Getting a kitten is a very exciting time for all involved. Kittens can be extremely excitable, and you are probably wondering at what point they can burn off some of this energy outdoors.
Read on to find out when it is the right time to take your kitten outside.
How Old Does A Kitten Need to be to Go Outside Alone?
Like puppies, kittens can only go outside after they have had their vaccinations. Vaccinations are given when they are around twelve weeks old, and vets recommend waiting 7-10 days before letting them explore the outdoors.
Therefore, it is safe for a kitten to go outside between 13-14 weeks of age.
It is unusual for a kitten to be let out any earlier as they should not leave their mother until at least 8 weeks old.
What Age Should I Let My Kitten Outside Unattended?
Letting your kitten out of the house for the first time can be daunting. Not only are there lots of strange, loud noises that can startle it, but there are more hazards to be aware of, such as other animals and diseases.
At 13-14 weeks old, a kitten is deemed vulnerable. Therefore it is best to wait until they are at least five months old before letting them outside unattended.
Important Steps to Follow Before Letting Your Kitten Outside for the First Time
Ensure your kitten has had all their vaccinations before letting them outside for the first time.
The last injection is normally administered when they are around 12 weeks of age. Vaccinations are crucial for your kitten and prevent them from catching deadly diseases not only from other cats but from humans too.
Microchip Your Kitten
A microchip is highly recommended for dogs and cats and is a permanent way of identifying your pet.
This small electronic chip is implanted in the back of your kitten’s neck by a vet and is registered to your address. If your kitten should ever wander a little too far, the microchip can be scanned using an electronic device that will effectively reunite you with your kitten.
Of course, a name tag does the same job but can often get caught on something and become loose.
Have Your Kitten Neutered
Female kittens can get pregnant at around four months of age, so it is important to think about getting your kitten neutered before letting them outside for the first time.
Vets recommend neutering within a kitten’s first year of life as it decreases the risk of disease and avoids overpopulation.
Top Tips for Letting Your Kitten Outside for the First Time
Tip 1 – Socializing is Key
Socialize your cat by letting them be around different people and animals (especially cats!). This teaches them the basic social skills they will need when wandering the streets alone.
Tip 2 – Make Sure Your Garden is Safe
Start off by letting your kitten out into your garden, ensuring there are no toxic products they might be willing to nibble on, such as slug pellets or strong weed killers.
Kittens are small and can squeeze into small spaces, so it is a good idea to block off places that may seem appealing to them.
Tip 3 – Purchase A Quick Release Collar
Your kitten is going to be doing a lot of climbing, escaping, and running through small gaps soon enough. Purchasing a quick-release collar for your kitten is ideal as if it gets stuck on anything, it will become loose, making it a great option for curious cats!
Tip 4 – Install A Cat Flap
Cat flaps are a perfect choice if you lead a busy life. Technology allows only your kitten to enter the house by scanning their microchip so you can rest in the knowledge that no strays can enter your property.
If you are at home for the majority of your time, there may be no need to invest in a cat flap. Instead, you can call your kitten back the old-fashioned way by calling their name from your porch or leaving a window slightly ajar.
What to Do When Letting Your Kitten Outside for the First Time
It may feel quite daunting to let your kitten outside for the first time. However, this is a very exciting time for your kitten and a huge learning curve for them.
Cats are very intelligent animals, so don’t worry about it too much. If you feel uncomfortable, you can always leave it for a few days and try again. Follow these small steps to help you when letting your kitten outside for the first time.
- Choose a dry, quiet day so your kitten won’t be spooked by loud noises or poor weather conditions.
- Delay feeding your kitten as they are likely to return to the house when hunger strikes.
- Let your kitten make its own way outside in their own time by simply opening the door. It may be hesitant or may even leap for joy!
- Accompany your kitten outdoors to make them feel safe and secure. This helps to increase confidence and the further the two of you venture outdoors, the more this newfound confidence will grow.
- Finish the induction to the outdoors by calling your kitten back to feed them. If they return (and they will), then your session has been a success!