Even if your Siamese has never stepped a paw outside, their instincts to wander out into the big bad world never stop!
Both Batman and Robyn spend a good amount of time by the window, chirping at birds and watching people pass by. Even though I knew the best thing for them was to keep them indoors where it’s safe, a part of me felt guilty about not letting them roam free.
That was when I began my search to find safe ways to let them play outside without worrying about them getting hit by cars or stolen by passers-by (it does happen!)
In this article, I’m going to share my top tips for Siamese outdoor play and safety so our kitties can thrive both in and out!
What are the benefits of letting cats outside?
Are outdoor cats happier? Well, I would say that question is subjective. While there are a ton of benefits to keeping your kitty indoors, there are also many benefits to letting them outside.
1. More Exercise
Exercise is essential in any animal’s life, but in a Siamese’s, even more so. They have more energy than your average moggie, so letting them outside means more space to run, jump, climb, and chase.
They can stay active and healthy, all the while getting a good dose of fresh air and sun!
2. More Stimulation
There’s so much to see, smell, and hear outside. If your Siamese tends to get bored inside, letting them outside can satisfy their curious little minds.
They get the best of both worlds – the chance to live young, wild, and free while also having the comfort of their home and unlimited free food and water. (I’m quite jealous, really)
3. Their Instincts Run Free
Believe it or not, cats are natural predators. It may not seem that way when they’re sprawled out on the sofa, asking for you to wait on them hand and foot, but they are!
They love to hunt and chase, so letting them outside gives them the freedom to do so. From mice to birds to lizards, they’ll have the world at their little paws.
What are the dangers to letting cats outside?
Not all fun and games are free. Letting your Siamese outside without implementing specific safety measures can come at a cost.
Of course, some cats can live long and happy lives with free reign in the world. My friend has an 11-year-old domestic shorthair that has spent all his life coming and going when he pleases. He’s healthy, happy, and free.
On the other hand, a friend of mine had a Persian cat who she let outside often. For a few years, all was fine, until one day, she simply never came home. We’re 100% sure someone stole her due to her breed, which of course, was both heartbreaking and infuriating at the same time.
So, letting your Siamese roam free outside is a 50/50 chance. And I don’t know about you, but even a 1% chance of something terrible happening is enough to put me off for life!
1. Lower Life Expectancy
If I could make it so Batman, Robyn, and my little guy Boots could live forever, you bet I would! That’s why I take their safety pretty seriously.
If you want your Siamese to live as long as possible, keeping them indoors (or safe outside) is the best way to go. Indoor cats usually live till 17 years, whereas outdoor cats are only expected to live under 5.
This is all down to the dangers that lurk outside, usually in the form of vehicles, where they can either be hit or hide inside engines to keep warm, or wild animals such as dogs, coyotes, and foxes.
Poison is also a common killer of outdoor cats, both accidental and on purpose. Many people treat their gardens with pesticides, rat poison, and antifreeze.
2. More Likely To Become Sick
Cats that roam around outdoors are going to bump into other cats. There’s a chance that these other felines will have diseases that can be passed on to your Siamese.
While some of these are rather harmless once treated, other diseases could be life-threatening. These include Feline AIDS (FIV), Feline Leukemia (FeLV), Feline Infectious Peritonitis (FIP), and Feline Distemper (FPV).
3. Could Become Lost Or Trapped
Do you know that friend that I mentioned that has the outdoor domestic shorthair? Well, there was a time where my friend thought he had gone forever.
He’d always be home around dinner time; however, one evening, he never returned. They searched for him for days until one morning, he turned up on the doorstep, hungry but unharmed.
Turns out he had jumped into their neighbor’s open garage window and couldn’t get out again. He was in there three days before they realized!
Since kitties love to explore unknown places, there’s a high chance they could get lost or trapped. If your feline goes out without a collar, there is a high chance they could get picked up as a stray and taken to a shelter.
