Should You Have An Indoor Or Outdoor Cat?

One of the main considerations cat owners have is whether they should allow their cat to go outdoors or to stay indoors. 

It’s safe to say that every cat owner just wants the best for their cat, so here’s what you need to consider when you are deciding to have an indoor or outdoor cat.

 

Outdoor cats

Outdoor cats get the freedom to explore their surroundings which is beneficial for their mental health. It encourages natural cat behaviours such as scratching and socialisation and allows them to exercise more. 

Unfortunately, being outdoors is fraught with risks for cats. There are many dangerous situations that can be harmful and even deadly for your cat. These include:

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-      Dog and fox attacks

-      Getting hit by a car

-      Infections caused by fights with other animals

-      Catching diseases

-      Exposure to worms and fleas

-      Exposure to poisons and harmful chemicals

 Having an outdoor cat who roams also increases the chances of getting picked up by a ranger which can result in your cat being taken to the pound and receiving a fine. Some councils have a cat curfew, so make sure to check your local council’s rules on having an outdoor cat. You can find the rules for the Manningham council here.

Vaccinating your cat can help reduce the risk of feline aids and other nasty diseases that can spread through contact with other infected cats. Ensuring they are given parasite prevention every month or every 3 months will also go a long way in protecting your cat.

Cats can also harm native wildlife like possums and birds when allowed outside. For the sake of wildlife, make sure your cat wears a bell on its collar so they can be alerted to when your cat is near.

 

Indoor cats

Indoor cats are definitely more safe than outdoor cats, but not all cats are happy when kept indoors all the time. Restricting a cat to being indoors can sometimes lead to problem behaviours such as:

  • Damaging belongings by scratching and marking

  • Chewing on poisonous items out of boredom or hunger

  • Escaping from a window or door left inadvertently open (an indoor cat lacks the ability to survive on the streets)

  • Not exercising, which can encourage obesity.

Ensuring your cat has plenty of mental stimulation through a scratching post and other treats and toys will reduce the risk of these unwanted behaviours. You can also consider getting another cat to keep them entertained.

 

So, which is best – an indoor our outdoor cat?

As you can see, there are pros and cons for each, the decision is up to you.

In an ideal situation, your cat would have the best of both worlds. There are now companies that can build outdoor cat enclosures and cat-proof your backyard. This is a great way to give your cat the exercise and stimulation that they need and enjoy. 

You can also buy a harness for your cat and walk them like a dog. Yes! They find it strange at first, but if you go slow, they’ll soon get used to it and enjoy being able to explore their surroundings. 

 If you can’t decide whether your cat should be indoors or outdoors, or you would like to book a health check for your cat, contact our friendly and experienced vet nurses today.

Remi Audette