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When Should I Let My Cat Roam The House?

If you have a new cat one common thought is when it’s the right time to let it roam the house is…

When Should I Let My Cat Roam The House?

When you bring home a new cat and you have more than one animal in the house, it’s best that they spend the first few days in a specific room before venturing out. Cats feel most comfortable in areas that smell like them, and a 2 to 3 day period helps to establish a ‘safe area’ that smells like them.

Is it better to keep a new cat isolated in one room first?

Brown and black tabby cat on a white linen cloth.

Brown and black tabby cat on a white linen cloth.

Yes. Giving your cat a little personal space of their own, even if it must be ‘enforced’ at first, lets them establish their own small territory and it creates a space where they feel safe. After 2 to 3 days, the area will smell like them and they will usually come here when they feel stressed or simply want to relax.

While you could certainly simply let them roam the house when you get home, establishing a safe spot is much less stressful on your cat and even better if it’s in your own room! This helps them to get used to their new home a little at a time, instead of in a big, old household with so many unfamiliar scents everywhere!

What should I provide in this room to keep my cat happy?

Be sure to include some kitty toys, a litter box, and a bed in this room and after 2 to 3 days, you can open the door to let your kitty explore. If you have a dog in the house, a baby barrier in the door can help keep them out of this room so that your cat has a safe place to go if they become frightened.

Should there be some areas of your home off-limits?

Yes. It is a good idea to close some doors around the house while your cat is getting acclimated to their new home. This helps to avoid any marking behaviors, such as spraying, and it also reduces the area which your cat will be exploring into smaller, easily digestible chunks.

As your cat becomes more familiar with the house, you can certainly open these areas up – it’s all up to you!

Do cats prefer to roam the entire house?

Cats love exploring their ‘territory’, so once your cat is used to at least a small area of the house, you can certainly let them roam as they like. That said, if your cat is newly arrived, it’s better to segment the house into smaller bits by simply closing the doors to some rooms.

This lets your cat explore the house a little at a time and can help to make adjusting to their new house a lot less stressful

Is it cruel to lock a cat in a room at night?

No, it’s not cruel if you’ve just brought your kitty home, but you need to cat-proof the area and prepare it properly in other ways, as well. Your cat needs to have a litter box, as well as food and water, a bed, and some toys or even a cat tower to hide out in which not go amiss.

Provided that your cat has these basics, a night alone won’t hurt them, but it’s much better if the room that they are spending the night in is your own.

Just be prepared – a cat in a new home may well roam a bit at night and if you haven’t moved anything fragile that could be knocked over then you might be in for a nasty surprise!

Should I let my cat roam outside?

Silver tabby cat standing outside.

Silver tabby cat standing outside.

You can, but there are a few things that you need to consider beforehand. First and foremost, if you’ve just gotten your cat home, they should spend up to 2 or even 3 months inside to get to know their home inside and out. This helps them to accept their new home as their permanent one and this is very important.

If you simply let them go outside in the first few days, some cats will try to find the location where they were housed before. This is highly dangerous for your kitty, especially for young cats that will be vulnerable and likely to get lost.

Once your cat has accepted their new home and 2 to 3 months have passed, you can let them go outside, but keep in mind that there are fleas, ticks, and other animals out there.

You may well want to dust them with some preventive treatments to help minimize this and consider installing a cat door in case your cat needs to come inside right away. It can get dangerous out there, after all!

How do you train a cat to stay out of a room?

Training a cat to stay out of a room can be a bit difficult. These creatures are naturally curious and can’t seem to help themselves, but there are certainly things which you can do to help establish certain rooms as ‘off limits’.

One such method is cat-repellent spray, which sounds awful but is actually composed most often of citrus scents that smell great to us, but rather nasty if you happen to be a cat.

You can also simply close the door to areas, of course, and as a last effort there are motion sensors that make a noise designed to deter curious kitties!

What are the risks of letting your kitten roam too early?

Letting your cat roam around the house too early can be a recipe for knocked over items, scratched up furniture, or even for ‘marking’ behaviors such as urination in non-box areas! This is why it is best to close off certain areas of the house and to keep kitty in a room with you the first few days.

Roaming outside too early is much riskier – your cat may try to go to their original home and get lost, struck by an automobile, or even harmed by other animals outside. Worse, with only a day or two at home before going out, your cat can’t ‘home in’ on your location naturally.

Keep them inside for 2 to 3 months and after that, your cat will have a ‘GPS waypoint’ in their head for finding their way home. At this time, they should be ready to go out, but if you are still worried you can always invest in a GPS collar to find them if they don’t come home when you expect them to.

Could my kitten roam and get stuck somewhere?

Yes, this is certainly possible. When your cat is just a mere kitten, they don’t possess anywhere near the grace or strength that they’re going to have as an adult. As such, an unwatched kitten can get themselves in all kinds of trouble from their curiosity and fearless approach to exploring.

This means that you need to watch your kitten at all times. They can get stuck behind furniture, knock things over trying to jump up, and get into all kinds of mischief that could hurt them. So, keep a close eye on your kitten at all times – until they get bigger, they can get themselves in some pretty amazing messes!

What items should I keep away from a new kitten?

When you’ve got a new kitten in the house, then you’ve got a little preparation that you should take to make things safe and save yourself a few potential headaches. Move your potted plants first, as these may get chewed and could be toxic or even have their dirt used as a litter box!

Move any fragile objects off of shelves so that they don’t get knocked over and remove any small items that your cat might try to play with and consequently chew – they are choking hazards, so this is important!

Finally, roll up extension cords that aren’t being used and either put them away safely while still plugged or better yet, remove them and store them away to avoid any potential cord-chewing behaviors!

Lindsey Browlingdon