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Safely introducing your kitten to the outdoors

Letting a cat or kitten out for the first time can be a scary experience, for both cat and owner! There are ways you can minimise the chances of spooking your pet, ensuring they are safely introduced to the big wide world and can build their confidence outside.

Preparing your pet

In order to prepare your pet for the outdoors, you should fit them with a cat collar which has your details on it, just in case they stray too far and a neighbour has to return them. To reduce the chances of that happening, try to keep your garden or yard as enclosed as possible, particularly if you live in an area with hazards such as busy roads or lots of neighbours with dogs.

Before you let them out, try to make sure they have an empty stomach. Remove their food bowl several hours before, because a hungry kitten is more likely to respond to the sound of the food being brought out and return home if they’ve wandered further afield.

The big reveal

Try to choose a time of day when you know the outdoor space you’re introducing your kitten to will be quiet. Noisy children playing, dogs barking or heavy traffic may well spook them, and they’ll develop negative associations with the outdoors which could make them reluctant to try going outside again. Worse still, loud noises could cause them to run away and potentially get lost.

Also, consider the weather and let your cat out on a clear, dry day. Because cats use their sense of smell to find their way back home, letting them out after a rain shower will make that harder for them. Once they’ve had ten minutes to explore, try calling them back with their bowl of food and the best cat toys they have. If they don’t come back straight away, just stay calm. Try using stronger smelling foods such as tuna or sardines and leave the bowl just inside the open door, they will soon come to investigate.

After that, you can gradually increase their time outside, and after a little while, they’ll be coming and going as they please.