When Can a Kitten Go Outside?

JOLLYES TEAM

Kitten Vaccinations Health

Questions

  • When can a kitten go outside?
  • Can they go out in the garden before they’re vaccinated?
  • Does my kitten still need vaccinations if they only go in the garden?
  • What else do kittens need before going outside?
When you first bring your new fluffy addition home, you might already be wondering when you can give them the freedom of the outside world. There are a few reasons why you shouldn’t instantly let your feline friend start to venture outdoors. First, you don’t want them to get lost. When cats move home from the only place they’ve known with their mother to a brand new place, they need some time to learn that it’s home. Cats will find their way home by scent. They’ll usually stay close to home initially and learn how to find their way back from greater and greater distances. When they’re only just settling in, they don’t yet know the sights or smells of their home enough to find it if they go for a little wander.
Kittens also come home with very little immunity to the outside world. There are all kinds of illnesses and diseases your fluff ball can come into contact with then they go outside so it’s best to make sure they’re protected from the worst before they go adventuring.

When can a kitten go outside?

Before your kitten stretches their legs and starts to explore the big wide world, they will need a course of vaccinations to protect them from diseases. Diseases can be picked up anywhere, from other animals to anything an infected animal has had contact with so it’s best to be safe than sorry. Some of these diseases can be pretty nasty and your kitten will need two different vaccinations to help cover them for everything.

Grey and white kitten.
The first dose is usually given at around nine weeks of age with the second round at twelve weeks old. Vets will usually advise waiting one or two weeks after the vaccination to make sure they have built up their immunity before starting to let them outside. This means that around thirteen or fourteen weeks old is when your kitten will be able to start venturing outside and be protected against diseases.

What vaccinations does my kitten need?

There are three main diseases covered by kitten vaccinations. These include:
●      Cat flu
●      Feline infectious enteritis
●      Feline leukaemia virus
They are particularly nasty diseases that spread quickly and can be life threatening so getting your kitten protected against them as soon as possible is vital. Your kitten will need annual boosters to keep their immunity nice and robust so they can keep going outdoors and having fun.

Can they go out in the garden before they’re vaccinated?

If you have owned a puppy before then you know that it’s quite common for pet parents to give their puppies access to the garden before they are vaccinated. If it’s safe and secure, it is often a great way to introduce them to toilet training. Cats are a different kettle of fish and if they spook they can escape a garden much easier than a puppy. It’s best not to risk taking them out before they’re both used to where to call home and safe from any diseases lurking outside. You can get your kitten used to wearing a lead and harness like the Ancol Reflective Cat Harness & Lead Black but this itself can take weeks to habituate and they’ll likely be vaccinated by the time they’re ready to walk on lead anyway!

Does my kitten still need vaccinations if they only go in the garden?

Kittens should still be vaccinated even if you only plan to let them out in the garden. Unless you can guarantee that no wildlife or other neighbourhood cats can get in the garden, they should still be covered to protect them against all the diseases you can. Beyond making sure they are vaccinated, if your cat’s outdoor adventures are going to be kept to the garden once they’re vaccinated you’ll need to cat-proof the area.

Kitten climbing a tree.
Your garden should be inescapable so nice high fences with nothing your feline friend can climb up and over. If you have a pond or anything that might spell trouble for a little kitten, it will need to be covered. Check what plants you have out there as many plants we keep in our home and garden can be toxic to cats. Whether your kitten will have the freedom of the wider world or stay in the garden, it should be a safe haven so they can’t hurt themselves.

What else do kittens need before going outside?

Before you let your kitten go outside, there are a few more things you need to make sure you have prepared to keep them safe. Firstly, they should be wearing a collar. A collar is a useful way for people to know your kitten has a home. You can get collars with little bells on so you can not only hear your feline friend when they are running home but they will catch fewer birds while trying out their hunting skills. Reflective collars like the Ancol Reflective Cat Collar are great if your kitten tends to go out in the morning or the evening when there isn’t much light so traffic can see them.
Cats also need to be microchipped before they’re allowed outside. Not only will it make them easier to be reunited with if they do get lost but it’s going to be a legal requirement by June of 2024 to microchip all cats. Neutering your kitten is also an important way to keep them safe. Unneutered male cats will tend to wonder further, especially if they catch the scent of an unneutered female nearby. If you have a female kitten unneutered, they can have their own litter as early as six months old so to prevent unwanted litters and attention, you should neuter them before letting them out and about. You can neuter your kitten at around four months old and older so you’re usually looking at around the five month mark before your feline friend is able to go off on their own adventures.
For all things feline-friend related, look no further than Jollyes! Discover everything your kitty could need in store or online.