If you’ve just begun on taking care of a cat, you might be wondering which would be better – should you keep them permanently indoors or keep them outside? Or maybe you should allow them to have the two.
Admittedly, making this decision is quite difficult. Keeping them indoors might sound cruel, but keeping them outside means that you’ll be exposing them to a lot of risks and dangers. So, which is better, an indoor cat or an outdoor cat?
The Adventure of An Outdoor Cat
As you know, the major benefit of keeping your feline friend outdoor is that they will develop a natural behavior. This includes territory patrolling, socializing, scratching, marking, and hunting (even if it’s not something you don’t want to encourage). While at the same time they’ll enjoy an active lifestyle with enough daily exercise.
However, like with any other things, there are also some major downsides of letting them roam freely outdoors. Here, are some of the disadvantages that are worth noting for:
- Your cat might get injured or fatal from road traffic accidents.
- He might get caught in catfights that would lead to some injuries.
- He might some cat diseases like FIV or cat flu.
- Parasite infestation like worms or fleas.
- He might get poisoned by accidental or mischievous consumption of substances that are contaminated, like grass, chips in the dumpster, and others.
- You might lose your cat as someone might mistakenly think that he doesn’t have someone and adopt him.
- He might get attacked by dogs and get injuries.
- You might get some complaints from your neighbors, like your cat breaking their stuff, stealing food, or dumping at their backyards.
You can prevent some of the downsides listed above by getting the vaccination from the vet, making your cat wear proper identification like collars, and by training or limiting their time outside to avoid injuries and other fatalities. Regardless of the precautions you make, keeping your cat outdoors will always have a risk.
The Safety of An Indoor Cat
Keeping your cat indoors all the time, and away from the risks of hazards above, might seem like the most obvious solution. But like keeping them outside, there’s also a downside of keeping them inside as well as not all cats will have a happy life indoors.
This would really depend on your cat’s personality and their needs. You might also face some of your cat’s behavioral problems, which could cause some practical problems as well, but most of them can be managed. The practical problems that we are talking about are things like:
- House damage like scratching on walls, furniture, curtains, and by marking on things.
- Roaming indoors like walking on the kitchen shelf, on a cupboard filled with medications, a wobbly bookshelf, or climbing on a lamp which could lead to some glasses breaking.
- They might eat some of your poisonous indoor plants due to hunger, boredom, or by seeing it as an attractive treat.
- They’ll more likely escape from an open window or door due to the curiosity of the outside world and could risk them to a lot of dangers outside.
- It could lead your cat to become obese because of the lack of exercise.
If you want to minimize some of the problems above, you should provide your cat with enough playtime and interaction outside the house to keep them satisfied, and to prevent them from getting bored. If you have a backyard at home, it would be a good idea to let your cat roam and have a good sniff of the outside.
However, you should keep your eyes on your cat as he might jump over your fence and into your neighbor’s backyard. This could be alarming especially if your neighbor has a pet dog.
So Which is Better? Indoor Cats or Outdoors?
This is a difficult question to answer, to be honest, and it would really depend on your cat’s personality and needs. If you have the right environmental enrichment, you can make your cat happy by only living indoors. However, providing him with both indoor and outdoor interaction for a good overall feline development.
If you want to keep your cat for a long time outside without supervision, then you should invest for an outdoor enclosure. It can be as simple or as magnificent as your imagination, as long as your cat gets to enjoy the sight, smell, and others that are provided by the outdoors without risking your pet of becoming a true outdoor cat.
This way, you can protect your pet from the dangers of outdoor, such as being chased by a dog, the dangers of a busy road, cat fights, cat diseases, and others.
Indoors or not, having a feline companion at home is enough to keep you happy and lonely-free. However, if you also want to make your cat live a happy and healthy life, provide all the needs and care they needed like food, regular vet check-ups, proper grooming, enough water, litter boxes, and enough exercise and playtime both inside and outside of the house.