safety for outdoor cats and kittens

Step-by-Step Guide so You Can Walk Your Cat or Kitten on a Leash

Follow our Step-by-Step guide and learn how to safely walk your feline friend outside on a leash and let him enjoy the great outdoors, safely.

How to Walk Cats and Kittens Outside on a Leash

Dear Simba,
My girlfriend and I have 2, 6-month-old female kittens. They live with us in a small apartment in the city. We got them from a shelter and they were sick for a while. The only time we have taken them outside is in their carriers. With spring weather here, we wanted to take them each outside for walks. We put a harness and leash on the first kitten and carried her downstairs and outside. Upon reaching the front door, she began meowing loudly (a nervous meow). When we put her down on the ground outside, she cowered to the ground and crawled to the side of the building.

She did not move much, and we could tell that she was not getting any more comfortable, so we took her back inside and brought the other kitten out in the same manner. She reacted in much the same way as the other kitten, so we took her back inside almost as soon as we brought her out.

Is there a way we can ease them into going for walks with us?
Should we open the door and let them walk out themselves? Should we take them outside a little each day and reward them with treats? We would like our kittens to enjoy the fresh air, cool breezes, and sunlight. -Rod & Carol

Dear Rod & Carol,
Poor little gals! Best way to get the little ones comfortable is to start slowly. Here are some tips.

Phase I
I recommend that you first take them outside for short periods of time inside their Carrier. Comfort them and give them treats (as you noted). What you want to do is familiarize them with the smells and noises of the outside. Cats can be easily spooked so getting the comfort level up is key. Do this for 3-5 days, stay outside with them a little longer each time.

Phase II
Go outside with them in their carrier and leave the carrier door open. Let them know that they can go outside of it comfortably. Give them treats and comfort them. Be sure that they have their Cat Harness on should they step out. Again, do this for a few days and stay outside longer each time. In time the cats will become comfortable with the outdoors and will step outside of the carrier on their own.

Phase III
Once they have stepped outside, they may run back in. It is ok. Just let them know that they are free to stay in or out of the Carrier. Take small walks with them near your building. Let them sniff around the door and the steps and get to know the area. Little by little they will feel more comfortable and will walk with you.
I do not recommend that you let them out on their own without your supervision. Cities are dangerous places for unsupervised kitties, there are lots of cars, people and things that can spook or even harm the little ones. Best of luck. Keep me posted. Simba

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