Keeping your cat indoors helps ensure he stays healthy and may even increase his life expectancy. The great outdoors presents many risks, from passing cars to other cats carrying diseases. But when your cat sits in the window longing for access to the outside world, it's hard not to feel guilty. Luckily, there are safer ways to allow your cat some outdoor time.
Allow access to an enclosed porch.
If you have a screened-in porch or the ability to enclose your porch, consider letting your cat out there. It's not really the outdoors, but your cat will enjoy the fresh air and sunshine, and it may help satisfy his needs to get out there so he doesn't feel so closed-in. This option is best for cats who have been declawed, as those who still have their claws may scratch through the screens and escape.
Teach your cat to walk on a leash.
You don't see a lot of cats on leashes, and that's probably because most owners don't realize they can teach their cat to walk on a leash. It will take a lot of patience. It might take a few months. But eventually, your cat will stroll around the backyard with you – or perhaps even down the sidewalk if he is on the social side. Purchase a harness for your cat. (A collar is not safe to walk your cat in since he could easily slip out of it and you don't want to pull too harshly on his neck.) Start slowly by just putting your cat on the leash and hanging out in the backyard for a few minutes at a time. Slowly increase the amount of time you spend, and then see if you can get your cat to follow you by tempting him with treats. Eventually, he will learn to follow along beside you as you walk.
Make a kitty coop.
Coops are usually used for animals like chickens and rabbits, but you can make one for your cat, too. You can find pre-made cat coops at some pet stores, but if you're handy, you can also make your own by building a four-sided wooden frame that's about 3 feet tall. Cut holes in the sides and cover them with screen, and cover the top of the coop with screen, too, so the sun and air can flow in. Let your cat out for an hour a day as long as it's not too hot.
Letting your cat roam freely outside may not be safe, but that doesn't mean he can't enjoy the outdoors from time to time. For more tips on making sure your cat gets the fresh air and exercise he needs, contact a company like Bay Street Pet Suite Hotel & Day Spa.