Cats are naturally curious about, well, everything. Especially when it comes to the outdoors, whether it’s staring out the window or sneaking a peak when you open the backdoor, they take every chance they get to enjoy the sights and sounds that the outside world offers. If you’ve ever thought about giving your cat the outdoor experience they crave, here are some safe and gradual ways to let your cat experience the outdoors.
1. Get a cat window perch
Cats love sitting by the window and watching the various people and objects passing by. This option can be all that some cats need, but is a great first step if you have a cat that you plan to eventually take outside. Even if your cat can sit on your window sill, a window perch allows them to lay down and sun bathe all day long.
Window perches resemble shelves that can be affixed to your window by suction cups or clips. The perch you choose for your feline friend should be wide and comfortable enough to sit on for long periods of time. Some window perches are also known as window “hammocks” that feature a stretched fabric surface similar to an actual hammock.
2. Outdoor cat enclosures
If you’d like to take your cat’s outdoor exposure a step further, a cat enclosure is a great option that allows them to spend plenty of time outside in an environment that you know is safe. These cage-like structures come in all shapes, sizes, and price ranges. Some are built as a window extension that allows your cat to enter and exit the enclosure through your window and some are built to be placed in your yard.
The enclosures keep your cat contained and safe from other animals. Many enclosures feature perches and shelves at different heights to give your cat more seating options and plenty of room to exercise. Remember to keep a food and water bowl in your enclosure if you plan to leave them in for an extended period of time.
3. Get a cat harness
Once you feel your cat is ready to experience the outdoors with a little more freedom, try taking them for walks using a cat harness. These harnesses are made specifically for cats and come in all different shapes and sizes to fit your cat’s body type. You should avoid getting a normal leash and collar as they can injure your cat’s neck and are easy to get out of.
It’s important to remember that your cat will need some training before they are comfortable walking with a harness, they will have no idea what to do with it at first. You should start by allowing your cat to get used to the harness inside your home before taking them outside. Try putting the harness on for a few minutes at a time and slowly increase the amount of time as they get more comfortable.
Then, once they feel comfortable with the harness, try to take them on short walks around the house using treats to keep them motivated to follow you. After lots of practice, you’re ready to try walking your cat outside. This process should be taken slowly as well. Your first outdoor walk should be to the end of your driveway and back. You can then gradually increase the walking time and distance until they are comfortable walking around the block with you.
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