Want to give your cat the freedom to go outside? Build it up gradually and make sure the first time isn’t on a full stomach. Here is a list of other things you need to keep in mind when letting a kitten out of the house for the first time.
When can I let my kitten go out for the first time?
It is important that your kitten is used to its living environment before you let it outside. This will ensure it will find its way back. This also applies to an older cat when you’ve moved to a different home. How many weeks a cat needs to acclimatise depends on the individual cat. It is usually recommended to keep your cat indoors for at least four weeks after moving it to a different environment. Pay attention to your cat’s body language. If it tells you that it wants to go outside, it is more likely ready than a cat that prefers to stay inside when you open the door.
It is also recommended to have your cat castrated/sterilised before letting it go outside. Neutered cats tend to roam and fight less which reduces the risk of traffic accidents, losing their way and getting hurt.
Tips for letting your cat go outside for the first time
Practice voice recognition
Make sure your kitten responds to your voice before letting it go outside. Reward it with a treat or a hug if it comes over when you call it. Practice this at home.
Do not feed for a while
Let your cat go outside before a meal so it will come home to eat. A cat with a full stomach is not as motivated to come home.
Let your kitten out during daytime
Make sure your kittens’ first time is not after dark. Cats are motivated to hunt in the dark. It’s better to let your cat out first thing in the morning, even before its breakfast.
Open a window or door
Leave a door or window open so you kitten can always get back in and doesn’t get locked out by a closed door. Of course a cat flap is an option, though the cat will need to get used to it at first.
Keep an eye on it
Observe your kitten the first couple of times it goes outside and keep an eye on it. Go out together and stay close.
A cat always pays close attention to its surroundings and is unlikely to get lost as a result. It explores its surroundings bit by bit. The main risk of getting lost is when something startles it and it runs away without paying attention to its surroundings.
Tip: have your cat vaccinated before letting it outside for the first time, the risk of infection is larger outside than indoors. And deflea and deworm an outdoor cat on a regular basis.