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How to let kittens out for the first time

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
Our two kittens, Lily and Lottie are almost five months old. They will be spayed when they are around 6 months, and will be 'outdoor' cats, although I would love their company all the time, they spend their days looking out the window, so i believe it is only fair they are outdoor cats. Also, we live in quite a quiet area, apart from one road, that does tend to get busy, but not in the sense of a motorway.
We don't have any idea how to start letting them out. They have had a ten minute explore of the garden every couple of weeks since they were vaccinated but that's it. Do I just let them out (eek??) as some people just do, or go out with them on a lead? How far do I go? Do I just try and follow them the first time they are out (hard as they dart and run around)? Or do I carry them around the neibourhood a few times so they get used to it?
Any help would be so good- I want to do this completely properly, so they don't get lost.
post #2 of 23
I am not one for letting cats outdoors unles they show some great need for it. Looking out the window is no reason to assume they want out. I have one cat that will literally destroy the house if she is not let outside, so she is the only one who goes out.

Anyways, I would absolutely let them out on a lead only, or if you are out there with them and keep a careful eye on them. You would also build a kitty enclosure for them so they can be outdoors and enjoy the fresh air and grass but not be loose on their own. Don't carry them around the neighborhood, that will do nothing but encourage them to wander off.

Of course do NOT let them outside at all until they are neutered. Remember too with outdoor cats, you will need to keep them dewormed and flea treated a lot more often then indoor only cats.
post #3 of 23
I would NOT be letting them out till after they are neutered/spayed! They could either get another cat pregnant (if male) or get pregnant themselves (if female).

Kittens as young as 4-5 months old can breed and get pregnant. Why do they have to be outside cats all the time? Can't you just build a cat enclosure in the backyard and let them safely sit outside for a few hours?
post #4 of 23
Thread Starter 
Erm...I don't think you guys are understanding where I'm coming from. Under no circumstances will they go out before they are spayed (i thought I made it clear they would go out when spayed). We are fitting a cat flap to the door so they can go out whenever they please.
I did NOT say they were going to be outside all the time. Personally I would like them to be inside with me all the time (like I said), but they are cats and have the right to go outside and have some fresh air if they please, which they love to do- every day whenever we go outside they try to dart out the door too. It is only fair they are allowed to go outside.
And I would like to get them used to being outside so they don't get lost.
If I had it my way they would be indoor cats, but my parents don't want them to be, and, unfortunately it is there decision as it is their house.
But its not unusual to have a cat flap for cats to go out if they choose..............its quite normal.
post #5 of 23
I would start with supervised visits outdoors, getting them use to being outside. If they seem too skittish or scared than start using a leash until they feel comfortable.

I have two Bengals that never go outside unless they are leashed. So they are never unsupervised. They feel the need to chase every moving object be it bug, leaf, tree you name it they chase it. My two white cats love to walk out the door and lay right on the front porch, roll around for a few minutes and walk back in. I just supervise their outings but I don't have to leash them.

Max and Simon have unsupervised outside privileges. Which I hate but they absolutely hate being indoors sometimes. It makes for a very unhappy situation.

It really just depends on your cats and if they feel comfortable being outside.
post #6 of 23
Thread Starter 
Snosrap5 thanks very much for your reply- it was really helpful.
Yes, Lottie and Lily were a little skittish the first few times they went out, but they just love everything outside- they just wander round the garden sniffing flowers and just looking and exploring everything.
The cat flap will be there and if they want to go out, they can, but obviously do not have to at all.
I have already bought a leash for Lily (my kitten). Should I walk her round the garden, and then round the neibourhood a few times before i just 'supervise' her outings, and then just fit the catflap? Or should there be more to it or less to it than that?
Of course, they have collars with tags on them, and I will have them microchipped, also, just in case.
I think I'll give them the chance to go outside, if they want it. They are very interested in everything and seem quite confident little kits, and definately seem to want to go outside. Not sure whether it's just an 'unknown' to them right now, and they might get bored of it and stay inside most of the time. Or if they would go and play in the garden together (we have a big, fenced off garden).
Thanks so much for your help.
post #7 of 23
My cat is an indoor only cat, but is allowed out on a leash. I have brought her out for walks so she will know her yard and how to get home in case something happens and she were to get out by accident.