8 Ways to keep your wandering cat safe outside
If you do decide to let your Siamese roam free (I suggest not, but that’s totally up to you!), there are quite a few things you can do to make life outdoors a little safer.
1. Microchips And Collars
If you’re ever contemplating microchipping your Siamese, do it. You should always get your cat microchipped, even if you’re not planning on letting them outside. It’s the easiest way to get them identified if they wander off or get lost.
If you do microchip your Siamese, make sure the information is always up to date.
Putting a collar on your Siamese is also a perfect way of showing people that they’re not strays. The collar should contain a tag with relevant information, including your name, phone number, and address.
It’s also a good idea to add a bell onto the collar for two reasons. One, it’ll give you a good idea of where they are, and two, it’ll discourage hunting wild animals like birds and mice.
Always put a breakaway collar on your Siamese. If they climb a high tree and their collar gets stuck, they can easily break away and avoid choking.
2. No Claws, No Outside!
If you want to let your Siamese outside, do not declaw them! Taking away their claws is taking away their defense. If they come into contact with a wild animal, they won’t be able to climb trees to escape the threat.
3. Get Them Vaccinated
Again, this is something you should always do for your cat, even if they’re not going outdoors. I know someone who didn’t get their cat vaccinated for such things as Feline Leukemia, and unfortunately, it wasn’t long until their kitty got sick.
4. Get Them Neutered Or Spayed
If your Siamese isn’t fixed, chances are they’re going to roam far and wide to find a mate. This will then increase the chances of getting lost, starting catfights, or getting hit by cars.
Plus, the stray feline population is already so high, so there is no need to contribute to the ever-growing problem.
Again, even if your Siamese isn’t going outdoors, get them fixed. This will avoid a few health complications and problems down the line.
5. Take Care About Toxic Substances
There are a ton of toxic substances out there that your Siamese could ingest. Since you’re not there to tell them ‘no,’ nothing stops them from eating pesticides, rat poison, etc.
Something that could be deadly for cats is Antifreeze. In winter, always check the bottom of your cats’ feet to check if they have any Antifreeze stuck to their paws as they could easily ingest it when cleaning.
6. Water Should Always Be Available
Especially in the summertime, always ensure there are one or two fresh bowls of water so you Siamese can drink freely. This will also help them to avoid drinking dirty water that could be harmful to their health.
7. Keep Them Inside During Extreme Weathers
Batman and Robyn don’t even want to step a paw outside when it’s cold, but your kitty may be braver than mine. However, just because they are bold doesn’t mean they aren’t silly.
Cat’s can quickly catch frostbite outside in extreme winters, especially if there is no shelter available. It is also very common for cats to climb inside car engines in order to keep warm, so please, always check your car in winter to be sure!
8. Check Your Cat Often
If your cat has been on a wander alone, it is always a good idea to check them once they come home. Examine them for any lumps, bumps, or scratches. If you find these as soon as they happen, it will be a lot easier to treat.
Should I build a catio?
Wondering what a catio is? Well, it is basically an enclosed safe space for your Siamese, usually placed on the patio (catio, patio, clever, huh?)
It allows your paw friend to enjoy all the wonders Mother Nature has to give, without worrying about them running away, getting hit by cars, or getting into fights with wild animals.
Catios are typically made from wood with perches to climb on, shelves where they can bask in the sun, toys for hours worth of play, and other cool features such as ladders and hidey holes.
Think of it as a giant rabbit run, but instead of going out, it goes up. It allows them to get some fresh air, watch the world go by, exercise and lay in the sun. A huge plus is it also protects wildlife from becoming your Siamese’s new plaything!
When I was on the hunt for a way to let my kitties out safely, a catio seemed like the perfect idea. Both Batman and Robyn were craving a taste of that sweet outdoors, and this way, they’d be able to do it safely and happily.
There are five different catio styles, so don’t worry if you don’t have a big patio. You can get them for windows, balconies, and gardens.
