This eliminates nocturnal hunting and … References “They have blankets in the wintertime and lots of food and water,” McWhorter says. Make sure an adult supervises your kitty’s outdoor time to ensure strays cannot come into contact with her. Because of this, an outdoor cat can successfully become an indoor cat, and the reverse can happen as well. They are immune to certain diseases, hunt more and can defend themselves better. Indoor cats are overweight. An outdoor cat who comes to the veterinarian and is sick or vomiting is a true challenge because the possible causes are many. One side is horrified that anyone would ever let their cats outside, given all the hazards (traffic, predators, disease, deeply disturbed cat-hating humanoids). Indoor cats live on average 10-15 years, while outdoor cats live on average 2-5 years This handout is intended to help you sort out the pros and cons associated with each lifestyle so you can rest assured your cat Some cats (indoor-outdoor) come and go as they please. They are also at increased risk of infection, disease, road accidents, and animal attack. For the former indoor/outdoor cat, a two-box system filled with fine-grain, clumping litter works best. You’ll notice that many shelters will list that a kitten may … Ways to engage your indoor cat. If you are in this situation – living in an apartment, for example – it is best to opt for a breed that will be happy to live indoors. The indoor cat to outdoor cat transition can be a lot easier if your cat has a safe spot he can go to outside. Enjoying these types of toys with your cat for several minutes each day is an ideal way to interact with your cat and provide much-needed exercise and playtime, while allowing an appropriate outlet for her natural prey drive. Petplan takes a look at the pros and cons of keeping your cat indoors or letting them go outdoors. “We treat him for fleas every 30 days, and we take him to the vet for his regular check-ups.” Those check-ups include vaccinations for diseases such as rabies and feline distemper, as well as heartworm medications. A major consideration for cat lovers thinking about letting their cat venture outdoors is safety. Take her to the veterinarian at least once every year for. Did you make the choice or was it decided for you? The answer is yes; many cat owners have successfully transformed their indoor/outdoor cat into an indoor cat. Audubon Living: Cats. Outdoor cats can have an impact on wildlife populations, especially when threatened and endangered species are concerned. Related: 7 Best Indoor Cat breeds. 5 Harness train your cat. Don’t expect a cat who has lived outdoors for her whole life to easily transition to … Friends for your feline. Playing, chasing and mutual grooming and snuggling can fulfill your indoor cat’s need for exercise, companionship and affection while you are at work or away from home. There are several factors at play when deciding how your cat will spend its days as comfortably as possible, ranging from safety and health to mental health. Gina Gentilozzi never thought twice about keeping her three cats indoors, particularly because she has some unpleasant memories about her own childhood pets. 4 Schedule plenty of play. Keep her on a leash or secured in a cage or other confined space where she can’t get out (and other cats can’t get in). Cats are commonly attacked by loose dogs and wild animals, such as coyotes, raccoons, foxes and even alligators (depending on where they live). McWhorter is well aware that Hobbes and his sister, Calvin, lead a riskier life than her two indoor cats, Lucy and Ricky, but she inherited them from her home’s previous owner and was afraid it would be hard for them to make the transition from outdoor to indoor cats. Injuries from wild animal and stray dog attacks are very serious and often fatal. Personally, I would like to keep my fur babies as long as possible! To help you find a cat that’s more suited to living only indoors we have described each breed as being a typical “house cat” or “outdoor cat”. They might be afraid that their indoor cats will become fat and lazy. Or, they may think it’s cruel to keep cats cooped up inside, forced to spend their days staring out the window. We may think of our feisty felines as good hunters who are capable of taking care of themselves with sharp teeth and claws. 3 Build a cat enclosure. “We don’t let him go outside when it’s dark,” she says. Space this out to every half hour and every 2–3 hours. Indoor or Outdoor Cat? Typically, indoor and outdoor cats can eat the same diet, but the indoor cat might gain more weight because it’s not as active. Cats have individual preferences, and many prefer to have a variety of scratching posts and surfaces, so be sure to offer your cat several types in multiple locations around your house. Multiple factors contribute to longevity as well. Every cat is different; this could take from two weeks to … Place one where you want the litter box to permanently reside, and put the transitional box at the door the cat once used to exit the house. Fact: If your cat is overweight, the safest way to help her trim down is by … Ultimately, creating a safe space inside often requires limiting exposure to outdoor threats. It can also eliminate a desire for your cat to come inside. Calvin and Hobbes have their own little houses. Whenever you adopt a new cat, try to keep them indoors. Declawed cats can’t defend themselves from dogs, other cats, or predators, making the outdoors even riskier. Although the impact made by one cat might not seem like a big deal, it is important to think about the total impact of all the cats who are allowed outside. Your cat’s lifestyle increases their risk of certain health conditions, so whether she's an indoor or outdoor kitty will change the kind of risks she's exposed to. Unlike most European countries where the majority of cats spend their days outdoors, Americans are increasingly keeping their cats permanently indoors. 