How to Give Indoor Cats an Outdoor Experience

Allowing indoor felines to explore outside can help provide an enriched environment that many indoor cats don’t have the opportunity to encounter. Give your indoor cat an outdoor experience with these tips!

Before letting your cat outside, make sure your furry pal is up-to-date on vaccinations and check with your vet before pursuing. 


Go for a walk

Taking your feline for a walk is a safe way to keep an eye on them while getting some exercise and exploring outside. Start by gradually introducing your cat to a leash with a harness (so they don’t slip away). You'll notice that they will feel confined by the harness and may do some “belly crawling,” but with time and persistence, they may enjoy leash walking. Begin by walking in quiet areas and move to other areas once they are comfortable.

If you’d prefer not to walk your cat, consider walking while carrying your cat. This can be done in the backyard or an enclosed space. Just be sure to limit the time to around 10-15 minutes as cats may become eager and try to jump down. This helps accustom them to what the outdoors have to offer.


Give them spaces to view outside

Whether you feel safest keeping your furry friend completely indoors or want another opportunity for them to get outside exposure, take a look into available options in your home. Finding spaces in your house where your cat can view the outdoors is a simple way to give them a feel for the outdoors. Make sure any windows are not easily opened and screens are intact before making the area accessible to your pet. You can even make it a more comfortable space by using the Lazy Pet Single Cat Window Perch for a cozy resting spot.


Create confined outdoor spaces

If you have a backyard or an area where your cat can explore, try making these spaces safe for them to explore. One option is to build a catio! This is a fully enclosed area with a secure top that your cat can enjoy. The size can be big enough to fit people or just large enough to give your feline some fresh air. An ideal location is near an exterior window or door that your cat can enter easily. 

You may also want to think about cat-proofing your fence. Add extensions to the top of your fence that curve inwards for your cat, making it difficult to escape from your yard while they are outside. However, before you do so, check for any poisonous plants and if wildlife can access your yard. Also, never leave your cat unattended.


Bring the outdoors in

Keeping windows open (while making sure screens are secure) will stimulate your cat’s hearing by letting them listen to nature’s sounds. Grab leaves, sticks or rocks from outside and bring them inside for your cat to sniff and investigate. Consider creating a foraging box by hiding treats near the outdoor items. Providing a drinking fountain will also add to the outdoor vibe. 

 

Sources:

https://felineengineering.com/blog/outdoor-safety/ 

https://catiospaces.com/catios-cat-enclosures/cat-behavior-enrichment/cat-can-safely-enjoy-time-outside/ 

https://www.thesprucepets.com/indoor-outdoor-cat-safety-552010

https://lifeandcats.com/outdoor-enrichment-for-indoor-cats/

https://catamazing.com/blogs/cat-amazing-blog/how-to-create-an-outdoor-experience-for-your-indoor-cat