I managed to build a catio on my porch attached to the window via a small tunnel that allows them to come and go when they please. The catio is big enough for Batman, Robyn, and Boots; however, I have seen some impressive catios online that are big enough to allow their humans also to sit in!
If you want to read an extensive guide to building your own catio, I explained the process in more detail here. (LINK)
But I really do recommend a catio if you want to let your Siamese outside – they don’t have to be big, expensive or fancy. Just a safe space for your Siamese to enjoy the outdoors!
Safe alternatives to letting your cat outside
If you don’t like the idea of your Siamese roaming the streets alone, and you’re not in the market for a catio, there are a few other alternatives you could try.
1. Carry Them
If you’re confident your Siamese won’t freak out and try to bolt, you could always carry them outside. Before installing my catio, I would take Robyn in my arms for 10 – 15 minutes (any longer, and he would try to jump down and explore on his own) around the neighborhood.
He would sniff the air, watch the world go by, and be an all-around curious little kitty. Carrying him around was a good way to get him accustomed to the great outdoors before moving on to the next step.
2. Get Them On A Leash
While you may think walking on a harness and leash is reserved for dogs, many people take their cats on walks. Any cat can be leash trained; however, it is better to start them off while they are young.
An adult cat will more than likely feel strange wearing a harness and will most likely lay on the floor and refuse to move within their first attempts.
When I first put Batman on a leash, he did a funny little walk, with his belly almost touching the floor. During his first few weeks of training, he’d much prefer to lay on the grass instead of getting up and exploring.
But after some time and patience (especially from me), he was accompanying me on short walks around the neighborhood.
I suggest getting a harness for your cat instead of a collar. Putting a collar on your Siamese means they will easily be able to slip out of they get spooked by a loud noise or passing dog. You can also pick up specially designed walking jackets that make the trip even safer, and lightweight leashes will make it easier for your cat also.
Never, ever, ever, leave your Siamese unsupervised on a leash. It is easy for them to become tangled up and choke, so always ensure you’re with them! No attaching them to extended ropes in the garden or tying them to poles etc.
3. A Carrier
Consider purchasing a carrier for your Siamese if you wish to take the outside. Personally, I think the ‘bubble backpacks,’ which are entirely see-through, are a great option for short trips. Just ensure they’re comfortable and have plenty of air.
Can cats be left outside at night?
Cats shouldn’t even be allowed outside at night, never mind leaving them out all night long.
Nighttime is the most dangerous time for cats; there is an increased risk of getting hit by cars and coming into contact with other cats and wild animals.
If your Siamese craves to be outside at night, they may not be getting enough stimulation indoors. Consider playing with them more often around nighttime to help get rid of some of that energy, and they’ll be a lot happier inside.
Don’t leave your cat in a catio overnight either.
How can I stop my outdoor cat from running away?
Unfortunately, there is no guarantee that your cat won’t run away if you let them outside freely. Felines are a creature of habit. However, certain circumstances will push them to venture out of their territory.
This usually happens when male cats who haven’t been neutered go on the search for a female. But, other problems can also add to this urge, such as a territorial dispute, stress at home, and other people feeding your Siamese.
The best way to stop your cat from running away would be not to let them outside at all. If that is not possible, consider adding netting around your garden, equip them with an electronic chip, and always have them neutered.
Electric fencing is also an option, but I wouldn’t recommend it. Your Siamese could experience physical and mental health risks as a result.
Do I need to let my Siamese outside?
Not at all! Siamese cats can live long, healthy, and very happy lives indoors. As long as you’re providing them with enough mental and physical stimulation, food and water, and lots of hugs, they will not feel depressed about not going outside.
Sure, they may feel the urge every now and again since it is instinctual, but it won’t drastically affect them.
However, if you want to let your Siamese go outside, always ensure it is supervised and safe. I do not recommend letting your Siamese roam free. Not only are they a bit ditzy when it comes to road safety, you never know what could happen to them.
Consider installing a catio or training them how to walk on a leash. This way, both you and your Siamese can be happy.