6 Ways Your Cat Can Enjoy The Outdoors In Safety

Written by: Adri Sandoval
Adri Sandoval is the Special Projects Manager for iHeartDogs and iHeartCats. Her work has deepened her love for animals, fostering a strong passion for rescue and animal advocacy.Read more
| Published on January 26, 2024
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When the weather gets warmer, almost everyone wants to enjoy it—and that may include your cat! If you feel bad while your kitty stares yearningly out the window, yet you’re too afraid to let her free-roam outside, don’t worry. There are several solutions that can allow you and your cat to enjoy the outdoors together. But you can’t just sprint outside, cat in arms. Letting them explore the outdoors without precautions could expose them to lots of threats: diseases, cat fights, predators, poisonous animals, and cat-nappers, to name a few.

If you choose to let your cat out using one of the safer options below, always stay outside to supervise and always make sure your kitty is up-to-date on monthly flea/tick control and yearly vaccinations. Your safest bet is to check with your vet before making any lifestyle changes for your cat. Now, let’s get ready to go outside! Below are 6 ways that your cat can enjoy the temperate weather in comfort and safety. In fact, the two of you will be getting fresh air together while bonding at the same time.

6 Ways To Take Your Cat Outside Safely

1. Leash Training

Most cat parents would love to take their kitties on a stroll, but the fact is, not all felines will cooperate when attached to a leash. The best way to train your cat to walk on a leash is to get them used wearing a harness and start leash training as young as possible. If yours is already past kittenhood, you can still try training with treats and positive reinforcement. Cats are smart and love to learn new things even as they age. These 12 Tips For Walking Your Cat On A Leash will you get started.

2. Comfortable Cat Harness 

For all trips outside, it’s important that a cat knows how to wear a collar or harness. Keep in mind, a harness provides more control and is safer than a collar, which can slip off or cause injury if the cat pulls against it. Get your cat accustomed to a harness and leash indoors. This ensures they feel comfortable and secure. You’ll also need to keep the leash handy for any trouble that could pop up when outside. Learn more about choosing the perfect harness and find one your cat will dig with these 9 Best Cat Harness Products. The rabbitgoo Cat Harness and Leash is a wildly popular option among cat parents for its security and lightweight build.

Rabbitgoo Cat Harness and Leash Set
  • Escape-proof design
  • Breathable mesh material
  • Reflective strips for visibility
  • Quick-release buckle
  • Four sizes available
  • 13 color options

If your cat isn’t a huge fan of going on walks, you can still put that harness to use. Attach it to a lead that’s secured in the ground, or even around a sturdy tree, and let your cat explore. Although they can’t go too far, never leave your cat outside unattended, and always check the area for creatures lurking in the grass.

3. Cat Stroller

You can take your cat for a jaunt in a stroller that’s specifically designed for pets. A cat stroller is an excellent option for those who want to safely introduce their indoor cats to the outdoors without the risks associated with free roaming. Cat strollers come in various designs and sizes, ensuring a comfortable fit for any feline friend. Options like Pet Gear Happy Trails Lite Pet Stroller typically feature sturdy wheels capable of handling different terrains, from smooth city sidewalks to gentle nature trails. This versatility allows you to take your cat to a variety of environments, enriching their sensory experiences.

Pet Gear Happy Trails Lite Pet Stroller
  • Easy-fold mechanism
  • 600 Denier material, removable waterproof liner
  • top and panoramic view windows
  • Large storage basket and pocket
  • Front shock absorbers, swivel wheels, and rear brakes

Safety is a primary concern with cat strollers. Ensure the stroller is stable and robust, with secure latches and zippers to prevent any escape attempts. It’s also essential to choose a model with ventilation to provide your cat with plenty of fresh air while protecting them from overheating.

For cats who are shy or easily stressed, a stroller can be a safe haven. It provides a sense of security and enclosure, which can help reduce anxiety during outdoor excursions. Start with short trips around your neighborhood to get your cat used to the stroller. Over time, they’ll associate it with positive experiences, making each outing more enjoyable.

Using a cat stroller is a great way to bond with your cat while keeping them safe. It allows them to explore the world beyond your home in a controlled, secure manner, adding quality and stimulation to their lives.

4. Cat Carrier

Using a mesh-sided fold-out cat carrier is an excellent way to safely enjoy outdoor trips with your feline friend. These carriers provide a secure and comfortable environment for your cat, while the mesh sides offer ample ventilation and a panoramic view of the surroundings. The Siivton 4 Way Expandable Pet Carrier gives your cat space to stretch out for a nap in the sun safely during peaceful outings. This type of carrier is especially suitable for cats who might feel anxious in closed spaces, as it allows them to observe their environment while feeling protected. Plus, they’re lightweight and easy to carry.

