Purr-mitting Cats Access to the Outdoors?

By on 3-23-2012 in Uncategorized

Purr-mitting Cats Access to the Outdoors?

As many cat guardians recognize, cats are protected from many health hazards by living their nine lives strictly indoors. That said, there are ways for cats to enjoy the fresh air, sights, and sounds of the outdoors without harm. One of those ways is with “protected access”.

Jo-pop from the Pet Forums Community asked:

Thomas will never be allowed to roam free outside. I’ve made that decision and I’m sticking to it.

At the moment I cannot afford to cat proof the garden how I’d like but could give him outdoor access in a small enclosure. 7ft x 4ft. Would this be a tease? Would it be worse than keeping him inside 100% of the time?

He’s very chilled so I know he wouldn’t be bothered about getting out. If I can’t cat proof the garden at some point I’ll be making a larger enclosure but for the time being do you think a small one is ok or is it a tease?

It is fantastic that the decision has been made to keep the kitty indoors. Based on my own experience, a cat can very much appreciate the opportunity to spend time outside in an enclosure. It is not a tease, in the sense that the cat would then feel limited in the enclosure and have more angst about not being let out. On the contrary, my cats have never sustained any interest in spending time in their enclosures beyond time they spend in my presence. For example, as long as I’m out there WITH them, tending the garden, soaking in the hot tub, etc., they’re happy. But once I go inside, THEY want to go inside. They care about togetherness, more than their actual location. I think for some cats, their people believe they want or need to get outside more than they actually do. Your companion animal generally wants to be with you.

Also, cats need to be supervised while in any kind of outside enclosure, as sometimes they can get dangerously caught in the netting (depending on the material used and how open the weave is). Or, they may be able to dig their way out (that’s happened to me).

Therefore, while I think the enclosure is a fine idea, it might be more beneficial to get your cat a kitty stroller so that you can take him for rides around the neighborhood and spend quality time together. These strollers are completely enclosed and perfectly safe. My cats love theirs!

Topsycat from the Pet Forums Community asked a question about her cat going outside:

Some people may remember my post about Topsy not being too happy about moving house, but I’m pleased to say she’s a lot more settled now. She even sat on my lap for the first time since moving house yesterday, it was great! (especially as she’s certainly not a “lap cat” at the best of times).

Anyway, she’s been using the litter tray since we moved in as she’s been a bit unsure about the outside world. She’s now more confident going out but still goes to the loo inside. Sometimes she’ll even go to the loo, then trot outside straight after!
At the old house she never used a litter tray and always went outside. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to “persuade” her to go to the loo outside?

The short answer is no. Cats aren’t “persuaded”; they’re the ones who “purr-suade” humans. They won’t do anything that they don’t want to do. That’s their power; it’s how they’ve survived as a species for so long. It’s in an animal’s best interest to urinate and defecate where they feel secure and out of range of predators. Animals’ sense of smell is much keener than humans’. Since you’ve only just moved, Topsy hasn’t confirmed her new territory yet. How does she know that if she peed outside, she wouldn’t be trailed by a coyote?

I know it´s not a real mouse ....  - Day 188 of Project 365You must know that it’s safer for Topsy to stay inside altogether, right? So I’m assuming that you want her to “go” outside so that you won’t have to clean a litter box and/or buy litter? I encourage you to please accept that your kitty is doing what’s best for her and comply with her litter tray habit. To make cleaning easier, never use clay-based litters that adhere to the tray like glue. Use corn cob litters like World’s Greatest — they scoop and wash easily — with no dust or added scents that could irritate kitty’s sinuses. It’s wonderful that Topsy is settling in nicely to your new home!

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