Can Cats Go Outside? 6 Important Tips On Keeping Them Safe!

September 9, 2022
Amber LaRock - LVT & Vetted Vet Pro

If you are lucky enough to be a cat parent, you have likely noticed them staring longingly out the window at times. Whether they are chirping at birds or watching the leaves blow in the wind, our beloved cats seem very interested in the great outdoors. This may lead you to wonder if you can open the door and let them outside, which leads us into the safety tips we will discuss today!

We do think our cats can safely explore the outdoors and tap into their adventurous instincts, but there are a list of safety guidelines we suggest that you follow. Our team at Vetted wants to make sure your cat remains healthy and happy at your side for years to come, so let’s dive into the best ways to keep your nature loving cat safe. 

Do Cats Like To Go Outside?

If you have only ever had indoor cats, you may wonder if cats even like to go outside. Though every cat will differ in what they find fun, many of our feline little ones love a bit of outdoor time when they are introduced properly. As long as you can make sure their time outside is safe and monitored, the outdoors can offer our cats so much quality enrichment! 

Cats love any opportunity to watch nearby birds, focus in on the rustling leaves, and listen to the sounds that nature has to offer. Our indoor cats may be a long way from their wild ancestors, but monitored outdoor time can help them tap into their adventurous instincts!

If you have any questions about how to introduce your cat to the outdoors safely, you can always reach out to our Vetted Vet Pros on the Vetted App. A Vetted membership offers you 24/7 access to our Vetted chat room, where a list of skilled Vet Pros are ready to offer you guidance. 

The Main Dangers For Outdoor Cats

As we mentioned above, our team at Vetted believes that your cat’s outdoor time should always be safe and monitored. While our little ones may want to break free and explore the outdoors on their own, there are a few major dangers that outdoor cats can encounter when left to their own devices.

Encounters With Larger Animals

Unfortunately for our feline friends, there are quite a few animals that can harm them during their outdoor time. This is especially true if your cat makes their way onto a property with other dogs, as even the sweetest of pups will try to guard their home. Running into larger animals can not only be scary for your little one, but it can lead to them getting seriously hurt. 

Encounters With Sick Cats

Not only do our little ones need to be careful about running into larger animals that can harm them, they can also come in contact with cats that are infected with contagious diseases like Feline Leukemia, FIV, and Panleukopenia. These diseases can be spread to our cats through everything from scratches to saliva, and many of these illnesses can shorten their lifespan. Even if your cat is fully vaccinated, there is still a small chance of exposure that you never want to risk. 

Tragic Accidents Or Injuries

And last, letting a cat roam freely outdoors can put them at risk of tragic accidents. Most cats are extremely savvy, but they cannot protect themselves from every danger they encounter. Outdoor cats can fall from tall heights, sustain serious wounds, and even have run-ins with cars. 

We never want your little one to encounter any dangers during their outdoor time, which is why we are going to discuss the many ways you can protect them below! If you have any specific dangers in your area that you want to discuss before letting your cat outside, feel free to reach out to your Vetted Vet Pros on the Vetted App.

How To Protect Your Cat That Goes Outside

Our cats deserve the unique enrichment that outdoor time has to offer, so let’s discuss some of the best ways to keep your cat safe if they are interested in going outside. 

1. Train Them To Explore On A Leash

We take our beloved dogs out on a leash, and it’s time to start doing the same for our cats! While it will certainly take a bit of time for your cat to get used to the leash, most love the freedom and adventures that leash training has to offer. Once your cat is comfortable on a leash, they can join you on any of your outdoor adventures. There is even an entire Instagram page named @adventurecatsorg that showcases the many feline friends that thrive on their leash. 

2. Build A Secure Cat Enclosure or Catio

If your cat is not a fan of being on the leash, but they still want to explore the great outdoors, the next best option is a cat enclosure or catio. You can easily turn a patio into a catio with chicken wire and PVC pipes, you can build a small enclosure that extends out of a window, and you can even create a small outdoor enclosure in your yard. This is a wonderful way to let your cat enjoy what nature has to offer, all while knowing they are safe from any potential danger. 

3. Make Sure They Are Up To Date On Vaccines

If your cat is going to spend any time outdoors, we always suggest making sure they are fully vaccinated first. While you may be able to keep any stray cats away when you are present, your cat can still come in contact with contaminated surfaces or wastes from sick cats. Vaccinating them is an easy way to keep them healthy for their future adventures!

4. Get Them Spayed Or Neutered Before They Go Outside

If your cat is not yet spayed or neutered, you may run into some complications outdoors. Intact female cats may draw in stray male cats on your walks, and this is never a fun obstacle to deal with. On the other hand, intact male cats are more prone to fighting with other cats they encounter, so at the end of the day, getting your cat fixed can improve their outdoor time immensely. 

5. Don’t Forget Monthly Flea And Tick Prevention

Just as our dogs need flea and tick prevention when spending time outside, so do our feline friends! Cats are just as at risk of becoming a host to itchy crawling critters, so we always want to make sure they are fully protected for their time spent in nature. Not only will flea and tick prevention for cats protect them against itchy ectoparasites, but it can protect them from the diseases and parasites they spread as well. 

Just be sure that you are only using flea and tick prevention for cats, as using a prevention made for dogs can be deadly.

6. Get Your Cat Microchipped 

We hope that your cat never escapes from your sight, but if they do, you will be so thankful that they are microchipped. A microchip allows animal professionals to scan their chip and gain immediate access to your information, allowing you to reunite with your little one and bring them home. Even if your cat only goes into their cat enclosure, it’s still best to be safe and get them microchipped.

Final Thoughts

Cats can enjoy time outside just as much as dogs can, but we just need to make sure they do so safely. Our team at Vetted wants to help you offer your cat the best life possible, and offering them safe ways to explore the outdoors is a great way to do just that!