Once considered to be outdoor animals, on farms for example, cats are nowadays frequently kept indoors. If you’re hesitating between keeping your cat indoors or letting him go outside, read our list of “pros and cons” for helpful tips on how to make sure you kitty is safe, happy and healthy whether he stays in or is allowed to roam free in the alley.
A Good Workout
Most cats like to climb and run. The great outdoors is a perfect playground to keep your animal in good physical shape. As a result, they are less likely to suffer from obesity.
Our feline friends love exploring their surroundings. By giving your four-legged friend the chance to explore your backyard, you are providing him with some freedom and giving him the opportunity to keep his brain stimulated and active. You are also allowing your cat to stay true to its true nature!
Satisfy His Instincts
By being outside, your cat can satisfy his instincts such as clawing or hunting. This is true even if you choose to confine him in a determined space in your yard rather than let your pet roam free. Let’s bet you’d rather see the bark of a tree all scratched up than your favourite couch.
Cars are probably your adventurous cat’s worst enemy. Contrary to popular belief, they do not instinctively avoid vehicles. Therefore, crossing streets is risky for your best bud. On top of this, cats love taking a nap on the wheels of large trucks (cause it keeps them warm and cozy), but this habit puts them in a very vulnerable situation. In the city, with the heavy traffic, it is better to think twice before letting them go on a wild adventure outside your house.
Diseases and Poisoning
Outdoor cats have a much higher risk of contracting serious and even fatal diseases. They are also exposed to toxic substances such as rodenticides (AKA rat poison), antifreeze and some fertilizers used in our gardens, only to name a few of the things they can find around your neighbourhood.
Cats, Dogs and Wild Animals
In addition to the not-so-friendly cats he might meet, kitty might have some even less pleasant encounters during his escapades. Aggressive dogs, wild animals such as skunks (If you have been there, done that, got the t-shirt, you know how much of a pain this is!) and raccoons can all be dangerous for your furry friend. Cast might have sharp teeth and claws, but they are more vulnerable than you might think.
Getting Lost or Stolen
What if your cat decides to venture a little too far and loses his way? What if someone takes him home? Unfortunately, these are all possible scenarios. That’s why precautions are necessary if you decide to let your cat go outside.
A Few Tips to Keep Your Cat Safe
- If your cat is allowed to go outside, make sure he is vaccinated.
- Cats should have a collar that includes your phone number in case of emergency or if he gets lost.
- Assess the potential risks of the environment in which your pet will spend time. Maybe keeping kitty in your backyard or even in a specific area of the garden is a good solution if your neighbourhood is too dangerous.
Finally, it’s never a good idea to let a declawed cat go outside. If he gets into a cat fight, he won’t stand a chance.
Walk with Your Cat
Did you know that you can train your cat to walk on a leash with a small harness? It’s pretty easy and it’s a perfect compromise. Short daily walks will allow him to explore safely under your watchful eye.
Provide a Stimulating Indoor Environment
Your indoor cat should still have access to toys, a scratching post, places to hide and fun, interactive entertainment. It’s important to keep him active and stimulated, otherwise he will get bored and is at risk of developing behavioural problems, or becoming obese.
Ultimately, the decision to let your cat out or not is a personal choice and you are the best judge to decide what will make him happy. After all, the important thing is to respect the needs of your feline companion.