Why you shouldn’t let kittens outside too early
April 21, 2023
Letting your kitten explore outdoors before they have had the necessary health procedures can be disastrous. In this article, our Nurse, Fiona explains what they need and why.
Preparing your kitten for the great outdoors
With any new pet it can be exciting to help them discover and explore their new surroundings. As they become more confident, you may be tempted to open the doors and help them to see new things in the great outdoors.
Introducing your kitten to the outside world requires careful thought and planning to ensure you have waited until the right moment with all the relevant precautions in place.
Fiona advises that you should consider the following:
Unwanted pregnancies & other potential risks
Kittens are mature enough to become pregnant from the age of 4 months. For this reason, it is important to consider getting them neutered at this age, or at least before letting them outside to ensure they do not become accidentally pregnant with an unwanted litter.
You may be thinking, that’s ok as I have a male kitten. They equally become active and develop an overwhelming desire to wander which can put them at greater risk of getting lost, involved in road accidents, and more likely to get into fights with other cats. Also, wandering ‘intact’ male cats only add to the growing number of stray litters in and around Stirlingshire.
Diseases & injuries
There are many diseases that can be passed on from cat to cat, especially if a new kitten is on the block and invading another cat’s territory.
Diseases such as FIV, FELV, FPV can make your kitten very poorly. Vaccinating against disease can help ensure your cat is protected before going out into the world. Initial vaccines often require a course of 2-3 injections to ensure your cat has the best possible protection before going outside.
Fighting with other cats
When a new cat is let out into the area this can cause upset for those already in the territory. This may cause fighting and stress to both new and old cats and with bigger cats having more experience, it often ends in the kitten becoming injured.
Fiona recommends you introduce your new cat gradually to the area, start with picking dry sunny days where you can be outside with them whilst they get used to their new surroundings.
By gently introducing your kitten to the area it can help reduce stress and enable them and older cats to get used to each other without feeling as threatened.
Road traffic accidents in Stirlingshire
Unfortunately, road traffic accidents are a big risk to cats of any age due to their tendency to wander. This is something that can be difficult to avoid so,
- Try to encourage your kitten to spend time indoors with plenty of enrichment and make the indoor environment fun and exciting
- Try to encourage them to stay within the local area with lots of stimulation, set feeding times, and plenty of reasons to stay close to home
- Make sure they have spent plenty of time getting to know you and the family – this can help make them less likely to wander
- Ensure they have been neutered – this can also help to reduce wandering
- Microchip your cat so if they do get lost or injured, they can be more easily reunited with you
Do you have any tips for owners with new kittens? Why not share them on our Facebook page?
In conclusion, it’s unwise and unsafe to let your kitten go outdoors before they have had the necessary vaccinations, neutering procedure, and health checks. If you would like any further advice on this topic, or to book your kitten’s necessary appointments, get in touch with our cat-loving team.