Posted by Emma Oldroyd, on
How to Keep your Kitten or Cat Safe Outdoors
Once your kitten is ready to explore the outdoors, and you’re ready to let them, it’s important that you take certain steps to keeping them as safe as possible as they navigate unknown territory.
Our cat experts have put together a short guide on how to keep your cat safe in different outdoor situations.
When do I let my cat outside?
We would recommend letting your cat outdoors approximately 4 weeks after they come home with you. This applies to both new kittens and re-homed cats, as they will need time to acclimatise to their new home and lay their scent.
We would recommend investing in a cat harness and extendable lead, so you can take them on a few walks during those early weeks- helping both them and you get used to local territory and avoid getting lost too many times! If you know the same routes as your cat it can also help you identify potential hiding spots.
When letting your cat out for the first time, we would suggest doing this before mealtimes. This way, your cat will return when they’re hungry or when you call them for dinner.
It’s important that you help your cat recognise their name before letting them out, so they know when they’re being called.
Always ensure your kitten is fully vaccinated before you let them roam free. This will protect them from common feline diseases. Once outside, your cat will likely encounter more opportunities to pick up fleas, ticks and worms- so ensure their regular cat parasite treatments are up to date too.
What if my cat gets lost outside?
Those early outdoor days will lead your cat into unfamiliar territory- there is a chance that they may get lost when exploring their newfound freedom. The best way to ensure a safe return for your cat is to have them microchipped- this way your cat can be easily identified and returned to you should they get picked up.
Should I let my cat out at night?
Whilst it may be tempting to let your cat roam for however long they want to (especially when prey is more active at night) this can pose a danger to your cat, particularly near roads. We would always recommend keeping your cat indoors overnight for their safety.
Top tip: feeding your cat around 8am and 5pm will help them steer clear of the busiest times for traffic on the roads. They’ll come back hungry and avoid any potential road accidents!
In addition to helping them avoid heavy traffic, when making your own journeys you should always check under and around your car if you’re leaving whilst your cat is outside. Especially during colder months when cats are known for finding warm places to snuggle- including under cars and around engines!
Should I let my cat out in winter?
If your cat doesn’t like the cold, you’ll find they stay inside by choice, but if they do like to venture out it’s important to make sure that they have easy access to shelter. Use cat flaps or doors to let them back into the house, or if this isn’t an option, leave an outbuilding open.
If your cat has been exploring icy roads, it’s important to groom out any rock salt that may have stuck to their fur. If your cat’s fur becomes matted because of this, we would advise booking them in for a professional cat groom to help keep their coat healthy.
Always refrain from using de-icing products on anything your cat touches as the ingredients can prove fatal to felines.
If you would like more advice on cats and their outdoor behaviours, you can speak to our pet experts both in-store or online via our Pets Chat service. If you need peace of mind that should the worst happen and you cat have an accident, having the right pet insurance plan in place can help them recover.