There are definitely benefits to letting your cat go out, despite the risks that it may pose. Cats like to wander and explore the outside world, and in many countries, it’s considered absolutely normal for cats to be allowed to roam.
If you’re not comfortable with that, then you could always try walking them on a lead or just following along with them as they explore. That way, you get to supervise in a way that makes you feel comfortable and they get all the freedom they could need.
Sound like a good plan? Hold up a second there! Before your cat steps a foot outside of your front door, you need to ensure they have got all of the essentials ticked off. It’s not a simple matter of taking them out the moment it occurs to you to be a good idea; they need to be protected against a variety of different maladies before that can happen…
#1 – Vaccinations
While expensive, vaccinations are an absolute must if you intend to let your indoor cat experience the outdoors every once in awhile. Vets often suggest that indoor cats don’t need a FeLV vaccination as the condition is only spread through cat-to-cat contact, but if you intend to take them out, that contact is more likely. Make sure they are topped up and have all the right boosters before you even consider strapping them into a harness.
#2 – Flea Treatment
Indoor cats are less likely to get fleas purely through circumstance. The moment they venture into the outdoors, however, they become a nice host for any flea that might fancy jumping aboard. Grab yourself a flea treatment for cats and ensure that you apply it correctly, leaving at least 24 hours between the application and allowing them to step outside.
#3 – Worming Treatment
Again, indoor cats are less likely to have issues with worms so you could be forgiven for having fallen behind in this regard. Nevertheless, it’s time to catch up. Make sure you are using a wormer that covers the entire spectrum of different worms a cat can contract.
#4 – Paw Protection
Think about the surfaces that you’re going to be letting your cat step foot on. If they are in any way liable to cause injury (jagged surfaces or anything rough, such as woodland branches, for example) then it might be worth considering little boots that can help them step out in style and comfort.
#5 – Microchip
There’s little point in chipping an indoor cat, and you might think the same applies if you intend to take your cat out on a harness. However, remember how clever cats can be; they might give you the slip, and that means they need to be microchipped. Happily, chipping is inexpensive and doesn’t cause much distress or alarm to the cat, so it should only take a short vet visit to get them up to date.
#6 – Breakable Collar
One of the biggest risks with the outdoors is that your cat snags their collar on something and can’t get free, potentially injuring themselves in the process. Switch their collar to one that is designed to snap under strain. This step could potentially save their life, so don’t neglect it.