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Introducing Your Kitten To The Great Outdoors

Letting your kitten out for the first time can be daunting. But some people really don’t think about what’s involved.

I read again tonight another pedigree kitten dead at just five months. The owners decided to let it out all night, ignoring the advice of the breeder. Imagine. Dead on its first night out.I am afraid I think a lot of cat owners are either ignorant or lazy.

The right way and the wrong way

I like to think it if had been my kitten I would have gone and got it back from such stupid people. You can’t introduce nay kitten to the great outdoors by just letting it ‘out’. My own anecdotal experience suggests a single kitten is more likely to get into trouble than a kitten that has an older cat to show it the ropes.

Now is not the time for a debate on indoor versus outdoor. Or whether cat flaps are a good thing or not. My personal view is that many cat owners are lazy.
They reason that cat is a roaming animal therefore it should come and go as it pleases. At home, I have a mix of indoor and indoor/outdoor cats.
When introducing the kittens to the great outdoors – never at less than six months of age – they just get let out for 5 minutes at first..and over a period of time build up to an hour.

Indoor and indoor/outdoor cats can lead long, happy lives

Any kitten that’s not born on the streets won’t have any inbuilt road sense and won’t know nice people from bad people. You need to use commonsense to introduce your kitten to the great outdoors. Cats may roam but your pet is still your responsibility. Cats can have happy and long lives as indoor or indoor/outdoor cats. However the accepted wisdom is that indoor cats need a stimulating environment and company if they are not allowed any access to the outdoors. This usually means another cat for company or human company for part of the day. And don’t forget the cat toys.

Taking responsibilty for your kitten is part of the deal

To go back to the deceased pedigree kitten. I think part of the problem is that when some people spend a lot of money on a pet, they think they can do what they like with it. The same is true of people who pay pay £50 for a rescue cat. Breeders and rescues need to screen owners as thoroughly as possible. Otherwise more young lives will be lost to the road. Some cat rescues are guilty of rehoming cats to the first people who come along (there’s a rescue in West Lothian that has a reputation for that). They rehomed a farm kitten to city people and she’s out 24/7. The cat’s been hit with a van once. They say a short happy life is better. They say they can’t keep her indoors. What they really mean is that they can’t be bothered to find a solution.

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