Should I Let My Cat Outdoors?
Not sure if your cat should be an indoor cat or an outdoor cat? Do you feel guilty for keeping your cat inside all day? The outdoors provides some great benefits like sunlight and fresh air. But there are some things you need to know about whether or not to let your cat outdoors.
If You Decide to Let Your Cat Go Outdoors . . .. . . Then the risks you are taking are mainly health- and safety-related. Here are some things you can do to protect your cat:
- Protect your cat from other cats. Feral cats can pass diseases to your cat if they come into contact. Some of these diseases are serious and sometimes fatal. Examples of these diseases include:
- Feline AIDS (FIV)
- Feline distemper (panleukopenia)
- Feline leukemia (FeLV)
- Upper respiratory infections (URI)
- Feline infectious peritonitis (FIP)
- Take your cat to the vet at least once a year. Your cat will need a good checkup, especially since they can pick up common parasites from being outdoors, like:
- Intestinal worms
- Ear mites
These parasites can make their way into your home and infect your family too. Your vet at Brimley-Lawrence Animal Clinic can screen and treat your cat for parasites and provide lifesaving vaccines.
- Keep your cat in an enclosed space or on a leash. Not only will this protect your cat from other cats but also from these other safety risks associated with roaming outside:
- Being hit by a car
- Being hunted by loose dogs and wild animals
- Coming into contact with toxins and poisons
- Being subjected to animal cruelty by strangers
- Climbing trees without courage to come back down
- Killing birds and other small animals
- Getting lost
If You Decide to Keep Your Cat Indoors . . .
. . . Then the risks you are taking are mainly emotional. Here are some things you can do to keep your cat happy and healthy indoors:
- Have other animals to keep your cat company. Some cats enjoy the company of other cats and sometimes even dogs.
- Give your cat interactive toys. Rotate through the toys you let your cat play with to keep your cat interested and excited about the toys. Also consider playing with your cat with prey-like toys.
- Have scratching posts. Cats have a natural instinct to scratch. Provide a variety of surfaces for your cat to scratch.
- Give your cat access to windows. Whether your windowsills are wide enough or you need to install a cat perch, having window access allows your cat to sunbathe and watch the outside world from inside. You can also install a birdbath outside the window to give your cat something to watch.
Whether you allow your cat to go outdoors or not is ultimately up to you, but you must be prepared to accommodate either option. Call us if you have any questions!