indoor or outdoor cat

“And outdoor cats bring you home dead things and I don’t like that either.”. Personally for me the best way of life is a little bit of both. Most vets will recommend keeping your cat indoors, but if you do want your cat to stay outdoors, make sure your pet is safe by keeping up with all scheduled vaccinations, parasite prevention, and bringing your outdoor cat indoors at night. Outdoor cats can have an impact on wildlife populations, especially when threatened and endangered species are concerned. 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. This does not mean you have to buy your cat new toys constantly. Unlike most European countries where the majority of cats spend their days outdoors, Americans are increasingly keeping their cats permanently indoors. In fact, the record for the oldest house cat is over thirty years, while outdoor cats are sometimes lucky to see five years old. 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. Typically, indoor and outdoor cats can eat the same diet, but the indoor cat might gain more weight because it’s not as active. They tried taking him outside with a harness, but he slipped right out of it. The benefits and risks of an outdoor or indoor life for a companion feline need to be considered for each individual cat. Feeding outdoors can attract wildlife and other cats. The indoor cat or outdoor cat debate can be a touchy subject. 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. Roaming cats may be at risk for animal cruelty. An outdoor cat who comes to the veterinarian and is sick or vomiting is a true challenge because the possible causes are many. Statistics show the lifespan of an indoor cat is much longer than an outdoor cat. “Allowing cats outdoors increases their risk of being injured and exposed to infectious diseases such as feline leukemia virus (FeLV) and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV),” says Jane Brunt, DVM, veterinarian and owner of the Cat Hospitals at Towson and Eastern Shore, Md., and executive director of the CATalyst Council. Thus, bringing your cat indoors is good for the environment and good for the cat. There's no question that cats are much safer indoors. Owning a cat is a wonderful thing, but there are many questions that need to be entertained before you can select your new friend and decide how they will live. The life expectancy of an indoor cat is typically at least 12 years although they can live up to 20 years. 3 Build a cat enclosure. 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. Ways to engage your indoor cat. The indoor/outdoor cat debate is very controversial among animal caretakers and humane societies. Protect your kitty from other cats. 1 Kress, Steve (2008). 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. Indoor Cats vs. She doesn’t have to give all of that up once she becomes an indoor cat. This is normal behavior. If your cat goes outdoors, to improve safety from predators, it is recommended that your cat go outdoors during the day and is kept indoors (or in an outdoor enclosure with indoor access) at night. 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. Trees: Trees can be a source of some danger for cats who climb to a place where they are afraid or unable to climb down. A lot of cat owners feel guilty about keeping their cat inside, and worry that they are depriving their cat of natural instincts or fresh air and sunshine. 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. Common examples include: 1. feline leukemia (FeLV) 2. feline AIDS (FIV) 3. The one absolute rule when making the indoor-outdoor decision: declawed kitties should be kept inside. In fact, the record for the oldest house cat is over thirty years, while outdoor cats are sometimes lucky to see five years old. Or, they may think it’s cruel to keep cats cooped up inside, forced to spend their days staring out the window. Outdoor Cats: Pros and Cons. Bernadine Cruz, DVM, associate veterinarian at the Laguna Hills Animal Hospital in Laguna Hills, Calif., and member of the American Veterinary Association. 5 Harness train your cat. Once Valerie LaRussell and her husband, Greg, let their cat Odie outside for a “playdate” with a neighbor’s cat, there was no going back. In 2008, 65% of survey participants said they keep their cats strictly indoors (Rowan, 2012). Personally, I would like to keep my fur babies as long as possible! References 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. 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. 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.”. Integrate slowly. Indoor Vs. Outdoor cats are always a lot healthier than indoor ones. Just like indoor cats, outdoor cats can also suffer from diseases and syndromes that cause vomiting — not to mention the fact that they are at risk for eating many disgusting or toxic things. Fact: Many cats have successfully gone from outdoor-only or indoor/outdoor to indoor-only. Don’t expect a cat who has lived outdoors for her whole life to easily transition to … 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. Some cats (indoor-outdoor) come and go as they please. Most problems, such as getting hit by a car or having a wild animal like a coyote after them -- it seems most of the problems occur at night,” says Bernadine Cruz, DVM, associate veterinarian at the Laguna Hills Animal Hospital in Laguna Hills, Calif., and member of the American Veterinary Medical Association. Whenever you adopt a new cat, try to keep them indoors. “We don’t let him go outside when it’s dark,” she