Cat care: Supervised outdoor time
Everyone is trying to enjoy the summer in their own way, and cats are no exception! Have a cat who wants to explore the great outdoors? We have tips to help make supervised outdoor time possible with your cat.
Fenced-in or screened porch/catio
Using a fenced-in or screened-in porch or patio gives you the ability to watch your cat to make sure they are safe. Cat enclosures, dubbed “catios,” are another alternative.
Did you know that the Ontario SPCA and Humane Society has catios for cat enrichment? Currently our Muskoka, Midland, Brockville and Napanee animal centres have outdoor space for cats.
“Catios are a wonderful form of enrichment,” says Robin Elliott, Community Development Coordinator at the Ontario SPCA Midland & District Animal Centre. “It gets them out in the fresh air and in a new environment.”
The Midland & District Animal Centre has two 10’ x 15’ completely mesh-enclosed catios. They have wind chimes on the ceilings, and twirly toys outside for the cats to watch.
“Having two side-by-side allows the cats to meet other cats in a controlled environment. It truly supports exercise, stimulation and enrichment,” says Elliott.
To keep your feline friends at home comfortable while providing outdoor enrichment, be sure to put food, water, and a litter box inside the enclosed area they are enjoying. Protection from the elements is also very important, such as a shady area from the sun. You can also put a bird feeder at a safe distance from the enclosure, so the cats can engage safely.
Walks with a leash or collar
Some cats can also tolerate a leash and collar or leash and harness. If you want to introduce this technique, do so at a low-stress time. Using treats as the harness is introduced can also be effective.
Rubbing the harness or brushing it against your cat’s fur can help with the initial introduction. This will get their scent on it so it will feel more familiar. Connect the collar or harness with good experiences, such as treat time.
Not sure how to introduce your cat to a collar, learn more by visiting our blog, How to train your cat to wear a collar.
Keep in mind that any collars or harnesses being left on long-term when your cat isn’t being monitored closely should be breakaway collars or harnesses to prevent them from becoming trapped/caught on something.
By providing your feline friend with supervised outdoor time or allowing them to explore from a catio or enclosure, you are helping keep your cat safe and comfortable while still getting the enrichment of the outdoors.
Thank you for looking after these animals
Thank you for looking after these animals — I would love to have them all in my house!