A cat’s prey drive is so strong that even well-fed cats may naturally enjoy hunting birds or other small animals. Outdoor cats endanger surrounding wildlife, particularly birds. 1 At a glance. What do the experts say about the best way to keep your cat safe and happy? This can range from as little as two years, out to 10-12 years. Indoor Cats vs. Just like indoor cats, outdoor cats can also suffer from diseases and syndromes that cause vomiting — not to mention the fact that they are at risk for eating many disgusting or toxic things. To change your outdoor cat into an indoor cat, first have your vet do a complete check-up to make sure it won’t bring any diseases indoors with it. In this episode of Cat Mojo, I take you through the sometimes very sticky landscape that is the indoor vs. outdoor debate. In contrast, an outdoor cat’s life expectancy is significantly shorter. Personally for me the best way of life is a little bit of both. I totally agree with you. That’s one of the main reasons why, if your cats are indoor pets, you might want to consider changing their food to an indoor cat formula. Indoor Vs. Few topics polarize opinion more than the matter of indoor cats vs. outdoor cats. “Considering the potential dangers outdoors, an indoor lifestyle is much safer for cats,” Brunt says. However, since my current and previous cats were adopted by the Cat Adoption Team, I signed an agreement that I would keep my kitties indoors. 3 Build a cat enclosure. Unfortunately, cats may be good hunters, but they also often wind up being hunted. Indoor-outdoor cat has suddenly stopped going outside and has taken to getting into places in the house that she never went in before. The indoor environment, in comparison to the outdoor environment, is generally considered to be more predictable and monotonous. 1 Start as you plan to continue. Ways to engage your indoor cat. 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. I have an outdoor cat. A slow start is key! One such question is the environment that you will be able to provide for the cat. It’s much easier to go from an indoor to outdoor cat than to go from an outdoor to 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. He adds that the extreme climates of the outdoors can be very hard on a cat. This is normal behavior. A cat's hunting instinct is just that—an instinct. Is it ever okay to let your cat outside? Statistics show the lifespan of an indoor cat is much longer than an outdoor cat. 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. The indoor/outdoor cat debate is very controversial among animal caretakers and humane societies. An indoor cat may live 15-17 years, while the life expectancy for outdoor cats is only 2-5 years, according to researchers at University of California-Davis. The indoor cat or outdoor cat debate can be a touchy subject. Cats Indoor or Outdoor? Although living inside is generally considered healthier, indoor cats need special care, too. Don’t expect a cat who has lived outdoors for her whole life to easily transition to … 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. A major consideration for cat lovers thinking about letting their cat venture outdoors is safety. That being said, there are many risks to allowing your cat – regardless of their history – outside. 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. 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. This does not mean you have to buy your cat new toys constantly. We don’t recommend that you ever declaw a cat, but sometimes people adopt cats who are already declawed. They are more likely to get regular, healthy food. Table of Contents hide. McWhorter is well aware that Hobbes and his sister, Calvin, lead a riskier life than her two indoor cats, Lucy and Ricky, but she inherited them from her home’s previous owner and was afraid it would be hard for them to make the transition from outdoor to indoor cats. Like many cat lovers, you may have thought about letting your cat go outside. “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. The Lifespan of an Indoor Cat By contrast, the lifespan of an indoor cat is typically 12 to 15 years. The indoor vs outdoor cat debate has raged for years among pet owners. Even well-fed pet cats who are allowed to roam outdoors may attempt to prey on smaller animals, with varying levels of success. Indoor cats live far longer than outdoor cats after all. Can you explain the benefits an argument's for both? Petplan takes a look at the pros and cons of keeping your cat indoors or letting them go outdoors. The benefits of keeping the cat away from possible dangers outdoors have to be weighed against the effects on the cat’s behaviour. Indoor cats should not be left alone for any length of time without some form of human interaction. To help you find a cat that’s more suited to living only indoors we have described each breed as being a typical “house cat” or “outdoor cat”. 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. “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. 