Should your cat be an outdoor cat or an indoor cat?
New cat owners struggle with this a lot. They want their cats to experience the outdoor world but worry that they’ll get hit by a car or killed some other way.
Do outdoor cats live longer than indoor cats?
Indoor cats live much longer than outdoor cats. According to some sources, indoor cats can live more than ten years longer than cats who spend most of their time outside.
Outdoor cats are up against a lot. They’re small animals in a hectic human world with cars, electric wires, poisonous foods, and other threats. Without a human to protect them, these domestic animals are often dealing with more than they can handle.
If you’re keeping a cat, you should know that the average outdoor cat will live less than five years. Indoor cats can live into their teens. In general, indoor cats are safer, more comfortable, and happier.
Reasons for Your Cat to Live Indoors
Some people have a hard time with the idea of keeping their cats inside all day. Especially if you live in a small apartment, having them in a small space for their entire lives can sometimes feel cruel.
You tell yourself it would be inhumane to keep a child indoors for their whole lives, so why is it OK with a cat?
Well, cats who live outdoors face a lot more risks. When they’re outside, they have to contend with:
Cats don’t know how to cross streets to avoid cars.
Moving vehicles are a significant hazard because cats won’t always react the right way when they see a car coming. In many cases, cats dart further into traffic when they’re scared.
Whether it’s a dog or something like a mountain lion, cats face plenty of natural predators. Don’t overlook the fact that some humans will even kill an outdoor cat that comes around their property.
Cats can eat and digest harmful foods that will kill them, from a trash can to roadkill to a sick bird. When a cat is outdoors, owners have no way of controlling their diet.
Cats will likely spend a lot of their time in dark spaces where they can hide.
If you’re in a city, that’s often dirtier as well. They’re more likely to encounter places and other animals with diseases, which could end up killing them.
These are just some of the risks to outdoor cats.
Ways to Give Your Indoor Cat a Taste of the Outdoors
Keeping cats indoors gives them a safe environment where they can feel comfortable and live a full life. There are, however, times when you want them to experience what it’s like to be outside.
If you’re lucky enough to have something like a sunroom or an enclosed patio, then you can let your cat out there where they can sunbathe outdoors and breathe some fresh air.
There are also cat leashes that let you walk them, but some cats won’t take to being leashed very well.
You can also buy cat carriers that range from anything like a carry-on case with mesh doors to a see-through backpack that gives your cat a great view of wherever you take them.
Options are limited, but you can give your cat occasional tastes of the outdoors.
Concerns for Indoor Cats
One of the biggest concerns for keeping cats indoors is managing their diets.
Making sure they get enough exercise can be a challenge, especially if you have a cat that is inclined to nap in the sun all day.
If so, you need to be strict about their diet and limit how much food they’re eating to keep it in proportion to how much exercise they’re getting. When in doubt, you can always consult your vet about how much food you’re giving them.
To combat cat obesity, make sure you’re playing with your cat frequently. You may also want to consider finding them a pet companion that they can play with all day.
One way to keep your cat active and entertained is to buy them toys and cat trees to play with. Modern cat posts and trees are designed beautifully and fit in with the rest of your furniture.
You can build mazes and perches for your cat to climb to help them keep their muscles and use their claws every so often.
Cats love to roam the great outdoors, but that comes with many risks. If you can keep your cat indoors, they will likely live longer. Finding the right balance for your indoor cat is key to helping them stay healthy and happy.