B2B NewsPet industry newsShould Cats Be Indoor or Outdoor Pets? Pros, Cons...

Should Cats Be Indoor or Outdoor Pets? Pros, Cons & Safety Tips

-

- Advertisment -spot_img


Last Updated on: February 27, 2023 by Crystal Uys

bengal cat walking on plank outdoor

While we may love our cats, many of us also acknowledge that living with them can be challenging. Not only do you have the mess and smell of litter boxes in your house, but cats also shed, scratch furniture, and sometimes pee in inappropriate locations. If your cat has developed bad habits, you’ve probably been tempted to make them an outdoor pet.

Many cat owners struggle with whether cats should be indoor or outdoor pets. In my own life, I’ve owned fully indoor cats, outdoor cats, and indoor-outdoor cats, so I’m also familiar with this dilemma. In this article, we’ll look at the arguments for and against cats living outdoors, as well as what experts and researchers say on the topic.


Reasons Owners Keep Cats as Outdoor Pets

Veterinary experts and researchers agree that uncontrolled outdoor access is dangerous for cats and recommend they be kept indoors. We’ll go into the reasoning behind this recommendation later in this article, but many owners continue to let their cats outside despite the risks.

In some cases, owners may worry that keeping cats inside is cruel and prevents them from using their instincts and skills as predators. Others may believe their cat will get more exercise and stay at a healthy weight more easily if they’re allowed outside. Another common reason cats transition to outdoor pets is persistent behavioral problems such as urine marking or aggression.

Sometimes, owners will adopt or assume the care of a cat that has already lived outdoors for years. For example, you decide to fulfill a lifelong dream of owning property in the country only to find that your new purchase comes complete with one or more barn cats. In these instances, owners may feel that the outdoor cat will struggle to transition to life indoors and choose not to force the issue.

tabby cat hunting ourtdoor
Image Credit: VeleMarinkovic, Pixabay

What the Research and Experts Say

The Humane Society and veterinarians agree that keeping cats indoors is the safest option. On average, indoor cats live as many as 10 years longer than outside cats. Cats with uncontrolled outdoor access not only face many dangers, but they can also pose a threat to the environment and a nuisance to humans.

Personally, I spent many years working as a veterinary nurse and witnessed firsthand the traumatic reality of life for many outdoor cats. While living in a rural area, our family lost two outdoor cats to mysterious circumstances. They just never came home. Here are some of the dangers cats who live as outdoor pets may encounter or cause:

Car Accidents

The biggest threat to an outdoor cat may be vehicles, even if you live in a rural area. Research shows that car accidents are a leading cause of death and injury for outdoor cats worldwide.

Diseases

Outdoor cats are much more susceptible to catching dangerous diseases like feline leukemia virus (FeLV,) rabies, or feline distemper. Even vaccinated cats aren’t always safe, especially from FeLV. Cats often pick up these diseases by fighting with other cats, which is a behavior that carries an additional risk of injury and infection.

Parasites

Outdoor cats are more likely to be infested with parasites like fleas and ticks, which can also carry diseases or lead to dangerous blood loss. They can pick up internal parasites like worms more easily outside and, in turn, pass them to other cats or even people.

cat with tick
Image Credit: anastasiya parfenyuk, Shutterstock

Predators

Cats may be efficient predators, but that doesn’t mean they won’t serve as prey too. Neighborhood dogs are a constant threat, and outdoor cats in dense urban locations (like Los Angeles, where I currently live with exclusively indoor cats) may fall victim to coyotes or mountain lions.

Toxins

Outdoor cats may encounter a variety of poisonous substances while wandering free. Antifreeze, toxic plants, or rat poison are all common threats to roaming cats. There’s also the risk that outdoor cats may be deliberately poisoned by humans who find them a nuisance.

Humans with Bad Intentions

Unfortunately, outdoor cats can easily be a nuisance to the humans around them. Nighttime vocalizing and fighting often occur. Cats may also stalk chickens, outdoor pet rabbits, or other owned prey. And, of course, there’s the issue of outdoor cats using yards and gardens as litter boxes, elevating the risk of humans becoming infected with parasites like Toxoplasmosis or roundworms.

Fed-up humans may take it upon themselves to deal with nuisance cats, with bad results for the kitty.

Cat meowing
Image Credit: JackieLou DL, Pixabay

Getting Lost

Even if you try to take precautions like microchipping your cat, there’s still a significant risk that outdoor cats could get lost and not come home. Most of the cats who end up in animal shelters are picked up as strays. Once in shelters, cats are statistically far less likely than dogs to find their way back to their owners.

