Is your cat itching to leave the home and insists on staying outside altogether? Are you considering moving your indoor cat outside permanently? If this is the case, you and your cat are in for a big change. But don’t worry, we are here to guide you through the process on how to move your indoor cat outside in the safest way possible.
This article comprises all the information you need to know if you decide to move your cat outdoors.
What should you do if your indoor cat wants to move outside?
It is quite natural for indoor cats to be curious about the outside world now and then. So if your cat always tries to slip out the door when someone leaves the house, you should understand that this behavior is normal.
Cats wanting to go outside can also be just a phase, sometimes if you let your cat outside under your supervision, it will satisfy its curiosity. Then based on whether it enjoyed its time, it’ll either try to leave the home more often or just stay at home completely.
The first step to finding whether you should move your cat outside is to see if your cat wants to move outside.
Based on its behavioral patterns, and also whether it feels comfortable living outside, you should slowly work to make this transition for your feline friend.
How do you make this transition as smooth as possible?
How to know if your cat is ready for the move?
Before you move your cat outside entirely, it is important to consider if your cat is ready to move.
Here are a few factors that can help you decide:
Your cat should be the right age to move. If your cat is young, you may want to reconsider your decision of moving it outside.
Kittens are advised to stay indoors because they are susceptible to diseases, can get lost easily if unsupervised, and cannot fend for themselves in times of need.
Vets recommend getting kittens fully vaccinated and being at least 6 months old before moving outside.
Indoor cats in general are very delicate and if they move outside, they need to be independent. This means they should be able to defend themselves from cat attacks or other threats that come with living outside.
As mentioned above, you should only move your cat outside if it is comfortable doing so.
There is no point in forcing those little creatures as it will traumatize them and make them lose their trust in you. And only cat owners know how important a cat’s trust is!
The trick to this is slowly allowing it to visit outside every once in a while. If after going outside, it makes a big fuss coming back inside, then you get the hint that maybe your cat wants to live outside.
A few cat breeds are completely satisfied with staying at home all day. Although they may want to go outside sometimes, they cannot afford to live outside permanently because of their soft nature.
If your cat is one of the following breeds, it is most likely a stay-at-home cat and you should not move it outside:
- Scottish Fold
Nevertheless, you should always contact your local vet and discuss your cat’s situation with them so you can make sure you’re making the right decision of moving your indoor cat outside.
Transitioning cat from indoor to outdoor
Now that you’ve made sure your cat is ready to move outside, it’s time to make the change.
Move your cat slowly
The first thing you should do is slowly take your cat outside more often. Try to spend long intervals of time outside the house so your cat gets used to it and it doesn’t feel like such a drastic change once it shifts completely.
Depending on your cat, this process can take time. Most cats take from 3 weeks to about 2 months to adjust outside.
Follow a specific routine
You should follow a fixed feeding schedule for your cat even when it’s outside. This is because it won’t feel much of a difference if only the environment has changed and the rest of the routine is the same.
Besides feeding, playtime, and other activities should also be in a specific time range for your cat. Anything to make it feel more comfortable while living outside should be taken care of.
Visiting indoors often
Establishing a proper schedule can be a bit tough at first, but it is important that your cat visits indoors often and spends time with your family. It is a pet cat after all!
You should try to indicate when it’s feeding time, sleep time, or playtime to your cat in the beginning days so it knows when to return home.
This will save you the hassle of bringing it inside yourself each time and allow the cat to acquaint itself with the routines you’ve set.
Is moving your indoor cat outside a good idea?
No matter how strong your adult cat may be, there are still things to think about when considering your cats’ move outside.
Here are some of the threats that your furry friend could face:
Flea infestation in indoor cats usually occurs when they go outside to play and come in contact with mud or some other cat carrying fleas. Fleas can spread easily from cat to cat.
When your cat is living outside, it may interact with other cats either stray or pet cats and during their encounter, your cat can get fleas easily.
At first, it won’t be easy to spot the fleas so you have to be extra careful while allowing your cat indoors again.
Try to check for fleas often because if they manage to enter indoors, it is going to be very tough to get them off your belongings.
Always keep some flea medication for cats just in case things go south.
As discussed in the article, you need to keep your cat under supervision because while living outside, it is going to interact with all sorts of animals.
The last thing you want is some stronger cat, raccoon, or some other animal traumatizing your cat from ever going outside.
A solution for this can be to have a fence around your home or at least around where the cat lives. This way the cat won’t be easily visible to trespassing animals, and it can also hide in case it is being chased by a predator.
Having a fence around the cat’s shelter not only helps to save your cat from predators but also prevents it from serious accidents.One cat owner mentioned that his cat got hit by a car while crossing the road, and has refused to step foot out the door ever since.
Now, this is the worst-case scenario, and it can be avoided if your cat spends some time getting to know its surroundings before completely shifting outside the house.
However, even if your cat has been a victim of minor injuries, you should not hesitate to visit the vet immediately. The thing with felines is that they are good at masking their pain, so in many cases, even if they are bleeding internally, they will still manage to act normal.
This is why you should consult a vet to be sure it has no injuries.
If your cat isn’t neutered and is living outside, it will find a partner to mate with sooner or later. This would mean more kittens, which in turn would mean more work and extra cost or taking care of those kittens.
Many cat owners with unneutered kittens do not take responsibility for newborn kittens which causes them to be abandoned on the street with no shelter in their fearful state.
If you cannot take care of new kittens immediately, then make sure your cat is neutered before living outside.
Also, if the stray cat is a victim of some disease, this can easily be transferred to your cat if it chooses to mate with it. Diseases from stray cats can be fatal, so consult your vet as soon as possible.
In conclusion, if your cat ticks off all the checkboxes to be able to live outside, you should let it.
However, this does not mean that it should not come indoors at night and have its food outside. These things should be well supervised and taken care of by the owners.
If you decide to move your cat outside, then be sure it knows how to keep itself safe from predators and avoid accidents. You should also keep a regular check on its body for fleas before it is allowed to enter your home.
If you are ready to take upon all these responsibilities, moving an indoor cat outside is likely to be a breeze for you!