Siivton Airline Approved Pet Carrier
  • 18" x 11" x 11"
  • Expandable on all four sides
  • Lots of mesh for visibility and breathability
  • Waterproof material
  • Removable and machine-washable bedding
  • Safety clip inside
  • Multiple entry points

5. Outdoor Cat Playpen 

If feline friend could use a little more space than a carrier can provide, consider getting your cat an enclosed outdoor playpen. There, a kitty can run, lounge, frolic, and observe, all from within the safety of the pen. Pop-up cat playpens are a fantastic way to give your cat a taste of the outdoors while keeping them protected. Outdoor cat tents with attached tunnels are also a great option as they allow your cat even more room to run. Find one your cat will love among these 10 Best Outdoor Cat Tents & Enclosures.

Cat playpens and tents are typically lightweight and portable, making them ideal for setting up in your yard, on a patio, or even during a family picnic. The mesh sides offer excellent ventilation and a 360-degree view, so your cat won’t miss any of the outdoor action. Some pens come with a removable shade cover to protect your cat from direct sunlight, which is essential on hot days. Check out the Ruff ‘n Ruffus Portable Foldable Pet Playpen for a durable option.

Ruff ‘n Ruffus Portable Foldable Pet Playpen
  • 8-panel windows for full view
  • Removeable top and zippered door
  • Lightweight and foldable design
  • Durable, waterproof materials
  • Heavy-duty zippers
  • Available in 3 sizes

6. Catio Space

If you haven’t heard of catios, you need to! These are small outdoor additions that can be easily accessed by your cat. If you’ve got a little extra room in your yard or patio, you can build a customized catio that attaches to your home where you can enjoy the outdoors alongside your kitty. They’re surprisingly affordable, and you can easily find plans to build one online.

You can also purchase a premade catio that ships right to your door. Check out our picks for the best catios and find one your cat will love. Short on space? No problem. Choose a design that attaches right to your window, like the VistaGato.

9 Safety Tips for Going Outside with Your Cat

No matter how you decide to take your cat outside for a little fresh, you must prioritize your cat’s safety. Consider these safety tips:

1 – Vaccinations and Identification

Ensure your cat is fully vaccinated before exposing them to the outdoors. This is vital for their protection against common diseases. A collar with an ID tag and having your cat microchipped can be lifesavers if your cat gets lost.

2 – Flea, Tick, and Parasite Prevention

Use vet-recommended flea and tick prevention treatments. Outdoor exposure increases the risk of these pests, which can cause health issues.

RELATED: 6 Places You Might Find Ticks On Your Cat

3 – Safe and Secure Environment

Never leave your cat unattended outdoors. Stay vigilant and keep a watchful eye on your cat at all times. Start your outdoor forays with short outings in a quiet and safe area, gradually increasing the duration as your cat becomes more comfortable. The backyard is great place to start.

4 – Weather Considerations:

Do not take your cat out in extreme temperatures. Cats can suffer from heatstroke or hypothermia. On warmer days, ensure there are shaded areas and fresh water available to prevent overheating. The Springer Water Bottle makes bringing water along for your cat an easy task. Fill the water bottle and then simply squeeze to fill the bowl on top. Excess drains back into the bottle.

Springer Classic Travel Water Bottle
  • Simply squeeze to fill; release to drain
  • Patented leak-proof technology
  • Food safe and BPA-free materials
  • Includes aluminum carabiner clip
  • Dishwasher safe

5 – Recognize Stress Signals

Know your cat’s behavior. Be attentive to signs of stress or fear, such as crouching, tail-tucking, or hissing. If you notice these signs, it’s time to go back inside. Learn more about your cat is saying with How To Really Understand Your Cat’s Body Language.

6 – Predator and Traffic Awareness

Be aware of the presence of dogs or wild animals that could pose a threat to your cat. And stay away from traffic. Keep a safe distance from roads and vehicles, as cats can be startled and run into danger.

7 – Garden and Plant Safety

Ensure your garden or the area you visit does not have plants toxic to cats. Common hazardous plants include lilies, azaleas, and chrysanthemums. Also, keep your cat clear of areas where pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers have been used.

8 – Emergency Preparedness

Know the basics of feline first aid in case of an emergency. Have your veterinarian’s contact information handy whenever you go out. Including Dr. Cuddles ReadyRESCUE in your cat’s first aid kit keeps you prepared in case your cat eats something toxic. This emergency essential contains activated carbon spheres that work to absorb toxins before your pet’s body does, reducing the severity of clinical signs that typically come with intoxication. It gives you time to get to the vet for treatment when every second counts.

Dr. Cuddles ReadyRESCUE™ Detoxifier
  • For chocolate, grapes, recreational drugs, and more
  • Veterinary grade
  • Easy to use
  • 5 year shelf life
  • For cats and dogs

9 – Routine and Consistency

If possible, take your cat outside around the same time each day. This helps in establishing a routine and reduces anxiety. For all their aloofness, cats enjoy routine and consistency.

Have Fun and Be Safe Outside With Your Cat

Taking your cat outside can be a rewarding experience that enriches their life. However, it’s essential to prioritize their safety and well-being. By following these tips to ensure safety, you can ensure that your outdoor adventures with your cat are enjoyable and secure.

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