Walking your cat is all the rage these days, and most animal behaviorists agree that it’s one of the more valuable activities you can do with your favorite four-legged feline friend. While some cats are content to lie by the window and nap amongst sunbeams; others will throw themselves against the door, meow miserably against their containment, and dart outside the second someone slips through the front door. These are the cats that most benefit from controlled outdoor exploration. Leashed Exploration
Whether or not to take your cat for a walk can depend on everything from their breed to their temperament. Only you know for sure if your cat would appreciate an outdoor catio or a leashed walk through the neighborhood. And if you don’t know, just try both solutions – your cat will let you know which they prefer.
If you and your cat prefer to roam freely in a controlled environment, the outdoor enclosure (aka "Catio") is for you. An enclosure might be an enclosed patio or kennel area or an entire 5-acre compound. There are affordable fencing solutions available for any situation. By containing your cat, you limit his/her ability to get into trouble with neighbors or other animals, and you protect them from hostile humans and wilder cousins that include bobcats, coyotes and mountain lions. We have a list of suggestions on how to build your own private catio and a closer look at some of the nicest enclosures we’ve ever seen. No matter your budget or available acreage, there is a solution.
Precautions for taking your cat outside:
- Keep your cat up-to-date on vaccinations: Vaccination guidelines vary according to region, so be sure to check with your veterinarian on what is needed.
- Be sure your cat is on heartworm prevention: This is very important whether your cat is indoor or outdoors!
- Implement a safe and effective flea/tick program. Your cat will be slightly more susceptible to parasites if you take them outside often.
- Keep your cat secured. Check your enclosure frequently for areas where animals have chewed or damage from weather.
- Be sure your cat is microchipped: Chipping your cat increases the likelihood of return (if they are lost) from 2% to 53%! That’s a huge improvement.
- Be sure your cat is wearing ID tags (We love the Blanket ID tag – it’s small, lightweight and holds up forever. It’s also adorable!)
- Utilize a GPS tracker: They are inexpensive and easily shared between animals- a Tagg GPS tracker can be placed on your cats harness if (s)he is over 10-12 lbs.