Most pet owners know that letting your cat roam outdoors has many benefits! Cats need and crave physical exercise and mental stimulation. However, the one one big downside of letting your cat roam freely is that their life expectancy drops DRAMATICALLY! Healthy cats living indoors can comfortably live up to 17 years old and some cats live 18 to 21 years! Outdoor cats, however, generally live only 2 to 5 years.
Outdoor cats can end up being another animal’s dinner. Foxes and Coyotes are known to feast on cats as they are easy prey and are not as quick and alert as other predators. While domesticated dogs do not eat cats, it is not uncommon for them to kill an outdoor feline. Depending on where you live, other animals like eagles (and other birds of prey) and snakes have been known to feast on cats.
Leashes are a great way for your cat to experience all the sites, smells and wonders of the outside world without the risk of becoming prey. When buying a cat leash make sure you buy an appropriate one for your cat. Adjustable leashes allow you to fit the leash to your furry feline comfortably. If the cat isn’t comfortable he or she will squirm and you probably won’t be able to get them out the door!
The best thing to do BEFORE your take your cat outside is to get them used to their leash. You can start by just draping the leash over the cat and get them used to being around it. Then once your cat has acclimatized to the leash you can practice walking indoors. Another tip to getting your cat to accept having a leash on them is to spray pheromones on the collar and/or harness. Once your cat is used to the leash then you are ready for fun filled outdoor adventures!
It’s also important for your cat to have a collar REGARDLESS of whether they are OUTDOOR or INDOOR cats. Even furry felines in big, comfortable houses with lots of toys will get curious about the outside world and can fly out of your house when a door is left open, even briefly. You can use an identification tag in case your cat gets lost or wanders out of the house. Cats without a tag and collar don’t stand much of a chance of being returned to their home if found by somebody else.
You can accessorize your cat with a collar and you can also attach a bell to your cat so you can hear where they are and where they are going! This is especially important with kittens. As we all know, kittens can get into ANYTHING. A bell can alert you that your kitten is not where he or she is supposed to be. In homes with multiple cats, sometimes one cat will resort to bullying another cat. A bell can alert the meeker cat that the bully is coming and allow he or she to get away. In much the same way, a bell on an outdoor cat can alert potential predators of the cat’s presence and allow time to escape. The last thing you want is for your outdoor cat to drop off dead mice and birds in your living room.
There are several things to remember when fitting a collar to your cat: Just like with leashes, you will want to get the cat used to the collar As was mentioned previously, you can also spray the collar with pheromones. Many people assume their cat will reject the collar but, in fact, most cats will get used to a collar and will forget it’s even there. When fitting the collar make sure that it is not hanging loose. A lose hanging collar is very dangerous for cats especially in the outdoors. When fitting the collar you want it just loose enough so that you can slide two fingers between the collar and your cat’s neck.
So have fun outdoors with your cat and stay safe!
Photo source: ovrs.com