If you plan on eventually allowing Lily out unsupervised, it may be a good idea to walk her around on the leash so she can learn what is outside and how to get back home.
post #8 of 23
Could you financially afford to build an enclosure or add one to your existing garden fence? Fencing them in is the safest way to allow outdoor time.

I am on the fence on this issue. I have outdoor only cats, & indoor only cats. I will admit, my outdoor kitties do not live as long as the indoor ones could. That said, I've got a 14 y/o, 9 y/o, 8 y/o...down to 2 y/o nuthead brothers outside. But, I live on a 4 acre farm 3 miles out of town on a not busy road. Even though my road isn't busy, I have seen kitties hit by cars(thank god not my own, they're too lazy to walk all the way out to the road).

I would get Lily & Lottie acclimated to being outdoors more on a harness & leash. In the winter, depending on the weather, it's best to monitor them closely when going in & out. Take things slowly, make sure that they are comfortable being outdoors & know how to protect themselves.
post #9 of 23
I'm glad they will have collars, tags and micro-chipping! Very responsible! I would say let Lily and Lottie tell you what works and what doesn't. The more you take them out and roam the more confident they become in that surrounding.

I have an outdoor enclosure attached to the house for my cats and only a few use the cat door to get out there. Max and Simon absolutely hate that room and won't use the door.

Good luck!
post #10 of 23
That's what I said - build a cat enclosure and let them sit outside. I know that UK likes letting the cats roam outside, but IMO there is NO reason to allow cats to be unsupervised to run the entire neighborhood. I agree with you to a point. But keep the cats confined to your yard if you want less problems/troubles in the future.

And if you put in a cat flap now, what's to stop them from going outside before they are spayed? Or will you put it in the door AFTER they are spayed?
post #11 of 23
Thread Starter 
Sorry lol I'm probably not being clear. I know what I'm trying to say but I don't think I'm putting it across very well. The cat flap will only go in when they are both spayed, microchipped, and everyone in my family is sure they are okay outside.
I would love them to just be indoor cats, but my parents want them to be outdoor cats, so they can just have the french doors open all summer and stuff like that. I don't really agree but its either they are outdoor cats, or not here.
Although, I am moving out in a year and a little bit (to University) and they will be coming with me then, so they will be indoor cats then.

Tell me more about this enclosure thing- I can't have a kind of 'run' persay, but that doesn't sound like what some of u are talking about.....like making the fences surrounding our garden non-climbable or something? Cos that would be FAB!
They wouldn't be able to get out of our garden (quite big and explorable) but would be able to go outside, so my parents wouldn't mind.
post #12 of 23
Thread Starter 
Also, we lived opposite a huge farm with lots of fields too. And behind us is a very quite (very very) little beautiful housing estate thing with small houses and garden and pathways. Lovely down there, I see many cats.
Also, what do outdoor cats do? Do they go out for the whole day
Or just for a bit and come back in?
post #13 of 23
Most outdoors cats do hang around the house. We had several barn cats. They would be gone up in the fields for awhile, and return later in the day. Sometimes you'd see all of them sitting in the backyard, sometimes none would be around.

Your clarification is better By any chance would you have a gazabo or enclosed porch/room that's outside in the backyard? There is a "cat-proof" fencing where the top is facing inside the yard to prevent them from just jumping up and over the existing fence.
post #14 of 23
I understand what you are saying about your parents wanting the doors open, I used to have problems here with my indoor cats with the back door, they would just bolt out any chance, now I have a small enclosure in the back garden attached to the house, I had no choice I had unpleasant neighbours one of my neighbours has carpet gripper around his fence, plus there are loads of dogs around. If you just google cat enclosures it should give you some ideas.

Good luck.
post #15 of 23
A quick suggestion about microchipping. I think I read correctly that you have not yet had thm microchipped but would do before you let them outside.