1 At a glance. The benefits and risks of an outdoor or indoor life for a companion feline need to be considered for each individual cat. “We just became resigned to the fact that he’s going to be an indoor-outdoor cat,” LaRussell says. A number of these diseases can be serious or potentially fatal. If your cat is fully vaccinated, microchipped, and has a decent collar, you can allow for a day or so before ramping up your search. That’s one of the main reasons why, if your cats are indoor pets, you might want to consider changing their food to an indoor cat formula. Your cat could easily catch one of them if they come into contact with an infected animal. There's no question that cats are much safer indoors. Toxins and poisons: Outside cats also face danger from coming into contact with toxins, such as antifreeze, that are often ingested because they have a pleasant taste. Here are some great ways to ensure that your cat enjoys a happy, healthy life inside your home: Many cats enjoy the company of other cats or in some cases, dogs! Indoor cats also live much longer than outdoor cats. They are more likely to get regular, healthy food. For a cat, one of the best parts about living outdoors is the constant stimulation from all of the sounds, smells, and movements. Feral cats, for example, can have feline immunodeficiency diseases. Cats may also end up accidently exposed to rodent poisons when they hunt and eat rodents that have recently ingested poison bait. Cat And Kitten Care: The Indoor Vs Outdoor Cat Debate. For Gentilozzi and McWhorter, the choice was relatively easy, but many other pet owners struggle with the decision of whether to keep their cats indoors or outdoors. 5 Harness train your cat. Despite enjoying the freedom to roam, outdoor cats like Hobbes can lead a dangerous life. The 2-year-old grey tabby would “meow his head off” and tear up the furniture whenever he was kept indoors. “One of his eyes was closed shut before, and he had an abscess on his back one time from where he got into a fight with something.”. Outdoor cats endanger surrounding wildlife, particularly birds. Cats who are kept indoors … Roaming cats may be at risk for animal cruelty. Hobbes, a 10-year-old orange tabby, has gotten into his share of trouble over the years. Audubon Magazine, November-December. That being said, there are many risks to allowing your cat – regardless of their history – outside. “I may not be able to get the owner immediately, but I know that owner cared enough to put the chip in and I’ll go that step further [to locate them].” Finally, make sure your pet is spayed or neutered to prevent an unwanted litter. Common examples include: 1. feline leukemia (FeLV) 2. feline AIDS (FIV) 3. In 2008, 65% of survey participants said they keep their cats strictly indoors (Rowan, 2012). Perhaps some of the biggest risks to the welfare of an indoor-only cat are not physical welfare risks but instead, risks to the emotional wellbeing of the cat. 4 Schedule plenty of play. Many of these cats may carry diseases that can be passed on to your cat if he or she comes into contact with them. He adds that the extreme climates of the outdoors can be very hard on a cat. The answer is yes; many cat owners have successfully transformed their indoor/outdoor cat into an indoor cat. Once you get the go-ahead from your vet, start by training your cat to use a litter box and scratching post outside so it … Those who really want to pamper their pets can attach cat enclosures to their home, to give their cats the feeling of being outdoors without the dangers of being exposed to the outside. Infectious parasites are about two and a half to three times more prevalent in outdoor cats compared to indoor only cats. Even well-fed pet cats who are allowed to roam outdoors may attempt to prey on smaller animals, with varying levels of success. Diseases like feline leukemia virus (FeLV) , or feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) , rabies, cat flu are going to be more likely in a cat who has access to outdoors and interacts with other cats. In fact, the record for the oldest house cat is over thirty years, while outdoor cats are sometimes lucky to see five years old. Dr. Jeff Levy, DVM, CVA, owner of House Call Vet NYC, also discourages owners from keeping cats outdoors. She doesn’t have to give all of that up once she becomes an indoor cat. There are a lot of dangers that face cats living an outdoor life. Let’s look at the issues surrounding indoor vs. outdoor cats: The American Feral Cat Coalition estimates that there are approximately 60 million feral and homeless stray cats living in the U.S. EcoFLEX Albany Outdoor Feral : Pocket-friendly. In addition to the risks posed by fellow cats, other potential hazards that can seriously threaten your cat’s well-being — and even her life – include: Contrary to popular belief, cats do