip. Always make sure your details are kept up to date so that you can be contacted by the vets. It is advised not to let your cat outside until at least 1 week after finishing their first course of vaccinations, and you should have your cat vaccinated once a year to protect them from cat flu, leukaemia and more. Ensuring your cat is spayed or neutered prevents unwanted litters of kittens being born. Un-neutered male cats will roam incredibly far in seek of female cats, and so this is another reason to ensure your cat has been neutered.
Wearing a collar
It's a good idea to get your cat used to wearing a collar when they are young. The collar should have your contact details on incase of your cat going missing. Wearing a collar also makes it easier for people to see that your cat has a home, as many cats often get mistaken for strays when they are not wearing one! Make sure to look for a collar with a quick-release buckle or elastic safety strip so that your cat doesn't get stuck on any trees when they're exploring. A collar with a bell on it is a great way to warn off wildlife and helps to prevent your cat from bringing home any unwanted "gifts."
Make sure they can get in & out
Whether you're using a cat flap or simply leaving a door or window open, it is important that your cat knows where they can get in and out of the home. We recommend using a cat flap if possible as it is the easiest and safest option for your cat. You can even buy special cat flaps that are programmed to only open to your cat's microchip! Getting your cat used to the flap is fairly easy - start by simply passing them through and then try coaxing them through with treats whilst holding the flap open. They'll get the hang of it in no time.
Go outside together
Start taking your cat out a little at a time. You can either do this with or without a cat harness. If you need advice on using a cat harness, see our previous blog post. They need to get used to the garden, the smells, the sounds and also the route back in again. Open the door and take your cat out and then bring them back again when you feel it’s been enough. You could also just sit outside of the open door and call your cat until they walk outside by themselves. Playing with them outside will let them know that is is a safe place, it's also a good idea to reward them with treats for coming home.
Good luck! How did you feel letting your cat out for the first time? Let us know!