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Need ideas to get a cat outside

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I want to get my cat going outside, but wonder if it might not be too late. In April he'll be two; he hasn't been outside since I brought him home at about four months of age. Due to neighbors I'm afraid of and several busy streets nearby, I can't let him run loose.

I bought him a "walking jacket," which he's wearing more comfortably around the house, and a leash. Today I put him into his carrier, which he feels very safe in, and drove him to the city park about 5-10 minutes' drive away.

Making sure there were no dogs around, I took him out and simply held him, thinking he'd feel safer this way. I set him down, and he made a bee-line straight back for the car (I'd left the doors open). It wasn't a panicked, all-out mad dash to get back, but he was freaked.

Can anyone give me some tips on how to get him more comfortable being outside--always in my presence, of course? I'd like to get him out of the house, but I certainly don't want to traumatize him in the process. At nearly two years of age, is he a bit too old in the first place to even try this?
post #2 of 17
My feeling would be why bother? If he is happy inside, fears the outdoors, and doesn't show interest in going out -- let him stay in. I sometimes think it would be nice to have my cat outside with me in the summer for company -- but it just seems so risky to me.
post #3 of 17
Personally, you are lucky to have a cat who isn't trying to run out the door every time its open! If hes content inside, be happy with that, to many dangers outside to risk. Even if you were planning on being with him while outside, if they really enjoy being outside, they will do almost anything to go back out !
post #4 of 17
Heavens yes! Your kitty is so much safer as an indoor-only cat. Even just going for harnessed walks with you would still expose him to fleas and ticks, which can carry all sorts of diseases. I'd thank my lucky stars that he isn't interested in going out!
post #5 of 17
If you're wanting to leash train him you probably should have started when he was younger. You are very lucky that your cat ran back to the car! Never let your hands off a cat that isn't used to being outside, and in a strange place at that! What if he had ran in the other direction and you had lost him.

If he's happy inside leave him be, he has all he needs inside anyways, doesn't he?
Food, toys, comfortable place to sleep, clean litter box (I hope ), and a human slave. Outside has dogs, mean kitties, cars, mean people, disease.
I think he's made his choice.
post #6 of 17
Have you tried a more slower pace - like just ten mins in your own yard, also if you give him something to be interested in whilst he`s out, a toy or maybe some kibble. I know it might seem a pain, getting his walking coat/harness on just for 10 mins but one step at a time I think.
As you said now that hes 2 yrs old I think it will be more of a longer training period. Maybe the park was too much, too soon for him.
Good luck - keep us posted
post #7 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by foxfire View Post
Can anyone give me some tips on how to get him more comfortable being outside--always in my presence, of course? I'd like to get him out of the house, but I certainly don't want to traumatize him in the process. At nearly two years of age, is he a bit too old in the first place to even try this?
Mooficat has given great advice. Start slow. Get him real used to the harness and that it is as safe as his carrier. Be calm and don't let him feel your insecurity. If dangers of the outdoors is all you can think about when you are outside, your cat will sense it. Get him to respond to your voice. My indoor/outdoor cats when startled tend to run off in all directions unless they hear me call -then they either stay put or run to me.
Oh, and I hope he is neutered?
post #8 of 17
Another not to do it is... think ahead to a time when for whatever reason you can no longer take him out on a regular basis - what kind of homelife will you end up with, having a whining, scratching cat at the door all day, possibly making the point by ?? ignoring his box or who knows what?
post #9 of 17
i think you just need to move at baby steps, a few minutes at a time until he gets used to it, and I also second the suggestion to maybe keep him in your yard to begin with also, since he'll be going out side, you might want to get him started on flea/tick preventative like Advantage or Frontline. Good luck! I would love to take my kitties out for walks, but can you imagine me with 11 cats all on a leash??

also, IMO taking a kitty outside on a harness does not encourage them to want to be outside all the time, cats are smart, I think they realize that the only time they go out is with you and the leash
post #10 of 17
I'm with the 'why bother' crew. Your cat sounds perfectly happy indoors, why make him go outside? Too many bad things happen to kitties outside.
post #11 of 17
Cats are definitely better inside than out-if you think that your cat might like to go outside every once in a while, or that it might be good for him to see the outdoors sometimes, then you could try putting him in a harness.
post #12 of 17
another agreeing with why bother. hes happy inside let him stay there, hes not missing anything
post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by katiemae1277 View Post
IMO taking a kitty outside on a harness does not encourage them to want to be outside all the time, cats are smart, I think they realize that the only time they go out is with you and the leash
True with my cats, 2 go out on leash, they run away from an open door unless harnessed and they don't meow to go out either.

I think you should take him outside for very short trips just into your yard. I wouldn't attempt the park even with my cats that have been going out for a few years.
post #14 of 17
Thread Starter 
I had no idea my original post would start so much!

When I came in the other night, Jeremiah made a quick beeline for the door and was almost outside before I managed to catch him. I knew if he got out, he'd have himself the biggest field day in his life and I'd never catch him. This being, I might add, on the foggiest night I've seen in years.

He seems to want to be outside, but I can't let him. Not unsupervised, at any rate. So I did take him to the park instead of around the building for fear that if he gets outside there once or twice, he could dart outside again and I'd maybe never see him again.

At the park, I couldn't possibly have lost him due to the leash I had previously snapped to his walking jacket. I merely calmly followed him back to the car. I thought of no dangers and felt no insecurity. All the years I've worked with horses have taught me that, when you try something new with an animal, you go in calmly and confidently (having removed all possible sources of danger) and see how the animal responds. Then go from there.

My cat was neutered long ago. Insofar as fleas are concerned, when the weather turns consistently warmer, he will again go on the monthly flea preventative I get from the vet.

All in the world I had in mind in my original post was to get some idea of--would he likely calm down if I should take him out more? Or would it likely make him even more afraid? I believe I did mention that I certainly didn't want to traumatize him.
post #15 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by foxfire View Post
All in the world I had in mind in my original post was to get some idea of--would he likely calm down if I should take him out more? Or would it likely make him even more afraid? I believe I did mention that I certainly didn't want to traumatize him.
Several of us said you need to go slow, a trip to the park was too much for his first time out.
post #16 of 17
Especially if its far from home. He would be totally lost and disoriented I would think.
post #17 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheylink View Post
Personally, you are lucky to have a cat who isn't trying to run out the door every time its open! If hes content inside, be happy with that, to many dangers outside to risk. Even if you were planning on being with him while outside, if they really enjoy being outside, they will do almost anything to go back out !
I think you have it lucky my dad has to fight with willie every morning to get out the door and well its a running game to let the dogs out with out any cats getting out but I did read your other post that he is trying to get out so I think so far u are doing good with the harness and leash, let him get used to that and let him no that thats the only time he can go out, he will eventually catch on i think but some cats like to be stubborn

But I think u need to just take the process very slow, and just spen little time each day out in your yard and such, u still have to get him used to the idea and if its around an area that he knows I pressume he looks out ur windows and suhc then it might be a little bit easier and he might not be so scared ! Just take the process slow like everyone has said and start around your area since he might be more familiar with it that way and he wont be so stressed !!
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