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Going outside with kitty!

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
I recently brought home a stunning and wonderfully affectionate seal colorpoint ragdoll kitten, and bought a few books on kitten care (he's my first kitten; my other adopted boys were past their kittenhood) and a particularly interesting book concerning cat psychology and well-being. In this book, it said that bringing your cat outside on a leash or harness can be a very good way to keep kitty stimulated. As he is the only cat in the house, I want to keep him as interested as possible.

Now, I know well the dangers of bringing a cat out, but I really am considering letting my new boy outside for short periods of time--of course he would be well-supervised and enclosed in the yard. The one thing really holding me back is: What if he keeps trying to get outside when I don't want him to? Like all kittens, he's very explorative and sneaky and losing him outside would be just terrible. Say he would try and get out if I introduced him outside. What could I do to prevent escapes? Or should I not take the risk and keep him indoors altogether?

Any suggestions are so much appreciated. This is my first (long and rambling, haha) post here, so hello and it's nice to be here!
post #2 of 21
I've started taking Oliver (4 yrs old) out on my parents' deck recently (I'm home from school for awhile cuz I need to see doctors here) and he loves it... he sees the dog go out and is always crying at the back door... I've been worried about the same issue actually because he does try to sneak out when he's not supposed to, so you've got to like stick a leg in first to shoo him out of the way or get someone on the inside to help you (or go around to another door)... so any suggestions on this will help me too!!

I think short plays outside are a great idea... Oliver LOVES it (I wonder if he remembers things from his stray days) and cries when I pick him up to go inside... I think being exposed to the sun for a little is good too (I know I feel better after some sun time!)
post #3 of 21
I know that Harley LOVES to go outside with me. We have a collar and leash and we put him on and let him roam outside on the grass with us and on the patio.

He does very well, and does not try to get outside when he knows he's not supposed to. Although he does love sitting my the open patio door with the screen closed when we cannot take him outside.

I think its nice to take them out, I know that Harley has fun exploring new territory!
post #4 of 21
Hi and welcome to TCS!!

I just came inside from taking Abby for a walk around the yard She really enjoys it. I think no matter what, your cat is going to want to go outside. If she accidentally did get out one day, it would be better for her to know her surroundings, and how to get back inside.
post #5 of 21
Half of my cats are not at all interested in going out side, one is deathly terrified if a door opens near her and the rest love the outdoors and cry to go out. So you never know how your cat is going to feel with the outside. I would say the majority of cats will like it and once shown the outdoors, would like to go out more often.

Ideally I would say keep all cats inside at all times for health and safety reasons. But that doesn't always work and a lot of times people feel bad about it. So with all that in mind, if you choose to take the cat outside, try to keep him leashed/harnessed and if your yard has a high fence, even better. This may lead to him being more interested in dashing out the door later on, but at least he will know what it is like out there.

Once he is neutered (you can do this at 8 weeks, I forgot how old yours is...) but that will lessen his desire for roaming and reproducing so take care of that and it should be okay.
post #6 of 21
Train him to accept a harness and leash so that he can't escape and hide from you. This may take a little while for him to get used to the idea of having that *thing* around his body, so that gives you a little time.

As for him trying to escape, just be very, very consistent that he ONLY goes outside when he has the harness and leash on. You could also try always carrying him outside and back inside (so he doesn't associate walking out the door with outside), or carrying him outside in his carrier for his walks. That would also make bringing him to the vet a LOT easier by getting him to associate the carrier with good things.
post #7 of 21
I've always had outdoor/indoors cats. Only ONE cat was an indoor/outdoor who never really wanted to do much but sit on the porch. The rest wanted to wander around.

I now have a foster cat, and SHE CANNOT per Humane Society rules be indoor/outdoor. Plus I feel she's a brainless girl around cars, so I don't have the confidence that she knows how to stay safe.

But she haunts doorways and is really good at scooting out.

I've gotten a leash and now we go walking 30 minutes in the morning and 30 minutes at night. It helps calm her down, makes her happier, and I enjoy the good weather days more too! She can climb trees in her harness, chase bugs, eat grass, stalk the other (unleashed!) cats that accompany us around on our walks. Plus I know if she DID get out, she would at least know
the SMELLS of the area, and be able to figure out what to do to get back inside...

BTW my old diablo kitty also was a leash walker when I lived on the 13 floor of a high rise in the city. He went out at 10 pm each night with me, to the park - I carried him across the streets and off we would go in the park at night..

He is QUITE a cat. I also walked him leash/harness when he was recovering from fights and wounds or illnesses - so he could get outside without
getting into mischief. He was MUCH happier when he could maintain his
patrols, LOL!

So get a leash and harness and see how kitty takes it. Be aware tho, not ALL cats/kittens will tolerate this.
post #8 of 21
Mister & Spalding are the only kitties that like to go for walks, they only go near the door when they see me pick up their harnesses and don't meow at any other times.
post #9 of 21
Hi and Welcome,
I have found that if you take the time to get you kitten used to the harness and being on a leash then outside time can be great! I take Melody out for walks all the time and she absolutly LOVES it. I live in an apartment, and I have found that as long as I carry her down to the grass and back to the door, then she never tries to go outside on her own. We no longer have to place "who can get out the door first" game. I have even been able to get her to just relax outside and sit with me while I read or just enjoy the sunset. As long as you make your house a perfect place then I see no reason why your kitty would ever want to leave-you sound like a perfect owner-we should all be so lucky!! Just make sure that if you kitten does go outside that you have all shots current and I suggest a microchip just on the off chance he should escape (Heaven forbid!!) Take care!
post #10 of 21
Thread Starter 
Wow, so many replies! Thank you!