If you ask the vet to microchip them while they're under the anaesthetic while being spayed, they will not feel the pain of the (quite big) microchipping needle.

Just a thought - this is what we did with ours.

post #16 of 23
Thread Starter 
Goldenkitty no we don't have one, but that fence thing sounds really good....might have to run that idea past my parents. Good....I'm glad they wouldn't just disappear for really long periods of time cos I would get so worried.
Tallulah- same, they used to just bolt straight through and then jump around the garden playing, and I'd have to run back inside, and shake the bag of their favourite treats and then they'd come running back inside lol!!

Bruce&Sheila- thanks v much for the tip. Luckily I work at this vets and they do that as often as they can, so I will do that. My poor little puppy was microchipped and it was so awful. He is a real wuss all the time lol (he's afraid of pots and yellow buckets and new loud toys) but that needle is enough to make anyone scream. Actually we've been so lucky with all our animals- they are all just the kindest natured things anyone could dream of having. (we have two puppies, two kittens and two rabbits)
That is something most people should be aware of- microchipping when spayed etc.

Thanks guys- will google the fences and see if its possible. Will certainly make everything easier.
Hopefully the kittens will be just content with our garden (quite big and explorable). Crossing fingers.
post #17 of 23
I have one cat that lives outside all the time, and one that goes out for a few minutes every few days. The one that lives inside likes to roam the garden for a few minutes, but always comes running when called.
post #18 of 23
My older cat is an outdoor cat & spends most of her day around my mum's yard, back verandah or steps, where she lives now. Blossom my 1 yr old cat is indoor only, but I was away last week & my boys aired the house by opening the kitchen windows & she got out twice, but luckily came up the back steps to be let in. I now have to be vigilant & make sure I keep her in. They said she also learned to open the screen door.
post #19 of 23
I would have them go out, supervised, and then call them in with a treat they really love (in our case, it's deli ham, but you know what I mean). So they equate coming in with a good experience.
post #20 of 23
Thread Starter 
Yeah Lily launches herself at the french window door handle, so we have to keep it locked. Her aim is spot on every time.
The kitten go absolutely crazy for these treats called 'Milky Flakums' which are little kitten milk treats. If we've lost one in the house somewhere (like they've crawled under the bed or something) we just shake the bag of flakums, and we just hear this patter of paws immediately and the jingle of their collars, and they come tearing towards us, sometimes covered in cobwebs where they have explored behind an old cabinet or something lol! But we can always get them back with milky flakums. That is what we use when we let them in the garden, we stand at the door when we want them to come in and they just come running, even if they were distracted by chasing a fly or something lol.
I will do that 'good experience' thing. That sounds relaly good.
post #21 of 23
Someone just gave me some advice re moving/letting kittens out for the first time. Make sure they're hungry! They know where their food comes from and if you give him something special when he comes back you probably won't be able to get him to go out

Good luck, will be doing just the same thing a few weeks from now.
post #22 of 23
I'm also one that allows my cats to go outside even if it's not a popular view these days. I applaud you for waiting until they are vaccinated and have been fixed!! Woo! I think cats do enjoy being outside not that they aren't happy indoors but mine get plenty of fresh air and sunshine and in my humble opinion...really enjoy outdoors.

Having said that...I'm lucky that I am in rural area and I live far off any road...soooo I'm able to make that decision with more ease and do think the indoor/outdoor debate will always have plenty of fuel but I believe that we need to allow people to make that choice given their particular circumstances...Anyway...

I ntroduce mine to the outside under my supervision and like a house they explore a little at a time and don't venture too far and slowly expand their boundary. Since they are all fixed none roam too far and always are within calling distance when I'm ready to have them come in...

Have fun and good luck!
post #23 of 23
The first few weeks after you have made sure they do know the area.I would check up on them often and call them back. If they are going to be allowed outside..Its much safer if they go out during the day time only then called back and kept inside during the night time..Predators are out fox,coyotes ect. Their main hunting times are early mornings and starting at dusk..
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