not have the innate instinct to avoid busy streets, and they frequently get hit by cars. She’ll need to get her bearings and you may need to do a little training before she goes exploring in … Statistics show the lifespan of an indoor cat is much longer than an outdoor cat. Cats – like most creatures – can adapt to almost any situation over time. The life expectancy of an indoor cat is typically at least 12 years although they can live up to 20 years. Indoor cats should be provided with appropriate surfaces on which to exercise their natural instinct to scratch. Outdoor Cats: Pros and Cons. Indeed, this debate seems to be more prevalent in the United States, as in many other countries, cats are allowed free access to the outdoors. The indoor/outdoor cat debate is very controversial among animal caretakers and humane societies. Contributions to American Humane are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by applicable law. According to the AVMA, indoor cats live longer than their outdoor counterparts. Regardless of if your cat lives inside or out, a healthy, balanced diet, regular veterinary exams, and full vaccinations are key to preventing illness and helping your cat live a long healthy life. Let’s take a closer look. Disease:The American Feral Cat Coalition estimates that there are approximately 60 million feral and homeless stray cats living in the U.S. "Give your kitty plenty of indoor options to express their natural behaviors," the Humane Society advised. Feed your cat indoors and on a regular schedule. In fact, the average lifespan of an indoor cat ranges from 10 to 15 years, whereas the lifespan of outdoor cats are way shorter — averaging just 2 to 5 years. In fact, the record for the oldest house cat is over thirty years, while outdoor cats are sometimes lucky to see five years old. Bernadine Cruz, DVM, associate veterinarian at the Laguna Hills Animal Hospital in Laguna Hills, Calif., and member of the American Veterinary Association. Try putting some of the toys away while you leave others out, and then rotate them every few days to give your kitty the “new toy” excitement without the expense. This can work especially well if your cat is trained in using a cat door or cat flap, which then can connect to an enclosed area outside. If you’ve decided to keep your cat indoors, but want them to reap some of the benefits of being an outdoors cat, here are some ideas to engage your kitty. Otherwise, call your cat every 5 minutes. Unfortunately, cats may be good hunters, but they also often wind up being hunted. The indoor environment, in comparison to the outdoor environment, is generally considered to be more predictable and monotonous. On average, an indoor cat lives 10-15, but some cats can live for as many as twenty years. Some indoor cats do seem to yearn for the outside world. In general cats thrive on a mixture of indoor and outdoor time. WebMD does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All rights reserved. “Indoor cats have a much lower likelihood of becoming hurt or ill from outdoor hazards.” As evidence, indoor cats live longer than their outdoor counterparts. Next to declawing, the indoor-outdoor question is probably one of the toughest questions for cat owners, with both sides polarized to their own views. Personally for me the best way of life is a little bit of both. Which is better for a cat, staying indoors or being let outside? Deciding whether your cat should be an indoor cat, an outdoor cat, or something in between is a decision that should be based on each individual. In 2008, 65% of survey participants said they keep their cats strictly indoors (Rowan, 2012). Below we give tips on how to do this. If you’re bringing in a stray cat or if you’ve decided your exclusively-outdoor cat should now live indoors, you can’t just bring her in and let her have the run of the house right away. This beautiful item is not only pocket-friendly, but it … A slow start is key! I have an outdoor cat. There are a lot of dangers that face cats living an outdoor life. What do the experts say about the best way to keep your cat safe and happy? Sadly, some people have been known to shoot cats with BB guns or arrows, while some cats end up being trapped, abused and killed in the name of “sport” or “for fun.”. In contrast, an outdoor cat’s life expectancy is significantly shorter. Integrate slowly. The indoor cat diet, which often involves grazing on an open bowl of food all day, plus a sedentary lifestyle, can lead to obesity and may predispose a cat to diabetes. American Veterinary Medical Association. That’s why it’s important to keep indoor cats active by providing scratching posts, perches, and a variety of toys to get them running and climbing. Cats Indoor or Outdoor? Like many cat lovers, you may have thought about letting your cat go outside. Loose cats are estimated to kill hundreds of millions of birds each year, yet birds are believed to be only 20 percent of the wildlife stray cats kill.1 Birds are especially at risk around homes with feeders and birdbaths.1. Table of Contents hide. Friends for your feline. Plus she doesn’t have to clean the litter box as often as she once did. Although living inside is generally considered healthier, indoor cats need special care, too. 2 Be firm. Since indoor cats don’t get the same exercise that outdoor cats do, they can sometimes get a bit lazy. Share this: Click to … You can either buy a collar with a tag (but make sure the collar has a safety clasp that will release if your cat gets caught on something), or invest in a microchip that is implanted between your cat’s shoulder blades. 