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 life expectancy of an indoor cat is typically at least 12 years although they can live up to 20 years. Friends for your feline. Once cats have had that first taste of freedom, it’s tough to convince them to go back inside. Protect your kitty from other cats. The other side regards keeping cat indoors as … Identification can increase the odds that your cat will be returned to you if they wander away. 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. Indoor cats also live much longer than outdoor cats. Cats may also end up accidently exposed to rodent poisons when they hunt and eat rodents that have recently ingested poison bait. Below we give tips on how to do this. One side is horrified that anyone would ever let their cats outside, given all the hazards (traffic, predators, disease, deeply disturbed cat-hating humanoids). 2009 Jul 17 [Epub ahead of print]. Related: 7 Best Indoor Cat breeds. 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 to 5 years. Indoor cats also live much longer than outdoor cats. If you’re bringing in a stray cat or if you’ve decided your exclusively-outdoor cat should now live indoors, you can’t just bring her in and let her have the run of the house right away. “If they won’t stay in the house, maybe put them in the garage and put out food and water.” Another option is to build outdoor cat houses to keep your cats safe and protected day and night. I will admit that cats do love to explore! Space this out to every half hour and every 2–3 hours. Cat-Cat Conflict. In addition, these creepy crawlies can hitch a ride into your home and infect your family. There are several factors at play when deciding how your cat will spend its days as comfortably as possible, ranging from safety and health to mental health. Perhaps some of the biggest risks to the welfare of an indoor-only cat are not physical welfare risks but instead, risks to the emotional wellbeing of the cat. Or, they may think it’s cruel to keep cats cooped up inside, forced to spend their days staring out the window. It can also eliminate a desire for your cat to come inside. Unlike most European countries where the majority of cats spend their days outdoors, Americans are increasingly keeping their cats permanently indoors. Providing stimulating cat toys and “trees” for adventure and play—like the Frisco 52-Inch Cat Tree or the KONG Naturals Cat Scratcher—gives your indoor cat many of the same benefits of outdoor recreation, and will keep your furry friend from becoming a bored cat with nothing to do. 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 just became resigned to the fact that he’s going to be an indoor-outdoor cat,” LaRussell says. Injuries from wild animal and stray dog attacks are very serious and often fatal. In general cats thrive on a mixture of indoor and outdoor time. Hobbes, a 10-year-old orange tabby, has gotten into his share of trouble over the years. This Balinese cat is outdoors, … 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. Declawed cats can’t defend themselves from dogs, other cats, or predators, making the outdoors even riskier. You can use our cat directory to help you find the best indoor or outdoor cat breeds. This beautiful item is not only pocket-friendly, but it … 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. An outdoor cat who comes to the veterinarian and is sick or vomiting is a true challenge because the possible causes are many. A number of these diseases can be serious or potentially fatal. Cats – like most creatures – can adapt to almost any situation over time. Integrate slowly. Ultimately, creating a safe space inside often requires limiting exposure to outdoor threats. It's an emotional, never-ending debate, and I'll admit to mixed feelings. If your cat is intent on getting outdoors, fit him for a harness. Fact: If your cat is overweight, the safest way to help her trim down is by … Audubon Living: Cats. 5 Harness train your cat. Provide your indoor cat with a variety of different interactive toys to keep them physically and mentally stimulated. Is your cat an indoor cat or an outdoor cat? Outdoor cats are always a lot healthier than indoor ones. Take her to the veterinarian at least once every year for. The indoor/outdoor cat debate is very controversial among animal caretakers and humane societies. They are immune to certain diseases, hunt more and can defend themselves better. Despite enjoying the freedom to roam, outdoor cats like Hobbes can lead a dangerous life. Which is better for a cat, staying indoors or being let outside? “Indoor cats have a much lower likelihood of becoming hurt or ill from outdoor hazards.”. 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. Many of these cats may carry diseases that can be passed on to your cat if he or she comes into contact with them. By clicking Subscribe, I agree to the WebMD, Smart Grocery Shopping When You Have Diabetes, Surprising Things You Didn't Know About Dogs and Cats, Coronavirus in Context: Interviews With Experts, Sign Up to Receive Our Free Coroanvirus Newsletter, Overweight Cats: Diets and Associated Health Risks, Fat Cats, Overweight Cats, Overfeeding Cats, Cat Exercises, Planned Pet Exercise. Below we give tips on how to do this. Cat And Kitten Care: The Indoor Vs Outdoor Cat Debate. Typically, indoor and outdoor cats can eat the same diet, but the indoor cat might gain more weight because it’s not as active. For the former indoor/outdoor cat, a two-box system filled with fine-grain, clumping litter works best. Cat And Kitten Care: The Indoor Vs Outdoor Cat Debate. 