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Ask the Vet: Treat Cat to Outdoor Adventure With Cat-Safe Enclosure

Dr. Lee Pickett on

Q: Monty, our indoor cat, often tries to escape from the house. We know he's safer inside, where he won't be attacked by another animal or hit by a car, but he's determined to explore outside. Is there some way we can let him venture outdoors safely?

A: One way is to take him for a stroll with you. Fit him with a cat harness and a thin leash, and invite him to accompany you on your walks.

If you want to give Monty the full experience, there are a few ways to offer him an independent but safe outdoor adventure.

One is to get him a mesh cat tent. They're available in a variety of sizes and styles, and they're easy to put up and take down.

Or, build Monty a "catio." You can attach it to your home like a screened porch, or you can install a cat door and tunnel leading to the enclosed catio so Monty can slip in and out as he wishes.

Another idea is to install a cat-safe fence. If you already have a standard fence, add a topper that will keep Monty inside your backyard.


Cat-safe fences and fence toppers are available in two styles. One is a black, chew-resistant polypropylene mesh that slants or pivots inward at the top to prevent the cat from getting out.

The other is a series of rollers mounted atop an existing fence. When the cat leaps to the top of the fence, the rollers whirl him back.

Scout your yard for trees near the fenceline or adjacent to your roof. If needed, install tree guards to prevent Monty from climbing a tree to jump over the fence or use your roof to escape from the yard.

If Monty has the run of your backyard, keep him safe by removing all toxic plants. If birds of prey fly over your home, don't let Monty roam outdoors alone unless he has plenty of places to hide.


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