Outdoor living has pros and cons for cats. If you’re contemplating letting your cat outside, there are some things you must consider first. Here’s some information to help you make an informed decision.
Pros of Outdoor Living for Cats
Outdoor cats get more exercise than indoor cats. They can run, climb and play and are less likely to suffer from obesity which can lead to health issues like liver disease, diabetes and bad joints. Staying indoors also increases a cat’s risk of boredom, depression and separation anxiety. Another benefit of outdoor living is that cats can engage in natural behaviours like scratching and clawing without destroying your furniture.
Cons of Outdoor Living for Cats
Outdoor living presents many risks for cats, including:
Getting hit by a car
Getting lost, stolen or becoming a victim of animal cruelty
Falling victim to predators such as coyotes, eagles or stray dogs
If your cat isn’t spayed or neutered, there could be an unwanted pregnancy
Eating toxic plants or poisonous chemicals
Exposure to infectious diseases such as FIV or feline leukemia
As predators, outdoor cats also harm the environment, killing millions of native birds, squirrels and other small animals.
What Should You Do If You Let Your Cat Outside
Now that you know the pros and cons, letting your cat outside is up to you. If you decide to let your cat enjoy the great outdoors, visit your local veterinarian, who can administer the following:
Microchipping so you can find your cat if it gets lost
Vaccinations for infectious diseases
Spaying or neutering services
Flea and tick control treatments
Some clinics offer house calls for the above services if your cat is too anxious about the trip.
Alternatives to Unsupervised Outdoor Living
You can give your cat fresh air and sunshine without letting your cat roam free. Try the following products.
A cat harness and leash, although you may need to get your cat used to it inside first
A cat carrier allows you to keep your cat close while walking
A cat walker or stroller can give your cat the stimulation of outdoor living while leaving your hands free for other things
You can also buy outdoor caged enclosures, which allow your cat to roam free in the yard while protecting it from predators and other hazards.
Your Trusted Spay and Neuter Clinic in Toronto
At Bellamy-Lawrence Animal Hospital, our cat clinic offers a wide range of medical services, including spay and neuter, vaccinations, flea and tick control and microchipping. Contact us at our clinic in Toronto today to book an appointment with a veterinarian or schedule a house call.