Well I really like the carrier idea (he was very stressed in his carrier coming home with us, so using the carrier for a fun visit outside will make him feel better), and carrying him outside sounds good too since he already loves to be carried.

I must say I'm really considering taking him on little outdoor excursions from time to time. Thanks a lot, everyone!
post #11 of 21
Eeeeek! I keep my baby inside!! I fear all those stories of kitties running away or being hurt by something...I'm too paranoid.
post #12 of 21
Thread Starter 
Oh believe me, I'm paranoid too. I'm like his shadow. In fact I just put my baby to sleep upstairs in his safe room and he's mewing for attention--and it's taking every ounce of my control to not run upstairs and play with him. I know that'll reinforce the noisy behavior and I for one like my sleeping schedule as it is. :P But it's so hard to leave him alone!

If I do decide to take him out every once in a while, I'm probably going to wait until he's a bit older and make sure the harness we get him is very secure (yet comfortable) so he can't make a run for it. We have a high fence, but I bet he could squeeze under it so it's a must that the harness will be kitten-proof.
post #13 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trouts mom
Eeeeek! I keep my baby inside!! I fear all those stories of kitties running away or being hurt by something...I'm too paranoid.
Hence taking them out on a leash, so they can't get hurt
post #14 of 21
I recently bought my cat a harness and leash and tried it out the other night. She is almost 4 and has never really been outside. Of course she was pretty scared to go outside but I think she did okay with some reassurance. My only concern is that she seemed to have trouble walking with the harness on. I know I put it on right and it was not too tight or anything. Maybe she just needs to get used to it? Any ideas on how I can make this easier for her? Thanks!
post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jenny82
I recently bought my cat a harness and leash and tried it out the other night. She is almost 4 and has never really been outside. Of course she was pretty scared to go outside but I think she did okay with some reassurance. My only concern is that she seemed to have trouble walking with the harness on. I know I put it on right and it was not too tight or anything. Maybe she just needs to get used to it? Any ideas on how I can make this easier for her? Thanks!
Before you take your cat outside on her harness and leash, you should follow slow steps of gradually getting her used to the harness (indoors), then harness with leash attached (indoors) then, once these gradual steps have been taken, she will be ready to go outside!

The struggling to walk thing will ease with gradual building up of having the harness on! It's a stange feeling for them to have such a thing around thair bodies and need time to adjust!

While she is wearing it inside the house, play with her and give her treats, she'll soon associate the harness with good things!

If you do a quick search in this forum for 'walking the cat' you'll find some excellent hints and tips for harness and lead training!
post #16 of 21
I already have a cat that wants to go out. I am not going to reinforce it by letting him outside. I know he would then try and find a way out. Either by our doorway, or through our vents. He is a genius at finding his way into things. So if he knows what he is missing, you better believe it he won’t be missing out for long. Right now he is content looking out our windows at the bird food container I set up for them. Sort of like a kitty TV. LOL The other problem is, when you start bringing them out you never know what Cat has gone through your yard already and marked it. They have an increase in getting diseases. I don't care for that idea at all. Not putting any of you down, that want them to go out. This is just what I have decided to do with my guys. They have enough entertainment inside the house to keep them happy and active. I have a bunch of cool toys for them, and then they have their friends Pippen and Belle to play zoom doggy with them. They are always thinking of ways to attack them with out getting caught. It is so funny to watch. If I am having a bad day, all I have to do is come home and watch my guys play with each other.
post #17 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sar
Before you take your cat outside on her harness and leash, you should follow slow steps of gradually getting her used to the harness (indoors), then harness with leash attached (indoors) then, once these gradual steps have been taken, she will be ready to go outside!

The struggling to walk thing will ease with gradual building up of having the harness on! It's a stange feeling for them to have such a thing around thair bodies and need time to adjust!

While she is wearing it inside the house, play with her and give her treats, she'll soon associate the harness with good things!

If you do a quick search in this forum for 'walking the cat' you'll find some excellent hints and tips for harness and lead training!
That makes sense. I think I was too excited that I didn't think about getting her used to it inside first. Thank you!
post #18 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jenny82
That makes sense. I think I was too excited that I didn't think about getting her used to it inside first. Thank you!
It's easy for us to get over excited and overlook how our kitties are feeling sometimes! I'm sure one you introduce the harness slowly, she'll adjust to it in no time and you'll be out wandering in the sun!

Good luck and do let us know how things go!

Oh, I also suggest carrying her over the threshold on the way out, as this will enforce that you take her - then, when she's ready to go back in, let her walk back into the house!

It'll help her to know that she goes out with you, but can come back in on her own!
post #19 of 21
Does anyone have any recommendations for what would be a good, sturdy harness? I mean brand names? I'm considering taking them out for awhile, but I want to be as sure as I can be that they aren't able to escape or the harness to break.
post #20 of 21
I'd like to know that too. Seamus can slip every harness I've tried on him. I tried cat specific ones and ones for small dogs. That one seems to work the best, but he can still wiggle out of it. He loves putting it on though since it means he can go outside. He even lifts his paw to put it through the loop.
post #21 of 21
I have had very good luck with Lupine collars, harnesses and leads.

http://www.lupinepet.com/cat/index.html
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