2 Be firm. Indoor-outdoor cat has suddenly stopped going outside and has taken to getting into places in the house that she never went in before. Exercise Needs– Keeping your indoor cat mentally and physically stimulated is important. Can you explain the benefits an argument's for both? A totally outdoor cat (such as a feral or community cat) has certain basic needs, such as a windproof and rainproof shelter, to survive the seasons. I totally agree with you. Indoor or outdoor cat is something only you yourself can answer, it really is a choice that you make for your cat with no right and no wrong answer. It’s much easier to go from an indoor to outdoor cat than to go from an outdoor to indoor cat. 3 Build a cat enclosure. Every cat -- whether indoor or outdoor -- should see the vet at least twice a year for an exam and regular regimen of vaccines, and all cats need to have some form of identification, Cruz says. If you live in town or in city a indoor cat is always safer from traffic and all, but if you have a large lot, outdoor is always the better choice. Providing stimulating cat toys and “trees” for adventure and play—like the Frisco 52-Inch Cat Tree or the KONG Naturals Cat Scratcher—gives your indoor cat many of the same benefits of outdoor recreation, and will keep your furry friend from becoming a bored cat with nothing to do. This can range from as little as two years, out to 10-12 years. This does not mean you have to buy your cat new toys constantly. Indoor Cats vs. The key, again, is making sure the indoor environment is just as interesting as outside — and … Many of these cats may carry diseases that can be passed on to your cat if he or she comes into contact with them. American Humane is a 501(C)(3) non-profit organization. In some cases, they may be up in a tree for days until they become so severely dehydrated and weak that they fall and suffer severe, serious or fatal injuries. Bottom line: Ultimately, the decision of whether to have an indoor or outdoor cat is up to you. J Feline Med Surg. The benefits of keeping the cat away from possible dangers outdoors have to be weighed against the effects on the cat’s behaviour. Indoor cats can live just as a fulfilling lives as outdoor cats, without the numerous risks to their health and safety.Many cat owners to let their cat outside during the day, so they can roam the yard and lock them securely inside at night. It is easier to opt for an indoor only cat right from the start than to convert an outdoor cat successfully into an indoor one. “Indoor cats have a much lower likelihood of becoming hurt or ill from outdoor hazards.”. Pros and Cons for Outdoor, Free-Range Cats “I really didn’t want four cats in the house, and they [Calvin and Hobbes] were accustomed to being outside,” she says. Few topics polarize opinion more than the matter of indoor cats vs. outdoor cats. But life is tough for an outdoor cat and their life expectancy is shorter than an indoor cat. Parasites can be very difficult to eradicate from your pet, from humans and from your home. However, just like children, they may get bored with it after a few days. If you buy an Omlet Outdoor Cat Run your pet will be able to enjoy fresh air and exercise, with the added safety and security of a fence between them and the dangers beyond. Indoor cats can have a life expectancy of around 17 years or more, while outdoor felines are lucky to live an average of two to five years – that’s a substantial difference. Studies have shown that indoor cats live longer, healthier lives. A cat's hunting instinct is just that—an instinct. As evidence, indoor cats live longer than their outdoor counterparts. Although it’s not the lifestyle vets recommend, LaRussell says keeping Odie outdoors has trimmed him down to what her vet says is an ideal weight. Protect your kitty from other cats. © 2005 - 2019 WebMD LLC. If the indoor territory feels insecure, the resident cats are more likely to fight. One such question is the environment that you will be able to provide for the cat. The consensus among veterinarians and organizations such as the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is that it’s wiserto keep cats indoors. Is your cat an indoor cat or an outdoor cat? “When I was little, I had indoor-outdoor cats and they all had fleas,” she recalls. Your cat’s lifestyle increases their risk of certain health conditions, so whether she's an indoor or outdoor kitty will change the kind of risks she's exposed to. WebMD discusses the positives and negatives of indoor and outdoor cats. Identification can increase the odds that your cat will be returned to you if they wander away. “Considering the potential dangers outdoors, an indoor lifestyle is much safer for cats,” Brunt says. Gleich SE, Krieger S, Hartmann K. Prevalence of feline immunodeficiency virus and feline leukaemia virus among client-owned cats and risk factors for infection in Germany. Once cats have had that first taste of freedom, it’s tough to convince them to go back inside. If you’ve decided to keep your cat indoors, but want them to reap some of the benefits of being an outdoors cat, here are some ideas to engage your kitty. 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