If you want to get your cat outside without all of the risks, there are several safe outdoor options. Leash walking is a great way to give your cat access to the great outdoors without putting them or local wildlife in danger. It seems so very unlikely, but experts agree: Cats can be trained to walk with a harness. Your neighbours will get used to the sight! It’s a good idea to avoid dog parks, though. Watch the Vetstreet video to find out if your cat is a good candidate for harness walking. Note that it’s always best to use a harness rather than a collar, to prevent injury to your cat.
If your cat isn’t into harness life but you want them to be able to enjoy the great outdoors safely, you can create a protected outdoor space. Cat enclosures and ‘catios’ can offer the best of both worlds: your cat gets to go outside, but in a protected environment. Habitat Haven (Toronto, Ontario) and Beautiful World Living Environments for Cats (Brentwood Bay, B.C.) both offer a variety of solutions, from ‘catios’ to dens to larger enclosures. There are also some relatively inexpensive ‘kitty run’ options — see-through ‘tents’ for cats — from TSC Pets or Kritter Kondos. Home Hardware and some other hardware stores also sell pre-fabricated chicken coops that serve very well as catios. Of course, you can also build your own!
There are several companies selling cat fencing, offering a way to keep your cat safely in your own yard. You can add a barrier to a current fence, or create an entirely new cat fence. Cat fences can also work to keep neighbour and stray cats out of your yard if you’re trying to create a bird-safe space. Purrfect Fence and Cat Fence In are two of the most popular options.
Safe Outdoor Options keep your cat safe & save bird lives! Download this resource here: Safe Outdoor Options