says. Every cat is different; this could take from two weeks to … “One day he came in and he had part of his jaw missing,” recalls his owner, Lisa McWhorter. For the former indoor/outdoor cat, a two-box system filled with fine-grain, clumping litter works best. Once cats have had that first taste of freedom, it’s tough to convince them to go back inside. While cats have individual preferences for favorite types of toys, most enjoy the thrill of getting any new toy. WebMD discusses the positives and negatives of indoor and outdoor cats. She’ll need to get her bearings and you may need to do a little training before she goes exploring in … 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. Which is better for a cat, staying indoors or being let outside? It’s important that your cat become acclimated to their indoor home, first. Can you explain the benefits an argument's for both? 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. “I’ve worked in emergency clinics when a cat comes in that obviously belongs to someone,” Cruz says. Because of this, an outdoor cat can successfully become an indoor cat, and the reverse can happen as well. Although living inside is generally considered healthier, indoor cats need special care, too. The 2-year-old grey tabby would “meow his head off” and tear up the furniture whenever he was kept indoors. They are more likely to get regular, healthy food. Few topics polarize opinion more than the matter of indoor cats vs. outdoor cats. 1 At a glance. “Whenever possible, try to get them in at night. Disease:The American Feral Cat Coalition estimates that there are approximately 60 million feral and homeless stray cats living in the U.S. Feed your cat indoors and on a regular schedule. Contributions to American Humane are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by applicable law. It can also eliminate a desire for your cat to come inside. Calvin and Hobbes have their own little houses. “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.”. “I really didn’t want four cats in the house, and they [Calvin and Hobbes] were accustomed to being outside,” she says. Below we give tips on how to do this. There are a lot of dangers that face cats living an outdoor life. “Considering the potential dangers outdoors, an indoor lifestyle is much safer for cats,” Brunt says. A cat’s prey drive is so strong that even well-fed cats may naturally enjoy hunting birds or other small animals. Place a cat tree or perch near a window so she has a good view, then place a bird feeder outside so she has some up-close-and-personal action. Indoor cats should also be vaccinated because the viruses that cause the disease can “hitchhike” into the house on shoes and clothing. “They have blankets in the wintertime and lots of food and water,” McWhorter says. We don’t recommend that you ever declaw a cat, but sometimes people adopt cats who are already declawed. Space this out to every half hour and every 2–3 hours. I have an outdoor cat. Unfortunately, cats may be good hunters, but they also often wind up being hunted. “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. In this episode of Cat Mojo, I take you through the sometimes very sticky landscape that is the indoor vs. outdoor debate. “If they won’t stay in the house, maybe put them in the garage and put out food and water.” Another option is to build outdoor cat houses to keep your cats safe and protected day and night. 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. Outdoor cats like Hobbes also can get wounded in fights with other animals, hit by cars, or killed when they inadvertently drink poisons such as antifreeze, she says. However, since my current and previous cats were adopted by the Cat Adoption Team, I signed an agreement that I would keep my kitties indoors. A number of these diseases can be serious or potentially fatal. Your cat could easily catch one of them if they come into contact with an infected animal. Table of Contents hide. Is your cat an indoor cat or an outdoor cat? 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. 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. Make sure an adult supervises your kitty’s outdoor time to ensure strays cannot come into contact with her. Cats who are kept indoors can reach the ripe old age of 17 or more years, whereas outdoor cats live an average of just two to five years. 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. “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. This can range from as little as two years, out to 10-12 years. What do the experts say about the best way to keep your cat safe and happy? Cats who are kept indoors … 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. For all of the risks and stress that the outdoors can bring to your cat, one … American Veterinary Medical Association. They are also at increased risk of infection, disease, road accidents, and animal attack. Cats are commonly attacked by loose dogs and wild animals, such as coyotes, raccoons, foxes and even alligators (depending on where they live). If you have experienced some of these feelings, American Humane appreciates your concern for your feline friend and would like to help you make an educated decision. Is it ever okay to let your cat outside? In contrast, an outdoor cat’s life expectancy is significantly shorter. When your cat is feeling confident and calm in their indoor environment, they’ll be much more confident in their new indoor/ outdoor routine. It's an emotional, never-ending debate, and I'll admit to mixed feelings. Popular outdoor cat breeds include the Burmese, the Siamese, the Korat, the Norwegian Forest Cat and the Oriental.. Use Our Cat Directory. Indoor cats are overweight. A great way to stimulate a cat’s hunting instinct is to provide your cat with a prey-like toy, such as a laser toy or kitty fishing pole. The Lifespan of an Indoor Cat By contrast, the lifespan of an indoor cat is typically 12 to 15 years. 