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How To Let Your Cat Outside: Do’s and Don’ts

5 min read

Orange cat sitting in a tree outdoors.

Most cats love being outside. The problem is that outside isn’t always safe for your cat. First of all, you don’t want your cat to run away. Beyond that, outside has plenty of risks from busy streets to wild animals to parasites and more.

Of course, some time outdoors is healthy for your cat, and it is okay to let your cat outside for fresh air, stimulation, and exercise. As long as you keep an eye on your kitten and limit how far she can roam, outside time can be wonderful for both pets and humans. If you are wondering how to let your cat outside without it running away, we have some ideas.

Do Let Your Kitten Acclimate To A New Home

If you’ve just adopted a new cat—or you’ve just moved to a new home—it’s wise to not rush the outside time. Cats may feel skittish or even a bit traumatized upon first arriving in a new home, and if you let them out in this state of mind, they are more likely to try running away.

Some experts recommend that cats should stay indoors for at least two weeks in a new home, but every cat is different. When your cat shows signs of comfort—like finding her food dish without you leading her there, napping while you’re in the room without sitting up tense and alert, or easily enjoying playtime in all areas of the home—these are signals that she feels safe enough to venture outdoors without wanting to bolt.

Don’t Let Your Cat Out Unattended

It’s okay to let your cat outside, but make sure that you go with him the first few times. This is not just to keep him from running away—you can also make sure he’s not getting into anything in your yard that he shouldn’t.

Make sure you put away all potentially harmful chemicals like pesticides and fertilizers. Don’t be surprised if your cat wants to climb a tree or wander through your flower bed. These are instinctual behaviors. If you have an area of the yard you don’t want your cat to visit, a cat-proof fence is the only way to keep them out.

Do Try a Leash

Leashes aren’t just for dogs! If you're wondering how to let your cat outside without it running away, leash training them may be a good fit. If your cat is young or still a kitten, introducing them to a leash can be beneficial.

With a leash, you can go anywhere with your cat, but—as you may guess—not all cats will cooperate with this idea. There are also some limitations. You have to be present at all times when your cat is leashed, and it's also harder for your cat to roam around when they are attached to you. Still, it’s worth giving this method a try if you have an agreeable cat.

Don’t Forget to Identify Them

If you’re wondering if it is okay to let your cat outside without a leash on, the answer is yes, but remember to attach the proper identification. No matter how many steps you take to keep your outdoor cat from running away, there’s always the possibility that he may escape your yard.

For your peace of mind, make sure your cat wears a collar with your contact information. Many companies sell GPS cat collars that you can track on your phone if you ever needed to. Alternatively, you may consider getting your cat microchipped. This process is quick and painless for your cat, and your vet should be able to insert the chip in just a few minutes.

Do Consider Outdoor Cat Enclosures

No matter what brand of cat collar you buy, the best way to let your cat outside without it running away is to install an outdoor cat enclosure. There are many different kinds of outdoor cat enclosures to consider, and they are a great way to keep your cat safe while they roam outside.

Some outdoor cat enclosures are permanent structures that sit on your property, while others are portable. It is okay to let your cat outside in one of these enclosures as they still provide ample space for your adventurous kitten to explore. Not only do they prevent your cat from escaping, but they also keep outdoor hazards away from your cat.

A fully enclosed outdoor cat enclosure is a fantastic option if you have enough room for one. If you are looking for something smaller, a catio will fit on your patio or in a smaller yard.

Outdoor cat enclosures are a fantastic way for your cat to get outdoor time from the safety of your property. You can just place them in one of these enclosures and let them play while you keep a watchful eye on them from inside your home.

Even if you travel a lot, you can still let your cat outside without it running away when you're on the go. A portable outdoor cat tent allows you to let your cat enjoy outdoor time from nearly anywhere.

Do Look Into Cat Fence Conversion Systems

Another option if you are looking for how to let your cat outside without it running away is to convert your current fence. It’s okay to let your cat outside in your yard as long as your fencing keeps them inside. The problem is most cats can easily scale a standard fence.

Cat fence conversion systems work with your existing fence to prevent your cat from escaping. It’s okay to let your cat outside when you have a conversion system on your fence that prevents them from jumping over it.

A cat fence conversion system works with almost any type of fence and nearly any fence height. These systems usually use arms that attach to the top of the fence and mesh in between those arms to prevent your cat from jumping over. A cat fence conversion system extends your existing fence vertically and inward to keep your cat from jumping over. 

Many cat tent conversion systems are DIY-friendly and are a great way to let your cat outside without it running away. Just make sure to use a kit that works for your fence.

Do Consider Freestanding Cat Fence Enclosure Systems

If your cat likes to roam, but you're looking for ways to let your cat outside without it running away, you may want to consider a free-standing cat enclosure system. Cat fence enclosure systems are an excellent fit for those who don't have fencing already in place. Your cat can roam over a larger area than it would be able to with a free-standing enclosure.

It’s okay to let your cat outside when you have a cat fence enclosure in place. Cat fences are incredibly convenient. You can open your door and let your cat outside without having to worry. Unlike portable cat tents, you don't have to worry about setting it up and taking it down all the time. And unlike leashes, you don't have to monitor your cat at all times either.

How do you let your cat outside without it running away with a cat fence? First, look for a cat fence system that uses overhanging arms to prevent your cat from jumping over. Chew guards and other safety measures also come in handy. You can even get bottom barriers for your fence for cats that want to dig their way out. Even if your cat is an escape artist, a cat fence can keep them from running away.

More From Purrfect Fence

Most importantly, do remember to have fun! If your kitty is itching to get outside, Purrfect Fence’s outdoor cat enclosures and fence systems are just what you need to both keep your cat safe and promote a healthy outdoor lifestyle. Contact us to consult with a planning engineer to come up with the perfect setup for your cat.