When to take your kitten out for the first time

Letting the cat out may seem normal with adult cats. But for someone who has just adopted a puppy, it is important to know when to take the kitten out safely.

When we adopt a new cat, it seems to us that it is so fragile and delicate that everything scares us. But it is equally true that they are actually at very high risk for diseases and negative situations that can affect their psychological and physical well-being. So, when to take your kitten out for the first time, or let him out, without fear for his health? Today we will see what are the best tips we can follow to have no problem with the cat, and keep it safe at best, while being able to venture out of the house with or without us.

When to take the kitten out, and how

Before any outdoor trip, it is worth considering how we intend to grant our cat access to the outdoors, in the long term. If we are at home for long periods of the day, we might consider allowing ‘on demand’ access via the back door or a conveniently located window, for example.

However, if we are out at work during the day, we may prefer to install a cat flap. The environment will dictate what rules to put in place regarding any time limits for outdoor access, but this is very much up to our decisions. We may want to keep the kitten indoors in the evening so that he can stay indoors at night, or limit outdoor access at times when traffic can be more controlled.

In any case, before we allow our new kitty to go outside, we need to make sure that he has a means of identification, a well-secured collar with a tag (showing your phone number) or, better yet, a identification with microchip implanted under the skin of the neck (mandatory, by now).

Protection from disease

Due to the potential for infection with diseases such as cat enteritis or the flu, our kitten should not be allowed outside until at least one week after finishing her first round of vaccinations, at around 13-14 weeks (depending on the vaccine).

We could then let it explore outside, but only if it is supervised. Once he’s fully vaccinated and used to living indoors, we can start leaving the kitten out for a little longer. However, before allowing full access to the kitten outdoors, let’s make sure it has been spayed (around 4 months).

When taking the kitten outside will be allowed, we should also make sure the garden is safe for him by covering any ponds, blocking any holes in the fence and removing any potentially dangerous substances or garden items, such as wood preservatives, insecticides, sharp tools etc.

Get the kitten used to the outside

It is very useful to accustom the kitten to being called to come to us: we can do this by offering him small prizes so that he is happy to respond, as a reward for his correct behavior. This will give us some control when we go outside to call him.

We choose a dry day (if possible) and a quiet time when taking the kitten out and accompanying him, allowing him to explore the new environment. Possible arousal factors, such as other cats, dogs that may bark or children screaming in the neighbor’s garden, should be avoided if possible, at least for the first two excursions so that the kitten can focus on us and is not frightened. 

We continue to accompany him when taking the kitten out becomes a habit, at least until he gets used to being in the garden and manages to return home without difficulty. It is best not to leave your kitten outside alone until he is 6 months old and it is essential that he be neutered (from 4 months of age) before allowing him unsupervised access.

What about newly adopted adult cats?

If we have adopted an adult cat, we will probably have been advised to keep him indoors for 2-3 weeks to accommodate him in his new home. Some cats will tolerate this period well, but others will try to get out as soon as possible. It is probably best to stick to this calendar, particularly if we feel there have been signs of anxiety since its arrival. 

When we first decide to allow the cat to go outside, let’s choose a quiet, dry period when we are home all day, and do it just before a routine meal. We accompany the cat outside, but without being alarmed if he disappears in some shrub; this is a normal strategy to allow him to get used to his new environment in a place where he can observe without being seen. 

We initially leave the back door open and, after 30-60 minutes, call the cat indoors for his meal and repeat this process the following day. Most cats adapt very quickly to exploring their new territory outside, and probably won’t need a phased introduction of this type, but more shy individuals can benefit from gradually increasing periods outside in the first few. weeks.

Some people are dealing with adult cats that have never been out before, and wonder if they will be able to adapt to go out into the big world. But it is surprising how adaptable cats are, and there are many examples of cats who have led an indoor existence for most of their lives, then enjoying the opportunity to go out in a new environment. 

They can be a little nervous at first, but most take it as exciting news. Some even hunt and it’s fascinating to think that all this instinctive behavior has lain dormant, but can still come to life when the cat has the opportunity to do what comes naturally!

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