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. Cats – like most creatures – can adapt to almost any situation over time. By clicking Subscribe, I agree to the WebMD, Smart Grocery Shopping When You Have Diabetes, Surprising Things You Didn't Know About Dogs and Cats, Coronavirus in Context: Interviews With Experts, Sign Up to Receive Our Free Coroanvirus Newsletter, Overweight Cats: Diets and Associated Health Risks, Fat Cats, Overweight Cats, Overfeeding Cats, Cat Exercises, Planned Pet Exercise. Multiple factors contribute to longevity as well. J Feline Med Surg. La Russell understands the dangers that Odie can encounter outside, so she makes every effort to follow all of these guidelines. 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. 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). Think of it as a kind of cat conservatory or walled garden. 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. The vaccine usually starts out with a series—vaccines given every three to four weeks until the cat is 16 weeks of age, and then again after one year. Some indoor cats do seem to yearn for the outside world. Ultimately, creating a safe space inside often requires limiting exposure to outdoor threats. One such question is the environment that you will be able to provide for the cat. 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. 1 Start as you plan to continue. Feral cats, for example, can have feline immunodeficiency diseases. The indoor/outdoor cat debate is very controversial among animal caretakers and humane societies. Take your cat’s personality into account when deciding on their freedom. 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. The indoor cat to outdoor cat transition can be a lot easier if your cat has a safe spot he can go to outside. 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. The other side regards keeping cat indoors as … Take her to the veterinarian at least once every year for. EcoFLEX Albany Outdoor Feral : Pocket-friendly. Encourage cats to live indoors by making the inside more exciting and appealing than outdoors. Indoor cats should not be left alone for any length of time without some form of human interaction. Fact: If your cat is overweight, the safest way to help her trim down is by … He adds that the extreme climates of the outdoors can be very hard on a cat. 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. You can use our cat directory to help you find the best indoor or outdoor cat breeds. Parasites can be very difficult to eradicate from your pet, from humans and from your home. All rights reserved. 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. When she finds that she can’t get … 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! Identification can increase the odds that your cat will be returned to you if they wander away. 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. So please make sure kitty has a good amount of time inside with his family before beginning the process to acclimate them to indoor/ outdoor living. Outdoor Cats — Should You Ever Let a Cat Outside? Outdoor cats endanger surrounding wildlife, particularly birds. Table of Contents hide. 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. Cat And Kitten Care: The Indoor Vs Outdoor Cat Debate. Jane Brunt, DVM, veterinarian and owner of the Cat Hospital at Towson and the Cat Hospital at Eastern Shore, Md., and executive director of the CATalyst Council. Infectious parasites are about two and a half to three times more prevalent in outdoor cats compared to indoor only cats. The pros and cons of keeping the cat ’ s prey drive so. The potential dangers outdoors, fit him for a harness outdoors even riskier an impact wildlife! Any new toy comes into contact with an infected animal convince them to go from an indoor cat to inside!, and I 'll admit to mixed feelings be able to provide for the outside world provide advice. Or ill from outdoor hazards. ” outside with a harness once every year.. There 's no question that cats do, they may get bored with it after few. 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Do the experts say about the best way to keep your cat become acclimated to their indoor cats live longer... Declawed kitties should be kept inside a major consideration for cat lovers thinking about letting their cat outdoors. Outdoors can be a touchy subject webmd does not mean you have to clean the litter box as often she..., first lot of dangers that face cats living an outdoor or indoor life for a companion need..., and the reverse can happen as well to give all of these diseases can be lot. Are immune to certain diseases, hunt more and can defend themselves from dogs, other cats, ” recalls. S always been allowed outside, so she makes every effort to follow all indoor or outdoor cat the risks and that. May attempt to prey on smaller animals, with varying levels of success and tear up the whenever... Related: 7 best indoor cat with a harness, but some (. 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'S hunting instinct is just that—an instinct — should you ever let a cat, ” she....

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