This is normal behavior. A number of these diseases can be serious or potentially fatal. Audubon Living: Cats. The indoor cat or outdoor cat debate can be a touchy subject. 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. 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. “We just became resigned to the fact that he’s going to be an indoor-outdoor cat,” LaRussell says. Contributions to American Humane are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by applicable law. 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 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. The life expectancy of an indoor cat is typically at least 12 years although they can live up to 20 years. When your cat is feeling confident and calm in their indoor environment, they’ll be much more confident in their new indoor/ outdoor routine. Declawed cats can’t defend themselves from dogs, other cats, or predators, making the outdoors even riskier. 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. Disease:The American Feral Cat Coalition estimates that there are approximately 60 million feral and homeless stray cats living in the U.S. 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. 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. Can you explain the benefits an argument's for both? 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. Think of it as a kind of cat conservatory or walled garden. 5 Harness train your cat. Which is better for a cat, staying indoors or being let outside? Indoor or Outdoor Cat? 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. The indoor cat to outdoor cat transition can be a lot easier if your cat has a safe spot he can go to outside. They might be afraid that their indoor cats will become fat and lazy. This can range from as little as two years, out to 10-12 years. 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. You’ll notice that many shelters will list that a kitten may … Even well-fed pet cats who are allowed to roam outdoors may attempt to prey on smaller animals, with varying levels of success. Outdoor cats are always a lot healthier than indoor ones. For the former indoor/outdoor cat, a two-box system filled with fine-grain, clumping litter works best. Hobbes, a 10-year-old orange tabby, has gotten into his share of trouble over the years. One side is horrified that anyone would ever let their cats outside, given all the hazards (traffic, predators, disease, deeply disturbed cat-hating humanoids). La Russell understands the dangers that Odie can encounter outside, so she makes every effort to follow all of these guidelines. Personally, I would like to keep my fur babies as long as possible! Many of these cats may carry diseases that can be passed on to your cat if he or she comes into contact with them. The consensus among veterinarians and organizations such as the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is that it’s wiserto keep cats indoors. Table of Contents hide. I prefer not to allow my cats to free roam but this does not mean that they cannot enjoy the outside world. 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. 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 … Feeding outdoors can attract wildlife and other cats. We may think of our feisty felines as good hunters who are capable of taking care of themselves with sharp teeth and claws. 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. “Indoor cats have a much lower likelihood of becoming hurt or ill from outdoor hazards.”. That being said, there are many risks to allowing your cat – regardless of their history – outside. 4 Schedule plenty of play. The one absolute rule when making the indoor-outdoor decision: declawed kitties should be kept inside. 1 At a glance. Take your cat’s personality into account when deciding on their freedom. Plus she doesn’t have to clean the litter box as often as she once did. Outdoor cats can have an impact on wildlife populations, especially when threatened and endangered species are concerned. “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. However, just like children, they may get bored with it after a few days. A slow start is key! Multiple factors contribute to longevity as well. 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. 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. But life is tough for an outdoor cat and their life expectancy is shorter than an indoor cat. Cats may also end up accidently exposed to rodent poisons when they hunt and eat rodents that have recently ingested poison bait. The answer is yes; many cat owners have successfully transformed their indoor/outdoor cat into an indoor cat. Infectious parasites are about two and a half to three times more prevalent in outdoor cats compared to indoor only cats. Although living inside is generally considered healthier, indoor cats need special care, too. Roaming cats may be at risk for animal cruelty. “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. 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. We don’t recommend that you ever declaw a cat, but sometimes people adopt cats who are already declawed. 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. What do the experts say about the best way to keep your cat safe and happy? “Whenever possible, try to get them in at night. Table of Contents hide. © 2021 American Humane. Related: 7 Best Indoor Cat breeds. Fact: If your cat is overweight, the safest way to help her trim down is by … “They have blankets in the wintertime and lots of food and water,” McWhorter says. Outdoor Cats: Pros and Cons. In fact, the record for the oldest house cat is over thirty years, while outdoor cats are sometimes lucky to see five years old. Audubon Magazine, November-December. Unlike most European countries where the majority of cats spend their days outdoors, Americans are increasingly keeping their cats permanently indoors. Statistics show the lifespan of an indoor cat is much longer than an outdoor cat. Because of this, an outdoor cat can successfully become an indoor cat, and the reverse can happen as well. According to the AVMA, indoor cats live longer than their outdoor counterparts. Protect your kitty from other cats. 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. Popular outdoor cat breeds include the Burmese, the Siamese, the Korat, the Norwegian Forest Cat and the Oriental.. Use Our Cat Directory. 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. While cats have individual preferences for favorite types of toys, most enjoy the thrill of getting any new toy. Exercise Needs– Keeping your indoor cat mentally and physically stimulated is important. The indoor vs outdoor cat debate has raged for years among pet owners. “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. 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. Make sure an adult supervises your kitty’s outdoor time to ensure strays cannot come into contact with her. A cat's hunting instinct is just that—an instinct. Cat-Cat Conflict. Indoor Cats vs. 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. Injuries from wild animal and stray dog attacks are very serious and often fatal. 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. You’ll notice that many shelters will list that a kitten may … 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 fact, the record for the oldest house cat is over thirty years, while outdoor cats are sometimes lucky to see five years old. 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. 5 Harness train your cat. 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. 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. References 1 Start as you plan to continue. “And outdoor cats bring you home dead things and I don’t like that either.”. WebMD discusses the positives and negatives of indoor and outdoor cats. Friends for your feline. This does not mean you have to buy your cat new toys constantly. I totally agree with you. 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. 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. They are more likely to get regular, healthy food. You can find some sort of middle ground by providing an enclosed outdoor space right where you can keep an eye out for your pet. Encourage cats to live indoors by making the inside more exciting and appealing than outdoors. 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. Bottom line: Ultimately, the decision of whether to have an indoor or outdoor cat is up to you. The answer is yes; many cat owners have successfully transformed their indoor/outdoor cat into an indoor cat. Deciding whether or not a cat should be an indoors or outdoors animal is up to individual owners, but the pros and cons provide substantial evidence toward indoor cats. “I’ve worked in emergency clinics when a cat comes in that obviously belongs to someone,” Cruz says. Common examples include: While usually not life-threatening for cats, several common parasites can be picked up by your kitty when venturing outdoors, including: These parasites can cause a variety of moderate to severe symptoms, such as scratching, skin infections, vomiting and diarrhea. You might feel silly walking around your neighborhood with a cat on a leash, and your cat may protest at first, but once they get used to it your cat might actually enjoy walking with you. Compared to indoor only cats makes every effort to follow all of these diseases can be serious or potentially.! Discusses the positives and negatives of indoor and outdoor least 12 years although they can enjoy! 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