As you may have noticed on West 5th, Mr. W & I have two cats that have been with us for almost our whole relationship. We adopted Mooky, our 5-year-old black cat when we first moved in together and about a year or so later we adopted our sassy tortoiseshell Marley. Together they make a great pair and have no issues getting into lots of trouble and keeping us entertained.
That has doubled since we moved in to our newest home as it came with lots of windows and a backyard! Now at first, Mr. W and I felt skeptical with how we would handle the cats and the addition of the backyard. We have always lived in apartments where we had a closed balcony for them to roam and over that time they both showed us that they just wanted to relax and didn’t have any inclination to jump off or over the railing. So, we decided to give the backyard a try, but with a few provisions to make it extra safe.
Now, this may not work for everyone but if it does work it can truly bring a lot of extra fun and joy to your pets as they’ll get to experience what the outdoors is like without being put in any danger.
- Safety First: Ensuring a safe outdoor space BEFORE letting your pet roam is super important as it’s easy for them to get into tricky situations. Start by making sure your indoor cat has all of the necessary outside shots, reducing the chances of them contracting a disease from outdoor items and other animals. Secondly, do a quick plant check around your backyard to ensure that you don’t have any poisonous plants hanging around (Lillie’s are a common one), if you do have these plants make sure to keep the cat away from them as much as possible.
- Consider Restriction: This is a big one, especially if your pet loves to wander and explore. We decided to start them in the backyard with a collar with ID tag and a leash to keep them restricted to our comfort level. This ensured they were safe while they learned the new space and gave us a chance to see how they would react. We also made sure both of them wear collars with updated information in the rare chance they got lost. Consider leash training in-house before you take them out to give them a good chance to get used to the feeling of a leash and collar. I know for us, it took some time before they understood how restriction worked.
- Keep A Close Eye: Most cats can be fast and sneaky creatures, so much so that they can sneak off without a moments notice so keeping a close eye on them is important. We had our cats graduate from a leash system to wearing only collars and free roaming as we felt they learned boundaries and we have a very safe, fenced yard. But regardless of the free roaming, we ensure one of us is out with them at all times to avoid any potential disasters or escapes. This won’t work for every cat or pet, so make sure to try a few things to see what works and go at your own pace.
Once you’ve got the safety measures in place and feel comfortable, it will be great to let your pet roam and enjoy a whole new adventure. Just being able to sit in the backyard with our two indoor cats, knowing that they’re both safe and happy makes us both equally as happy. We find it’s the perfect balance between have a full indoor or outdoor cat as everyone gets a bit of both and we know both of them are safe and sound.
You’ve got to be kitten me right meow!