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How outdoor access can enrich your cat’s life

Enrich your cat’s life, while giving them their own territory to freely roam, letting them exhibit their natural behaviours.

Outside access can offer cats important enrichment, here we take a look at why outside access is important.

Cats like to choose the boundaries of their territory as much as possible. If they are confined to the indoors, then this forces their territory to stop at the four walls surrounding them. Given the freedom to roam, cats can mark the boundaries of their territory freely and patrol their territory in a way that suits them.

Cat flap
In order to have free access to the outdoors, it’s important to have a selective cat flap installed. A Microchip Cat Flap will prevent any intruder animals entering your home, whilst allowing your cat to come and go as they need. If you are concerned about letting your cat outside at certain times of the day, some Microchip Cat Flaps offer a curfew mode that will automatically lock and unlock the door at the times of your choosing. In multi-cat households if you have an indoor only cat and a cat that has outdoor access you can also look at getting a cat flap where you can set up exit permissions for each cat.

Having a cat flap means that the cat doesn’t have to wait to be let outside or back inside. Cats usually like to patrol their territory in the same direction, as this limits possible interactions with other cats in the area. Therefore, it might be worthwhile thinking about installing multiple cat flaps, this would allow your cat to patrol their territory more freely. For example, they might like to leave the house by the back door and then come into the house through the front door.

The outside world gives cats access to the changing seasons and places to explore. The changing sights and smells that different seasons bring with them will help keep your cat occupied and entertained. A cat-friendly garden will also encourage your cat to stay closer to home, rather than venture into neighbouring gardens. Making your outside space cat-friendly is easy to do, think about creating places to hide that will help your cat feel safe, provide shade from the sun, shelter from the wind and rain and comfortable sunny spots where they can sleep. 

Natural behaviours
Having outside access can allow your cat to exhibit natural behaviours such as hunting, scratching and scent marking. A cat will scratch and scent mark the edges of their territory as a warning to other cats in the area to stay away. Hunting might not be a behaviour that all cat owners appreciate, but cats can become frustrated if they don’t have the opportunity to hunt, as it’s in their nature to do so. So, the outside world is the best place for them to practise their hunting skills, where prey items, such as mice, may be present.

However as pet owners we need to be more cautious during bird breeding season, an RSPB study shows that by adding a bell to your cat’s collar this can reduce predation of birds by 41%*, the collar should have a quick release mechanism which allows the cat to free themselves if it accidentally gets snagged.


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