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How to take your cat outside for the first time

How to introduce your cat to the outdoors, when they’ve never been outside? Sure, it’s easier with a cat who’s used to being outside, even if you move them to a new house. But how to introduce your indoor cat to the outside world? How to introduce your cat to going outside, when he’s scared and refuses to leave the house?


If you have a fenced-in yard, with a cat-proof fence, the first step in introducing your cat to the outside should be to make the garden safe. Make sure there is no broken glass or thorns outside, or plants that are poisonous for cats.

Provide a way to get out

Either install a cat’s flap door or leave the window open so your cat wouldn’t have to rely on you opening the door every time it wants to go in or out.

Put a treat within reach

Put your cat’s favorite treat just outside the flap door. Then walk outside, hold the door open for her to see you, and the treat, just a foot outside the door.

If your cat is still afraid, place the treat on your palm and hold it an inch or two outside the flap door, and let her eat it.

Take your cat outside with you

This is a great way to introduce your cat to the outside world if your cat lets you pick her up, and won’t tear you to shreds if it’s afraid, mistaking you for a sofa.

Leave the door open and stay within a foot or two from the door, holding your cat and talking to her. Pet her and scratch her ears so she’ll associate the outside with a positive experience.

Next, walk a little further from the door.

Finally, take a walk in the garden with your cat. I did this with my Hazelnut when she was a kitten. At first, she clung to me, but after a few walks, she learned to get out on her own.

Stand outside the open window

You can stand outside the open window, where you cat can see you, and call her. Wait till she comes to you, and then you can settle on an easy chair and let her feel her way around. She may be nervous at first and stay close to you, until she gets braver and wanders out on her own.

Final words

Even outdoor cats can hesitate before going outside in a new place. Cats feel safer in a familiar territory. But indoor cats are often much more scared of the outside, and the introduction of an indoor cats to the outside world can be slow and require patience.

Also, some cats are more anxious than others. A less timid cat will get used to the outside much faster than an overly anxious cat.

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2 thoughts on “How to take your cat outside for the first time

  1. I took dude out on a leash once; he heard the trash truck coming down the street and took off like
    a rocket. I was glad the harness was halter type and I had a good hand on the leash or he would have
    broke loose. he never wanted to go out after that !


    1. Cats are much easier to care for than dogs, in some ways. They’re less time-consuming. But in some ways, cats are more difficult. You can’t walk them on a leash, at least not most cats.

      Except a few cats can be walked on a leash or harness, but they’re rare. I once met a cat whose human servant simply draped over his shoulder like a silvery scarf, and walked with him down the street and into a mini market. Cats like these are very mellow, and usually not feral cats.


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