When you come to the decision to own a cat, one of the most asked questions is usually, what are the pros and cons of owning indoor versus outdoor cats? There are many reasons for even asking this question in the first place, and you may feel guilty keeping him indoors all the time, or you may worry that you are keeping him from his natural habitat. However, it isn’t cruel to have an indoor only cat, but let us take a closer look at the pros, and cons of keeping a cat indoors versus outdoors so you can make an informed decision on what you should do for your own personal preference, and your cats. Here is a photo of Oscar, our cat, who is an outdoor cat during the day but an indoor one at night!
Indoor Versus Outdoor Cats – The Pros and Cons of Each
1. The Pros Of Having An Indoor Cat.
An indoor cat can be a great pet, being there when you come home from work, plus you also know that he is going to be safe, because there are many threats outside and potential dangers. Another reason for keeping an indoor cat is protecting him from potential diseases that can be caught from other animals, some life threatening. There is also the point of him not being able to bring unwanted pests into your home, like fleas, ticks and mites, all of which are considerably difficult to remove once they are in.
Of course, it sounds like an indoor cat would be the way to go, but there are considerations you need to take into account, if you decide to go with an indoor only cat. Indoor cats need to still get their exercise and interaction, this means you have to either play with them more often, or give them an alternative, like a playmate. Many cats get on well with another pet, either a dog or another cat, but if that is not your preference, then you should make sure he has plenty of interactive toys, scratching posts, and places to climb and hide.
Having an indoor cat does have many benefits, and is less of a worry than an outdoor cat, but you will still have to make time to interact with him and allocate some playtime each day. Having said that, even interactive toys can get boring after a while, so consider getting him a new toy every now and then to keep interaction, and hunting skills in tip top shape. Great toys to keep him occupied are laser toys, or the more traditional kitty fishing pole type toy ( see picture below ), which is ideal for when you are home and ready to play with him.
The Cons Of Having An Indoor Cat.
There aren’t many cons of having an indoor cat, although there are things to keep an eye on with an indoor cat, such as if he gets bored, he may start to find things to do that you don’t like, like scratching up the curtains or furniture and other bad behavior habits. Also, there is the chance that the indoor cat can become clingy when you are home, and may suffer from separation issues when you are not there. That said, with plenty of interaction when you are home, and interactive toys for him to use when you’re not, he should be just fine. Another point to mention about indoor cats, is that you need to watch his weight, as indoor cats are more prone to obesity, which in turn can lead to health conditions.
The Pros Of Having An Outdoor Cat.
The outdoor cat definitely gets more than his fair share of exercise, and without a doubt there are more places for him to explore. Moreover, he will be able to hone his hunting skills, and have a lot of interaction with other animals and cats while out there in the wild. Also, he will be less likely to become overweight outdoors due to the amount of climbing, hunting, and running around he will be doing.
The Cons Of Having An Outdoor Cat.
With an outdoor cat, there is so much more you have to consider, especially when it comes to the cons, for instance, cars and other vehicles can be a constant threat unless you live outside of town. The potential for catching disease is much greater too, due to other cats in the area, or feral cats, which can carry disease, or even other animals like raccoons, foxes, possums and more. Moreover, there is a greater chance of him being hurt in a fight with another cat, or worse, being attacked by other wild animals, in which case he can be hurt anywhere from a minor cut to a life threatening injury with the potential of getting rabies.
When deciding to have an outdoor cat, you will have to make regular appointments with your vet, and make sure your cat gets any preventative medications necessary for an outside cat. Some diseases your cat may come into contact with while outdoors can be potentially fatal, like feline AIDS or FIV for short, feline leukemia, FIP which stands for feline infectious peritonitis, feline distemper, and some upper respiratory infections. Many cats outdoors also come into contact from poisons, whether it be antifreeze in an open garage, or ingesting a recently killed animal like a mouse that has recently been poisoned.
Safety Measures For Outside Cats.
To protect your cat from many of the dangers of being outside, you may want to consider letting him out only when someone can supervise him at all times. Alternatively, you can walk him on a leash, or have an enclosed area in your garden for him to exercise, but not come into contact with other cats in the area. Additionally, be sure to visit your vet at least once a year to be screened, and tested for parasites and such, and be given those life saving vaccinations.
Finally, it is wise to think about the environment when it comes to letting your cat outdoors, as cats are natural hunters that regularly kill birds. Moreover, with millions of stray cats killing birds, your cat will only add to that number, especially if you have bird feeders, and bird baths around the garden or in your neighbors garden.
We hope this article has given you food for thought when it comes time to decide whether to have an indoor cat, or an outdoor cat, and remember it has to be for the benefit of both you and your cat..
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