As a pet parent, you definitely want the best life for your cat. I have met many pet parents who lost their pets in car accidents being outdoors. While on the other hand, many think they’re being selfish and restricting their cats from enjoying their life to the fullest. So what should you do? Well, whether cats should be indoors or outdoors has been a topic of debate for so many years. But in my opinion, cats should be indoors along with the freedom to enjoy the outside world in a safer way. In this article, I will let you know whether your cat should be allowed outdoors, and if so, how.
Supplies to Prepare before Picking Up a Kitty
- House or Crate
- Food & Nutrition
- Dry Food
- Wet Food
- Canned Food
Risks Associated with Outdoor Cats
Outdoor cats possess risks for themselves as well as the environment. We will first see how being outdoors can be harmful to your felines. A feral cat has a surprisingly shorter lifespan than an indoor cat. This is because they are fighting for their survival in the outside world.
Outdoor cats are vulnerable to getting knocked down by running vehicles, other predators, injuring themselves in fights with other cats, contracting diseases and parasites, etc. In a nutshell, when your cat is outdoors, he becomes an active part of the ecosystem and contributes to the food chain.
Due to many variables and uncertainty in living an outdoor life, the lifespan of feral cats ranges between three to 10 years. Their average lifespan is only 5.625 years. Whereas indoor cats live around 14 to 20 years. The average lifespan of indoor cats is 16.875 years. However, healthier cats also live longer than that. You might be surprised to know that the longest-lived cat indoors is 38 years and 3 days.
Let’s now see how outdoor cats can be a danger to the environment. Outdoor felines have threatened the existence of 63 species of birds, mammals, and reptiles in the wild. Their contribution to harming the environment has made the International Union for the Conservation of Nature to consider cats as the world’s most non-native invasive species.
Cats are predators and when they’re out in the wild, their hunt drive will propel them to kill birds, rodents, and reptiles even if they’re fed well indoors. All in all, allowing your cat outdoors is not harmful to them as well as the environment.
Pros and Cons of Indoor Cats
Your indoor cat is preventing itself from many harmful diseases and contributes to maintaining the balance in the environment by staying at home. But there is an obvious backlash of keeping your cat indoors. An indoor cat is not as much behaviorally healthy as a feral/outdoor cat.
When cat is out in the wild, hunting, preying, and protecting its territory, she is at her best as far as her behavior is concerned. But on the other hand, I would never sleep thinking my cat is out there and can be hit by a car. Moreover, cats get bored inside the house if their environment is not enriched that complements their behavior.
The discussion is boiled down to keeping your cats indoor is safe but it is also important for them to explore or go outside and be confident enough for developing problem-solving techniques. You can allow your cats to be outdoors but with some conditions! Here are some ways you can take them outside and work towards providing proper environmental enrichment.
Leash Walking and Cat Strollers
Yes, you can walk your cat on a harness and a leash. However, not all cats want to be walked but if your cat is a door dasher and often escapes the house, that will be the right candidate for walking outside.
This way your cat will head towards where she wants to go and feels more confident with her sense while not putting herself in danger. There are sheer chances your cat will contract diseases from another cat or get parasites. Moreover, your presence won’t get her into a catfight and save them from running into the moving vehicle.
You can also let them enjoy being outdoors in a cat stroller if you’re not yet confident with walking your cat. So, when you want to get a stroll, you can bring your cat with you and let her see the outside world.
Enrichment is the process of providing favorable conditions for your cat to stay happy and healthy. A cat wants to own all space in the house. They see living space in three dimensional. That being said, you should consider getting cat trees, scratch posts, window perch, window cat bed so that they can mark their territories and stay happy.
In addition, always have a good playtime before their meals. Playing is important for their hunting drive. Moreover, puzzle toys and other feeding puzzles that keep them busy provide essential mental stimulation.
In a nutshell, you should provide enough enrichment so that your cat lives a life like a cat.
Conclusively, cats should be indoors and should be given an opportunity to explore outdoors with you. Moreover, environmental enrichment is also required for their well-being and mental health. If your cat escapes often you’re working towards solving the behavior, you should ensure that it has a breakaway GPS collar attached and is microchipped. A breakaway collar will eliminate the chance of getting strangled if the collar gets stuck in anything when they’re outside. Microchipping and GPS collars are important in case they get lost. If you have any questions, let us know in the comment section below.
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