The question of whether or not to let your cat go outside is hotly debated among cat owners. Lots of people feel guilty about keeping their cats indoors, especially when their feline friends stare longingly out of the window! But should you let your cat go outside, or is it best to keep them indoors? In this post, we'll weigh up the pros and cons to help you make an educated decision.
Are There Any Benefits to Letting Your Cat Outside?
First, let's explore the arguments for letting your cat go outside. Some people argue that outdoor cats get more exercise, leaving them less prone to health problems such as obesity, diabetes, and arthritis. It could also be argued that outdoor cats get more mental stimulation, decreasing the risk of them becoming bored and developing problems like anxiety, depression, and destructive behaviors.
Another argument for letting your cat go outside is to allow them to engage in natural, instinctive behaviors that might be suppressed indoors. For example, cats have a natural instinct to climb, hide, explore, and roam around. After reading about these potential benefits, you may be tempted to let your cat outside so they can enjoy the great outdoors. But is that such a good idea? In the next section of this post, we'll take a look at some reasons not to let your cat outside.
4 Reasons Not to Let Your Cat Outside
Here at CocoTherapy, we believe the benefits of keeping your cat indoors far outweigh any potential benefits of letting them outside. In this section of the post, we'll highlight some of the dangers of letting your cat outside. And in the final section, we'll share some practical tips for keeping indoor cats happy and healthy.
1) Exposure to Diseases and Parasites
One of the most compelling reasons not to let your cat outside is the risk of exposure to diseases and parasites. Outdoor cats can become exposed to a wide range of potentially fatal diseases by coming into contact with other felines. Examples include feline AIDS (FIV), feline leukemia (FeLV), feline distemper (panleukopenia), and even rabies. Cats that go outside are also more susceptible to contracting parasites like fleas, ticks, lungworm, and ringworm.
2) Accidents and Injury
Allowing your cat outside puts them at greater risk of accidents and injury. They could get hit by a vehicle, get into a fight with another cat, become injured by a wild animal, suffer accidental poisoning, and much more. The potential for injury outside is just too great, so it makes sense to keep your cat safe indoors.
3) Getting Lost or Trapped
Cats are curious creatures, and they'll often wander far from home and risk getting lost. You may think your cat will stay close to your home, but this is not always the case. In fact, one study found that house cats moved within an average area of nearly 20 acres when allowed out at night! It's also common for cats to get trapped – whether up a tree, on the roof of a building, or in tight space they can't wriggle out of.
4) Threat to Wildlife
Another good reason not to let your cat outside is the threat to local wildlife. As we mentioned at the start of this post, cats have a variety of natural instincts. And one of the strongest of these is the instinct to prey on birds, mice, lizards, snakes, and other small wildlife. The problem is so great that cats are one of the top threats to US wildlife, killing billions of animals each year. So, why not do your bit to reduce the impact to wildlife by keeping your furry friend inside?
4 Tips for Keeping an Indoor Cat Happy and Healthy
Keeping your cat indoors is the best way to keep them (and local wildlife) safe, minimize the risk of illness and injury, and help extend their lifespan. But what can you do to make sure your indoor cat is happy and healthy? And how can you prevent health problems and behavioral issues caused by lack of exercise and mental stimulation? In this final section of this post, we'll share our top 4 tips.
1) Provide Interactive Feeders
Interactive or "puzzle" cat feeders are a great way to keep your cat stimulated around the house. Cats have a natural instinct to hunt and play, if these needs are provided for, they are much less likely to develop behavioral issues. Puzzle feeders are designed to trigger your cat's hunting instinct, challenging them to interact with the feeder and "hunt" for the food inside. They also encourage slower eating and help prevent health problems such as regurgitation and obesity.
2) Engage Your Cat in Play
A great way to keep your cat physically active and mental stimulated is by engaging them in regular play. Most cats love to chase, so trigger this instinct with toys like lasers, balls, and even a piece of string dragged across the floor just out of their reach.
3) Provide Elevated Spaces, Scratch Posts, and Hideaways
Cats have a natural instinct to climb and scratch. They also seek out elevated spaces to rest and nap. These behaviors help them feel safe and secure, so encourage them by providing items such as scratch posts, cat trees, and tunnels or boxes for them to hide in.
4) Allow Safe Access to the Outdoors
Allowing safe access to the outdoors can be very beneficial for cats. The outdoor environment is full of new sensory experiences for your cat to enjoy. Try setting up an enclosure on your patio or in your yard. You can even try taking your cat out on a leash in safe areas!
That's it for today's post. We hope you found it useful! Have you discovered any fun or unique ways to keep your cat active and engaged indoors? Let us know in the comments.