In an ideal world, cats would be allowed to roam freely in order to indulge in their natural impulses. Sadly, outdoor living is not always suitable for cats for a number of reasons. Cat owners are choosing to restrict their pets to indoor life to avoid dangers and risks. It’s understandable for some owners to feel they have no choice but to keep their beloved pet indoors, but the benefits of outdoor access can’t really be ignored.
Outdoor Benefits for Cats
- Reduces Stress and Provides Stimulation
Cats love to explore, it’s natural for them and being outside gives them mental stimulation and works to reduce stress build up. By allowing cats access to the outdoors you provide them with different environments and a larger area to roam.
- Natural Expression
Cats love to scratch their claws, have a hunt, jump, climb and some like to spray. Cat owners can become irritated by these natural behaviours when their furry friends live indoors, but outdoor cat owners are often unaware of these behaviours as they are not brought into the home as much.
Although there are many downsides, cats love to hunt and hunting can be of benefit for owners who wish to control rodent problems. The cats benefit thanks to the release of happy hormones too, and they will continue to hunt even if they are well-fed. It’s a pastime cats do for pleasure and not simply because of hunger.
Cats can have weight problems and these issues can often be reduced by allowing them to exercise in the great outdoors. The outside provides so many more opportunities for burning off calories and they can perform a wide variety of exercises to keep them fit and healthy.
Indoor Benefits for Cats
- Road Safety
Many cats are injured or killed on our roads each year. Many traffic accidents happen at night and it’s not uncommon for the cats to be under one year old. Quiet roads can be just as dangerous as high traffic areas as cats can easily be caught off-guard.
- Fighting and Disease
Some cats are highly territorial and will fight for their part of the world. Other animals will sometimes pick a fight with cats too. Cats that love in close quarters will often set up their own routines, one prowls the area while the other is at home, and vice versa. Disease is another major concern as many diseases can be transferred through contact and fighting.
Fleas, worms and ticks are picked up for the outdoors. However, it’s worth noting that both indoor and outdoor cats can be at risk form parasites and so they all need to be protected and treated on a regular basis.
There are lots of poisoning risks that can make our pets very sick and can cost them their lives. Common poisons include: antifreeze poisoning, rodent poison, slug pellets, a number of plants and flowers and so on. Indoor chemicals can also present risks and if you suspect your cat has ingested poison, call the vet immediately.
There are different reasons why a cat can go missing. They might get trapped somewhere, be mistaken for a stray, adopted by a neighbour, taken to a shelter or simply not know the area and travel too far. All cats should be microchipped even indoor cats; just a momentary lapse of concentration can lead to an escaped kitty.
Return next week when we’ll be looking at ways of reducing the risks for outdoor cats, so your pet is able to live a rich and fulfilling life while you have peace of mind.