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Kitten Care - Online Tutorial

Lesson 7 - Indoors vs Outdoors


There is absolutely no denying that your kitten will live a longer, safer life if kept indoors. Kittens allowed to roam freely are subject to a number of risks from sources including vehicles, dogs, predators, or humans who would steal them or harm them. Your kitten can live very happily indoors, and there are ways of giving him or her the best of both worlds.

The Debate Continues

Of the four cats in my home today, none are allowed outdoors unsupervised. The younger cats, including our new kitten, Billy, have lived indoors all their lives and don't know any other way of living. They are allowed outside for brief periods on nice days, but they are supervised by an adult family member at all times.

I urge you to consider an indoor-only lifestyle for your baby. He'll live longer, and I know your goal is a long, long life together.

Compromises to the Dilemma

Outdoor Enclosures for Cats
Your kitten can enjoy the best of both worlds with an outdoor enclosure. It can be as small or elaborate as you have space (and $$) for.

Modular kits are available, or if you are handy with shop tools, you can build your own, of your own design, or with purchased plans. Most lumber yards will even cut your lumber to the desired length for you. Please consider this compromise if you worry about your cat being deprived of fresh air and sunshine.

Plants for Your Outdoor Enclosure
Kittens love greenery, and even the smallest outdoor enclosure can include a pot of cat grass, and a small container of catnip is a must!

A note of caution: if your planned enclosure will be on lawn, forego fertilizers and commercial sprays, which can be toxic to cats. (A mild soap and water spray makes a good insect killer.)

Leash Training for Your Kitten
It's not all that difficult to train a cat to a leash, provided you let him think it's his idea. Like many other changes, the watch words are slowly and gradually.

Don't use a collar, as they are too easily escaped. An H-shaped harness works well if the fit is snug enough. Your kitten may "belly walk" for awhile, but he'll soon get used to it.

The Outdoor Cat - A Menu of Safe Alternatives
Would your kitten enjoy being pushed in a "kitty stroller?" Carried like a baby on your chest in a vest-style personal carrier? Our Billy loves the latter, and it enables us to take him with us on short jaunts, and to socialize with other people.

These products are just two of several others suggested in this article as solutions to the indoor-outdoor dilemma.

Don't Lose Your Kitten

All Cats Should Carry Identification
Did you know that only 3% of owned cats in shelters are reunited with their humans?

Whether indoors only or allowed outside access, all cats should have identification, both permanent (microchip or tattoo) and removable (collar and tags).

It's too easy for a kitten to escape and become lost or injured. I know you don't want your furry youngster to become a statistic.

Next > Your Kitten's First Year

Kitten Care Course Navigation

  1. Preparing for Your New Kitten
  2. Introducing Your New Kitten to Your Household
  3. Food and Nutrition for Your New Kitten
  4. Grooming and Maintence of Your Kitten
  5. Training and Discipline of Kittens
  6. Playing With Kittens
  7. Indoors vs Outdoors <--You are Here
  8. Your Kitten's First Year

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