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My kitten is 5 months old, he has never been outside and I had intended to keep him as an indoor cat as I stay in a 3rd floor flat in a busy area with a high volume of traffic. He has began meowing at the window regularly, as if he wants go outside. I am reluctant to make him an outdoor cat but I don’t want to make him unhappy...

I was considering taking him outside with a harness and leash, there are fields nearby that can be rented for dog walking (£8 for 30 mins i think), which would mean we would have the place to ourselves and he wouldn’t have to encounter any dogs, cars etc but that he can get outside for a while?

My only concern with this is that, as he’s never been outside before, he doesn’t really know what he’s missing. Whereas, if we start taking him outside, he may start wanting to go out all of the time.

Has anyone experienced something similar with their cat and can advise me on what to do? As much as I am reluctant to make him an outdoor cat the last thing I would ever want is to make him unhappy. He does have lots of toys inside and I was also thinking of setting up a bird feeder at the window so he could bird watch during the day. Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated, thank you in advance!
 

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Hi Jenna, You don't mention whether your kitten has been neutered yet. If not, that is the first thing to be done. His meowing at the window and wanting to go outside may be the urge to mate with a female, or at least to "establish his territory". Having a bird feeder outside so that he can see the birds it a very good idea, and most cats love to watch the birds feeding and/or squirrels. It is safer for him to be an indoor cat, to protect him from predators, traffic accidents, poisons, as once he's had experience of being outside, yes he will beg to go out. I wouldn't recommend taking him out in a harness in your busy area with high volume of traffic. My 2 Devon Rex cats are strictly indoor, but in the nice weather I have been taking them outside in a cat stroller for walks. They are zipped in and it's safe, and they do enjoy it if you walk in a neighborhood area. It gives them a sense of patrolling a territory which is what they would do if they were an outside or feral cat, and they are safe from over-enthusiastic little children or dogs.. My two love their walkies, but are always happy to return home. One of them will get in the stroller and meow to tell me it "walkies" time. I've found strollers with the larger wheels (jogging strollers) are better at going over rougher ground, say in a park. Amazon or Walmart have a good selection. Another alternative is a pet Backpack or Carrier Bag Sling Shoulder---tho I haven't tried those, but are cheaper prices, but possibly restricts freedom to move around.
 

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Just say yes to the birdfeeder! Cat TV is excellent way to engage a cat, especially when its home alone.

We took in a cat this summer that either feral or abandoned. One day while driving, I wondered if maybe we should let her outside to experience a wider world. I turned a corner and saw a cat the same color as ours, laying in the street dead. I figure our cat is happier indoors alive than outside laying in the street.

If you're going to take your cat out in a harness, make sure you train the cat to it first. No matter how escape proof a cat harness claims to be, it won't hold your cat if it wants out of it. Your cat is a master of manipulating space/time and will shrink its body size and escape in a fraction of a second. I know. It's what my cat did. Without any training, I took our cat outside in a harness. As soon as her little paws touched the grass, she was out of her escape proof harness and under the RV. I suggest looking up videos about cat harness training. Taking a cat out in a carrier or stroller is safer, but the cat isn't as free to explore its surroundings. You gotta go with what's comfortable for you.

Catios are a good addition to a cat's home. As your flat is on the third floor, your most practical option for a catio is one that fits the window or on your balcony, if you have one.

Get your cat climbing trees. More than one, if you can. Look up options for creating practical vertical space in your flat for your cat.

Welcome to the forums!
 
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