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Letting my cat out for the first time

Discussion in 'Cat Chat' started by yams33, Feb 26, 2014.


  1. yams33

    yams33 PetForums Newbie

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    Hi there,

    New to the forum so please let me know if there's somewhere else I shold post this! Thanks to the lovely lady who directed me this way!

    We have a 9 month old kitten, who has never been outside. We are about to install a cat flap into our front door that leads onto the pavement and a no through road. So the road is pretty quite but we have no garden. There is a reasonable amount of greenery and a school with a big garden behind us and around the community but we are inner city.

    We have a lead and harness and will walk her around the neighbourhood to get her used to the area. I keep having cold feet about this and would like some advice and help please! I think she would be much happier being able to go outside but I am concerned about her safety.

    Thanks for help in advance!
     
  2. Chillicat

    Chillicat PetForums VIP

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    Sorry I don't have any advice as my cats are indoor ones and never go outside, but wanted to say welcome to the forum :D and I am sure someone will be along soon with some helpful advice :eek:
     
  3. spotty cats

    spotty cats PetForums VIP

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    I couldn't have outdoor cats, mine are purrfectly happy being indoors with their outside time in an enclosure or on a harness.
     
  4. Jannor

    Jannor PetForums VIP

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    Hi and welcome

    I've never used a harness as I have cat run instead so can't help there.

    I would say if you are really sure she has to be let out at all, then maybe leave it until the summer. She'll be a little older by then and it will be easier for you to stay out and supervise her. It's not just traffic they can into trouble with, there are foxes, dogs, getting stuck up trees, other cats, eating stuff/plants she shouldn't etc.

    Is it a microchip cat flap? Otherwise you'll have other cats getting in and terrorising her (unless you have a dog).
     
  5. Etienne

    Etienne Dad to Puss and Shadow

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    My cats do go outside. The reasons they do is when I first met them (6 months apart) they were living outside already :thumbdown:
    Eventually they now only go outside for about 3 hours a day and are happy to stay in the rest of the time.
    When they are out that doesn`t stop me or my Father worrying when they are out of site and when they are gone passed their lunchtime we are out there calling them until they return.

    My advice is to you is keep you cat safe inside. She has never been outside so she wont know what she is missing. If you must let her out are you able to build an enclosure or secure your garden?

    Sorry if this is not what you want to hear but that is my opinion rightly or wrongly.
    Please keep your cat safe :D
     
  6. korrok

    korrok PetForums Senior

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    Usually it's recommended not to let a cat go outside on their own until at least 12 months, and usually better to wait and start in the warmer weather.

    Unfortunately I do agree with some others here. Growing up, we always had outdoor cats but as an adult I would not let mine out, biggest fear being the risk of being run over. A lot of people seem to take it as a "fact of cat life" that they may be hit by a car and killed but they're my family members and it's my job to take care of them, so I absolutely wouldn't take the risk. :/ An enclosed garden or run is a brilliant idea if you have room for it, or just using the harness.
     
  7. Sophiebee

    Sophiebee PetForums VIP

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    Another harness/safe garden advocate here, its safer for her and if you are concerned its far less worrying for you to know she is safe. My boy loves his harness as he associates it with outside, and will come running if he sees me pick it up, he even knows to lift his paw so i can fasten it!

    Edit: forgot to say, welcome to the forum, we would love to see pics of your girl :)
     

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  8. Dumpling

    Dumpling PetForums VIP

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    Welcome to the forum :)

    Like many others here my kitten will be an indoor cat only, as a child our cats where always outdoor and all but one were hit by cars :(

    If you do decide to let her out, as others have said maybe wait until she is a year old, but if you do decide to go down the indoor route, there are lots of knowledgeable people people on here who can advise about cat pens, harness training etc :)
     
  9. Howl

    Howl PetForums VIP

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    We had three rescues. One was an indoor cat who never ever went out and when she did just sat by the door mewwing. One ran off, after a two week adventure he came back and never left the garden, prefering human company when he was out. The third only went out to toilet then back in again only really sitting out when one of us was outside gardening. Like a dog we would call them back in when we came back in.
    I didn't live in a busy traffic area.
    Now I would not let a cat out I live too near to two busy roads. If I live in a more isolated location I might but even then, locally there seems to be a few cats and dogs caught in traps.
    All ours were happy indoors.
    You could try making time in the garden interactive and usually with you. I feel like the danger happens when the owners have no idea where the cats are for long periods. Sadly this happened to my OHs cat who was a free spirit, had a lovely life but was hit by a car.
     
  10. Jellypi3

    Jellypi3 Slave to the devil cats

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    Appreciate the position you are in, espeically as you say you don't have a garden so can't let her explore a safe, enclosed outdoor space.

    It seems to be a popular view that cats must roam outside. Realistically, they don't need the outdoor exposure so long as they get the stimulation and care indoors. If you provider her with cats trees and plenty of toys, she needn't venture outdoors where she is subject to all manner of disease and danger.However, I understand the pressure from non-cat owners (and even some cat owners) who think it's cruel to keep a cat indoors (I am currently being told I am cruel to keep my future kittens inside).

    Has she been spayed? I assume at 9 months she has been but if not this would be your number 1 priority before letting her out.

    Welcome to the forum :) And pics please! It's obligatory!!
     