4 Schedule plenty of play. “One day he came in and he had part of his jaw missing,” recalls his owner, Lisa McWhorter. If you live in town or in city a indoor cat is always safer from traffic and all, but if you have a large lot, outdoor is always the better choice. Your cat could easily catch one of them if they come into contact with an infected animal. She’ll need to get her bearings and you may need to do a little training before she goes exploring in … The benefits and risks of an outdoor or indoor life for a companion feline need to be considered for each individual cat. 2 Be firm. Indoor cats should be provided with appropriate surfaces on which to exercise their natural instinct to scratch. 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. American Veterinary Medical Association. For all of the risks and stress that the outdoors can bring to your cat, one … Let’s look at the issues surrounding indoor vs. outdoor cats: The American Feral Cat Coalition estimates that there are approximately 60 million feral and homeless stray cats living in the U.S. If you buy an Omlet Outdoor Cat Run your pet will be able to enjoy fresh air and exercise, with the added safety and security of a fence between them and the dangers beyond. La Russell understands the dangers that Odie can encounter outside, so she makes every effort to follow all of these guidelines. Jane Brunt, DVM, veterinarian and owner of the Cat Hospital at Towson and the Cat Hospital at Eastern Shore, Md., and executive director of the CATalyst Council. Fact: Many cats have successfully gone from outdoor-only or indoor/outdoor to indoor-only. 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 2008, 65% of survey participants said they keep their cats strictly indoors (Rowan, 2012). Infectious parasites are about two and a half to three times more prevalent in outdoor cats compared to indoor only cats. 1 Kress, Steve (2008). Indoor outdoor cat life expectancy There is a difference between indoor and outdoor cat life expectancy, so unless you really need to allow your cat to go outdoors, it might be best not to. Encourage cats to live indoors by making the inside more exciting and appealing than outdoors. “AVMA positions address animal welfare concerns.”. The answer is yes; many cat owners have successfully transformed their indoor/outdoor cat into an indoor cat. Take your cat’s personality into account when deciding on their freedom. Cats are commonly attacked by loose dogs and wild animals, such as coyotes, raccoons, foxes and even alligators (depending on where they live). Contributions to American Humane are tax-deductible to the extent permitted by applicable law. "Give your kitty plenty of indoor options to express their natural behaviors," the Humane Society advised. She doesn’t have to give all of that up once she becomes an indoor cat. Let’s take a closer look. Exercise Needs– Keeping your indoor cat mentally and physically stimulated is important. 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. Every cat is different; this could take from two weeks to … 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. 3 Build a cat enclosure. American Humane is a 501(C)(3) non-profit organization. WebMD discusses the positives and negatives of indoor and outdoor cats. “I’ve worked in emergency clinics when a cat comes in that obviously belongs to someone,” Cruz says. Every cat -- whether indoor or outdoor -- should see the vet at least twice a year for an exam and regular regimen of vaccines, and all cats need to have some form of identification, Cruz says. The consensus among veterinarians and organizations such as the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is that it’s wiserto keep cats indoors. Feed your cat indoors and on a regular schedule. Indoor cats should also be vaccinated because the viruses that cause the disease can “hitchhike” into the house on shoes and clothing. Think of it as a kind of cat conservatory or walled garden. “One of his eyes was closed shut before, and he had an abscess on his back one time from where he got into a fight with something.”. Popular outdoor cat breeds include the Burmese, the Siamese, the Korat, the Norwegian Forest Cat and the Oriental.. Use Our Cat Directory. Regardless of if your cat lives inside or out, a healthy, balanced diet, regular veterinary exams, and full vaccinations are key to preventing illness and helping your cat live a long healthy life. There are plenty of people who are unable to let their cats out, for various reasons. EDIT: to clarify when I say outdoor cat, I mean one thats allowed go go in and out as they please, not one that lives fully outside 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. 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