When it comes to raising a cat, many owners disagree on whether to keep them inside or let them roam the outdoors. But what effects can this difference in lifestyle actually have on your furry friend’s health and wellbeing? Read more to find out how you can help your cat lead a long and enriched life!
It’s no surprise that the outdoors has many dangers to pets. Wild animals like snakes, coyotes, and raccoons can get into a fight with your pet and cause them serious injury or even kill them. Even prey animals like squirrels can cause injury to your pet if they decide to attack. Even in more spacious parts of Maryland, cars are a big concern when it comes to the safety of your pet. More than five million cats are struck by cars each year in the United States. Weather can also present dangers for outdoor cats as they may not be able to find their way home or find shelter from the extreme heat or cold. While many people show kindness to outdoor or stray cats, there are some who are extremely cruel and treat cats as pests. Overall, it is not a safe idea to keep pets outdoors unsupervised.
Health and Lifespan
On average, indoor cats can reach the age of seventeen, while outdoor cats usually live between two and five years. This is due in part to the aforementioned dangers of an outdoor lifestyle. In addition, indoor cat owners are more likely to detect and treat ailments before they become life-threatening. Outdoor cats are more likely to contract or develop feline leukemia virus, feline AIDS and other diseases.
Indoor vs. Outdoor: Finding a Balance
While an indoor lifestyle is much safer for your cat, it can lead to other problems in your furry friends’ life. Indoor cats can become bored or frustrated if not given enough stimulation in the house. They are also more likely to scratch furniture than their outdoor counterparts. This doesn’t mean you should let your cat roam unsupervised, but it’s worth considering some ways your cat can enjoy the outdoors in a safe way. Check out our blog on cat walking to learn more about letting your feline friend experience the outdoors.
Making the Best of Indoor Living
If your cat isn’t keen on going out, don’t force them! Playing with them can go a long way in preventing boredom that leads to harmful behaviors. Try out different toys (and catnip!) to see what your cat responds to best. Scratching posts are essential to prevent them from clawing up your furniture. Cats also need places to climb and hide. Perches near windows can offer your cat glimpses of birds and squirrels that can entertain them. Go above and beyond by putting a bird feeder right outside their window perch to keep them engaged for hours!
Although the outdoors can be a dangerous place for your cat to roam, there are plenty of ways to enjoy it in a safe and supervised way. Cats can also lead very enriched lives completely inside with a little help from their owners. If you have a cat that needs a little extra playtime or care when you are away, visit our website to learn more about in-home visits! We also offer walking services if you have a cat that is trained to go outdoors. Give us a call at (301) PET-CARE to learn more.