Threat to Birds and Wildlife

Outdoor cats, owned or stray, pose a significant threat to birds and wildlife. Globally, cats have contributed to the extinction of entire species. According to estimates, outdoor cats in the United States kill billions of birds and wildlife each year. They may also compete with other predators for these food sources, causing harm to their populations.

cat hunting bird
Image Credit: Kuttelvaserova Stuchelova, Shutterstock

Ways to Keep Outdoor Cats Safer

If your cat lives outside at least part of the time, here are some steps you can take to keep them and local wildlife safer. First and possibly most importantly, keep your outdoor cat confined at night. The night is the most dangerous time for your cat, and keeping them somewhere behind closed doors in the dark is the safest option.

Microchip your cat and keep your contact information up to date in the database. Put a cat-safe collar and ID tag on your cat for an extra layer of protection. Adding a bell to the collar can help warn birds and wildlife of your cat’s approach and keep them safe.

Treat your outdoor cat with a monthly parasite preventative that is effective against fleas, ticks, and internal worms. Take them to the vet at least once a year for an exam and all recommended vaccines. Outdoor cats often need more shots than indoor ones because of their higher exposure level.

If possible, only allow your cat supervised access to the outdoors, such as leash walks or playtime in a “catio.” You could also use cat-safe fencing to keep your cat in the yard and most predators out.

cat owner walking bengal cat
Image Credit: Amerigo_images, Shutterstock

Ways to Keep Indoor Cats Entertained

If you’re worried your cat will be bored, lazy, or gain weight if it can’t go outside, there are ways to keep your pet entertained and slim safely.

Provide your cat with various toys, especially those that encourage natural behaviors like stalking and hunting. Actively play with your cat daily to provide further stimulation and build a bond between you.

Keep your cat’s indoor environment interesting by providing vertical play spaces like cat trees, towers, or shelves. Give them lounging spaces near windows so they can see outside and be safely entertained by birds and wildlife.

Carefully monitor your cat’s caloric intake to ensure it’s appropriate for its size, age, and activity level. Your vet can help you determine this number, as well as help you calculate how much to feed your cat.


Conclusion

While keeping your cat as an indoor pet is the safest and recommended option, the reality is that’s not always possible, and some cat owners can’t or won’t follow this advice. If you must let your cat outside, follow our tips to keep them as safe as possible. Indoor cats don’t have to lead boring, unathletic lives, but keeping them entertained may take more effort from their owners. If your cat starts misbehaving, see your veterinarian for help and advice before giving up and turning them into an outdoor pet.


Featured Image Credit: Seregraff, Shutterstock

About the author



Source link

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest news

18个项目260亿!绍兴城市推介会走进港澳

“由衷期待双方以此次推介会为契机,持续深化经济、科技、教育、文化、体育等各领域沟通交流,努力打造更多标志性合作成果。”12日-14日,2024“港澳·绍兴周”在香港启幕,绍兴市委书记温暖率市代表团赴香 Source link

这种“教育”竟能做出撩动人心的美食?

30岁裸辞去蓝带学厨艺,毕业后仅仅用了2年的时间就一举成为百万粉丝的美食博主。这一次我们邀请到了美食博主徐人宇Vincent,以及蓝带国际大中华区董事总经理、澳大利亚蓝带学员商凌燕女士、蓝带巴黎学员侯 Source link

撒网预热进行时,小轮车推广进校园

伴随着奥运会资格系列赛·上海的临近,城市体育节撒网预热期的推广活动日益火热。4月以来,不同主题的运动项目进入商圈、学校,让更多人体验到这些城市运动项目的乐趣。近日,“极限宝贝bmx初体验骑进校园”系列活动亮相上海市黄浦区 Source link

撒网预热进行时,小轮车推广进校园

伴随着奥运会资格系列赛·上海的临近,城市体育节撒网预热期的推广活动日益火热。4月以来,不同主题的运动项目进入商圈、学校,让更多人体验到这些城市运动项目的乐趣。4月30日上午,“极限宝贝bmx初体验骑进校园”系列活动亮相上 Source link
- Advertisement -spot_imgspot_img

话说杨浦丨“赛艇女孩”,你在哪里?

上海海洋大学的历史可上溯至1912年成立的江苏省立水产学校。2006年,位于杨浦区军工路的上海海洋大学前身——上海水产大学,积极响应上海市教委号召,成功组织了“阳光体育大联赛”。宣传、动员过程中,学校 Source link

「贵州日报·教育」聚势赋能 提质扩容——贵州财经大..

2023年11月21日贵州日报16版(点击图片,阅读全文)全省高等教育高质量发展大会对当前和今后一个时期全省高等教育工作作出部署,描绘了新时代贵州高等教育发展的新蓝图,干货满满、令人鼓舞、催人奋进。风 Source link

Must read

Lady Gaga and Cardi B Meet at the Grammys

What was expected of her was the same thing...

Jennifer Aniston’s Ex Justin Theroux Wishes Her Happy Birthday on Instagram

What was expected of her was the same thing...
- Advertisement -spot_imgspot_img

You might also likeRELATED
Recommended to you