  11. oggers86

    oggers86 PetForums VIP

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    I let mine out around 9 months after walking them around in a harness. They didn't get lost but one had a run in with something (car, bike) and was injured. Now my problem is keeping them in as I don't want them roaming but because they are used to it it stresses them out staying in. Just something to bear in mind if you ever think you might keep your cat indoors.
     
  12. GoodBytes

    GoodBytes PetForums Newbie

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    I say keep him indoors.. my brother's cat was savaged by a dog that was set onto him by it's child owners, a neighbour heard the commotion but it was too late, naturally the kids got away, nothing was done about it and the cat was put to sleep due to severe injuries, he has a new cat that he lets out and it practically a wild cat, what is the point in even having it as a pet?

    I've also heard reports of people leaving poison in gardens to purposely kill cats that venture into their garden, and a couple of weeks a go i seen a dead cat at the side of the road.. in short, i don't think outside is a safe place for cats so i have no intentions of letting mine roam free.

    I'll be investing in a harness for the summer months so he can sit in the garden with us.
     
  13. Wiz201

    Wiz201 PetForums VIP

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    If its a quiet road with another garden close by to explore, I don't see no problem in letting the cat outside. You can start with a harness and lead now, then install the flap when she's older.
     
  14. ForeverHome

    ForeverHome PetForums VIP

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    As always I'm going to be a lonely voice but I do feel I need to say it.

    Firstly, I've seen first hand the difference in a cat that has been a city dweller all her life and gone to the country, and the difference when she came home two months later. I was terrified of all the dangers she would not be equipped to deal with - badger, weasel and owl right on the doorstep for a start, and dogs on the public footpath through the grounds. Her happiness was amazing, but her depression for months after coming home was heartbreaking to see. Replace city with indoor and country with outdoor and you have the same situation. I would never take a kitten and make it indoor only, I leave that to others and because I can't offer an outdoor home I take on the adult indoor cats that end up homeless.

    Secondly - if you're going to let a cat out, I would TAKE the cat out, not just open the door and let it go. I would do that starting as soon as they've had their jabs. There is a lot you can teach a cat about dangers and safe places, if you do it when they are young and see you as replacement mother. Set boundaries. What I did with my kitten is as soon as she got within about 20 feet of the gate (to a busy main road) I would shout MishaNO!! and she would bolt back towards the house. I also encouraged her whenever she went into the neighbouring gardens, so she extended her territory in a safe direction. It took her a few days to learn not to go near the road.
     
  15. gatsby

    gatsby PetForums Senior

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    My cat could simply not be an indoor cat. He was crazy as a kitten, i thought neutering him would solve this, it didn't. I was intending on him being indoor only, but after 3 months of constantly being terrorised by him i gave in and bought a harness and off we toddled into the big wide world. He loved it. I kept him on his harness for a few weeks, towards the end he was constantly pulling, wanting the extra freedom, when i let him off he went wild bounding around the garden, he traveled slowly into the neighbours gardens for the next few weeks, i stopped going out with him after about two weeks without the harness. He slowly started getting more confident and would be out for longer periods. He would come home and because i didn't have a cat flap (the owners of the property didn't want me defacing it) he couldn't go out at night, he was terribly restless. As soon as i moved into my new place a cat flap went in and he could go as he pleases. He now spends all day inside sleeping and leaves around 10 to go wandering, i always find him curled up in his bed in the conservatory every morning.
    My house is in a rather green area, he does have to cross roads to enter the woods or park, i think keeping him in till he was about 10 months made him alot more wary of the outside world, therefore that little bit more cautious when coming to roads and such.
    It's nerve wracking the first time, but once they come home completely happy and satiated from being allowed to roam, it's worth it.
    Yes i am worried that one morning he isn't going to be there. It's a worry i carry every time he goes out, but keeping him inside in my opinion was the wrong thing to do, he was miserable.
     
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  16. korrok

    korrok PetForums Senior

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    My first cat as a child roamed back to our old house after we moved and was promptly poisoned by a b****** nearby who kept pidgeons. It is a very real thing.
     
  17. Wiz201

    Wiz201 PetForums VIP

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    its a balancing act between risk and a happy cat. I feel with my own secure garden it would be unfair to keep my male cat Tiger in who has gone out all his life and doesn't use a litter tray (he stopped using it after going out for the first time) and it gives my female cat some space. She also likes to potter out in good weather too.
    There is good evidence of no poisoning round here as there are loads of cats about outside.
     
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  18. LostSoul

    LostSoul PetForums VIP

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    growing up our cats were always allowed to go outside, we lost two to the road which wasn't a busy road and one was poisoned, one was catnapped but i managed to get him back from a woman who took him into her house and refused ot let him go, another two who just never came home ...when i moved out and got my own cats i chose to keep them inside, i have a harness and used to take my old cat Ludo out for walks, (my garden is shared and not at all secure enough to let my cats in without a harness) he was the only one who would actually go outside and he loved it, i've tried using the harness on my cats i have now but none of them show any interest in the outside world....personally i don't feel it is safe enough to just let them wander.
     
  19. ForeverHome

    ForeverHome PetForums VIP

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    Exactly, as it is with children too. It is possible to be strangled with love. It has to be an individual decision for each cat.
     
  20. yams33

    yams33 PetForums Newbie

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    Wow, overwhelmed by the response, thank you!

    On reflection I think keeping her indoors and taking her out using the harness may be the best option. We won't live in the city forever and I would prefer her alive and well and indoors then run over and out! :)

    Thanks again, I'll put a piccie up soon!:laugh:
     
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