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Best age for a cat to go outdoors?

Discussion in 'Cat Chat' started by HazzaGrazza, Jan 30, 2021.


  1. HazzaGrazza

    HazzaGrazza PetForums Junior

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    Hi,

    Our kitten is 7 months old and ideally we would like her to have access to the outdoors. She really isn't the indoor cat type (our previous cat was indoor only) and we wouldn't want to deprive her of an outdoor life that we know she would enjoy.

    She is due to be spayed this week and we were thinking by June time, we would start letting her outside. The plan is daytime only, once she comes in for dinner in the early evening, we'll shut the cat flap and open again in the morning. She'll be 11 months in June and we're wondering if that is old enough to go outdoors? Summer seems like the perfect time and we don't want to wait until Spring/Summer 2022.

    I'd appreciate any advice. She's been microchipped and we have a reflective, quick release collar with a bell, as well as a cat flap.

    I know some people say, don't let them out at all, but our mind is made up on that front. As I say, we hope to be able to keep her in of an evening.

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. popcornsmum

    popcornsmum Popcorn relaxing!

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    The older the better. How safe is your area? Could you have a catio or cat enclosure in the garden? Young cats have very little common sense with lots of road accidents and nowadays more folk take cats off the street for dogbaiting I really would be thinking twice about it unless you can provide a secure garden for her. I have had 10 outdoor cats in the past and one indoor cat who I have now but I never lived near a main road always in cul de sacs and only one of my cats died as a kitten (drowning in the swimming pool when he escaped from the house) the rest lived between 16-21 and never strayed because we had large fenced in gardens and always brought them in before it got dark.
    I really didnt think Popcorn was the indoor type but when I was given her I lived in a flat so brought lots of cat toys, high trees and scratch posts and most importantly a boingy wand toy, pet cam with laser and she is very happy being run around inside and even hunts her toys for us still at nearly 8yrs old.
    You may have already made your mind up but I am just giving you some things to consider.
     
  3. chillminx

    chillminx PetForums VIP

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    @HazzaGrazza - if you are going to let your cat out once she has been spayed, then eleven months old seems a reasonable age to do so. I wouldn't let her out any younger than that. My girls were not allowed out until they were a year old. (They are restricted to a cat proofed garden anyway).

    I assume you have carried out a risk assessment of your local area and are aware of any potential hazards for your cat. e.g. how near are you to passing traffic, and what speed is the traffic moving?. Be aware that if you have a road near you, your cat will cross it, no two ways about it.

    Also check whether any of your neighbours have dogs that are allowed off the lead in their gardens. Worth asking around too, to see if any of your neighbours are keen gardeners who grow their own produce. If so they will not welcome your cat visiting their garden and using the borders and beds for a toilet. So encourage your cat to toilet in her own garden, by creating an outdoor latrine for her in a quiet corner of the garden. Keep the soil turned over every few days and remove any poos from the latrine and bin them. If you leave them in the soil they will take about 6 mths to break down and the latrine will soon be full.

    One of the most important things to do with your cat before you start letting her out is to train her indoors in "recall" i.e. coming back obediently whenever you call her. This can be done by shaking her favourite treat packet in different parts of the house and rewarding her when she finds you. Keep doing the training for a couple of weeks until she has grasped it reliably.

    When you start letting her out, call her back after half an hour, then increase to one hour. I've never left any of my cats out longer than 2 hours (in good weather) without calling them back.
     
    O2.0 likes this.
  4. HazzaGrazza

    HazzaGrazza PetForums Junior

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    Thanks for the advice.

    We live in a close, so our road is pretty quiet, we do have a busier road two streets away, speed limit is 20mph, but some people do 30.

    I don't believe any of our neighbours have dogs, but we do have plenty of cats, all outdoor. In fact 2 of my neighbours got kittens at the same time as us.

    Perhaps we'll wait alittle closer to July to start letting her out, when she's a year.

    I'll look into cat proofing.
     
    chillminx likes this.
  5. Willsee

    Willsee PetForums Member

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    I would definitely go with @chillminx suggestion on training to come to a recall. We have done this with our two by using their favourite treats, we shake the container and call “biscuits” out loud and they both come immediately :D, I also thinks this helps with them not wandering too far as they both seem to be in the garden still when we call them.

    Again very similar to @chillminx we have a set routine, we do not let them out via the cat flap!!! We open the back door only and let them out under our terms, they use the cat flap to come back in only. This way we can monitor how long they’ve been out for and we always do a recall if either of them are still out after 1 hour. We’ve got the microchip flap so alerts us when they come in.

    They’re not allowed out until they’ve eaten and it’s after 9am and again they are kept in from 3.30pm at the moment, they’re be able to stay out later as the days get longer.

    I know it sounds very regimented for them but we started this last summer when they were 11 months old and they’re now used to it :D
     
    chillminx and HazzaGrazza like this.
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